Tembea Dunia,

Argentina in XX Lessons

Whenever someone asks me how Argentina was, I never know what to respond. My mind sorts through so many memories that I barely let out a “good…it was really good”. *facepalm* Do better Ivy! 

Well…this post is for you, all you who were genuinely interested but got my lacklustre response. So, a whole month down the line, I finally managed to get down some of the experience in lesson form — what could be more personal than that? After reading these I’m pretty sure (or at least hopeful) that you’ll have a good idea of what goes on and how it is to be in that land far, far away.

Ready? Let’s get to it then.

Monte Strolls

Sunsets

1. I am a sunset person. You know how people of the world can be only one of two kinds, for example, cat or dog person or milk first or cereal first or in this case, sunrise or sunset person. Nairobi sunsets are mostly of an orange hue, which I love but I’m a sucker for pink-anything, sunsets included. I can’t even count the number of beautiful sunsets I witnessed over there. Be it in the countryside or in the city. They were breath taking. Just look at the one below at ‘Camping’: this beautiful mall/eating area/park…I’m still not sure what it was but it definitely had an unforgettable view. You forget about your problems, even if it’s just for half an hour as God works his magic on the sky.

‘Camping’ Sunset

Sunset in Monte

Sunset in Luján

La Boca with the sun just beginning to go down

Language

2. The correct way to pronounce Argentina. There really is no ‘g’ sound. I think this matters a lot, especially for natives. For instance, isn’t it annoying when the rest of the world pronounces the ‘e’ sound in Kenya like the ‘e’ in eat rather than the ‘e’ in ten?

3. A ‘Spanish-speaking’ country really IS a Spanish-speaking country. Right now, I look back at how silly I must have been to think people would be interchanging it with English all the time. The only English spoken was to accommodate my fellow Kenyan girls and I. Which, come to think of it, is actually something we should borrow a leaf from. Maybe someday we will all be speaking Kiswahili and leaving English for the foreigners —a girl can dream!

4. Quite a bit of Spanish grammar, thanks to the lovely and possibly the most fun and fabulous grandma (after my own) that I have ever met, Sussy Legarre.

Birthday celebrations with Sussy

5. “Vamos, vamos, Argentina!” and “De Boliche en Boliche”

6. How to defend myself from sleazy guys on a night out, in Spanish. Thank you random girl I met in the ladies’ room of the boliche. It really is a universal thing for girls to make friends in the club. ?

Out n’ About

Independence

7. Living away from your parents and family comes with a whole bunch of lessons, lessons I thought I had learned a year ago on my six-week stint in Malindi. I thought wrong. The fact that my flatmates and I lived on our own, coupled with B.A being generally expensive, meant budgeting was on a whole other level. And we all had to get on that level if we were going to avoid eating medialunas every day for dinner. (Shout out to Suevia Panaderia for holding us down on plenty of occasions. If the stars align and any member of your management reads this, consider opening a branch on this side of the world. Trust me, you’ve got a pretty good chance of making a fortune)

Medialunas from Suevia

8. Map skills. I have come to seriously appreciate google maps, except that one time I used it in CBD and it almost took me the wrong side of a one-way road, which is NOT something you want to do in Nairobi CBD —thank God for Cici and her town-savviness. Regardless of that, it’s a lifesaver. Granted, I already had a good warm up on my school Euro trip a couple of weeks before embarking on this transatlantic journey. From trying to find the quickest route to get to the nearest H&M and back before the bus to Germany departed, to mapping out the plan for the nights of our weekend in Cologne. So I wasn’t too shabby…but I still feel hella proud for managing to navigate B.A. on my own.

9. Public transport induced claustrophobia. This is not so much a lesson but a realization. I always had a suspicion that I was a bit claustrophobic (i.e. not liking being in a locked room or always wanting to sit at the edge or next to an opening/exit). The subway and buses of B.A at rush hour confirmed it. There are so many people that you almost have to push and shove to get in. And no, there’s no room to even think of personal space. To add to the claustrophobia, there is always that one or two…or five persons who will stare at you the entire time. The children are excused for they might not have seen a black person before but grown adults —no. More on stares later.

Love

10.Family is everything. Okay, yes I already knew this before I left Kenya, but it was reinforced during my time there. Something I noted as I walked to work every day is that dads would walk their toddlers to school and pick them up as well – without fail. It was the sweetest thing ever seeing a man looking extremely dapper in a sharp suit trying to negotiate with his four year old daughter – who clearly has him wrapped around her little finger – that she’s got to enter the school building and he’d be there to pick her up before she knew it…or at least that’s how I think it transpired, their whole interaction was in Spanish after all.

11. Hospitality isn’t just a Kenyan (African) thing. The experiences with the wonderful families I engaged with were all full of love. They welcome you like they would in an African home, which says quite a lot. With food and laughter and lots of love. A special shout out to the Legarre family, the Brugnonis, the Larbel Family, the Riveras, the O’Farrells, the Cabos and Mariana Batalle’s lovely family!

Asado at the Cabos

Prepping for Horse riding

Fun times at the Legarres

With Camila and Andy at their home

12. The reality of PDA. PDA in Kenya does not really count as PDA. In Argentina, and I assume most of the western world, it is the real deal. Of course there’s the overboard few who will make out for ten minutes straight right in front of you on the subway. Regardless, it is so refreshing to see acts of love shown so freely. I remember sitting with three couples at a charity dinner and just being amazed at how the six of them interacted with their significant other. It could be something so small such as the wife removing food from the corner of her husband’s mouth with a napkin to a loving husband caressing the belly of his expectant wife as a video with testimonies of children who have benefited through that charity plays for the dinner guests.

El Beso

13. It’s a known fact that Argentines kiss each other on the cheek (once) when greeting somebody or saying goodbye. I had been told of this before I got there but I have to admit it took a little getting used to. My ultimate shock will always be when I attended my first Mass there and instead of the usual ‘sign of the peace’, they say the kiss of the peace. To be honest, I think I miss it now that I am back to my usual handshake. It definitely came in handy when you met a really cute guy…which by the way, was everywhere. (Viva Argentina! ?) I still find myself doing more of a kiss on the cheek when I hug my friends rather than the usual hug. I guess some things just stick with you.

14. A newfound appreciation for art. I visited three museums with my friend, Camila: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, MALBA and the stunning Museo Nacional De Arte Decorativo. At the first museum, there was a plaster cast of Rene Francois Rodin’s sculpture: “The Kiss”, which I found fitting as it reminded me how passionate people in this country are. This art isn’t limited only to the museums. Even street art is something to look at in Buenos Aires. It’s one of the things I had expected to see –from my Pinterest investigations prior to this trip, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Camila and I at the Museo De Arte Decorativo

Taking it all in

Museo De Arte decorativo

Street art

Marvelling at Teatro Colón

During an intermission of the opera, ‘Aida’

Facing Fears

15. Getting used to public speaking and small talk. There were so, so many self introductions that there wasn’t any choice but to adapt and learn to love small talk. Being probably the only Kenyans in that country, probably one of the few Africans too, it felt like we were default spokespersons for Kenya and Africa in general. What helped, however, is that people were genuinely interested to learn and know more about what goes on this side of the world.

Presentation on Blog Writing at UCA

Food

16. Anybody who knows me knows I’m an avid foodie. I’m really glad to say I think I learned and tried quite a bit of the Argentine cuisine. It is incredible. I even made a list while I was there of what I had to make when I got back. So far, I’ve only made Arroz con Leche (recipe will be up soon!) and Panqueque con dulce de leche, which I may make a bit too frequently.

Cazuela // Argentine Casserole

Sweet Argentine treats courtesy of Andy a.k.a Mama Camila

Empanadas at el Sanjuanino with Camila

Alfajores

1am Ice-Cream runs to Rapanui with Wandia

17. How to eat beef the proper way. Now, to anyone in Kenya, this has long been a bone of contention. Try put anything that’s even remotely pink on the plate of a Kenyan and they’re going to look at you like you’re a bit crazy (I’m still trying to convince my mum on this). Listen guys, I’m telling you, properly cooked beef shouldn’t be dry, grey and overly cooked. You will thank me later, just try it.

Asado // Argentine Barbecue

Culture

18. There exists a city that loves dogs as much as I do. Everyone owns a dog! It’s a dog haven. I only wish there could be stricter rules on cleaning up after them on the streets. There is no greater way to ruin your day than to step in poo.

19. This city has a little touch of all my favourite things. If it’s not the French inspired architecture of the buildings, it’s the quaint little coffee shops and panaderias on every block. They’ve even got cycling lanes and city bikes which I can’t stress enough on. I would be cycling to school every day if we had bike lanes and motorists who actually respected cyclists. Simply put, B.A is the gift that just keeps on giving.

So many beautiful buildings

Sunny days

There are magnificent churches everywhere

Puente de la Mujer // Literally ‘Woman’s Bridge’

Cafe Tortoni

Submarinos and Churros

Cycling around Puerto Madero

Race

20. There is no race issue. I get asked this question a lot because everyone automatically thinks there might have been an issue…as there tends to always be anywhere outside Africa. I learned that there are two kinds of stares black people receive. The first is the – sometimes mild, sometimes not – look of discomfort or even in some cases, a blatant disdainful look. I’ve witnessed this in some European countries. To be specific: The Hague, Netherlands and Cologne, Germany. The second look is one more along the lines of wonder or interest or one you would give something you find exotic. (I was tempted not to use the word ‘exotic’ as it tends to offend some people but I am anti the politically correctness of 2018 which in my honest opinion, threatens to destroy language) I have only experienced the second kind in Singapore and in Argentina. I don’t know how true my hypothesis is but I do know that the rest of the world should try emulate those two.

New friends

Kickin’ it Backstage

Bonus Lesson: Bucket List

I learned that this place is inexhaustible! I now have a bucket list of some of the things I didn’t get to do that I hope to do if when *Law of Attraction* I get another chance to visit this beautiful country again. Here are just a few:

  • The Recoletta Cemetery (It’s such a shame that I missed the closing time twice!)
  • Planetario Galileo Galilei
  • Roadtrip through the wine regions of Argentina, i.e. Mendoza
  • To visit Bariloche
  • To see Penguins in the south!
  • The Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Iguazu Falls

Didn’t make it into the cemetery but at least I got a picture outside it – LOL!

Don’t forget to like, share and comment. Let me know what your favourite city is!

— Ivy xx

036 comments

writer

Heya! I'm Wambui Mabelle. Founder of this blog. Twenty-something year old Kenyan. Lawyer by day, writer by night, foodie by weekends and muser everyday.

36 Comments

Alm Cross

Lovely. Keep it up

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Ivy

Thank you Chol!?

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Florence

What an experience! Thanks for sharing this with us?

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Ivy

Thank you! It really was. ?

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JAMES MUTURI

My daughter you are blessed, this very impressive…….thanks for sharing your memories

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Ivy

Amen to that! 🙂 Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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Saucy Flair

Beautiful Ivy..

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Ivy

Thank you Tiff! 🙂

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Dosz Shirley

This was amazing… I really enjoyed the pictures (wish there were more on street art and street fashion). This was a wonderful opportunity though and thank you for bringing it home to us this way.

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Ivy

Thank you Shirley!
Oh my, I guess that gives me another reason to go back! They do have a really great sense of style too. 🙂

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Taria Trixy

So beautiful ?I can’t believe you missed the Recoleta Cemetery ?
Issorait though ??

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Ivy

Heya Trixie
Thank you 🙂
Haha I know, it is so shameful!

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Connie

??? Amaze balls!!
Everything is too lovely!

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Ivy

Thank you so much Connie!
Glad you liked it. 🙂

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Jael

This is amazing…too lovely…im in love…so when are we going?

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Ivy

Thank you love!

Pack your bags, we go next week ?

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Mariana Batalle

Ivy!! So nice to read your lessons and really happy that you enjoyed so much your stay in Buenos Aires! We are waiting you and your friends to come back! Jaja

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Ivy

Thank you Mariana!
I’m glad you liked it 🙂
Yes, we must come back!

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Ann Ngima

Beautiful article…..well done Ivy. I love the pictures.

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Ivy

Thank you! 🙂 🙂

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Brian Okumu

You sure had a great experience! That is one beautiful country.

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Ivy

It really is quite beautiful! 🙂

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Cici

I just went for a trip to Argentina and back! This is lovely Ives, thank you for giving us a little piece of your experience❤

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Ivy

Haha! I’m glad my post managed to transport you there.
Thank you girlie! ?

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Eunice kimani

Lovely article… love the pictures. Good stuff

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Ivy

Thank you!! 🙂

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Mabelle

Ivy, it’s like wearing those 3D goggles or gadgets in some Disneyland going through this edition of your blog. True, you have made it very easy for anyone to re-live your experiences just like that….

Besides confirmation (!) of PDA being personal digital assistant, I am glad you learned “vamos…boliche…” thus making do without my usual security backup of fully loaded quiver of arrows and bow…

Good share. Will inbox you Dire Straits – So Far Away and Johnny Bokelo’s – Tambola na Mokili Omona Makambo (traverse the world and see).

Bravo!

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Ivy

Hi Dad!
I am glad the intention of my blog post managed to came out!
Haha! You know I meant public displays of affection…
Thank you 🙂 🙂
Yes, please do!

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Elinor

Wow! I love the photos and everything! It looks and sounds so amazing! ??

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Ivy

Hey Eli!
Thank you. 🙂
Glad you loved the post!

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Tom

Your writing is beautiful Ivy. I started reading the post and I didn’t want it to end. Hurry up and return to Argentina so we can experience more of it ?

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Ivy

Thank you so much Tom! 🙂 🙂
Haha I hope so!!

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stiv Gituma

Seems like quite an experience.
Really interesting blog kudos!⚡️✨

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Ivy

It was!
Thank you Gituma 🙂

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Brian Ochieng

Hey Ivy ..
reading your post makes it look like your right there ..
always a good read.
I now wish I could go to Argentina to have the same feeling ?

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Ivy

Heya Brian!
Thank you so much.
I am glad you enjoyed it 🙂 🙂

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