Slow Travel – Taking My Time in Buenos Aires
September 11, 2013 Kristance Harlow
I love the way of the slow traveler. The life of the expat. The relaxed and confident way of looking at a place that you are not rushing through. Too often when I travel I want to see so much and have too little time to do what I want, so it becomes a research project beforehand. Late nights full of caffeine and Google searches for “Cheap eats in Berlin”, “Top five must sees in London”, “Best Baltimore bars near the stadiums”. Traveling like that, with an itinerary and a time limit creates unforgettable memories (especially if you’re willing to toss out the travel plan every once in a while), but it doesn’t give much space for authentic connection with the locale you’re visiting. To feel like you are a part of the landscape that you are exploring takes time, it takes getting beyond the initial excitement of a foreign place.
I’m not espousing the idea of becoming a ‘native’ of a foreign land. Hell, I’ve been living in Buenos Aires for almost three weeks now and my Spanish is so bad that it’s embarrassingly hilarious, I’ll always be so obviously a foreigner I hold no false imaginings of being a porteño. When I lived in Britain I never completely got the hang of all the Scottish slang, and I will forever be perplexed by the British love for beans with breakfast. I’ll never be a native of anywhere but rural Vermont and Oregon, country girl born and bred. Small town America? More like no-town America.
I’m still new to the Southern Hemisphere and the sprawling metropolis of Buenos Aires. I’ve only seen a small portion of this bright and diverse city. I’m definitely in the honeymoon phase with my new home. The most mundane things still hold foreign enchantment for me: carefully hand washing dishes in my boyfriend’s parents’ beautiful cocina, line hanging laundry on their terracotta colored terrace, and I keep my camera at hand when I go to the supermercado.
|Acabar has a great vibe and killer style.
With no time limit I’m free to be myself. Myself is a person who swaps from extrovert to introvert, I need calm, quiet, and solo time to refuel my energy packs but once I’m refueled I need serious doses of social interaction. Saturday night Alejandro suggested we go to the movies, which in my introvert state would have been an excellent choice but I needed to get out and about. The night culminated in drinks at Acabar, a bar in the Palermo Viejo barrio with a vintage flair and Cuban vibe. They offer specialty drinks and a wide selection of board games to play for free. We went for Giant Jenga with extremely worn and warped blocks that meshed ridiculously well with a few drinks, followed by a rousing game of Spanglish Pictionary. We stayed there until closing time at 5am when the bartenders began shooing people out the door.
It’s winter down here, yet the weather is mild and even hot. Today it was heating up at 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Celsius). I love the warm weather and convinced Alejandro that it was a perfect day for a walk. Roasting under the South American sun, we strolled along the streets of Olivos. Our slow walk through his hometown neighborhood gave me time to notice the varying architecture of the edificios, from Spanish Colonial mansions to small clay homes awash in bright colors. We strolled to the Borges estación de tren where there is a charming café/bar called the Luna Córnea Arte Bar. We enjoyed a refreshing drink called licuado de frutilla con agua, a smoothie like drink.
The morning we had spent cleaning the bathroom, hanging laundry, and doing work. The evening was just as exciting, I had a tasty dinner with the whole family and washed up afterwards, followed by catching Transformers 2 on tv. Yet, it was the perfect day. I didn’t have to rush about all day and end it exhausted and overwhelmed. I will remember each moment about my trip down to Borges train station where I sat with my boyfriend in a sun drenched Argentine restaurant and sipped licuado on a relaxing afternoon in Buenos Aires.
|The Borges Train Station and Luna Córnea Arte Bar.
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