After a painfully long week of being cooped up in our (admittedly lovely) academic building, I finally got the chance to check out the city yesterday. Most of the orientation days went like this: wake up, eat, go directly to school, do not pass go, do not collect $200, orientate, go directly to house, go out in the darkness, come home in the darkness, repeat. Anyway, Friday was a chance to finally get out during the day.
Most of the kids on the trip opted to go to a gaucho ranch (for u$s 50 – in Bs As, they mark pesos with the $ sign, so u$s denotes American dollars) Friday, but I wasn’t down for dropping that kind of money on what turned out to consist of a short horseback ride, some gauchos showing off their skillz, and a lot of meat. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m down for una parilla completa (basically, they grill up a whole cow and serve it to you, blood sausage and all), but you can get all that food for much less than u$s 50. So I stayed in the city.
Good call. My friend Eli also stayed home, so we hit the town; he took his skateboard, I took my bike. Bike, you say? What bike do you speak of?
Although public transportation is mighty cheap (buses are about u$s 0.30 and the subway is less than that), it still adds up, and since I’m gonna be here a while, I thought it would be a good idea to see if getting a bike would be worth the money. Dammmmn. Totally worth it. I got a brand new bike, helmet, and lock for around u$s 175. (NY homies, jealous much?) It’s been great.
So we hit the town. Now, there are no lanes here. Combine that fact with the innumerable colectivos and taxis and you have a recipe for exciting, dangerous bike riding. (There are also very few bike lanes. On our trip, we finally came across one and it was so filled with cars we had to get off the street and walk on the sidewalk. lol city.)
Anyway, we kicked it off with some bife de lomo – a medallion cut from the back of the cow. Now keep in mind, this was lunch food at a nice, but inexpensive restaurant. It was delicious – they used no seasoning (except probably salt) and it had a more rich set of flavors than any American steak that I’ve had. It wasn’t too tender – no cutting it with a spoon – and I know I can do much better, but, damn, good start. The steak was less than u$s 10.
Then we just started riding all around – we found some sweet graffiti and really neat little parks before we came across a big park with a lake in the middle. Eli jumped into a nearby skate park and we threw a frisbee around a bit. Porteños are very interested in the frisbee – a number of people stopped and watched us throw for 5 or 10 minutes. One guy even asked what it was made of. Needless to say, here they use a fútbol not a disco.
Coming back to campus was probably the highlight of the trip. We hauled ass down a big avenue as colectivos cut us off and we wedged between cars. We saw a bunch of different barrios that we hadn’t seen before. Exhilarating.
But we barely made a dent. We rode for miles but only covered a tiny bit of the city. Lots more exploring remains.
Next: boating, horses, and, perhaps surprisingly, Ultimate.