South America

Buenos Aires & Me

I decided to go to Buenos Aires on the 24th of December and on the 29th I was already on a plane heading there. I had other New Years plans, which didn’t work out, so I checked my air miles and saw where they would take me overseas, and Buenos Aires was the destination of choice. I’m an adventurer, but I also like to plan every single detail of my trip. This time, however, everything was different. Thankfully, I could manage everything, and that’s the beauty of it – before leaving you get all anxious and excited, your heart races, you can’t wait to meet the unknown, and when you handle it all, you just relax and enjoy what this world has to offer you.

Buenos Aires

La Casa Rosada

I needed this trip. I guess there is no better way to understand yourself than just being on your own in a different country. You grow stronger, you listen to yourself and you spend time with the best company ever: YOU. This was, without a shadow of doubt, the best way to start 2013. I connected to myself and met an old friend. She is also a traveler who has been all over the world, but decided to stay in Latin America for some time. I call her my opposite because she is European and lives in Argentina and I am Brazilian and lived in Switzerland, from 2009 to 2011. It was great to talk to her and compare our behavior after living in a foreign country; I realized that I am more introverted than I used to be, and I don’t like sharing my business with anyone – not the Brazilian stereotype at all. At the same time, I came back with a different view of Brazilian people: they are happy, they are fun and they care about you, no matter who you are. In other words, Brazilians have a warmer heart that pleases me. But still, I am different. I guess I am just a mix of my European ancestry with a Latin American twist.

FeriaRecoletaIt wasn’t just this spiritual search that took me to Buenos Aires. It was the first time that I went to another country in the Americas. Brazil is a continental country and there are so many places that I still want to visit here, but my curiosity and my will to travel to as many countries as possible took me to visit los hermanos. Despite being so close to Brazil and having similar ethnical background, Argentina, in my modest opinion, is surprisingly different. You can see from the architecture on the streets of Buenos Aires that this country was grand once. This grandeur reflects on the Argentinians’ attitudes and tastes.

Let me exemplify with an anecdote: I took a cab from the airport to the hotel and talked to the driver all the way. He showed me the streets, the buildings, the monuments as if they were the best of the whole world. He was proud to live where he lived and this catchy attitude was so inspiring. Seeing Buenos Aires from his point of view was a great experience. I had the opportunity to spend the 1st of January in a traditional Argentinian family’s house. In there, there were paintings, old furniture, silver cutlery – it seemed that I was transported to the Belle Époque. That’s why they call themselves the Europeans of the Americas, I thought to myself. Their tastes are European, their attitudes, however, are not.

ElAteneo2

El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore

Buenos Aires is a great city to walk in, with many green parks. Try a guided tour to La Casa Rosada (presidential house), the street fairs in the neighborhoods of San Telmo and Recoleta, and the cemetery where Evita Perón is buried. Watch the milongas (tango on the streets) & El Caminito (the street-museum). For a not-so-ordinary recommendation, visit the Barrio Chino (Chinatown), walk on the streets of the neighborhood called Belgrano, drink coffee and eat royal sweets at Las Violetas, take a deep breath at the great El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore. If you can’t get into a plane right now, but felt like knowing Argentina, I strongly recommend you to watch some movies with Ricardo Darín, like ‘El Secreto de tus Ojos’, ‘Un Cuento Chino’ & ‘Nueve Reinas’.

That’s my Buenos Aires! Hasta luego, chicas!

Patricia Galves Derolle
Local organizer, São Paulo
Patricia is a post-graduate student of International Relations who was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. Her first overseas experience was a solo trip, in 2007, to Europe, where she took an internship in Brussels, and traveled all around for 45 days. Since then, she’s been around the world!

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