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My time in Argentina

By dvasquez on June 25, 2013

When I first heard that we would be traveling to Argentina, I did not know what we would be experiencing.  I had never been to South America before, so all of my expectations were based off of Mexico, and more specifically the shantytowns of Ensenada.  As such, what I witnessed in Argentina completely caught me off guard.  Between cities such as Buenos Aires and villages like Tilcara, Argentina has an incredible dichotomy of lifestyles and cultures, all of which were new and exciting to me.  Food, housing, commodities, and people all varied drastically depending on where we were in the country, but they all had certain distinctly Argentinian values deeply ingrained.

The first place in Argentina that we witnessed was Buenos Aires, a bustling metropolitan city.  Ever moving and ever exciting, there was always something to do and new people to meet.  One distinct feature of Buenos Aires was their scheduling.  Life in Buenos Aires did not stop when the sun went down, and we all soon adapted to the B.A. way of life.  This opened up a host of new and exciting ways to experience the city, from bars to dance joints to jazz clubs.  As long as you were awake, there was always something to do.  That said, our daylight hours were by no means dull.  Just as we learned about the people of Argentina by night, we learned of the history of Argentina by day, visiting museums, examining street art, and listening to lectures to form a more holistic picture of Buenos Aires’ culture and background.

Everything changed when we left Buenos Aires for the country side.  Outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina is populated by a myriad of different cultures and peoples.  In Iguazu, not only did we see the Iguazu Waterfalls (which could merit their own piece entirely), but we also had the opportunity to visit an indigenous village  inhabited by the Guarani tribe.  In meeting these people, we were able to come face to face with a culture straddling the line between indigenous life and the modern world.  The Guarani, as one might expect from a tribe of people living in the rainforest, gather all their materials from the forest,  and yet have turned away from the traditional hunting methods due to ecological concerns.  Instead, they have now embraced tourism as a way to supplement their way of life, and have begun sending their children to modern schools and universities.  As such, being there was an experience unlike any other.

Another unforgettable  place was Tilcara, a small village in the arid Jujuy region where people live a more rural lifestyle, raising llamas and selling handmade goods as a living.  There, we were able to experience things that were truly breathtaking, from walking llamas in the middle of town to visiting ruins up in the barren hills.  All of these activities were of course given a more whimsical feel by the dozens of dogs that our group attracted on a daily basis.  Believe me, a group of 18 or so tourists parading through town followed by a mob of dogs is truly a sight to see (p.s. we’ll miss you wishbone).

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