I took the Subte (aka subway) for the first time today. Tickets are cheap for an American – only about 50 cents per ride. Interestingly, while the carriages are similar to other subway systems, the windows are kept open as the means of cooling the train. Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard subway system, and is pretty easy to navigate, too, as honestly most subway systems are. It cut my journey to the language school by 40 minutes, which was a relief as I had a bit of a walk after that.
I managed to register in person at the university without a problem. Before I left the apartment, I had called to check whether they closed for lunch. When I finally got to the international students’ desk, they spoke English, but I’m pretty proud of the fact that I managed the transferring from one number to another with my pretty much non-existent Spanish! (It’s those little things in life…)
When I went to pay for my classes, I was told that despite the error message on their website, several of my payments had gone through. I paid the remaining balance as today was the last day to register for July, then after I returned home from my other errands, I checked with my credit card company. Apparently another “failed” payment has actually gone through, so now I’ve paid twice and need the school to cancel one of them! Argh, why can’t this stuff be easy?! Oh well, it should be relatively easy to straighten out (fingers crossed).
And I have to say that the area the school building is in is much nicer during the week than on the weekend when there were so few people around.
After registering for classes, I walked north into the barrio (neighborhood) of Recoleta, in order to buy my tickets for Uruguay. It was a good mile or two of walking, which was really interesting as I saw the neighborhoods change. Once I was north of Sante Fe, in Recoleta, there were a lot more trees and balconies with plants, giving the neighborhood a very green, almost lush feel. There are plenty of modern apartment buildings, but also a lot of 19th century buildings that are what make Recoleta the “Paris” of Buenos Aires. Like in Paris, there are a lot of dogs and therefore dog poo, but unlike in Paris, they don’t wash the sidewalks clean every day!
I bought my tickets and headed home to eat leftovers of a typical Argentine dish: milanesa. It’s a breaded cutlet which can be covered in various things, in my case, ham and mozzarella like an inside out cordon bleu. The portions at the place Melissa and I ate at last night were bigger than usual, even:
In the late afternoon, Melissa and I visited Recoleta Cemetery, the home of the deceased rich and famous. Evita made the cut, her husband didn’t, to give you an idea of how exclusive it is. I’ve read that the cemetery is inspired by Belle Époque Paris, just like its neighborhood, but I have to say it felt more like Rome to me, but the fictitious Rome of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, say. It was fascinating, very atmospheric, and a little creepy at times, especially as it started to head towards dusk as we were there. Some mausoleums were well maintained, others crumbling with tree roots pushing through the stones. Some were relatively small, while others were as large as chapels. The creepiest tomb had the coffin above ground and some canvas over the top bunched in such a way that for a moment we thought there was a body there, in true Gothic novel fashion. Most, however, were beautiful, many were grand, and some were even touching.