Argentina was amazing! It was another country that I knew very little about until the classes leading up to it. I only knew that we kept getting “Don’t cry for me Argentina” blasted on the PA system leading to port. I’ve learned that the countries you have the least expectations about turn into being some of the best ports. The first day I signed up through SAS for a city orientation with a few friends. They took us all over Buenos Aires and into the different areas. We first visited La Recoleta Cemetery, which is really famous. Families pay up to 3 million dollars for a plot there. Many previous presidents and elite are buried there. It is unlike anything I have ever seen. Most were mausoleums and were decorated by stone statues. It felt like we were walking into a little city. Next we went to Plaza de Mayo and saw the Pink House where the President works. We came in the middle of a demonstration, which was an interesting experience. Our last stop was in La Boca, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires known for colorful houses and streets. The city orientation was perfect for the first day to get an overview of the city
The second day my roommate talked me into signing up for a bike tour around Buenos Aires and an eco reserve. We were outside meeting the guides at 7:30 and they gave us our bamboo bikes and we were off. On the way to the eco reserve my roommate and I were the only ones with bike problems, our chains fell off a few times. The guides definitely knew who we were by the end of the trip. They took us to a lake and we sat down and drank mate- an herbal drink famous in South America. We biked through Plaza de Mayo and the financial district and were back at the ship by lunchtime. After lunch Jessie and I met up with Paige and Krista to do a little sight seeing. We went to the botanical gardens and the Japanese gardens. They were both beautiful and were a little break from the city view we were used to. On our way to the gardens we saw some girls getting pick pocketed. It amazed me how everyone watched and clearly saw what happened but then ignored it. No one tried to stop or even help the situation. Later at night we met up with a bigger group of friends and went to dinner and a tango show. It was a beautiful show and a great cultural experience.
On the third day a group of 10 of us went to a zoo right outside of Buenos Aires. It took petting zoo to a whole new level. We got there and started off by petting the lions. They were a lot bigger when you were right next to them than I remember them being in the zoo! We got to hold the baby lions and tigers in our laps. We then went in the cage with the tigers, which I thought was the scariest part. We had lunch in the restaurant inside the zoo and continued our trek around the park. We waited in line for the camel rides but decided that feeding the elephants would be something we otherwise never would have had the chance to do. By the time we were done with that, it was time to go. We had to skip a lot of exhibits but still were excited for all the great experiences we had. Our driver dropped us off at a market so we could shop around. We all went home with mate and Dulce de Leche! That night I went with a huge group of SAS students to a pizza place that was known for the best pizza in Buenos Aires. We all went out to a bar after to watch American football that all the guys have been missing. My friends and I spoke to some locals about Buenos Aires and were surprised by how well our Spanish held up in a 30-minute conversation. Our Spanish is progressively getting better as we travel to more and more Spanish countries.
The next morning I had signed up for a graffiti tour around the city. It was an interesting tour because it is legal in Argentina and many people in the community feel connected to it. We walked all around town and looked at different types and learned about different artists. At the end of the tour they took us to a famous artist’s studio and we got to meet him. Jazz is well known throughout Argentina for his graffiti and even has some of his work in the US (legally). After the tour I met up with a few of my friends and went shopping on Florida St. We all got an Argentinean soccer jersey and we couldn’t leave without trying empanadas! On ship time is at 6pm and we didn’t leave the restaurant until 5:20. We had a really hard time finding a cab because all of them were full or wouldn’t stop in the traffic. We finally flagged one down at 5:40 and he said he wouldn’t take us to the port because it was way out of his way. We all were freaking out by that point because if we are late on the ship we get ‘dock time’ where we aren’t allowed off right away in the next port. At 5:45 we finally flagged one down and he told us it would take us 15 minutes to get there. We told him in our broken Spanish that our ship was leaving and we needed to get there fast- and that he did. He legitimately drove 100 miles an hour weaving in and out of traffic. I thought I was going to lose my life at least 5 times during that short drive. We were on the shuttle bus back to the ship just in time and we got to the ship seconds before on ship time. It must have been a funny sight to see because all the deans waited on the deck watching us sprint off the bus into line. We made it in time and that’s all that matters! For dinner we celebrated my roommates birthday with an ice cream cake. Argentina was a little stressful at the end but was a success! It is definitely a country I would love to come back to visit!
Graffiti Tour with Jazz