02 Jul The Cafés I Used to Roam

Tony’s Top 7 Argentine Cafés Argentines are socialites. It’s in their blood. Even in the poorest of years, Argentines still dig deep into their sofas to find loose change and hit a bar or two, chatting with friends and family and enjoying each other’s company. But it’s the portenos—locals from the capital city of Buenos Aires—who embody the happy-go-lucky, out-and-about attitude. And they do it in fashion. [caption id="attachment_865" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Get jazzy on it.[/caption] http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/04/91/92/5f/notorious.jpg 7. I like jazz. I love it, actually. A jazz singer on the side, I try and find live music in every city I’m in. When it comes to my preferred beats, Notorious takes the cake in Buenos Aires. Drink coffee, have a pastry, listen to the oldest or latest jazz CDs for free, or hang around until the evening hours for a live performance. It’s all at Notorious. Located at Avenida Callao 966 in the Recoleta neighborhood. 6. Though well-known now, this former opera house-turned-bookstore is a sight to see. Built in 1919, El Ateneo houses over a million books to purchase—all new—in the former viewing boxes of the opera house. Books are also where the orchestra seating was, too. Grab a coffee there and your favorite pages—many offered in English—and look up. Your eyes will love all that they take in. Located at Avenida Santa Fe 1860 in the Recoleta neighborhood. http://www.buenosairestravelplanet.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/cafe-tortoni.jpg 5. Another known and old café (I promise, the next four will not have heard of) is Café...

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20 Mar Mendoza and Maipu Valley: Riding out the Winter

[caption id="attachment_2349" align="alignnone" width="660"] Moon over Mendoza.[/caption] With spring quickly approaching, it’s difficult to contain the excitement that warm weather brings. Even the staunchest snow-lovers have to admit that shedding those extra layers and letting the skin breathe feels great. No longer relegated to the library, students head outdoors to study in the sun, or ditch the books for an hour (give or take the afternoon) of stress relief. Instead of slogging through the slush to class, walking becomes a pleasant respite from the hours spent sitting. That insane speed luge of ice and peril resumes being a short bike-ride to class. While we’ve been freezing and forced to walk between classes, the Argentinians have been chuckling atop their ten-speeds (or fixed-gears, if they’re as hipster as some Americans). Our winter was their summer, and they’ll still get to enjoy the benefits of a bike during their cold season (hint: even cities further south, like Buenos Aires, remain safe enough to cycle because it rarely snows, though it's chilly). And if you’re headed further north, say, to the Mendoza area of Argentina, the “cold season” makes the weather even nicer, since the oppressive heat and humidity subside, leaving sun and a comfortable breeze. These can be appreciated more atop a bicycle. And even more so with a few glasses of Malbec. It seems an unlikely marriage, but bicycle and winery adventures have been a staple in the Mendoza wine region for years. The villages,...

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07 Dec Wasteland Turns to Wonderland: Discover Buenos Aires’ Green Side

[caption id="attachment_2336" align="alignnone" width="660"] Bird's eye view of Rio de la Plata.[/caption] It’s encouraging when governments deem areas of land as national parks and ecological reserves. Clearly, there’s credence in the science behind their establishment. This holds especially true for ecological reserves, where human impacts on ecology are (or were, rather) becoming tangible. Developmental sprawl intrudes the habitats of species endemic to specific areas, threatening their existence. Furthermore, the impacts of expansion on ecology are unpredictable, as an impact on one species may affect another without obviously appearing so, and recognized only after irreparable damage is done. The preventative aspect of ecological reserves remains particularly appealing. While it’s easy to discuss ecology metaphorically, Buenos Aires, Argentina took action. The city's government established the Buenos Aires Ecologica Reserva, also known as Costanera Sur. The area had previously been a promenade, with coffee shops and bars lining the banks of the Rio de la Plata in the 20s and 30s. However, river contamination drove consumers away, leading to the deterioration and eventual destruction of these establishments. As the river grew it began to overtake some of the promenade, and trash dumping was normal. This incited the proposal to reclaim the land. Eventually these plans were abandoned and the site was left alone. In the absence of human interaction, a massively diverse explosion of fauna began. In 1986, the diversity of species and their ecological interactions were recognized and began being protected as a natural park...

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04 Oct Out West in Argentina

[caption id="attachment_2270" align="alignnone" width="660"] Gauchos, the original cowboys.[/caption] Buenos Aires is comparable, some say, to New York City. Fast-pace lifestyle coupled with a “work hard, play hard” mentality make days zoom by as quickly as los colectivos (city buses). It’s very easy to create a routine of attending class or internship duties, only to see the semester over, the afternoon sun pushing temperature past 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and you missing all moments to breathe. I unknowingly crave peaceful serenity when hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires seems all but suffocating. I find my breath of fresh air—literally—in la pampa. Known for gauchos, cattle, and maté, la pampa is the area out west from the capital city in Argentina. It’s farm and soy fields, free-ranging cows and asados. Delicious asados—the Argentine bbq. It’s savory smells of a charcoal grill lined with freshly chopped green and red bell peppers, pork, beef, cornhusks and quail if you’re lucky. And that’s where you find your personal time. You soak poolside in the sun, the only sound nearby a colorful bird chirping to her friends. Or the lunchtime bell ringing. After homemade, oven-toasted empanadas, dulce de leche pours over homemade flan. Lunch alone takes more energy to consume than combating crowded sidewalks in central Buenos Aires. But it’s a different energy needed, that of natural food digestion and letting your mind wander through the quiet of the flatlands. What little entertainment there is in a 2,000-person town in Argentina is...

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25 Aug Study abroad: On host families, buses and boliches in Argentina

[caption id="attachment_2230" align="alignnone" width="660"] So many colors![/caption] Similarly to my routine with my new internship, I would definitely say it took time to adapt to and develop a routine when in a new culture and living with a host family. Since I have lived alone in the states for the past two years, it was difficult at first to adapt to living with others. My host family and I (5 people) are all busy and we share one bathroom, so we need to time our showers right in the mornings. We use the same kitchen but usually everyone eats at very different times, so that’s not a problem. My host mother Marta (who’s so sweet and patient) usually makes my dinner during the week around 7 or 8 (when we both have time to speak to each other in Spanish); but an average Argentinean won’t actually have dinner until after 9. And going out, restaurants don’t start filling up until around 10pm, and are really busy around 11pm and midnight; and Portenos (people form Buenos Aires) have late nights in general. Even during the week, they will eat their late dinner, go out to drink and dance at boliches, get home around 4 or 5am, and still go to work at 9. I don’t know how they do it! On the language front, I have had many frustrating days. Examples range from having difficulties communicating with workers at the laundromat to not understanding a...

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17 Aug Real work experience, a voice with VOS

[caption id="attachment_2213" align="alignnone" width="660"] Take the leap![/caption] As grad school began, I felt my time was up. I was too busy with classes and papers to participate in a study abroad program. However, after deciding that I wanted to write a thesis on study abroad programs and intern in the study abroad office at my campus, I started to crave something that I had missed. So instead of regretting the past I decided to make the jump and apply for an internship abroad which would give me experience in the international education field. I made my decision to live and intern in Buenos Aires, through the flexible program that Panrimo offered so I could brush up on my Spanish. The  2-month internship I chose required my native language, a basic grasp of Spanish, initiative, and creativity – a perfect combination for my interests and goals. On my very first day, I was welcomed into the VOS family with kisses on the cheek and many smiling faces. One thing that I noticed right away was that the school would be great for practicing the language since all of the staff and teachers were speaking to me in Spanish. After a week of observing the culture of the school and talking with some of the students, I was more than happy to start promoting, advertising, and marketing for this friendly Spanish school. Since then I have been steadily building the school’s image through online websites...

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