Thursday, January 12, 2006
Mas yerba gringo??
Following class in Buenos Aires today I walked the Retiro neighborhood around my hotel to the port area which is dominated by shipping operations and naval facilities based on the section that I walked through. My basic rule is walk until some security guard points you in a new direction which happened today although the guard (Argentine Navy it appeared) was very friendly especially after my first words of reply to his "Hola, Senor" (to get my attention) was "My Spanish is very bad........." :)
I was surprised to see an entertainment/dinner cruise ship by the name of "Mississippi River" at one of the docks which made me think twice regarding what city I was actually in -- Buenos Aires or my home area of Iowa, USA (for more on the Mississippi River see my posting - "Poor Man's Salmon" -- October 2005). I worked my way up from the port to the Capital area where I shopped on Avenida Florida which is the major shopping district in the city it appears. After having too much time consumed by the salespeople in some leather shops I retreated to enjoy "dunch" (see my posting -- "Art-gentina") at a friendly little restaurant called, "Puerto del Carmen", on Avenida Cordoba. I had the house special pizza, a pleasant atmosphere (except for the couple arguing two tables in front of my table -- actually she was arguing, he was staying off into space or at the TV so clearly they had some communications challenges). Overall I would rate "Carmen" with a "3" -- not exceptional but surely worth the US$6.00 I spent!!
My next stop after dunch was visiting several small shops in the area for souvenirs for friends and loved ones. I must say that I thoroughly enjoy using my rudimentary Spanish with the locals here -- it is MUCH better than sitting in my classroom!! I lost track but I was in 5 or 6 stores this afternoon and EVERYONE without exception was friendly and instructive on how to improve my Spanish. Mental note -- immerse yourself in the culture.
One final note -- the most interesting discovery today -- I went into a shop which used to be a library. The crazy thing that I noticed immediately is that it is an open two story structure with loft. But the lower level is a bar/restaurant and the upper level is a BARBER SHOP!!! Think of it -- loose hairs falling over the ledge into the bar/restaurant area :)