Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dancing Like a Local

It’s pretty safe to assume that Tango is one of the first things that comes to mind when most people think of Buenos Aires.  Also, with all the different tango shows, milongas or street performers it’s pretty easy to surround yourself with tango in this city.  However, if you talk to any locals you might be shocked to realize that the majority don’t dance tango, or even know how for that matter! Before moving to BA I just assumed it was something that sort of came in their genes.  Unfortunately the majority of the Tango that is danced and learned today is done for touristic purposes.  I had my fair share of tango attempts when I was fresh of the boat, but tango and I didn’t get along too well. I like to dance freely with my hands above my head, and being stuck to another person while having to focus on the technicality involved was just not my thing.

But I had to dance.  I mean how can I be in Buenos Aires and not dance? So I started looking around, and one day while walking past the large park in Parque Patricios on a Sunday afternoon I saw almost 100 people dancing something that looked far less touristy and far more exciting. It’s name, you ask?? Why it was folklore! The dance of the Argentine version of the cowboy- the gaucho!

gaucho

Not only does the music want to make you smile, but the dance is fun! You don’t have to worry the whole time about all the steps, and its more than OK to laugh out loud.  So I started going to Folklore classes and pretty soon was hitting up the local dance halls called peñas. I also liked that the classes were always filled with Argentines, rather than tourists.

pena2

One of the most popular folklore dances, the Chacarera, originated from the Province of Santiago del Estero in the North of Argentina.  Traditinally danced in the rural parts of the country, the gaucho’s goal was to “conquistar” his dance partner through a series of foot-stomping and twirls.

gaucho2

Here is a popular Chacarera song:

So, if you are tired of Tango and are curious to learn more about Argentine Folklore you should go to some local peñas, or the Feria de  Mataderos, or even walk around the park in Parque Patricios on a Sunday afternoon!

T.G.I.F in BsAs!!!

it's friday

It’s Friday! It’s (somewhat) sunny! This past week I’ve been doing a sort of cleanse (no sweets, no caffeine, no bread, no alcohol.. or should I say, nothing tasty) and it has left me feeling quite grumpy.  However, those dark times are behind me now and all I want to do is indulge in cakes and pizza and wine all weekend.  Even though this cleanse was supposed to have the opposite effect… I think I’m just going to listen to my body on this one :).  If you have the same urge to get out there this weekend and see what this beautiful city has to offer, here’s a list of a few things I can personally recommend.

1. Buenos Aires Market: This weekend only! Come to El Dorrego (Dorrego y Zapiola in Colegiales) to check out over 70 vendors of healthy food and sustainable products. Come try some delicious food and see what unique products Buenos Aires is coming up with.  Plus it’s free!

bamarket

2. Club Silencio: Feel like experiencing some theater in complete darkness? At club Silencio you get to experience a show through all the senses, except sight. Everything else becomes so much more heightened when your eyes are not making it’s initial judgements.  A very unique experience, and is a great idea for a date! Make sure to make a reservation though.

clubsilencio

3. The Shakespeare Festival: Feel like checking out what a Shakespeare play in Spanish is like? This is a great option.  They have different locations all over the city with plays everyday.  Sunday is the last day, so go check it out! Last year I saw a very interesting take on Macbeth…

shakespeare

4. Anuva Wines: If you are anything like me, your wine drinking has probably increased exponentially since being in Argentina.  But, do you know anything about this country’s precious Malbec? Or have you even heard of a Bonarda? If not, you should come check out this wine tasting (in our own, beautiful space- The Reserve) and learn a few things about what you’ve been drinking all this time.  Make sure to make a reservation beforehand!

cara reserve photo (1)

5. Do a little stargazing at the Planetarium! At the planetarium in the Bosques de Palermo  you can see the moon up close in one of their huge telescopes.  Make sure to go when it’s not so cloudy!

planetarium

6. Listen to some jazz at La Trastienda Club.  Or on Saturday they are doing a Yoga Rave– do yoga with electronic, yet meditative, music and enjoy some fruit juice and vegetarian food!

yoga rave

Well, the choice is up to you.  Whatever you decide, enjoy!

Get CrossFit…or Not. It’s up to you.

woman-crossfit-torrance 

CrossFit, we all know it, some of us love it, some of us hate it and some of us just don’t know what those crazy people are thinking! Just as a general overview CrossFit is a fitness program designed to improve muscular strength, cardio endurance and flexibility. The idea is to continuously changing the mix or aerobic exercise, gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting.

CrossFit was founded by Greg Glassman in 2000 and since then has taken off, being practiced in over 7,000 afiliate gyms and programs worldwide. This is where Buenos Aires comes in. While it was seemingly another exercise phase CrossFit has apparently stuck here in Buenos Aires. Within the past few years we’ve seen CrossFit gyms or cajas as they call them (which literally translates to boxes). Crossfit is an extremely high intensity workout program that will undoubtedly make your entire body hurt the next day. At this point I need to mention the fact that I myself have never participated in a CrossFit class (because yes, I’m just a bit too chicken) but I have many friends who are devout CrossFitters.

The Crossfit gyms or workout spaces are typically old warehouses. They are mirror free in order to promote focus on movements and to enable you to push yourself without worrying about what people are thinking of you. The idea is for you to compete against yourself. The classes last about one hour and will include elements from various physical training such as weightlifting, gymnastics, core training and cardio. Just as a side note and for you to get a better idea of how intense these classes are, CrossFit is used by special ops military trainers, tactical teams, champion martial artists and worst yet high school gym teachers.

crossfit

From what I’ve heard the way classes go, you spend about 45 minutes sweating every last bit out liquid out of your body and then at the end there’s a ‘workout of the day‘. During the first part of the class you’re following instruction from a leader while another trainer is walking around adjusting your movements and poses in order for you to really reap the benefits of a good workout. As every trainer will tell you, it’s not how many sets or reps you do but how you do them. This is also the most effective way to wake up the next morning and realize just how many sore muscles you have in your body. The second, and what is considered the most challenging, part of the CrossFit workout (yes, I scoffed at that a bit myself…most challenging…) is the workout of the day. This is the bit that is designed to test your skills and give you a basis for comparison as you progress with the classes. It is selected daily by the trainers and it involves all of those fast paced horrible drill exercises your old soccer coach made you do during preseason. But, the most challenging part isn’t in fact that workout but that it’s timed. You have 10 minutes to completely the challenge. Obviously if you don’t finish you’re not a failure but you’re basically supposed to realize that you’re not fit and need to keep working on it.

Crossfit Tire Push

My muscles just hurt writing this article but it seems like a really great program. It becomes a bit of an obsession actually. There are competitions and you get to wear tight clothes and lift tires and things. While it’s not for everyone if you’re looking for a quick and really healthy way to get into tip top shape you might want to check out CrossFit.  

Improving your Mind and Body in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a city full of people taking classes.  Whether its Pilates, or English or contemporary dance, everyone is trying to learn something new.  I personally have taken my fair share of classes in BA (in my most intense moments of self-searching I’ve been known to juggle 4 to 5 different classes at a time).  My best discovery, which has taken me almost two years to find, are the Literature and Creative Writing classes at The Walrus School.  For those who don’t know, Walrus Books is a used English bookstore located in San Telmo.  While being a city filled with bookstores, it’s hard to find good English books around, and Walrus Books has filled that niche perfectly.  When I found out about  the Walrus School, which gives all it’s classes in English, I signed up right away for the creative writing class.  It lasted 8 weeks and each week we were given a different prompt for writing a short story, which we were to read aloud in class the following week.  The first time I read my story for my classmates I was so nervous, but I left feeling exhilarated.  It was the first time in a while that I didn’t fall asleep the second I put my head on my pillow at night.  I couldn’t stop thinking about what to write next!  After taking the creative writing course I signed up for a literature course on Virginia Woolfe and am currently taking one on Truman Capote.  Check out all the upcoming courses on their facebook page.

walrus

Now you have your mental exercises, but what about the body? I’ve always found it difficult to exercise in Buenos Aires.  In Austin I would just walk out my front door and start running, or drive 10 minutes to a hike and bike trail along the river.  But in Buenos Aires it’s very difficult to run on the sidewalks, (too narrow, too many people).  Plus everyone gives you weird looks!  My new favorite way to exercise are the yoga classes at Buena Onda Yoga. The classes are amazing and are also all taught in English.  I had tried many yoga classes in Buenos Aires and was never very impressed with them, however my first class at Buena Onda was exactly what I was searching for.  A perfect mix of slower stretching postures and more aerobic exercises, as well as a lot of focus on breathing and mental awareness.

buena onda yoga

Not in to yoga or books?? Here are some other ideas for classes to improve your mind and body:

  • Take a singing class! Sing out loud! This one in particular is recommended by a friend.  It focuses on finding your own voice through the elements of earth, water, fire and air.
  • Take drum classes! Let out your inner hippie!
  • Learn how to cook healthy food! The closed door dinner Jueves a la Mesa offers vegetarian cooking classes.
  • Ride a Bike! Feel the wind in your hair! Use this map to check out all the bike lanes BA has to offer.

bike

Be healthy and be happy.  If all else fails get some mental therapy! With more psychotherapists per capita than any other city in the world, Buenos Aires is the right place to be.

Valentines Day in Buenos Aires! <3

buenosaires

Such a nice way to spend this romantic day in the Latin city of love of Buenos Aires! The city where most of the locals don’t even know the term PDA (Public Display of affection) and where it is perfectly legal and sane to do every romantic gesture imagined in public.

In this blog we are going to recommend some awesome ideas to do today in the city. Some typical classic ideas celebrated the argentine way, and some other original ideas you can try with your significant other.

YEAR

  1. Give your special someone a bottle of the year you both met. And drinking together over dinner would be such a romantic way to spend a Valentines night, mostly because it is a thoughtful detail.
  2. Go to Hilton Hotel for a spa session. Have a romantic spa day for two relaxing, getting a couples massage, relaxing by the pool or Jacuzzi. Ask if they offer a couple specials today.spa
  3. Go visit the new Antares. They recently opened a new bar in Venezuela and Bolivar, go try their wheat beer called Playa Grande, it is the beer of the season. Any Antares for that matter is a good option.
  4. Go to Eter Club. Go listen to live music and have some delicious drinks!
  5. Watch  the season premier of House of Cards. For those who feel more like staying in at home, with a homemade dinner and chocolaty desserts watching a series, House of Card is having their season 2 premier today.
  6. Mini Cake de Smeterling. They offer some delicious pastries and desserts to share; you can find it in Recoleta. chocolate
  7. Go have dinner at Hernan Gipponi Restaurante. Located in Fierro Hotel, this restaurant left it’s mark in the culinary world in Buenos Aires. With a selection of wine picked out by Andrés Rosberg, president of the Argentine Sommelier Association. And they also have an excellent brunch! romance
  8. Go share a pitcher at Negroni. Just in the corner of El Salvador an Fitz Roy, go experience a new scene in the outdoors bar (considering the lovely weather on this beautiful day) with open doors and a lovely terrace at the top. Try a pitcher of Campari and Naranja, a very popular drink in Argentina. negrono
  9. Head to El Centro Cultural Matienzo. This cultural restaurant bar planned to do a cinematic romantic night, with dinner included with a cost of $150.CC
  10. Disconnect to connect. Turn your phones, TV and lights off and just enjoy your lover with dim lights in your apartment, house or room with some romantic music in the background. No better way to connect with your other half than by disconnecting with the world for a bit. Here is a webpage to find some good romantic music: http://8tracks.com/

Hope this blog was useful for you. Have a lovely Valentines’ Day! 🙂

Free Things to Do in Buenos Aires- Part 2

Time for round 2 of our very fun and very free list of things to do here in Buenos Aires.

Horse Racing Argentina

Test Your Luck at a Horse Race

One of my favorite Sunday afternoon activities is to make my way to the Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo located on Avenida del Libertador. They run races most Wednesdays and Sundays and it is quite the cultural experience. Argentinians love thoroughbred horses and they have some very beautiful specimens at the Palermo Racetrack. It opened in 1876 and has been holding elite competitions ever since. The actual space itself is gigantic. It can accommodate up to 100,000 guests. Feel free to sit back on the stone steps, soak up some sun and watch the majestic beauty that is horse racing.

Carlos Gardel Museum

Take in Some Tango

As I’m sure you are aware Argentina is home to the origins of tango. There is no better place to experience tango than here. While it isn’t unusual to see random outburst of tango in the streets there are several places that you can count on for an entertaining and free tango show. My number one recommendation would be the Carlos Gardel Museum. He’s one of the, if not the, most famous tango singers in the world. His house was converted into a museum and they regularly do free tango lessons and shows. Another popular place to catch a tango show would be at the any one of the outdoor markets where there are often free live performances. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can wander into one the many milongas littered throughout the city. Not all of them are free but even the ones you have to pay to enter don’t cost that much.

 San Telmo Market

Wander the Markets

Yes, yes this may seem like a bit of a cop out but I promise you, it really is worth it. There’s absolutely no need to purchase anything (although sometimes it can be difficult to resist) for you to enjoy the markets of Buenos Aires. They’re so colorful and full of people. Most consider the Feria de San Telmo to be the best. It takes place every Sunday from 10:00 until 7:00. Here you can find handmade crafts, antiques and really just about anything your heart could possibly want. It’s huge, more than a mile long and there are people from all walks of life. It’s a fabulous people watching place. Besides that there is normally live music and all sorts of performers. You can also try the Feria de Recoleta

La Chacarita Cemetery

Recoleta Cemetery

Cemeteries

Although it seems like an unusual suggestion Buenos Aires has some of the most architecturally interesting cemeteries in the world. There cemeteries boast some of the most fabulously intricate tombs and mausoleums. My personal favorite is the Recoleta Cemetery. It’s the final resting place of many famous Argentines including Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Eva Perón, Juan Manuel de Rosas and many more. Some of the more notable details include statues, furniture like you’d find in a home and stained glass windows. 

La Chacarita Cemetery is also a beautiful cemetery to visit. Due to a yellow fever outbreak in the 1800’s the city had to find a larger space to bury people. This cemetery is so large that in order to see it all you’ll actually need a car. It too has lovely architecture.  

 

Best Cafés in the City that Never Sleeps

One of the things that I love most about Buenos Aires is the café culture.  Before moving to Argentina I rarely drank coffee, now I need it just in order to function.  People here are always hopped up on some sort of caffeine- coffee, mate, coca-cola- just in order to keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle of a big city.  Needless to say, coffee shops do very well in this here.  If you are in need of any energy boost there is most likely a café on any block.  Or at least a kiosko with a coffee dispenser if you are really that desperate.  No matter the time of day (be it 3 am!) you can find people sitting outside enjoying a good ol’ cup of jo.  One of my favorite things to do is to sit in a café reading, people-watching, or chatting with friends.  There are the well-known “café-notables” such as Café Tortoni, La Confiteria Ideal, or Las Violetas, that are absolutely stunning and historical.  However in these places you can only find typical argentine café food- medialunas and such.  You should definitely check them out, but I prefer the artsier cafes of Palermo and Villa Crespo.  I have searched for some of the best cafés in Buenos Aires and have found a fair share of excellent ones.  Here’s a list of my favorites:

Malvon Confiteria

malvon

Villa Crespo, Serrano 789.  This café has lovely tall ceilings and baked tasty treats. It also a georgeous outdoor patio with lots of sunshine.  And delicious big cups of coffee!

Oui Oui

ouioui

Palermo Hollywood, Nicaragua 6099. My favorite place (I think in the world!) for brunch. I have been probably 15 times and have ordered their eggs benedict everytime.  My stomach never fails to leave happy and pleased.

PEHACHE

pehache

Palermo Soho, Gurruchaga 1418.  The food is nice,  but for me the main reason to go to this place is for their garden.  It has high walls covered with ivy and a pond.  I feel like I’m in the secret garden! Plus they have a Anthropology-esq store in front with really great ideas for furnishing your apartment.

Vita

viat

Microcentro, Hipolito Yrigoyen 583. This is a great option for those who live around the center (me!) and are deprived of some healthy food options.  This café is 100% vegan and has some very great muffins and vegetable juices.

Boulangerie Cocu

cocu

Palermo Soho, Malabia 1510. A cute french bakery with buttery chocolate croissants.  I always wondered why argentines never thought of sticking some chocolate in their medialunas.  I guess they are too loyal to their dulce de leche. If you prefer chocolate (like I do) you’ve got to try these.  I’ve been known to show up at work with these bad boys on more than one occasion…

Well those are my top 5 for now, but no matter how well I feel like I know these streets, there are always new surprises. I’ll keep adding to my list as I find more place to sit and feel like Jorge Luis Borges!