Sunday, January 08, 2006
Hola de Argentina
In yet another attempt to learn a foreign language (French in high school, Spanish in college and graduate school) I landed in Buenos Aires, Argentina today (January 8th) to study Spanish for two weeks. I am no linguist with my old joke being -- "I speak two languages; British and American............" due to the nearly three years I spent living in London.
This is my first trip to South America and so far I like it very much. I was having some flashbacks to my 1997 trip to Costa Rica when I studied Spanish in San Jose. Surprisingly some Spanish is returning to my little brain which is encouraging since I am about to begin this intensive course for 10 days!
After a US$20 cab ride from the airport I arrived at the Sheraton Liberador Hotel, my home base for the next two weeks. I had a nice lunch of a salad and a mini-pizza at the "Forest Hills" wine bar/pizza cafe near my hotel. The pizza was very good especially since it reminded me of the "white crust pizza" at Davanni's , a local Minnesota favorite. I will rank Forest Hills with a "3" since its location did not provide the warm, homey feel such a restaurant needs. Less picture glass windows and add a fireplace to help the decor I say but it is 95 degrees F here so a fireplace is moot!!
Following lunch I had a nice 3 hour siesta followed by a walk around the neighborhood and a trip to the hotel gym which offers an excellent view of the city from the top floor of the hotel (22nd floor). While walking around the city after my post-gym shower I couldn't help but notice that signs of the recent Argentine peso crisis/economic crisis still exist with several people sorting through garbage bags for cans to recyle it appears.
One very interesting note of the free enterprise system working but I have to get this confirmed -- the city street signs appear to be sponsored by "Personal" the wireless communications network my Blackberry is working on currently. "Personal" has a little sign/logo at the top of each street sign such as "Personal , Avenida Cordoba" where my hotel is located. If this is the case I like the idea of government services paid for this this greedy capitalist interest trying to expand its market share via some creative advertising :)
I plan to post daily reports as I get to know the city better so I hope you stayed tuned.