Suitcase on wheels     stuck in the snow   sniffer dog

Thursday, January 13, 2005

4. Around Buenos Aires (B.A, Argentina)

I finally got to have a bit of a look around BA today. Previously I've been struggling to make it out of bed before 1pm, but today I obeyed my alarm and got up at 10am so I could wander around the city a bit before my Spanish class at 3.
San Telmo's my neighbourhood for now, it's kind of a touristy artsy area, lots of restaurants and cafes, and narrow cobblestone streets. From San Telmo I walked to the city centre and found one of the main shopping drags, Florida Ave, which is a pedestrian street packed with shops and crawling with people. I had a recommendation from one of my classmates for an all you can eat restaurant (which are supposed to be everywhere, but I can't read enough Spanish to find one) but I had to abort that mission in order to get to class on time.
On the way to class I came upon a protest march, a few hundred people moping along chanting something in Spanish which I couldn't understand. I get the feeling protests are an almost daily occurance here, given the past political turmoil and the huge police presence I see every day on my way to University. My Language Faculty is only 2 blocks from La Casa Rosada (The Pink House) which is Argentina's version of the White House, so understandably most protests end up here. The cops look pretty staunch with their bulletproof vests and sidearms.

Protesters hammering on the steel door of BankBoston
Meanwhile, Spanish class is going OK. I'm probably the slowest in my class in my speaking and listening, but I definitely know more grammar than some of my classmates. That's OK, I'll get up to speed - they've all been here longer than me. And by learning most of the grammar I now only have to worry about getting practice using it.
I've also started looking for an apartment or a room for rent. I'd like to find something in a house with some Spanish speakers rather than other tourists otherwise I'd get stuck speaking English, which isn't what I came here for. Last night I went out for drinks until 2am with a bunch of people from my Spanish classes, nice people but we spoke English all night which isn't what any of us would have wanted.
The hostel I'm staying at is giving me a cheap rate on my single room - 25 pesos a night (NZ$12) which is pretty reasonable so there's not too much rush for me to move on. A room to rent in an apartment or share house would be in the region of 12 - 16 pesos a night.


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