Buenos Aires- To say we feel at home here is pretty accurate IF you forget the fact that we're in a Spanish speaking country and neither of us are fluent in español. Our stay here has been the most relaxing few weeks that we've had in probably a year. Staying somewhere for five weeks relieves some of the pressure to run around and see all of the sights as quickly as possible. We've been doing exactly what we set out to do: live like the locals and enjoy simple pleasures.
We generally relax during the day (Andrew is trabajando) and walk around in the afternoon and evening until we find the perfect restaurant to stuff our faces at.
A few observations:
1.) The people. Like Sao Paulo, the people here are sweet and welcoming. The big, big difference between the two places is the language barrier. It's far less intimidating here than Brazil, as I came here knowing enough Spanish to get by. I can actually communicate comfortably (comparatively) for the first time in 6 weeks. People have been so accommodating, even go as far as using a translator on their phone or ask other people around if they could help figure out what our gringo booties are trying to say.
2.) Our apartment. We have enjoyed all of our accommodations up until this point, but there's something about the patio or the abundance of light or the modern feel that makes me want to stay "home", snuggle with a cup of Matte (the native tea here which is divine) and/or a cup of rosé and watch the sunsets from basically any room of the unit. Actually, the truth is, we're in the nude 75% of our lives right now. The patio is enclosed and with the consistent 70-80 degree weather there is definitely no need for clothes. We can see people on the streets, but they can't see us and we've been taking full advantage of this. I'm aware of how weird it is that I'm telling you this, but I can live with that- I hope you can too. Anyways, our patio quickly became my favorite spot on the entire trip so far.
3.) Fernet. Our San Francisco friends can stop reading here because they're fully aware of my deep obsession with this type of alcohol. They know and understand how difficult it is to find anywhere in the states outside of San Francisco. Every single bar here carries Fernet and 90% and it warms my heart. The bartenders think I'm loco when I ask for shots to just sip on, but that's there problem. It's seriously a dream come true for me, so I've been enjoying it (maybe a little bit too much at times) every chance I get.
4.) Sleep. Our hometowns don't ever really feel ALIVE at night. San Francisco completely shuts down at 2AM. New York City never sleeps (we know this all too well). Buenos Aires well, BA is on a fucked up schedule that we can't quite figure out. We haven't been out late enough to see when things actually shut down around here, but it is incredibly common to see people of all ages (0-100 years old) eating dinner at 11PM or later. We'll be stumbling home at 2-3AM and there are perfectly normal looking people going on walks with their toddlers. This results in one thing that really chaps my ass, no businesses are open until 10-11AM. The streets are eerily empty until then. I love my sleep, and I generally sleep in until 9:30-10AM. I'm used to being able to walk out the door (generally in my PJs) and get my essential hangover cure.. coffee, but can't, because not even coffee shops are open at that point. ****It has actually worked in my favor, as now I have the perfect excuse to sleep in later, so I really can't be too upset. :)
5.) Life. I'm finally starting to feel like we're not just on vacation anymore. Going on vacation usually comes with the daunting awareness of "the end is near"... I hadn't been able to shake that feeling until just this week when we started to plan our next steps for after we leave South Africa in February. I don't know how much longer we'll be gone, but I definitely don't feel like I have that pit in my stomach of heading home in just a few days.. I do however worry a bit as I can't help but think about 1.) I don't ever want to go back to the states where everyone complains about everything and 2.) When we do give up this wandering lifestyle, where is home and what are we going to do with our lives?