Hello Buenos Aires.
I came to the extreme south from the extreme north. From the gloomy short days of Moscow to a bright colorful life. From gray serious faces to smiley friendly people.
I used to wake up in the morning in Moscow and hear the sound of big metal shovels scraping the snow from the asphalt for hours. Russian street cleaners start very early (about at 6 am) and the sound (better call it noise) goes for hours, making you crazy and restless.
Here, I go to bed pretty late also. Normally I walk back home at 6 am, after the late Milonga. And I hear birds singing very loud, and it makes me happy - I go to bed hearing this lullaby.
I'm staying in the Palermo nighborhood, which looks a little bit like the East Village in NY -- a lot of art in the streets, people are partying all the time, and all places are open very late. On the other hand, it reminds me of Eugene - every weekend there's a market in the plaza Serrano - people are selling handmade stuff - just like Saturday market - a lot of jewelry, mate gourds, clothes, and people dress in kind of alternative hippish way. Well, I bought for myself a couple of t-shirts with handprinted native american symbols of the moon and the sun ($7 dollars each!) and pants from the same girl - very comfortable and casual, good for tango practice ($13). I think the selection of clothes at these markets is very good for women - everything's local and pretty good quality for such little money.
But the main difference here in BsAs, from other places I can compare to (there are not many - only Russia and the US) - is that it's really fun being outside, especially if you are a woman!
There's so much flirtation in the streets, all the time. I never had so many compliments in my whole life! I've heard from my argentine girlfriend that argentine women are really bored outside of Argentina, and now I understand why! Well, I kind of like it, it´s very gentle, and as far as I can understand spanish - men are saying very nice things, nothing vulgar.
One problem I´m having here is a WIFI connection. As far as my research goes, there's no wireless place near where I live. Most of them are Downtown, which I didn´t explore much yet, I've only done some shopping at the main mall - "Abasto". But you can find Internet access (with their machines) pretty much everywhere.
Well, I have to put a special line here about orange juice. It´s amazing. I´m so addicted to it here - Argentines make it just perfect, pretty much everywhere. It´s pretty simple - they just squeeze the oranges, maybe add lemon or peaches if you want. And I think the key to taste, is that it´s real good fruit, and they don´t use ice! I think ice kills the taste. When I´m back home, I´m going to use this juice squeezer for sure.
Speaking about food in general, it takes time to discover a good place to eat. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants, cheap and expensive. But price really doesn´t add to taste here. For myself, I found a local nighborhood place called "El Perferia" (I think), everything's cheap there, of good quality. Argentines don´t use much spice in their food, so pretty much everything is kind of plain everywhere. But as long as it fresh, I like it. Also I´ve notice that argentines use a lot of cheese in their food. If you order pizza - you´ll get a pool of cheese with tiny bits of other ingredients, maybe.
I want to write about tango and stuff related to it. But it´s a separate subject, and it´s going to be the next entry....