Thursday, March 4, 2010

That's how I walk with intention./I accidentally ate no meat today.

I lost an earring today. The person who will be saddest about this is mom, because it was one of the pair she always steals.

Today, we had Visa orientation, which is a long and complicated and expensive process. Luckily, Argentina decided to raise the price of visas last Monday. And by raise, I mean double from 300 pesos to 600 pesos, such dolls. There are also like 50 pesos worth of records that I have to get including a clear criminal record and residency papers. This process will take somewhere between a month and month and a half and the people from the program feel the need to accompany us to some of the things we have to do. This scares me because they have basically just let us out on our own since day 1, how complicated can it be if they have to come with us. Oh boy. Also, today at orientation we had a diplomat from the US Embassy come and speak with the group. Her name was Shannon and her goal in life was to scare us out of doing something stupid or careless. She did a damn good job. She was nice and chatty and adorable. The places she happen to mention she had been included Israel, Afghanistan. Haiti, Peru, Spain, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Turkey ....I've forgotten the rest. She was so awesome, it made me want to apply for the state department internships. Anyways, as we were asking her questions about how to be safe in Buenos Aires because people die here every day, people get robbed here everyday, people get .....insert terrible thing here every day, she was telling us how at night when she is walking by herself, she tries to talk with purpose. Then someone asked her how to walk with purpose. She picked up her purse, clutched it at her side as all women here do and began to walk with intention while glancing back every three steps. She is awesome, she also taught us how to yell at taxi drivers in spanish. Buenos Aires is big and scary but her last assignment was only a few miles from the Iranian border in Afghanistan, so she feels pretty safe here.

Other than that today was a pretty average day, it was crazyhumid. We had lots of really long weird breaks and so we went to Aroma, our new café (because it is so cheap) and ate some medialunas. In the next weird break, I decided that Ami and I should eat about a pound of ice cream at Volta (because it was a better deal). And for some godforsaken reason, she agreed with me. I had to finish it. We sat in a park and got solicited by a lady who didn't seem to know words, that was disconcerting.

In the larger scheme of things, Ami and Lindsay and Greg and I have intentions of traveling all over Argentina. It is a good thing that we have decided to not leave the country, because it turns out we're not allowed to go to Chile now anyways, imagine.
(Non sequiter: It seems that seismologists have predicted another and more horrible earthquake than the ones in Haiti and Chile because basically once the earth starts shaking, it keeps shaking. They are predicting that the next one will most likely be the San Andrés Fault. This means that we will no longer have California. And don't forget that the Richter Scale is logarithmic, so each number is really ten times worse than the last number. Also, it seems that the earthquake in Chile was so severe, it changed the shape of the earth by the movement of the plates. The result is that the earth rotates faster (like when you are spinning and pull your arms in) and we seem to have lost about a millisecond off of our days. This is not relevant to my study abroad experience all that much, but I find it fascinating nonetheless.)
We are planning to go such fabulous places as San Antonio de Areco, Montevideo (Uruguay), Bariloche, Salta, Mendoza, Tierra del Fuego and El Calafate. (This is the point where you pull up a new tab for googling). And also when mi madre comes to visit we are going to Iguazú Falls (google google). And don't worry, of course I will take pictures. Anyways, we are planning to go to Bariloche next weekend and it seems that it is a 20 some hour bus ride. We tried to book tickets online, only we forgot, we're in South America. Everything is complicated and incomprehensible. My host mom says even she can't figure out their online system, we are going to go to buy them in person tomorrow.

Also, we should be keeping tallies for our trip and it goes like this so far:
Lonely Planet: 10
Ami, Lindsay, Greg and I: -3
South America: -456

Anyways, I also managed, in some strange manner, to not have eaten meat today. This befuddles me if only because they love their meat here. Usually I can assume that even if I do not eat meat in a day, dinner will bring it to me. I made this assumption today and had spinach ravioli for dinner. It was delicious and I ate three portions. I'm getting fat.

Hasta manaña,

P.S. I got my spanish exam back today that I had to take last week. Turns out I forgot the subjunctive existed. Oops.

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