Actually, it’s not so hard to stay busy in Buenos Aires. Even though I don’t have much of a schedule or routine, every day seems relatively full of possibilities. It seems that every day I manage to discover something new and charming. Just today, while casually walking around my neighborhood, (curses, without a camera because I thought I photographed enough) I stumbled upon a palace. Sheesh! A palace. What an amazing city! I mean, of course, the fact that this is such a big, bustling city is one of the reasons I feel so claustrophobic and overwhelmed here, but it is fascinating to be in a place with so much…stuff!
This do it yourself and keep busy mentality might have a bit to do with my childhood as well. Not only did my mom tell me to clean my room when I dared to whine that I was bored, but she frequently reminded me that: A) “There is no maid service in this house” and B) “I am not your entertainment committee.” Due to the advanced age of my siblings, I was raised like an only child and had to learn how to keep myself busy and entertained.
So, what have I been up to lately to keep myself busy in the big city? Lots. And nothing.
I spent one very hot day last week walking around my neighborhood. I looked at all the small shops with cheap clothes (luckily I was sweaty and definitely not in a “let’s try that on” mood). I ventured to a huge mall, the Abasto and loitered in the air conditioning to get a break from the heat. I also located the block dedicated to a famous tango singer, Carlos Gardel. Then I made my way on a very long and disorienting walk to the Natural History Museum. Like most Natural History Museums, it was a little quirky and a little creepy. Even though they are kind of gross, I have a weird interest in Natural History Museums.
This past weekend I spent some time at some of the local markets. The markets are pretty packed with repetitive souvenirs and little crafts, although sometimes you can see stuff with real creativity and talent. The biggest market is every Sunday in San Telmo, the antiques district. There are tons of stalls with very expen$ive antiques, most of them with off the wall prices that I can’t even begin to think about bartering down: “Um, how about I pay about 10% of what you just quoted me, you outrageous %*#^!” But anyways, I got myself a delicious freshly squeezed glass of orange juice and wound down my day in the park.
Check out this picture. I love how even the cats and pigeons are too lazy and disinterested to pick fights with each other!
Sometimes I feel this same way in the city. Just idly passing the time away, either reading quietly in the house or people watching from a cafe. It's easy to be a little lazy here and just watch the time pass.
In my private room, I keep myself busy with studying. I spend a little time studying and practicing Spanish grammar, writing in my journal, and researching the history, arts, and literature of Argentina. This helps me feel a little more concretely productive each day and it seems like a relevant way to pass some of my free time (especially at night when I don’t want to deal with the hassle of going out).
I’m literally (and a little pathetically) counting the days until Robert gets here. Not only am I excited to show him around the city and point out some of the little secrets and special things I’ve found, I hope to discover more with him. Now, if only I could get him to read this blog….