Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a walk in the park

First thing this morning I sent out my resume to my friend's work for a possible position come the new year. To be working in my field, in B.A., would be a dream. Fingers are crossed.

I left the apartment around 11:30am to practice my spanish out on a poor bicycle store owner. My spanish is not good by any means, but I'm able communicate. I wanted to know if they rented bikes. He said no, but told me where I may be able to rent one. So, I took a walk.

(photo below: this is a common site. i still try to count how many dogs one person can walk. in this photo there are 13 maybe 14 dogs to one walker. they're big dogs too!)

(photo below: they are so well behaved. this is common too)

(photo below: they are left unattended because their dog walker is returning other dogs to their owners)


(photo below: typical street in Palermo. This photo is taken on the street next to the zoo, "Republica de la India". Beautiful street, but it didn't smell very nice...being next to the zoo and all)


Palermo is one of the greener neighborhoods in B.A. There are numerous parks and I would guess that majority of the streets have old sycamore trees that create a canopy. Buildings are mixed; some newer and some very old Spanish style. Most apartments buildings have balconies and on the street level there are many small shops. There are two major grocery stores that I've seen and several privately owned smaller grocery stores and then there are the fruit stands and kioskos. The kioskos sell candy, cigarettes and I'm not sure what else.

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The bicycle store owner told me they rent bikes in the park called "Bosques de Palermo" (Forest of Palermo). The park is huge. As I was walking I wished that I asked for more specific directions...whether I would have understood or not is another thing. Although the park is huge, there are streets crisscrossing through it, so you're really never away from cars. I made my way towards the lake and I found the bike rental place which was just a 'hot dog vender looking stand' and the bikes parked in front of it.

I spoke 100% Spanish with them, but struggled. They couldn't come up with a price for a bike rental for 3 days (since they're closed the 24 & 25), they only rent bikes by the hour. They quoted 100 pesos ($30), which isn't bad but I would have thought less. I feel successful that I was able to communicate with them.

Next to the bike rental place was a lake and I noticed a beautiful bridge going over it into a sort of island so I went to explore. On the island there was a beautiful rose garden which was free to enter. It was truly beautiful. Anyone who comes and visits me will get a tour!!

(photo below: you can rent paddle boats)



On my way home I walked past a well guarded building. I looked up on top of the roof and sure enough....there was the flag of the United States of America. Ohhh, how strange to see it here, so I went for my camera and as I pulled it out the security guard gave me 'the look' and wagged his finger. eh, yeah, I should know better. The U.S. embassy here is in a gorgeous building, I say this with surprise because the U.S embassy in Denmark is down right ugly. The one in Spain was HEAVILY guarded with a tank parked out front.

On my way back I walked through a different part of my neighborhood. It had the same canopy trees over the streets and the buildings were well kept. It seemed a little quieter than the streets around my apartment. The buildings were the same mix of new (1970's) and old charming ones. It seems like no matter where you go in Palermo there are cafes with tables out on the sidewalks and mini grocery stores.

(photo below: book vender in the middle of the street (there's a small platform that divides the street (This street is called "Santa Fe" it's near "Plaza Italia")

When I came back I went for 2 empanadas at the small restaurant near my apartment. They know me now. After I ordered I noticed my weekend door man having lunch there, so I sat down with him and spoke 100% spanish...well, he spoke to me and I kind of followed along. He is super friendly and talkative. I've warmed up to him. At first I would avoid him, too scared to speak, but now I just roll with it. Although I do need to tell him to slow down.

At 3pm I met with a conversation exchange person and we spoke majority english. I told him for next time I would take my homework so that I have more to talk about since my Spanish vocabulary is so limited.

We sat at some tables outside of a cafe. I always have my purse next to me, between my feet or the strap wrapped twice around my arm. A group of young boys, 11-13 walked past, said 'excuse me' in spanish and swiped one of my medialunas (croissants) from the table. eh, ok, so it was just one croissant, but I think if it would not have been on the sidewalk side of the table they wouldn't have done it. I'd much rather part with a medialuna than my purse. hoodlums.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting all this photos of the neighborhood, and we send holiday greetings from our last couple of weeks in cold, wet DC.