Sunday, February 9, 2014

First Impressions

It's been well over a week since arriving in Buenos Aires and I thought it would be worth writing a general overview. Like any adventure or new experience it all depends on the individual and you get what you put into it. This week school started, which is 5 hours a day, leaving the afternoon and evening pretty much open. 

During the weekday afternoons I went to visit some of the colonial areas of the barrio Recoleta and Palermo, placing an emphasis on the Museo de Bellas Artes. The museum is huge, and even though I spent hours there, I only saw the first floor. Paintings from Francisco de Goya, Van Gogh, Monet, and many more can be found there. In 9th grade I had to write a paper that referenced a piece of artwork. I chose at random a painting by Goya to write about. When I walked into Goya's exhibit, there it was. I have included the picture below, but unfortunately the details of the painting have been lost to me. In the evenings I attended concerts and clubs (also known as "boliches" which are quite popular. A word of advice: if you plan to go out at night, don't plan on coming back until morning. Most of the concert venues don't even open until 1 in the morning, which means people fill it up until 2 or 3 am.

I can't help but compare the city to other places I have traveled. China, for example, does not have nearly as many parks or trees as B.A. It's also not nearly as safe, a feeling you get more in some neighborhoods, than in others. The people are nice, but you don't get any automatic points for being a foreigner. In order to meet people, you have to do some digging. Also, white people don't stand out as foreigners, so don't expect to be surrounded by people wanting to take your picture on public transportation. It's a sad truth, and the main reason I'm going to Beijing in August. I miss being famous.

 For the most part, I have tried to refrain from making judgments. Too often do I hear other students making broad generalizations about the city or the people. Culture shock happens to everyone to some degree, but our reactions are like a door: we can open and let everything in, or we can close and try to retain our own boring comfort zone. For those of you here for 6 months, LEARN SOME SPANISH. People will love enthusiasm and effort. I have had some struggles this week going out alone. I wouldn't consider myself particularly outgoing, and  I feel that often times I have to force words out to break the barrier of discomfort. Logically, there is so little to lose and so much to gain.

It has been a good week to be in Argentina. There will not be a lack of things to do this week or the weeks after. Some tentative plans include playing polo, a football game, and Tango lessons. Every day is fresh.

Salsa Sunday at a park down the street

The original painting I wrote about in my Isearch in 9th grade



  1. Your comments about making your own adventure remind me of my study abroad in Vienna. Getting out and having as many experiences as you can is the way to go. Keep adding to your blog. We can't get enough. Love, Dad.

  2. Pretty fly dude. I want to learn more about the music scene down south.