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Greetings from (and farewell to) San Juan

March 23rd, 2010

Quiet San Juan street

Well, another week’s flown by as I’ve explored and photographed San Juan. It’s a very different place from Buenos Aires, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s smaller, with a population of 600,000: there’s far less bustle. Secondly, the climate and geography and their consequences. It’s on the opposite side of the country from Buenos Aires, on the east side of the Andes and bordering Chile. It’s amidst a desert. It’s hot – frequently above 40C in the summer. That means that the midday siesta is a part of the daily routine. Thirdly, the buildings are all quite modern; unlike much of Buenos Aires where much ancient architecture has survived a few centuries, most of San Juan was built in the 1940s and 50s, after a devastating earthquake levelled the entire city. As a result, many of the buildings are less than three storeys tall, as well.

Greetings from (and farewell to) San Juan continued »

Bikes, business, and more

March 16th, 2010

Wow, has it been over two weeks since I last posted? This must be rectified. With the move to the new neighbourhood, I suppose, I’ve been spending more time exploring in the evenings. I’ve also been doing more capoeira – and, in the last week, cycling!

Bikes, business, and more continued »

Earthquake in Chile!

February 27th, 2010

So, last night an earthquake struck Chile – with a magnitude of 8.8, it apparently released 500 times the energy released by the quake that hit Haiti a bit over a month ago. There are tsunami warnings all across East Asia and Hawaii’s getting ready for some big waves too (BBCCBCToronto Star).

Apparently buildings shook in Buenos Aires as well, but I certainly didn’t feel anything. When it struck at 3:34am, I was sound asleep. I woke only to the sound of several neighbours hammering. I guess it’s the Argentine equivalent of weekend morning lawnmowing.


February 25th, 2010

I’ve been saving this post for a while, because I knew I’d think of more additions as I go. But I think it’s time to post it and update as I go.

Opposites continued »

A note on hospitality

February 18th, 2010

Any time you enter a café or bar in Buenos Aires and order a beer or a coffee, you don’t just get the drink – if you ordered a beer, you’re likely to get a bowl of peanuts, and if you ordered a coffee, you’ll get a tiny little cup of water (sometimes bubbly) or orange juice, and a small snack, like a cookie, chocolate, or piece of plain cake. I love the little touches like this that I’ve encountered around here.

Deluge of one; drought of another

February 17th, 2010

For the last two days or so, Buenos Aires’ physical environment has been exceptionally copacetic. Not that it hasn’t been great to begin with, but recently, the two major things I’d have quoted as drawbacks have also been absent: the hot, sticky heat, and the dog droppings that mark the sidewalk literally every few steps.

Deluge of one; drought of another continued »

Leaving so soon?

February 13th, 2010


It’s another hot, humid Saturday afternoon in Buenos Aires. The sound of a lonely bandoneon is lazily aspirating from my laptop’s speakers as I circle my room, gathering this and that, arranging my things neatly into my suitcase and backpack, and reflecting on the time I’ve spent here.

Leaving so soon? continued »

Capoeira in Buenos Aires

February 3rd, 2010

One of the many things I’ve been eagerly anticipating about being in Argentina is the chance to train Capoeira with other groups – possibly even in Brazil, should the opportunity for a side trip arise. Before I even left Toronto, I was searching for and bookmarking the sites of a number of different Capoeira groups in Buenos Aires.

There’s a fairly large number of groups and locations here. So much so that I’ve made a secondary project of cataloguing these classes on a Google map, and their schedules in some kind of mental map, so that I can assess, on any given day, my chances of being able to make it to a class.

Well, if getting lost on the streets of a new city is a traditional rite of passage for every traveller, then the 21st century’s contribution to it is to get lost online.

Capoeira in Buenos Aires continued »

When home is not like home

February 1st, 2010

I’m in the wrong restaurant.

You know the kind – salt, pepper and Kikkoman on the table. Dragon-adorned, printed-paper placemats providing cultural factoids. Servers who, while competent and friendly, greet me in Spanish. Predominantly white patrons whose gaze follows me as I seat myself.

At least one patron continues to stare at me as I eat. I stare back.

When home is not like home continued »

Bs As: The work, the workplace, the… shopping?

January 28th, 2010

Well, I’ve been bandying about posting something soon, and I’ve finally got around to it. Truth be told, I succumbed to the oldest fault in the book (or at least my book): waiting until things are just right before pushing it to the world. And perfection… well sometimes it just ain’t worth it. So, on with the show, even though I have so, so much more to say.

Bs As: The work, the workplace, the… shopping? continued »