Today was such a busy day I’m blogging this mostly to remember all the places I went.
First we had orientation at our normal location, the Circulo Italiano in Recoleta. This was my
first time taking the subway alone and I got there just fine, about 45 minutes door to door. After a brief session on life with the host family, we had about an hour and fifteen minutes to travel to another area to take a placement test and get lunch. After consulting our 200 page map, we decided to walk, knowing it would be kind of far, to see more of the city. It was really sunny today and not that cold (though everyone here claims it’s freezing) and the walk was a little over a half an hour. We crossed many of Buenos Aires’ giant boulevards, including Avenida 9 de Mayo which is so big you have to wait for the light to change twice to get across.
You could cross it in one if you were maybe sprinting. Otherwise, not a chance. We stopped to get lunch close to the test site and I found a vegetarian takeout buffet! There were chickpeas and broccoli and string beans and tomatoes and so much else and I filled a big container for 25 pesos. It was pretty fabulous, all things considered. Being a vegetarian here has been really easy so far and I’ve passed by so many vegetarian places that are both casual lunch spots and sit down restaurants. It seems pretty trendy but it can be hard to eat things besides bread since that’s their go to food group, at breakfast and at snacktime. My host mom also tries to buy new vegetables all the time (today I had brussel sprouts) even though she doesn’t really eat raw vegetables because of a stomach ulcer she had a few years ago. After the test, we realized we were right near Plaza de Mayo which was the sight of so many famous speeches and protests. La Casa Rosada is the center of the Buenos Aires government and the Plaza is beautiful. My other favorite Plaza so far is Tribunales, which I have to pass through when I walk from the subte every morning. The teatro colon, the opera house, is there as well as the main court (hence the name) and a really old synagogue that
includes the Jewish museum of Buenos Aires.
We then walked back to the first orientation sight for a panel about getting student visas, which seems to be a very complicated four step process that includes lots of waiting in line, money and photocopies. We don’t start it until august because we need to have our courses finalized before applying. This announcement didn’t take too long so I ventured further into Recoleta to get money exchanged. One of the student’s cousins studied here last year so he had the name of a place. Also, Recoleta is gorgeous. It has a wide boulevards and plazas and little Parisian looking buildings with wicker flower boxes. We got our money changed (at a great rate of 8.35) and then I got coffee with two other girls. One of them lives on the same train line as me, one stop before so we walked back together. We had wandered around so much that we got on at a different stop but the subte pretty much goes along one big avenue so it’s easy to figure out.
At dinner today I told Rita about Anthony Weiner and we talked a little bit about politics since Argentine elections are next month. I told her that I could get an absentee ballot for november which doesn’t exist in Argentina. You have to be within 500 kilometers to vote. She also told me about politicians gathering up the homeless people in BA and giving them food and money in exchange for a vote. I wonder if I’ll see that next month. Tomorrow we get to hear more about the different schools we can attend and then we have a show, dinner, and maybe some nightlife!