Did you ever have the feeling the universe was conspiring against you? No matter what you do, things just keep going wrong like some spirit of all the bad karma in the world was suddenly in control of everything that was happening. Is this what being in mercury's retrograde felt like? If so, it described our first days in Esquel perfectly.
Posts tagged ‘Spanish’
Windswept and out of time, Hostel Cabo Polonio transports you to another time and place. The hostel is nothing more than wood and straw topped with a corrugated tin roof which looks as though it may blow away at any moment. Hammocks swing lazily in the ocean breeze.
Expanish is a school located in downtown BA right in the heart of the city, very close to mass transit, making it both an easy and a central choice. They offer many different options in learning Spanish. You can take everything from a crash course, to 4 weeks of intensive classes or more. We took the intensive class here for four hours each day for one week. On the first day of class, we were given a placement test, both written and oral to determine what level of classes we should take. The teachers and staff are professional and helpful throughout your experience at the school.
Taking Spanish lessons from a formal Spanish school is very helpful but what is even better is hiring your own teacher. We were fortunate to have an amazing tutor while we were in Buenos Aires. If you are going to be in BA and want to have a deeper understanding of the language, don’t hesitate to contact Gabriela Ferrante. She will specially design a course for you, no matter what your level is. She will even host the classes in cafes all around different parts of Buenos Aires, so not only are you getting to learn the language but you are seeing beautiful cafes all around BA.
Did you know you all have an inner gaucho? Well you do and I recently discovered mine. In case you don't know, gauchos are the South American version of the North American cowboy. Riding over the pampas on their horse with no name, the nomadic gauchos lived their lives by hunting cattle. Much like the cowboys, guachos were thought to be the honest, strong, silent types, but proud and capable of violence when necessary. Gauchos often carried a faćon (ginormous, sharp knife) tucked into their pockets and they often used only their faćon for eating. They ate, almost exclusively, meat. Even though I am a former vegetarian, I long to be a gaucho. Waving around my faćon, eating my beef and laying in the sun. I finally had the chance.
After the storm came in Cabo Polonio, it continued to be rainy and dreary. So we decided to start our journey back. This meant going west back towards Montevideo. A long bus ride on a very crowded bus (where Laurent had to stand for over 2 hours!) deposited us back off in the city. We stayed there overnight, had another fabulous steak dinner and the next afternoon, we left for Colonia del Sacremento.
Discovered in 1680, Colonia sits right on the water and was a crucial smuggling port back in the day. The Portugese and Spanish fought heavily over it. But in the end, the Spanish won.
So here is when my love affair with Uruguay got hot and heavy. It began in Montevideo, not because Montevideo is the most exciting or the most beautiful city but because of the vibe there. Muy tranquilo, they say. Argentinians might make fun of Uruguay and Montevideo. They say yes of course it's muy tranquilo, laid back and friendly. It can be all of these things because Uruguay is so small. Like a man with a bigger penis, they smugly write everything about Uruguay off because they are so small. And it's true. It's the second smallest country in South America. It's not a question of size though. It could be small and terrible. But it's not.
After our relaxing stint in Tigre and our arrival to Buenos Aires, we had a full week ahead of us trying to learn Spanish. The week was really crazy, waking up every morning at around 7 am, taking classes at a formal school from 9 am til 1 pm and then usually a 2 hour lunch break followed by more Spanish lessons with a private tutor. These would go on for usually 3 hours total (not including travel time). Sometimes we met with the tutor at night instead of the day. We also couchsurfed three different times, which caused us to pack up our bags and move to different neighborhoods. Suffice to say, it was a busy week but I really enjoyed it all. It felt like a real life had already begun for us. We had new friends, classes to attend and places to go all the time. I really felt like this was a new life for me.
Whew! What a week! After a tranquil weekend in Tigre, Buenos Aires was a whirwind! Actually it was completely ca-ray-zee! Sometimes in a good way but other times it was just too much.
We took the train from Tigre to Beunos Aires (BA) on Saturday (sigh..almost 2 weeks ago....I am really behind on blog writing-hoping to catch up while I am here relaxing in Uruguay). We had made arrangements for the entire week at various couchsurfer's homes. Except the first night, we decided to just stay in a hostel. We also signed up for Spanish classes (4 hours a day) at a school in downtown BA, Expanish. And if that wasn't enough, we arranged to meet with a tutor for 2 hours every day as well. All of this in a brand new city where we didn't know where anything was and had to learn our way around. I get tired just typing it!