After such a mesmerizing, magical, and thrilling first 20 days, it was only inevitable that I had to experience some negativity and struggle.
Before that “negative struggle,” however, only blissful paradise existed.
At some point last weekend (about two weeks ago) I woke up on a lazy sunday afternoon with the goal to “get out of the house and go explore the city!” Since I lived in Recoleta, and I was slightly lazy that day, I decided to “explore” my own barrio. After a soothing breakfast of sweet medialunas (mini-croissants), tea, and a chapter of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love (I am “Loving” this novel) I found the central location of the most touristy sights to walk around (read: because they are close to each other, and I was/am lazy). I headed out of my apartment around noon to get some lunch (a yummy and cheap (10 pesos!) tostada aka grilled cheese sandwich with ham, and a licuado aka a banana smoothie) and then continued down towards the Recoleta Cultural Center. When I arrived I was pleasantly reminded by the familiar architecture and landmarks that I had already been there once for lunch during my Intro to BA tour. As I walked towards my destination, I happened upon some lovely live jazz music (somewhat influenced by Dixie Jazz – they were playing a nice version of “Oh, Lady Be Good” with a banjo and guitar player, a clarinetist, and a trumpeterrr…(?)) anyway – they were good, and I happily delayed my plans for a few minutes, wondering to myself where all the Lindy Hopper (Bombers) were.
Nature called and I popped my head into the nearest open venue which happened to be, OH I DON’T KNOW…THE RECOLETA CEMETARY?! Good Planning Mari.
So, I did my business (tip – always carry a portable amount of TP or tissues…really. No. Really.) and when I got out, I bought a 5 peso map of the cemetery and was about to head out into the maze of scary and creepy old graves, when – Hark! I heard clapping and laughing amidst a very good Jazz tune! Once again I was lured back outside and to my delight – I found those lindy hoppers I was so keen to dance with! A mother and a daughter from Seattle, WA were there dancing together and a crowd had formed around them. I ran up to them with a huge grin on my face and said HEEEEYY Guyssss!! Giggling was had, and then we all busted out some charleston, balboa, and the best swing-outs we could do in flippyfloppies/bare feet. See the short and silly video Here
After a few tunes later, we all decided that going into the large cemetery together was probably better than getting lost while going it alone. Thus a group adventure in the creepy crawly spider weby cemetery commenced. The Full Album of my favorites can be seen here: CLICK!
Things to look out for when at the Cemetary:
Kitties – there are sooo many!!!
Open doors – no matter how many you see – don’t go in, you will probably fall down the stairs and land on an open casket. Shiver.
Trees – there’s actually a little park in the middle of the cemetery – you can sit and…picnic?
Evita – and other famous people I don’t really know much about but should probably know about are buried there.
Pretty and very photogenic sculptures and grave stones – I realized why I love to photograph them so much! They have emotion, posture, and angles carved right into them – the perfect models!
Cathartic moments – the times when you wander for a bit on your own, look up, look down, and look sideways and think “huh.” – completely necessary when walking in a place of memory, peace, rest, abandonment, and did I mention kitties? It was Kitty Palace there. There will be an update with more places for Kitty Spotting (The Botanical Gardins, Villa Crespo Natural Science Museum etc).
Since we got to the cemetery a little late in the afternoon (around 4pm) the sun was beginning to set and the clock tower bells chimed 6 pm and in a cinematic moment, the park began to close just as the beams of sun started to glare through the numerous stain glass windows, illuminating the cemetery with color and a sense of magic. In another cinematic moment, I, having gotten separated from the mother-daughter duo in a moment of “chase the cute kitty,” ran into yet another group of swing dancers (yay!) and we left together to met up with the others.
We all sat for a minute, chatted about the wonders of the location, meeting/running into dancers – and then we had another good idea. ICE CREAM! Yum. So me and L being young and cute, were treated to yummyness – I got dulce de leche, frutilla (strawberry) and some other kind of fruity flavor. So much ice cream. So much. I died.
Then we walked around the feria (artisan market) located just outside the cemetery, watched some street Tango performers, and then ended up at a salsa rueda demonstration – which I hopped into at the last moment. Exhausted and wanting to get back to the casa before sundown, I said my goodbyes and headed home.
Lots more good and fun things happened between then and last weekend (Club 69 Baby!!!), but it probably consisted of school, working on a project about Villa Crespo, being slightly sick, more school, taking naps, and planing my upcoming Patagonia trip.
This past weekend I went dancing Friday, and on Saturday I had the same “Sieze the Day” kind of feeling as Sunday, and at JUST the right moment, I called my U.S. friends (from API) and we all met up at Plaza Italia and caught a collectivo to go to Parque Norte. Aka The best decision I have made yet.
It was Paradise- or close to it, because what I needed at that moment was to hang with the girls, be petty and put on a bikini, get some sun, exercise, and swimmmmm.
Which I did… but we can also add to that: feeling really pale, noticing that portenas don’t wear bikinis but instead thongs are the norm (but SERIOUSLY. their butts are amazing. probably from all that walking) and I got an ear ache. All necessary prices to pay for the amazing day I had. PICS HERE. I HIGHLY recommend going there – its 25/30 pesos during the week and 50 pesos during the weekend – for a DAY (to 8pm) of a park with 4 (or more?) pools, umbrellas, chairs, a water slide, and hey let’s throw in some water aerobics and volley ball – you name it. Outside the pool area was a basketball court, a tennis court, a football court, a food court, and the food wasn’t a whopping 50 dollar overpriced amusement park price, but a normal (even cheaper than normal) 12 pesos for a hamburger or small pizza, and 5 pesos for a ginormous amount of ice cream. So. DEFINITELY worth it. Plus, a 2.50 peso fare round trip on a colectivo (not more than 20 minutes) that rides along the Rio de Plata and drops you off right by the subte Green Line D.
So. That was relaxing.
And then the wave of “you’ve had way to much of a good time, here, taste some misery” came. You can just call it “being sick.”
I missed two and half days of normal scheduling, sweaty/feverish/chills, throat was killing me, ear ache was making my brain want to explode, and head was pounding. Oh, and did I mention that the final exam that counted for 60-70 percent of my class was the next day? Well it was. And well, I passed – with high marks (who knows how I did it). Today, I finally acquired the brain power and energy to stop by the University medical center (which is free btw) and the nurse gave me antibiotics and advice to get better – which I have. I feel about 50 times better than I did earlier, and though all those things that sucked about being sick earlier still exist, they exist at a smaller and more whispery level. At least they are quiet enough for me to finally update this blog. And for that, I thank you, Doctor, savior, my hero.
Next week I will be on “Spring” break – traveling through Patagonia – El Calafate, El Chalten, and Ushuaia. I most likely won’t be on the internet too often (this week was an exception because I was getting antsy being in bed all day) but I will be sure to post tons of photos when I get back!
- Sometimes it is good to make plans (parque norte) and sometimes it is good not make plans (recoleta cemetery)
- I can’t spell “cemetery”
- Kitties are always cute – but try to refrain from petting the mangy ones
- Sun is good – Sunscreen is good too
- Sleep is good also
HAPPY ONE MONTH ABROAD!!!
(Tip of the Day: The Mama’s and Papa’s will get anyone in better spirits.)