Short Stories of the Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Buenos Aires

by Colly

I have no clue what anybody anywhere around me is saying.

A cab driver is screaming at me.

I’m digging into a beef empanada.

I’m watching Project Runway during a crazy thunderstorm with people shouting in the streets.

I’m climbing through a giant toilet at a kids’ museum at a ginormous mall.

I am in Buenos Aires, Argentina!

I have so much to write about because this has been an exciting couple of weeks, so beware: the things I’m about to tell you are kind of random.

My brother and I rented bikes and they were falling apart so badly, my seat came off and I had to sit on the post!

My brother and I rented bikes and they were falling apart so badly, my seat came off and I had to sit on the post!

Getting Here

Two weeks ago I went on about a 24-hour flight. I started in L.A. where I dropped my dog Teddy off with my grandparents because we couldn’t take him with us. It was really sad. The flight was super fun though. The seats go all the way down into a bed so that you can sleep! For dinner I had pork with applesauce and it was so good! I also got really good mint chip ice cream on the plane too. The seats have TV’s on the backs of them so you can watch TV, free movies, listen to music, chat and play games. The only mistake I made on the plane was not going to sleep. I stayed up all night watching TV and movies.

Buenos Aires is on the east coast of Argentina. It’s the capital and it’s such a big city (about 15 million in the area) because most of the whole country lives here. It is across the Rio de la Plata (“The Silver River”) from Uruguay. Buenos Aries is not what I thought it would be like at all; to tell you the truth, I thought it would be a lot more outdoorsy adventure but it’s really city-like instead, like San Francisco but way bigger.

When we finally got off the plane, we took a taxi to our apartment. I was so tired I didn’t even care about the apartment; the first thing I did was find a bed and sleep in it. After I woke up I really saw the apartment for the first time. It’s huge! There are two lofts, three bathrooms, TV’s in all of the bedrooms (which I can’t watch because the channels are in Spanish), a living room,  kitchen, balcony, and electric piano.

This is our apartment we're staying in for two weeks, and if you're wondering what Kyle is doing, he's doing his morning yoga :)

This is our apartment we're staying in for two weeks, and if you're wondering what Kyle is doing, he's doing his morning yoga :)

The weirdest thing here is that I can’t understand anyone! Everyone speaks Spanish and I really don’t know that much Spanish. I am learning a lot more though from just hearing people talk it. I know “no hablo español” (I don’t speak Spanish), “como” (“I eat” or “how”), “¿Cómo se dice?” (how do you say?), tengo hambre (I’m hugry), “hola, me llamo Colly” (hi my name is Colly) and “¿dónde está el baño?” (where is the bathroom?). And of course “por favor” and “gracias.” I mostly just use sign language and point to the things I want, and people get it.

Crazy Cab Driver

A few days later, we had just finished homeschooling and wanted to go out to lunch. We found a taxi (not that hard — there are taxis swarming around everywhere) and got in it. Then my mom and dad shut the doors. Suddenly the cab driver started yelling at us and waving his arms in the air! I had no clue what he was saying because he was yelling in Spanish. He leaned over and opened our doors, screaming, and I think he wanted us to get out, but we were so confused we just sat there. He gave up and started driving with a scowl on his face the whole time. Kyle and I were silent. After we got out, my mom told us the man was mad because we shut the door too loud! She told us that what he said was, “Always with Americans!! Always shut the door too loud!!!! Too loud!!!!! BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!!!” I guess he didn’t like Americans!

However, everyone we’ve met besides him has been super nice.

Awesome Abasto Mall

Don't flush!

Don't flush!

One of my favorite things to do in Argentina is go to the Abasto mall. The mall is huge — it has about 200 stores, an amusement park inside the mall, a kids museum, an arcade, about 50 cafes and restaurants, and way more. Kyle and I went to the kids museum; its real name is Museo De Los Niños. The museum is mainly for kids 3 to 8 like my brother Kyle’s age. I was the oldest age that could be there (besides parents) and it felt kind of weird. It was funny that all these unhealthy companies like McDonald’s and Coke were sponsoring the displays, so kids could play as a McDonald’s clerk and there were Coke logos everywhere. The museum had a huge toilet that we got to climb in. The exhibit was all about what happens with plumbing, and there were slides and tunnels to climb through — but I was too big do it!

I barely squeezed through the age and height limit.

I barely squeezed through the age and height limit.

La Comida (The Food)

Empanadas are basically pizza pockets.

Empanadas are basically pizza pockets.

Another one of my favorite things in Argentina is the food. All of it is so good! The only thing is that you really can’t be a vegetarian in Argentina. On all the menus there is mainly meat. My favorite food in Argentina by far are the empanadas. Empanadas are any kind of meat or cheese or vegetables wrapped in soft bread like a pizza pocket; they are so good! Also, all the sodas are in glass bottles. I like them way better in glass bottles because there’s less carbonation and more flavor. There’s also a lot of pizza and Italian food because in the late 1800s a lot of Italians immigrated to Argentina.

In Argentina people eat super late. Last night I went to a restaurant at 9 and got back at 11!

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night …

We're watching Project Runway on a laptop instead of on TV.

We're watching Project Runway on a laptop instead of on TV.

My family and I love to watch Project Runway, so one night we were watching it on the Internet, and we saw all these flashing lights outside our window.

“It’s just an alarm that went off, I bet,” my mom said calmly.

“It’s lightning!” my brother Kyle said.

“No it’s not. There’s no thunder, and there would be lightning bolts,” she said to Kyle. But then lights covered the sky, rain was hitting the windows like bullets and we heard a boom of thunder. Kyle was right — it was lightning! But, it wasn’t the kind to lightning that I’m used to, the kind that hits in bolts; no, it covered the sky in a thin layer of electricity. It was scary and really cool at the same time.

Just then we also heard bursts of screaming and shouting from the streets. We stepped out on the balcony in the rain. We couldn’t see anything or anybody. Then we turned on the TV and soccer was on almost all the channels. Then we finally got it: people were screaming in joy because Argentina won a big match against Peru.

A Day Trip to a New Country

Remember how I said Buenos Aires in across from Urgauy? Well one day my family and I got to go on a ferry to Colonia, Uruguay! It was about an hour-long trip. The boat was crowded and some people had to sit on the floor. When we got to Uruguay we really didn’t know what to do. So, we just started walking. What was so amazing was how quiet it was! There were almost no people, no cars and lots of birds. The streets were cobblestones. Instead of cars, people mostly drove golf carts and motor scooters.

In Uruguay, we looked at a stone building almost 300 years old and climbed the staircase to the top of the lighthouse.

In Uruguay, we looked at a stone building almost 300 years old and climbed the staircase to the top of the lighthouse.

We waked to the town center and saw a lighthouse. All around it was a foundation where a house once was and the foundation was made up with all these stone bricks. It turned out that the bricks were 270 years old. The lighthouse was amazing. We got to go up all the way to the top of it and had to climb about 5,000 stairs! When we were up there we could see very tall buildings in the distance. Those buildings belonged to Argentina! I could see Buenos Aires!

Later that day Kyle and I got bored so we went to a playground in Colonia. The play structures were made out of recycled things, like the swings were made of barrels and logs, and there were falling-apart teeter totters. 

Kyle and I were surrounded by schoolkids asking us questions in Spanish!

Kyle and I were surrounded by schoolkids asking us questions in Spanish!

At the park there was a class field trip. All of the kids were between the ages of 9 to 11, and they were wearing uniforms that were long white button-down shirts and navy blue ties around their necks. Since Kyle and I were the only Americans there with blond hair and blue eyes, all the kids wanted to talk to us. But, I didn’t understand any of them! I kept trying to tell them I don’t speak Spanish, but they just kept talking to me! Finally my mom came over and told them in Spanish that I don’t speak Spanish. (I did say “no hablo español” but they kept talking to me like they didn’t hear.) Then they just asked her all the questions! Later my mom told me that they were asking me things like, how old are you? What’s your name? Why don’t you speak Spanish?!?!?!

I really like it here, and maybe some day I will learn Spanish too.

p.s.: For those who have not seen it, I have a new page on the website called Colly’s Best Books. You can buy my recommended books on this page through Amazon and recommend books too. Check it out!

I'm in a barrel, and I'm in Uruguay!

I'm in a barrel, and I'm in Uruguay!

10 Responses to “Short Stories of the Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Buenos Aires”

  1. Hi Colly! This is such fun to read! I love your blog and I do think you (and your brother) are totally awesome. I can’t believe how many crazy experiences you are having. I love how you write about them and them share you stories with all of us. The pictures are great, too. I’m so happy for you to be on this great adventure and to be seeing so many great parts of the world.

    Miss you and love you – kiss all your family for me!

    :) Martha

  2. colly it sounds sooo fun!! i am sooo jealous. I was laughing a lot about the cab driver. Something like that happened to me in Rome… cab drivers are crazy!!! Anyway, we miss you sooo much, and keep up the blog! luv ya!

    —JuLiA KeLlY
    PS: By me something cute!
    PPS: jk
    PPPS: just kidding, but u probably know what jk is. just making sure :)

  3. awesome
    miss ya

    caroline

  4. well it is really well written and cool. I really want to meet the school kids and converse in american. i would love to see thear confused faces. i know that julia said she wanted something but she JKed. I’m not kidding.Jk (ish)miss you alot and jealous as usual. I just finished an hour of math so this is a good break. See ya soon.

    PS. i just wanted to put a ps

  5. OMG i miss ya soooooooooooooo much!! lol about the cab driver!! I felt the exact same way in Mexico with everyone around me saying things i don’t understand and then me saying no hablo español!!!! lol keep writing ya blogs MMMMMMIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS UUUUUUUUUUUUU

  6. Hey Colls, I’m so impressed with your travels! I bet it’s exciting to be in South America during the Wold Cup qualifying matches. Miguel and I (well more Miguel really) have been paying a lot of attention to the World Cup lately, but I know that the excitement in the US is nothing compared to where you are.
    Keep having fun, we miss you!

    Siobhan

  7. hi colly! i didn’t know you are in Argentina now! i really hope you’re having bongo-baskets of fun!!! at school we’re doing an opera: thats about the most exciting things ive done in a while. like everyone else: LOL about the cab driver!!!! that most hav been stellar cool to meet and see those skool kids!!! miss ya bunches;
    paulmccartneyluver25 : )
    (aka merey ;))
    ps;
    everyone @ skool has becum really obbsessed w/ the Beatles : )

  8. i totes wish i was u!
    i went to barcelona this summer and we swam 3 times a day ( at least ) and had dinner really late too.
    ther is mucho beatles obbesion going around like merey sed.
    what r u being 4 halloween?
    i is being a zombie
    i havent even started my costume

    hasta la vista
    coco

    ps. i luv blogs

  9. Colly,

    What a wonderfully well-written post, one that (don’t tell your mom this!) I found a LOT more informative than hers. I love the kid’s-eye perspective you manage to bring to this blog (coupled with a very mature syntax and sensibility). In short, I want to read MORE about your travels (so keep posting!). Also, I get a real kick out of all of the comments from your friends back in Piedmont. This blog is such a great way to keep in touch with them. Seems like you’ve got the best of both worlds–the opportunity to do all this amazing travel, while still bringing your buddies along virtually.

    Again, don’t keep us waiting too long for your next post!

  10. I really liked the pictures I bet you fad a lot of fun

    p.s. I’v been to Argentina and Uruguay