Unlike J (check out his blog 'Second First Impressions of Buenos Aires') this is my first time in Argentina, so I thought you might be interested in hearing my first impressions of both Buenos Aires and living abroad.
It really is true what the guide books say, BA has a very seductive European feel to it and we have fitted into the lifestyle beautifully. I absolutely love the 'late culture'. Going out later, eating later, staying out later and getting up later has automatically agreed with my body clock. I am not a morning person (J will testify to my 'the world is ending' morning gloom) and even though I am getting the same amount of sleep (afternoon naps sometimes included) there is a big difference in my brain between getting up at 7am and getting up at 9am!
The BBQ's here are divine - there's just so much meat! And I love Provoleta - it's similar to Halloumi and is really yummy. However, something I am not a fan of food-wise is the delicacy 'Locra'. It's basically a meat and corn stew, but after biting into something that I assumed was sausage and immediately questioning whether it was actually either brain or testicle, I realised the meat was in fact offal. I won't be trying it again. Alcohol is cheap! Well in the supermarkets anyway, in bars and restaurants is pretty much on a par with the UK. We bought a lovely litre bottle gin for £3 yesterday! I'm also really getting along with Mate - the local social drink that is drunk from unusual looking cups with straws, anywhere and everywhere - it's like a strong green tea.
Considering the city is very built up with nearly exclusively high rise apartment buildings, there is loads of outdoor green space. You only ever need to walk a few blocks to find a park. And most are stunning - my favorite is the botanical gardens. Another wicked thing about BA is that there is open wi-fi in most places including the parks, which is super useful. The area we are staying in, Palermo, has a very safe feeling about it - walking around at 3am is like walking around at 3pm. I also love how much less consumerism we're experiencing (or at least in the places we've been frequenting) and there's not so much ridiculous crazy Christmas hype taking place which is nice.
The weather is awesome! I hate the cold though and would much rather be too hot so that's no surprise - although my brother and sister in law, who we are staying with, assure me it will get too much in January and be worsened by the dreaded electricity blackouts across the city due to abundant aircon use. The only downside to living in the sun at present is how long it takes me to get ready to go out due my pasty skin and hence extensive sun cream application necessities. Along with insect repellent application; mosquito's love me. I hate the little dickheads with just as much passion.
Another few mild (ridiculous on my part) annoyances are:
- The fiercely uneven pavements (I've nearly taken a tumble a few times - good job I didn't bring heels)
- The beeping garage doors for the carparks underneath most apartment blocks - to be fair this probably only grates on me so much because one interrupts my sleep most mornings.
- Dog shit. I am fascinated by the profession of dog walking in this city, it's like a competition to see who can walk the most at once (the personal best I have seen so far is 16). They're just not very conscientious about picking poop up!
- The crazy lane straddling/break at the last minute driving by taxi and bus drivers alike (although it's pretty exciting, just not when you have your one year old niece with you!)
- The language barrier. I just want to be fluent - I mean we've been here two weeks - I should know it right?! Ha! To be fair we're doing okay, it's just frustrating when you're so proud of remembering how to ask for something but then can't for the life of you understand the response.
In all seriousness though we're having the best time. The people we've met have been so open and welcoming and it's just incredible spending time with our family here. There are few places I have been to so far in my life that I could live in, but this is definitely one of them. I'm so looking forward to experiencing Christmas in the heat, not a bad start at all to our trip!
Big loves to BA!
(Check out our other posts on Argentina here)