Monday, August 2, 2010


I´m in Argentina from now through August 10; Pnin is lecturing at a university here, whereas I am wandering around aimlessly like a tourist. If all goes well, my dislike of travel may even lessen.

What Argentina has going for it:

1. Cheapness! Thanks to the currency crisis a few years back, Buenos Aires is a veritable cheapster´s paradise. It´s possible to get a delicious steak dinner for the equvialent of about U.S. $12. Empanadas are delicious and can be had easily for less than a dollar. The zoo charges $2 for admission (contrast the San Diego Zoo, to which I paid something like $35 to walk around, just because I could not let myself be deprived of the opportunity to view cute koalas.)

2. Seasons that flip with the Northern Hemisphere. I am not a warm weather girl, and it is a delight to abandon the boiling D.C. heat for cool fifty degree ish weather. I take joy in walking around in my North Face fleece and corduroys.

3. Big dogs! They are the best, as everyone who knows me in real life knows. Because they are simply the best animals for purposes of cuddling. And they´re delightfully abundant in Buenos Aires, I suspect even more so than in big American cities like D.C. or NY. I´ve already met two adorable golden retrievers, Mateo and Dante. Their owners were both lawyers, oddly enough. I sometimes worry that I became surrounded by some kind of magnetic field upon graduation that repels all non lawyer human beings, but irrestibly lures my own kind into my lair.

For the case against Buenos Aires:

1. Argentine Spanish. My Spanish isn´t bad, but is a freak hybrid of college literature seminar castellano and the Mexican colloquialisms which I learned in high school because the textbook market evolved to accommodate the needs of Californians. Argentines have their own unique twist on the language. I can make myself understood in my own freak hybrid fashion, but I´m much harder pressed to understand Argentines attempting to speak casually.

2. Spanish alphabet keyboards. Enough said.

3. Bad economic policy that leads to poverty, and thus the decline of beautiful Beaux Arts architecture.

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