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I was virtually kidnapped?

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina

Last night I went out. I visited a bar, then headed to a boliche (club). After leaving the boliche I discovered my phone was missing. Go back to find it? Why bother..
Funny thing is, someone apparently stole it and used it to call and threaten my friends. They wanted to get information about where I live and where my friends live, and they also said they had me kidnapped, demanding money. All while I was passed out in bed.
This makes me laugh, because it is so incredibly ridiculous. Here's the email the study abroad program director sent out about it.

Hola chicos:

Por suerte no pasó nada, pero Diana Parra sufrió un incidente de "secuestro virtual". Eso lo habíamos explicado en la orientación, y es cuando una persona nos llama para decir que tienen secuestrado a un amigo o pariente y piden dinero para rescatarlo. En el nerviosismo de la conversación ellos nos hacen decir datos del presunto secuestrado y nos confunden muy fácilmente. Al finalizar la conversación telefónica estamos más confundidos aún porque los delincuentes son muy hábiles en esto.

Anoche lo que pasó, creo, es que Diana no perdió el celular sino que se lo robaron sin que ella se diera cuenta. Entonces usaron el celular para llamar a la gente que estaba en la lista de teléfonos del celular y a todos les decían que Diana estaba secuestrada y otras amenazas horribles. Bueno, la cuestión es que Diana estaba en su casa durmiendo y cuando se despertó se dio cuenta de que no tenía el celular.

Les escribo para que estén atentos y no hagan caso de ningún llamado de alguien que llama sobre Diana. Cuando reciban el llamado, digan que la policía está rastreando la llamada y corten inmediatamente. También luego manden un email a todos contando el incidente.



So sad.
So if you get a call from my phone, don't answer. Or tell the dbag to grow up.
What the hell, Argentina?

permalink written by  poweroflove on May 1, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina
from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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Being a study abroad kid..

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina

I have made some non-IFSA (my study abroad program) friends, and you know what one of them told me? They said they love meeting people, but study abroad kids he usually veers away from. That made me super curious, so I've started noticing some things.

For example, us study abroad kids have our days here counted. We know that no matter how great or horrible our experience is, it is just that, an experience. An adventure. Something ephemeral. Maybe it's for this reason that a lot of kids seem to not put much value on creating lasting friendships with locals. It's like, "Well I'm going back to the US, so if I'm friends with people here I'm not really gonna see them again, so why step out of my comfort zone?" I've noticed that kids usually only hang out with other study abroad kids, so their spanish improves, but not enough to blend in. When they go back, they'll have great friends from the US, but probably not be as connected to this place. It's interesting to talk to expats and other foreigners that live here and that don't really see their time here as counted. They realize that since they are gonna be stuck here, they better make bonds and strong ties. They don't have the opportunity to just take off after six months, so they invest themselves here in very different ways. They make this place their home, rather than just a place to pass the time.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh. Maybe it's not really like that. But this is what I've noticed.

permalink written by  poweroflove on April 17, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina
from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina

For those of you who don't already know, Dengue is after me.
I had Dengue Fever last year a couple of days before my birthday. It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't fun, but it was over relatively quickly. Now, apparently, I'm immune to that strain of Dengue. The thing is that if I get it again, except with a different strain, I'm more likely to contract dengue hemorrhagic fever. Exciting, right?

Even more exciting, with the outbreak of Dengue in Bolivia and Paraguay, it has been drifting into Argentina. There is currently an outbreak in the northern provinces, so they thought all the cases in Buenos Aires had been imported from other parts of the country. The latest? Apparently two cases in Buenos Aires, in Palermo, which I live next to, did not begin elsewhere. Meaning, there are disease carrying mosquitoes in this city.

Here's proof that the dengue is after me.

Hopefully with the colder temperatures they will go away..

permalink written by  poweroflove on April 15, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina
from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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Dancing under a full moon

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sorry I haven't been updating this lately. I just have a feeling no one reads it, so what's the point, no? Well, I finally have something exciting enough to write about regardless.

Last night there was a full moon. A friend of mine had told me about some drum circle she was invited to last full moon, and I was super curious. So I looked it up online, and apparently there's a group of people that meet up right behind the planetarium and build a fire and play drums. Clearly I was determined to go, even though none of the people I usually hang out with seemed like they were interested. So I went by myself, and I was gonna meet someone else there. Well, this friend took like an hour and a half longer than me to get there, so meanwhile I got to talking to a group of colombians.

The fire got started, and people sat around the fire. We chatted, got to know each other. Apparently this group of like 5 colombians, who happen to be super nice, are just living here in Buenos Aires. So we're gonna meet up and hang out again. I'm excited about that. I really loved hanging out with them because I felt like I was at home. You know, argentines speak spanish, yes, but the culture is just so different. Relatively, I mean. But these kids were so cool, and I missed the colombian accent..
Anyway, eventually the drums got going, and things got interesting. One of the colombian girls, Monica, had these cool streamers, so she got up and started dancing. The energy was awesome, and everyone there started clapping for her.
It was this really supportive group of people that cheered on whomever was brave enough to get up and have their own fun. After her this guy with juggling balls that glowed in different colors started, well, juggling. It was awesome.

The guys that set the drum circle up had beer, too, so you could buy a whole liter of beer for A$6, which is less than US$2. At some point everyone got up and started dancing. I had so much fun. The coolest part were the random instruments that would join in, like a xylophone and a cool andean-sounding flute. (Pardon the total lack of knowledge about these instruments)

permalink written by  poweroflove on April 10, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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Jardin Japones

Buenos Aires, Argentina

After class I decided I wanted to go to a park and hang out. I headed down Avenida Libertador, and I made it to the Jardin Japones, in Palermo.

I picked a tree in the shade and sat down to write. I loved that I was completely surrounded by trees, so I took pictures of everything around me.

Eventually I just put some music on, headed for the sun, and basked in it until sunset.
I think I've found a place to watch sunsets.

I even like the skyline there

permalink written by  poweroflove on April 8, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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Just a few things I've noticed..

Buenos Aires, Argentina

After a couple of weeks of school, there are a couple of things I have noticed that are pretty interesting.
First of all, in the classes that I’m taking, everyone calls each other compañer@. This might clue you in to the kind of classes I’m taking, but I think it’s pretty cool. Today a girl pulled out her mate and started sharing with the whole room, which I thought was pretty nice.
Also, the dependency theory is kind of taken for granted. I’m glad I did a paper on it for a sociology class once, because otherwise I might not know what practically every reading/professor is talking about when they say center and periphery, and its implications. I find it pretty interesting that pretty students in the US don’t usually know what it is, when here it’s such a basis for describing things.
More surprising is the realization that very few US students know what the Washington Consensus is. This I learned when a professor made reference to this very fact, as she offered extra material on the subject to the foreign students. I guess it makes sense though.. The Washington Consensus has had such a direct and important impact on Latin American realities for the past couple of decades, that it seems obvious every university student would know about it. I will hold back on my ideas about why it’s not really taught (I was taught it, but apparently lots of people have never heard of it) in the US.
One more thing.. there is a HUGE pull toward leftist parties on campus here. This makes for a very militant student body, at least at the University of Buenos Aires. But not everyone is associated with a party apparatus. And in general, I feel like the level of activism is much higher, with really high commitment. This is evident in the much more widespread dissemination of information and direct action by the students, which I find freer from bureaucratic demands than back at SU.

End of rant.

permalink written by  poweroflove on March 27, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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Exploring new parts of the city

Buenos Aires, Argentina

I tried to ignore the fact that I was just not getting used to walking around my neighborhood because of the obscene amount of people that looked like they were on a runway and/or had some sort of plastic surgery gone wrong. Also, I was seeing a lot of orange fake bakers (keep in mind it's summer here!). The neighborhood is nice, it's safe, and even though it has a lot of obscenely expensive looking houses, I thought I would give it the benefit of the doubt. Especially since I'm living here until July.
However, I finally ventured into Caballito, Almagro, and other regular neighborhoods where people seem like they have more on their minds than just looking stylish. It was so incredibly refreshing to walk by old people who's faces looked, well, old. I'm down with wrinkles. I don't like plastic-looking faces. I like seeing Normal people, that have less money to waste on silly things. I guess I also really really love being able to buy stuff at decent prices, because stuff in my neighborhood is super expensive.

I guess I should add as a sidenote that, even with pretty ridiculous prices and strange looking people, my neighborhood is pretty close to "the action". There is lots of stuff happening around here, and if I'm willing to walk for a while I can get to the city's downtown by foot. It's pretty centric, there are very nice parks, but I guess I just need a dose of down-to-earth every once in a while, no?

Anyway, I think I'm gonna spend more time elsewhere now. Today, for example, I went to Parque Centenario in Caballito. On my way there I ran across this mural. The left side of it says stuff like "Is the right to private property worth more than the right to shelter?" and "Isn't it violence to leave people on the street?" and "Are evictions for the benefit of the people of of the housing businesses?" and "Property deprives us".

The other side of the mural reads "If evictions are law, occupations are justice".

And this is Parque Centenario. I sat here and wrote and read for a couple of hours. It was nice, except the wind is starting to get chilly now..

  • I don't understand why the word Normal is a link.

  • permalink written by  poweroflove on March 16, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
    from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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    Really? How old are you!?

    Buenos Aires, Argentina

    A couple of my guy friends here have complained about how girls here, minas, are ice queens. It seems understandable if you think about how incredibly intense men are.
    For example, I like smiling at people I pass on the street, but I can't really do that. In fact, I really should not smile at men at all because there is a good chance they'll take it as an invitation or flirtation of some sort. Now I have to walk around the streets with a very serious look on my face, because I'm scared men will get nasty with me. In fact, I like dressing simply and comfortably, I don't look too girly, kind of boyish sometimes, never any make up, and men still say inappropriate things. When you take this kind of fordwardness into consideration, it seems logical that girls here are very stand off-ish, ice queens (someone told me that this is mostly in Buenos Aires, because in other parts of Argentina girls are less cold.. I doubt this, because I know the same thing happens in other parts of Latin America..).

    So, to the point of my story: today, as I was leaving my apt and passing by a school, the kids were getting out of classes. I love this part of the day because I get to see the parents or siblings coming to pick up the children, everyone holding hands and telling each other stories about their days. Today it wasn't so pleasant. There was a group of about 6 to 8 boys, and one of them saw a pretty girl across the street. His reaction? "Let's yell at her!" So they did. They all started yelling at her that she was "hot" and other much more explicit, rude, and ridiculous things. The girl ended up just leaving where she was. I almost turned around and unleashed my inner mother on them, telling them they were rude and out of place, and that they should not be doing that. But I didn't. Myabe I should have. But the point is that, beyond making me very angry, it really disappointed me that kids are seeing this kind of thing and following the very bad example. It's sad that habits like that are so ingrained in the culture because kids just end up repeating what they see adults around them do. In the end, it isn't their fault at all, but the irresponsible adults that set such horrible examples, and make boys believe that girls are objects to yell at on the streets.

    End of rant.

    permalink written by  poweroflove on March 16, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
    from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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    Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Today I finally visited the MALBA! MALBA stands for Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. It's definitely not the bigges museum I've ever been to, but it's got some really amazing pieces.

    My favorites were probably La gran tentacion and Manifestacion by Antonio Berni, Autorretrato con chango y loro de Frida Kahlo, Accidente en la mina by David Alfaro Siqueiros, y The disasters of mysticism by Roberto Matta.

    Sadly, the third floor was closed, so I'm gonna have to explore that another day.
    What's really exciting is that they do movie screenings Thursday-Sundays, so I'll be hitting that up soon too.

    permalink written by  poweroflove on March 11, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
    from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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    Donde estan las monedas!?

    Buenos Aires, Argentina

    I've held off long enough on this, so I think it's time to finally complain about the incredibly inconvenient coin situation here. For some reason, there are very few coins in circulation. People have very different theories about this phenomenon.. I've heard some say that the mafia stockpiles the coins and then sells them to reatailers for profit. A more likely possibility, which I'm almost positive is a fact, is that the metal of the coins is worth more than the value of the coins, so people melt them for profit. Anyway, the really really bothersome thing about this shortage is the fact that you need coins to ride buses. Apparently they were having security issues on buses, where people would threaten the driver and take all the money. Now they have little machines on the bus; when you get on the bus, you tell the driver where you're going, and he or she tells you how much you need to pay. You then put the coins in the machine, and it gives you a little ticket. If you have no coins, you can't ride. It's a simple as that.
    Something that is particularly infuriating is how stingy people are with their coins. Often business would rather let you pay less than you have to than give you your change. All of this makes it difficult to ever have enough change to ride the bus, and since the bus is the most convenient method of transportation, because cabs are much more expensive and the subte (subway) access is pretty limited, having coins is a pretty amazing feeling.

    So if you ever come here, NEVER give your coins away. You will need them for the bus. If when you're paying someone asks you if you have any change, just lie. It will make your life much simpler.

    As a side note, at leas in Buenos Aires they're willing to part with bills.. In Bariloche they never had even bills for change. Go figure.

    permalink written by  poweroflove on March 10, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
    from the travel blog: ARGENTINA
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