Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Buenos Aires revisited. And adored.

  • I looooooooooooooooooooooooove Buenos Aires!!!
  • In my original blog about this city, I said I needed time for it to grow on me. Well - it HAS!
  • I could happily live here. (With monthly excursions to the beaches in Uruguay, of course!)
  • So I´ve just spent another two weeks here, and it has been FABULOUS.
  • First of all, it´s much easier to be somewhere when you have friends there. My friend Adam (whom I met in Colombia) arrived when I got back, and we´ll be travelling together for a while now. I also picked up the friendships with people that live here: friendships that have been slowly developing and recently have become really wonderful - after the initial getting-to-know-you dance.
  • Buenos Aires for me is all about MUSIC. And by extension - DANCE.
  • The last two weeks of my life have been coloured by these perfect elements.
  • And we´re talking ALL varieties!
  • I went to see Metallica play live at River Plate Stadium. Thrashing away with 50 000 Argentinian metalheads is an indescribable experience. Goosebumps!
  • I went to a tango club called Candela. This used to be an abandoned warehouse, which has been taken over and decorated and furnished with things found in the streets. All the chairs and tables are mismatched, all the wall paintings eclectic and interesting - what was that thing about one person´s rubbish being another person´s treasure...? There was a 6-piece all woman orchestra, and people of all ages dancing around the floor... Spectacular.
  • I also went to see La Bomba del Tiempo, which I wrote about in my last BsAs blog. Drumming, sweating, dancing, 1 litre plastic cups of beer... Good times!
  • I´ve been pulled into the streets to dance the tango with the professionals putting on a show there, I´ve samba´d and salsa´d on the cobblestones, in the open air, laughing and learning as I spin and move and twirl and waggle my bits...!
  • Then there was also the professional tango shows, gaucho shows and folkloric dances in the streets of La Boca - a beautiful way to spend a lunch... watching... enthralled.
  • And of course, my absolute favourite: the giant candombe drum troupe marching through the streets of San Telmo. Always at dusk going into night, always at least 20 drummers, and as many people dancing both behind them and in front of them, with a giant flag in front being waved over everyone, filling the streets with an energy that is tribal and earthy and raw and real...
  • Then there are the rooftop asados (barbeques) - social, chilled, good-people-good-food-good-wine under the stars
  • I finally get what all the hype is about. BsAs is FABULOUS. You just need to give it a chance.
Love you all. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the feedback. You rock my world! xxx

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adventures in Uruguay! :)

  • Feeling like a backpacker again - and loving it!!!
  • First of all - South American Spanish is the most delicious language I know. I love how it rolls over my tongue, slides across my lips, and fills my mouth with gorgeous sounds. What a sensual language.
  • I've just spent a little over a week in Uruguay - 2 days in the capital city, Montevideo, and then a week on the beach in Punta del Diablo.
  • Montevideo is a small capital city. It has a some interesting and eclectic architecture, and is almost surrounded by the sea - everywhere you look you see waves in the distance. Very welcoming, not overwhelming at all (unlike BsAs!)
  • In all of my experience in Uruguay - and this is actually something that all my Argentinian friends told me before I left - Uruguayanos are simply wonderful: really warm and kind and open, and so friendly!
  • Punta del Diablo, the seaside village that I stayed in, was AMAZING! It's really small and underdeveloped - which I loved. There are no proper roads, only dirt roads, with one main (dirt) road housing some restaurants, two supermarkets and a pharmacy. All the houses are scattered about randomly: little one-room domains painted in bright sunshiney colours, simple and modest.
  • At this time of year, it's mainly students who travel to places like this, after spending Xmas and New Year with their families, and before the new semester begins.
  • I found myself in a hostel filled with Spanish-speaking students - Argentinians, Uruguayanos, Chileans, and some Brazilians (all of whom can speak Spanish too!)
  • And so... I just spent a week speaking ONLY Spanish!!! (Which was no small feat! All I know is the one week of lessons that I took in Colombia. And given the different accents - that's like learning English in Texas and then trying to speak to people in the Australian outback!)
  • It was brilliant! Of course - my Spanish is pretty poor, but at least I make myself understood! And I seem to be able to follow conversations fairly easily. The trick is (as with all languages) to get the accent down. If you SOUND like you know what you're doing, your grammatical errors are much less obvious!
  • I loved it. Everyone was just SO nice. People would wander around the common area, strike up conversations, everyone would talk to everyone else... making friends was so easy, so effortless...
  • I've also become a fan of matè (pronounced "mah-tay"). It's a traditional hot drink in this region of South America, made of herbs, and I think it contains caffeine too. EVERYONE drinks it! Basically, you pour the herbs into a matè cup, top it up with boiling hot water, then dip a special silver straw into the cup and sip away! The herbs are reused, and the cup is refilled until you run out of hot water. It's definitely an acquired taste, but I seem to have acquired it!
  • I love the social aspect of matè. You see people going to the beach - everyone carrying their little matè cups and hot water flasks! In the hostel, in the mornings and evenings after the beach, everyone sits around sipping on their matè, sharing it with others, communicating, relaxing... It`s a lovely tradition.
  • I feel so good after my week at the beach. I needed to get out of the city, and I am fully renewed and refreshed and ready for more adventures.
  • I made a ton of new friends, am that much closer to speaking a new language uninhibited, had my soul nurtured by warm and easy interactions, and had my heart soothed by seawaves once again.
  • Counting my blessings over and over and over again...

Love you all. xoxox