Ciao a tutti! Hello everybody!
I have arrived in South America. YEAH!
To embrace this continent starting with a visit in Buenos Aires was a good move indeed.
Not that I had hell of a lot of options from South Africa, hey?
I have figured out that when you live at the end of the world, there are not many affordable destinations to fly to.
So, here I am with a super excited mind, trapped in a jet-legged body. For now.
I have decided to write stories about this trip and how life is treating me.
I have chosen you to be my reader. You as a friend or student of mine or as someone I met in the last few years I have connected with.
I have the feeling that all of you could possibly benefit from my writing. Even you, complete stranger, if you found me online searching for things.
I would love you to follow me in my adventures, keep me company, since I am here by myself and hopefully comment.
Here we start….
I have been here for only 3 days and I feel as if I already belong to this place.
It´s somehow like going back to Italy but without actually doing it. It is a crazy and disturbing feeling.
Certain things are so European, and specifically very Italian, which bring up strong memories from my childhood, like the wooden blinds in this old and partially dirty apartment I am sharing with 2 other girls.
We used to have them in the kitchen in our house in Italy, but then we replaced them with fabric curtains in the 80´s. I still recall the sound of it when the wooden blinds were coming down at night to create a thick protection against light and crime.
And now they are back in Argentina, forcing me to return home.
I have the feeling that people here do not necessarily want to move on. The pattern of the tiles, the door skirting, the broken pavements in the street, the old faded colors in the facades of the houses, the long queues at the bank (when people could use the internet to make payments) they are all signs of a comfort zone, which is not too uncomfortable to me.
The very first thing I did when I arrived, after sleeping for 18 hours, was to go to the bank and change some dollars.
I have no phone nor watch with me and I have decided to do things naturally during this holiday. So, I didn’t know what the time was.
When I get to the bank and I try to open the door and it’s closed, I ask a woman at what time it opens.
“Ahora!”…she says…. Just now*
Great… it was almost 10 am… how laid back are these people? And I thought the Africans were quite chilled.
She made sure I understood I cannot just ¨get in¨ but I have to queue up and she showed me the direction of it… Holly Molly…. more than 40 people were moving like a restless snake around the block waiting to get in.
As a matter of curiosity I went to the end of the line to see if the mood was the same as at the beginning. The same resigned looks and the same fictitious calm.
I packed up laughing so loudly and I thought to myself ¨welcome to South America!”.
Once we all got in, the illusion of a system took place, managed by an armed guardian, who is there just to intimate the public. It didn’t take too long before the first woman started screaming at another woman in the queue because she unethically skipped it with a flimsy excuse. It was hysterical to look at.
One of the bank managers briefly came out to create order but only temporarily.
Unfortunately it didn’t turn into a riot! It would have been a great story to tell about my first day in Argentina.
The heat and the humidity stroke all of us and made us very temperamental and therefore very Latin. And why were they all so patient outside the bank in the queue? – I was thinking.
After being slightly mishandled in a few counters, I got my dollars and my power to conquer the city, financially.
I can tell already on day 1 that I have to get used to the people here especially taxi drivers who have a tendency to be real crooks.
The one who drove me to my new flat from the airport, tried everything to rip me off and if it wasn’t that I spoke the language, I would haven’t got out of it immune.
A part from that… what can I say?
It is full of men here and probably they are not ALL gay.
Living in Cape Town, it is indeed a strange feeling to acknowledge the miraculous possibility that someone could find me attractive. Wow! Shall I start matching underwear?
The man at the bench, while having his solitary lunch and the man on the bicycle, while having his usual exploration, were both very pleasant and informative and transmitted me a feeling of sexiness.
In fact, is there anything sexier than a man who, generously reports historical facts, dates and names of former generals or presidents and explains very easily how the country has been run in the last 10 years, over a quick chat in the street?
I was freaking impressed, guys, by the knowledge of average people in the street or I am simply fascinated because I know the men are not all gay and on top of it they know so much. YEAH!!
I’d better read my Lonely Planet guide more intensely to stimulate my next encounter.
My Spanish is doing great. I have surprised myself. I am so happy I can speak this language and I still wonder where I learnt it since I seriously don´t remember studying it as much as the other languages I know.
I remember one day in Torremolinos (Spain) in 2008 struggling with the past tense and then one day later in 2009 in Cape Town, it clicked, just like that and now I feel blessed by the result and by the fact that I have already dreamt in Spanish and spoke the language to people for the last 3 days.
So my dear students, there is a possibility for you too.
Have I told you that I am HAPPY already?
Yes I am because this city reminds me of Italy when I was a child and in a way I feel I am going back to my childhood with an adult brain. It is very cool!
I also feel free, curious, safe and ready to explore the city on foot.
The weather is nice but the heat and humidity will have to make me lose weight to make it worth it for me.
To be used to living in a small city like Cape Town and get thrown onto a big metropolis like Buenos Aires is quite a thing.
Hundreds of people crossing the street at the same, time within a few minutes, remind me of the synchronicity of fish.
Traffic represents exactly what the word means.
Patience is not the Nation´s quality.
There are so many MC Donald’s that they could easily be used as a unit to measure distance,
(4 MC Donald’ s later, turn right!).
Tube stations are as ordinary as the smelly armpit of the man next to you at peak hour.
I took the ¨sightseeing tour bus¨ yesterday to get a general idea of how the city works and I did it twice just in case I missed the name of some monuments on the first round.
Anyway, on the second trip I expressly chose to sit downstairs because of the air conditioning and being the only one – all tourists want to be on the upper deck and get baked in the sun –
I offered to look after a 6 years old chubby Nicaraguan child, whose father belonged to the lovers of the sun upstairs.
My job was to make sure this kid was fine. Why did I offer in the first place anyway?
I think it was the idea of having access to those soft and deep cheeks (most of you should know by now about my obsession towards human skin) and also the wish to be entertained by the colorful point of view of a young Nicaraguan boy here on holiday.
I loved every single moment of our conversation. He was genuinely adorable and I could have easily ¨rented him¨ for a weekend and happily returned him to his parents on Monday, in order to continue my free life in the city.
It is public holiday today. Being the 8th of December, they celebrate ‘Festa della Madonna” – Celebration of the Virgin Mary – like we do in Italy.
My morning “LATTEY” together with the Italian movie at the cinema I will watch just now ((Cosa voglio di piu´ by Silvio Soldini) are making me feel very Italian here and see my South African home like a guesthouse where I cheaply lived for many years.
I will leave you today with a quote by Helen Rowland:
“Home” is any four walls that enclose the right person.