That's right: for the first time ever, a white guy is going travelling in South America. Read about my adventures as I travel the continent and try my best not to steal or conquer anything.

April 01, 2006

Just a little about what I'm up to here

I suppose I haven't done much "what I'm doing" blogging of late, as I've been mostly concerned with past and current events. But I've settled into Buenos Aires fairly nicely. For one, I have an apartment: a large, quiet place in Recoleta that I share with the owner and possibly two other tenants, if she can ever rent the rooms. But for now it feels like I have the whole place to myself. Photographing rooms and apartments, I've realized, is rather difficult, but here's my best attempt:

My bed and my charming little balcony which has quite a nice view onto Ayacucho.

A slightly different view, with my shelving unit and TV.

There's a nice big closet in there as well, and a desk, and more space than it may appear. But again, photographing rooms is a little difficult to do accurately, so I'll just leave it at that.

The neighbourhood (barrio), Recoleta, is expensive, a little touristy, and perhaps disproportionately populated with elderly retirees. That's not ideal, I admit, but it's also very nice, and close to many cooler neighbourhoods. I can party anywhere, but this is the only place that I'm living right now, so I'm happy for it to be well maintained and quiet. The apartment market here is difficult to break into: one requires a local co-signer for any purchase or long-term rental, as the law disproportianately favours tenants, and short-term rentals are extremely expensive. The shared room option was best for me, as it keeps the cost down and allows me to live with Spanish-speakers, and I pay a rent that would be a steal in Toronto. Not the way that most things are a steal down here, but still, very good value.

I'm occupying my days at the South America Explorers Club, an organization for the gringos down here who are looking for travel advice, companionship, and maybe a place to crash. I'm volunteering, of course, as they have absolutely no money with which to pay any employees, and I know this for certain, as my job is to get their finances in order. I'm happy to do it though, as I get a free lunch and often dinner, and a lot of cool people to hang out with. It's probably not fair value for my labour in the capitalist sense, as I'm accustomed to barely adequate compensation from a major Canadian corporation, but as a bartering deal, it's just fine. I'm considering another volunteer position, perhaps one connected to my potential future line of study (Economics), though these guys are keeping me busy enough. So we shall see.

Socially, the SAE are turning out to be great contacts, and through them I've met a reasonable number of locals, as well as the usual stable imports from northern California, Portland, Germany, and Australia. We had an excellent gathering on Wednesday night: after poker we went to a crowded bar down the street, which was excellent, and there was live music to boot. But at this place they didn't simply offer some stage where someone warmed up and then did you usual 40-minute set. Rather, there was just two gentlemen with guitars who found a spot in the middle of the bar, and played. They interacted a lot with the crowd, played some obvious classics given that the Argies were singing along . . . very nice. One of those moments in which one is glad to be traveling.

Add in the small group of porteños and Argentines from other provinces that I met while down south, and I'm certianly not without contacts, though I still have yet to expericence the famous BsAs nightlife. That may be taken carae of tonight, however. I have decided to spend three months in the city, and have rented my apartment until June 30. Autumn in Buenos Aires is proving to be pretty well perfect: beautiful sunny days, not too hot, busy but not overly crowded, a sense that I might be able to tap the city for even just a small amount of its energy. I can't speak highly enough of this city, or its habitants and their near-universal hospitality. As they say: ciao, besos.


Blogger Talia said...

Dear Dave,
It is with such anticipation that I wait for your weekly update on your blog. It sounds like you are setteling quite nicley into your new digs, and I especially like the fact that you abondoned your corporate ways in light of some good old fashion dear firend traveling is not about the destination but the journey and the road that gets you there... words to live by... from your biggest Fan! Tilly. PS. When in patagonia did you have the pleasure of seeing the iceberg break off? It even made our Trusty canadian centeric news a month back

9:49 p.m.

Blogger Dave Peer said...

Thanks Tilly, I quite appreciate the kind words. I'm not totally sure what you mean by this:

"When in patagonia did you have the pleasure of seeing the iceberg break off?"

If there was some iceberg-related event that made Canadian news, then I probably missed it. Having said that, I did make it to the Perito Moreno Glacier, which is near El Calafate. It was very impressive, and I'll blog about it in a little while when I get to that point in my Patagonia recap. It was the third leg in a four-leg trip.

Thanks again. Hasta luego.

1:22 a.m.

Blogger Dave Peer said...

Ah, I should have googled it first. You mean this. Na, missed that; I was still in El Bolsón at that point. No regrets there. The glacier was constantly shifting and shedding massive hunks of ice though, so there was no lack of awesomeness.

1:29 a.m.


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