Friday, May 30, 2008

Surprise Visit, from past student Alex

Family shot. Alex is in the back. The second row is Matias (Marías son), Ingenuo (Carolina's Daughter), Carolina (María's daughter), María. In the front is "la bruja".

Last week we had an unexpected visitor from one of María's past students. Alex is originally from Minnesota, however is studying in Phoenix, Arizona now. He was in town because he and a friend, Kirk, were taking a course in Microfinance in Paraguay. They decided to swing by Buenos Aires and say hello to the family.

It was cool to meet Alex. He stayed at María's house for a year. They have a neat connection because of how Alex learned a lot of spanish from María.

When Alex was studying in Buenos Aires Carolina, María's daughter, was living very close to María. Therefore Alex was around Carolina quite a bit. Ingenuo was apparently Alex's daily alarm clock during his stay at María's house.

The last picture is adorable with María and "la bruja". I worked for about 45 minutes to get a picture of her smiling and finally it happened while María was bouncing her up and down on her lap. So precious...but apparently this one is very "attitudinal".

I'm glad I grew out of that phase...maybe my mother wouldn't agree with that statement...jeje

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Paro Returns for a week (at this point)

As I'm editing my monografía, I want to inform all that the paro/strike/blockade has returned to Buenos Aires once again. There was a news break this evening that for the next 7 days there will be a a blockaide of all farm-products, we'll see, it could surely be more. This is a return of the "paro" I blogged about several weeks ago when the city was without meat for around a month. This time it's including all farm products.

Accordingly the government has closed negotiations with the farmers. The farmers subsequently decided to reopen the blockaide until the government decides to start negotiating again. It's an interesting situation that will be developing over the coming weeks.

Article on Clarín (in Spanish)

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I like finding small paintings these days, since these are usually what I can afford. I collected a few when I was in México and now I'm starting to do the same in Buenos Aires.

"Vietnan", 2008, by Etche Verry. Acrylic with medium on foil.
I like Verry's very abstract style. He had quite a mix of different abstract works. I thought this was interesting because of the texture--you can't see that with the picture. The title was also quite interesting.

I bought this in a little fería 3 blocks off of Plaza de Mayo (in Microcentro) a few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon. It was neat to talk to the artist, too.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cornell Capa - Photojournalist

In the NYTimes I just read that Cornell Capa died at 90. "Cornell Capa, Photographer, Is Dead at 90". I always admired his work. He was known for doing a large project, with a group of other photographers, to cover the first 100 days of John F. Kennedy's family. He took pictures of a lot of people significant in the 20th century, like Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth, British Monarchy, Billy Graham, et al. I guess I have always been drawn to his work in addition because he took many pictures in Latin America, and specifically in Argentina around the time Perón was overthrown.

The NYTimes article also has a photo section that has one of the Argentinian photos.

I admire that he worked almost--if not exclusively--in black and white.

If you're interested, check out a larger collection of his work on Magnum Photos collection.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Football or Fútbol...the same

I'm sitting here trying to study for my Neurociencias midterm tomorrow and am interrupted by cheers, horns, and yelling from all over Buenos Aires. You might wonder why. It's not the paro yet--even though it might return. It's fútbol.

We are having yet another game among the thousands of games that take place here all of the time. This time it is Boca vs. Alta (from México). Matias, María's son, is a fan of Boca. Shall I say a little obsessed over Boca? Then I have María cursing while she's watching them score and saying nasty Argentine words so fast that I never can pick them up--it's clearly intentional so I can't learn them. Anytime Boca makes a goal the whole neighborhood lights up with cheers and screaming.

Time for a more esoteric question: Why is man and woman so obsessed with games that involve balls? I've often pondered this question.

I've never really been a huge sports fan...with the exception to the Olympics. I'm always captivated to watching hours of Olympic content every 2 years--love weird sports like Skeleton. The only other sports I watch are figure skating, some swimming, and speed skating. However, many wouldn't really consider those real sports.

In conclusion, I don't think it matters. Fútbol--soccer in Argentina--or Fútbol Americana--football in the US--insights the same barbaric behavior.

I couldn't resist posting this. I usually dealt with this while living at Gettysburg with Morgan when the Ravens games weren't on our TV lineup. ¡Qué pena!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Learning how to make Empanadas

This is María, my host mother, teaching me how to correctly fold up these Argentine delicacies.
This recipe is changed depending on the tastes of the family. Essentially this is the basic outline that is adjusted to taste:

Empanadas de Carne

  • Ground beef
  • Onions, diced
  • Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
  • Raisins, white raisins are the more traditional (los pasos)
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika (pimenton dulce)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin (comino)
  • Salt to taste.
  • * I would add black pepper to adjust it a bit more to the American palate. Argentines usually use exclusively white pepper and they don't like spicy food. I often times add pepper so that it tastes seasoned to me. It's not 100% Argentine, but I know I have purchased them before at different places with pepper in the meat mixture.
  • **Pizza spice (espica pizza) This is something she only adds sometimes. I think if I were substituting I would whip out a mix of oregano, basil, and seasoned salt.
Chop onion and egg finely. Begin by sweating the onions with a bit of butter or oil. Add beef and brown with salt (and pepper). After its browned, add chopped egg and raisins. Also add the spices and let heat for 10 mins for the flavors to permeate. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Since this is a recipe many people cook here, the seasonings are always adjusted to taste. I suggest that you experiment with this to find a spice mixture that's appealing to you.

Let mixture cool until its warm and fill in empanada shells. I don't have a recipe for them now, but I will be getting one of them soon :-D
Here is a close up of the folding process. You'll see how important it is to pinch the dough to seal the empanada following up with creasing the empanada with this scalloped edge.
You can substitute chicken breast for the ground beef. If you do this I suggest cooking the chicken breast in a little water and with chopped peppers (red or green). Remove the peppers and allow chicken breasts to cool. Shred the chicken breasts with a fork, and follow the same recipe for the traditional "carne" empanadas.

These empanadas I made all by myself. María prefers to cook them twice. This is the first stage.
I hope this won't be the last empanada post. I hope to dig up some more recipes and fill you in on my experiments along the way, too.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Temaikèn Zoo

Colored pencil flamingo painting by D. Neagley
The flamingos inspired me to do some painting/sketching. This is a colored pencil drawing done on a sketch pad.
Matt, Lindsay and I went to Temaikèn Zoo on a federal holiday a few weeks ago. This was about an hour and half drive from Buenos Aires by the #60 semi-express bus. This zoo was one of the neatest zoo's I've ever been to, however I might have to have conversations with my zoo-expert-cousin-Anya to completely verify my claim to its greatness.

The cool part of the zoo is that it is much larger than most zoo's since it is not in a downtown section of the city. I think this is a much more humane way to have zoo's, especially since it still can serve its educational purposes and increases the overall health of the animals. Also since the collection focuses on local species, it helps educate people of the wild life around them instead of the typical zoo collection.

I really appreciated the fact that this zoo focused on mostly exhibiting species indigenous to South America. I was especially impressed of their collection of South American fish, too. The flamingos were a highlight and definitely inspired some creative juices, as you can see one of my paintings on this post.

This sign greeted us as we went into the zoo.
We had a lot of fun, and I took a lot of pictures. Make sure you look at the gorgeous flamingos. I also thought the pictures of the little bird underneath a four-footed-friend was particularly interesting.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

International Book Fair in Buenos Aires

This is the entrance to La Rural where there was the 34th annual book fair.
On April 24-May 12, the largest book fair in the Spanish speaking world came to Buenos Aires for the 34th year. The Fería Libro came to La Rural Exhibition center (similar to a state convention center) that is about 5 blocks from my house in Palermo.

There were tons of books inside the convention mainly in Spanish, but there were several stands of books in German, English, and French. I went with Lindsay and Matt on a Saturday, but I didn't purchase anything (maybe I'm finally recovering my book buying addiction, probably not though).

It was a fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon for AR$10, which is about US$3.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 9, 2008

RENT! the musical in Buenos Aires at the Konex!

A photo of the 3 Argentinian friends in front of the Konex: Me, Lindsay, and Matt from left to right
I had an amazing time two weeks ago when I took my friends to see RENT! in Buenos Aires. I can say this is easily one of my favorite Broadway shows to date. It was really exciting because the musical was completely in Spanish. I didn't ever have the opportunity to see this show in the US, and it was way cool to see it here.

The Konex is a cultural center that is in the heart of Abasto, which is a part of Once. The center was renovated from what seems to have been a warehouse. This was a really neat thing since Rent takes place more or less in a warehouse too. One of the great things is that part of the actual theatre blended into the set.

Like in New York, they have a Sorteo or raffle for the best tickets in the house--front row. Here it takes place every performance day at 5PM. I went earlier that afternoon and entered my name and received FRONT ROW TICKETS!!! I also should add that they only cost me $8US. (Take that, all my European Study Abroad you can't beat that in Denmark). I definitely would like to go back. Matt, Lindsay, and I surely had a great time!

525,600 minutes, how can you measure the life of a woman or man?
525.600 los minutos, ¿cómo podés medir la vida de una mujer o hombre? (¡en Buenos Aires por el semestre!--In Buenos Aires for the semester!)

Posted by Picasa