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Monday, February 08, 2010

Global Village

Dec 6/09

Today I was reminded that living here in Buenos Aires is really like living in a global village. The day began when I decided to do breakfast "Argentinean style" and had a maté with a banana. For breakfast, Argentineans don't need a banana but their breakfast usually consist of Maté with a cookie or a fruit or something light. But for me, bananas were in order. Being born in the year of the monkey, I can't really help my affinity for bananas. Then it was time to meet my new roommate. Roommate? Yes, I now have a roommate. This will be my first roommates since living here so this should be interesting.

Last week I woke up one morning to find out that I was supposed to move out of the current room where I am staying because someone was booked to be there on Sat. So I did that, only no one ended up staying in my old room. The room I got moved into was bigger, it in fact had 3 beds in it. And I was told I wouldn't be sharing it and it would only be for me. As of yesterday, I was told I would be sharing it with someone. Some of you are probably like "WHAT!!!!!!????" and tell me that I should demand my rights and get what I was promised. And I would understand where you are coming from. But I decided to go with the flow and see how I get along with this new girl. It might actually be nice to have some company. In a 3rd world country, something is always going to not go the way that you want it. It isn't being negative, that's how it is. So I have to really be careful about what battles I want to pick regarding getting things my way. Otherwise I will exhaust myself over things that don't matter. As it turns out my new roommate is from Calgary, Canada. She is here for 2 months studying spanish and then will be moved to a host family to teach english. Her name is Melanie. This is the first Canadian I've met here on the residence. Most of the people that come are either from Holland or Brazil. It does make staying here very interesting at times.

Speaking of interesting, my Sunday afternoon was VERY interesting. There is a girl from Singapore named Silvia who has been here since the beginning of Dec. She wanted to visit Buenos Aires Chinatown do so some grocery shopping so she can cook some Chinese food that she has been craving. I knew exactly where the Chinatown was and how to get there so off we went. The moment we got to the gates, she started to get very excited. After 3 or 4 stores, Silvia came away with about 2 grocery bags full of asian produce and products. She was happy and glowing to be able to be in the middle of Latin America but still be able to find ingrediants from home. By the time she was done grocery shopping, we were both really hungry. Although Chinatown was full of restaurants, all of them were full of the greasy, chinese food that has been watered down for tourist taste. But we were in luck because when we had first entered into Chinatown, out of the corner of my eye I had spotted a little restaurant with the BBQ ducks hanging in the window.

I beckoned to Silvia to go back to that place. We soon found ourselves at the doorstep of the place I had seen and after conferring for a moment or so, we came to the conclusion that the place looked authentic so we went inside and took a seat. Up until now, I had been a guide for Silvia in Argentina but when it came to ordering Chinese food, I let her be a guide for me and we decided to split the bill. She went up to the counter and ordered the dishes that we would be sharing. Silvia speaks fluent Cantonese and Mandarin and made it easier to deal with the staff who we later found out was from the south of China.

The food started to come and the braised duck was amazing. My tastebuds were dancing and swirling inside my mouth as the taste of real Chinese duck hit my sense. It was truly authentic. Our lunch that day was a mixture of things that were authentic (like the duck) and things that were semi authentic (like the wonton soup as well as some noodles) But you could easily see that as we started to eat that we were truly having quite the experience eating the food of our own culture. While we were eating, something funny and interesting happened. I was getting thirsty so I said to the girl "Quiero agua" which means "I want water". She looked shocked for a second when I made my request and then nodded and got me some bottled water.

There were two hispanic ladies right beside our table that chuckled. Because I think the girl half expected Chinese words to come out of my mouth and it was quite a surprise to be dealing with a spanish speaking Chinese person. Silvia laughed too. Then I said to her how funny this place really is. Silvia and I are talking to each other in English. She is ordering all the food in Mandarin and I am asking for water in spanish. And the funny part is that it all felt so natural. It didn't feel strange to be sitting here in an authentic Chinese eatery in the middle of Latin America with 3 different languages being used. Now if that isn't a global village, I don't know what is!

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas