Words and photos by Catherine Brooks, a CAPA International Education alumna who studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fall semester 2012
9:00 am. Rise and shine. The day starts off chilly with a breeze blowing but don’t worry - by the afternoon the sun will be shining down.
9:30 am. After your shower, sit down to breakfast and take a sip of mate, the traditional drink of Argentina made from yerba leaves steeped in hot water. If you’re running late you can always find someone on the street who has a thermos of it and is willing to share.
9:45 am. Head down the block to catch the bus to Universidad Austral for class. You’ll have to wave your arm and flag the bus down to make sure it doesn't pass your stop like yesterday!
10:30 am. Your morning starts off with a show as you pass through several barrios and see street performers stand in front of traffic hoping to collect a few pesos. You heard there might be a protest later on in the day so you wonder if returning home might take longer at night.
11:00 am. Your class on Literature, Art and Music of South America starts. The professor speaks in English about various famous writers and musicians to your class that’s filled with students from all over the world. He plays music that is traditional to Argentina and somehow you all end up learning steps of the tango right there in class! You make a mental note to check out one of the local dance halls one of these nights and continue your lesson.
12:30 pm. Lunch break. Walking just three blocks away from Austral you head into the neighborhood of Puerto Madryn to grab some food. You settle on a jamon y queso (ham and cheese) sandwich that’s quite popular with the locals and grab a smoothie from Burger King while you’re at it. Hey, some comfort foods are a necessity.
2:30 pm. Class ends. Since you’re already close by Puerto Madryn and the air outside is nice and warm you decide to rent a bike for a few hours and ride around the ecological reserve there that sits right on the edge of the Rio de La Plata. After renting a bike outside the gate for a few pesos you enter in, take a glimpse at the map and with other nature lovers take in the beautiful view for a few hours.
4:30 pm. You've still got time to visit more places so you decide to stop in at MALBA (Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires), your professor highly recommended it and it’s well worth the 16 pesos to get in.
6 pm. You decide to head home. Dinner with your host family will be in a bit and you have some homework to do before that. Your ride home takes a little longer than expected as a protest in the streets forces a detour in traffic.
9 pm. Dinner is finally served. The main course is asado, a traditional Argentine meat that’s heavily salted and cooked slowly on a parilla (grill) over a fire.
10:00 pm. You call up one of your friends from class and suggest heading out to a local dance club. You meet up at a place that teaches milonga, salsa, rock, tango and a few other types of dances. You hear the music from out on the street and once you’re downstairs you see the place is alive!
12:30 am. After your feet finally become tired you head to a bar a few streets down and mingle for a bit. You drink a typical combination of Coke and fernet, a thick Argentine liquor that smells like black licorice. While there, you practice your Spanish with the numerous locals that approach you, the foreigner.
2:30 am. After grabbing a slice of pizza at one of the stores still open you pile into one of the ever present taxis on the streets of BA and head home. It’s been quite a night and you need to regain your energy, so you can get up and do it all again tomorrow!