Stories from my 14-month study abroad in Buenos Aires, my 16-month post-college move to Miami, and my get-me-the-hell-out-of-Miami move to Denver

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Real South America

The more time I spend in Bogota, the more I realize that Buenos Aires is not very South American. Buenos Aires is like living in Chicago or New York City or Las Angeles, expect they speak a different language. It´s a large metropolis with millions of people, intermixed between harsh poverty and absurb wealth. It seems like I´m living in the USA sometimes, except for the whole spanish thing. Not to say I don´t like it, because I do. BsAs is a great place.

However, it doesn´t have that South American feel like I thought it would, and that Bogota definitely has. Everything that I pictured in South America, exists in Bogota. There are men sitting in shabby corner stores/markets, drinking beer into the late night hours. There are kids playing marbles on the dirt streets. Love ballad Ranchera music can be heard at all hours of the day, usually coming from a car with all of its doors open and five guys hanging out around it, talking. Stray dogs dodge in and our of the streets. Small, rural areas have cows grazing in the yards of the houses. People buy whole chickens, freshly killed and plucked. A guy sells live roosters outside of Lida´s house.

I don´t know if it´s a stereotypical image of South America that I have, but that is what I thought before I came down here, and I´ve just found Bogota.

1 comment:

mia said...

Hey Patrick really liked this post. Interesting to think about the origin of and how we create expectations about other cultures. I wonder why these images come to mind when we think about Latin America. I read a really interesting essay freshman year about how United Fruit Co. ran huge campains in the mid-1900s to create a latin persona sterotype in the States. It was how they marketed bananas. Bananas are sexy and relaxed just like latins… bite into the (super phallic looking) good life. I remember when I came back from Chile and people were asking me if I was living in huts or what the rain forest was like.
Where you in class for Ariel’s “I love my country, but my country hates me” speech? It was all about how BA is really not European or Latin, it is just a big fake on all fronts. It really set the tone for how I looked at BA. Perhaps a more schizophrenic city than most.
Really enjoying the blog, laughing a lot. Painted my toenails.
¡Que vaya bien!