Argentine Adventures

I woke up one Sunday morning a couple weeks back and asked myself “what the hell am I doing here?” To be clear, this wasn’t a philosophical question; I was still trashed from the night before and had no idea how I got home. Assessing the damage, I noted some pretty important things: I was alive, mostly, and both my wallet and my phone were still in my pockets. My shirt was covered in “fernet con coca” and beet juice –don’t ask. I slowly but (un)steadily made my way to the bathroom where I found some green paint on my arm and lipstick covering the right-side of my face and neck . . . whoops.

Okay so, that day was an incredibly busy day. I had gone to Alta Gracia, a small town about an hour from Córdoba Capital, to visit the childhood home of Che Guevara to see where commies come from:

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Revolutionary, terrorist, or a chunk of stone that holds little political significance and shouldn’t make people mad?
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One of Alberto Granado’s bikes. (Not the original they used for the trip, I wish)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that, I came back and immediately joined a pride parade which evolved into several people stripping naked while on LSD and running around; I did not participate in this, but I did get a hold of some really nice balloon animals that turned out to be made from condoms.

After that, I went to an international food festival with a group of volunteers from my program and got to see so many different communities cooking some crazy stuff . . . All beef related, though; we’re still in Argentina. Also, no surprise here, but the typical “Estados Unidos” dish offered was a hamburger and fries.

Then, to a bar and after to a club. You get the idea.

Every time I do anything it feels a bit like one of those stupid nationality jokes: An Argentinian, a German, a Dane, and an American all walked into a bar, that kind of thing. But it’s seriously a blast and I love that English becomes the common language because life is so much easier for me. I remember distinctly that at one point I yelled “muchas lenguas” (many languages) at my friends as they all spoke to each other in their native tounges and like MAGIC everyone was speaking English. Try that with me and German and I’ll just cry and make sounds like I’m trying to clear my throat.

I spent the whole next day relaxing and drinking plenty of water and not much else.

That’s how the days go here, they’re either jam-packed full of activity or really, really quiet. Which is sort of a good description of Argentina and the Argentinian people themselves, all in or all out, there’s no in-between.

I love it.

I’ve had a pretty amazing month, and plenty more coming right up.

Right after my last post, I went to my first ever game of any kind in a real stadium. As far as I can tell, most people are not too invested in soccer (read: “football” by the rest of the world) back home in the U.S. Here in Argentina? Not so. Soccer really is a way of life, a religion almost, to so, so many people here. I got to go to a game between BOCA Juniors (arguably the most well-known Argentinian club team) and Rosario, the definite underdogs. My great friend Emil, a major football fan hailing from Copenhagen, bought us tickets for the Rosario section (because they were way cheaper, as the majority of Córdoba supports BOCA). We watched the team from Rosario pull off a pretty decisive win, which was really incredible, but nothing compared to the absolute insanity of the fans.

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My favorite part was the 40-year-old drunk man who hugged me and offered Emil and I a free room in his hotel in Rosario just before ripping off his shirt.

 

After that, things stayed pretty mellow up until my trip to Buenos Aires, which was something else entirely.

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Here’s the view from the door to the flat.

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I stayed with my dear friend Barbara, who is currently staying in Buenos Aires to continue Spanish lessons and tango instruction until the 7th of December. Her flat was located in a Barrio called San Telmo; really nice, huge locally run market with tons of trinkets and goodies from all parts of Argentina. Tons of old coins, mate cups, native clothing, old postcards from travelers, old magazines, books, and tons more. Plus, something I really hadn’t even thought about after having been in monolingual Córdoba for so long: English Speakers.

Plenty of store workers and shop owners spoke English, which could honestly get a bit frustrating at times as every time I opened my mouth to talk they just gave me their little knowing smiles and started speaking in English. The people overall appeared to be a bit more cold and closed-off than in Córdoba, which was a difficult feeling. However, let me just add that this judgment is by Argentinian standards. I was still instantly greeted with smiles when entering shops, and kisses on the cheek when greeting and being introduced to people. Argentinians, on the whole, are a welcoming and kind people.

All that aside, the city is just such a mix of everything. It’s filled with spectacular architecture and beautiful colors; it’s a crazy mix of old and new, with late 20th-century skyscrapers jutting out from behind 17th-century cathedrals.

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My dearly missed friend Kim (who’s now back in Dusseldorf living it up) accompanied me on my adventures through the city, and it was a blast traveling with her.

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We even survived the horror that is Argentinian drivers.

Although I really, really enjoyed my time in the city, I think I am just not cut out for too much time living in one. Buenos Aires is one of the largest, oldest, and most technologically advanced cities in the Americas, and for all those things it is a beautiful place, even called the “Paris” of South America. However; I truly prefer the more cozy, more communal atmosphere of Córdoba Capital and Unquillo. The city is just too much for this young Waldoboroean to fathom.

Coming up, the First of December I’m off on a bus to Buenos Aires, where I’ll stay for a night before getting a plane to El Calafate in Southern Argentina, in the Patagonia region. I’ll be there, and traveling to Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine in Chile, until the 16th, then I’ll be on my way back to Córdoba for two-ish more weeks, then back to Buenos Aires and maybe even the Iguazú Falls (I believe they’re about twice as big as Niagra).

I’m leaving my computer at my host family’s house and I will not have much wifi while down there, so I’ll probably be out of touch until I get back! Wish me luck!

PS: If you’re reading this on your phone, all my pics should be located right underneath all this, along with some important dates that are coming up and even the option to translate!

Love to all! Thanks for reading! Salud y amor a todos de ustedes, suerte. Nos hablaremos cuando vuelvo!

 

Author: Braeden Waddell

Hailing from Waldoboro, Maine, Braeden Waddell is a junior at American University studying Journalism and Latin American area studies. Waddell is an avid podcast listener, an aspirational chef, and a two-wheeled transportation enthusiast currently suffering a minor setback. His long-term career goal is to work as an investigative reporter for a podcast similar to Post Reports, Reveal, or In The Dark. His choice to attend American University was inspired by desperate need to leave his 5,000-person town in rural Maine and enjoy the benefits of modernity he lacked at home, such as a cable internet and being able to go to a grocery store without seeing upwards of five people from his high school. Fun fact: Waddell only learned to ride a bike 3 weeks ago. Fun fact 2: While Waddell loves to cook, he is less knowledgeable with the art of baking. He can only bake one thing: Banana Bread. But, it’s damn good banana bread.

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