Fiesta Nacional de la Yerra y Doma Correntina 2015

Each year, our sleepy little river town comes alive for a weekend full of gaucho culture. The local fairgrounds fill up with horses and cattle for the yearly Fiesta Nacional de la Yerra y Doma. Ostensibly a festival where the guachos bring cattle for branding (which does still happen), it has more a a country-fair-meets-rodeo. A decent number of people live in houses on sprawling ranches outside of town limits, and this is one of their excuses to spend a weekend in town celebrating their way of life with other gaucho families. (An aside: “going into town” in this context sounds very “Little House on the Prairie,” doesn’t it? In this case, it’s really true–a lot of these gauchos see going into town as a rare treat.)

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You may remember we went to the festival last year as well. Whereas last year we saw the Argentinian gaucho equivalent of barrel racing, this year we saw the bucking bronco competition. What seems to happen is that they take a half-broke horse in from the pasture, and then challenge all of the gauchos to see who can ride the bucking horse longest. There’s a lot of horses in the fields that don’t seem to be broken at all, so it doesn’t appear to be hard to find a “wild” horse for this event. T got some incredible pictures.

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One of the advantages of living in rural, rural Argentina is that we see gauchos every day. We pass them riding their horses to the fields every day, and see them in their traditional clothes in the grocery store. Cultural heritage in our area isn’t just something that they engage in on special occasions–this is indeed their lifestyle. It’s been amazing seeing this side of Argentina.

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The gaucho is considered the Argentinian national folk hero and symbol–so much so, that one of the greatest Argentinian literature pieces is the epic gaucho poem Martin Fierro. They’re seen as industrious, feisty, rebellious outsiders–in stark contrast to the corruption and riches of the city. In reality, gauchos don’t just belong to Argentina–the word is used anywhere on the pampas or Gran Chaco, and includes Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and southern Brazil.

Also, if you’re liking the photos, be sure to check out T’s Flickr Page. He’s a great photographer.

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Animal Adventures: Green Anaconda and Burrowing Owl

Sometimes, at work, life gets interesting. Our work area borders a nature preserve, so we see lots of carpinchos (capybaras), yacare (crocodiles), and other assorted animals on a regular basis. A few weeks ago, we met two more of the area’s inhabitants.

This is a green anaconda. And this is the baby.

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It was about seven feet long, and they can allegedly grow up to 29 feet and weigh up to 550 lbs (thanks, wikipedia).In reality, they’re the biggest snakes on the planet by weight.

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They’re constrictors, so they choke their food to death and swallow them whole.. A group of anacondas, which is what we have somewhere on our island, is referred to as a “bed” or “knot”.  We saw this guy crossing the road, and T stopped to grab a few pictures. They’re pretty slow on land, but incredibly fast in water.

We also have a  family of burrowing owls on site. They’re adorable little owls that often steal ground squirrel nests to make their homes.

IMG_0932Since rattlesnakes also tend to steal ground squirrel nests (ground squirrels must spend a lot of time making holes…), the owls have learned to make rattling and hissing sounds to scare away predators like our friend the anaconda.

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You’ve probably seen burrowing owls in the movies before–they were the Mariachi owls in “Rango,” Digger in the insufferable-but-beautiful “Owls of Ga’Hoole,” and one appears in Pixar’s short “Boundin’.” We’re hoping that since we’re  moving into spring, we’ll be able to see some owelets at some point! They aren’t terribly scared of humans, and tend to congregate near roads, so whenever we drive by, we see little owl heads peeking out burrows.

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Food in Argentina: Milanesas de Pollo

I’m back! I know, it’s been months since I last posted. Sorry about that.

What have I been doing in the meantime? I applied to business school, got in (hooray!), attended a bachelorette party in the States (in the fancy-schmancy Hamptons), attended two weddings in the US, finished up a brutal statistics class, and went to an even more exhausting week of business school orientation/classes. Phew!

I’m going to try to schedule out posts more regularly from now on. T and I are on the downward hill now for our Argentinian adventure–a year and a half done, a year and a half to go! It’s very odd to start thinking about packing up our stuff already and considering how we’ll start getting ready to go back to the US.

I’d like to start sharing some of the recipes that we’ve discovered here in Argentina. I’ve invested in some Argentinian cookbooks (with another post on those later), and our friends down here are very excited for us to try all sorts of recipes. You’ve heard lots about the famous asados in Argentina, but today let’s start with some quintessential lunch food down here–the milanesa de pollo.

Essentially a piece of chicken (or, in other cases, beef) that is pounded flat and covered in bread crumbs and spices, the milanesa, either on its own or in sandwich form, is something you’ll see on every Argentinian menu. They’re cheap, filling, and easy to customize. You can have a milanesa napolitana with tomatoes and cheese on top, you can have one with fried eggs–you can pretty much add whatever you’d like to your milanesa to make it yours.

It’s easy to cook milanesas at home as well. We tend to buy ours pre-beaten and pre-breaded from our local supermercado, but just buy a few chicken breasts and a mallet to pound yours to the correct, thin consistency. Then cover in egg and dip into the breadcrumb/spice mixture.

You’ll start with something that looks like this:

(Apologies for the cruddy quality of the photos: I’m using my iPhone 6 for all of these at the moment. T’s photos are lovely, but they are HUGE and eat up all of our bandwidth.)

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Then, get a pan full of oil (we use sunflower) nice and hot. You should see the heat lines in the oil–wait until those dissipate, and then you know the temperature is correct.

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After that, carefully place the milanesas one at a time into the hot oil .

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They’ll cook up extremely quickly–in under two minutes! Remove with tongs.

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The final result will be a beautiful golden brown milanesa de pollo. Add your fixin’s from there! We’re incredibly American, so so we love barbecue sauce.

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Looking for a “real” recipe? Try this one by Argentinian spice giant Knorr (just put on your google autotranslate!).

Buen provecho!

Distinctly Argentinian Challenges (as told in gifs)

It’s Memorial Day weekend in the USA! (Which I completely didn’t realize until about an hour ago.) I love gifs–they so succinctly signal an emotion or thought. So how better to start off the weekend then talk about some Argentinian peculiarities (at least to this estadounidense) through the lovely use of gifs? Without further ado…

1. Lines everywhere.  It is a very Argentinian thing to stand in line. You stand in line to pay your bills at RapiPago every month. You stand in a 45 minute long line for the ATM. You stand in line at the gate at the airport 20 minutes before your flight is supposed to be boarding. Clearly, Argentinians enjoy standing in line much more than I do.

waiting2. Diets are not “eat healthier.” Diets (at least for the ladies I’ve met) are not solved by eating healthier and/or exercising. It is far more common to hear that they drink more mate (to suppress their appetite), take up smoking (yuck), do those weird electrodes on your beer gut things in a local “health spa,” or just stop eating. It’s odd.

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tumblr_mn7tmrdaIP1qfgdsoo1_5003. Work to live, not live to work. I’m kind of all about this philosophy. In Argentina, family comes first, and work most definitely comes second. This means that they’ll work the hours required, and even overtime (paid), but then get the heck out of Dodge and not think about work until Monday. Admirable.

u4dnverv3gke1a63shxy4. SO. MUCH. CANDY. Argentinians are serious about sugar. It’s not a party without Coca Cola (just the regular kind, please), and it seems like every occasion calls for chocolates, cookies, or pastries of some variety.

kimmy schmidt candy for dinner5. They party hard. I’m a big fan of sleep. I am in bed by 1am at the latest, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve pulled an all-nighter, whether for studying or for fun. But the Argentinians start early, and just keep on going. It’s not abnormal to start eating dinner at an asado at 8pm, and by 2am you’re at the club… and you’re expected to be there until 8am or 9am. (Caveat: they do not binge drink the way Americans tend to. But they also, inexplicably, don’t seem to hydrate enough in general. I’m downing liters of water and people look at me like I’m crazy.)

dalek party hard hnzwa07qmi6x5r2lmxep r57beg6zjidepvfj0d2nHappy Memorial Day, everyone! Cook some burgers, go to the beach, enjoy that summer weather! I’ll hold down the fort here in the southern hemisphere.

What to Buy in Argentina

If you’re going to Argentina for a week, a month, or several years, you might be wondering what to pick up along the way. We certainly were! Here’s what we’ve come up with as either good deals and/or quintessentially Argentinian items:

Alpargatas

Don’t know what these are? I actually bet you do.  Known in the US as Toms, these canvas slip on shoes with rubber soles are incredibly common footwear in Argentina. You can find them in every store (even the grocery store), and they are significantly cheaper than their $60 per pair US cousins. Stock up on the fun patterns and colors.

alpargatas jastyle

image from jastyle.com

 

Mate Kits

Is there anything more Argentinian than mate? I think not. Take away an Argentinian’s mate cup, and it’s like you took away his left arm. Needless to say, with mate being so ubiquitous, there are thousands of mate designs and materials. Mates can be gourds, wooden, ceramic–the ingenuity given to this simple item boggles the mind. I’ve even seen some extremely high end ones made of sterling silver. Just be careful about bringing yerba mate back to the US–it looks suspiciously like marijuana to US customs. You can buy yerba mate Stateside in more hippie-dippie grocery stores like Whole Foods, and it’s also available on Amazon (as all things are…).  Even if you don’t like the taste of mate, having the actual mate kit is a fun souvenir that really is the most Argentinian thing ever.

image from salmiartesanias.com

image from salmiartesanias.com

Gems and Other Stones

At all of the tourist traps and in all the airport shops, you’ll see all sorts of little statues, beads, and jewelry made of precious stones. Argentina is full of beautiful gems (see: Wanda Mines near Iguazu).  A lot of it can get touristy very quickly–but some of the pieces are beautiful! Generally reasonable prices, particularly outside of the heavily touristy areas.

Wine

Argentina is the land of Malbec. Beautiful, delicious malbec. It’s easy to grab a great bottle of wine at the grocery store for less than $10USD–so save some room in your luggage or home goods shipment for some bottles. Just be ready to pack them up nicely–I like these wine bags.

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

Leather Goods

From purses to belts to shoes to jackets–leather is king, and it is good quality and cheap. There are some really inventive and high quality leather goods to be found in Argentina. I’ve found it best to not just frequent the stores on Avenida Florida, but instead to branch out to more of the boutique places to find some really good deals on really interesting pieces.  If you’re looking for a good brand name, try Prune. They’re based in almost every city in Argentina, and make very good quality. Also, their stores make you feel incredibly fancy–they’re set up like very high end boutiques in the US, and often their associated speak at least a bit of English to help the confused tourist.

Via ArgentinaIndependent.com

Via ArgentinaIndependent.com

ALL THE MEAT

This one only applies if you’ll be here for a while, but if you’re going full on expat and you have a kitchen, take advantage of the incredibly low meat prices (especially high quality, grass-fed beef). That random braising method you were nervous to try with pricey US meat? Do it here!

Home Accents and Hardware from the 1890s to 1940s

Do you have a home in that age range? Get thee to San Telmo! We found lots of neat hardware (doorknobs, drawer pulls, fixtures) from this time frame–and for reasonably cheap. Those years were Argentina’s hey-day, when the world saw Buenos Aires as one of the richest and most luxurious cities in the world. (Harrod’s even had their ONLY other store in Buenos Aires! It’s now shut down since the 2001 economic crisis, but the building still stands with the original sign on Avenida Florida.) Stock up on some of these awesome little items–not just souvenirs, but really practical as well!

The other item in large supply at San Telmo are the old glass seltzer water bottles. In beautiful green and blue glass, these are virtually never seen in the US–but are incredibly common in flea markets in Argentina! Even today, you can get a seltzer man to come to your house and fill up your bottles. (Apparently this is now a hipster thing in the US. )

Via Gringo in Buenos Aires... otherwise known as one of the best blogs about life in Argentina

Via Gringo in Buenos Aires… otherwise known as one of the best blogs about life in Argentina

I’m sure we’ll think of other good things to pick up in Argentina and I’ll have to do a part two! The country is full of exciting street fairs and flea markets–with lots of inventive craftspeople showing their wares.

Where have I been?

I’ve been bad about updating the blog–apologies! I could make all sorts of excuses, but honestly, life has just gotten away from me.

Here’s a small snapshot of what we’ve been up to since I last posted:

Everyone in our office got sick. A miserable, clogged sinus, drink-all-the-tea-with-honey kind of sick. As a result, I had my first experience with an Argentinian doctor. I brought a friend along for translation purposes. I got some antibiotics, ibuprofen, lozenges, and cold medicine. It also took twenty minutes to try to explain what DayQuil is to a person who has never heard of it before. (Pro Tip: Call it by it’s brand name, Vicks, and explain that it’s a cold medicine from them.) Also, I was instructed to cover my throat at night to keep the blood moving. I’ve felt that the medicine down here is 80% normal Western medicine, and 20% homeopathic horse-hockey. There’s a lot of “drink this random mix of herbs so you get good vibes” or “do this to chase away evil spirits.” Not quite my cup of tea, but never hurts. T and I are still trying to fully get over the cold, so we’re still suffering through lots of bland food and increased water consumption.

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It’s fall in Ituzaingo, which means that the weather is beautiful! But, that also means that for days at a time, it suddenly erupts into violent downpours. Our little house isn’t well sealed, so even during normal rainstorms, we get a flooded kitchen. This time, it flooded all the way to the living room.  I also found my salt shaker entirely humid and with the consistency of play dough. After some internet sleuthing, I discovered how to remedy the situation–spread all the salt on a baking sheet, put in the oven on low, and give it about 15-20 minutes. Break up clumps, let cool, and it’s good to go again!

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We discovered a nice little nature trail near town. Someone just took a mower through the meadow and maintains it. We got about 10,000 steps just hiking around it a few times. We saw lots of birds, and even saw a little brown wild guinea pig!

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We’ve also started a new, fun tradition: One night a week, a bunch of our friends come over for dinner. I mentioned wing night before, but we’ve continued the tradition since then. Sometimes they cook for us–we have the larger kitchen out of the group, so they just bring the ingredients and cook up some delicious Argentinian and Paraguayan dishes. We’ve also been enjoying sharing some American customs with them. I spent a long time explaining the concept of brunch, and they love to challenge each other to eat a small teaspoon of the spicy Tabasco sauce. We had a spirited game of Uno this weekend–which actually ended up being a great cross-cultural game, since colors and numbers tend to be easy things to learn in other languages. The other thing we teach each other is dirty slang in each others’ languages. This week’s English lesson was “talking shit”–a phrase which was a big hit amongst the group.

We also managed to do some walking along the Costanera in Posadas. It’s a new, beautiful walk all along the river, which demarcates the border with Paraguay. The walk was partly a mission to figure out where the new train across the border was! Although it can take up to three hours each way to wait in line to cross the border by private car, we’re told that the train is infinitely shorter–and judging by the ease of access, we’ll be making a trip to Encarnacion soon!

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The Costanera area is filled with restaurants with beautiful patios that overlook plazas filled with public art. A lot of planning and time went into making this public works project–and it’s well-used by the local populace. There were lots of people sitting in the shade drinking mate, walking dogs, or just going out for a run.

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Baltimore from Afar

The news of Baltimore hit the international press yesterday. The images of looting and burning and rock throwing are in the local papers. As always, there are questions from our Argentinian and Paraguayan friends. Why is this happening? Why are they so angry? Why are they destroying stores?  I never know what to say to them because I have a hard time coming up with words in English, let alone Spanish.

I have several friends who live in Baltimore, our home in the US is about an hour away, and I’ve spent a decent amount of time in the city visiting–so my heart hurts today seeing the city as a warzone.

Yes, South America is obviously no stranger to protests–and even violent ones.  But they seem to be particularly confused by the US’s version of protests. My bet is it has something to do with the distinct prevalence of guns. Down here, only the police and army have guns. (This brings up some entirely different problems–see Argentina from 1970s to late 1980s for an example.) But, when mass shootings and gun violence happen in the US, it seems to be so unthinkable to them.

A case in point: recently, a man in Cordoba (about 12 hours from where we are located) had three men break into his house. He took down the decorative samurai sword on his wall and started slashing at them. The men were tracked down later by police by the trail of blood they left. The man with the sword was detained for psychological evaluation. Down here, there is no “stand your ground” or protecting your own property. If someone breaks in, you can use your fists and your words to get them out–but it’s socially unacceptable to use a weapon to deter them. A completely different culture than in the US.

We were all sitting outside eating wings on Sunday, and we were discussing how the kids down here in South America just don’t have the rage that kids in the US have. That’s what I’m seeing in Baltimore–rage. I’m not saying it’s not a justified anger–I just don’t think it’s healthy for anyone to harbor that amount of rage. There’s so much vitriol in the US that I just don’t see down here. Yes, there are opposing political parties–but outside of a few crazies, no one is constantly calling the other “Satan.” Down here–if a kid does something bad, they pickpocket you or they steal your purse–but you don’t feel the indignant rage and the feeling of “I deserve this more than you do” that I’ve seen in crime in the US. There isn’t such blatant entitlement down here.

I really don’t have anything profound or important to say in this post–I just needed to get these thoughts out. I hope everyone in Baltimore stays safe and peaceful in the coming days.

 

Edited to add this quote from MLK in 1966 to Mike Wallace:

“But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.

And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.

Felices Pascuas!

I know I’m a few days late here, but Felices Pascuas a todos!  Happy Easter, all!

Easter is a huge deal in Argentina and Paraguay. Our site was off from Wednesday to Sunday for Semana Santa festivities. Last year, T and I were in a bit of an existential funk, so our Easter enjoyment was pretty much limited to chocolate. This year, with a regular internet connection (albeit a slow one) and beautiful weather, we were feeling more adventurous!

Let’s just start with the obvious–a lot of this week focuses on going to Mass. Not being particularly religious, T and I did not partake in that. (Instead, we made it through all two seasons of “Dead Like Me.” Sacrilegious?) So, what I can report on is what happens outside of the church.

We didn’t see or hear of anything interesting happening Maundy Thursday, but on Good Friday at dusk there was a HUGE procession for Via Crucis, or the Way of the Cross. I’m not entirely certain if this is the same thing as the Stations of the Cross or not–can any Catholic readers clarify this for me?  Essentially, the procession starts at the church door with a crowd full of candles (and a truck with a very large loudspeaker blaring prayers).  The assembled crowd parts to let through the priests, followed by some of the more important men in the village carrying the statue of Jesus. They walk around town and pray as they go.

IMG_0412We went to Posadas on Saturday to grab some necessities, since store hours are a little unpredictable on holidays (or, honestly, all the time). We thought we were being smart by going on a holiday when everyone would be busy with family. We were incredibly wrong. Apparently we did the Argentinian equivalent of going shopping the day before Thanksgiving. We spent an hour in the checkout line–bless you, iPhone and your Kindle app.

IMG_0414You can see the Prioridad line above for pregnant ladies, families with children under 2 years old, and senior citizens. They can, and will, throw you out of that line if you do not apply to one of those groups.

Sunday was a slow day, with our only real marking of the holiday with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate bunny. Normally, Argentinians eat giant chocolate Easter eggs. They are ornately decorated and can be as tall as two feet high. (Our butcher has one, but they make fun of us for taking tourist photos, so I didn’t grab a photo.) We settled for the bunny instead of the mass produced Bon o Bon eggs.

IMG_0415 IMG_0416 IMG_0418I clearly like chocolate far too much for my own good, as evidenced by so. many. chocolate pictures on my phone.

Sunday ended with a bit of a surprise. There are a LOT of stray/random dogs in Argentina. A lot of them belong to people–they just let their dogs wander around the neighborhood in packs, and trust they will come home for dinner. Others are legitimately strays. It’s often difficult to tell the difference, since there’s a lot of instances of abandoned pets as people move.

A dog showed up at our gate, looked at us expectantly, and then circled the block only to sit in front of our gate again. We opened the gate up, and she spent the next few hours at our feet watching tv outside. That night, we went on our evening walk (about 3.5 miles!), and she miraculously followed us the entire way. I caught her still snoozing on our porch at midnight, but by morning she was gone and we haven’t seen her since.

IMG_0419Mooch was incredibly jealous of and displeased by our guest. I don’t blame him–the dog ate some of his food.

 

Also, I have to apologize for the low photo quality on this post. All of these are from my iPhone–I kept forgetting to bring my camera with me. Whoops!

I did it! But with some American mistakes.

This Saturday, I did something I had not been able to pull off yet here in Argentina.  I stayed out late like an Argentinian–but added some definitely different elements.

T and I hosted a wing night–where we introduce our Paraguayan and Argentinian friends to the joy of barbeque chicken wings and watch them squirm when they try buffalo sauce. Apparently wings are the cheapest of the cheap food down here–only the poorest people eat them–so it was an odd invitation to say the least when we invited them over for a whole meal composed just of that! However, they were all mighty impressed. American mistake number one:  feeding the guests peasant food.

In the past, T and I would be ready for bed at 1am and the South Americans would leave our house and head to the club.  This time, T was still pooped, but I still had some energy left and decided to tag along. Since I don’t drive stick (which is the only option for cars down here), and I wanted the freedom to come back to the house if I got tired, I decided to take my bike. Once I arrived at the bar (Deja Vu–which appears in a few pictures in previous posts), I got a few funny looks for riding to the bar on my bike. My friends quickly told the bouncer, “She’s American,” which I guess appeased him. Apparently only the poorest of the poor ride their bikes around willingly. American mistake number two: riding the peasant transportation to a fancy night out.

After a bit at the bar, we decided to cruise around town and see what else was going on. Around 3am, we ended up at the gas station (which is surprisngly nice and serves good food).  While everyone else continued to drink screwdrivers (with vodka and OJ bought in the gas station, which also has a full wine section), I made the mistake of ordering just seltzer water. Hydration, inexplicably, just isn’t a thing that happens. They actually ended up asking 1) whether T had imposed a curfew on me and 2) whether T required that I come home completely sober. I (obviously) was a bit flabbergasted that that was even an option. No, T does not dictate my curfew or my consumption of any liquid alcoholic or otherwise. American mistake numbers three and four: Ordering water in the middle of the party night, and not having my husband issue a curfew.

By 4:30am, we were back at Deja Vu, and by 5am I decided to call it a night. Despite some protestations from the rest of the crew, I convinced them that I was lucky just to be awake right now and that my warm, fluffy bed was calling to me. The crowd tried to convince me to stay out with them the “whole night” until 9am, when apparently the bar serves empanadas and croissants.  I calmly told them that I can make my own darn breakfast at home after a few hours of sleep, and that no empanada or croissant is good enough to warrant four more hours in a pair of heels when I’m dead tired. American mistake five: Not staying out until breakfast is served the next day.

I grabbed my bike, and apparently confused them again. “But you’ll be riding back alone!”  I rode here alone–and I do it all the time! “Are you sure you don’t want us to follow you with our car?” It’s 5am–the only thing out right now is you people downtown and about 25 assorted cats and dogs. I relented by saying I’d text as soon as I got back to my house. Needless to say, in my five minute bike ride back, I encountered no people, no cars, no motorcycles, and about five cats and dogs.  American mistake six: Riding the peasant transportation back home alone.

Was it fun? Sure! Would I do it again? Definitely! Will it be my new weekend “thing to do”? Um, no. I don’t have that kind of stamina.

Buenos Aires and Visa Renewal–Food in Buenos Aires

We spent a few days in Buenos Aires in February to renew our visas…and I’m just now getting around to posting some of our pictures and information!

Since we’re only temporary residents, we need to take the annual trek to Inmigraciones to have Argentinian officials okay us for another year.  Blessedly, between a combination of incredibly diligent fixers and the fact that we’re just renewing, the process was quick, easy, and painless.

However… if you’re looking for advice on how to get through Argentinian Inmigraciones, we are not the droids you’re looking for. We’re exceeding lucky to 1) have a company sponsoring our employment, 2) to be both employed by said company, 3) to have said company pay for some very nice fixers to speak rapid-fire Spanish at the very grumpy Argentinian criminal records people on our behalf. The DNI (Argentinian National Document–sort of a cross between a drivers license and a passport) is an elusive thing for most extranjeros, and we recognize we’re incredibly lucky to have the process go so smoothly.  Now, on to the process of actually getting the new, renewed DNIs! I’m sure this will involve several hours in a waiting room…

We brought our new coworker (also American) with us to Buenos Aires this time so he could get his paperwork started. It was a nice change to be able to share all of our knowledge about Buenos Aires and Argentina in general with someone else.  Since we had meetings during the day, we stole away once in a while to do some sightseeing close to the hotel.We were right on Avenida Florida, the main shopping thoroughfare, so we did a little bit of window shopping while we hunted down some of the more “exotic for Argentina” cuisine.

Because we’ve been working so much since the BsAs trip and doing absolutely nothing interesting as a result, I’m going to split up my posts a little bit. T took a LOT of great photos, and I don’t want to just throw them all in one post.

So here, in a nutshell, are the places we’ve eaten (and enjoyed) in Buenos Aires.

 

California Burrito–What do you get when American expats really miss Chipotle? California Burrito. Okay, so it’s not exactly the same thing–but it’s close enough to get our mouths watering. Burritos and quesdillas are on the menu here, with some guacamole and tortilla chips. We make it a tradition to always go here the first night. Feels so much like home. 

Filo–Nice Italian food in a very nice atmosphere. (Although watch out for the manikin as you walk in… she can be a little handsy when you walk into her.) Good pizzas, good pastas, and a nice mix of casual and nice. They’ll always have the futbol match on the TV, and I hear the place can get a little loud at the “normal Argentinian eating time” (ie, 10pm).  We’ve always eaten either lunch or “American” dinner (8pm), so that’s never been a problem for us.

Magdalena’s Pantry–Located in the hip neighborhood of Palermo Hollywood, we found this restaurant by searching for where all the expats hang out in BsAs.

Palacio de la Papa Frita— With a name that literally translates into French Fry Palace, you know this place has to be fun! Surprisingly formal for a place whose claim to fame is endless plates of delicious homemade french fries, we enjoyed our steak here (that can be cut with a spoon!) and obviously several plates of papas fritas.  Word to the wise–the portions are huge! It’s definitely possible to cut costs by splitting a meal.

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If we’re going to be honest, though, we often grab some food in the food court of Galerias Pacificos on Florida. A mall food court doesn’t sound exciting–but we’ve always enjoyed the options here. For the homesick foreigner, there’s a Subway that smells just like home (whether that’s a good or bad thing, that’s your call)–and it looks like a KFC will be opening up in there soon! We’ve tried the salad place (that actually does some very nice hot dishes too), the burger place (mediocre at best), and the Chinese place (passable, but nothing to write home about).  We’ve enjoyed the speedy WiFi and plenty of seating in an air conditioned area while we plot our next moves for the day.

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As always, we stayed in a Sheraton hotel–the Sheraton Libertador.  If you’re looking for an American-style hotel in Buenos Aires, I would highly recommend either Sheraton property.

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