Week 2: Enjoying La Vida Cordobesa

Week two was a little more tame, a little more balanced, and a lot of fun.

Two major events this week:

  • We found out that due to safety concerns, we will be going to London instead of Istanbul in July. Like most people, I have mixed emotions: relieved to not worry about safety in Istanbul, disappointed to not see such a beautiful city, excited to spend time in London, since I’ve never been. (We’ll also be going to Split instead of Cavtat in Croatia, due to better infrastructure/being more of a city.)
  • I dropped my phone and something inside broke, so the screen is non-responsive. Luckily, I got a loaner phone from Remote Year, and could get by in Spanish at the repair shop. Not so luckily, technology is really expensive in Argentina, so I’ll be loaning phones from fellow Remotes until I can get another one in April…

I’m starting to feel more and more like a resident and less like a visitor: I have a schedule, including tennis two times per week and yoga two times per week; I am recognizing street names and figuring my way around; I am familiar with which ATMs to go to for cash (a big problem here, especially on weekends, since ATMs don’t get refilled after noon on Friday).  Working remotely has been going really well – I’ve been productive, have had no issues joining meetings, and even got to work from a café called Bruncheria/my balcony for a couple hours on Friday.

This week’s highlights:

  • After-work tango at El Arrabal restaurant, where my fellow Remote, Johnson, taught me moves I missed when coming to the class late. It’s always such a joy to watch the locals dance it – you can feel how deep into the music they go. Being a dance, the tango has always baffled me because I could never hear the rhythm in the music. I asked our instructor about this and he basically told me that the rhythm is whatever the man wants it to be – this is Argentina, after all!
  • Spanish class at the Jesuit Block, learning the history of the Jesuits in Córdoba. To support all of their initiatives, they set up several estancias (ranches) around the province of Córdoba, many of which can still be visited today. We finished the day drinking smoothies at Café Mandarina, on a pedestrian-only street in the center of town.
  • Catching up with some members of my altMBA group, which was a really fun time and so necessary to remind me of some of the things I learned in January (more on this later…).
  • Finally making it to Kambaku, the “African bar” which really has nothing to do with Africa. There’s a great outdoor patio perfect for huge groups like ours, and the indoor turned into a club-like dance floor by the time we left. (I continue to be amazed with how late the Argentines go out: I left the bar around 1:30AM, and people were continuing to come in!)
  • Córdoba walking tour with Fedérico, who taught us the history of the city, the culture/lifestyle of the Cordobese (“Argentinians speak Spanish like Italians and want to be French.”), showed us Latin America’s thinnest building, and gave us some suggestions for great coffee. The main Cathedral and the old Jesuit church were both impressive: not much on the outside, but amazing detail and gothic style inside.
  • Checking out the huge handicraft market on Saturday, picking up some great souvenirs and (of course) jewelry. The market draws you in with colors, scents, and calls for pan relleno, which I haven’t tried yet but is basically bread stuffed with delicious fillings.
  • Incredible seven-course dinner at El Papagayo, complete with wine pairings. Highlights were a souffled egg of some sort and a delicious cut of pork. And of course, going around the table toasting to our family and friends that we miss, telling funny stories about them, and learning more about each other. (Check out Matt Sherwood’s great post with scrumptious pictures of El Papagayo.)
  • Trekking in Quebrada del Condorito, a national park about two hours away from Córdoba. We saw beautiful vistas, condors (huge birds), and lots of interesting flora. We hiked about 12 miles in amazing weather, and I started my “training” for Machu Picchu in June (I have a long way to go…). The landscapes of the Sierra mountains ranged from lush to rocky, and reminded me of a scene out of Lord of the Rings.
  • Booking a trip to Mendoza two weekend from now, which is Argentina’s wine country. I can’t wait for the luxury sleeper buses, roundtrip for $140 USD, which offer a full bed, meals, drinks, entertainment, etc. If you’re going to do a long haul trip over a short weekend, this is the way to go.
  • Researching and partially booking a trip to Patagonia next month when my friend/old coworker/tennis coach comes to visit me in Buenos Aires. Looking forward to trekking glaciers and taking in amazing views.

Can’t wait for week three!

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