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 :-)