Sunday, August 24, 2008
The bird watching class I signed up for meets once a month, so the first class of the semester started three weeks later than all the other classes began.
I showed up to Friday's class 20 minutes late because I had to watch the entire USA/Argentina basketball game and when I arrived the class seemed cool enough that I actually regretted being late to class.
Our teacher is a young guy named Horacio, who has a soul patch, which acceptable in my book because he meets the universal rules for having a soul patch; and in case you forgot the acceptable situations for having a soul patch, here they are:
1. You're the lead singer of Smashmouth.
2. Your name is Horacio, you bear a slight resemblance to Jeff Goldblum and you teach a bird watching class for exchange students in an Argentine university.
While it was great to learn the nomenclature of South American birds in Spanish it was even better to have a class that was a quasi-educational chill session.
The teacher went as far as providing the class with mate (pronounced ma-tae), which was dope because mate is ridiculously gangster.
Mate is an bitter tea that is drank only in Argentina and it's neighboring countries. You basically fill your wooden mate gourd with yerba mate, then add hot water, but carefully as only an asshole burns all the greens on the first cup, then repeat the process over and over again sharing the mate with all your friends.
After three hours of drinking mate, kicking it with Horacio and learning that Hummingbirds only exist in North and South America, I headed home for the night.
I checked my e-mail and found message from my mother alerting me that I received a letter claiming I didn't pay a speeding ticket (which is bullshit, because I paid it) and if I didn't pay it within a week, I'd have my license supsended and there would be a warrant for my arrest.
I could easily convince myself that this doesn't apply to me, since I'm living in a foreign country with no forms of identification. However after reading this amazing article, I'm slightly concerned, but I don't think a speeeding ticket compares to Frédéric Bourdin's crimes.
Normally getting robbed, just missing a riot and being told to pay up more money for speeding tickets would result in me being pissed off, but being Buenos Aires, bird watching and mate have me quite relaxed.
Saturday our bird watching class had to meet at the school at 9 a.m. for a full day of bird watching. This is probably the only way you could get me to school at 9 a.m. on a Saturday without me being irrate.
"Class" began with Horacio distributing a couple pairs of binoculars to those who were without the essential bird watching tool. Then he handed out some crackers and cookies, which we were supposed to use to lure birds, however my friends and I ended up just eating it ourselves.
We walked to the forest preserve that is 15 minutes from my campus and then after walking for an hour we sat down to really focus on bird watching.
After we covered the ground in broken crackers we all sat back and waited for the birds to come.
Horacio then looked at my friend Matt and with a big smile he whispered, "Matteo es la hora a tomar mate (Matt it's time to drink mate)."
Matt busted out his mate that he alway carries on him and hooked our professor up. Horacio was quite pleased with his yerba mate selection and promised Matt an A for the day. We walked around the beautiful preserve (pictured below) for a couple more hours, before stopping for a mid-day choripan break.
My personal highlight of the day was seeing Horacio's face light up after I spotted a Garza Blanca, or what you Yankees would call an Egret, flying high in the air.
We went back to the classroom, where Horacio and the dean of exhange students provided us with more cookies and chocolate bars to eat after a long day of bird watching. Horacio then kicked his shoes off and told us to bust the mate back out.
Toward the end of class, when I thought the day could not get any better, the dean came back into the class and asked, "Quieren media lunas? (Do you all want croissants?)"
Our class sadly came to an end until we meet again in the end of September when we go on a three-day bird watching trip to La Provincia de Entre Rios.
Horacio has already outlined the meals for the trip, which will be a medly of typical quisines from around the world. His other main concern for the upcoming trip is that someone brings a guitar.