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We're here! Fifteen years after she lived in Argentina as a Youth For Understanding (YFU) exchange student, Lenka steps again on the Argentanian soil. The sights, the sounds, the scents…so many fascinatingly overwhelming experiences that stimulate the memories in the mind. Here are some of the highlights, as captured by our camera and entries into our diary 

I cried for you Argentina
Casa Rosada

Evita, subways, and midnight walking, of course. We stood beneath the pink Casa Rosada and imagined impassioned throngs of Argentineans cooing to (Madonna) Evita's voice. Strangely enough, she was singing in English in our minds. Midnight walking? Argentinians never sleep. Parents take their kids out for dinner at midnight. Try to get food before 9:00 pm and you will only find closed doors. The subway? On some lines, they are beautiful 19th century vintage wooden cars built on rail cars, every wall moving independently from the rest. Find the right piece of wood, we're convinced, with a slight pull, the whole car would fall apart like a deck of cards.  

View from hotel: 3am city life

Eating, of course -- in fact, gorging, of course. For seven bucks, you get a full steak dinner, a bottle of good wine, and a side dish. Portenos (people from Buenos Aires) are in love with meat, and seem to subsist solely on protein. When tired of steak, we moved on to empanadas -- small calzones filled with various goodies, usually mozzarella and meat. Then, pasta, and incredible pizza, and wine and more wine. We vowed to curb our weights on this trip (you should have seen Lenka's terrified expression when she tried on some tight red pants and had to keep asking for the next size up). We've found some foods that give the Belgian waffles a run for their money. 

Dulce De Leche indulgence
Learning Tango

Tango, of course. We would be anarchists if we didn't sample tango while in Buenos Aires. With Lenka's energy spurring us, we signed up for genuine, real (i.e. non tourist) tango lessons for a day. Within 15 minutes we each had our separate 8 steps down, within 30 minutes, Lenka transformed into a South American temptress, within 1 hour we danced without falling, and after 90 minutes we had 1 or 2 tricks in our sleeves. Presumptively confident, we headed the next day to a truly local tango (none of this tourist stuff), and dared, for only a song-trio, to step on to the dance floor in our hiking boots and sandals, and show off our mood and gusto. We spent the rest of the two hours studying the vastly superior artistic expressions of the locals.  

The beginning of a lifetime dance passion... 

May I have this dance?
Ancient shade

One of our favorite daytime spots turned out to be a city park. We joined the local Portenos in enjoying the leisure afternoon breeze. This park was the first time it began to really hit us -- we were on vacation, and on a major life-time vacation. This would be unique, and we would alas be able to breathe fully after several years of individually intense times. 


Idyllic day at the park
Lenka Pondering Lenka Enjoying
Lenka Swirling Lenka Flying
Geoff Beginning to Relax... ...until he tells Lenka
We left Buenos Aires with a heartfelt connection to the city where the night is alive, kicking, dancing, and breathing, and the day is a cool slumber under the repetitive nicks and clicks of ceiling fans whirring. We established our favorite wine (San Felipe) and our favorite midnight restaurant (Pippo). We criss crossed through restaurants and shopping districts, and came to terms with how to be travel-conscious in a world were Americans can be perceived as a nice meal and source of income. We left the city imbibed with its nightly energy, its sultry romance, and the heat of languid insomnia.
The Phone Call
"Hola mama y papa? Aqui es Lenka. Lenka? Ija Norte Amerikana? Lenka, donde estas? Llamas de Estados Unidos? No, soy in Buenos Aires! Buenos Aires?!? Que bueno! Quato visitar nosotros en Esperanza? Manana?"

And so, with a first phone conversation with my host family after 15 years we opened a new chapter of our sabbatical adventure.

Next Stop: Reunion at Esperanza.

(c) Geoffrey Peters and Lenka J.,, 2003. For more information regarding this web page, please contact
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