Discovering Buenos Aires

Isabel McCan is a student at University of Denver and an ISA Featured Blogger. Isabel is currently studying abroad in Buenos Aires on an ISA Fall 1 program.

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest of secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely of places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl

Walking about Buenos Aires, I quickly realized that it has plenty of secrets to offer its inhabitants. The city is a mix of culture that ranges widely from its strong European influence to its distinct South American flavor. It leaves you never quite knowing what to expect. Consider Buenos Aires comparable to New York, Paris, or any other gigantic metropolis – it is impossible to know all there is to the city. But without a doubt, everyday will bring something new.

Barely two weeks in and I have more new people, places and experiences that I couldn’t fit them all into one blog if I wanted to! Heck, my first day walking around I even stumbled upon a political protest! Here protests are not uncommon, but as an American from a small town nonetheless, it was quite the welcome to Buenos Aires!

A protest for public school funding on Calle Florida

One of my favorite parts about the lifestyle here in Buenos Aires is that the city runs on quite a different clock than I’m used to. When most American’s are heading to bed, life in Buenos Aires is just getting interesting! Dinner is always around 9:30 or 10, and everyone heads out to the bars around 11 or so, and then the boliches (clubs) open at about 3 am. I have yet to attend a boliche, but I find it wonderful to walk around at night and see a city still so alive and vibrant! Every different street (or calle) has a plethora of cafés, tiendasmercados or bars to experience, each with their own unique vibe. I’ve been to an indie rock show, a reggae bar, and too many adorable cafes and restaurants to account for. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of different places I’ve discovered so far:

Flaminia – Cafe and Heladeria in a most disturbing pink color
Cafe Bouquet – notice the older gentleman, dressing characteristic of his generation of Argentines
A building and monument off of Calle Florida
Aldonza – Reggae restaurant and bar
Tea Connection + my amiga Lauren
One of the bands at the indie rock show – called the ‘Buenos Aires Anti-Social Club’

Another unique aspect of Buenos Aires is how colorful it is! And I mean quite literally, color is everywhere! Urban murals and graffiti are tagged upon just about every wall. Some of the graffiti is admittedly low quality, but the people of Buenos Aires (called Porteños) accept graffiti as part of decorating the city and therefore it isn’t illegal. So beyond the juvenile graffiti, there is also tons and tons of beautiful and artistic graffiti and murals to see. There are even tours to see them all! There are also lush gardens and parks situated throughout Buenos Aires, vendors on the streets selling every type of good, and the unforgettable El Caminito block of the barrio (neighborhood) La Boca. El Caminito is straight out of the postcards – a mosaic of brightly colored houses and cafes with tango dancers in the street. Even at night the lights, colors, and sounds of the city emanate with force. It could be described as a sensory overload but I don’t believe there is such a thing. On that note, for my last installment of photos of this first blog I’m going to include my most colorful photos of the city:

One of the many tagged walls!
One of the colorful walls of El Caminito!
A mural in La Boca and the ISA Fall 1 Ladies!

No matter where I go in Buenos Aires, I find myself in awe of my surroundings. I’ll warn you now that my blogs will be saturated with pictures because I’m fascinated by just about everything I see here. The city and its people live life knowing its sweet and short and they don’t apologize for it. Anways, it is still hard to believe that this is hardly the first leg of my journey in Argentina. Stay tuned for more, but until then, chao!

Fruit Vendor!
Spring is coming! :)
A fountain in a garden I found off of Avenida Cabildo

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