Monday, April 14, 2008

a guided tour

(bueno, let´s start at the very beginning. a very good place to start. when you read you begin with A b C , in argentina you begin with jujuyyy jujuyyy. you can follow along with this map)
just from the sound of the name (hoo-hui) you feel the contaigious cheeryness of this province. it is the northern point of Argentina, bordering with Bolivia at La Quiaca. The most common attraction is it´s incredibly colored mountains (that sport a palette from brown to red to orange to green) .

Salta surrounds jujuy from the south and is famed for its churches, empanadas, and folclore culture. Folclore (foak LOH ray) involves many of the andean instruments - flutes, drums, noisemakers made from the nails of goats. The dance includes hand-kerchiefs, stomping feet, swirling skirts, and typical gaucho wear.

Link to video

Northernmost province in the east, bordering with Brasil and Paraguay. Home of the Iguazu Falls, one of the 8 wonders of the modern world. We share them with Brasil, but in Argentina you can get up close and personal with the IMMENSE waterfalls, and even take a boat beneath them and get completely (and i mean completely) drenched. The two other attractions are the Minas de Wanda (precious stones) and the Jesuit Ruins (the namesake of the province... Misiones = Missions).

In some parts, La Rioja looks just like Arizona (desert, cacti, canyons); in others, it´s a little greener and has vineyards (like right outside our hotel).

Hilly, green, swiss lakes, and smack dab in the middle of Argentina. we passed through shortly, but i have friends who live in this province so i hope to go back and spend some more time there. Maybe have the Cordoba Camping experience that the Argentines enjoy so much.

80% of the population live in Capital Federal (Buenos Aires). Unlike typical US Cities, all of the people with money live in the city or in private neighborhoods, and the poor population lives in the suburbs outside. It´s a metropolitan, modern city, full of culture and life. Every barrio is different, but they share some common threads: art, music, tango, style, and life.

My home sweet home. Flat, kind of empty (like the vast vast majority of Argentina) and full of giant, beautiful, take-your-breath-away campo (definition: farmland/countryside). To the east - the ocean, to the west - the barren endless Pampas. see this post for details.
Big lakes, big mountains. A really chill spot, and by chill I took a dip in one of the glacier lakes and afterwards i was so numb i couldn´t walk. Yeah, chilly.

Famous for the vacation spot Bariloche (best nightclubs and skiing in the country). Every year, the graduating class of every high school takes a trip to this town so it is always completely full of students. It is incredibly beautiful, one of the most "i can´t believe it´s real" places i´ve ever been. I climbed an Andes Mountain here.


The farthest south I went. Really REALLY empty. On the east coast, you can hang out with penguins and whales. It did take us 6 hours of empty to get there though :P

Provinces I passed through:
Catamarca, Tucuman, Corrientes, Entre Rios, San Juan, La Pampa.
But this was basically all i saw:

which led to a lot of modern art like this :


Saturday, February 16, 2008

summertime: the milky way, tan lines, and international relations


In my town I either spend my time at home or at our campo. The campo is a big mansion house in the country that is surrounded by fields. It´s huge and spacious, with high ceilings and about twelve giant rooms. I love it there, I always feel like I´m on the verge of a historical discovery. The other day my host grandmother started pulling handwritten piano music out of a file cabinet in the office. And the other time i was there, I found a pile of pictures of the family´s relatives in Spain, one of them was of two twin sisters in matching old-style bikinis on the beach. That night, my sheets were embroidered with the letters TG (I have no idea who it could be). There´s a little chapel a short walk away that´s smaller than a bathroom, full of spiders. It´s cool, lets your imagination wander a little.

If I stay at home, like I did these past couple days, I sleep late (not a habit I´m proud of), listen to podcasts, watch TV, drink tea with my host mom, clean my room until the afternoon is over -- around six. Then I´ll go over to a friend´s house or downtown and we´ll hang out until maybe 10.30, at which point i´ll go home to eat. Around midnight I´ll go out again with my friends. If we stay in we´ll watch a movie or play cards or eat just a whole bunch of meat (haha it is Argentina after all). We spend about 2/3 of our daytime out by the pool or in the pool or talking about going to the pool. The other 1/3 is spent eating, buy food to eat, walking a long way to buy food to eat, or talking about doing any of the prementioned tasks. Summer here is really relaxing -- kids can´t have summer jobs so basically there´s a lot of free time.

summer high points:
- seeing really SEEING the milky way for the first time of my life
- meeting a new sister. sharing a room.
- ice cream -- you have NOT had ice cream until you´ve tried what they have in argentina. good fields = good cows = good milk = good ice cream!!!
- making empanadas
- long car rides with my host mom to and from buenos aires
- having the best days ever with aileen. ever.
- appreciating the sun beneath the giant argentine sky
- not being tired at 5 am, not realizing it was 5 am, and still having the energy to dance through dawn
- spontaneous trips to see people for their birthday or for no reason at all :)
- saying "good luck" to two outbound exchange students
- making macaroni and cheese that was really appreciated :)
- watching ugly betty, american idol, and desperate housewives with my host aunt every single wednesday. refusing to go buy her cigarrettes. her loving me anyways.
- musical instruments at all hours of the night.
- argentine boys speaking english.
- argentine girls talking about argentine boys ;)
- the campo. family. bread. picnics. music sharing.
- really really getting to know and appreciating the friendship of all of the amazing people below... i love you guys! really :)