Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Hasta luego" or "see you again next year"

Hey there,

today I will do my last shopping here in Buenos Aires and have my last party here, tomorrow I will pack my backpack and give away my laptop. On Monday I finally leave Buenos Aires and my big trip will start. I just booked my flight to Cuba yesterday and now I am really excited to start my trip. I will be travelling from the end of December until April, so I am having about 3,5 months to travel. I will start in Costa Rica and will make my way through all the countries up to Mexico. So far the only fixed things are my flight to Costa Rica and back and one from Costa Rica to Cuba and back. Everything else I will figure out when I'm there. I didn't want to plan to much as things used to change while travelling. To those of you that are interested in my trip, I did a small animation :-)

My trip:

So for me it's time to say goodbye! Thanks for those that were reading my blog. From time to time I might post some news stuff but I don't know if it will work out. I would just like to concentrate on my trip and I won't have a laptop with me. With other words: Merry Xmas, a happy new year and hope to see you all again in April.

Hasta la vista!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trip to Santiago de Chile, Valparaiso (Chile) and Mendoza (Argentina)

Hey everyone!

Last week I had to leave the country again (because I'm living here on a tourist visa and every 3 months I have to leave the country to get another stamp in my passport that allows me to stay for another 3 months). I decided to go to Chile because I've already been to Uruguay (which is a lot closer though) and I wanted to see something new. And I loved it!
Last thursday I had my last exam (my professor gave me 8 points out of 10 and recomended me to think about studying in Mexico or the USA :-) , so I was extremely happy!) and a few hours later I found myself sitting in a bus going to Santiago de Chile. Duration: 22 hours. I was travelling alone, I saw it as a test for myself and for my new 60 liter backpack I just bought. It's was not the first time I was travelling alone, but it was the first time travelling alone in Southamerica to a country for that I haven't had a guide book. I've never been to a country without any guide book so I was a little afraid to find everything I was looking for. The only thing I had was the direction of my hostel that's it. But as usual everything turned out well besides a little inconvenience: After a little 2 hour break in the middle of the Andes, because the motor of the bus broke down, we had to wait for another bus to pick us up. The border crossing was not complicated at all, checking passport, argentinian leaving stamp, chilenean arriving stamp and checking the lugguage.
Luckily in Santiago de Chile the bus terminal was right at a metro station so I just jumped in to get to the hostel. The hostel? Was really great! I had such a good time there! During the day I walked all around the city and luckily I found out that right at the time there was a doble exhibition of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (mexican artists) , so one of my favorite painters! It was really great to see their art in real! And nights, we had asado at the hostel (barbecue) and went out. In my room was a groop of Irish girls and a English guy and we had a really good time hanging out together and going out with the staff.
After two days I took the bus to Valparaiso, it's a city at the coast and famous for its UNESCO site. The houses are all built up on hills and are often only connected by stairs. I almost felt like I was in San Francisco, deep hills, up and down... With the staff from the hostel we climbed up the hills and found out that on the same day there was an art festival. So many trolleys of the city were changed into moving stages! See here for the video I made. It was really funny. I really think that the city is one of the most creative cities I've seen so far.

Here the first video: A small band playing:

Here the second video: some kind of a drag queen :-)

The next day I met Steffi, a friend of Dani, my German friend here in BsAs. She came to BsAs last week and we found out that she was going to be in Valparaiso the same date so we decided to meet up again there. We did a small harbor tour and made again our way through the city. Unluckily I had to leave the same day to Mendoza. I wish I could have stayed a little longer there, I really liked it. The only bad thing was the cloudy weather.
Arrived in Mendoza I did the obligatory thing: A wine tour! 75 % of the wine in Argentina is produced in Mendoza and surroundings. So I didn't miss the chance to try out some wine there! On my last day I was walking around the city - and - suddenly somebody was screaming my name! I turned around and who was there: Steffi! Steffi from Augsburg! So funny, I knew that she was travelling also, but she had a totally different route and so I never thought about that at some point our routes would cross again :-) What a coincidence!
Now I am back home in BsAs, I'm really exhausted and I am sick again (I hate the stupid air conditioning in the bus - it always makes me sick! I'm sitting in the bus with a sweater and a jacket and outsite its about 35 degrees! this can't be right!) but I still have some days to get all my stuff done.

What do I learn from my little trip to Chile:

1) My backpack is great! Test approved!
2) I can't help myself but somehow I found people in Chile a little more friendly than in Argentina.
3) Travelling is not only relaxing but can also be pretty exhaustible.
4) One night only at one place its too stressfull. I rather stay at least 2 nights!
5) I love travelling and meeting new people!
6) I can't wait to leave!!!

That's from now so far! The whole album of my trip see here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Family visit in Buenos Aires

Hola gente!

Three weeks ago my dad and my sister Britta came over to visit me. They spent two weeks here and and I think we've seen everything that should be seen in Buenos Aires. Luckily they didn't come at this time, because last week the weather was crazy: here in Buenos Aires the temperature was up to 38 degress Celsius during the day, and about 30 during the night! You can't imagine how much we suffered here in the city!
Anyway, when my family was here, the weather was really nice, about 25 degrees, so nice weather. Al least for me because for my sister coming from Toronto and my dad coming from good old Germany where it's winter now the weather was kind of "hot" for them. So they hide all the time in any given shadow that was available :-).
We went to all the parks of Palermo and Recoleta, went to see "la boca", saw a tango show, ate Argentinian beef almost everyday combined with lot of "helado" (ice cream). See here the pics of Buenos Aires.

But during these two weeks we also went to a trip to Tigre, a small town of the "Provincia Buenos Aires". This place is famous for its little rivers and houses next to them. It is placed at the Delta of the big river "Rio de la Plata" which seperated Argentina y Uruguay more or less. See all pics of Tigre here.

One day we took a 4 hours ride to the city "Rosario". It's the third biggest city in Buenos Aires (after Buenos Aires and Córdoba) and has about one million inhabitants. It's famous for beeing the birth place of Che Guevara. See all pics of Rosario here.

Here in Buenos Aires everything es pretty relaxed. My courses at the UBA are over but I had to write an assignment of 15 pages and all in Spanisch. I was dying, I finished it today and it was really hard for me write so much text in Spanish. The hard thing is not only because it's all in Spanish but also because it should be academical Spanish and I didn't come so far with my Spanish. I really hope that I will pass the course, no matter what kind of mark I will get of it. Next week I also have one more test to pass, it's oral and really don't know how to prepare me. The same as before: I just hope to pass, nothing more. When I'm finally done with all the UBA stuff I can finally concentrate on my travel plans. I've made many plans, booked flights but I also have to leave this country for some days before my "real" trip to renew my tourist visa. I thought about going to Chile for a week or so as the bus ride already takes about a day to get there, so that's worth the trip. I might go to Santiago de Chile and Valparaíso, a city at the beach and I may stop by at Mendoza (Argentina) for one day to see the city. Then I will only have a few days left to get all my stuff together and to pack all my stuff and to role up with my university here as I will only come back for one day to Buenos Aires after my big trip. My big trip? Where will it go? I will tell you soon enough :-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Hey there!

Some weeks ago we took a 22 hours busride from Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn, Patagonia. Close to that small city is the national park "Península Valdés", a little island full of animals like sealions, but especially famous for whalewatching. I've already been whalewhatching in Boston, but this was nothing compared to Boston! I've never seen so many whales on one spot before. Really cool!

The day after we took a ride to Punta Tombo, which is also a national park and is famous for the biggest colony of Magalan-pinguins on a continent side.

On our third day we rented a bike to go to "Punta Loma", where a lot of sea lions are settled. All in all it was a really nice trip and a good way to get out of the city Buenos Aires for some days.

Click here to see the whole album of Patagonia.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SIM has been to Buenos Aires!!!

I have to add something: I made it to the first page of Annik Ruben's page! see her entry here:
click on this link for more information.

Many of you may not know my favorite German podcast "schlaflos in München" (SIM), but I just wanted to let you know that SIM on worldtour finally has arrived in Buenos Aires, too :-) (to those of you know what I'm talking about).

Here the pics: (click on them to see them bigger).

Friday, October 24, 2008

anecdote number 3

Unfortunately this anecdote is less funny than the other one. It's the contrary! I'm really angry! But this is also part of Argentinian "culture", it's about how Argentinians treat people in a restaurant, if they KNOW or they can TELL that you're a stranger, so I'm gonna tell you. I must admit that today it was the first time it happened to me but I heard from some other people that happened to them, too, sometimes, so it can't be such a coincidence. Today, Teo (a friend from South Corea), Dani (a friend from Germany) and me went to a Chinese Restaurant. It was a "all you can eat"- deal for about 30 Pesos (so about 6 Euro each person, so very cheap). After eating we asked for the bill and we were supposed to pay 100 Pesos en total. What happened? The waiter came with the bill and suddenly on the bill was 120 Pesos. In Germany I would probably think it was a real mistake. But my experience here in Argentina tells me that it's probably not a "mistake" but more likely a "trying to get a lot of money from the stupid stranger/tourist that will not realize paying a little 20-pesos more" - thing. We told the waiter, of course he said something like "oh, I'm sorry, I don't know how this could have happened". Conclusion: We left the restaurant paying the real bill of 100 Pesos and didn't leave any tip. Hopefully they will learn out of this. I don't think so though. :-(

anecdote number 2

Another short story which I think is typical Argentinian or at least a little strange for Germans: In one of my courses at the college (informatic science) we have an internet platform, or a kind of a newsgroup where everybody in our course can post messages, ask questions and upload files. Well, today, our professor "Schimskus" didn't upload a message concerning our course but invited us all to the release party of his new tango CD with his musician group! I thought that was so hilarious! Here the pic he added to his announcement (the guy at the very left is my professor):

Maybe I should mention that things like that happen quite often. In almost every course we have at the college, a group of people is coming into the room for 5 minutes to promote a new event and to give away flyers. Really funny... :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Trip to Córdoba and surroundings

Last weekend we went in a group of ten people to Córdoba (6 Germans, 1 Austrian, 1 Columbian, 2 French). Córdoba is about 9 hours away from Buenos Aires by bus. So we took the bus at night and arrived in Córdoba about 8 in the morning. On Friday we didn't really see a lot of Córdoba, because we had something special to do: We went on a trip to "La cumbre", a landscape 2 hours away from Córdoba - popular for its landscape and for paragliding!

The weather was great (a lot warmer than Buenos Aires), the sun was shinging all day and the view was astonishing! Unfortunately only 7 of our 10 people could do the paragliding. Unfortunately I wasn't one of them :-( Paragliding depends a lot on the right wind and on that day, the wind changed a lot. Nevertheless the 3 of us that weren't able to jump, enjoyed the weather and the view.

Saturday we booked an offer from the hostel to go to a national park with a little hiking included. It was really a wonderful day! The sun was shining all day and we had really a great time together climbing up the hills of the national park. The highlight of this trip was the hike of a 25 meters high hill. Those of you that think 25 meters - that's nothing - no! It's not easy! This hill was so steep and it was really hard to find a spot to put your hands and feet in order not to fall down!
Sunday we left the hostel at 8 in the morning to get the bus to "Villa General Belgrano", a little village that's about 2 hours away from Córdoba. Getting up so early in the morning had only one reason: The Oktoberfest! Villa General Belgrano ( is a village where Germans and Austrians settled down a few decades ago and tried to keep their traditions. The Oktoberfest was really a lot of fun! But of course it is not at all comparable to the real "Wiesn". The "Brezeln" taste like shit, the play funny, non-Wiesn music like the song "Heidi - deine Welt sind die Berge", which would never be played at the real Oktoberfest! Also they're wasn't a real tent, everything was outside. Unfortunately it wasn't possible to drink from a normal one liter glass if you didn't buy the "Maßkrug". Most of the Argentinians bought their own "Maßkrug", I didn't want to buy one so I had to drink from a small glass - just imagine - how funny at the Oktoberfest to drink beer from a small glass! And by the way - the beer isn't German but Argentinian (Quilmes). All in one - it was a really funny and strange experience to be at a "trying-to-be-German-tradition" place far far away from Germany!

Our last day in Córdoba, we really spent in Córdoba :-) Luckily the city is pretty small (at least compared to Buenos Aires) so it could be done in one day. I liked Córdoba pretty much, it has many nice buildings, it's less noisy than Buenos Aires and cheaper and more interesting than Montevideo ;-).

If you're interested in seeing more pics on the internet, click here to see the whole web album.
Saludos desde Buenos Aires,


a little anecdote

Hey there!

I wanna tell you a little story that happend to me in Córdoba and I knew it had to happen at some point at my stay here in Argentina! Last weekend I went with a group of 10 people to Córdoba (a city in the interior of Argentina) to spend there the long weekend (we had a holiday this monday). The hostel offered some expeditions and activities, so we chose to take part in a trip to a national park combined with a little hiking experience. So I went to the hostel guy to pay the trip and gave him the money. Ten minutes later he came back to me and was telling me, that I would have to give him another bank note because he thinks that this 50-pesos bank note (about 13 Euro) is a false banknote! Everybody warned me in this country to be careful with false money and rather to check twice to see if the money banknote is real and not fake. And in every supermarktet they check every 100 Pesos banknote (about 25 Euro) doble, sometimes even 20 Pesos bank notes. Well, anyway, back to the story. First, I didn't know what to say! I was shocked! But the hostel guy was really nice and explained me why he thought the bill was false: The bank note was about 5 millimeters smaller than a real one and also it felt more like real paper than a real bank note. So he gave me back my false banknote. I thought: "Now, what am I supposed to do with it?? Who the f*** will accept my false banknote?" I decided to go to a supermarket around the corner which was full of people. I thought, if the staff of the supermarket was busy they maybe wouldn't check the note... I stand in line, in front of the cassier I tend to check the note and looked at her with a content face and gave her the note. She didn't check again and I was happy to get rid of my false bank note (even though is was "only" about 25 Euro). But you know what? Know I keep on thinking about who could have been the person that gave me the false note? Maybe that person didn't realize it either, who knows...
End of the story - from now on I will always check my bank notes!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trip to Uruguay

Two weeks ago (I'm sorry that I'm always a little late writing, but I haven't had time) three Germans, a columbian girl and me took a ferry from Buenos Aires to a small city called "Colonia", Uruguay (it took about 1,5 hours to get there). Colonia is a very nice city at the coast with a lot of colonial type buildings at the coast of Uruguay. It was a really nice place to see (see pics here - the full album of Uruguay). After a few hours of walking around in Colonia, we took the bus to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, which has about 1,5 million inhabitants. Unluckily during the whole weekend it was very cold and more windy than in Buenos Aires (because it's directly at the coast) so we were most of the time freezing. Nevertheless we took the chance to walk through the whole city, went to the beach (FREEZING!) and did the whole tourist thing.

But do you really wanna know the truth about Montevideo? It's extremely boring! We arrived on Friday afternoon and we were done visiting all interesting things in the afternoon of Saturday! No lie! We just found out that Montevideo has nothing to offer. The city is not only ugly and appears like a dead city because we have rarely seen people, it's also very small and it's doesn't feel like a capital at all! It has one mini-center called "Plaza de Independencia" which was truly the nicest and most interesting place of the whole city in my opinion... Well, at the beginning I thought maybe I'm a little spoiled by now from Buenos Aires, which has so many things to offer and has probalby the most exciting culture life of whole Latin America (maybe together with Mexico City, who knows) but no - I don't think so. All of us came to the conclusion that Montevideo is not worth a whole weekend trip. Anyway, we had - as far as we could - a good time together and swore not to return to this city ever in our lives if we don't have to!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Diós Mio - la UBA!

Hello there!

Now I want to tell you what happened the last few weeks at my college " la UBA". The last 2 weeks I almost haven't had classes at all. Especially my faculty, which is the one of "social science" - en castellano "sciencias sociales" is fighting actively against many problems that have occured during years and found a peak the last few weeks.

What are they fighting for?
First of all they're fighting against the bad conditions under which especially my faculty is suffering the most. If you've seen the pics I uploaded you're probably know what I'm talking about... Waste on the ground, broken window, broken walls, toilets that cannot be used because nobody seems to be cleaning them and so on. Well, this discussion about the bad condition of the building(s) has been going on for many years now. But two weeks ago in another building of the faculty of the "sciencias sociales" something heavy broke down from the wall and almost hit a girl seriously. Luckily she wasn't hurt badly but this event made the students and docents of the UBA even more angry and willing to fight.
Secondly they're fighting for (better) salary of the docents. Many docents here are working voluntarily without getting any money at all (I talked to an Argentinian girl who told me it's a prestige for people to be a docent at the UBA and for that reason they do it even voluntarily). Also those docents that earn money, don't get enough. The problem is that the inflation rate in Argentina is pretty high (I heard people saying something between 15-30%!!!) but the salary of the docents are not getting higher referred to the inflation rate. Also they want to have a "edificio único". This means that they would like to get one building for the faculty of "sciencias sociales" because at the moment this faculty has four buildings distributed all over the city. In order to work together or to realize projects together it's necessary to have one building and that's what they're claiming, too.
(if you're interested, read more on this blog:
These are the main reasons. To achieve their goals students and docents together are having "public classes" in the middle of the streets, demonstration, blocking streets and they make a chaos at the buildings of the UBA putting chairs and tables everywhere to stop anybody to enter the building.

To those of you that understand Spanish (dale, David y Simone!) and to those that would like to get at least an impression of what's happening here and how they're fighting, have a look at this video made from UBA students (and by the way you can listen to the real Buenos Aires slang! :-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

news from Buenos Aires part 3 - moving out

Now I'm gonna tell you the story why I moved out of my apartment. When I first came here I was happy to have some place to live at the beginning. But some of the following factors pushed me to look for another apartment:
- my classes are pretty far from where I live (which I didn't know before, I found out few weeks ago)
- for me the neighborhood feels not that secure than other places
- I think I'm paying to much for what I get (at the moment I pay 360 US dollars)
- my room is pretty dark and it doesn't have a proper desk
- the owner of the house is getting on my nerves!
What happened: When Steffi came to my house, the owner told me, that she had to pay too, even if she was sleeping in my room (she had to pay 7 dolars a night, which was definately a rip-off). From that point on I started to think that I don't like to live somewhere where my guests have to pay too! Anyway, at the beginning the main reason to move out was that my classes are about an hour away by subway or bus which is a lot to me. I accept the point that the city is very big and here are other distances than in other, smaller cities, but if I had the chance to live at least a little closer to my college, why wouldn't I take it? So I started looking for an apartment, too. One day the owner came up to me (he's a very annoying person that would like to get to know everything he can to make some business) and asked me if I was thinking about moving out like Steffi (I suppose he saw me looking on the internet or something). So I told him the truth because I don't like to lie, that my courses are pretty far away and that I might move out. Then he said: "fine, but you should know that you should tell me 15 days in advance before you move out, to let me know so I can find somebody else for your room in this time". Well, I said okay, no problem at all, so I went on looking for apartments. I saw a lot of apartments. Some were really nice but expensive, some were very cheap but dirty, some where nice and cheap but a little far from the city center, some were cheap, nice, in the city center but there I would have had to live with an old lady or a working guy. You see, it wasn't that easy to find a nice, affordable place close to the city center with people in my age that don't speak German (I really don't want to live with somebody of my own country to avoid speaking to much German). Well, anyway, suddenly the owner of my old apartment came up to me and asked me: "Well, when are you moving out now?" and I said: "Well, you know, I don't know yet. I haven't found something so far so I can't really tell you. You said I should tell you 15 days before, but I haven't found something until now that I had no reason to tell you." Then he said: "Okay, but you have to decide tomorrow whether to stay for at least 3 months more or to move out within the next 15 days". The next day I told him, fine, I will move out within the next 15 days because I really don't wanna live with this kind of person anymore that's looking so much for money (I didn't tell him this part, of course). He told me that he already has another person that will rent my room. Luckily the next day I visited another apartment in the district "Villa Crespo", which is a little more rich and not that shabby and which is only one stop by subway to my college. The apartment is pretty close to the subway station also and it takes about 20 minutes by subway to the city center (I took about the same from "San Telmo", where I lived before). There I have a nice, big room (compared to the other rooms I saw) with a big desk, a doble bed, we have a washing machine (which I didn't have before), a big terrasse (which we also didn't have before), a small living room and a small kitchen. I will pay 220 Euro, that's great for that kind of place (compared to other apartments I saw). It's not that I didn't like my roommates in my old apartment, I like all of them a lot, but one guy is moving out too, the other one is going back to Netherlands and I can keep in touch with Anna, the girl from the United States even after I moved out.

In my new apartment I live with an Argentinian actor and and English guy, both of them are really nice! The girl to whom this room belongs to is studing in Paris, France at the moment and will probably come back in January, which is also perfect for me. Until now, I'm not so sure what I will do between January and February. So I was thinking about flying to Costa Rica in January, stay there until February to do some voluntary work at a national park or something like that (work for free in change of accomondation and food for free) and then I can go on travelling to the Carribean in March and beginning of April. That's my plan so far but let's see what will happen...
That's for now, hope you're doing good! Soon I will upload pics of my new apartment.

PS: By the way - I've got a cat in my flat now :-)

Monday, August 25, 2008

attack in "la boca"!

Two weeks ago Steffi and I decided to go to "la boca". It's an district next to "San Telmo", where I live and there is one street called the "Caminito" where the houses are very colorful. All travel guides say that it's a very poor area with the highest crime rate of Buenos Aires and that you should never go by yourself, never go in any street that's not the "Caminito" or not turistic. Well, Steffi and I we went to the "Caminito" (see pics here) and went after to the famous "la bombonera", the soccer stadium of the famous team "la boca juniors", where also started playing "Diego Maradona". On the way back we had to walk on a little street that leads right to the "Caminito". Suddenly I young man came up from behind (maybe 18 years old), put out is pepper spray, put it into Steffis mouth and eyes! In the same time he tried to steal her camera. But luckily she hold her camera tight in her hands so he couln't grab it. She screamed and he ran away. First she couldn't really breath the first minutes and she couldn't see anything and her eyes hurted so much. We walked to the police (that was standing one block away) to tell them to help us find a taxi to go as fast as we could out of this area. Well, unfortunately we couldn't do anything, her and me we couldn't remember how the guy looked like, everything went so fast (maybe about 20 seconds). At least she still has her camera. One day after the "attack" her eyes stoped hurting and everything is fine now. What do we learn out of that?
That we will probably not return to "la boca"...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

news from Buenos Aires part 2 - la UBA

Now I wanna tell you my experience with the UBA. Unfortunately I found out that my courses are not being held at my faculty but in another place pretty far away from where I live (it takes me about an hour to get there from where I live now). The building is even more dirty than the other building, a lot of waste on the ground, broken windows, shabby tables and so on... A few days ago I was sitting in a classroom with a lot of broken windows so that the wind could come through. We were all sitting with a warm sweatshirt and winter jackets and were still freezing... Well, I would say - different country - different conditions to cope with :-)
(You can see pics here).
I will participate in three courses which are called the following: "Taller de informática, telemática y de datos" (something like "Medieninformatik"), "Diseno gráfico" (graphic design) and "mujeres populares de la re/construcción de la nación argentina" (popular women of the re/construction of the Nation Argentina). Being a foreigner means you're "only" allowed to take 3 courses. But all Argentinian students I talked to have been chosing the same amount. They're not allowed to take more than 4, so that's not that a big difference. The courses themselves are splitted into two parts: one is a course "teorética" ("Vorlesung"), the other one is called "práctica" (with less people, like a "Seminar"). Both together are 4 hours, so I have 12 hours of studies in total. Many of the foreign students I met are taking less courses because they're pretty expensive. For Argentinians they're for free, but foreigners have to pay (this is only true for my faculty) 1200 pesos for one course plus 450 pesos for the immatriculation, so totally I paid 4050 pesos (900 Euro) from my own pocket. I'm hoping that "Auslandsbafög" will pay this for me but I still need to send them prove of my immatriculation which I don't have yet because here in Argentina everything just takes a lot longer than expected... To be honest I feel extremely happy lately if something really works out the way it was supposed to work out! No lie! It's like a miracle here :-)
Well, now I'm gonna tell you something of the courses. I will have college every Tuesday and Wednesday evening (from 15-21 o'clock) and Thursday morning from 9-13 o'clock. All courses are offered a lot of times during the week, the time span is between 9-23 o'clock! Seriously! Especially the theoretical classes are in the evening, especially for those students that work. And here are A LOT of students that work fulltime until 7 or 8 pm and go to college after. This is why you see a lot of man and women in working dress at the college.
Now a word to the language:
Of course I don't understand a word! Okay, it's not that bad, I would say I understood 20% of what the profs are trying to tell me. It's terrible. But I was prepared for that experience. What can I expect? It's a little sad, yes, after almost 8 years of trying to learn Spanish having this bad experience but hey - the Argentinian accent is very hard and I was very released when I heard that many other students had the same problem of understanding than me. I hope this will better very soon otherwise I will have a BIG problem. So far I can tell that most of my Argentinian study mates are very nice, most of them are positively surprised when I tell them that I'm from Germany. The funny thing is that many Argentinians are asking me, what the hell I'm doing in Argentina when I'm from Germany where I've got everything I need! For them it seems to be a crazy thing to do. In almost every course I seem to be the only foreigner, but in one course there are a lot of people from the United States. The courses are not very simular to German colleges I would say. Well, a powerpoint presentation, which is totally normal in at the college in Augsburg, here is a miracle. I only have one professor that's using powerpoint. So the professors tell us a story 2 hours and its on our turn to write everything down we find important to keep. We also have to read a lot. Every week we have to read about 100-200 pages for one course, so I really should get started to read... (at the moment I feel like I'm reading the amount of the whole KW-Eilders Vorlesung Reader of "Einführung in die KW" or "Medienwirkung" in only one week and it's all in Spanish so I need more time to understand! help!).
One thing more to mention I think is that I got the impression that both professors and students are more active and ambitious in discussing. Especially the professors are very motivated here.
Today also my Spanish class started. Actually I wanted to take courses at the so-called "laboratoria de idiomas" of the UBA, which is THE center of learning languages in Buenos Aires. But last week was the inscription and the test of level which I wanted to take part in. The test of the level of spanish started on monday at 9 o'clock so we thought it's good enough to be there at 10. Unfortunately the places for the test only were full and so I had to take the test the day after. By then most of the classes have been closed already (because they're have been full, many students already signed up for those courses) so I was only offered one course which I couln't accept because I have another class at the same time at the UBA. So I decided to ask my faculty (they offer language courses, too) if I could join them. That was not a problem at all so I had my first class today. I will have 4 hours of Spanish each week, we're only 3 Germans and one teacher, so that's great.
So, that's for now, next time I will tell you something why I will move out, why I will probably not return to "la boca" (district of Buenos Aires) and how my first "asado" (barbecue) with a lot of Argeninians was :-)
Un beso!

news from Buenos Aires part 1 - social life/acitivities

Hola chicos! News from Buenos Aires!

I'm sorry, I was supposed to write a little earlier but some things are going on here, I've been pretty busy lately...
First of all I have to tell you that I like the city from day to day a little more. I get kind of used to the chaos, I met more people and I find my way through the city without getting lost :-). Now I will let you know what happened the last week: Last sunday (a week ago) I picked up Steffi (a girl I know from the college in Augsburg, she will stay in Buenos Aires for 13 months) from the airport. She will stay here until she finds a nice place to stay for herself. Since then we have been doing a lot together (last weekend we've been to Puero Madero - the harbour - for example, you can see pics here) which is very nice because we both are new in the city and the city is full of things to discover! But unfortunately lately we haven't really had the time to enjoy the city because we're both looking for a new room (following soon on a separated blog entry). Anyway - we do our best :-) Within the last few days I also got in touch with a bunch of people, thanks to a language "tandem", I met some nice argentinian people but of course I also met people mostly from Germany (man, you don't believe it but Germans are just everywhere in the world...), most of them study at the UBA too and we met a few times so far to see some places together. Last Sunday for example we took the bus to "Feria de Mataderos" (see also pics here), it's in a suburb of Buenos Aires and it's a very traditional place with a lot of great food, traditional rope to buy and other stuff. It was a really nice trip!
I also got the chance to get to know to Argentinan night life!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

You thought German bureaucracy was complicated? Well, it's nothing...

...compared to Argetinian bureaucracy! I my god! I tell you. I my god! Now I have to tell you my story about how trying to get my study visa. I didn't come further than TRYING. I still didn't get one and I wonder when and if I will really get one. Well, in order to get my visa, I needed a paper from the UBA that said that I was a student and that I would study. It also includes my date of arrival and the amount of time I will stay in this country. The woman from the UBA put a wrong arrival date on the paper accidently and also switched my 6 months stay to a 12 months stay. Well, at the beginning I though this wouldn't be such a big problem. Wrong guess. I somehow knew that this could be a problem, so I went back to the UBA to have this paper changed. Unhappily the woman from the UBA was out of office to make some copies. Unfortunately she didn't come back after 1 hour of waiting so I decided to leave and to try my best of the immigration hall. At the immigration hall - as I thought - they told me that I had to have these wrong details corrected. So I went back to the UBA (the woman who's in charge - wasn't there that day, so I had to return another day). There she gave me a letter that said that the details on the paper were wrong, that it was her fault and also she wrote down the real details. Back to the immigration hall they didn't accept the letter and told me to bring the original paper but corrected. I told the woman at the UBA that I needed the original paper changed which she was trying to do. First she had problems with her computer that refused printing out the corrected original. After having called the immigration hall for help she found out that she needed to come herself to the immigration hall PERSONALLY to correct the details because it was her fault and not mine... Honestly, I didn't know if it was better to laugh or cry. Unbelievable. This week she doesn't have time to go, maybe she's going next week. Anyway, she told me not to worry, she will let me incribe myself without this study visa (which was my only reason to obtain it). Lol. Fine with me. I wonder if I will able to get this visa at all within the time I spend here... Vamos a ver!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

La UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires) y el cementorio de Recoleta (tomb of EVITA)

Some days passed by so I got some new things to tell. At the moment I'm still trying to find my way through the city. From day to day I feel more comfortable taking the "colectivos" (buses) also knowing most of the time that I'll be missing the right stop. It's really hard to get off the right time, the bus drivers drive so fast that it's not only hard to follow their routes on the map but also to find the right bus stop on the streets. Mostly they don't have bus stops how we know them. It's more a kind of a sticker at a street light with the numbers that indicate which buses are passing by. Passing by doesn't mean they're really stopping! In order to get on the bus it's necessary to put your hands in the air so that the bus driver knows that you want to hop on the bus - which doesn't mean necessarily that he'll stop. Anyway - I'm glad I made it from my home to the UBA and back - by bus.
Today I went to another touristic attraction - to the graveyard of Recoleta, another part in the city. There the tomb of Evita - the famous wife of Juán Perón - can be visited at a very large graveyard. It was funny - even though many other important people from Buenos Aires have been burried there but everybody just seemed to pilgrim to her tomb which was full of flowers. You can see pics here. On this album you can also see my faculty.
PS: I found out that people could only leave comments on this blog if they signed up. I changed this feature now so anybody can leave a comment now even without being signed in.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

First impressions of B.A. and first pics online!

hey there!

Yesterday my roomates took me to my first Tango lesson to the city center! It was a lot of fun even though I had to find out that Tango is very difficult. This class for beginners is every Saturday and costs only about 3,50 Euro. So maybe I'll continue dancing Tango and when I'm back I'm gonna be a Tango star ;-)
Today I took the chance to walk all the way through my quarter, the so-called "San Telmo" until I came to the government building "la casa Rosada" at the "Plaza de Mayo". Then I turned to the "Avenida Florida", a kind of a very long shopping street. After that I went to the widest street in the world with 21 lanes, the "Avenida 9 de Julio". But honestly it looks bigger on the pictures than it really is. Unfortunately it was a pretty cold day today and the weather wasn't that nice at all but still there were a lot of people in the streets. Especially here in San Telmo the market opens on Sundays and tons of tourists come to this part of Buenos Aires to buy things. To give you some kind of an impression how it looks like here, I uploaded some pics, you can see them here. A girl from Germany who's still looking for a shared apartment so far contacted me by mail through the International Office of the UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires). She's also here with a German friend and they're studying about the same at the UBA. They arrived at the same time in Buenos Aires and are as much without orientation just as me. I'm gonna meet them next week. So far I get along with the "Subte" (the subway) but next week I will also try to get along with the "colectivos" (buses) here. They have thousand of buses here and they're said to be a better way to get through the city than by Subte because they reach more areas. But I'm not worried, I've still got enough time to discover the city!
That's for now! I hope you're all doing good,
A luego!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

first night and first day in BA

I arrived at the B.A. airport at about 7 pm local time, it was a 14 hours flight so you can imagine that I was pretty exhausted! On my left sat a nice woman from Argentina who gave me her contacts within minutes when she heard that I was staying in B.A. to study and she gave me some good advice. On my right was a man from Uruguay but with German ancestors. Thanks to these nice neighbors I had the time in the plane went by pretty fast. But after about 8 hours of flying I got such a bad headache. Anyway - at 7 pm local time (midnight in Germany) I arrived, another 45 minutes later I received my luggage. Then the adventure began: I don't know how many people told me that I had to take an official cab within the airport rather than a cab outside. It's said to be more dangerous to take a cab outside because there have been a lot of kidnapping in the past with cabs that weren't real cabs... So I went down, took an official cab and the cab driver took me into the center of the city within 25 minutes and I arrived safely in San Telmo, which belongs to the historic part of B.A. Ruben, the owner of this shared apartment, was happy to see me and showed me my room and the whole house. Its hard to describe, later on I will take some pics and put them on this blog. Three other people are living with me in this apartment, its a girl from Germany (she studies at the same college, has already been here for 5 months) who's moving out at the end of this month, a girl from San Fransisco who's teaching English here and a guy from Italy whom I haven't had the chance to talk to yet. All of them seemed to be pretty nice and I think and I hope I will have a lot of fun with them. My room is devided into two parts. It has a small ledder to the top where my bed stands. On the ground I have a small table, some furniture where I can store my stuff and a big sofa which I already fell in love with because it's very cosy :-) I also have a small balcony but at the moment its too cold to sit outside (its winter here, about 5-10 degrees Celsius). We share the bathroom, kitchen and living room. Almost everything is a little shabby but the living room is very nice! It's very big as well, has a TV and big tables and it's just very nice to spend some time there. After checking out the apartment (don't forget - I have been up for 24 hours!), I was so tired that I just went to bed.

This morning I talked to the German and the American girl who explained me a lot and gave some good advice. Also Ruben (the owner) is very helpful and it's just good to know people especially at the beginning when everything is a caos anyway. Yesterday when I arrived it was dark already so I took the chance to start to discover B.A. this morning.
My first impression was that B.A. seems to be a mixure of all kinds of cities I've been to so far. It's shabby like Dublin or bad areas of New York, from the architecture it looks very European, but also a little American, its pretty dirty, a lot of waste is on the ground and the whole city smells like gas. But I also found some very nice houses and cafés so not everything looks bad here. It's only my first impression, let's see, maybe I'll change my mind when I've seen a little more of the city. This morning I took the subway to my college (here it's called la "SUBTE") which costs 90 centavos each way (!) that means it costs about 20 Euro Cents! That's really cheap! The university I'm going to is la UBA - Universidad de Buenos Aires. It has about 300 000 students and its faculties are all over the city center. My faculty is called "Facultad de Ciencias Sociales" and it's very close to the city center and about 20 minutes by subway from my house. When I saw the shabby building from the outside and inside and its bad condition I wasn't really suprised after having read a experience report from another student that studied some time at the same buidling. I gotta have to take some pics of that otherwise you won't believe me how dirty it is! The funny thing is - if you leave the bad looking aside - that the UBA seems to be a very taugh, recommended and honored university with a very good reputation not only in Argentina but also in whole Latin America. We will see. I went to the International Office and luckily there was a very nice woman who explained to me what steps I need to take to get my study visa. I came into this country by a tourism visa and I have to change it into a study visa. It's very complicated and I'm lucky that I'm already here to arrange all those things before my courses will start. They will begin in about 10 days and I'm very excited.
Next time I put some more pictures on this blog, this time I didn't take my camera with me after many people told me not to in order not to be robbed (I'm not kidding), it's better not to show how rich you are. I first want to get used to the city and to get to know how to get around here before I'll take the time to take some pics. Just be patient, they will follow soon.
There's a lot more to tell I don't wanna overwhelm or bore you with to much information. It's to be continued!
Hasta la próxima vez!

Here you see my first breakfast I had in Argentina!

last goodbye in Stuttgart and at Frankfurt airport

Last monday I took the train to see my sister Mel and her friend Leah in Stuttgart to spend some hours with them. So I had a chance to see her at least some hours before I disappeared to Buenos Aires (BA) and with the knowledge that I won't see her for at least the next 10 months (if we see each other more than once a year it's a kind of a miracle). Here you see some of the pics.

my sister Mel and me

After meeting my sister in Stuttgart I rushed home to get all my stuff packed. Luckily I got everything on time. So last Tuesday I said goodbye to Augsburg, took the train to Munich to go to my brother's house and went to the Munich airport at 3 am on Wednesday morning. The plane flew to Frankfurt where I met my friends Hanna and Annika (thank you again!) because I had about two hours staying time in Frankfurt before my flight was about to go to BA.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

4 days left to go...

Hey guys,

all my exams are over now, all my jobs have been finished, the goodbye party ended well but my bags are still unpacked! Theoretically I have 4 more days to pack but my sister Mel is on a race this weekend (German Championship of Mountain Biking) in Germany so I'm going to meet her in Stuttgart before I go to Munich to meet my brother Thomas who's taking me to the airport. This means that I only have tomorrow left to get all my stuff together. So this is my time to say goodbye from this point. Next time you'll hear from me hopefully from Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA!
Hasta la próxima vez!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Welcome to my blog!

Hi everyone!

Normally I don't count myself to those persons that like to get attention on the internet by publishing a blog. But I feel more and more comfortable with these new web 2.0 technologies and see their advantages: sharing information in a short time thanks to fast internet connection. I see this as a thankful medium to connect people - especially when they live far away from each other - like my own family and friends: My dad lives in the northern part of Germany, my brother Thomas in Munich, my sister Mel in Ireland and my sister Britta in Toronto, Canada. In a few weeks I will turn my back on Germany again and spend about eight months in Latin America. I will study "social communication" for one semester from August to December at the "Universidad de Buenos Aires" (UBA) in Argentina, Buenos Aires. After that time period I will try to find an internship at an international organization. In my last month (march) I plan to travel to the Caribbean. But who knows what will happen until then :-) In this blog I will try to keep you up to date and share my experiences. As I'm a student of "media and communications" I will also contribute some pictures and even videos if find a chance to put them on this blog to give you a kind of impression how life is in Buenos Aires, Argentina (or at least how I feel like it is)! Last but not least: I will keep this blog in English only because of the reason that some of my friends don't speak German so I want to give them a chance to take part in my blog as well. Honestly I'm too lazy to write two blogs and English is the most important language in the world anyway and most of you won't mind reading English (my English is simple anyway). So this shouldn't be a problem ;-)
I hope you'll enjoy my blog! Hasta luego!