Monday, April 18, 2011

the two benchmarks: the lift guy and football manager

Well, it's been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd add some info about the last couple of weeks from my perspective...

All is going great here in Arg. We have been exploring the city plenty and really enjoying the adventures!

As Mik posted last week, a real highlight for me was going to see Quilmes play River Plate. Watching a live game of football here is on a totally different level! The crowds are nuts. A particular image that's stuck in my mind is when River scored their goal I looked over at the 'inchas' (die-hard fans) behind the goal and they literally streamed forward from halfway up the terraced stands and smashed into the fence at the front! It looked like a river of people falling down one part of the stadium! It was bizarre. That section of fans scrambled back up and after about a minute they all seemed to be on their feet and singing and clapping like maniacs again. I seriously thought there would have been injuries...but it appears that it is all in a hard days work being an incha for River!

The music department at St George's is cranking along nicely...Mik is working like crazy, but some great results and fulfilling things happening already. We have to keep reminding ourselves that it's only been two months! So much still to do, but plenty of time to do it. It's great to have goals and vision for this place. I'm really enjoying working with the kids and getting them playing in bands etc. Great fun and kind of like the old days when I was music director at TUC. Loving it!
We are really content living here and excited for Mik and my parents to visit! (Vicki and Jim come in 3 weeks!) We are going to Iguazu falls with them in May, so that will be rad.

On the weekend we went to La Boca, which was a real cool (but quite touristy) area, which is home to Argentina's most historical football club: Boca Juniors.
We went on Sunday and it just so happened that they were playing a home game against Tigre. The place was buzzing and we walked some back streets to try and get close to La Bombanera, but there was quite an unsafe vibe. People we bustling and looking suss and heaps of police and just all round a bit unsettling. We tried to look for tickets, but it just wasn't happening so we scrapped the idea and headed for touristy Caminito!

Caminito is where the dock workers used to take the paint that they would use for their boats and splash it on their houses too. It resulted in a colourful, vibrant bunch of streets, which are now a touristy hotspot with heaps of shops, a million Argentina 'Messi' shirts and even more Boca 'Roman' (Juan Roman Riquelme) shirts. Some fun tango shows and restaurants and a real wack modern art gallery featuring some confronting works based around the human get my drift? Caminito was a cool place...probably not a place to go and hang on the weekend (unlike Palermo for e.g.), but was definitely worth a visit!

We tried to catch the bus home 3 times from Caminito too! But our in-decision proved to be almost lethal because as while Mik was checking whether one of the buses was in fact the right bus, the driver decided it was time to take off, leaving Mik hanging out the bus door for a couple of seconds, staring wide-eyed back at me in shock!! I freaked and starting calculating how I was going to steal the ext passing car, hi-jack the bus like Keanu Reeves and save everyone! Fortunately, the bus stopped and let her off, but it was all too late, the bus was gone. Man, these buses are in a hurry I tell ya! As soon as the driver sees both your feet in the door-well, he's off! 2 missed buses later and we counted our losses and headed for San Telmo with the rest of the departing Boca fans, to enjoy night markets and pizza. Then a remis (taxi) ride home with an awesome driver called Marcelo and the night was done. We were knackered and happy to be home in our rad apartment.

Now, learning Spanish is really starting to come along. We are learning quickly and getting by understanding quite a bit of what people are saying to us! It is a little harder conversing back to them, however, but bit by bit we are starting to become slightly coherent. We are all over it in the restaurant/food ordering department and we even helped a 'tourist' (yes, you may have noticed I'm trying to differentiate myself from being a is amazing how quickly you feel like a place is 'home' - however, the lack of language definitely makes us feel touristy none-the-less) yesterday to order food!

I have developed two benchmarks for my Spanish learning:
1) I have changed the language setting on Football Manager 2011 to Spanish. I tried playing it when we first arrived but pretty much got sacked straight away because I couldn't understanding a thing! Once I can manage a team to world domination in Spanish, I will be able to say that I have succeeded in my language acquisition!

2) Today in the lift I got in on the same lift with a guy a little older than me. His little boy was saying goodbye to him in a really funny way..."Daddy, ciao, ciao, ciao, ciao, ciao etc. He didn't stop until the door of the lift was shut and we had descended about 6 floors. It was super funny and the guy was making a gag of it with me, but I just stood there frozen, kind of half laughing and half looking confused! Man, I wish I could have told him how funny it was and that his kid was real cute etc. but I just froze. I know some words to make the appropriate sentences, but I wanted to be cool with this know like blokey and stuff. He probably just thought I was a grumpy, mute wierdo who was having a bad night. When I can talk to the cool guy in the lift, I will also know that I've learned Spanish.

So here's to those two benchmarks!

We have a week off for Easter now. Going to muck around and explore locally some more. I met the sound guy for La Bombanera stadium and he invited me to join him in the booth for their next home game! Will keep you posted.
Hope all is well for everyone.

Lots of Love,

Chris K


  1. Hi This is Adriana Nathans wife, I loved reading what your up to. I was born in Uruguay half my family is in Buenos Aires. Although came to OZ when I was 10. Thankyou for sharing your experience. Feliz Pascua.

  2. Y vos Feliz Pascua!! =D
    Really nice to hear from you Adriana, Nathan has told me about you and your roots in Uruguay. You and Nathan are welcome to come and stay anytime you are here in Buenos Aires, Quilmes is only 20-30mins out of Capital! Thanks for commenting and reading, it's nice to know when someone is reading the blog.
    Any travelling tips or 'must see and do' if visiting Uruguay for a couple of nights via the ferry to Colonia or Montevideo?
    Lots of love,

  3. The city is inspiring and cosmopolitan. Tere are so many things to do that sometimes you can feel overwhelmed by variety. There is this great place, Confiteria Ideal. A sense of nostalgia pervades this aging but elegant club where the tango brings locals and tourists together. Afternoon lessons are a prelude to evening dance parties. Some of the buenos aires apartments I was staying in were near these coffee house and I spent nice moments hanging out there. I recommend it!

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