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Blogging Through My Bucket List Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage. ~Regina Nadelson

Córdoba!

ARGENTINA | Monday, 4 April 2011 | Views [1526] | Comments [1]

For 2 weeks in Buenos Aires I stayed in an apartment with about 8 other Spanish students from around the world. I loved meeting new people, listening to people speaking Portugese, Dutch, Serbian, and German and hearing about the differences and similarities between countries. Tons of perks when doing the hostal or residency thing abroad. The negative? With varying abilities of Spanish, almost all conversations were in English. Great practice if it’s not your native language but if it is, it’s hard to improve when you’re mastering what you’ve already erm…mastered. You also are with people who come and go and don’t get the personal feeling of a home or daily conversations about issues and problems that occur when you’re a local like oh, you know, “how to get out of the house after you’ve locked yourself in”. Wait, that’s just me?  Enter my experience in Córdoba, my home for the next week and a half.

Settling in and feeling comfortable took all of 5 minutes when I met Yamil, my “hermanito” and self proclaimed best host ever (I won’t argue) Originally from Guatemala, he lives in the house along with his mother and sister and at various times up to 7 or 8 students studying Spanish or going to University in Córdoba. When I moved in, my “familia” consisted of 2 other American girls, a Brazilian, German, Colombian and the family-helloooo diversity! I was supposed to share a room but got lucky and had a whole room to myself which quickly looked like 2 people were occupying it once I did my “spread out all my stuff because we all know it’s easier to be organized when you can see every.single.thing you brought with you,” thing. It was great that they understood English but it was so nice to have native speakers to practice on at home!

Mi Profesor

I forgot to mention my grand entrance to the city: after deciding the best decision ever was to save a bit of money on accommodation AND not miss any Spanish school, I took an overnight bus from Iguazu to Córdoba (hello 22 hours of fun) that was supposed to leave at 10:30am on Tuesday and arrive at 8:30am Wednesday, perfect since Monday and Tuesday were off because of the Carnivale holiday- Great! My plan was to arrive, head to class for a few hours and then go home to a relaxing afternoon of relaxing and unpacking. Hah. Hahahahaha. I arrived after 10pm and then discovered that no country is remiss from the post vacation traffic nightmares. Wednesday ended the Carnivale holiday and every person living in Córdoba decided 10am was indeed the time to return to the city.

What I observed next of I can only refer to as organized chaos with a rapidly disappearing focus on the ‘organized.’ The line for a taxi had about 75-100 people complete with luggage, wrapped around the corner and into the station. What I initially thought were 2 workers tasked to help passengers hail a cab turned out to be 2 workers tasked with collecting your change. With taxis coming at a rate of 1/minute, it seemed obvious that one of these guys would head to the bottom of the ramp and start beckoning like a madman to the hundreds of passing taxis that “hey! We have enough business here to keep you busy for the entire day! Come visit!” This thought passed through my head for the next SEVENTY-FIVE minutes as I waited for a taxi. Had I been with someone else, I’ll be honest and say I would have ran like “that crazy American” down to the bottom of the drive and started flagging them myself. Unfortunately, the negative side to independent traveling is I wasn’t with someone and I had my massive backpack, small bag and overstuffed purse to keep me looking crazy enough.

And then, all cultural relating came to a standstill. I don’t think I will ever understand the concept of tipping someone who does exactly nothing to make your experience easier. When a taxi rolled up to drive me to the place I could have walked to in the same amount of time, these dudes held out their hands for a ‘propina.’ Why did I tip them you ask? Well besides one of them holding out his hand for a tip which would have made me extremely rude had I ignored the protruding hand into my personal space, they did hoist my bag into the trunk, the same bag I had been holding and lugging around for the last 75 minutes waiting to get a taxi. They also shut my door and then laboriously beckoned to the person behind me to step up for the next taxi. For those of you still waiting for an explanation I why I tipped them-yeah, so am I! But hey, I guess it’s the same for people when they come to the U.S and have been told to tip 15%, even when they think the service is awful, es la vida, no?

ANYWAYS, If you’re still with me (I’m done ranting I promise,) the rest of my day was fantastic; no more problems locking myself in, I met cool new people in my class, my new teacher was nice, and I went back to my temporary home and settled in. Córdoba looks promising!

(my new room!)

Tags: argentina, córdoba, host family, travel

Comments

1

Hi Caitie,

We really liked your story and decided to feature it on the WorldNomads Adventures homepage so that others can enjoy it too.

Happy travels in Argentina!
Alicia
WorldNomads.com

  Alicia Apr 11, 2011 1:10 PM

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Some of the littlest kids at Raising Up Hope!

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