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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Pinamar Weekend

Well, the past weekend in Pinamar was pretty great. Calvin and I set out at 9am, with six hours of Argentina prairie ahead of us. Good conversation and a couple mates later, we arrived. Neither Carlos nor Pablo had called us back, so we were kind of worried about our living situation. We arrived, called Pablo, he answered right away and told us that he didnt have credit to call us. They were waiting for us at their restuarant.

First night with the old roomates in a LONG time
We arrived at the restaurant, a very cool lounge bar that does dinner and music shows. We hung out for awhile, and then they had to get back to work. They gave us the keys and directions to their house, and told us to meet them on the beach later. Calvin and I took off on our walk, expecting to find their apartment situated in the ghettos of Pinamar...WRONG! They live in a beautiful 3rd floor apartment, with balcony and an ocean view. On top of if all, the restaurant they work for pays for everything. Thats the way it works in these resort towns; you come to work for them, and they hook you up with lodging...good lodging, not like Wisconsin Dells worker lodging.

Day view from their department

Sunset from their department

Well, to cut a long story short, Calvin and I lounged on the beach for four days and really enjoyed ourselves. Calvin turned 21 on Saturday night and we went big, as planned. A night out on the town with Pablo is always a good time. Carlos went south to party with his Mexican friend Radim for the night.
Calvin´s 21st birthday

On a sidenote, Speaking english in this city was the coolest thing in the world! We would talk down the main city street, just talking about whatever, and everyone, be it young girls, old men, families, etc, would crane their necks to see who was speaking english in Pinamar. After hearing english, they would slowly move themselves close to us until they were able to ask us where we were from. The people from Pinamar are definitely, without a doubt, the richest people in Argentina. So, of course, they love American culture, movies, attend bilingual schools, brag abouting going to Miami, what have you. Seeing as the OC, and The Hills are popular TV shows here, the young girls immediately attacked Calvin(from Cali) with questions. Calvin despises these shows and hates how they´ve tarnished the California reputation, which is exactly what we saw in the questions they asked him.
Calvin, the Cali boy, getting swamped. Classic scene throughout the weekend.

It was a unique feeling being in a city like Pinamar. I definitely didn´t belong in a place like that, seeing as it´s the Hamptons of Argentina. I, a young midwestern male, would NEVER be allowed into the Hamptons. I have neither money nor a famous last name. However, in Pinamar, being from the US is like being a Kennedy in New England. It was fun to be so popular for four days, but it definitely felt good to get back to regular BsAs. The attitude in Pinamar is what they call, Cheta. Super wealthy upper-class people who look down on the rest. It was a daily experience to hear rich northern-suburb kids talk smack about barrios in Buenos Aires that I feel have lots of character. Many of these kids despise coming into "the city" because its so dirty and hectic. It seems very very similiar to what my friends said about the relationship between the northern suburbs of New York City and the city itself.

Anyways, fun weekend, great to see Carlson and Pablo again. They are doing really well, enjoying the beach seven days a week with a great group of coworkers. All in all, I had fun.
Pier in front of the house during sunrise

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Over A Year

I´d just like to reference that it has been over a year since I started this blog. I never knew if I would like being a blogger, but I really enjoy it. I know the family is out there, reading this, being reassured that Patty Boy is safe and sound in Buenos Aires. It has been fun writing about my life here, and having people from all over the world read it. I get the occasional comment from some random person telling me that they´ve read my entire blog in one session. I know for a fact that I´ve excited a few people for their upcoming experiences in this city, and for that, I´m very happy. This city will blow your mind, and you´ll forever have Buenos Aires in your blood.

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cruising Los Parques de Palermo

This is a clip of my ride through the Parks of Palermo a couple of days ago. Great afternoon bike ride, lots of people jogging, walking their dogs, biking, rollerblading, etc. If you´re from Minneapolis, imagine the Lake Calhoun summertime atmosphere, but about 10X bigger. Great place to hang out and relax after the afternoon sun starts cooling down. The parks are packed with little green parrots that you´ll hear in the video.

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Biking through Parque Las Heras

Heres a little video of me cruising through Parque Last Heras after spending the day drinking mate and hanging out with Valeria and Calvin. This is a HUGE park, probably one of my favorites in town, and, about 25 years ago, it was a prison. They knocked down the prison and converted the location into a park. It´s located in a very nice neighborhood. Crazy to think a prison was here not too long ago. Enjoy!

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monday, January 19, 2009


Just a little teaser post here. This Thursday, my friend Calvin, from California, and I are heading to the coastal resort city of Pinamar. My two roommates from last semester, Carlos and Pablo, the cooking students, got jobs as chefs at a restaurant there for the summer season. They´ve got a house and everything, and invited us to stay there for a couple days. Calvin turns 21 on Saturday, and we´re definitely going to go big! Here´s a taste of what we´ll be spending four days on.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Apartment Tour

Here´s a tour of the new apartment.

ps- Yes, as you probably noticed, I invented the word, "pequaint" during the filming of this video. Those spanish speakers out there will realize that this is a combinacion of pequeño, meaning small, in spanish, and quaint, the english word. Seems that I´m starting to forget how to speak english...a great sign for my spanish.

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Still a Challenge

You know, I recently read an old email I sent my college advisor about a year back. We were talking about my classes that I would take in Argentina and the language barrier, etc. One line that really struck me as funny was, "So, after my first semester in the IES program, I´ll be fluent and will be registering in the local business school there."

Right! Given, I speak this language very well. I can talk to just about anyone and understand what they´re saying. However, I still make mistakes. I still get upset if I use an indirect object pronoun instead of a direct object pronoun, or an article of the incorrect sex. I´ve been speaking english for 22 years of my life, and spanish for merely 9 months. I regret not taking more classes in college, giving myself a base to work off. I feel I´ve learned EVERYTHING here, like I basically started from scratch. I believe I was overly confident that I would master this language in just one year. There are so many ins and outs, phrases, words, secrets, and shortcuts, just like english, that take years to acquire. I find myself getting down on myself for not being a perfect speaker, but then I also realize that I continaully compare myself to Holly and Lindsay, my bilingual sisters. How did they do it so easily in a year. One day I´ll need to stop doing these comparisons.

Ok, well, sorry for the bummer post, but, if you want a view into my life, this is where I´m at.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Facebook Night of the Ages

So I don´t usually use Facebook that often. At least I wasnt using it that much when I didnt have a computer. However, now that internet access is at my fingertips, I´ve been on it a bit more lately. Today, for the first time in roughly 8 months, I turned on the chat function for more than 5 minutes. Que loco! I just spent 4 hours talking with people from back at home, chatting about life down here, and just catching up. After that, I found myself browsing pictures of college and higschool friends, seeing them all hanging out for Halloween and Newyears. It so weird to talk about everything from the past, and see pictures from the present, knowing that in a matter of months, I´ll be back in the city, reimmersing and restarting my life from where I left it. Did some quality skyping as well. Talked to a very good friend from school and got some quality Mom time in. All in all, a pretty emotionally eventful day.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Friday, January 16, 2009

Long Night

Well, it happened...I fell asleep on the subway after a long night of clubbing. Last night, though it seems like eons ago, I went to GOA with Miguel, Calvin, and Jenny. We entered around 3:30AM, the usual time to enter a nightclub in Buenos Aires. We danced the night away, I made some friends, and then eventually we got pushed out by security at 6AM.

I walked myself to the Green Line subway, hopped on, and happily found a seat. The next thing you´s 10AM, and I´ve ridden the subway for at least 6 cross town trips. I woke up, on the opposite side of town, sweating because of the unbearable heat, and realized what had happened. I then had to get up and walk for 10 minutes to get onto the other side of the tracks to catch the train to my side of town. I pushed my way into the line to make sure I got a seat for the 15-stop ride. I was happily nestled in when a pregnant women got on. Of course, everyone pretended that they were sleeping, or extremely focused on a hang-nail, so that they didnt have to give up their seat. I, being from the Midwest, stood up, soaked in sweat from the 90 degree subway heat, and gave away my precious seat.

I then clung onto the subway ceiling rail for the next 13 stops, each one hoping it was the last. Once I finally reached the Olleros stop, I exited and was greeted by the overwhelming power of the summertime sun. Nothing worse than coming out of the underground catacombs of Buenos Aires after 4 hours, to find the morning sun waiting for you.

I battled the heat of the sun, and immediately crossed the street, hoping to salvage what little strength I had left. As I walked, I thought it would be a great time to stop at COTO, a large chain grocery store. Surely, for once in my life, there wouldnt be a 45 minute line...Well, what do you know, I walk in the door and I´m greeted by what appears to be some cruel joke...incredibly long lines of retirees!

I walked in and was overwhelmed by the smell of old man cologne mixed with that common, rose-smelling grandma perfume. I felt as though I somehow left the streets of Buenos Aires and entered a grocery store of southern Florida. Seeing as I had been clubbing for the last 6 hours, I immediately retreated and walked fullspeed home, which is where that leaves us. I´m happily sitting at home, eating some squareish oatmeal cereal, ready to go to bed. Just another Buenos Aires night.

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Drinks of Argentina

Seeing as my time as a bartender has come to an end, I´ve composed the following to help you understand the popular drinks in Argentina, and who´s drinking them.

quilmes, the most popular beer in all of argentina. Drinks of Argentina
The Drink: Quilmes Cristal, the most popular Argentine beer in existence.
The Who: "I´m just hanging out in the bar, looking to meet people and have a good time. My nationality isn´t obvious because everyone loves Quilmes."

fernet and coke is the most popular mixed drink in Argentina
The Drink: Fernet and Coke, the most Argentine mixer one can order.
The Who: "I´m a true Argentine, just hanging out with my friends for a night or maybe scoping girls with my friends. Either way, I´m Argentine."

speed, a variation of red bull that isn't nearly as good
The Drink: Melón con Speed, a ridiculously sweet, awful tasting/looking liquor, mixed with an equally sweet Redbull-like drink.
The Who: "We´re just a bunch of fun 20 year old girls, looking to flirt with the boys, party hard, and smoke cigarettes until dawn.

chandon is a popular sparkling wine that is mixed with speed energy drink
The Drink: Chandon, or any bubbly mixed with the aforementioned Speed energy drink.
The Who: "Me and my boys are ready to party and we´re hitting the city up. (see South American Guido post) We´ve decided to start the night with Chandon and Speed to get some female attention. I´ll have my blacked-out sunglasses on pretty soon, and I´ll eventually wind up in a techno club until 7am, with the Melón con Speed girls above."

caipirinha are very sweet brazilian drinks that aren't that good, if you ask me
The Drink: Caipirinha, a sickly-sweet drink made with muddled limes, sugar, and Cachaça aguardiente liquor from Brazil.
The Who: "I have no idea what this drink is, let alone can I pronounce the name. Therefore, seeing as I´m a tourist, I´ll order it!"

american tourists/girls doing shots and getting drunk
The Drink: Any Shot
The Who: "We´re definitely North American tourists in Argentina, between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. We´re looking to get hammered. However, We´ve already forgotten that bars are open until 6am, and seeing as we haven´t paced our drinking, we´ll be passed out by 2."

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Goodbye Bartending...Hello Freedom!

After much thought about the issue, I quit my bartending job, on very good terms, at Portezuelo yesterday. Working 4 nights a week, from 9pm until 6am, and then sleeping until 3pm in the afternoon was really taking its toll on me. I was definitely spending more time in the bar than I was with my friends, and seeing as I only have a couple months left here, I feel spending time with them is worth it. Three nights a week to do something just isnt enough when you´ve got friends scattered all over the city. My boss was very understanding and said, "Of course Patrick, you´re working like an Argentine rather than a foreigner living in Argentina. You need to take advantage of the time you have left."

So, all is well, and I´m very happy with my decision. I did exactly what I wanted to do though. I got a job to do something with my free time, made friends, made some money, and had a good time. Now, if I want to make a little cash, I can always pick up a few Event Bartending gigs with the company I worked for in December. However, now that I´m free, I´m going to restart my salsa classes that I had to stop because of the hernia surgery back in June, spend more time with my friends, explore the city on bicycle, and start reading and studying more. Three months of personal enrichment.

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It´s Dead...

Well, as you´ve probably guessed it, the Mac went back to sleep...maybe forever. It´s difficult to make headway on the blog using a locutorio. However, the roomies are heading on a two week vacation starting tomorrow. Pablo said I can use his computer, so I´m going to be doing some insane posting this coming week. I`ve got Christmas pictures, days in the park pictures, and lots of other good content in the works.

With the house to myself, I´m going to get in some quality reading and studying...anything to increase my vocab. Also, I´m starting to plan my next trip. The talk about Patagonia is absolutely crazy. I met a cool business women from Atlanta when I was working the other night, and she´s traveled the WORLD. She told me that Patagonia was absolutely mind-blowing. Coming from her, that means a lot. I think it´ll be my last big adventure, minus Iguaçu Falls when Holly comes. Mendoza and wine are just and Mendoza. The city itself doesnt seem too exciting besides wine tours, and I´ve already done one in California. If mom comes down, we´ll probably hit it up though. Timmy said the north of Argentina was worth a journey. I could take the train there for ridiculously cheap too.

In reality, who knows. I´ve got 4 months left here, and I´m really going to take advantage of it.


ps- Miranda, if you´re reading this, send me an email at or add me on Facebook. I´d like to hear about your plans for when you´re here.

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's Alive!

So, I don't know what happened, but my Mac came back to life today. For a couple weeks, I'd hear the startup sound, but there was no screen or anything. I had no idea what was wrong. The Mac store said it was the Logic Board, whatever that is. Well, today, my computer is working. Every keystroke makes me nervous that it's going to crash again. As I type this, I fear it will go black-screen again. Therefore, I'll post this before anything happens. However, if the good karma keeps up and the Mac continues to work, expect much more frequent posts, pictures, stories, etc. If not, just check my facebook for pictures and whatnot. I'll post those christmas pics, funny bar stories, etc tomorrow.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina