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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

The Buenos Aires Experience

ARGENTINA | Sunday, 20 January 2008 | Views [1729]

We are living like locals here in Buenos Aires, and comfortably fitting in.  Our friend Ana helped us score an apartment in a new complex just outside the city microcenter, near a main subway "Subte" line on Avenida Corrientes.  At first we were hesitant to sign up for a temporary lease, it was quite a ways from the sights of the city.  But this place has a pool, and Buenos Aires in the summer time is bloody hot.  Not to mention that they have a gym and wireless access.  We were sold.  Our landlord/property manager couldn't be cooler, despite speaking only Spanish in rapid form, we are able to stumble through our lease and score ourselves a studio with great city views.  

We're now based in the ethnic melting pot of the "Once" Barrio, one of the most culturally diverse areas in the city, which makes exploring the streets and surrounding neighborhoods a fun experience.  It's also an area that many Jewish immigrants had settled when they moved to Buenos Aires, and is the cultural hub in the city for Jewish community gatherings.  Many families are out and about in their dark, long clothing and top hats in the sweltering heat, gathering for important social events.  There's also a large Asian contingent in this neighborhood, and we've been able to seek out some really good diverse ethnic restaurants close by.  

We've quickly fallen into the same routine we used to have at home - we found the local grocery store and soon our mini-fridge shelves were stocked with juices, fresh fruits, veggies, pasta, meats and of course, beer to cure Darrin's thirst.  We'd been carting around our Concha y Toro wine glasses from Chile, and those have now come in very handy to drink our delicious $2 bottles of Argentinean Malbec.  Bottles of Argentinean wine in the states that costs $10-15 are available here for only $2-5.  So with our $35/day apartment which we successfully negotiated down to $15/day, our budget easily can afford a bottle of wine each night!

People in Buenos Aires are so friendly.  Despite reading in guide books that Argentineans are not so friendly and have big egos, we've experienced just the opposite.  We think that perhaps the Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) are friendly and less snobbish to foreigners, but perhaps it's more apparent to local Argentineans not from Buenos Aires or other Latin American countries that feel the vibe.  For us, as we walk the streets, people approach us, curious to find out where we're from and talk to us.  All the people at the grocery store know us, and take pleasure in teaching us new words with each visit.  The Chinese-Argentinean owners at the internet cafe near our apartment are overly friendly and ask lots of questions about our life in the US.  The Subte ticket guy expects us daily, and takes pride in the fact that he's taught us how to get around the city with ease.  There's a convenience store, again, Asian owned, and the owner always "chatty cathy," and I practice Spanish with the local pharmacist whose looking to improve his English.

Our apartment complex is full of Brazilians - some just kids in medical school, all wanting to practice their English as they multitask on multiple internet chat screens in our gym/computer room in the basement.  Another woman from a  small town near the Argentinean/Bolivian border exchanges girl talk in the mornings with me, as she's doing internet searches and I'm attempting to work on in the non-a/c room.  Elderly couples outside our apartment stop to ask if we need directions.  We're really enjoying our local living experience here in Buenos Aires, loving the friendly open people we're meeting and the homeliness of our own apartment with no work schedules, doorbells, phones to answer or reason to rush.


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