Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I've been looking forward to this post for a while, my first post from my new place. Before I blindside you with the sheer gangstaness of my new place I'll take you through the struggle of finding a place in Buenos Aires.
Day 1 in Buenos Aires: We go to the UCA (my new school) study abroad office and the main lady greets us with a Spanish version of "Why the fuck are you here so early, I really have nothing to offer you." She hands us a stack of papers with places to live.
Night 1: Send out a million e-mails to any host family that looks acceptable from their two-to-three line housing description.
Day 2: Start cold-calling families that we are really interested in. This is tough because as Beanie Sigel once said, "85 percent communication non-verbal" (points to whoever can name the song) and talking to someone who only speaks Argentine Spanish on the phone wasn't the easiest thing ever.
Eventually the two girls I was traveling with and myself visited a couple of places. Much more were already occupied. It was definitely a stressful couple of days as we constantly e-mailed, called and visited anybody we could. Many of the places were too expensive, too small or just too shitty, or as my Argentine brethren would say they were "fuck places."
Seriously one place we looked at appeared to be a hallway converted into a room. Without exagerating it was a tiny bed (smaller than any I had ever seen before, possible a matress for a cradle) and a small desk with maybe six inches between the two. Even worse than the small quarters was the gross new condiminiums they were constructing next to the building. I'll be damned if I have to constantly be reminded of shit gentrification.
One of the descriptions for a habitacion said la duena (the owner) was something, something else and gives massages. She never responded to my e-mail, which is probably for the better as it would have been hard to look at myself in the mirror after getting a happy ending from a 55-year-old Argentine every day. Maybe I read between the lines too much.
Eventually after having a few options and scenarios that are way too complicated to ever repeat I ended up with a fairly trill casa.
It's not ideal because I planned on living with a family that would cook for me every night, but the following makes up for it.
My own large room, a full-size bed, two windows with ridiculous views, a nice closet, desk, bookcase, a washing machine, large patio on the third floor which overlooks a beautiful city, access to two full bathrooms, a family room with cable tv, access to a full kitchen and maid service twice a week.
All for $314 USD a month. Game over.
The only downside, which isn't really even a downside because I get to now see more of the city is that it's about a 40 minute bus ride to campus. This will probably suck after a few months, in which point I can easily fix said problem by not going to said school (kidding mom).
Upside #284 of my place is that it's in Palermo one of the more desirable barrios in Buenos Aires as it's a cleaner, safer part of town. It's also full of 8 million trendy hipster stores and restaurants. Palermo itself if divided into sub-barrios (which probably isn't a word) there is Old Palermo, Palermo SoHo, a bunch of other Palermos and Palermo Hollywood, which is my now my block (Sway get at me).
Also I was just starting to get used to my hostel and meeting new people every day, so this is a happy medium as I'm living in a three-bedroom house that the owners rent out to seven people, there's a ton of rooms in the house. Everyone is real nice and today I met two sweet Columbian girls and some bloak from England who studied at Oxford and Princeton.
It will be pretty dope as I'll have new roommates every month or so.
One weird thing is that there is a small door (it only comes up to my chest) that leads to a secret room, the duena told me that some old man lives there. I basically understood it as the beast from the Sandlot lives there and if your ball rolls under the door you can forget about it.
I actually met the guy today though and he's just a weird old white man who once lived in Gilbert, Arizona. He's 78 and came to Buenos Aires for four weeks to try to learn Spanish, which I highly respect, since he didn't know any Spanish before he came here.
He obviously can't speak Spanish for shit and because he's hard of hearing it's bizarre to watch him shout at every person who talks to him in Spanish with loud English.
Also today I walked a block from my place to a local shop called "Pizzaria Barcelona" and I had a huge steak with great seasoning, veggies and potatos for $5 USD.
It's also nice because now I'm on my own away from the two UA girls I came with. One of them was alright/half-way cool, the other was a *****, but we all got along.
For the record the ***** was Skyping her parents every day and her mom wrote her an e-mail from her dog. Then in a moment in which I almost lost my fucking mind, the ***** talked to her dog on Skype and said some of the gayest things I have ever heard a human spew.
Keep in mind that the previous night I was watching some crazy Argentine "So you think you can dance" like show, except it was basically a fuckin strip club on TV as it was full of near naked woman dancing with a pole. I was watching it with a Brazillian guy and I commented how awesome this show as it was better than most soft-core porn I'm accustomed to watching on my Spanish stations at home.
He responded, "No me gustan, soy gay. Pero hay hombres en esta programa que me gusta." (I'm not sure how white my audience is so translation: "I don't like them, I'm gay. But there are men in this show that I like."
This was still not as gay as the dog Skyping.
Photos (if you click on them, you can see a bigger version):
The inside of my hostel
The view from outside my hostel
A shot inside my hostel
A blogged here some times, and oddly enough this is a picture of Dan before I even met him
I blogged here other times
In this photo I'm not really blogging, just acting like I'm blogging for the sake of the photoThis is the name of my hostel, which I secretly called the "Madhouse off McDowell"
This is the view from my new place
This is the view from the back window of my new room. One day I hope to ride an ATV across all the roofs like DMX in the cinematic masterpiece "Cradle 2 the Grave."