Friday, July 29, 2005

Living Again

The small heater in my room pumps out warm air on the 5th setting. I have 2 settings to go before I begin to worry. The last few weeks have been cold, compared to Florida standards at least. But sometimes I don't even know, as I'm in my room working on my computer for most of the afternoon.

After work, I put on my jacket and head downstairs. There's a great buffet next door, serving an all-you-can-eat meal for $10 pesos, or roughly $3.30. I have to remind myself to explore the other restaurants in the area. The food here is well prepared. A meal here is more than just a meal. It is a time to sit down with friends and enjoy - a pleasurable event during the day. You can tell that they take pride in what they cook. The steak, of course, is excellent. I was told by my landlord, a former gaucho (Rancher), that the meat tastes good because the cattle are able to graze the fields without being confined, as well as a lack of steroids. The meat is eaten without any sauce, or dare I say, A1.

Walking around the streets, I often see couples embarrassing each other. As if their worlds have merged into one - without regard for on-lookers like myself, who can't help but watch their display which lacks any inhibitions.

The Spanish is at a slower pace, a result of the Italian influence which drags out the syllables - making it easier for me to think I understand. I reply an enthusiastic "Si!" to most questions. The few remaining sentences I remember from the 3 years of Spanish in high school make up 80% of my daily conversations.

And then it hits me. I'm in Buenos Aires. The international traveler has done it again. And here I am, trying to figure out what brought me to this place. My head tilts at a 35-degree angle, and then I remember.

Chess has infiltrated my life at all angles. I visit the chess club three times a week. Last week I played in a chess tournament (won 5 lost 4, ew). My new chess coach, an International Master, charges me $5/hour for the four hours we meet each week.

I'm happy here. I think I will stay awhile.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I have arrived!

Wow! What can I say, I love this place! It really has exceeded my expectations so far in every way. My apartment is beautiful and is located next to three different dance clubs, a few dozen cafe's and bars, and about 500 feet from the famous Recoleta cemetary.

I haven't had a chance to take any pictures, but I will shortly. During the morning and early afternoon, I work-- then I've been getting lunch at some of the cafe's around here and walking around the massive city.

My Spanish is getting a lot better. I've met a lot of people, including Rocio, the daughter of my landlord, who speaks English pretty well. Today I'm going to one of the biggest markets in BA with Rocio and Kyle, a guy I split a cab with coming from the Aiport. This weekend, the three of us and some of the students in Kyle's spanish language class are all going by boat to Uruguay.

Yesterday, I took a bus to the famous Argentine Chess Club, Torre Blanca, and actually played my first tournament game in about 6 years! It felt great. I did manage to overlook winning a pawn during the middle game, but by the 31st move the guy was crushed. I signed up for the on-going tournament, so every Monday and Thursday I have a match. The club is open from 5pm - 1 am every day and has lessons with Internetional Masters every Friday! I am even thinking about getting private lessons because it is so cheap.

I am getting fat. Yes, the food in Argentina is excellent, especially the steak. Put it this way, I haven't been making much use of my stove.
Also, I am becoming quite the wine connoisseur--it's so damn cheap!)

My Voice over IP Internet phone blew out when I plugged it in, so this has been my biggest problem so far. I am urgently trying to find a replacement (mostly so clients from work have a way of contacting me, but also because I love the voice of family..)

The weather has been a lot better than I expected as well. During the day, a light coat is just enough. Some days are a little colder than others, but overall it's been great weather so far.

Well, I'm off to go get lunch!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

On the Road Again

Buenos Aires

I am off again this Saturday-- I guess I just can't keep still. This time, I'm heading south to the land of the tango and steaks, the beautiful Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I'm not quite sure how long I'm staying. I've rented a furnished apartment in Recoleta, for $550/month including high speed internet.

I'll still be working on SEO from my apartment. Argentina is also known for its strong chess players, and Buenos Aires is home to four chess clubs--so hopefully I'll start playing again. I'll take some Spanish lessons, learn the Tango-- I'm 23, can you blame me?

I'm not sure how long I'll be gone for, most likely a few months. I just checked the weather in BA, high of 60, low of 40. Not too bad for the winter.

I'll try to keep this blog updated with pictures in the next few weeks.