As you may have guessed from the shameless Evita reference in the title, we are leaving Argentina soon. Tomorrow, to be exact. We decided that we would leave two weeks earlier than planned because it starts to get cold here in May. Instead of coming home to the U.S. two weeks early though, we’ll be spending that time in Mexico City. We’re looking forward to doing some travelling in and around the city and eating our weight in tacos.
I’ll post in June telling you what it was like leaving Argentina after eight months of living here, what we did in Mexico City, and what it was like returning and readjusting to the U.S. But for now, here are some notes from our final few months in Buenos Aires.
We finally made it to the zoo two blocks from our apartment. A year ago, the city released all the healthy animals from the zoo and sent them to nature reserves, so nowadays, the only animals left are the ones too old and sick to travel. The zoo is sparsely populated and more than half of it is completely shut down. The amount of employees far outweighed the amount of visitors when we were there, and considering the zoo was built in the 1880’s, the experience was the perfect combination of creepy, depressing, and fun.
Because we hadn’t had real American food in so long, one night, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe with our Argentinian friend. It was intended to be a mostly ironic visit because why would anyone go to the Hard Rock Cafe while in a foreign country where there’s endless food and culture to discover, but we’d been in Buenos Aires for 7 months so we felt like we could justify it.
Our friend had his first long island iced tea, which he loved. The meal, which consisted of one appetizer, three entrees, and six drinks, came out to be not only the most expensive meal during our time here, but in our entire lives. I won’t say how much it was, but I will say it was more than $2,000 pesos. If you’re willing to go through the effort of converting that to USD, you’ll know the whole truth.
Speaking of pesos, just a fun fact about Argentina: they have an inflation problem. We couldn’t even get pesos before arriving in the country because barely anyone in the U.S. would carry them. If they did carry them and didn’t sell them within a month, their value would noticeably decrease.
When we got here in October, an empanada at our favorite place cost 18 pesos (around $1.25). Now it costs 22 pesos. Inflation doesn’t affect us as much because we earn in USD and as prices goes up, we just get more pesos per dollar.
If the cold weather wasn’t enough to convince us to leave, in the last few weeks, a series of rainstorms has prompted an apocalyptic wave of mosquitoes to enter the city. This type of mosquito doesn’t spread disease, but it also isn’t bothered by the cold or sun, meaning we can’t be outside for more than a minute without getting bitten, so we put on bug spray like clothing now.
The highlight of the last few months was when I saw on Facebook that my friend was touring with another musician through South America and they were coming to Buenos Aires. He stayed with us for two nights and I played piano with them at two of their shows in the city.