Travel is a funny thing. It can make you or break you. From personal experience I must say that some people are just not cut out with traveling anywhere too distant from their homely suburb or culdesac. Travel can throw people completely out of their element, force them to think on their feet and heaven forbid even to slow down and enjoy life a little. But then again that is what makes it so great. The new experiences, new places, foreign languages and exotic foods are meant to be something different. They are supposed to rock your world; and that is precisely what they do.
Out of all the great places I have visited I must say that Buenos Aires, Argentina is by far the most influential trip I have ever taken. Perhaps “trip” isn’t the right word; after all, I did fall in love with the place and was forced by my own passion to move there. The language is so captivating, Spanish that is. This is no ordinary Spanish, but a very Italian influenced dialect. I believe “Castellano” as they call it, combines the simplicity of Spanish with the beauty of Italian so perfectly that it soothes my soul to hear it spoken. It deserves respect, not to be just rattled off or mumbled. Castellano is the language of the simple as well as the cultural.
Recommendations: when visiting Argentina pick up a Spanish to English dictionary. Listen more than speaking and you will understand more than you think. The curse of the common tourist is his dire need to communicate with his big mouth, when in reality listening helps the process of learning a language and attempting to speak it constantly only hinders the rate at which you can learn. Not to mention it’s a good way to be targeted by some local thugs looking for a Rolex (believe me, I know what I’m talking about). So unless you have a true necessity, open your ears and close your mouth.
Communication is a chief concern of any traveler, but in my opinion there is nothing better than eating high quality local cuisine. Argentina is a country blessed with some of the most incredible culinary abilities in the world. Their beef and dairy are regarded as the most delicious on the planet. To pass up a steak in Argentina would be a cardinal sin. Another plus is contained in the price. Don’t expect to pay more than $15 for the best steak you’ll ever put in your mouth. I suggest the restaurant “Carlito’s” in La Boca across the street from La Bombanera, the stadium made famous by Maradona himself. Order the “Beife De Loma,” or “steak from the hill.” You will not be disappointed, in fact it will blow your mind.
After you have enjoyed your self and every single ounce of that delicious steak, head over to “San Telmo,” a beautiful neighborhood in the heart of Buenos Aires. Here you will find an assortment of charming little squares and cultural centers that are just overflowing with live music and happy faces. San Telmo is the birthplace of the “Tango,” so go get your self some lessons lady killer.
So ultimately we may conclude that Argentina possesses the cultural charm of South America without the third world atmosphere. This is important to realize because if you ever plan on visiting another country nearby, perhaps Bolivia for example, be prepared to experience extreme poverty. So plan your trip to Buenos Aires, you will not be disappointed. I promise.
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