Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lo habla Español...

... and boy does that make travel in South America, erm, difficult. Had I not spent the past year so tunnel-focused on Hebrew, I would've made sure to be in better shape. Doing my best...

After having to spend the night in the Philadelphia airport on my way back to NY from Cincinnati, I had a feeling that my luck wasn't going to change too much on my way to South America. I left my sister's apartment on Sunday afternoon to head to the airport, waited 20 minutes for an A train: Lefferts Boulevard. Took it as far as I could and got out to wait for the right train. Lefferts. Another Lefferts. And finally Far Rockaway -- JFK. Crisis averted... until arrival in Sao Paolo. Connection missed. Great. No food. NOTHING in the airport without meat. Literally nothing. Seven hours to kill until the next possible connection. No computer, no way to reach my friend to let her know I'd be showing up really late. (Finally had to make a credit card call to the States and have my mom email her... who knows how much THAT will cost?) Finally arrive in Montevideo, my ATM card doesn't work, I'd called twice to give my travel dates. So... can't get money. Find a cab that will take US$ as payment. Have I mentioned that I haven't eaten since breakfast?! I was, luckily, the first drop-off from the shared cab (a Uruguayan sherut!)...

And it was all worth it to make it to the top of the stairs to Tehila running out from her doorway. There was a welcome sign (b'Ivrit, of course!) on the door, good food (Tehila's dad brought her mom's homemade blintzes all the way from Israel! Toda raba, Ima Abramson!), and better company. Before the night was out, a song had been written for me, my clothes were used for dressing up (not by one of the ladies, mind you), and I was told that my Hebrew was ¨metzuyenet¨(excellent). I'll take it!

Anyway, it was a brief stay in Montevideo. I continued to Buenos Aires the next morning, and here I've been ever since. I'm Couchsurfing (surprise, surprise), currently at my second host's apartment, and will have one more host before I leave. The first apartment was home to two Australian guys and one Swiss girl here studying Spanish. The second is home to a theatre and film producer and two cats. So, what have I done in two days?
- had a mate tea party
- witnessed a host having his hair cut in the kitchen by a friend
- ended up at a massive Shavuot dinner and tikkun, where of course I ended up knowing someone and being one degree of separation away from 4 others...
- continued on to another tikkun... until 430am...
- had an amazing lunch at an all-you-can-eat vegetarian restaurant, followed by a really yummy siesta in a park, in the sun
- walked 6 or 7 miles in a day, including to and through an old cemetery here (apparently I missed the memo that Eva Peron was buried there... I walked past a grave with piles of rotting flowers in front... probably the one. Ha!), to photograph
- had really tasty Argentinian ice cream (though not as good as Graeters)
- went to a Latin jazz concert until 5am

And now I'm here, writing, taking a break from the wandering. I'm not really in a museums-and-regular-tourist-sites mood right now. And, admittedly, I'm a bit beat from two extremely late nights in a row... so, it might be time to venture to the balcony and observe the street life below.

(Pictures to be added... eventually...)

Hasta luego!

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