Monday, July 27, 2009

Los Piropos son graciosos.

..."Que linda, bonita"... Piropos are the cat-calls that Argentine men like to murmur to women passing on the street. They're harmless and graciosos (amusing/funny). Also, they aren't as obnoxious as I thought they would be because they really are murmured. Women give them to men also. The correct reaction is to keep walking normally, and that is exactly what I did today when I went for a run in the park and then walked back to my house.

Today is gorgeous! It's not as cold as it has been; I think the cold-front has gone. El parque general de San Martin is beautiful. There's trees everywhere, and many activities-- including a zoo! Today I ran and walked the circuito lago (lake circuit)-- a 2500 meter path for runners and walkers around the lake. I'm happy that it is very common and relatively safe to go for runs outside here.

My Spanish is already improving, I think. I'm getting used to the common speach patterns and expressions of Argentina. As I was doing a sudoku during breakfast, I realized that I was thinking of the numbers in Spanish-- "me falta un cinco..." haha!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Las Fotos

My photos aren't downloading well on the blog, so they are on Facebook. I think my profile is set so that anyone can see them if they search for my name.

Arrival in Mendoza

I arrived in Mendoza last night to the welcome of my host family, Rosita and Manuel. They are very hospitable and sweet. Today I saw many places in the city of Mendoza and met Rosita and Manuel's granddaughter and grandson. They are 3 and 5. It's been fun and exciting and interesting, but very tiring! Sometimes communicating in Spanish comes easily, but other times it is more difficult and awkward. It all depends on how tired I am at the moment and what the subject is.

I'm settling in well and looking forward to starting my life here in Mendoza!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Estoy en Buenos Aires Ahora

My 10-hour flight across the equator is complete, and I'm now at the end of an exciting 1st day. My flight arrived at about 7am. The group of us that were on that flight met and got a ride to the Hotel de Las Americas. It's a beautiful, nice hotel with friendly staff (and wireless!!)

After a much-needed shower, the students from other flights had arrived, and we had our welcome lunch at the hotel restaurant-- salad, a beef dish with a creamy mustard sauce, potatoes and fruit salad.

Following lunch, some of us went strolling through Buenos Aires. Our hotel is in the center of the city, near La Plaza Libertad y La Plaza de Mayo. It was wonderful to just step outside and take it all in. We had another group stroll in-between our evening orientation sessions.

Our Program Director Jose is wonderful. Very outgoing, laid-back and knowledgeable...and funny! I can already tell that he is a talented cultural liason.

La cena, which started at 9:30 and ended at 11:30, was at a trendy pizza-place called Pizza Pialo. The food was tasty as well-- highly recommended to anyone headed this way.

The pizza was thin crusted and in many flavors, such as cheese and basil, artichoke and ham, arugula, and carmelized onion. It was preceded by an arugula-heavy spring mix salad and followed by tiramisu.

Tomorrow's plans include sightseeing around BA, more orientation and la discoteca. We should se the Mothers of the Disappeared (or Madres de La Plaza de Mayo), a group of women who have been marching and protesting for over 30 years against the dissapearances of their loved ones caused by the former military government.

Estoy muy, muy cansada y tengo que dormir...hasta luego.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lake Erie to Lake Ontario

After the one of the worst airline ordeals of my life, I made it NY, albeit substantially sleep-deprived and one day late. Unfortunately, what was to come required a full "battery-charge."

We left Buffalo, NY around 1pm. Strong storms had been dancing around the region all day, and water conditions on Lake Erie were sounded less than ideal. They turned out to be less-than-less-than-ideal. White caps, five-foot waves and the occasional downpour knocked us around all afternoon. We were all soaked thoroughly, and I was on the verge of hypothermia. When we finally docked in Port Colbourne, ON at 8 pm, dry clothes, bathroom breaks and food were heavenly for all of us.

The next morning we made our way to the check-in dock for the Welland Canal. They couldn't take us in for a few hours, so we strolled through the charming Canadian port town of Port Colbourne in search of breakfast. A restaurant called The Galley provided us with delicious perch, eggs and potatoes.

The Welland Canal is a passage from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario (the other option is going over Niagara Falls.) We were going down it because Chris' dad wants his boat to "live" in Northern Lake Ontario. The canal is used primarily for shipping traffic, so our "pleasure craft," as they called it, was last priority. This picture is Chris and I enjoying the beautiful, calm day on Sunday. Our day (and night) included a lot of waiting. The canals include 8 locks, which are a cool piece of engineering to experience.

After the 12 hours in the canal, we motored over and docked in Youngstown at 1:30am. After switching cars and going through customs, we didn't leave Buffalo until 3:30am. No time for Niagara Falls :-( What I forgot to mention is the 5 hour drive that Chris and I had to Saratoga Springs (plus picking up my delayed luggage, plus picking up our dog.) We made it to Saratoga at 9am, and then Chris went to work.

We're both rested up now, and the week is very pleasant. Long day in the park with Eli yesterday, and saw Bruno last night :-D This afternoon and evening will include going down to Troy and Albany to visit USCRI, art exhibits, and an Irish-Mexican bar. We're very excited for this weekend; we'll be canoeing to our campsite on an island in Indian Lake. Indian Lake is said to be gorgeous, it is right in the middle of the Adirondacks, after all!