Thursday, June 26, 2008

pictures & a few thousand words...

I took this picture on the boat on the River Delta near Tigre. For all of you L.A. people, this is Buenos Aires' version of the Venice [Beach] Canals but much wider and natural. It was a loooovely boat ride! 
In la Plaza de Mayo....
Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. It was so wonderful to see them after reading about them for so long! 
My wonderful, beautiful host parents Maria Ines and Hector and a huge mountain of bread behind them! They make macrobiotic food, mostly breads and desserts, and sell it in various places around the city. I told them that I would send my mom this picture and tell her that there's no food here and I'm constantly starving... yeah right. I've been all over the world and can say with confidence that all mothers everywhere show their love through food. 

Monday, June 23, 2008

first weekend in argentina...

Travel is crazy. After three days, it already feels like I've been here for a very long time... I feel comfortable in my home stay and am beginning to adjust to the schedules/habits of the family. 

I spent the weekend mostly exploring downtown with my friend Ilana who was studying abroad here during spring quarter and just returned from travels in Bolivia/Peru. It was wonderful to have my own tour guide to show me around! Downtown is chaotic, but seems to be a wonderful mix of Paris and NYC: tall buildings hover over the streets with Parisian windowsills and balconies and seem to have strong, old roots (in other words, I can imagine them as the life-blood of this city). Mostly, the people seem elegant, as they're popularly described in travel books and articles. But all of this romanticism is punctuated with neon McDonald's signs, blaring taxi horns, and public transit. City life. 

My host family is wonderful and friendly. They are vegetarian and keep a relatively strict macrobiotic diet, which means that they eat whole grains and avoid processed foods and most medications. (As a vegetarian of 6-years, I'm so thankful to find them in Buenos Aires!) It's been fun chatting with them about Hollywood, Barack Obama, and different places we've travelled. My Spanish is clunky and awkward, but hopefully as the weeks progress, the words will flow more freely (and correctly). The actual program began today and everybody at the University was so kind, albeit perhaps a bit too concerned with safety. I'm excited to actually begin improving mi espanol!

Highlights thus far: hearing Klezmer music--"musica klezmer"--at the San Telmo flea market; going to a kosher restaurant downtown with Ilana; eating home-made seitan; having internet in the house even though their wireless router is apparently broken. 

Friday, June 20, 2008

cabin pressure.

It's 1:15 am... my plane leaves in exactly 15 hours! I've just started to think about this trip; somehow, all of the packing, gathering, and deciding what to bring and leave behind was done in auto-pilot mode. That's what a 65 page thesis will do to the human brain after many, many months...

But this is very different and new to me. I'm a planner: I plan things way in advance and in way too much detail, consequently leaving expectations and anticipations swirling in my thoughts. I'm thrilled to have very few expectations and only positive impressions of Buenos Aires (I may begin to call it B.A. but only in a nod to my home, L.A.). 

Unfortunately, I've developed a sinus infection over the last couple of days. I inundated myself with Vitamin C with hopes of nipping it in the butt, but no such luck. Hopefully 12+ hours at 36,000 feet won't be too terrible...luckily I have an arsenal of decongestants, advil, sleeping aids, chewing gum, and who knows what else! Honestly, though, if I make it through the circus known as the Los Angeles International Airport tomorrow I'll be beyond thrilled! :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"can you hear me now?"

i have no idea how to use these things...