Hello from Buenos Aires!
We’ve been in BA for nearly 2 weeks now, and we’re really enjoying the city so far. We have lots of time to explore, so we’ve been visiting attractions and museums, checking out lively neighborhoods like Palermo and Puerto Madero, and sampling as many delicious restaurants as we can. We’ve been staying in an awesome apartment in Recoleta, which is well located and has made it possible for us to walk around a lot.
In fact, I’ve been walking to Havanna Café, a coffee chain comparable to Starbucks but with an Argentine twist, on a nearly daily basis. I’ve become quite obsessed. I love it so much that I took Abe on a 20-block detour to find another location when sadists closed the one by our apartment for renovations. I consistently order their deliciously addictive espresso with condensed milk, plus a chocolate alfajor to make sure the whole ordeal is sugary enough. The weird thing is that I could easily replicate this coffee at home just by buying condensed milk, but then I’d get fat. I’m better off having to walk the 20 blocks, and getting as many cups as I want while we’re in BA. Then, when we leave, I’ll have to end this caffeinated love affair and not look back.
Abe’s favorite part of BA has undoubtedly been the meat. Nothing else has come remotely close. We’ve tried to adhere to a ‘no more than 3 times a week’ meat policy. We’ve been pretty successful so far, so long as you don’t count all the meat empanadas that we’re eating on the non-steak days (those don’t count, right?) I’m usually not much of a meat fan, but it’s really good here. Plus, with the current exchange rate it costs 1/3 of what it does the US, and you can get great malbec to wash it down too. It just seems wrong not to take advantage.
I realize that so far I’ve reduced this city to its food and wine and coffee. Don’t judge me, we’ve done other things too.
For example, I’ve been taking Spanish classes. My teacher was amazed by my entrance evaluation test. Not because it was stellar, unfortunately. He discovered that I’m ‘unbalanced’, which wasn’t news to me. It turns out that I speak Spanish very well, but when I write I don’t conjugate correctly in the past tense. Or in the future. Or in the conditional. Or in the subjunctive. I just pull it together somewhat convincingly when I talk and mumble over the parts I’m unsure of. To be fair, that’s because I learned Spanish by listening to Venezuelans rather than taking classes. I’m really enjoying learning the theory though, and I’m happy to say that my Spanish is improving muy rapidamente.
Abe is doing something similar and taking French classes at the Alliance Francaise. It’s obviously not a typically Argentine thing to do, but it’ll be really helpful for him later in our trip when we spend time in Geneva. I have no basis for saying this as I haven’t met the others, but I’d like to point out that he’s way smarter and better looking than everyone else in his class.
Other than that, we’ve done some really fun things. We took a great cooking class and learned to make empanadas, flan, and dulce de leche. We saw a beautiful tango show, which to Abe’s peril had me practicing tango dance kicks between his legs for the rest of the evening (it’s art, ok? No one got hurt). We had a wine and empanada picnic in the Palermo Woods on Valentine’s day. And we did the usual suspects too, visiting the Recoleta Cemetary, MALBA, Casa Rosada, San Telmo, Puerto Madero, Teatro Colon, etc.
Overall, we’re loving it here. We have lots planned this week, including a River soccer game and a visit to El Caminito, and then we’ll be heading to Mendoza to drink some more wine on Saturday. Dale, un abrazo amigos!