Pittsburgher Kyle joined Road2Argentina last September and fell in love with Buenos Aires. He is still here. Kyle tells us what makes Argentina unique to intern, volunteer, teach English, study Spanish or just travel and live.
First thing’s first, Argentina is one of the biggest countries in Latin America with some of the most potent international clout. The nation has such a rich history, of the good and the bad, that brings us to what we today as this great nation of the world. They have offered the globe some of the finest cultural traditions and leave our mouths salivating at its booming and savory gastronomy.
Argies certainly know what it’s like to go through good times and bad; this nation has been all over the charts. After declaring independence and seeing a massive European immigration and even arriving to a decade of military dictatorship, the Argentina of today carries its bits and pieces from each era. El General San Martin is a name and face you will hear and see in so many places as his claim to fame is “libertador,” or the one who led the country to its independence. The Europeans who migrated into the port of Buenos Aires left their mark all over in places like Cordoba (where the annual German beerfest is held in October) and the capital city of Buenos Aires (where French- style architecture and sidewalk cafes, with their own twist, are more than a daily sight. The impact of the dictatorship that took place from 1976-1982 is still felt when you walk past the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo every Thursday morning, where the mothers and grandmothers of babies born in concentration camps protest in front of the government house demanding to know where their kin have ended up, even more than 30 years later.
Take this snippit and multiply it by a thousand to see what this place’s history is really all about.
Learn it, love it and critique it for the good and bad that it has left us with today.
Is there anything cooler than entering into a dimly lit milonga (tango club) at 3 a.m. when things are just getting going? What’s more relaxing than going to a park with a blanket, mate and medialunas to spend a weekend afternoon?
Tango is an essential part of Argentina’s culture. It’s a dance known worldwide for its passion, technique and, above all else, sex appeal. Mind you, not every Argentine is a tango dancer, but those who are do it extremely well. Milongas are tango clubs where people go to dance tango, usually to a live band. A dark, calm and old world environment sucks you in as the guitar and accordion trade the spotlight on stage.
Then we have mate. Mate is as Argie as it gets. It’s more or less a fusion tea that is solely to be drunk from a mate cup and straw. Walk around anywhere where people gather and you’re bound to see someone carrying a thermos and a country-style looking cup with a silver straw popping out of the top. Even better is to sit down and share it with friends while eating sweet and/or dulce de leche filled croissants. Well, I guess wither way they end up being sweet.
THE CRAYOLA RED STEAK
And we can’t forget the food. When it comes to a real Argentine meal, you don’t ask what kind of food you will eat. You ask what cut of meat you’ll be having instead. Asado (Argentine BBQ) from the parrilla (grill) is a taste your mouth will not soon forget. For our veggie friends, too, there are so many fresh produce options that always accompany asado that could actually serve as a meal in itself.
It may sound like steak is steak and that it can’t be all that different from place to place. But trust me, Argentine meat and the way it’s prepared over a burnt-wood fire compares to no other BBQ you could find elsewhere.
All in all, there are countless reasons to add Argentina to your bucket list. These three just happen to be my personal favorite. Keep looking into these topics and let it excite you. Eventually arriving here will settle any doubts you had and answer anything you couldn’t find on Google. It’s time to get excited about Argentina and share it the rest of the world!