Lions and Tigers and Spring, oh my!

Hey twitfam,

I’m back with a way shorter post and want to say thanks to everyone who read about my family time! It was really special and I’m happy I got to share it with you.

Let’s talk about the weekend. On friday night, I went to a jazz show at a closed door “puerto cerrado” bar in Palermo. It was totally the type of thing I would not be cool enough to know about it in the states but my friend Ruthie knew about it and we all went. The space was super cool and covered with murals and old posters and furniture. I want to go back for other shows! We grabbed some wine there and then wanted to go to this really cool bar multiple people had recommended to us. Of course they were closed for the weekend but there was a mexican restaurant down the street so we got real drinks with tequila in them (rare here) and chips and dip so I’d still call it a win. I also got to meet Ruthie’s boyfriend who is my former next door neighbor’s nephew! Such a small world. While we munched on our chips and relished our salt rimmed glasses, chaos struck: it started to rain! That’s pretty uncommon here so rain, complete with thunder and lightening, basically shut down the city. We all took cabs home and I stayed inside for most of Saturday. It was raining on and off and I just slept in, watched Orange is the New Black (which I finished last night), and talked to some friends. When we all met up for dinner that night, everyone seemed to have done the exact same thing: my laziness was collective. For dinner, we attempted to go to a sushi place but it was actually a takeout place with only five seats so we went to a mongolian barbecue place where you choose the ingredients for your stirfry bowl and they cook it up. They had an awesome selection of vegetables: cucumber, broccoli, many types of green and sriracha! It was great. Some people grabbed dessert and we all walked around a bit but headed home early (I got home after one and Rita asked if anything was wrong because I was back so early. #thiscountry). The reason for our early night was our big plans for Sunday: A trip to the (in)famous zoo in Lujan, a place where you can get up close and personal with wild animals.  I had heard about the zoo before coming to Buenos Aires because lots of people take pictures with the lions and was conflicted about whether to go. There are rumors the animals are doped and it just doesn’t seem natural. But the forecast was good, there was a group going (it’s about 2 hours outside of the city so not a spur of the moment activity) and I wanted to form my own opinion. We met bright and early to take the 57 bus, of which there are at least 4 versions with different stops and destinations, all within one plaza. Obviously. We boarded the correct one and headed to Lujan. This bus was more like a coach bus and cost more than a regular one obviously. It stopped in a few towns along the highway and was once again a reminder that Buenos Aires is hardly representative of Argentina and that literally every Argentine town has the exact same street names. I thought this zoo would be full of tourists but it was not like that at all! It’s expensive for extranjeros but also seems to function as a big park for locals. There are grills you can use to picnic, dogs and llamas and ducks running around and then caged wild animals. I found some of the animals in really appalling circumstances. The zoo claims that domesticating animals from birth works and I believe that (the place didn’t seem organized enough to keep animals drugged round the clock). My biggest issue was the space (or lack there of) for the animals and how sluggish they seemed. Domesticated animals still need room to run. You can also purchase food for the animals which is just a bag of bread and corn. I hope that the animals are fed a more nutritious diet than just that. I opted to ride the camels and touch the elephant and baby lion but declined to touch the male lions. Half of the group did that and I watched them in a kind of shock. It makes no sense that you can do that and just felt wrong.  Everyone in the group of six reacted differently to the zoo which I really appreciated. Some people were so comfortable with animals partially due to their upbringing while I always feel uneasy in nature. The moral issues also ebbed and flowed. All the photos below are from my friend Tzviete who is so talented!

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birthright or a semester in BA? same result
birthright or a semester in BA? same result
this felt like petting a slightly rougher furred cat
this felt like petting a slightly rougher furred cat

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this llama was free and I loved it.
this llama was free and I loved it.

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Our day in Lujan was also one of the only times it’s been hard to be a vegetarian in this country. The obvious lunch choice was choripan (a chorizo sandwich) and I had to do some legwork to find alternatives.

I did get a cofler ice cream bar for the first time (my picture!) YUM
I did get a cofler ice cream bar for the first time (my picture!) YUM

The journey home was a little long and we boarded the bus on the side of the highway and had to ride standing for about a half hour which seems highly illegal. But we made it home, totally exhausted and with lots to think about.

Today, I woke up and went to a local coffee shop to do work. The table in front of me was 4 argentine hipsters which I got a kick out of. Then I went to spin class which was actually really hard, partially because we did intervals and partially because the room was so hot. It was almost 80 degrees today and no one is prepared for this. Then I went to a big fancy hotel in Retiro to volunteer at a college fair for american universities. It was really interesting to see the assortment of kids there. Some were like 12 and some were totally oblivious (saw a girl with a punk rock bag printed with “fuck you”) but it was a range.

It’s supposed to be really warm for the rest of the week and it’s very strange to see spring focused advertisements and plans in the media here. Then I log on to the computer and all the american media stuff is about pumpkin! This opposite sensation is getting more extreme.

Enjoy the week!

 

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