We spent last weekend in Mar del Plata, which turns out to be kind of a gross Miami Beach-like city 6 hours south of Buenos Aires. Since it was Semana Santa and unseasonably nice weather, I read in the Mar del Plata newspaper that over 150,000 tourists descended on that place for the weekend, so no wonder it felt a little crowded. We stayed in kind of a shady hostel but thankfully were bunking with three cute, cool Colombian kids who are studying in Buenos Aires. We also got together with a guy that Amy's dad met traveling over twenty years ago in South America who happens to be from/live in Mar del Plata. He and his wife picked us up at our hostel and took us on a great tour of the town and then had us over to their wonderful house for a delicious lunch out in the garden. They were so kind and smart and worldy and not Buenos Aires, so that was really nice. It was definitely my favorite part of the weekend, and we saw so many things that we never would have been able to had they not gone out of their way to drive us and show us around.
On a rocky surfer beach in Mar del Plata I touched the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Hard to believe that I've been in Philly for almost three years and never made it to the Jersey Shore. The Atlantic was cold (though nothing like the Pacific), but it was so hot out on Sunday that it felt really good to swim. Mar del Plata was definitely not my favorite place, and it wasn't the perfect weekend (messed-up bus tickets, came down with a cold, night busses, night busses, night busses, dirty hostels, physical discomfort in general) but in the end we saw a lot of things that I have never seen before and had a really great night out at this ridiculous club and a really nice night in at our hostel with a bunch of people we met/ran into.
I'm still trying to figure out how I am going to pass these classes I'm supposedly taking if I never have them. I got back into Buenos Aires at around 7:30am on Monday morning, alone, because Amy and I had to take separate busses because of my messed-up ticket. I went home and slept and relaxed and then went to class that night. Then I had my Sociología y Antropología del Arte section the next day as well as my weaving class. Then the teachers at UBA went on strike Wednesday and Thursday. This doesn't necessarily mean that there won't be class (I saw a lot of classes going on anyway) but one of my professors informed us that there would not be class on Wednesday night. Great. Saves me about 3 hours in bus transportation time. Then it was unsure whether we would have our 4-hour "teórico" lecture for Sociología y Antropología del Arte on Thursday, so I showed up just in case, as did many people. It seemed like we might have the teórico because since the last two Thursdays were national holidays, we have only had one class.
Apparently not having class isn't that big of a deal because after waiting around for about 45 minutes, a friend that I didn't even know was in the class and I decided we would go get haircuts. So, instead of digesting 4 hours of valuable information about the roots of the concept of art, we found a nearby semi-luxurious L'Oreal salon and got our hair washed and cut for less than $12. I told the woman to cut some of the bulk out of the back since I had basically turned into a wookie, and her version of that was taking the thinning shears and literally removing pounds of fluff from my head, but it seems to have worked because I woke up this morning pretty satisfied.
This week was kind of long and tiring, but a few good things happened. Learned how to weave a basic stitch in class, spent some nice afternoons reading in the park by my house, went to two museums I had been meaning to see, actually ran into non-American people at the facultad that I know and spoke to them, and ate a lot of empanadas (not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing). I'm nervous about moving and having to pack up the accumulation of 2 months kind of sucks, but I'm hoping that the lighter, more vibrant neighborhood will give me a new lease on (Buenos Aires) life.