It is so much more fun learning Spanish in Buenos Aires than it was when I took mandatory classes in high school. I apologize if you’re reading this, Ms. Ramos. It’s nothing against you.
You’re required to use your spanish all the time. Everywhere there are opportunities to practice. I think I’ve been doing really well. Between understanding social cues, and using other words I know to vaguely describe what I’m getting at, I’ve been able to roll with the punches. The winning ticket so far was when I described a cow as ‘carne con vida.’ (meat with life). I have no problems in stores or restaurants. After three days, I can definitely sustain a conversation for a couple of minutes, which is an improvement from the plane ride over here, where I struggled to get string of words out. I was able to do this: (No google translate–I promise). Woo-ing las Muchachas 3 days in. An incentive to improve.
On Halloween, I went to Recoleta Cemetary. Just a coincidence that I went to a cemetery on Halloween. I did not intentionally plan that. This cemetery is unlike any other I’ve ever been do. It’s like walking through a small village. Rather than tomb stones, there are vaults and mausoleums where family coffins are just stacked one on top of the other. Some are modern or ornately decorated. In others, the rocks are cracking, crumbling and deteriorating from decades of neglect.
It was the burial ground of Buenos Aires’ elite. The cemetery contains the graves of multiple presidents of Argentina, Nobel Prize winners, the founder of the Argentine Navy, and a granddaughter of Napoleon. Just to name a few people.
I’m really digging the vibe of Buenos Aires. It’s rained 3 of the four days I’ve been here but that’s okay. Today the shine shined bright and warm. I went to explore a more beat-up, but colorful neighborhood of Buenos Aires called La Boca. La Boca is home to the Juniors, one of the biggest football teams down here backed by the blue collar population of Buenos Aires. Boca Juniors are to Buenos Aires as the White Sox to Chicago. The north side, white collar barrios of BAs stereotypically support River (The Cubbies would be the analog). Apparently the neighborhood is absolutely nuts when the team is playing. This Sunday they were away.
La Boca had a surprising amount of stray dogs wandering around the streets. I really wanted to pick one up. Unfortunately I can’t supply pictures because I haven’t taken any yet. I want to get a feel for the place before I go strolling about with a camera, or any other stuff that’s a call to get myself mugged.
I walked all the way from La Boca back to my house, about 4 or 5km. I walked through a market so I was able to catch a lot of tango, drums, music, and practice quite a lot of small talk with a few Porteños. At one point I sat down for a choripan–a delicious meat (you pick the type you fancy) sandwich with chimichurri–a herbally, oily dressing–and an assortment of toppings, and got real buddy buddy with the restaurant owner. In general the food down here is top quality. The meat is phenomenal. You can get some really delicious meals for a decent price as well.
I’ve got to give a shout-out to Bowdoin Rugby. Today they played New England College in the finals of the New England Rugby Championship. They fell 55-5 to NEC, a team that gets almost $100,000 a year to put towards rugby scholarships and should really be playing up a division. Still, second in the region. Not too shabby.
I’m super proud of the seniors who led the team to such a successful season. After last year’s heartbreak, having the season cut short, it’s great that they boys got to show the league whats up. For the past three years, Bowdoin Rugby has not lost in regular season play. With the second place finish, Bowdoin qualified to play in Northeastern’s. They face up against Union College next weekend.