Vacation time

The seat was more like a toilet seat. One you were supposed to sit on for a while and relax. Not one meant for pedaling a bike. Yet somehow, someway, this seat found its way to my rear end for a day.

On the bike trip. Just look how comfortable that seat looks. 

This hunk of metal weighed 10 times more than a bike should weigh. The gears did not work and rust covered just about everything, except the seat.

It was the second day of our weekend trip to Montevideo and boy did I need a vacation. Yes, you may think I’m already on a vacation in Buenos Aires, but days spent in class and internships make it far from something like a vacation. Buenos Aires is a crowded, messy and noisy metropolis. Montevideo, while it is just a three hour ferry ride away, is quite the opposite.

The beach in Montevideo

Montevideo truly felt like what you expect from a Latin American city. The driving was much less crazy than in Buenos Aires. I could easily communicate with people and there was none of the crazy Argentinian accent that makes me wonder sometimes if they’re even enunciating.

While the bike was less than desirable, I did knock one thing off the bucket list — riding bikes along the beachfront.


The main reason we traveled to Montevideo the past weekend was because of the Carnaval celebrations taking place. Carnaval is a celebration very similar to Mardi Gras in the U.S., minus the rampant drinking and partying like you see in New Orleans.

The highlight of Carnaval in Montevideo is the parade called Desfile de Llamadas. The parade has its roots in 18th century Montevideo and the black slaves that lived in the city’s poorest neighborhoods where the parade now takes place. The slaves would go to the

The drummers

streets and play their tambores to call (hence the use of “Llamadas” in the name) the others out to the street and join in their celebration. This was done as an example of a cultural expression as they were often restricted by their owners. You can read more about it here, and they also have a video, which is probably a better quality than mine.

One of the many dancers in the Desfile de Llamadas


We spent our last day in Uruguay at the beach town known as Piriápolis. Since Montevideo is located in the Río de la Plata region, it’s beaches don’t have the best and freshest ocean water. So many from Montevideo take a short bus ride east to beach areas such as Punta del Este and Piriápolis.

Finally, I have to include a picture of how they spelled Raymond over the phone on my ticket.


Montevideo Graffiti









It’s shorter than Kim Kardashian’s wedding

Yes, the honeymoon is indeed over. Those glorious two and a half weeks of going out on weekdays, leisurely strolling through the city and getting lost on the occasional bus trip seem long gone now.

The newsroom

School and our internships are kicking into full gear and our free time dwindles each day. No longer can I sleep in and not have to be in class until 2:30. (or 14:30. I’m still getting used to this military time.)

I can tell the honeymoon period is ending because that culture shock they always tell you about in orientation sessions, is just beginning. Slowly but surely I’m moving away from the “honeymoon” period and into the “hostility” feeling. Of course, there’s nothing to worry about, it’s just

Floralis Generica - the flower that moves back and forth with the movement of the sun

what happens when you live in another country long enough to get your mind away from a vacation mentality. Enough of this culture shock talk though because there has been plenty of great news to share.


As I mentioned earlier, internships started this past week. One of my internships will be with the media group Our program director, Carolina, described it as a young and upcoming news group, or more appropriately, a conglomerate. InfoNews also consists of multiple media outlets, such as Miradas al Sur and 24CON to name a few.

As is the case with many of the buildings here in Buenos Aires, I’m thoroughly convinced our newsroom is part of an old warehouse. The air conditioners occasionally drip water on you making it hazardous for my laptop. Part of the newsroom has carpet, but it’s not secured and covered in water stains. (I learned this after my chair became frustratingly entangled in the carpet.) The rattail is also a common

The newsroom in the summer - Our editors don't come in until Wednesday and even then, they are there for 1/2 the day.

site around the newsroom. Oh, and did I mention, EVERYTHING runs on Microsoft? Being a spoiled Mizzou J-schooler, I had to keep telling myself, “You can do this, PCs really are user friendly. No really, they are. Well, maybe…” With rattails, Microsoft and Adobe CS2 software, it really is like being in a time warp that takes you back to the 90s.

Each day I learn something new about the newsroom. When someone arrives to the newsroom or leaves for the day, they make sure to go around to each team member and give them the customary kiss on the cheek.

Attribution and fact checking seems to be more of an option, instead of a mandatory practice. I already lost count the first day of how many times I saw staffers simply go to Google images and copy and paste a photo onto the website with no attribution.

Lunch from the Mexican food place we found after our first day at work.

Having said all this, I want to be clear I’m not putting down or judging the newsroom practices. I just want to point out a few of the main details I’ve noticed. Going to the newsroom each day, I tell myself, “It isn’t the Missourian, embrace it and take it all in.”

This is the first time InfoNews has had interns (internships in Spanish are called pasantillas). Now combine that with foreign interns. What’s going to make this internship great is how the two of us will both be learning at the same time. The internship gives us an opportunity to teach them just as much as they’re teaching us. Cultural exchange at its finest.

The other internship I will have is with El Sol de San Telmo. We had our first meeting today with editor and founder, Catherine Marie Black. Black is from Hawaii, so what a relief it was to listen to an editor in English again. Black moved to Buenos Aires with her boyfriend, (who might be her husband now, I can’t remember) in the early 2000s and a couple years later, created the community newspaper known as El Sol de San Telmo.

Converted these Porteños into Mizzou fans. Well at least for the KU game.

San Telmo is an up and coming neighborhood that has really taken off after the economic crisis in Argentina in 2001. After 2001, tourism soared in Buenos Aires and as a result, the tourism development and growth has been sporadic and at times “cheesy,” Black said. San Telmo is one of these spots. She created the paper with the intention to help share some of the history of San Telmo and preserve its authentic feel.

San Telmo isn’t the wealthiest neighborhood in Buenos Aires. In fact, it’s far from it. Before the tourism boom, Porteños didn’t think of setting foot in the barrio. It was dirty, poor and just not the part of town you wanted to visit. Over the past decade, with San Telmo’s

I kept thinking how fun it would be to drive this car around. Well maybe not around Buenos Aires.

growth and the people moving to the neighborhood from all parts of the social and economic spectrum, San Telmo has become a young and hip neighborhood that Europeans and Americans adore.

Now it’s up to the Porteños to provide some direction in growth and tourism for the barrio. Growth and direction that much of Buenos Aires, has been lacking as a whole. A historical district has been created, but what exactly that entails and it’s level of enforcement are still up for debate. I’m sure natives of Salt Lake City can relate to creating a historical district and its obstacles. (i.e. Yalecrest neighborhood)

When it rains, it pours…and rains…and pours

Last week as we were coming back from class, we found ourselves stuck on the bus in a large traffic jam. To fully explain, let me rewind a bit.

Before I left for class, I took out my rain jacket from my backpack (I had packed it because the forecast said it was supposed to rain). But it was so hot earlier in the day, I couldn’t help but think this hot weather would continue.

As class began, clouds quickly moved in and it started to rain. And boy did it rain. I couldn’t help but think as I sat there in class how much I wanted my rain jacket. With class not being over for another hour, I was thinking it would let up. However, like many other things that day, I was WRONG.

So after class, we ran two blocks to the bus stop and boarded the bus soaking wet. I felt like we had made it and were coming down the home stretch. Again, I was wrong. When we finally got to our bus stop, we got off to find ourselves walking in what I could only describe as a shallow lake. The streets we’re flooding and causing cars to find higher ground, i.e. the sidewalk. Apparently, Buenos Aires doesn’t have the greatest drainage system.

What did I do next? Just what Mom would have done. Whip out the camera. Note: Please excuse my obnoxious screams. Here’s another video of just how bad the floods can get here in Buenos Aires (I did not film this one).


As you may have noticed, I enjoy taking pictures of the local street art. Something else I’ve picked up from Mom. Funny how that happens. But it seems between each blog post, I find a significant amount that I can’t help but share. Enjoy.


Car art - Palermo


Not graffiti, but this is the mascot for the equivalent of Home Depot.

I don't know what to think about this one. - Palermo



Close to our bus stop - Palermo

The outside of a restaurant - El Microcentro

Life without dishwashers and dryers

Two weeks seems more like a month ago, but what we’ve done and learned about Buenos Aires already seems as if we have been here more than 14 days.

As far as cultural aspects, I’ve loved them all. The lifestyle is a, “take life as it comes,” type of attitude. You can go into a coffeeshop or restaurant and sit for an hour or more after you’ve finished, and simply chat with friends. There’s no waiter bringing the check and pushing you out the door. You may have to work hard to get the waiter’s attention and ask for the check, or la cuenta, if you want to leave, but you’re more than welcome to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

After arriving home from the boliche (club) at 6 a.m. (Yes, the sun was rising)

Now that’s not to say the entire city is laid back. Buenos Aires is a bustling, international and multicultural city, (where the bus driver is more than happy to leave you in the dust if you don’t board fast enough). A culture more invested in an individual’s well-being, instead of spending more time worried about how to get ahead of others, as I feel happens to many in the United States.

Drinks at the Irish Pub


It’s these differences in cultures that makes traveling the world so enjoyable. I think it’s easy to get caught up in an “us and them” mentality. I know this has happened to me before, especially before I traveled outside of the country for the first time almost 10 years ago. It can be too easy to think there’s nothing else in the world outside of the U.S.

If you go to a bar, don’t be surprised if you lose track of your friends. It doesn’t take long to get caught up in conversation with other people and spend hours enjoying yourself with someone you never met before. The bars, or boliches, are a socialites paradise. When you develop a friendship using no English, it’s quite fulfilling.

The hardest things to get used to are those that I tend to take for granted in the U.S. We don’t have a clothes dryer or dishwasher, and using a phone that was the U.S. standard 10 years ago has required some getting used to. A text that would take 30 seconds on the iPhone, instead takes about 2 minutes to write. Thus, I’ve had to take a crash course in how to use text language again. The lack of vowels and punctuation can only make an aspiring journalists cringe.

La Playa

We visited the area, known as Tigre, this past weekend. Tigre is a delta, about an hour northwest of Buenos Aires. A train ticket only costs AR $2.70 and for another $60 pesos, you can take a boat ride to one of the beaches in the delta.

My attempt to make Rob look like a bikini model

I can say I never thought I’d get a sunburn in January, but after spending an entire day on the beach, my back looks more like a cooked salmon.

The beach

As for this post, I’ll leave you with a few more pictures below and a clip from Animanía, my new favorite television program. Think of wildlife videos with human voices dubbed over the clips.

Along the delta in Tigre

El Gato Blanco

No blog post is complete without some graffiti - San Telmo

Chinatown, Pub Crawls y Carne

We recently had the chance to embrace a very well known aspect of Buenos Aires.

The nightlife.

The barrio known as, Palermo, is one of area of Buenos Aires’ most popular places for bars. Friday night we spend AR$ 100 to participate in the Buenos Aires Pub Crawl. Don’t be surprised if it turns out to be the best 100 pesos you spend in Buenos Aires

Aussies and the Norwegian

The pub crawl took us to three bars and ended up at a club, but the best part about the crawl, was the people you meet from all over the world. We met people from Norway, Australia, Germany, England, Mexico and Brazil. And I can’t forget to mention the Porteños. (Porteños are those who live in Buenos Aires).


La Cabrera

Before coming to Buenos Aires, I frequently heard about the great beef you can get in Argentina. It was probably the most steak I’ve eaten in a long time and the price for all the food? $35 USD. A bottle of Malbec is a great compliment to the red meat.

The meat

La Cabrera

The Malbec before the steak














We also made it to Chinatown on Sunday for the last day of the Chinese New Year celebration. There were so many people, we didn’t get very far, but did find some Chinese food very similar to what you would get in the US.

Entrance to Chinatown

El año del Dragon








Las Islas Malvinas

An interesting development to watch since I arrived last week, is the approaching 30th anniversary of the Falkland Islands (Las Islas Malvinas, in Argentina) conflict. It’s quite interesting to read both country’s papers and see how each are reports the issue.

David Cameron has said, “…what the Argentinians are saying recently…is actually far more like colonialism.”

Some South American ports have even blocked ships flying the Falkland Island flag.

The situation gets even more interesting when the U.S. is brought into the conversation. A large U.S. company, based out of Houston, wants to start drilling for oil on the islands. (Warning: article is in Spanish) This would, however, come with an agreement from a British company that grants the rights for oil exploration. All this oil discussion comes after the continual neutral emphasis from the U.S. government itself who wants a bilateral discussion/resolution (as I learned from today’s US Embassy visit).

Now my Spanish isn’t good enough to completely understand the objectivity of the articles (there are many others than the two linked above), but if I ventured a guess, the tone of both country’s papers is not on the same page.

Coincidentally, the day we stumbled across the 1982 war’s monument in Buenos Aires, the  discussions were just beginning to heat up about the conflict.

The motionless guards at the Falkland Island monument









Graffiti time…

More subway graffiti


Graffiti on the rear of the US Embassy

Real World: Buenos Aires

Today we were abruptly brought back to the real world. The first of our two week Spanish-intensive course began today at the Universidad Austral.

Waiting in the lobby for class to start

Universidad Austral

It’s a private university created about 20 years ago in the San Telmo neighborhood, one of Buenos Aires’ oldest “barrios.”

We wanted to be sure we could get to the university on time so we left over an hour before we had to be there. The trip only took 20 minutes. One of the great things about living in downtown Buenos Aires is there are usually multiple buses you can take to get to the same place and they are rather quick. The two times I’ve taken a bus so far, I haven’t had to wait more than two minutes.

Street mural across from Universidad Austral

While it’s nice having such fast bus service, you have to be on your toes, or the bus is more than happy to leave you high and dry. I was the last one of us to get on, but didn’t step on fast enough for the bus driver, as he began to take off. I quickly hopped aboard. Don’t expect the driver to ask if you’re getting on.

After class we stopped to get some genuine Argentinian food made by the king. Burger King. Yeah, yeah, I don’t plan to go there often, but how many times do you have a chance to eat your Burger King along a river walk?

Steakhouse burger with Spanish pronunciation below

Along the river that used to serve as a docking port. Now invaded by tourists.

I wonder if Grant Hill is getting any royalties for this.

Getting Oriented


Day two offered a chance to see more of the city. Beginning with a guided tour of the city, we made our way to the iconic neighborhood of La Boca. It’s the neighborhood pictured in almost anything advertising Buenos Aires. In fact, I think this picture is the same as on Mizzou’s study abroad website.

La Boca

However, day two didn’t come without it’s struggles. Being orientation day, we had to make our way to get a cell phone and metro card. As we were buying the cell phones however, we discovered the carrier, Movistar, had crashed and we wouldn’t be able to activate our phones for another day. It wasn’t a big deal, but it certainly would have made splitting up easier. Splitting up would be a good idea if you’re in a big group because many of the cafe’s and restaurants aren’t made for groups larger than four.

After learning our cell phones wouldn’t work, we tried to get pesos from the Citi Bank ATM. only to learn those too, had gone out of service. I call it the Gringo curse.

One of the highlights of the day though was the Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires’ most famous Tango show and cafe. We didn’t see a show but sat down and enjoyed a glass of wine. I finally had a glass of Malbec since landing.

The most impressive thing was ending up taking every mode of public transportation (Taxi, bus and subway). Taxis are the quickest and relatively cheap. I would recommend them but only if you can stand to watch the driving. I had what I thought was the luxury of sitting shotgun in the cab, only to realize you get an up close and personal driving experience. I’m pretty sure my stomach turned a few too many times on that ride.


Cafe Tortoni

Lane lines seem to be more of a suggestion to drivers in Buenos Aires instead of a commandment. Motorcycles have their own lanes, they ride on the painted “lanes” and swerve in and out of traffic. My suggestion, don’t drive in Buenos Aires. It’s just too easy to get around otherwise.

Fruit stand buying

Buenos Aires and El Gato Muerto

Carlos Pelligrini

I was hoping to do a pre-departure blog post about Buenos Aires but now it would just be foolish to try since I’ve been here for 12 hours already and have a completely different mindset.

The only interesting part about the 23 hours of travel time from Salt Lake to Houston, to Panama City and finally to Buenos Aires was, (well apart from marathoning The Wire) the Panama City airport. More of a mall than an airport, Panama City’s airport had everything from little kid rides to car giveaways by women dressed in skin tight racing outfits. I had the not so glorious privilege of walking across the entire airport.

View from our third floor apartment.

Now here’s where the mall part comes in to play. You would think the airport would have many different stores but quite the contrary. Duty free store – Toy store – chocolate shop – and electronic store was the pattern that repeated itself over 4 times. If you weren’t sure about buying duty free fragrances or liquor, you certainly had your chances to change your mind.

Moving to the important stuff. Buenos Aires’ first impression has been a mixture of three things — European style and architecture with Latin American culture and a San Francisco type of urban feeling, if that makes sense.

Using all the space possible...for oranges.

If I was looking for a culture shock, it certainly came with the grocery store visit earlier this afternoon. I wish I had some pictures, but I completely spaced on them as I felt completely lost in this grocery store known as Disco.

First thing I didn’t understand. There was three options of the same type of 1% milk. One was in a plastic bottle and the other in a box. Both of these were not in the refrigerated section. So what gives? To add to this dilemma, I proceeded to find a different sized box of the same type of milk in a refrigerated section. So going with what I knew, I chose the refrigerated milk.

Next were the eggs. Simply put, not in a refrigerated section. What effect this has on the eggs I was not willing to find out, but I’m guessing it’s not bad.

This was clearly the biggest culture shock as the usual snacks and foods weren’t available. I was having to decide on the fly what I could eat and what would make good snacks. To top this all off, when you go to check out, the checker expects you to bag your own groceries. I have no problem with this, but still, another cultural difference.

Political graffiti of some sort

The breakthrough of the day was our roommate Luke hacking into the wireless network to determine the password was something else than we were told. We now have WiFi and the world seems to be rotating on its axis again.

I’ll leave you with a video tour of the apartment. I haven’t watched it so forgive if the video is shaky or you can’t hear me at times.

Who would buy clothes from here?