Tale Of Two Cities

Well, today I finally had my condo undergo a housecleaning. I can’t believe how much better that made me feel. Some reason though, getting your place cleaned more than once a week is not the easiest thing in the world to do here. However, I am persevering.

I will really have to go on a snark hunt soon … read … look for a better place to stay next time. It is a nice clean place but the neighborhood and the street noise are too much – even for me. It seems not easy to find a place to stay here. Either they are cheap and not in a good location, or so expensive, I might as well just stay in a hotel and get better service. There seems very little in between. As a by product of what is obviously very expensive housing, there are a lot of hotels around Buenos Aires, that in Asia are clearly called ‘short time’ hotels. Here they are called ‘telos’.  They are used here because most people live at home with their families until they are married. So. Hotels by the hour. No need to spell that out 😊.

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I realized this week, that although it’s an extremely small milestone perhaps, that I don’t seem to be so timid about speaking Spanish anymore for the common things like being in the restaurant, talking to the housekeeper, etc. I believe my Spanish to still be fairly abysmal, and my comprehension level might be at 30 to 40% for a basic conversation, but compared to where I was two weeks ago, not so bad I think. I can text fairly well in Spanish now though. When I text, I have enough time to think about what I am saying. When I speak, everything gets all jumbled up. Frustrating.

I’m laughing at myself because my take on Spanish was not that enthusiastic … Until I saw a woman in a restaurant last week and all of a sudden, I realized that I really need to be able to speak Spanish. Otherwise how could I talk to her? I guess I am fairly shallow. Ah well. Whatever it takes to motivate me I guess.

I have been taking lessons at a local language school, and although the lessons are private, I end up with whatever teacher is available on the days that I want the classes. The 1st two 2-hour lessons were with a young guy, who clearly is living the Buenos Aries lifestyle to the hilt (irse de joda). He informed me, yawning, at four in the afternoon, that most nights he gets to sleep around 3:30 AM and wakes up at 7:30 AM to get to work. Well, I’ve been there, done that, have numerous T-shirts, some of which I would probably like to give back, and now I know what I must’ve looked like when I was doing what he did.

I have however, come to the conclusion, that there are indeed two almost completely different cities here. One Buenos Aires during the daytime, and another one at night. I went out for dinner the other night with my only friends here. We had a reservation at eight, which was considered very early by the people I was with. I got there about 15 minutes early and the place was still closed. So, I walked around the streets. Hardly anybody out. But by the time we finished dinner about an hour later the restaurant was absolutely packed. And by 2130 or 2200, all the bars in that area (called Palermo Hollywood) were all pretty busy. I would really like to go out a bit, but it is a little intimidating for me. I don’t speak Spanish yet any great degree. Oh, I could order a drink, but would be impossible to have a conversation in Spanish at this point. And the noise level in most of the bars I walked past was so loud, I’m not sure I could’ve heard a conversation even if it was English. However, I am trying to shift my waking hours a little bit and it is part of the Spanish learning experience so I’m going to try to go out at least have a drink at some of these places. Even if it is several hours past my usual bedtime. 😊

Probably one of the things I have found the most difficult here in terms in of adjustment, is eating. Two huge reasons; firstly, the food here is HEAVILY carbohydrate stacked, and two, almost no restaurants open early, and many close between 1600 and 2000 (which is exactly when I usually eat). I mean bloody hell! Most Starbucks don’t open until 1000!!!! ☹ -- I did finally find a place for brunch on the weekend though. Great little hotel in the Palermo Hollywood district that a friend recommended. Finally – and it opens at 1130, not 1230 like most places that put on brunch 😊. During the week, I have finally decided to adopt the porteño (porteños is the word for people for who live in Buenos Aires – people of the port) breakfast. A coffee and a roll. And then try to eat a late dinner (or a protein shake). The photos here show Palermo Hollywood at 1PM on a Sunday afternoon. Still almost totally deserted. Just aren’t early risers here. I haven’t been out past 2200 yet. But I’ll try it before I leave.

The weather here has been beautiful most days. Not really hot and the humidity not extreme. Clear blue skies.

Tattoos. They are wildly popular here. Primarily I see it with the under 40 crowd, but from all socio-economic levels. Not sure what is behind that. I have, IMHO, actually seen some truly superb skin art. However, who knows what it will look like in 40 years 😊. I’m talking people in their late twenties and thirties who have their whole arms and shoulders done – that I can see. It is clear that some of them have way more than that.

I’m getting back to the gym. Although I’ve gone light in deference to my injuries. I still feel something going ‘click’ in my ribs when I work my abs. But tons better than last week. A lot more people here at the gym than in Asia generally. There is a much larger crowd here that are seriously into keeping in shape. But still relatively few at 0700 when I go 😊.

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I saw this sign in the mall a couple of days after my Samsung Note 8 was stolen. I couldn't resist the picture. It says 'Samsung Note 8. Do great things.' ... LOL ... Someone is doing great things with my Note 8 I'm sure 😊 ...

I looked for travel insurance for theft and baggage loss. The top two companies that claim to do ‘travel insurance’? None of them can handle a person like me that travels all the time. They only insure for people that travel like once a year or something. I.e. you have to get a quote PER TRIP! How bloody ridiculous. Morons. What that means is that they want the low hanging fruit and can’t be bothered with serious travelers. Still looking. If anyone knows a company that can do this, please let me know.

One nice thing about Argentina. No need to worry about false missile attack alerts 😊.