Already returned to his hometown in Newcastle, Australia, our Roadie of the Week Geoff reports here on his experience during one month in Buenos Aires!
What were you doing here in the city: I primarily came to Argentina to volunteer and teach English to primary school kids. I ended up at a local primary school in Recoleta where I was assisting an Argentine English teacher with her 6th form class. The children in my class were absolutely crazy! But in many ways I loved that about them. They were completely full of energy and were a bit naughty at times, but they were extremely welcoming and warm. Everyday when I walked up the stairs to get to the classroom, the kids in my class would run at me with hugs and kisses. They were so devastated when I had to leave, as was I.
In addition to the school, I was also taking Spanish classes as I arrived in Argentina not knowing any Spanish other than a few basic words. I was glad I took these classes as I found my teachers to be incredibly charismatic and fun… which is always important for me.
Why Buenos Aires: Buenos Aires was such a mystery to me. In fact, Argentina and all of South America were always unfamiliar and alien in my mind. I knew very few people in Australia who have travelled to Argentina. I think this is what attracted me to the city as I knew very little of it. Moreover, I always like to experience larger cities when travelling so Buenos Aires was ticking all my boxes.
Favorite thing to do in the city: The San Telmo markets are such a blast. You can experience an incredibly unique atmosphere in the two or so kilometers of narrow cobblestone street. The crowds make it so intimate and the people at the stalls are so vibrant. It is easy to impulse buy everything there, where it be an alpaca sweater or a waffle cone full of dulce de leche. Exploring the markets with everyone has been such a highlight.
Favorite Spanish word: “Qué?” (What?). NOTE: responding to someone with this in a loud tone is not the most polite way to reply.
Favorite eat out: There were two things I could not stop stuffing my face with: Steak and Choripán. Steak is a bit of a staple in Argentinian cuisine and they definitely know how to get it right. My mouth salivates just thinking about it. La Cholita is a restaurant in Recoleta that has a great atmosphere in addition to their steak. Choripán was my staple in Buenos Aires. You can get this almost anywhere in the city but the best places I found were by the nature reserve in Puerto Madero and at Sr Choripan near the Roadhouse, mmmmmm.
Best memory in the Roadhouse: One memorable moment was during a night where we had a blackout, so we decided to throw an impromptu blackout dance party upstairs, fully equipped with strobe light phones and pumping laptop music. Pick a piece of furniture and dance the night away!
The best memory, I would have to say, was my last night at the Roadhouse. We all ordered pizzas and stayed in rather than going out. It was one of the few nights where everyone was together and it really felt like home to me. Bitter sweet.
What experience you’ll take back with you: Being in the presence of some amazing people in a sleepless city. Even just hanging out at the Roadhouse, sitting in the lounge room by the fire while everyone is lost in their iPhones and laptops on the wifi. These moments don’t mean much while your there but you realise how much you miss them when you get home.
Biggest tip to newcomers: If you don’t know Spanish, TAKE THE CLASSES.
Why choose Road2Argentina: Road was the only organisation I could find that was solely based in the country and city it was organising programs within. This gave me a sense of authenticity and local flair which was what I ultimately experienced.