Get Ready to Sweat

I am happy to announce that Buenos Aires is in full bloom! This was a strange winter for me. My first without snow, and while Buenos isn’t particularly “grey” it was a lot greyer (wait gray vs grey. . .) than what I am accustomed to having lived in both Colorado and New Mexico. But, the tempts are rising, along with the humidity levels, and as I mentioned in my previous post – at first glance this city doesn’t come across as a healthy one. But, then you look at the people, and you rarely see a fat person here. Everyone, for the most part, is fit and fine. It is safe to say Argentinos take beauty, fitness, and their well-being very seriously – to quote my girl Flor – “all women do here is squat, because they know that at some point they are going to be showing their asses”. It’s true, have you seen the bikinis? Don’t be shy ladies, embrace the tanga and let your cheeks get some, I am assuming, much needed sunshine.

While I have been pretty dedicated to eating well and my yoga practice, I have not been so dedicated to cardio. I love to run, but for some reason I can’t get the motivation in the mornings, mostly because my iPod was stolen, waaaaa. Anyway, I could feel it in my bones – the need to be active – to move – to work my muscles. Soooo luckily a friend of a friend teaches Crossfit here with Vitruvian. The best part, the classes are super affordable! 30p a session and 250p for the month!!! Not motivated? Think of it this way – you can eat 4 empanadas – orrrr you can get a work out in. . . . just saying. With that logic, Flor and I got off our asses and made our way to our first Crossfit class last week. There was a time in my life when I worked out religiously – but it’s safe to say it’s been at least 2 years since then. Were we super intimidated? You know it. Was it hard? Let’s put it this way, their motto is, “look good naked”, and after that workout I have a feeling we are well on our way ;). I do love a good ass kicking so, Bring. It. On.

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Carne, Verduras, and Everything In Between

I realize I have talked some big talk about loving food on here, but there is little content dedicated to food. How that’s possible, I have no idea. It’s not fair – to me, to you – to the food!

I think everyone’s first reaction to the food here (aside from how amazing the beef is – because everyone knows that) is – “it’s so hard to eat healthy here.” Yup, those very words came out of not only mine, but every other extranjero’s mouth. At a glance this attitude is easy to understand, you have heladerias every 10 feet, and restaurant menus seem to mainly consist of – carne, queso, empanadas, pizza, and or pasta.

Eating here can also be an adjustment as the food isn’t that diverse, it’s delicious, yeah, but diverse? No. Argentine cuisine is infamous for not using spices and don’t even think about getting anything picante (spicy), I am serious. For a Mexican girl like me, this has been difficult. And due to the ridiculous restrictions on imported goods, it can be hard to find your favorite chili sauces, herbs, spices etc. And when you do find them, they are insanely overpriced.

Now, the majority of my money goes to food, in my opinion, it’s money well spent, and while I tend to eat out often (shh) I have to say that since moving here I have seriously stepped up my cooking game! I have always loved to bake, but cooking is a different breed. I am a slight control freak, and with cooking you to have to learn to let go. But, the teacher of desire has pushed me to take a step back, relax, and let go en la cocina. I I have noticed that in cooking here, I have really cut back on carbs, processed foods and sugar. OK, not sugar. I’m sorry the helado is too good.

The key to cooking, and eating, here is knowing where to go. Once you know what is going on when it comes to where to shop and what to ask for etc. you will find that there is a lot of room to be creative, and yes, healthy here. Thanks to the verdulerias on every block you can count on fresh seasonal produce -WINN! Some neighborhoods offer a better selection than others and if you can find one owned by Bolivians, you are in luck, as they always have cilantro and jalapenos.

I always avoid “the chino”, Asain owned supermercados (fyi all Asians are referred to as “Chino” here – just the way it is, ask my Vietnamese friend). Why? Their selections are limited and often overpriced. On that note, if you want to splurge on imported goods, Barrio Chino, albeit far, is your one stop shop for imported goods. But, it’s not your only option. There is a great little health food store off of Anchorena and Santa Fe that carries Sriracha, Nutella, and yes peanut butter! They also carry quinoa and other health items. There is another place near Carranza and Caballido (think Palermo Hollywood) that sells quinoa, coconut milk, popcorn kernels and other random delights. Also, there is a huge Coto (think Alberston’s) in Abasto that pretty much has everything you might need – and they deliver – just saying.

All this said, I still avoid buying and cooking fish. Back home, I cooked fish all the time, but here – I just can’t trust it. I know there are good places to buy fish here but . .. I can’t do it. But, ughhh how I miss it. Also, keep in mind – if you are only here for a short time – 6 months and under – AVOID sushi. You will just be disappointed. Everything is stuffed with cream cheese and the tuna, the tuna,  is canned tuna. There are places that sell “red tuna” but the price isn’t worth it. Yes, you might cry. But, who needs sushi when you can order asado de tira, or bife de chorizo?! “Healthy eating”, vegetarianism etc are starting to catch on here and as a result there are some great restaurants to feed your healthy appetite. They may be a little more expensive, but then again, everything is expensive here – so if you can, go for it!

Long story short, it’s possible to eat well and healthy here, it just takes time to figure it out, and that is half the fun right?! So, get out there and get cooking! Buen provecho!

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**I am unable to load images for a minute, until I purchase a new cord or laptop. Somehow I imagine the cord will come first ;). Until then, allow the random ones I will be uploading :D.

Hello October, When Did you Get Here?

Chicos! How is this possible? How is it already October?! Gah – time is flying by soo quickly. So, there is much to catch up on

  • didn’t get the Jauntaroo gig – noooooo! But, it’s ok! I had an insane amount of support and that blew me away!
  • it is finally getting warmer – spring is here and I didn’t have to wear a jacket today, HALLELUJAH

OK – that is the big stuff jaja. But, there are all of these little things, and personal things, that I am not sure how much detail I want to go into – but the times they are a changin’ alright! Gah, and as I think about all that has happened – I think about how much backtracking there is to do on here and then I feel so guilty, aka annoyed with myself, for not keeping this up to date. I still haven’t even finished the trip to the north!

Facepalm.

So what I am going to do is just post. They may not be in order but the goodies will all be there!

Thank you so much for continuing to follow and for helping me with the contest of course! More to come soon! And this time I mean it! Chau chau for now 😉

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A Little Late But Not Forgotten

Now that I have caught you up I need to backtrack a little. I am not sure if you can recall but I had gone on a trip to the north with some girlfriends back in June dubbed the “Salta, It’s Natural” tour.

In my last post on the topic I left off when we arrived at Purmamarca

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We took our time watching the sun set on the Cerro de los Siete Colores before we began our journey of trying to find a place to shower, drop our things, and fill our bellies. Because we arrived during the low season a lot lot of places were closed but we were still able to find an affordable hostel and a restaurant with live music. While the north is known for its cazuelas (stew), tamales, and locro – you will also find a lot of llama featured on the menus.

LAMAS!!!

LlAMAS!!!

So, naturally, I had to try some.

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It was. . . dry jajaja.

It was so cold and Purmamarca doesn’t offer much in regards to nightlife so we called it a night. The nice thing about traveling during low season is there wasn’t a shortage of beds and, though it was freezing, there were plenty of blankets to go around. The next day the desert embraced us with perfect weather to explore the bazaar in the plaza.

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Purmarmca was really refreshing for me. It was nice to leave the Eurocentric Buenos Aires and get a taste of indigenous Argentino culture. I found that so much of the north reminded me of my roots and New Mexico – the use of adobe, tamales, the colors the music. It is only natural to look for the familiar in the unfamiliar, and of course it was not the same, but it was comforting and familiar.

* All images courtesy of Eva Pederson

Adventures in House hunting

Winter has been in full swing here in the land of “good air”. Good air is right if you are talking about the biting wind that comes in from the south. As I have stated before, I am a desert girl. Yeah, Taos gets cold as does Colorado, but it’s a dry cold. Not wet cold air drifting from the Rio smacking you in the face. I am a delicate flower when it comes to cold weather – wilting at the slightest breeze. I ran away from the winter . . . or so I thought.

OK, it’s not THAT cold – but at least it doesn’t snow and I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is a house that has no insulation, is not heated, a balcony door that wont close and a landlord that continues to raise the rent and refuses to fix said door.

I have stayed in the house because I love my housemates. They were/are all so wonderful and we all had a very special bond. It’s a rare thing to put 9 foreign strangers together in a house and have them all get along famously (dueno aside). But, because of the aforementioned reasons and the fact that they are (mostly) gone this birds gotta fly. There were nights when would I literally sleep in leggings, socks, leg warmers, sweats, a t-shirt and a sweater topped with a comforter and a wool blanket; and would still I wake up slightly chilled. Not cool guys, not cool.

Looking for a place to rent is here is exhausting if you don’t have papers be ready to pay way more than you should. Craigslist is still a great resource but littered with some pretty terrible overpriced options.

I have mentioned before that there are two different currencies here – the legal and the “blue”. When it comes to apt/house hunting you have – the legal, the “blue” and the in-between. Not kidding. The legal exchange rate for dollars is around 5.08 and the blue rate is around 8.7 YES, 8.7. So, say you find a place that looks great and it says $400 – if you try to pay them in pesos they will accept the blue dollar rate which will come to just over 3000 pesos etc. This situation can be great if you have dollars to work with. If not that is a pain the ass. But, that’s the way things are, what are you going to do?

So the hunt was on what did I want?

  • A decent real bathroom
  • Hot water that lasts more than 5 minutes
  • HEAT
  • *bonus points for a double bed – but that’s not a deal breaker as twin beds are all the rage here.

It took me 8 months (I have secretly/not so secretly been hunting for alternative housing since day 1 but nothing really caught my eye) and I finally lucked out!

I found an amazingly priced apt with a double bed and a private bath. It isn’t heated, but I can’t move in until Sept, so it won’t be too bad – and the place I am staying at until then is plenty toasty :).

Moral of the story – keep hunting. It is tiring, it is annoying, you will travel all over the city looking at twin bed to another but eventually you will find something – even if it takes you 8  months ;)!

Life takes over

I know I have said this before, and I haven’t meant to stay away for so long, but life has the ability to take over and can eat you whole. I have been putting off writing for the “right time” but I know better, and have realized that we simply must MAKE time.
This past month has been very transformative. I have hit the point in this journey when everything sort of falls apart and reality makes her great entrance back into my life. As a result, this has been a very introspective time.
It hasn’t all been bad. I have had some rather interesting opportunities arise and as we all know (yup I’m going there) when one door closes. . . without going into too much detail please allow me to catch you up:
Majority of my friends here have said their goodbyes and are on to their next adventure or respective countries. I have said farewell to the house I have lived in for the past 8 months as, well, it was time. I have been so blessed to have been taken in by a few friends until I can move into my next home in Sept. Happy to say the new place is an “upgrade” of sorts in regards to amenities – so long twin size bed – hello queen bed! So long shared bath – hello private! The neighborhood I am moving into is pretty much the bees knees. It’s safer, cleaner, close to everything (great bars, restaurants, cafes etc), including my office, so all in all things are looking up!
I have said goodbye to 2 spanish teachers and am in the process of finding another. My spanish is slowly improving. My vocab is building but my grammar is still mierda. Boh. That said things are starting to click now – really click. I feel like I went through a period in which my spanish was getting worse jaja! But, the new house is a “spanish only” environment so I am ready for what I am sure is to be a Spanish boot camp ;).
I say this often but I can’t stress enough how grateful I am for having this opportunity, for so many reasons. I think the most valuable one is the reminder that no matter how many times I get knocked around – there are always people around to help me up. We live in this world where we are told, and believe, that we can’t trust anyone and while you shouldn’t trust EVERYONE, sometimes you have no choice but to put your faith in others. I am so humbled and floored by the amount of goodness in my life. All I can say is I have a lot of paying it forward to do.
I have missed this blog and writing. It is such a useful outlet and I hope you will continue to join me on this journey!
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Jams to Make Her Dance

I know I have been absent the past couple of weeks. But, my life has been crazy hectic recently. It is despedida (farewell) season here – so my nights have been filled with goodbye dinners and drinks/spanish class – homework/ and a few other side projects.

Gah! All right, I’m aware that I have the rest of the road trip north to cover, and cover I will, but first here are a few of the songs that made up our “Salta, It’s Natural” playlist 😉

You should probably learn every song, and then sing along as loud as you can, while dancing like it’s nobody’s business!

Enjoy!

1) LION BABE – Treat Me Like Fire

2) Nene Malo – Como Me Gusta la Noche

3) Los Abuelos de la Nada – Mil Horas

4)Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good At Being In Trouble

5) Destiny’s Child – Say My Name (Cyril Hahn Remix)

6) Los Autenticos Decadentes -Besandote

7) Klezmer feat. Reagadelica ( Original Mix ) – Pizeta

8) Soko – I’ll Kill Her

9) Bon Iver – Skinny Love Remix

10) Niki & The Dove – Mother’s Protect (Goldroom Remix)