Maybe I Need a Spoonful of Sugar

I tend to lean on the positive side of things, but as amazing as this city is, there are definitely some things that rub me wrong. Everything is a balancing act, no? You can’t have the good without the bad. So, as promised, here are a few of my LEAST favorite things here in Buenos Aires.

1) Las Cucarachas (cockroaches) – I am not accustomed to this pest. Thanks to the geckos, and other insects and bugs, I never really noticed the cockroaches in India (except for one that will forever live in infamy – it was the size of a kitten – no joke).  But here, oh man, did you know they can FLY?! And swim. HELL NO. Gracias, pero no gracias.

2) The streets – As charming as they can be, some are cobbled, some are patterned – all are busted. Pair that with my clumsy self, and you have another sprained ankle waiting to happen. Seriously. I haven’t worn heels here because if I need to “take it to the streets” – the streets will win.

3) The Colectivos (buses) – This is more of a love/hate relationship. But, on days like today when they are over crowded, and what should be a 30 minute commute turns into a 45, AND the bus driver just doesn’t stop at your stop, for no known reason, thus forcing you to walk an extra 5 blocks, making you late for work – yeah, the 29 is on my list today.

4) Limited Accessibility to Spicy Food – Argentines aren’t too keen on spicy food. While the cuisine is divine, I am often left longing for the slow burn that comes with a well seasoned spicy dish. This is coming from someone that grew up snacking on jalapenos with salt – the heat feeds my soul. One of my housemates threw down a bottle of Siracha on the table the other night and I almost wept. If I could only find some Cholula.

5) Inflation – Inflation is real, it is no joke, and in the time I have been here the inflation rate has jumped up about 5% – bringing us to around 25%. This number is estimated, but don’t worry it will go up next month :).

6) Alfajores – Because I love those little cookies too much 😦

OK, that’s enough for now. I don’t think Fraulien Maria would be so apt to make me a jumper made of curtains for this list.

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“A Few of My Favorite Things” – Revisited

Alrighhhht I have officially been here for 2 months! Therefore, I think it’s only right to do a 2nd installment of “A Few of My Favorite Things”. I think I am going to add to this list every month to keep me grateful 🙂

OK so starting from where I left off –

12) Running around the park, in monsoon-like rain, at 4am.

13) Alfajores dipped in chocolate – an alfajor is an amazing little sandwich cookie that will traditionally have a dolce de leche center – but you can get them in a variety of flavors. These are my new guilty pleasure – as in I literally just ate one 😉 shh.

Different types of Alfajor candies

14) The fact that if one is on a bus, or say in line at the grocery store, if there is a pregnant woman everyone will give up their seat/ place in line so she can go first!

15) That I can buy 2 bife de chorizo cuts – aka a NY Strip or Sirloin depending – aka the most delicous cut of meat – for around 30 pesos!! Drool. I successfully cooked a steak for the first time last night and it was perfectly mid-rare… *pats self on back*.

Buenos Aires 2009 - Bife de chorizo no Restaur...

16) That there are “verdulerias” practically on every block. A verduleria is a vegetable stand. If you can’t find one on your block keep walking and you’re guaranteed to run into one. Their veggies are always fresh and they pick out the best ones for you, so there is no guess-work!

Verdulería.

17) That looking natural is “in”. I love that the women wear very little makeup here. I haven’t worn, foundation, blush, or eye shadow in a few weeks!

18) La Bomba del Tiempo! Every Monday in Abasto 17 percussionists get on stage at the Konex for an improvisational jam fest! It’s so much fun they play everything from samba to Latin and African beats, Salsa etc. This deserves its own blog posting, and it will have it, so watch for it in the future :).

La Bomba de Tiempo

OK, that is all for now!!!! Again feel free to suggest additions to this list!!!

Left Foot, Right Foot

Gah! I know I have been a lazy blogger this week. I did not, however, forget about “Real Talk Sunday” – I was deliberately silent. Sometimes silence is the best way to go. I promise to be better 🙂

Sooooo, on that note. I finally went to a “milonga” this week. Que es? A milonga is a place you go to dance tango. The night usually starts with a group lessons, everyone in a circle, moving counter-clockwise. After a few hours of everyone bumping into each other you’re set free to explore the moves you just learned.

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I wish I could provide more photos but my camera died

I have been really wanting to go to one but I haven’t really had the chance – until now. (insert dramatic movie man voice)

At La Catedral you have two options, pay just for entrance or pay for entrance including lessons. Not knowing what to expect, I was feeling a little shy, so I bought an entrance only ticket. But, once we walked into the main hall and I saw everyone in the circle, I had to I turn around to pay the extra 20 pesos to join in.

Now, let me give you some background here. I love, love, love to dance. But, dance and I have some issues. If you can recall my post about my sprained ankle, I lack what some would call grace. And when I dance, I can’t move my feet.

It’s so shameful. My mother once said “Son, you’re all hips and no feet.”

Super sad day.

All hope is not lost though, I am determined to find a style that my feet can get along with.

Could tango be THE ONE?! *side glance*

So armed with a smile I joined the ranks, optimistic that grace would find me. What happened was pretty comical. It was so crowded. Everyone was trying to watch the instructors and move at the same time. The result?  A lot of stepping on toes and the backs of heels – paired with the occasional shoulder jab.

After awhile my partner and I grew tired of being tossed around and rejoined our friends. I was pretty impressed that despite the loud music and the shouting from the instructors, we could still have a conversation and not feel forced to yell at each other. The atmosphere was great!  From the outside it doesn’t look too special – you walk in the front door, go up some dingy stairs, cut down a hall and then you are enveloped in a large dimly lit, romantic room. If you are looking for fancy, don’t bother coming in. If you want a slightly deconstructed, artsy, sexy vibe – this is your place.  There also seemed to be a good mix of both foreigners and Portenos as well. If you are not interested in dancing there are a good amount of tables where you can sit, order a bottle of wine and dinner.

FYI – if you are a part of the vegetarian clan, get ready to cry tears of joy. There is no meat in this kitchen. What?! Yes, veggie restaurants are hard to come by here, and this is one of them. Oh that’s not all, if you have been out in BsAs you know that things can get a little smoky, well not here; smoking is not allowed in the building. So, you can breathe easy and eat yo veggies 😉

After the lessons were over, the dance party started and I  found myself back on the dance floor. I was lucky though, the guy was a great lead. I can’t stress enough how wonderful it is to dance with someone who knows how to lead. They can really make you look good. So thanks to him, I may have still been tripping over my feet, but there were definitely moments in which grace seemed like a possibility. 🙂

I have a feeling I will be back.

*** If you are interested in heading to La Catedral here is the website. Should you really want to take advantage of the lessons I would recommend getting there around 7:30 when it is less crowded.***

“A Few of My Favorite Things” in Buenos Aires

I was a little grumpy yesterday. Why? Who knows, but I decided to nip that in the bud by thinking of the little things that make me happy here in Buenos Aires.

1) The keys. Yes, the keys. The keys here make my life. They are reminiscent of skeleton keys and remind me for some reason of the movie “The Secret Garden”. Every time I unlock my door I can’t help but smile like an idiot.

2) The streets. I love walking down the streets here. The architecture knocks my socks off. I love the railings on the balconies, the steel gates, the shutters, the doors, the terraces.

English: Entrance to an underground station in...3) The art! You can’t go anywhere in this city without seeing walls covered in graffiti/street art. It’s not all “amazing”, but when it’s good – it’s goooood!

Street art in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

4) The hibiscus trees. It makes my heart smile when I am walking and come across a hibiscus tree.

5) The cobblestone streets – I mean, do have to explain this? I am pretty sure if you look up “charming” in the dictionary there would be an image of a cobblestone street.

6) There are heladerias (ice cream shops) on basically every street.

Buenos Aires - Recoleta: Arkakaó

7) Following that note – the ice cream!! Almendra (almond) is my new favorite flavor.

8) The fact that it’s January and I am not freezing my nalgas off.

9) Watching the moonset and the sunrise connecting with people from all over the world.

10) That the men dance here! And I don’t mean grinding on my booty dancing, but real dancing with real moves!

11) That when I look into the sky I am looking at a whole new set of stars. 🙂

That’s it for now. I think it would be fun to continue to add to this list. Perhaps I will start an “A Few of My Least Favorite Things” post just to even it out ;).

Have you spent some time in the city? What are some of YOUR favorite things?

Food, Glorious FOOD!

Nothing makes me happier than a full plate of delicious goodness. I love to eat, I don’t trust anyone that doesn’t. Eating is my favorite indulgence. I like to think that I’m an adventurous eater. I will try anything once – I’m not scared – BRING IT ON. There isn’t a lot that I don’t like, well that’s a lie. I am not a fan of tofu, however, shout out to my girl Daya – the girl can whip up some MEAN tofu. She is a rare exception.

OK, back to the food I love. Pig ears? If crispy, love ’em. Sweet breads? Love ’em. Veggies? Love ’em. Pastries? Love ’em. Seafood? Love …

You get the idea.

I am also a huge a meat lover. Ahhh I love meat!!

– Go ahead and giggle at the dirty joke that just ran through your mind – I don’t mind – I went there too, and my12 yr old self also thinks it’s hilarious. 😉

But, seriously, there is nothing funny about meat. My grandfather was a butcher so there is no way I could ever be a vegetarian.

– I think bacon is the candy of the meats.

– Duck makes me giddy.

– Lamb can bring tears to my eyes.

– I’m actually not a big fan of chicken, unless it’s fried – then I am ALL about it.

But, if I was only allowed to eat one type of meat/dish, I would choose steak. Ahh – mid-rare, (warm and red throughout) a bit of lime and salt. Omg I die. It’s for this reason I was sooo excited about coming to Argentina – the place is known for its beef. AKA it’s heaven. 🙂

Last night the housemates and I had an “Asado”. What is that? Why a barbecue/cookout of course! It is also considered the national dish :). So, we bought a whole bunch of steak and chorizo (sausage – this isn’t like the chorizo we are used to in NM – there is no spice – it’s just sausage).

Literally, stacks on stacks, on stacks of beef :)

Literally, stacks on stacks, on stacks of beef 🙂

Drool.

Don’t worry we also bought some veggies…

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Ramiro was kind of enough to man the parrilla (grill). Throw in a great salad, chimichurri, a few bottles of Malbec, and semi-violent winds and you are one step closer to being in a blissful food-coma.

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Between 9 people we couldn’t finish all of it. Annnd on that note, I am going to go do some work on the leftovers! Salud!!

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“Whoooo Arrre Youuuuu?”

Alright…. so I have invited you to join me on this journey. I am asking you that you be interested in my stories and musings. Yet all I have given you is a brief snippet in my “About Me” section. Is that fair? I think not. I plan on having some legit “real talk” on this blog so it’s only right that I give you some insight about who I am, where I come from etc.

I am a brown-skinned mesa girl with a love for learning and I refuse to allow my socio-economic status rule my life and what I choose to do with it. From a monetary perspective I don’t come from much and I don’t have much. But paper is just that – paper. Do I want more if it – hell yeah I do, but who doesn’t.

I come from a family of artists rooted deep in tradition and cultural pride. Hailing from New Mexico, I received my BA in Anthropolgy and Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I was the first in my family to receive a higher education as well the first to travel for long periods of time internationally.

I was raised to be open-minded, to believe in myself and to be thankful for every breath of air I am lucky enough to ingest.

I write poems. I love to eat, I love good wine, dirty martinis, and whiskey on the rocks. I am an art enthusiast. I love music that can break my heart and make me want to dance.

I believe this world is too big and yet too small to not explore. I am a curious being who always ends up learning things the hard way. I tend to jump before thinking, I can be hot-tempered and a little controlling.

I love people who challenge me – inspire me – move me etc. I love culture, I love new experiences and understandings. I have a thirst for life and damn the person who tells me I can’t do something.

Thank you for reading, following, and allowing me to share my experiences with you. I would love for this to be interactive so comment, advise, suggest etc.

Ciao! 🙂576927_10101071461649163_1446656888_n

Sunday Funday – Sunday Fair-day?

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If you find yourself in BsAs on a Sunday there are a number of things you can and should do. Last Sunday I (foolishly) went with some of my housemates to La Feria de San Telmo. Why was this a foolish choice for me? As I mentioned in a previous post, I sprained my ankle that very morning while on a run, only I didn’t realize until after walking around for 8 hours at this very fair. SMH.IMG_6210

That aside, I am glad I went. It was a great way to walk around and get some amazing people watching in. Located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, this street fair is popular for its antiques and unique goods.

I was told that this fair was big, but I didn’t realize just how big it was going to be. It’s huge, making it almost impossible to see it all in one day. If you look closely at the photo to the right you can see the people go on and on and on. There are stalls after stalls after stalls lining the cobble stone streets and tango/music performances at the end of every blockIMG_6208.

Don’t worry you won’t go hungry at this fair there are plenty of places for you to get your fill of bife de lomo, choripan, and empanadas. IMG_6205This is what really excited me and I will devote entire postings on the food alone – deservedly :).

While the walking around was great, I think my favorite part of the day was when we sat down, shared a carafe of Sangria and got some solid people watching time in – my favorite thing to do anywhere.

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I wasn’t in the mood to buy anything as it was my first week here, but if you are looking for some souvenirs for yourself and others this is definitely a great place to go.

***Side Note***

I took the photo of the bottles on my home page at the fair 🙂