Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This and That

Okay, so it's been almost a month.  Oops..sorry.  It feels like I am living here, not traveling, so I have been slacking a bit on posting. I have done a little bit of traveling outside of the city and all I can say is - wow, are the Andes incredible.  Some pictures from those trips are finally up on the left... yes, they are pretty much all landscape shots, but really beautiful ones!

I have a few weeks left until my (2nd) Argentine visa expires and honestly, I am thinking about just staying put until then.  I was planning on at least traveling through Bolivia on my way north but at this point I'm not even sure I want to do that. 1) I'm not really prepared for the cold there,  2) I have 2 months of pretty intense travel coming up and 3) I really, really like Salta.  I know that I will be back to South America (maybe sooner than later...who knows), and one of the things I have come to accept on this trip is that even when visiting a small corner of the world, you can't possibly see and do everything.  I've made peace with that and I'm not going to feel guilty, or try to jam it all in simply because I think I "have" to.  I am going to do what I feel I want to do, and enjoy it.  Quality over quantity.

Since it's been a while since my last "what's going on in Nancy's head" post, here are some things I've noticed, learned, pondered, or otherwise just caught my attention during my time here:

- Pedestrians do not have the right of way in Argentina. Ever. Cuidado!

- 9:00 really means 9:30... or 10:00...

- Craving a cookie? A soda? Have no fear, there will be a kiosko within one block of where you are standing at any given moment. Oftentimes, in both directions.

- Between the hours of 1:30 and 5:30, you will do nothing. Like it or not. Siesta here is even more widely practiced than Spain.

- In restaurants here, vegetables = salad. If you ask for a side of vegetables, you will most likely receive a confused, questioning look.  (One time the waiter said - "Ohhh, you want your salad to come out at the same time as your steak?" Sigh.)

- The Ford Falcon was quite the car in Argentina, and still is.  They are everywhere (so cool)!

- Contrary to what some may believe, dulce de leche is not caramel. (And while I do think it is tasty... I still have a hard time thinking of it as breakfast food.)

- The thought of eggs for breakfasts basically disgusts most Argentines.

- If you think all "Latin" food is spicy, you are wrong. Mexico...yes. 

- Dinner here is late, which I a point. Meeting up for dinner at 9:30/10:00 - sure, great, no problem. 11:30/12:00 - a little tough.

- Salta is incredibly quiet on Sunday afternoons. To a tourist passing through for just a few days, it may almost seem deserted. To me, it is so beautifully peaceful.

- Folklore music is infectious. Even if you don't understand the words, you feel the songs - joy, sadness, whatever the theme. I love that it's such a big part of the culture here, and I love the fact that everyone listens to it, not just the older generation.

- I will never be able to say "no" to a good asado.  Meat grilled to perfection + roasted vegetables + Malbec = Happy Nancy

- When not thinking in English, my brain generally thinks in Arabic. This can be problematic when speaking Spanish. I have received more than one confused stare which I thought was due to poor pronunciation but later realized was due to the fact that I inserted an Arabic word into the sentence. 

*Fast forward 2 months*
- When not thinking in English, my brain now thinks in Spanish.  Yay! Great! Until I am skyping with my parents and receive the same confused stare. Apparently "no estoy segura" in the middle of an Arabic conversation doesn't make much sense to my non-Spanish speaking mother and father.

What happened to me? I used to be quite the multi-tasker!

Kidding aside, Argentina has been very good for me.  It has slowed me down a bit, in a good way, and made me appreciate some things about myself that maybe I've neglected for a long time.  Salta just agrees with me, and I can already see that it is going to be very difficult to leave.

~ N