How far is my money going to go? The economic crisis here in Argentina is evident in day-to-day life. Some days our host parents have to wait in line for three hours at the banks and we hear the occasional sound of “caserolasos,” the banging of pots and pans, in the streets.
It has been more than an interesting experience to learn and understand the real reasons behind Argentina’s troubles. The general consensus of the group regarding safety is relatively high, an 8.3 on a 10-point scale, as it is understood that this is an economic crisis within the nation, and that it is not aimed at Americans.
The demonstrations that occur are few and have diminished in the past weeks. The images portrayed by the media can often exaggerate and frighten when they portray violence, which can occur anywhere. As in L.A. or New York, we are aware of where to go and where not to go.
Despite the challenges that face Argentina, Pepperdine Buenos Aires activities have been in full force. We have been on the go in between classes and traveling. We have been to wonderful tango shows, fellowship each week at Convo and our weekly group dinner every Tuesday.
We just had a great Valentine’s Day party. The guys served the ladies a delicious dinner and dessert. We thoroughly enjoy, as always, fabulous Argentine ice cream and alfajores, chocolate covered cookies filled with dulce de leche (both of which have become a staple to many of our diets).
Two weeks ago we enjoyed an educational excursion to Uruguay for five days. We rode around the Portuguese-founded city of Colonia on mopeds for the day. What an adventure that was.
This trip has been a series of firsts for me, one of which was riding moto. Riding down the cobblestone streets with the wind in our hair and the sun on our face was awesome. We stayed in Montevideo, the capital city. We took a trip to the popular tourist area of Punta del Este and enjoyed the day laying out on the beach.
We spent time with other American college students, as Abilene Christian University has a study abroad program in Montevideo. We visited their facilities and enjoyed their company during a couple of meals. We had a wonderful time, but after our return, almost everyone felt a little under the weather during that week. We couldn’t figure out whether it was the sandwiches we ate on the ferryboat, the water, or McDonald’s. Most everyone has fully recovered now.
Last weekend was our first five-day weekend, and our groups split up to travel around South America. Carnival took place in Rio de Janeiro, and about five students enjoyed the festivities. Fourteen of us, including myself, took a trip to Patagonia. We trekked through Tierra Del Fuego National Park for about five miles, and then went canoeing. We walked to the end of the Pan American highway, the farthest south you can drive by car. We also went horseback riding and saw Moreno Glacier up close and personal, one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. God’s majesty was in full view during that weekend in Patagonia.
Some went to Bariloche, Mendoza and Salta, while others stayed in Buenos Aires to soak up the sights and sounds of the city. Everyone had a great weekend and tons of stories to tell upon our return.
Next weekend many of us will travel to Brazil to spend four days at Iguazu Falls. Two weeks after that we are taking our educational field trip to Santiago, Chile. We can hardly believe how quickly time is passing, and we are keeping ourselves very busy.
February 21, 2002