Sunday, 19 June 2011
I was invited to a Quince Anos Birthday Party by the godmother of the party's subject. In Latin America a girls 15th birthday is extremely important and marks her passing into womanhood. I would rather take the money and go snowboarding for a month or so. In fact the party was very much like a wedding reception with similar amounts of money spent on staging it and yet no groom. I even had instructions to wear a suit in order to blend in. To get a real impression of what this very formal gathering was like I will take you through the festivities step by step. On arrival guests of which there were 150 odd congregated in a room for 'nibbles'. This room was not on the small side and was topped with an ornate chandelier and appeared to me to be the location for the party. Thinking that the food was to last all night, I somewhat over indulged my belly. Little did I know that 30 minutes later we would make our way into the main room where we were seated at allocated tables for dinner. The 15 year old dressed in green then appeared on the balcony like Liz II to rapturous applause. But that was just a taster to whet the guests appetite since she then appeared through curtains in an arch on the stage and entered like a model on the catwalk. Between the courses of dinner there was a magician (see my impression of being a table), numerous powerpoint presentations of her life to date, dancers in ornate costumes, cake cutting, her thank you speech to people/groups that have been central in her life at which they lit one of the 15 candles and being Latin America considerable dancing at which my lambada and salsa skills were put to good use. The finale of this theatrical extravaganza was when she was lowered down on a swing/chair thing from the ceiling amongst costumed dancers. I thought that I was at the Rio Carnival. At 0630 the lights went on and I joined the revelers turning out from the local nightclubs to make my weary way home. I had had a great time and now appreciate how family, parties etc are very important to the Latin American culture.
Thursday, 16 June 2011
Having been back in Buenos Aires for more than 2 weeks I thought that I should give a short update.
Daisy had her 'make over' and is now ready for another trip, I have rented a flat in the Palermo Hollywood district of BA and I am studying Spanish.
BA is a fun and vibrant city which is friendly, cultural and quite exciting but there is one thing that I notice every day when I walk to school. Caca perro! Stick it into Google Translate http://translate.google.com/#es|en|. This is one of the streets that I navigate on the way to school. You may think that it looks normal and typical for any BA street. Oh how wrong you are! This one is relatively free of deposits since there is only one every 20 metres or so. The average is every 10-15 and this drops to 2-5 in some sections. Negotiating these parts is very hazardous and I have heard that if your shoes are caca free after 1 week then you receive an automatic recommendation for The Caca Cross presented for bravery in the face of extreme caca.
On the ground floor of my fortified apartment building is a function room where they hold birthday parties, dinners etc. On returning from a night downtown my 2 Canadian friends, Emrah and Siniz and I gate crashed a 40th birthday party. We were made very welcome and had a good time until 0500ish when we headed skywards back to our flats. It was a good warm up for the following Saturday. More later! Emrah and Siniz are DJs travelling South America with their DJ kit strapped to the back of 2 KLRs.
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Sorry for those of you who have just fallen off chairs or had your chin hit the floor. It had to happen one day. I have taken the first step and had some business cards made and the next step will be to shoot that pigging dog that, as I type, is trying to beat the record of 3 hours continuous barking. Anyway back to the job in hand. Apologies for the lame name but all the best e-mail addresses were already taken.
Though I am working hard at my Spanish I still have a long way to go before I can hold a conversation using normal words and talking at a normal speed. Consequently I have opted to target the Expat Community. In talking with other trainers there does not seem to be another instructor that is a fluent English speaker and so I feel that portion of the market is not best served. I am convinced, possibly mistakenly, that my grasp of the English Language practically makes me fluent.
This is the place where I am renting an apartment. So what do I think of it 6 weeks into my stay? Generally I have enjoyed my time here since there is a gym in the building, on the roof there is a grassed area perfect for circuit training, 24hr gated security, stairs that are perfect for stair circuit training and there is even a restaurant on site. As always there is a BUT. (1) The flat is incredibly dark which is something I knew before signing the contract but I had no idea how depressing it is. This section of sky is the only patch that I see all day and the sun never passes through it. The buildings here are 3 floors and there are 30 flats around the central courtyard (2) A shod pony lives in the flat above. Well at least it sounds like it. In Argentina people where shoes in doors and this with high heels and wooden floors makes the ideal setting for the percussion section of an orchestra. The first door is hers but I have never managed to catch her to express my discontent (3) Of the 30 flats I mentioned 12 of them have netting to seal the balconies. This indicates that there is a dog in each flat. The one in flat next door to Miss Clippy Cloppy is a small ratty thing that barks whenever the owner is not home.