Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
I’ve been on the road for about 2 months and not being able to speak the local language hasn’t been that much of a problem for me.
But when I went out on the streets of Buenos Aires, I realized that not being able to understand Spanish is not an option here.
I figured that English is widely used in Buenos Aires. I keep reading stories about how Spanish-learners kept getting responses in English so I thought I could survive a while with only knowing how to count to 10 and ask for the toilet.
But I found out the hard way that the only place where people would speak to me in English is in my hostel. Dios mio!
I did take Spanish-for-fun lessons in Singapore because of a cheap Groupon. My favourite line from the class was, “What is your favorite color.” I suppose it’s good as a pick up line and for buying presents for people.
Let me summarize my Spanish fails in the next segment which I’ve enthusiastically call:
If you remember, #bilingualsummer is a self-imposed period of intensive learning of a foreign language.
O Asked for SUBE in Spanish, retreat when didn’t understand shopowner.
O Understood 20% of hostel employee’s speech about heater in the room.
O Didn’t understand anything Movistar employee said about getting a SIM card but understand that I didn’t need to pay anything.
X Keep mixing up gracias with grazie. Damn you Italian.
X Keep trying to use French to replace Spanish. Apparently it does not work.
Other strange things that happened
Being person who was raised in the tropic, I am defenceless against cold weather. I didn’t realize how cold Buenos Aires could get in winter until I checked my Weather app.
Uh oh… Somebody is in trouble.
But I do have enough clothes to layer on so I was quite warm when I went out. What I didn’t realize was that the exposed area between the end of my skirt and knee-length socks would be assaulted by the wind.
I tried not to care and went to sit on a bench in front of the congress building. Then something wet dropped on me. I realized that it was bird poop. I should buy lottery because this means good luck.
Thank goodness there wasn’t anyone around me or I would think that it’s one of the bird poop scams.
I took out some money from the ATM (charged a crazy 0.038% transaction fee–on top of my Singapore bank fee) I had to come back to the hostel and type away until past noon when the sun.
At night, the hostel had a BBQ (A$70). The BBQ pit was enormous and was roasting slabs of meat. Slabs of meat, I repeat.
The strangest thing was that I didn’t have as much meat as I thought I could. Maybe I was still jet lagged or the smell of meat was too much to endure.
Until next time!