(click on small pictures to see larger ones)
May 31: I understood about 50% of the sermon and Spanish
was the first language of this pastor so I am happy about that.
Today, I finished updates to this site for the entries from May
28 until today. Then I walked around Libertador San Martin (Puiggari)
for a long time, had a bad meal, and good ice cream. :-) In the
evening, I had tea while I talked with Marta and Martin (solely
in Spanish). It's been a very good day and I learned quite a bit.
|May 30: I was tired and didn't work
as hard on this day. Basically, I learned what I could with such a
slow brain :-) and updated the May 27 entry.
May 29: In short: the day was mostly driving. We went to
Buenos Aires a bit early so we could shop there. We visited Calle
Florida (una calle peatonal - a street only for pedestrians) but
the prices seemed close to that of the United States (better than
5th Avenue in New York, but similar to other places). Since we didn't
know the good shopping places, we simply enjoyed a good meal at
a nice restaurant and enjoyed walking on Calle Florida. When it
was time, we took Laura to the airport, then I studied Spanish for
the 5 hour drive home (and learned much).
I like the "Obelisco" in Buenos Aires. It seems
very similar to the Washington Monument.
To the right is a typical street at night in Buenos Aires.
If you've driven in Washington D.C. or New York at night,
then you know what it's like here.
May 28: Laura and I walked around Puiggari and found some
sweaters for Laura. It was a fun and relaxing day. For lunch, the
ladies made empanadas, and wow, they were good. I want them again.
:-) I have had them in local shops and they're good, but not nearly
as good as these were.
||The ladies that fixed the meal, and what a meal it was...
|All at the table. I wish I had moved the
soda so you could see the empanadas better. They were GREAT!
||Pablo has a treat for Galo, but Galo has
to work for it.
||We have more fun while finishing the packing
on the night before Laura leaves.
We finished packing, and alas, it was time to go to bed.
May 27: We went to Paraná and Santa Fe today. First,
we stopped at the house of a friend of Pablo's who lives in Paraná.
It was a very nice house. In Paraná, we walked through many
shops and looked at many clothes and found a great leather coat
At noon, we ate at an all-you-can-eat place which was nice because
we could choose from many things that we hadn't tried. None of it
was too surprising though. Flan was the high point and they had
the baked kind which is very good. We then picked up Martin and
Eli and drove to Santa Fe where we looked at many more stores. We
had a lot of fun and I picked up some Spanish here and there. In
the evening we went to see The Matrix Reloaded. Now it's late so
I must go to bed. We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot.
|This has nothing to do with Paraná or Santa
Fe, but I really respect these guys. We saw these hard workers
May 26: The morning Spanish lesson was very good. I could
see progress. We recorded some of my talking so that later I can
listen to it and gauge my progress. (I also have several email messages
that I sent in Spanish throughout the last month.) Marcelo and Laura
met and we talked for quite a while. It was fun. Laura recalled
some of her experiences in Yap
and Marcelo discussed some of what he is doing in the poor areas
here. It was a very interesting discussion.
After lunch, we went to the coffee shop that we like, and talked
to one of the attendants for a while. Then I went to my second Spanish
teacher, Señora Celia and we had a very good meeting. Basically
we talked on a more conversational level than I often do in my morning
lessons. Of course, I asked grammatical questions that are sometimes
a bit technical in nature, but the conversation was still less conceptual
than that of my morning classes. Both are very valuable to me.
While I was in my second class, Laura went to a pharmacy by herself
and bought something. Although my speaking abilities are better
because of my longer visit here, she can understand Spanish at a
very good level which helps her greatly. I'm only now catching up
to her. After supper, we had tea with Marta and Abuela Elena, talking
periodically (always in Spanish). (Marta has noticed Laura's ability
to understand Spanish quite well.)
May 25: Laura has a migraine headache and I had a bit of
a headache, so we are taking it easy today. Marta fixed a grand
lunch for us. There was a cold dish with sliced tomatoes, lentils
and greens (chards, I think) that was just great. I updated this
web site and studied some Spanish. In the evening we simply socialized
at the house with several people, much of it is Spanish. Laura's
headache is better now.
Before bed, I went upstairs where Martin and Marcos were playing
a car racing game. I had to play also. So I went to bed very late.
It was worth it though. :-)
|Cultural Note: Here, "hola"
means "hello" and "adios" or "ciao"
(pronounced like "chow") means "bye." When
one walks by another, they often say "ciao." Being
from the U.S., I expected them to say "hola" so it
was a surprise to me. It makes just as much sense though. You're
leaving each other just as quickly as you came toward each other.
May 24: Pablo, Marcos, Marcos and José (ECSES) had
the church service for the young people, and they were great. (See
the photo.) The church was packed. People were standing in the entranceway
and overflowing to the small courtyard in front of the church. I
had to sit apart from Laura so I could capture the service with
Pablo's video camera. I was lucky to find a seat fairly close to
Marta fixed a great Sabbath lunch, as usual. The desert was flan;
one of Laura's favorites.
At 8:00 PM, we went with Andrés to a traditional music concert.
He explained many of the songs' messages and the customs involved.
It was great to see and understand more. Thanks Andrés.
That night, I joined Pablo, Marcos and Eduard for some computer
racing with the game Need for Speed. We had a lot of fun and stayed
up too late. :-)
May 23: No Spanish lesson this morning (possibly in the
afternoon). But it was for a good reason. Marcelo had a proposal
for a project concerning a school in Paraná and the proposal
was accepted. We're very happy for him. I exercised, and am enjoying
a slower paced morning. Eli changed money for us (into Pesos) and
Eli and I talked about computers (she is studying computers at the
After talking to more people (in Spanish, of course) we went home
and I began to look for some networking information for Eli. When
I gave her the information, it was very helpful for me because it
was in Spanish, and it required a lot of details. Later in the evening,
Martin, Laura and I talked for a long time. Pablo joined us later.
We talked too late, but it was great fun and I'd do it again (and
probably will :-) ). Now we must go to sleep. Pablo and his quartet
will sing tomorrow.
|Progress Note: I'm learning
a lot. Before coming here, my ability in Spanish was limited
to a word here and there without complete sentences. Currently,
although my speech is broken, I am actually speaking. I sometimes
complete a sentence well. I'm understanding more of the grammar,
and just as important, I am retrieving that information more
quickly than in the past, so my speaking is merely painful as
opposed to excruciatingly painful. :-)
|Weather Note: The weather
has been very nice especially considering that it's close to
winter here. It's unusually warm. That may change for June,
but I will run in the mornings until then. While I'm running
in the morning I think "I'm in Argentina, such a great
place, exercising in the morning, learning so much about a 'very
cool' language and culture... How lucky can I get?"
||Handy-person Note: From
what I've seen in stores and other buildings, the plumbers here
tend to not use traps (p-traps) which surprised me. I can hear
one sink through another. It may be different in other buildings
and locations. It also can cause a slight echo sound when the
water drips down the drain (because of the greater distance
before the drops hit other water).
May 22: My Spanish lesson was moved to 10:00 so I can see
how well that works. I like it better because I had time to exercise
and wake up a bit more before studying. After a good Spanish lesson,
I was able to talk for a while with the attendant at Casa Blanca,
a nice restaurant. We talked even more at the coffee shop, then
went home where Martin, Abuela Elena, Laura and I had tea while
we talked more, mostly in Spanish. As usual, Martin and Abuela were
very patient with our inability to speak Spanish. I periodically
tried to interpret for abuela Elena. Even in my horrible Spanish,
she understood the funny parts, so I feel very accomplished. :-)
Marta joined us and we had a second cup of tea. Later, Pablo and
Marcos finished studying and felt like renting a movie, so we all
watched The Fast and The Furious. It was interesting and I learned
new words from the Spanish subtitles.
In the evening, Laura and I were able to be in the living room
when Pablo, Marcos, Marcos and José (the quartet) sang about
four songs. Wow, what great music. Thanks guys
May 21: After my Spanish lesson, Laura and I ate at the
restaurant of the hospital, then to the coffee place. We had to
buy laundry detergent, and talked to a girl that knew no English.
We now have some detergent so she must have understood us. <smile>
We visited a travel agency to check about seeing Iguazú
falls. We will go there again tomorrow to see if we can learn more.
The lady spoke English, so there was no practice there. :-( After
we ate, we went to a local ice cream shop. The attendant was difficult
to understand, but was patient, so I learned some. We then went
to Ceapé (a supermarket) and browsed for a while.
Once home, we relaxed with the family and played around.
||Martin and Abuela Elena playing with the basketball.
|Note: Motorcycles and
scooters are everywhere and are used by old and young alike.
Unfortunately, few people use helmets. I have seen only two
since I've been here.
May 20: I ate breakfast at the house while studying my Spanish
lesson. The two hour class with Marcelo went well. Again, it was
very conceptual and educational. Later, Laura and I walked around
Libertador San Martin (Puiggari) visiting stores and talking with
many locals. The day was simple and relaxing. We at at RoberTino,
a local shop that makes good empanadas (has a crust somewhat like
a pie, and they are stuffed food). We talked with Rober Tino for
a while, which was good practice. Then, for the first time, Laura
and I went together to the coffee shop that I frequent. We had great
coffee and a desert called mil hojas (meaning "thousand sheets"
or "thousand leaves"). It has dulce de leche in it. It
was all great. We visited shops and talked more. We stopped by Zeroim
(a small bakery) and bought some goodies for breakfast.
|Note: Deisel cars are very common
here. It's possible that over 50% are deisel. That includes
old, new, large and small cars.
May 19: My Spanish lesson was long and difficult because
I was so tired. I had some Earl Gray tea in the middle of class
to help me wake up. My speaking ability increased after that. Marcelo
and I both enjoy conversations that are very conceptual, so our
Spanish conversations usually became that way. Unfortunately, conceptual
conversations are more difficult when you don't know the langauge.
But I learn much. We stopped at noon.
Laura and I ate at the Hotel Central Restaurant. The meal was very
good. We then walked for a long time, and visited the Supermarket
(Supermercado). We bought several things, some just to try. We then
talked to a girl in the library and that was good practice. We also
talked with Luis for quite a while. Laura's ability to understand
was shown in this conversation. There were times that she understood
when I did not. It was good practice too.
I talked with Señor Hammerly at the library, and he is checking
to see if I can borrow items from the library. I appreciated his
help. I also talked with Señora Susana Schultz and she is
very willing to help in any way, which I appreciate.
We ate very late, so visited one of the few sandwich shops that
were open. They prepared a "sub" type sandwich with veggies
and eggs. I liked it very much.
||Galo accepts Laura very quickly.
As he frequently does, he has his back feet on the floor while
the rest of his body lays on the back of the chair.
|Note: The stores tend to be very small.
Often it is the case that when you enter, you are standing directly
in front of the main desk at the cash register. That's fine
for me because I want to talk in Spanish. :-)
May 18: I began the day by updating the web and getting
email while Laura catches up on some much needed sleep. We then
had a great lunch thanks to Marta. Laura is napping again (poor
girl). I knew she would be "wasted" for a couple days.
Es verdad. I wrote a short letter in Spanish, then we talked in
Spanish for much of the lunch time. I even did a poor job of translating
some of what Laura was saying to Martin (who understands English
fairly well). Yes, it was a poor job, but that's a good accomplishment
for me. :-)
In the afternoon, Laura and I walked around the main street and
then around campus looking at the various interesting places.
We went to a traditional dance in which Pablo's girlfriend, Eli, participated.
It was very nice to see.
||Eli performs a traditional dance with a group. We really enjoyed
seeing it. (Thanks for the photos, Pablo)
|Sometimes they used what looked like hankerchiefs
while they danced. It had a very neat visual affect.
May 17: Laura is HERE!
Oh, sorry, I should start at the beginning. :-)
The alarm rang at 3:45 AM. I prepared to leave, and did so at about
4:45. It's a long trip to Buenos Aires (about 5 hours). Coki's brother
drove and his wife (I think) rode too. She talked with me for over
an hour. That was good practice.
I ran into the airport and met Laura very quickly. It was great
to see her again. We talked for most of the trip back. ...well,
as long as she could stay awake. Before we reached the house, Laura
had been awake for about 29 hours straight.
Laura's first activity in Argentina. Welcome to the southern
We took a nap, then ate some of Marta's fantastic lasagna. Wow!
MUY RICO! We then unpacked and Laura read while I updated this page
and organized the room. But thinking of that lasagna is making me
hungry for more, so I should go to bed. :-)
|Note: Espresso is more widely available
here than in the States. Yes, the U.S. has many places like
Starbucks. But many places in the States only have drip coffee.
Today, on our way to Buenos Aires, we stopped at a very common
gas station (YPF) and they offered both instant coffee and a
Latte (café con leche). Of course, I bought café
con leche. YUM YUM!
May 16: Because of a plane delay, Laura is stuck in the
Dulles Airport until Friday night. That's when the next flight to
Buenos Aires is. So she will not arrive until Saturday morning.
I made sure all was arranged with Coki (the one who will drive).
I read some in Spanish today, and talked to one store attendant for
a while. But I was tired from yesterday and had to go to bed early
because of getting up early tomorrow, so little else was done. It
was still a good, relaxing day.