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Monday, January 30, 2012

Spare Keys

Abasto shopping center. The city's wholesale m...Image via Wikipedia

When I sit back and reflect at all the different types of companies out in the world, it amazes me the attitudes and mindsets that lie within the company's origins. Some companies were born out of pretentiousness. Others were born out of pride and presumption, assuming the world would like what they had to offer. Then every so often, a company is born because someone took a good long look at the actual needs and decides to create a company to address those issues in question.........a company like Spare Rooms BA.

At times I wonder what the world would look like without Spare Rooms. We would probably all be either having to stay in hostels or hotels. And if we wanted to risk staying in someone's home then we would just have to randomly answer classified ads not knowing if we would have a good or bad experience. Many of us would probably have lost our damage deposits due to the fact that it is not uncommon for landlords to keep damage deposits that foreigners have given them because it is easy money.

Living in Argentina, there are so many uncertainties. The subway could shut down without notice, inflation hits the grocery stores along with political and economical unrest.  Not to mention unruly drivers, thieves, and pickpockets that are part of the not so pretty picture of life in BA.  And here in the midst of broken yet beautiful BA, ideas are being born to great people with great minds on ways to make a big city smaller.

When attempting to live abroad, good accomodation is one of the key factors to survival. The world outside may be crashing but I can get through it all as long as I have a place to call home. There is so much thinking that I have to do in every area of my life as an expat and it is great that with Spare Rooms BA, accomodation is the last thing that I have to think about.

The first time I ever saw Spare Rooms website a couple of years ago, I knew that I wanted to give this company a ring. At that time, due to some chaos going on in my personal life, renting a room with them did not work out. But I have never forgotten about them and after meeting Val on my last trip, I decided I wanted to give their company another try when the time was right.

And as it turns out it would be so worth the wait. When I approached the company again for the 2nd time regarding accomodation, they had doubled and tripled their rate of growth. They now had more rentals in the barrios that they had previously. But not only that, they've spread their wings and have rentals in new barrios that they didn't have before. This almost sounds like the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.

But the real test would be to see if they had a room available that fits my criteria. After every trip, I become more aware of what my needs were. So in my case, I seek accomodation in the barrio of Almagro, Boedo, San Cristobal due to it's proximity to the church and the school. The cost of living in those barrios are alot lower than staying in Palermo, Recoleta or even the microcentro. As well, I sport a deep affection for Boedo after 9 months of being immersed head first into the barrio and its people.

There was one room that caught my attention and the moment I saw it, I swooped down on it like an eagle to its prey.  Finding out that it was available for the length of stay that I needed it was almost too good to be true. I will explain to you what is so special about it.....

Of course, there are the things that are immediately obvious about the room. It is in Almagro, has wifi and internet and comes with a private bathroom. I wouldn't have minded sharing a bathroom but it is a plus that this room has a private bathroom. I'm always with other people day in day out so having a little extra space to myself definitely a perk. And working with social media, the internet was definitely mandatory.  However, there are some other subtle things about this place that make it beyond perfect. In order to understand, you have to know the address of the school. CENV is located on 4549 Rivadavia, 15 mins away. The only downside is that  with such a short walking distance, I won't be shedding any pounds :)

It gets even better than that.  There is a list of bus numbers that the place is close to. Both number 128 and 160 take me directly to and from the church. Where things get even more interesting is that the 160 also is the bus that goes to Lanús, Argentina and back. Remember that the church has big annual meetings that take place in Lanús?  In addition to that, both my students Julieta and Ceci take to go to the school and the church from Lanús.  Being able to hop on bus 160 will make it so much easier for both parties to meet up, whether I would be going to Lanús or whether they would be meeting me at the school or church or even in some random café in Boedo, Almagro, or San Cristobal.

One look at the profile of this place on the website and I couldn't wait to email Spare Rooms about getting the spare keys to this place. Of course it should remain a secret that the real reason I chose this room was the because of the cable in my room as well as it being close to my favorite mall, Abasto. In addition to the great company from the other residents who live in the house.  After a day of teaching english, prayer, sermons and helping the poor, it is nice to know that I can fulfill my fleshy desires for great entertainment in room, lively conversation, and a new pair of shoes for good measure :)


*** an interesting point is that I booked this place in Sept. The moment I saw it, I knew this was a place that I just couldn't let go no matter what.  But choosing to reserve this location would prove a more valuable move than I initially realized. In January 2012, the gov't made an annoucement that the prices of the underground subeway were going to go from 1.10 pesos to 2.50.

Because of this location, I can walk to the school which is 5 mins away. In addition to that, bus 160 gets me to almost anywhere I need to go, whether it would be to the church in Parque Patricio, downtown, or even to "The Office" in Palermo. I will almost never to need to use the subway to do all that I'm called to do.  Way back in Sept when I made the reservation, only God knew that in January the prices for the subway would increase. God is good :)
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Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas