Listen to Me on BA Cast

BA Cast: The Buenos Aires Podcast

Dan Karlin, a long-term American expat, and Fernando Farías, an Argentine local, combine forces to produce an entertaining weekly podcast known as The Buenos Aires Podcast, or BA Cast for short. This dynamic duo "attempts to sort out…foreigners' perceptions of Argentina and Argentines, Argentines' perception of themselves, and everything in between." Dan and Fer share a great rapport, and you're virtually guaranteed to learn something new about Argentine culture with each episode. At the very least, you'll get a good laugh.

A few months back, I chatted with Dan and Fer via Skype about my experiences as an expat in Necochea, and now you can tune in to BA Cast, Season 2 Episode 14 for my take on life in Argentina outside the capital. You can listen to the podcast straight from the BA Cast website or download it onto your computer, iPod, etc. Enjoy!

Show Dan and Fer some love. Follow BA Cast on Facebook or Twitter.

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Home for the Holidays

Wild Turkey Male Displaying by dracobotanicus, on Flickr [used under Creative Commons license]Reflecting on this past year, I must say that 2011 has treated me quite well. I got married to my wonderful husband Daniel; I successfully waded through Argentine bureaucracy to receive my permanent residency and DNI; and now, I have the joy of celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's with Daniel and my family here in my hometown of Philadelphia.

After 24 hours of travel, we arrived at Philadelphia International Airport last Thursday morning and were promptly whisked away by my dad and his wife. From that moment on, our time has been filled with family, friends, and food, and it feels great to be back in Yanquilandia, even if only for a brief time.

This trip is particularly special because it's Daniel's first visit to the United States. It means so much to me that he finally has the opportunity to get acquainted with the place I grew up, my family, and my culture. I always felt that there was a piece of me that he would never fully know or understand until he could experience my country firsthand, so it brings me enormous pleasure to have him here with me.

I'm incredibly grateful for all that I've been blessed with this past year. Now excuse me—I've got some turkey, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie to eat. Happy Thanksgiving!

[Photo credit: dracobotanicus]

Past reflections on Thanksgiving

2010 Grateful
2009 Let's Talk Turkey (or Lack Thereof)
2008 Thankful

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Argentina Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gifts from Argentina

Add a bit of Argentine flair to your holiday purchases this year. I've scoped out various suggestions for Argentina-related gifts, with everything from books to bombillas. Which items would you like Papá Noel or the Reyes to bring you?

Books // Libros

» Speechless: A Dictionary of Argentine Gestures by Guido Indij
Gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the vast vocabulary of non-verbal gestures that the Argentines have at their disposal through this entertaining book. [Read my brief review of the book.]

» ¡Che Boludo! A Gringo's Guide to the Argentines by James Bracken
Sling Argentine slang with the best of them. Learn all you need to know with this amusing guide to the local jargon.

» El libro de oro de la argentinidad [in Spanish] by Federico Scagliotti
Chock-full of random facts about Argentine history, culture, food, sports and more, this book makes for great bathroom reading [sorry, but it's true!].

» Happy Tango: Sallycat's Guide to Dancing in Buenos Aires by Sally Blake
Happy Tango is an essential guide for anyone looking to find positive tango experiences in the milongas of Buenos Aires. [Read my review of the book.]

» Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallmann and Peter Kaminsky
Written by Francis Mallmann, one of Argentina's best known chefs, this cookbook invites you to learn the secrets of Argentine asado.

» Vino Argentino: An Insider's Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina by Laura Catena
In this book filled with lush photography, Laura Catena provides an intimate look at Argentina's wine regions and the history and personalities behind the country's wine industry.

» SaltShaker Spanish-English Food & Wine Dictionary by Dan Perlman
Tallarines, milanesas, locro...what does it all mean? The SaltShaker Food & Wine Dictionary will help you navigate Argentine menus with ease.

Learn Spanish // Aprender castellano

Looking for a sassy, unconventional and entertaining way to learn Spanish? Try General Linguistics' Spanish-language learning program Bueno, entonces.... The program is geared toward expats and travelers in South America, with pronunciation by native speakers and a focus on the slang and grammatical nuances particular to Argentina.

Food // Comidas stocks an impressive selection of authentic, imported Argentine foods including chimichurri, queso provoleta parrillero, various brands of alfajores and yerba mate, Mantecol, and Gancia [the product for export is known as Livenza].

Amazon offers up your favorite Argentine foods, including dulce de leche, yerba mate, mate cocido, Havanna alfajores, dulce de membrillo, and dulce de batata. You can also find mate gourds and bombillas on Amazon.

Music // Música

» Revancha Del Tango by Gotan Project
A sexy and hypnotic blend of tango and electronica, check out this album for a taste of something decidedly different. [Similar bands: Bajofondo Tango Club, San Telmo Lounge]

» The Best of Carlos Gardel Argentina's best known tango crooner, Carlos Gardel's good looks and smooth baritone voice rocketed him to popularity at the beginning of the 20th century. More than 75 years after his death, Gardel remains an icon of the tango both here in Argentina and abroad. [Similar artists: Roberto Goyaneche, Julio Sosa]

» Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
A fun mix of rock, ska, punk, reggae and Latin rhythms, tunes by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs will get you moving your groove thing. [Similar bands: Patricio Rey y Sus Redonditos de Ricota, Charly García, Soda Stereo]

» Mercedes Sosa: 30 Años
The music of Mercedes Sosa, one of Argentina's and, indeed, Latin America's most celebrated folk singers, overflows with emotion that translates into any language. Sosa's moving rendition of Gracias a la vida and the haunting melody Alfonsina y el mar are two of my favorite tracks from this album. [Similar artists: Chaqueño Palavecino, Soledad]

» Rough Guide to the Music of ArgentinaThis album spans a number of styles, from tango to chamamé to chacarera, and serves as a great introduction to uniquely Argentine folk music and tango.

Take a look at this list for additional suggestions of great Argentine music.

Movies // Películas

» The Motorcycle Diaries [Diarios de motocicleta]
Follow the life-changing journey of the young Ernesto "Che" Guevara as he explores South America on the back of his motorcycle. [I also enjoyed the soundtrack to this movie.]

» The Secret in Their Eyes [El secreto de sus ojos]
The Academy-award winning film The Secret in Their Eyes tells the story of "a retired legal counselor [who] writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior—both of which still haunt him decades later." [synopsis by IMDb]

» Nine Queens [Nueve reinas]
"This sly 2000 caper weaves a tangled story of deceit and con games, with intriguing plot twists. It was nominated for 28 awards in Latin America, the United States and Europe and won 21 of them." [synopsis by Latin Flyer]

» The Official Story [La historia oficial]"This heartbreaking drama—winner of best foreign film in 1985—is about a woman in Buenos Aires who slowly comes to realize that the child that she and her husband adopted was a victim of the…so-called Dirty War of the 1970s." [synopsis by Latin Flyer]

» Intimate Stories [Historias mínimas]"This wonderful little gem of a road movie follows three characters as they travel…the vast, flat plains of Patagonia in southern Argentina to the port town of San Julián. Made almost entirely with nonprofessional actors, the film is a picaresque sequence of moments in the lives of simple people being their quirky selves…. If you like little movies about everyday life in its lighter, comic moments, you'll enjoy this one." [review on Amazon]

Wine // Vino

Anuva Wines offers a hand-picked selection of artisanal wines from Argentina, including the famed malbec and torrontés. These small-batch wines are direct-shipped to the customer in the United States from Argentina. Purchase individual bottles or a wine-club membership for your favorite oenophile.

Traditional Crafts //Artesanías

El Boyero Artesanías Argentinas specializes in unique gift items from Argentina including fancy mate gourds with silver or alpaca details, bombillas, silver jewelry, fine leatherwork including belts, wallets, and handbags [including unusual and beautiful carpincho leather], leather boots and shoes, wine accessories, and gaucho accessories such as knives and braided rawhide leather.

Miscellaneous // Otros

» Do you have a huge soccer [call it football, if you must] fan in your life? If so, consider purchasing an Argentine national team soccer jersey.

» Pamper your skin with beauty products made with rosa mosqueta [rose hips] from Patagonia.

Note: Many, but not all, of the links in this post are affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission if you click on them and purchase an item. Thank you for supporting this blog! Read More......

Bathing Regulations — Mar del Plata, Argentina [1888]

Vintage Photo of Bathers in Mar del Plata, Argentina

With beach season just around the corner for those of us here in the southern hemisphere, I thought I'd remind you all of the behavior expected of respectable ladies and gents while enjoying a little fun in the sun (never mind that the rules date to the 19th century!). The following excerpt was translated from the Spanish-language book El libro de oro de la argentinidad by Federico Scagliotti.

Bathing Regulations — Mar del Plata, Argentina [1888]

Article 1 - Nude bathing is prohibited.

Article 2 – Only bathing costumes that cover the body from the neck to the knee are permitted under these regulations.

Article 3 – At Playa del Puerto, Playa de la Iglesia and Playa de la Gruta, men may not bathe together with women, unless they do so accompanied by their families.

Article 4 - Single men are prohibited from approaching women while they are bathing and must maintain a distance of at least 30 meters.

Article 5 - The use of opera glasses or other binoculars is prohibited during bathing hours, as well as situating oneself at the edge of the water while women are bathing.

Article 6 - The bathing of animals at beaches designated for families is prohibited.

Article 7 - The use of lewd or indecorous language or behavior is also prohibited.

Article 8 - Those persons in violation of the preceding ordinances shall incur a fine of two to five pesos or detention for 24 to 48 hours. A repeat offense shall result in a fine of five to ten pesos or detention for 48 to 96 hours. In the event of a third offense, violators shall be banned from the beach for one month.

Click here or here for vintage photos of folks enjoying the summertime in Mar del Plata.

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The Faro Quequén Turns 90

In honor of the Faro Quequén's 90th birthday, I thought I'd offer a photographic tribute to one of the most recognizable and beloved symbols of our coastal community.

A slew of shipwrecks off the coast of Necochea and Quequén in the 1800s prompted the construction of a lighthouse to assist ships navigating the waters near the Port of Quequén. Inaugurated on Nov. 1, 1921, the 111.5 ft.- (34 m) tall Faro Quequén was built of reinforced concrete by the firm Dyckerhoff y Widmann. The lighthouse's 400W beam is visible at a distance of up to 28 mi. (45 km), serving as a beacon for the thousands of ships that pass by every year.

After climbing the 163 steps of the Faro Quequén's spiral staircase, visitors are treated to an aerial view of the port, the expansive beaches of Necochea and Quequén, and even the shipwrecked Pesuarsa II, one of the most photographed sights in the area (in addition to the lighthouse, of course).

El Faro Quequén | The Quequén Lighthouse by katiemetz, on Flickr

Caracol II by katiemetz, on Flickr

Katie atop the lighthouse by katiemetz, on Flickr[The first of many climbs to the top of the lighthouse]

El Faro Quequén | The Quequén Lighthouse by katiemetz, on Flickr

Florcitas | Little Flowers by katiemetz, on Flickr

The Beaches of Quequén | Las Playas de Quequén by katiemetz, on Flickr[The beach in Quequén with the lighthouse in the distance]

Bajo La Luz de La Luna | Under the Moonlight by katiemetz, on Flickr[Faro Quequén under a full moon]

Caminito by katiemetz, on Flickr

Faro Quequén | Quequén Lighthouse
Calle 541 to 700, Quequén, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 8am-12pm and 4pm-7pm
Admission: Free

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