Porteña: An Argentine who is Born, Bred, and Livin’ la Vida in Buenos Aires–and exactly the way of life I tried to absorb as much as I could have this weekend. With an offer from Javier to head to Luján, where he’d be with his friends on Saturday and Sunday, I politely declined, knowing I’d love to continue piecing together this huge city with distinct neighborhoods and hundreds of bus lines.
To piggy back on one note in my last entry about my current pseudonyms I’ve adopted in Argentina…is one more name that I’d be prone to classify more as a nickname that I didn’t quite ask for. Last Thursday night I went to drop my laundry off at Rosario’s, a nice place conveniently across the street, and when the woman asked for my name to write on the ticket, she looked at me with a face of misunderstanding and passed me the pen to write it myself. That’s when her husband chimed in cheerfully behind her with, “Hanna” “Hanna Montana!” I replied, with a bit of Miley Cyrus’s teenage energy, “Sí, como Hanna Montana!”.
Immediately after dropping off the laundry, I went to the gym a few blocks away to get a free week pass to try all the classes and when the nice sales representative took my name she said, “Hanna, Como Hanna Montana!” followed by an expression asking for my approval and also letting me know how proud she was of making the connection. As if the gym and laundry place weren’t enough, I’ve got Javier coming back from work reading up on some tabloid about Hanna(h) Montana fighting with her family and asking me about it as if I were Miley Cyrus myself. Now it’s just a running joke, “Yes, another day fighting with my family over my fame and money”…
Apparently Hanna Montana is workin’ it in Buenos Aires and the paparazzi haven’t had a chance to catch her yet. She’s been too busy scoring goals at soccer matches and picking up one on one English classes to help a high school student prepare for some upcoming exams. Fantástico! I was going to have an interview for a language institute but once I told them I was only here until May 4th, they told me they needed someone more permanent.
Here’s an observation from my city filled weekend. Argentine women under the age of 50 ALL have long hair. Yes, I just made a generalization that I’d stand behind 100%. At least I can pretend to blend in just a wee bit. Plus, every other corner in my neighborhood is a hair salon advertising hair extensions. Long Hair is IN.
Friday night was eating yet another delicious asado at a restaurant in Cañitas, a great part of the neighborhood Belgrano that I live in right now with Javier’s three other good friends. It’s so overwhelming having a menu with about 30 different cuts of meat to choose from, I always find myself asking the real Porteños what I should order. Leaving there around midnight, we headed to the neighborhood I’ll be moving to soon to live with Roberta, in a cute little part called Palermo Soho with neighborhood cocktail bars on every corner. We stayed out until 4 am or so like a good Porteño would, which killed half my Saturday—which a real Porteño wouldn’t think twice of.
A groggy Saturday led to whipping up some scrambled eggs and teaching Javier what Brunch is back home. I never really thought I liked brunch so much until I started describing to Javier what it’s all about and my mouth started watering. A lazy Saturday morning also meant taking advantage of that free gym pass later in the afternoon! I called up Luicina, who plays on my Wednesday soccer league and we went spinning until every last pore was sweating out Friday night’s fun. What do I like most about Argentina’s spin classes? When entering and leaving the class, you pass through the door in a single file and greet the athletic male instructor with a kiss on the cheek. What a nice way to start and end a gym session.
At night I found myself wishing I had someone to call and see a movie with, but I happily went about 6 blocks away to the nearest cinema and saw a late night showing of The King’s Speech that is up for a lot of nominations, and I would definitely recommend. While I wish it had been in Spanish, it cracked me up that everyone sits so low in their seats in the movie theaters here, and I quickly realized it’s so everyone can see the subtitles that always seem to appear on the bottom of the screen. (hehe)
Ah, finally a good night’s sleep. Sunday welcomed me with sun and a cool breeze heading to meet Roberta in her neighborhood for a walk around the huge green botanical gardens and parks near her apartment, followed by a bit of yoga in the park. A few hours later I found myself heading back downtown, hustling to get to my soccer tournament game for 5:00, which really didn’t start until 5:30 (typical). This was a great outdoor space along the Rio del La Plata, the most eastern part of the city. We won! We actually ended up playing a group of women who played a bit dirty and were incredibly pushy with the ref not making any calls. It was all fine until Becky, a girl on our team went to head the ball against one of these brutes, when they knocked heads, which resulted in Becky hitting the astroturf and having blood above her eyebrow immediately spurt everywhere. Sissela, the organizer of all our soccer games is EMT trained and was yelling for gauze and tape and water in Spanish and English until all the necessary supplies arrived. She’ll definitely need stitches with a deep gouge above the brow, but we all hope Becky will be back playing in no time.
Instead of taking the subway home, I took a local bus that a few girls on my soccer team in the same direction and with a glass of Malbec by my side, I sign off at 11:35 pm, with the feeling of a complete Porteña weekend to cross off on my to-do list.