Monday, November 24, 2008

And the mystery destination is...

Well, lots of folks seem to have figured out where I´m at, but only after I led them down breadcrumb paths. The "moo" clue seems to have been a red herring for many of you, but I gave you another HUGE clue in that last post.

If you recall, I said, "But don't cry for me--the change also means I'm going somewhere I've wanted to visit for years."

Come on, pop culture junkies...

Don't cry for me, ARGENTINA!

I'm in BUENOS AIRES! Just a short 36 hours on four flights (Hong Kong--Tokyo--LAX--Dallas--BA). Whew. But it's worth it.

I made the decision to come here about a month ago. I was in the middle of nowhere, only foreigner in town, wasting time at the Internet cafe. Just happened to run a search on for HKG to Buenos Aires (pronounce it right, people: BWAY-nos EYE-race), and what do you know? The cost was about half what it should be.

So I slept on it, and bought the ticket the very next morning. Now for me, this is a very logical decision. I thought, If I don't get to take another long trip like this again (God forbid), where would I be more disappointed to never have visited: Southeast Asia or Argentina? It was an obvious answer for me, as Argentina had been a finalist for my big escape country. I opted for New Zealand instead, as unemployment here is very high and New Zealand was practically begging people to come.

What's to like about Argentina?

Well for starters, I speak Spanish (more or less). It will be a welcome change after being unable to communicate with anyone in China unless I'm ordering beef noodles or buying a bus ticket.

Secondly, it's a beautiful country. Buenos Aires is supposed to be an amazing city. And outside of the capital, there's everything from rain forest and glaciers to amazing lakes and endless plains. Not to mention such famous locales as Patagonia, Tiera del Fuego and Iguazu Falls.

Throw in a little culture: Tango, futbol, gauchos, mate, futbol... Oh, and it's known as the most European country in America. How's that for cool?

And last, but most definitely not least, the food. I've been salivating for weeks thinking of my first Argentine steak--the best in the world, allegedly (hence the "Moo" hint). And thanks to a huge Italian population, Argentina also has copious amounts of pizza, pasta and gelato. And of course there are beef empanadas, beef sandwiches, beef hot dogs...

Now, how about some initial impressions?

For starters, summer is definitely on its way. High today is about 85 fahrenheit. Whew.

The city does have a European vibe, with some long, green boulevards and many squares, often bordering a church.

Argentine men ogle, whistle and holler at any woman younger than their mother (a huge contrast from conservative China).

My first meal... a milanesa napolitana. This is beef scalopini (mine was as big as a dinner plate), topped with a thin slice of ham and cheese, with some tomato paste and a bunch of oregano. Four bucks well spent.

The rest of the day is going to be dedicated to rest. I´m at about 44 hours without sleep right now (me and planes don´t get along).

Photos and more commentary to come soon!


bkwriter2007 said...

I figured out Argentina last night while I was sleeping... Nice!

Anonymous said...

holy smokes! i was so in the wrong hemisphere with my india guess. =)