Bienvenidos y el Bicentenial| May 24, 2010
It's been a whirlwind few days in Argentina after arriving on Wednesday afternoon, and I've hardly had time to sit down and write about everything that has happened! But as shops are closing early and everyone is resting up this afternoon for the big bicentennial celebrations, I have found the time to come camp out in the hotel's business center for a short time.
We left Baltimore on Tuesday morning to fly to Dallas, and then Santiago, Chile, and then to Cordoba. After about 24 hours of hanging out in airports and sleeping on planes, we arrived. This trip was a lot less grueling thanks to my Uncle Paul, who graciously upgraded our tickets to first-class for the first two of the three legs and who took us to see my grandmother during our layover in Dallas. I can't imagine how much worse the trip home will feel after that experience.
After arriving in Cordoba we checked into the Sheraton here which has been very nice and has a very helpful concierge to whom we owe a lot. Though the hotel isn't downtown it does have wonderful views of the city (Pictures to come when I start blogging from my own laptop). From there we visited the CEDHA office in the very downtown part of Cordoba, which is a tiny office but full of very nice and 'genial' people. We have spent a lot of time walking around the city, which has a number of universities, some beautiful old Spanish-style architecture, a bustling downtown section, and my favorite neighborhood, Nueva Cordoba. That section is full of students, high-rise apartment buildings, broad streets and sidewalks, and inviting restaurants. It is not as cold here as I anticipated, but not as nice as Williamsburg was when I left it.
Thanks to a great recommendation from our buddy the concierge, I have found a guy named Joaquin who will, if all works out, let me a great apartment starting Tuesday. It is in Nueva Cordoba in a high-rise building with 24-hour security, on one of the big main roads with Internet and cable. On top of all that, it's reasonably priced! He seems like a nice guy and he speaks English well, so fingers crossed that everything comes together.
I also got to spend some preliminary time with folks from CEDHA - a fellow intern and two of the higher-ups. We talked about the many issues CEDHA covers, including two big ones of mining in the south of Argentina and the issue of fresh water. The plan is to develop a topical focus, to gather some experience at clinics and possibly at court here in Argentina, and to by the end produce some kind of capstone project - a paper, memoranda, or other product that serves CEDHA in some capacity and is proof of the things I have learned here over my three months' time. I'll really get my feet wet in this in the middle of next week, after Monday and Tuesday which are national holidays for the bicentennial! I lead a hard life down here.
Quickly I have come to love Argentina. This may have something to do with the delicious food. They have incredible desserts with lunch and dinner, the most iconic being alfajores. These are two melt-in-your-mouth cookies held together by a layer of dulce de leche caramel, and sometimes coated in chocolate. The beef is also incredible - tender, juicy, and succulent - so much so that they don't serve it with A-1 sauce or Lowry's salt, just olive oil, balsamic oil, and salt, that it doesn't even need to taste wonderful. We have made our way to two parrillas, or grill-steakhouses, already, and to one of them with my fellow American intern at CEDHA, Andrew. There is also a great Italian restaurant with locations all over the city called Il Gatto that is my other go-to, and lucky for me one is right across the street from this potential apartment. Good thing I'll be doing a lot of walking here.
I'll leave it at this for now, and hopefully in a few days I can blog to you from my new apartment, having finished my first full day at CEDHA! My best to everyone back in the northern hemisphere.
Flying over the Andes on the plane from Santiago, Chile to Cordoba.
The cityscape from my hotel window.
My humble Argentine abode!