I remembered the taste of the coffee, and that it was served with 2 medialunas (crescent-shaped croissants, served either sweet or not). I remembered all of the Argentine smells - the buildings, the city of Buenos Aires, and so on. I remembered oldschool, huge, bulky Argentine building and door keys! I remembered seeing all of the same topics on the news: Messi & soccer, inflation & corruption, and robberies & crime, yet this time around there was more of a focus on women's rights/the women's movement. I remembered that agua (water) is available "con gas" (with bubbles) or "sin gas" (without bubbles), which always made me smile :) I found the strawberry yogurt-filled chocolate which Cadbury offers in this region again, and remembered how delicious it is and how much I used to enjoy it! I remembered dulce de leche (similar to caramel), and alfajores (sweet bakery-like sandwiches with a filling (often dulce de leche or chocolate), covered in chocolate. I remembered the slow pace of life, which in restaurants can be construed by those not from Argentina as bad service.
Argentina is famous for a few things: 1) Gauchos, or Argentine cowboys. 2) Tango, the classic Argentine dance. 3) Late night everything - Argentinians eat dinner late...very late...we are talking after 8pm late, and they go out even later. You might start at a bar/restaurant anywhere from 10pm-12am (eating may continue until 1am or 2am), and if a nightclub is included in the plan for the evening, expect to be there anytime between 3am and 7am. I believe that Buenos Aires deserves the title "The City That Never Sleeps" much more than New York does.
I was lucky enough to be able to visit my host families from when I had studied abroad on this journey, and even luckier to have had the opportunity to take a 12-day road trip down to Bariloche and Puerto Madryn with my host father, what an incredible experience! We saw some stunning scenery and lakes in Bariloche, made a lot of animal friends of all sorts in Puerto Madryn, and met some wonderful people along the way! Puerto Madryn is the place to be if you want to see penguins, marine life, guanacos (like llamas), pink flamingos, ñandus (like ostriches), and much more! I was so lucky to have my host father, a seasoned Argentina expert, with me for the journey because he knew exactly where to go. Having a vehicle to transport us made all the difference in the world!
In a city called Salta in the north of Argentina, I tried some amazing (vegetarian) food! Hotel de la Linda offers an incredible selection from their own kitchen, and if you venture out of the hotel, only a block or two away you will find a place called Doña Salta. This joint has some of the most incredible food to be found in Salta - they are known for their incredible empanadas! You can find empanadas filled with all types of ingredients there, along with something called humitas, which consist of corn pudee and cheese wrapped in corn husks.
A couple of other random tidbits I noticed:
- At a grocery store, there was a shortage of coins, so instead of giving me back my change in coins, I was given candy!
- Argentinians often shorten the word "facebook" to "face".
- PDA (public display of affection) happens...it happens a lot...and it is excessive, so be warned. You'll be sure to see couples who appear to be in dire need of a hotel room in parks and other public areas.
- "Gauchito Gil" is the name of some small, red memorials consisting of flags and small man-made structures alongside many roads in Argentina. These were allegedly created by Gauchos/poor people in memory of the famous Gaucho named Hill.
- Many Venezuelan immigrants are in Buenos Aires working or looking for work. They fled to Argentina to escape the situation back at home, which is quite rough at the moment (especially in Caracas).
- Fernet (mint-flavored liquor) is an extremely popular drink and is often mixed with a form of soda and consumed in social settings.