Wow! I have reached 30 days in this wonderful city so quickly. Here is a little update about days 21-30.
August 10th, 11th
Now that classes have started, I have felt the study abroad procrastination coming on strong. I felt the same feeling last summer in Spain and this summer in Bristol. Doing homework when there is so much to see and do, friends & family to Skype, or Netflix to watch can be very tricky, but I am starting to fall into a rhythm here. Similarly to my patterns when I am at UNL, I make myself get out of bed and get to the gym, eat eggs and toast for breakfast everyday, and try to find a balance between homework and getting out and about. My daily rhythm has become attending class, hanging with Om and Dharma the cats, eating awesome lunches in Palermo Hollywood, and maybe a quick gym session before dinner with my host mother and sister.
On August 12th, I spent the morning packing two backpacks with clothes and snacks. In the afternoon I headed to the intersection of Independencia and Lima where I met a few friends for a weekend get away. We were headed to Iguazu Falls roughly 20 hours north of Buenos Aires on the border of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. We were traveling by bus, unglamorous but fairly cheap. The trip was planned by Argentina for All. They are known for programming bar crawls, trips, and cultural activities for all international students in the city, and I honestly would not suggest traveling with them in the future.
The bus to Iguazu came about 30 minutes late; regardless, the Americans were first in line to steal the best seats. The bus had two levels: downstairs had 12 reclining wide chairs, the upstairs was normal cramped charter bus seats. My friends and I infiltrated the bottom level and claimed the wide seats for the entirety of the weekend. Students from Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, and a few other countries all filed upstairs. We were shortly off. After about an hour of rush our traffic, the bus finally made its way out of the province of Buenos Aires as the sun set. As the bus traveled along the small highway north, I played a few card games with the eleven other American students on the first floor of the bus. A few hours later, we stopped for a quick dinner of empanadas and pasta. Upon returning to the bus, we consumed sleeping aids and said our goodbyes. I slept straight through the night for ten hours in my wide recliner.
I woke up on the morning of August 13, unfortunately, still on the bus. Luckily, due to my short hibernation, we were only a few hours from the tourist town outside of the falls. I ate a peanut butter cliff bar to avoid the brownies that were handed out for breakfast, and shortly after, I arrived at the Peter Pan Hostel. The guides told us to leave our bags in the lobby and then to get back on the bus.
Along with the group of sixty random unshowered and exhausted international students, I arrived at the Argentina Brazil border. I was told to give my passport to the tour guide. It was placed into a black garbage bag containing the whole groups’ passports (EEKK! I hate giving my passport to anyone else especially when it is placed in a trash bag). After over an hour wait at customs, the bus moved onward into Brazil. We stopped for a very quick Brazilian barbecue buffet before heading the national park.
Once I entered the park, I quickly realized why the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls is known for the panoramic views. For nearly an hour, I walked along a trail gazing at the falls from across the gorge. The end of the trail lead right into Devil’s Throat one of the most massive sections of the fails. I walked to the end of the trail where I was soaked by the mist coming from the falls. Truly a magical experience! After seeing the falls, I boarded the bus and headed back to border control. After two hours of sitting and waiting, I returned to the Argentine side! I was exhausted after all the travel, and went back to the hostel to sleep.
I woke up on August 14th at the Peter Pan Hostel to a breakfast of bread and dulce de leche (caramel). The whole group headed to Argentina’s National Park to see the other side of the falls. Upon arriving, we began walking the trails and bridges that passed above all 275 waterfalls. A much needed empanada and ice cream break refueled the group before heading out into the falls! After changing into my swimsuit, I boarded a boat with a few friends. GoPro Cameras were ready and phones tucked away in dry bags. It is important to know that the day was cloudy and about 70 degrees. There is no perfect weather when going under freezing cold waterfalls, but the weather that day was no where close. The boat zipped around under may different waterfalls. I screamed bloody murder and curled up into the fetal position as waves and waves of ice cold water hit me. The ride was about twenty minutes, and let me tell you that was long enough. It was a wonderful experience to do once, I would not do it again! i put on dry clothes after and got rid of the chill. The rest of the day was spent walking along more paths, the most impressive, the look out point from the top of Devil’s throat. After this last view, the group headed back to the hostel to hang out and check out a local nightclub.
My time in Iguazu Falls came to a quick end the morning of August 15th. A rainy day and a broken bus window caused a two hour delay, but with a little tape and cardboard, we were on our way back to Buenos Aires. I slept until lunch, ate a quick chicken sandwich, slept until dinner, ate a veggie salad, and then slept until I was back in Buenos Aires. In the past two years of college, I have mastered the ability to sleep anywhere at anytime. It is a gift. Although I had a peaceful and lazy day, the other bus coming back form Iguazu through the company Argentina for All had a terrible experience. Their bus driver hit a semi truck backing out of a gas station parking lot onto the highway. The bus was totaled, but luckily, no one was injured. The students on that bus were forced to wait at a gas station in the middle of no where in the middle of the night for four hours until another bus arrived!
I watched the sunrise over Buenos Aires from the bus window on the morning of August 16th. By 9:00 a.m., I was back in the city. Because of the few delays, I happily missed my morning class on service learning. After a shower and a nap, I headed to my Tuesday afternoon class: Bodies, Gender, and Sexuality. It was also my mother’s birthday on the 16th, and she woke up to a message that I was safe at home after hearing about the accident. Although far apart, I sent my love to her and Skyped home in the evening!
By August 17th, I was back to my normal rhythm. I woke up went to the gym and then decided to check out of the hipster lunch locations near my apartment. Fitz Roll is similar to Chipotle. Within a pita tortilla, there is rice, chicken, veggies, cheese, egg, and salsas. The burrito was delicious and costs about $3 U.S. dollars, but because I came during the lunch rush, I waited 45 minutes in line for my food. After lunch, I took the subway to my afternoon classes.
I woke up on the morning of August 18th convinced that I had a seminar at the Catholic University in Puerto Madero. I realized that I was a week early once arriving at the University. Puerto Madero is one of the most beautiful parts of the city, and I used my error as an excuse to spend the morning walking along the river, fancy restaurants and cute shops. I stopped for dessert on my way home. In the afternoon, I grabbed lunch on the way to my Thursday afternoon class. This conversation class is my favorite so far. The teacher is extremely cool and nice. The classroom is full of new Argentine slang vocabulary and all six students are hilarious. After this class, the weekend begins!
August 19th was a day celebrating international students in the country. I met Grace and Haley in Palermo Hollywood for brunch. I had a brie and ham sandwich, which I had been craving, and then we headed over to the official international student event. There was a photobooth, food trucks, and a lot of tourist information, but nothing that we found too interesting so we left pretty quickly and grabbed some ice cream at Freddo. In the evening, I met my friends Grace, Haley, and Hannah at Grace’s apartment, and we headed to a bar in Palermo Soho called Sugar after picking up a couple more friends. We quickly left the bar and headed to Rosebar, a club a few blocks away. This club was full of international students and broken glass, because the bar is stupid enough to give out champagne glasses to everyone who orders a beer. After a couple hours of dancing to typical top forty, the vibe changed to Reggaeton. At that point it was already 3:00 a.m. so I headed home, just about three blocks away. Once safely at home and after a snack of peanut butter, I fell fast asleep!
Another ten days in this crazy beautiful city passed by so quickly. I feel like I am living a dream and so excited and curious everyday that I leave my apartment. As my homework starts to pile up, I am starting to face reality. Overall, life is so sweet! I am safe and feeling very loved! Thank you again for reading! Until next time!