Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stay up until 6am? Sure!

I realized that I haven't put up too many things about the unique pieces of Argentinean culture that I've discovered over the past week and a half. This post will attempt to make amends of this.

We'll start with food (what, did you expect anything different? Of course not). The first edible commodity which I haven't talked about is my favorite. It's called Dulce de Leche (Literally translated, Sweet of Milk). Essentially, it's very similar to caramel...except better. It's creamier than caramel, and they use it on a whole bunch of stuff here. Toast, fruit, desserts, ice cream, whatever you might choose. It is multi-purposed and has become a large part of daily eating here. Mom and dad...this will be one of things I bring home with me to the US. Complete with written instructions on how to make it :)

Don't worry, mom; I'll be helping in the creation process.

Argentineans really enjoy their meat here. Therefore, I've had many foods such as milonaysa (I am pretty sure I wrote that down correctly but I'm not entirely sure...), which is made out of cow meat and is essentially filleted and then deep fried. They love their deep frying here. It's good; but then again, most deep-fried foods are. As well, a food I've gotten to know are called empanadas. These are essentially bread covering different types of vegetables, meat, and whatever else you might put into the middle. They aren't too big, about the size of a medium croissants, but are quite delectable.

Another cultural difference is something I suggested in the title of this blog: the night starts LATE here. When you go out, you leave at midnight, and if you want to go to a bar, many OPEN around 1 or 2 am. If you want to go anywhere before midnight, you're gonna be waiting to enter for a long time. And, if you just get going around 2am, that means you're not going to bed until LATE. I have had a couple very late nights, and all you do is sleep in the next day until 2 or 3pm and you're set. I don't think I could do that for a long period of time, but its not too bad once a week. Especially when all I have is a bit of homework, and not a whole lot of responsibilities. Of course, I can be responsible even when I don't have responsibilities, as those have two entirely different meanings here, but I think that'd be a bit boring to go over :)

Another difference is the atmosphere of collegiate sports. Many people here really don't have a concept of college sports. Heck, their concept of sports is lightyears away from our concept in the US. We have a bevy of sports from which to choose teams, but here their choices are more limited. It's soccer or rugby, really. There is some basketball, polo or golf, but those are pretty scattered. And no one really seems to root for a college team. I have shown pictures of Husky Stadium to Tomas and other people around here and they are blown away by the size of American collegiate stadiums. They have stadiums that big, but that's only for big-time professional teams. To have a 75,000 person stadium solely used by a university is unheard of.

That's all for the cultural differences that I can think of right now; I'll write up more later on when they come to mind. This past Friday my UW group went to an estancia (essentially, a ranch), but really it ended up being kinda touristy. The ride there was supposed to be 1 1/2 hours, but it ended up being 3+ due to a nasty fog that caused many road closures here (apparently fog is so rare here that they feel the need to close down highways...?). There were a whole bunch of English-speaking tourists there along with us, and it kinda felt like an act to me. At the least, it was interesting watching an old gaucho game where they take this little mini stick and try to ride a horse and put the stick through a ring dangling over the track. You can see a picture of that below. Along with it is just a picture of the landscape. We also got to ride horses that day, so that was fun. But, again, I came away from it feeling like it was a little touristy and that it was more act than anything.

Friday night was my late night; I went to a concert with some UW friends and friends of Tomas, and then to a bar where we just sat and talked and danced and had a great hang-out night. The funniest part about that night was that we were the only ones who knew some of the English-language songs, so when we'd do something the song said (for those of you who know the applebottom jeans song, there's that low part), and everyone would kinda look at us funny. Of course, then the Spanish-language hip hop song would come on and we'd have no idea what you were supposed to do. We had to act like unknowledgeable americans when that happened and follow everyone else as best we could.

Today, I attempted to go to a church service (in spanish this time!), but it turns out that the service was at 730, not at 600 like I was told last week, and I had promised Tomas and others that I'd go to a Catholic mass with them at the cathedral near my house. That started at 830, so I had to skip the church service to go to the mass. I had never been to a mass before, and it was interesting attending one in Spanish, in a gigantic cathedral. The setting inside was gorgeous, and the cathedral is wonderful looking. I'll show you pictures of it when I get around to it. I live maybe 2 minutes walking away from it, so it's definitely close. I just followed everyone when they sat and stood, stood and sat, and then sat and stood some more.

I apologize for the length of this post - there was just alot to say! For now, I gotta wrap up some homework and head off to class at 900. I am looking at a weather report which says its 89 degrees in Seattle (at 7pm?!), and I am just slightly jealous of that. Although- it's been upper 60s here for the last few days, so I'm not getting terrible weather. Still, I'd kill for a few more hours of daylight and 10-15 more degrees of warmth. Send some my way next time you get a chance.


TheSooterStudios said...

I'd love to have your bring some recipies home! Sounds wonderful. Ask Marta for some recipies.

How was the wedding this weekend? It looks like you are having such a good time. The sport of putting a stick or lance thorugh a ring while riding a horse sounds like a sport done in early Europe. I'm sure it takes a steady hand.

It was 89 here yesterday and got into the mid-70's overnight. I did buy a portable air conditioner and it keeps the kitchen/family room to 75 or so by the end of the day when it's almost 90 outside. We hit golf balls last night at 8pm and it was beautiful. Calvin freaks and runs when he is near the air conditioner and the condenser goes off! Love ya. Mom

blueeyedcowgrl33 said...

I am very sad that your ranch experience was not amazing...if you are ever in southern California, I will show you what a REAL ranch looks like. But riding horses=amazing!!

That late night culture sounds perfect...late to bed, late to's almost like paradise!

The part about "Low" made me laugh out loud. I can just imagine it!! HILARIOUS.

I am glad you are enjoying your time there! Just remember, don't do anything I wouldn't do, Nate, and make wise choices. hahaha

Have fun!