Monday, June 30, 2008

Comida and other amazing things about Argentina...

Sorry for not writing more often, but this combination of intense Spanish lit classes and crazy Buenos Aires nightlife (the Argentines I go out with are always surprised to see me yawning at 5 am after 4 hours of dancing) has been keeping me pretty busy. I actually have an oral presentation due tomorrow on three cuentos de horror (horror stories), but feel like procrastinating, so it's blog time!
Life is good here in the Southern hemisphere. I'm finally getting used to the whole kissing strangers on the cheek thing, can find my way home from school without getting too lost, and my Spanish is getting better every day. But my favorite Buenos Aires pasttime so far is going out to eat! I love the food here, and the only reason I haven't been packing on the pounds is because I have a good 2+ mile walk to the train station every day. Some of my favorites are:
-alfajores - I know I touched on these last time, but my brief description didn't do these incredible snacks justice! They are pretty much the national cookie of Argentina, and every kiosco (corner stores that sell drinks, candy, magazines etc) has a staggering array of any variety of alfajor. They come plain, covered in chocolate, coconut or meringue, filled with dulce de leche or chocolate creme, plain or chocolate cookies, one or two layers...etc. I average about 2 a day - they're irresistible!
-of course I couldn't write about Argentinean food without mentioning beef, and it's famous for a reason! It's everywhere, and surprisingly cheap. You can get an excellent steak for about $4 American in an average restaurant, and I'm not one to let that opportunity go by. Amazing.
-ice cream. Due to a huge influx of Italian immigrants in the 19th century, Italian food is everywhere here. Argentine ice cream is really more similar to gelato than American ice cream - it's really thick and creamy and, obviously, delicious. My personal favorite flavor so far is Super Dulce de Leche!
-empanadas, which are sort of like little meat pies with flaky pastry crusts. They come fried or baked, and filled with beef, chicken, vegetables, cheese, etc. Four or five of them makes for a delicious lunch or dinner. We had empanadas for dinner a couple of nights ago, and I tried to make one - it looked kind of sad and crooked next to Vivi's (she's a girl my age from Paraguay who works here), but she is going to teach me the recipe, so I can practice making them in the US!
I'm keeping busy lately with school and wandering around town after my classes are over, discovering new restaurants, panaderias, heladerias and shops with some of the other students in my program. One unfortunate downside to living in India for a year is that now whenever I visit other countries, I'm still in a 35-rupees-equals-one-dollar mode, which means that I'm spending money a little too freely here! I have to remind myself every day that despite the 3-to-1 exchange rate, the peso is not Monopoly money!
Ok, I'm off to analyze some literature - hard enough in English, and quite a struggle in Spanish...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Hola a todos de Buenos Aires!! I've been here for five days and already love it. Since we're leaving for a boat trip on Rio de la Plata soon, I have to make this short, so I'll just list my favorite things about Argentina so far:

1) My family! My host family is awesome. It consists of my mom Alicia, 23-year-old Agustin, 21-year-old Luli, and 11-year-old Clara. Everybody's really nice and the food is awesome. They all speak English really well, which is good and bad. It's nice when I have to explain something complicated, but I told them that I want to speak Spanish as much as possible. I can already tell that my Spanish is improving, which is awesome!

2) Dulce de leche...mmm. Dulce de leche is an Argentinean version of caramel, but more creamy and absolutely delicious. They put it on everything here - toast, waffles, croissants, and alfajores, which are two cookies with a thick layer of dulce de leche in the middle. I'm addicted.

3) Cafes! There are cafes on every corner here, where portenos (the name for residents of Buenos Aires) meet up and sit for hours conversing over a cup of coffee and a couple of medialunas (croissants). Most of the cafes are fairly old and have a great atmosphere. On Sunday I went to Cafe Tortoni in downtown Buenos Aires with my host family. It's the oldest cafe in Buenos Aires, and was supposedly a favorite hangout of Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina's most famous author. I had chocolate (an incredibly rich, amazing Argentinean version of hot chocolate) and three churros - with dulce de leche of course! Here are some pictures:

Chau for now, I'll write more later!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm Back!

Hello again everybody, I've decided to bring my blog back to life in honor of spending 5-6 weeks in Argentina and Brazil this summer! I'll be leaving on June 20th (9 days!) for Buenos Aires to study at the Universidad de San Andres for about 5 weeks, then it's up to Belo Horizonte, Brazil to visit my good friend Michel, who lived in Surat with me last year. I knew all those exchange student connections would come in handy someday...
Anyway, I absolutely can't wait to leave. Hopefully I'll be able to update this blog about once a week - my host mom told me that they have three computers in their house, but the fastest one is hers and she uses it a lot for work, and the other two are slow "como tortugas" (that's like turtles!), so we'll see how that works out. They can't be any worse than Indian computers!
Well I think that's about all for now. Check back soon - my next post will be from South America!