A month has passed since my last entry, but I’ve been busy! I spent two weeks on vacation, splitting my time between in Buenos Aires, Argentina and three different cities in Brazil – we had maximum 3 nights in each spot, so the trip was a whirlwind. Still, I did my best to keep diligent diary entries, at least one for every destination, so that I could remember what I’d done. And of course, since it was a Mehek-Bella best friend trip, we took about a thousand photos for posterity. Because I want to highlight each of the destinations I visited, as well as my family’s recent trip to Ecuador, I’m going to schedule blog posts every other day for the upcoming week highlighting the five unique experiences in chronological order: Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Ihla Grande, Sao Paulo, and my family’s visit to Cuenca.
First up, Buenos Aires! This was the only city I visited in Argentina, but it was so diverse, cosmopolitan, and engaging that I still didn’t scratch the surface in the 4 days I spent exploring.
Because I hadn’t paid for a checked bag, unfortunately I didn’t have room to bring a book home with me, so all I bought was a postcard. Also, a quick shout out to Kindles! I didn’t like e-readers before I joined Peace Corps, but purchased one for the convenience of being able to carry around a hundred books at the size and weight of a Moleskin notebook. During the combined over 48 hours I spent on planes during this trip, I was able to finish three books on mine.
Even though I knew that I was going to a different country, and that Ecuador is just one tiny, northwestern corner of South America, I was still surprised by the diversity that I encountered in Argentina. It felt far more like my trip to France with my mother the spring before leaving for Peace Corps than any city I’d experienced in Ecuador. It was modern, cosmopolitan, and well-developed. But being able to see the Spanish I’d learned in Ecuador pay off was so worth it. The Argentine accent uses a “sha” sound where there’s a “ya” in Ecuador, which took a little getting used to. But besides that, being able to speak the language made me feel at ease and comfortable going solo in a country so far from home.
The night before this photo was taken, I went to get dinner with Nico, the exchange student who lived with my family when I was in high school. I remember how when he first arrived at my house, we could barely communicate with each other. By the end of his year in Quincy, we could have full conversations in English together, and became good friends. Six years later, we met up for dinner, and spent three hours catching up on what had happened in the time in between: but every bit of it was in Spanish. It was so cool to see how we had both grown since we’d met, and have someone appreciate just how much I’d learned. When his girlfriend, who had joined us for dinner, found out that I was going to be exploring the city alone the following day, she insisted on showing me around. She brought me to the popular Argentine coffee chain, Havanna, and we walked around Puerto Madero together in the afternoon.
I hope you enjoyed these stories and photos from my experience in Argentina! Stay tuned for more from Brazil soon.