I suppose since I am now on the other end of the earth it shouldn’t come as a surprise that today was one of the most confusing days I can ever recall and I certainly do feel like I am standing on my head!
I have been to South America several times before, that’s not the issue. What is messing with my head is the language!
I left the hotel early this afternoon and had a bit of an outdoor version of that “what bed/house am I in” feeling you can have on vacation and/or when you return home. Of course, the scenery was all different, but the language just really made me a bit loopy today!
This is the first time I am really hearing Spanish after studying Italian and it is so similar yet so different that I am really feeling quite confused! Not only that, but it is so true about the people in Buenos Aires having Italian accents that I can’t figure out who is a visitor and who is a real Argentine! If I don’t pay attention too closely to the words, I have moments where I’d swear I was in Italy; the way they roll their “r”s and the flow of their speech is so familiar! Then when I listen more closely, there are words I don’t understand and know are Spanish and then I wonder if the people are Italians speaking Spanish or true Argentines. It is weird!!
I am staying in the Palermo Soho neighborhood which has lots of little boutiques and places to eat and I stopped in a spot late this afternoon for two empanadas and a cerveza. The menu, however didn’t call a beer a “cerveza”, it called it a “birra” which is Italian for beer?! When guests left their tables the staff would say “Ciao, prego!” Again, Italian. I get the “Ciao” part as many countries have adopted this word, but “prego”? Also, they seem to say “dove” for “where” which is also Italian. I don’t know what’s going on!!!
I came back to the hotel and asked the concierge where there was a bookstore where I could get a dictionary. She sent me to this place called “El Ateneo” which is the be-all end-all bookstore in Buenos Aires (the one on Santa Fe). It was once a theatre and they have left the stage and balconies in tact and it is really quite beautiful! The stage is now the cafe!
Unfortunately, though, they didn’t have any language section so my trip was not successful. Maybe tomorrow I will find somewhere. I will be in South America for a few weeks so figured I should try and learn something about the language and when/how it is different from Italian!
While I am thinking about being upside down, let me see which way the toilet flushes in the southern hemisphere! Another surprise! The toilet flushes straight down the drain! Water comes down from under the rim and a major whoosh from the front but it all pretty much just flows straight down the drain!