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Monday, February 08, 2010

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

Sept 11/09

Day 2 has arrived and what a day it was! New sights, sounds, experiences and smells. But before we get to then, first let me update you on last evening. After having a nice rest, the lady who I will be teaching knocked at my door and asked if I would like to come over to her place. I eagerly accepted the invitation and off we went. It was about a 25 minute wallk. Now just a side note here, if there are any of you that are thinking of coming to BA, be prepared to do a TON of walking. I must have walked a few miles today just trying to get to each of my destinations. I have no doubt in my mind that between the healthy food and the walking, I will be thin and skinny after 6 mos just like many of the women in this city. Anyway, back to the story......

When we arrived at her place, we sat down and had a nice chat. It is then that I had my very first taste for authentic herbal mate. We had a great chat and then I gave her the very first lesson in English. I had brought some materials with me and they were proving really helpful. It is here that I want to mention what a novelty this is for her. You see, most Argentineans would really want to learn english. But due to the poverty in this country, that simply is not possible. Many cannot afford the lessons. It was then I realized that by coming here to teach english, I was giving her a gift that she could not have otherwise.

It was also then in the lesson that began to realize and appreciate how difficult english actually is. One example of that was when I showed her the word "sugar" and asked her to pronounce it. She couldn't. You see, although spanish uses the same alphabet as us, sometimes the combination of the letters together are different than those in her language. In this case, the S and the U and the G are never combined together in spanish so she had no idea what to do. To make things even more difficult, the pronounciation for "sugar" is one where there are no rules.

What I mean is this, in english the only other word that begins with "sug" is "suggest". But the "sug" sound in sugar and the one in the word "suggest" is different. The "sug" in sugar is more like the word "shoe" and the "sug" sound in the word "suggest" is different. But when someone who does not know english reads this, how do they know how to pronounce it? Case closed! But she is a fast learner and by the end of the lesson, she was able to start pronouncing words that she previously did not know how to read. After the lesson she cooked a simple but wonderful dinner of chicken and potatos and we laughed and talked until it was time to go.

Then came second day. Today, visited many of BA's tourist destinations. My adventure began with the Casa Rosada, which is their government house. It is located right next to the Plaza de Mayo, a beautiful square surrounded by colonial buildings, greenery and tourist and locals alike. You will be able to see the picture of these very soon. After I was done there, I learn to take the subway for the very first time. Just a tip for any of you coming here, the subway is one of the cheapest, fastest ways to get around and it is a great way to get to know the city like a local as opposed to a tourist.

My first goal was to see obelisk. That goal was soon met without much hassle. My 2nd goal was to see the famed Teatro Colon. I did find it but there was abit of a twist. Unfortunately it is still under constuction so any the one photo that I took isn't going to do it much justice. But you can check it out what it looks like from the internet or on a book. I hope to come back here on another trip and see the theatre when it's restored to it's full glory......

After my rendevous in the city, I decided to check out another district called recoleta to see the famed Recoleta Cemetary. There is a good reason that tourist come to this cemetary. It is the resting place of many famous people in Argentina's history but one in particular- Eva Peron. If that name doesn't quite ring a bell, she is the person to whom the musical Evita was based on and the woman that Madonna portrayed in a movie based on Eva Peron's life. It would be too long to get into the significance of her life in this email but when you have a spare moment, do read up on her. You will not be disappointed. It was her that uttered the famous words "Don't cry for me Argentina!"

Anyway, after walking about 10 blocks (that amount of walking is nothing to an Argentinean), I found the cemetary. It actually isn't gloomy or creepy like what you think a cemetary would be like. It's actually really tranquil to have an afternoon stroll as you walk down the different pathways with masoleums on each side. I didn't rush in immediately and ask where Eva Peron was buried like a typical tourist. Instead I took my own sweet time and took a nice stroll. And it is here that not only is it easy here to get lost in thought, it is easy to get lost period!

It wasn't long before I realized I had no clue where I was. This place was so big, it is like a mini city full of masoleums! But i had my trusty map that I had paid 6 pesos to get it it proved semi-helpful in helping me navigate. Soon I I felt enriched in my knowledge of Argentina's history after seeing the tombs of so many significant people. I don't know much about Argentina's history at this point but Recoleta Cemetary was an awesome place for a first history lesson.

Finally after about an hr I found what many flock from all over the world to see, the grave of Eva Peron. She is actually buried 6 feet underneath the front entrace to her family masoleum and even then her remains are behind several doors and walls. Because she was such a controversial figure, there was fear that someone might try to steal her remains. I found this fact very interesting even though her grave itself isn't the necesarily the most interesting to look at compared to some of the other masoleums.

When I was done at the cemetary, I walked another 10 blocks back and took the sub over back to the centre of the city. As I familiarize myself with this city, more and more I'm beginning to feel like a local and less of a foreigner.One thing I would like to add is that this city is huge and sometimes one street changes it's name into another street without warning. But I want to make mention that I have never been truly lost. When I don't know where I am, the way that I see it is that the city is simply playing a game with me........

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas