28.2.10

Coldplay at the River Plate


I went to see Coldplay last Friday and it was incredible. The show was fantastic but that wasn’t what was so incredible about it.

The concert was in the same stadium that the River soccer team plays and it is huge. The seats were steps, which didn’t seem strange at first. But as the stadium began to fill up, I realized that there were no aisles for walking. So in order to go to the bathroom for example you needed somehow find a way through the crowd, with no pathway, while on a steep inclination. Very exciting! And the soda and snack venders did this unbelievable well.

For interlude music, someone played “I’m a Hustler Baby,” by Jay-Z. I was one of two people who knew the song, maybe three.

Right before the concert began the crowd became very lively. They all chanted “ole ole ole ole, ole ole!” There was a ton of energy. All the sudden, the left side of the stadium started a wave. It was really cool. They whole stadium did the wave about 4 times before getting bored. During the concert, Chris of Coldplay suggested we do a wave with our cell phones. It looked like the stars. AMAZING! Definitely, the Argentines won over the U.S. in crowd spirit. It was impressive.

There is no alcohol served at these events.

The other thing that stuck me was how musical the crowd was. There was a moment when the band went back stage before the encore. The whole crowd started singing a common thread to a song they liked in order to draw Coldplay back on stage. It was awesome. In my experience, people just scream or chant the name of the Artist.

This whole concert felt different.

After the show, I was talking to my friend about this and I began to think, especially in Chicago, we have so many concerts. Everyone plays in Chicago. Here in Argentina, it is much more special when someone comes to play.

We came to the conclusion that it felt different because there was more excitement and maybe even a bit more appreciation.

25.2.10

I am on a LIST!

I found myself on a list of Buenos Aires Blog. Really cool.

http://bloggersinargentina.blogspot.com/

But I began to get an immediate sense of worry in the pit of my stomach because they state that I am a daily Blogger. I was but I am not anymore.

When I first arrived, I had the time to Blog daily (I was basically on vacation) but now that I am settling into a life here, it is becoming impossible. It saddens me to say, that my vacation is over.

In order for me to stay here, I have to get a ton of different papers from Chicago, from here and then bring them all to another place so they can tell me go somewhere else.

Thankfully, my dear friend Wendy, and many others have already gone through this process and have been able to give me step by step instructions.

I haven’t gotten to the point where I have had to physically do what I stated above but that is the process. This is what I will be doing if I plan to stay here.

So right now, I watch a little girl who speaks Spanish (Spanish/English), I help prep and cook food in a kitchen (Spanish/English) and I speak to professionals (doctors, economists, managers) in English. I go to a private tutor 3 times a week and study on my own, as much as possible. And, of course, I have a social life with friends who I speak Spanish with and English. I am very tired but happy.

I still am Blogging and I have a lot of great topics for the future. The adventures are not over, in fact, this is just the beginning. STAY TUNED!

22.2.10

Colonia, Uruguay










Yesterday, I went to Colonia in Uruguay.

You take the ‘Buquebus’out of Buenos Aires,
http://www.buquebus.com/cache/HomeARG.html . It is located off of Cordoba, just East of Av Leandro N. Alem. The Buquebus is a company that has boats that travels daily back and forth to Uruguay and Brazil. They also have buses to other locations. They offer VIP and regular boarding. The VIP looked nice but if you are just going to Colonia, on the rapido ride it’s only an hour. In regular boarding they have a nice little cafeteria with sandwiches, postres, café and beverages.

The weather hasn’t been that great in Buenos Aires lately. So the boat ride was very rough. On the way back people were screaming because we were rocking so much. Since you can take your cars on the boat, all the men were staring out the back of the boat worried about their autos.

In Colonia, the main attraction is the historical area. Old houses, a light house an old war fort built of brick with a canon. There are a variety of restaurants and a couple shops. Not much happening. It is perfect for a short day trip with friends or nice romantic get-a-way for the weekend.

People stop at the stop signs. In fact, 2 or 3 cars stopped without a stop sign on a main street for my group. I felt like I was in a small town in California.

All ages and types of people ride motor bikes and you can rent them for the day. It you ever wanted to try it but were afraid, this would be the place to do it. It is very safe here.

Be careful of live music while you are eating at a restaurant. They might charge you for entertainment, even if they only play one song and go on break. This is what happened to us.

Don't exchange your money. Everyone takes AR pesos and many places even take U.S. dollars. It was a hassle because we exchanged.

Amongst my friends, by the time we left, we were all dying to get back to Buenos Aires. For some reason, after a while, there was something eerie about this town. But we all definitely have some really fun memories.


20.2.10

Flood Photos/Fotos de la Inundación




This time, I had my camera with me. It happened again but it wasn't as bad.

16.2.10

The Flood


It was a typical rainstorm in Buenos Aires, very strong and very quick.

We all sat around and watched as the rain poured into the streets. Within a half hour the street outside looked flooded. I began to get nervous because I know the drainage system isn’t that good in Buenos Aires and began to imagine that everyone in the city was experiencing this. People were walking past the restaurant with their shoes in their hands and the garbage had begun floating down the street. The water was rising fast.

All I could think was ‘if it doesn’t stop raining we won’t be able to leave this restaurant.’

All of the sudden, water began to flood the restaurant. Everyone tried to stop it but there was little you could do. The water was going through the doors and even worse was pouring, not kidding, pouring into the basement.

I have lived through a flood before in Chicago. But I have never been in a structure while it was flooding. It was intense. It was strong. There was a current.

It stopped raining.

We all left the restaurant into the forceful water, with debris up past our knees. As we came to a main street, I looked down in either direction and noticed that the rest of the city seemed fine. That was when it dawned on me, that we were in a flood zone.

We were having an intensively different experience then the majority of the city. As we found dry land, I looked up to see crowds of people looking on into the zone that I just came from.
Everyone had their cell phone out taking pictures, many had real cameras.

I am kicking myself right now because since I have been here, I have always carried my camera. Yesterday, I left it at home.
Live and learn.The photo above is not mine but it is an actual photo of where I was last night.

More importantly, to all the homes and businesses that have been affected, I hope for a speedy recovery.

15.2.10

STOP/ PARE


The number one death of people traveling outside their country is a traffic accident. Here in Buenos Aires, I can see why.

From what I hear, in contrast to other places, like India, it is extremely safe. But for me, or for people coming from a land where pedestrians have the right of way, it can be extremely dangerous. It isn’t just the pedestrians. People in other cars are in danger too.

Nobody seems to care whose ‘turn’ it is. They just go when they want to go. Sometimes, I sit and watch intersections in awe with how it works. Many times, it feels like luck is running everything.

It is not a good idea to take a chance and dodge traffic. If the light says don’t walk, its best not to walk. You never know if a car or motorcycle is going to be speeding down the street. Cars don’t slow down when they see someone ahead.

In Buenos Aires, cars speed up.

Here, I have video footage near a STOP sign. Keep in mind; this was on Sunday and it was about a 1/3 of the traffic as other days.

video

12.2.10

Jardín Japonés














Buenos Aires can get very cramped. I have found the one of the many parks is my greatest relief here. Another option for a quiet day is the Japanese Gardens. The main street is Av. Figueroa Alcorta, but it is on Av. Rodolfo Berro between Av. Sarmiento and Av. Casares. It is in Palermo on the other side of Av. Del Libertador, where all the parks are.

For only 5 pesos, it felt so good to get inside and feel a sense of peace. I arrived early and by the time I left, it was busy. Arrive early to places, if you trying to avoid people because no one is early here.

Unfortunately, you can’t use that rule with everything because many times being early can mean too early. You can’t always rely on the hours on the door. **

If you are single or lonely, don’t go to the Japanese Gardens. There are kissing couples at every turn, of all ages. But, if you have someone to kiss, definitely go to the Japanese Gardens together.

There was a cute gift shop with a cafe. The main restaurant with was in the big building pictured was a tad expensive.

There wasn’t a garden. There was a greenhouse that sold flowers and plants.

The biggest thrill was the fish in the pond. The kids fed them and they were fascinating to watch. There were so many of them.

There were quiet little sections to sit. I would have liked to have had a little blanket. There were benches but many times they were occupied.

Overall, the people were happy and friendly. It felt good to be there amongst happy people with their families.

11.2.10

Coffee






I am a coffee drinker. There is no way around it. I love the mate but what talks to me in the dull morning start is my sweet cup of coffee.

I was a bit worried when I first arrived because coffee to-go is not common in Argentina. And I don’t have time to sit everyday at the café. This meant a few adjustments on my part. I could make it at home. Sounds simple enough, right?

Right, but in Argentina, virtually no one owns a coffee brewer because they are criminally expensive.

But I saw coffee in the stores? How are they making it?

Back to square one, I got a French press but then you have to go to a store and ask someone to grind special large grounds for you. This isn’t right. There is regular coffee at the store?

My teacher serves me little espressos from an instant coffee, just mix with water and serve. This was looking like an option but I was determined.

Then the other day, a miracle happened. The woman that I live with asked me if I wanted a cup of coffee.

I paused with intense curiosity and said, “si, por favor, gracias”.

I saw that she had regular coffee grinds from the store. She pulled out the most simple and genius piece of equipment, a cloth coffee filter. I was almost embarrassed to say that I had never seen this before. It is so logical that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it on my own!

Here is to my favorite cup of coffee!

10.2.10

Question/Answer

Well, I have been here for almost three months. And I am becoming super, super busy.

Please forgive the delays on my regular BLOG entry. I am still having many adventures and fun! I am certainly not with a lack of subject matter, only a with a lack of time.

If you aren't a person who normally comments, or who does, please feel free today. Ask me questions about my experiences! It will be a fun and fast way to give a little more info!

Either way, there is much more to come!!!

The BEST thing I have learned in Argentina is that patience can be a persons best asset!

Besos!

Molly C. Probst

8.2.10

Shopping




A common activity in Buenos Aires is shopping. There are shops, after shops, after shops here. It is literally never ending. There are so many little boutiques for woman that I can barely remember where I have been. Also, everywhere I turn there is another shoe store. The little no-name boutiques seems to be much of the same clothes all organized by colors and occasionally by size. There are also tons of little shops with woman’s purses, scarves, earrings and accessories. Woman’s merchandise significantly outweighs the men's. And most of the woman’s clothes are targeted to a smaller frame.

Separate from the little no-name boutiques there are some high-end brands that stand apart from the rest but they can be a bit more expensive, especially the big shops that you see in the States. There are also occasionally original designer shops thrown into the mix. It can be a bit overwhelming.

If you want to practice your Spanish, go shopping. There is always someone asking if they can help you, practically no shop leaves you alone.

For me, when I first arrived, everything seemed really cheap! And it is, if you are spending dollars for a short period of time or if you live here and you earn dollars. But when you begin to settle in to the life here and make pesos, things become rather expensive. Based on the typical pay of an Argentine, it’s surprising me that these places are so jammed with people.

I talked to many people about this and what I heard was that shopping was many times simply a form of entertainment. People window shop here and browse with little intention of purchase. Also, if you are from here and don’t have the money to buy, several shops allow you to pay in installments.

If you love to shop, especially a petite woman or a woman looking for accessories, come to Buenos Aires.

7.2.10

Doors





I have done everything in my power to make these pictures completely even. But the structures in Buenos Aires are crooked.

5.2.10

Poverty in The Park









The other day, a funny thing happened to me. I was interviewed by a local news station. An anchor man from channel 9 was on the street asking people their opinions on the homeless situation at a local park. People live there. I was able to communicate a little of my opinion but not enough to make the 7 o’clock news. Either way, while they stood by with the T.V. camera, I quickly took advantage of about 30 sec of shooting the scene. To be perfectly honest many times, I am unable to get certain shots when I am alone because it can be unsafe. I really don’t want my camera being stolen. And I am an obviously not from here even without a nice camera in my hand.

These pictures were in a park near the down town area. People have beds, pans, clothes and full living rooms in these parks. There is a severe problem with poverty in Buenos Aires.

Here is their stuff.

3.2.10

La Lluvia: The Rain


It rains in Buenos Aires. During the year the highest levels of precipitation is in March but basically it commonly rains from October-April. When it is rains, it comes in quickly and there is always been thunder and lightning. I have mostly seen the storms in the middle of the night and many times they clear before the day. Today it is raining gently throughout the day.

The great thing about the rain is that it cools everything down. It is a major relief in this hot city. Unfortunately, that puts a damper on the weekend excursions to the beach, which is a journey out of the city. It’s like going to the Hamptons from NYC.

It’s good to have an umbrella but depending where you are, many people don’t put them up because there is not enough room to walk on the street. It would just make it another challenge. I am surprised that I haven’t seen more rain coats. Today, I am taking advantage and relaxing on this rainy day.

1.2.10

Being an Expat


It has been a little over two months since I arrived in Buenos Aires and I am just now beginning to get a little ‘home-sick’ for Chicago.

I miss organization and follow through. I miss relying on a place being open. I miss life not being a treasure hunt. I miss really good service and every type of food in the world.

I miss coffee to-go being common. Side note: When you have a coffee to go here, it’s like wearing a U.S. flag shirt. I rarely drink coffee to-go.

I miss not being stared at. I miss being able to talk to anyone about anything. I miss knowing my surroundings and the people in them. I miss my people. I miss my family and I miss my friends.

But…
I do not feel the urge to back to my old world, just yet.

In my new world, feeling sorry for yourself, is not an option. I am learning to have a great deal of patience and acceptance. I am learning how to listen more. I am learning how to pay attention. I am learning to understand suffering. I am learning about my surroundings and the language. I am going with the flow more. Occasionally, I am even walking slowly.

I am meeting new people every day with different perspectives on life. I meet locals and I meet Expats. I have been building my own community of love and support.

Although, I have shed a couple tears, I have never been one to shy away from difficulty. And, I have come to discover my greatest asset is that I have never been one to shy away from people.