Settling In

Well, I have been here for two weeks now, and starting to settle in to my new life here in the Southern Hemisphere. I thought I would reflect on the differences, and the similarities between here, and home, and also maybe pass comment on things I wasn’t expecting. Whislt doing so, I shall also pass comment on what I have been doing to embrace the place.

Many pass judgement on Buenos Aires being such a European city in its style and layout. In many parts of the city that is clear. Recoleta, Palermo, Nunez, certainly have a European feel to them, although the bustle and rushed feeling on the pavements/sidewalks is more London or New York, than Paris or Madrid. One cannot underestimate the claustrophobic feel at times with the numbers of people here. I don’t think I was quite ready for that.

Nor was I quite expecting the proliference of Pizza establishments. I knew that Italians had come to Argentina in their numbers, but instead of Tuscan food, they brought Pizza – and it seems to be ubiquitous in the neighbourhoods. I was warned that Argentine food is nothing to write home about, and so far that seesm the case, although I am sure that more time will open up more opportunities to sample variety. One thing they seem to lack the usage off in cooking is spice – It is seldom found, and I am glad I was advised to bring some with me on my travels – They will be well used.

Last weekend we took a trip up the coast to Entre Rios, some 350 Km north of Buenos Aires. We travelled on the Super Long Distance Buses, and I have to say, that after the experiences of the Collectivo’s around the city, they are like chalk and cheese. Very luxurious, comfortable, and efficient, not words often used to descibe public transport  anywhere. Whilst on the subject, the train service here is something else…. The rolling stock is run down, delapidated, and crowded, but when you only pay 1 peso for a 30 minute journey, it is an amazing event in itself that the trains can run at all – how on earth can transport be so cheap?

Back to our trip… The journey up to Entre Rios was uneventful, and the views from the coach were green, flat, and somewhat Irish in their look, with the exception of the sun shining brightly (OK, an unfair dig at the mother country). At La Aurora where we stayed, the welcome was warm, and meeting up with many an ex-pat and Argentine for the weekend, on the Buenos Aires Hash House Harriers 500th Hash, was wonderful, and we were made very welcome. the run itself was very wet, very tough, and certainly full of shiggy, and the party afterwards was somewhat similar….

As you can see, I don’t make my living from writing,  I ramble on and divert myself far too often, so I will draw this entry to a close before you fall asleep and delete any link you might have made to the blog. I shall return with more views on settling in, very soon.

Hasta Lluega!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Early Impressions

Only arrived a few days ago, but already settling in well. Thursday was the day I got off the plane in Ezeiza, and having been met and ferried to my new home in the south suburb of Buenos Aires known as Sarandi, home of Arsenal Football Club, I showered and relaxed from the 28 hour journey.

Having spent some time on the BAExpats web site I had already made a few contatcs, and lo and behold there was an invite to a bar in the Capital on Thursday night. Now what true Irishman would refuse an invite to a bar – not this one, so we trooped off, on the Collectivo, and arrived at the Wherever Bar, on Santa Fe y Oro to try and meet complete strangers. Well, we didn’t manage to meet anyone, but we did have a good time, happy hour drinks, a nice sandwhich, and the barman/owner had lived in Dublin for 4 years, and spoke great English, so a pleasant first evening was had.

Naturally I was a little tired on Friday morning, but it was an early strat as my better half had to meet and bring along a young student to his first exam in English at the British Council sponsored Institute, so we headed into town, and after his tests we went to the bank, shopping, all the exciting things that I promise not to bore people to death with on here, even if they will make up most of life :)… I may pass comment on the banking experience over time, although this one was swift and painless – a welcome difference to my first tries back in March.

The big thing for me this weeked was the Ireland matches at football and rugby. Fortunately, for some reason better known to others, Argentine TV seems to favour Ireland matches, certainly at football, and the match against France was on live on Saturday night on ESPN here, and amazingly, the Rugby match on Sunday was also being shown live – this really is paradise. And to top things off, I had an invite in my mail box from a local Irish ex-pat, John Boyle, to join him and his family and friends to watch the match at his home, followed by a BBQ, which shows how great people are in helping new arrivals.

Aside from the result, we hada lovely time out in Acasusso at John’s, and later that evening we called for dinner at a friend of Paula’s in Belgrano, which topped off a lovely day. Home in a taxi at around 2 in the morning for peanuts, and a relaxed me.

Sundays in Argentina are family days. So after watching the Ireland v Australia draw, it was around to mamma’s for sunday lunch. Argentine’s are very similar to us Irish in their love of family, and traditions, and it is a regular sundat trip for lunch with the family, where my lack of Spanish came to the fore, but i enjoyed the atmosphere, and it will come.

I promise that this diary will not simply be a recollection of what I have been doing every minute, but i thought I would start this way, and go a long way as we progress on our travels.

Boca

Boca

 

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Hello world!

I guess that Hello World is as good a start as an opening post for a new blog, which is why it’s the default title. I had thought about calling this “Home Thoughts from Abroad”, but clearly that has been done before, and quite frankly, I don’t really want to dwell on Home Thoughts too much at first – may get home sick.

To be honest, I was sick of home, which is why I have escaped, and find myself in a strange land, with a strange tongue being spoke, and  a lot of learning to do. Allow me to introduce myself, without boring you to death. Pretty obvious from the title of the blog that I hail from Ireland. I decided that with the economy being on a downward spiral at home, the time was right to do something different with my life, and take a risk. I’ve made jumps before in tha past, the usual ones, the conservative ones, you know the type, bought a house, got married, had kids, switched jobs, took voluntary redundancy, all the usual life changes, and here I am, turned 50, not a huge amount to show for my life, and at that crossroads in life that we all reach at some point.

Well, I was helped along the line by meeting a wonderful woman, yep, there is always a woman involved isn’t there? We met on-line, not in a seedy on-line dating site, or find a foreign bride type place, but we got chatting over mutual interests, and the reality struck we were 12,000 miles apart, so little chance of being more than email pals. But life sometimes helps you along the way, and a business trip to London for her gave us an opportunity to meet, we hit it off in person, and the rest, as they say, is history.

A few trips south for me, and a couple north for her, cemented the relationship – It had its ups and downs, but we knew that things were moving in the right direction. The economic situation at home gave me a lot of cause for concern, and then an opportunity arose that was simply too good to miss. I was offered paid leave of absence, to reduce the overall wage bill, paying me a third of my wages for three years, and guaranteeing my job back at the end of the period. It was a sign – somewhere, somebody was looking out for me, and my beloved, separated from each other by distance, so I filled the form in, and here I am a few months later, on that foreign shore, and together with my soul mate.

Where am I you may ask. Well, given my love of economic disasters, I find myself in the home of economic disaster, Argentina. They are far better at having economic failures than us Irish ever were, so I should fit in nicely. This blog will act as my diary, my thoughts on living in a foreign land, maybe even acting as a guide to the pitfalls, and the pleasures, of Buenos Aires and surrounds.

I arrived here on Thursday, leaving a cool damp autumn to arrive in a hot muggy spring, heading to the summers that are enjoyed, and endured, here in South America. My Spanish is basic, and the first few months will see me at school to get beyond he simple, “Hola!, Que Tal?”, and I will report my findings as I go along the way.  maybe some will follow me on my journey, maybe not, but I’ll do my best to make this interesting, and if you like it, let me know, or even if you don’t, then let me know that too, or not, as you see fit.

For now, I will finish at that point. I’ll flesh out things as I go along, in the meantime, I have a rugby match to watch, I’ll always be Irish at heart, so come on BOD and the boys, lets beat the Aussies……..

 

 

 

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