Argentina

Buenos Aires, not San Salvador, turned out to be the right choice seeing as El Sal was devastated by a tropical storm, mudslides, and flooding. Thankfully our friends are all right!


Food
Parillas, pizzarias, and confeterias. If you don’t like steak, pizza, or coffee, Argentina doesn’t have much more to offer. They like meat. Beef is a favorite, but sausage, intestines, and chicken all have their place.
My favorites of the Argentinian food: dulce de leche, which is milk boiled over and over (the way sugar is done to make carmel) empanadas, which are savory cheese, potato, onion, etc filled pastries often used as appetizers, and submarinos. Submarino is a creamy hot milk with a bar of chocolate on the side, which you break up and put in the milk, served with a glass of cold water in case you burn yourself. Brilliant! I always burn myself. I remember one particular instance of burning myself drinking hot chocolate from Brahms right before a singing audition. Bad news…

The dining experience in Buenos Aires was usually a restaurant crammed full of tables with as much tables as could possibly be fit, so there was pandemonium while eating. The waiters are generally friendly enough, but are extremely busy and leave you to your own devices for most of the meal.

Argentines seem to prefer bland/savory to the spicy/hot mix which I lean towards. I was constantly salting, seasoning, mustardizing etc whatever they brought to the table.
Dentist
Well, the last time we went to the dentist was in Macedonia, and so I knew it was time for another visit. I didn’t want to go this time, though; I had a bad feeling I had a cavity. Which I sure did. Got it fixed for 100 pesos or 25 dollars. The quality of care was just as good as the US, except the dentist was talking to someone the whole time as she drilled…
I have been to the gynecologist, eye doctor, general doctor (2 times), nose doctor, and dentist (2 times) while abroad, somehow navigating the language barrier. My conclusion is that US healthcare is ridiculously complicated and expensive even as it is high quality, and I see no reason not to participate in medical tourism.
Fun
Argentines like to do the night scene. Even married Argentines like to do the night scene (I heard from a couple of sources that men are practically expected to cheat on their wives here)…Jacob and I didn’t do the night scene but if you’re into that kind of thing BA is the place to do it. They are up literally until 5 am, I don’t know how they go to work in the morning…

Jacob and I went to an amusement park. This was for Jacob mostly. I have a history of losing my cookies after rides, but I did pretty well on this roller coaster. Yes, we only rode one. The lines were incredibly long. We waited an hour and a half for the one. I think this might be the only amusement park in South America. It was surprisingly big, clean, and in a pretty little town just outside of BA called Tigre. We also went on a couple of other little ones:


I did three free tours and visited two museums. Jacob didn’t come. He is really getting laid back about traveling. He’s never been much of a sightseer, and his favorite things to do, wherever he is, are work and go to the gym. I love that about him :)
I’m thinking about joining him at the gym because I like the way it helps him meet people. But I do NOT have the motivation he has to go every day, especially after walking for hours every day like I do…we’ll see. I love yoga, dance, and swimming so if a gym had that I might bite.
I would walk for several hours a day just checking out the city, I’m such a big city girl it’s not even funny.
Random Buenos Aires Facts:
BA is narrow streets with hectic traffic swarming through towering aging beautiful buildings. There are bookstores and little magazine shops on every corner; I was impressed at the literacy of these people. The street food consists of yummy candied peanuts. Women and men are equal here so I felt fine walking alone, even if I would get a few “I love you’s” once in a while. The weather was usually perfect if sometimes a little rainy. The streets are full of dogs, 6 on a leash to a designated dogwalker.

The park 3 de Febrero is my favorite place to go on a Sunday. You’ll find a group of young guys pounding on their drums with girls dancing with swoopy arms and karate kicks. I don’t even know what it’s called, I just would run into and stop and video it. I’ll post one as soon as I figure out why the dang things don’t transfer onto my computer…

Church
This ward was not particularly friendly…didn’t get to know anyone really except we did take the missionaries out to eat. Two elders from UT, one of whom paid for his mission by entering YouTube videos in contests. He literally won $10,000 from one of his videos. Random, huh…They didn’t have a piano player in the ward, just sang a cappella, so after a couple of Sundays I volunteered to play.
Public Transportation
BA is touted as having excellent public transportation, and it does have an excellent bus system…but the metro is like a spider whose legs don’t cross. If you go the wrong direction on accident, sometimes there is no easy way to switch and go back the other way. It’s pretty limited, in other words, compared to other cities of its size (13 million).

We went on a little trip up to Iguazu Falls in the corner of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. We didn’t get visas for Paraguay or Brazil because Jacob’s passport is about to expire. It was gorgeous!! It’s nominated for one of the 7 new wonders of the world. We went on a speedboat right up to the falls; that was definitely the highlight!



*I in no way condone the Fort Hood shooting…but think about this for a sec. Who was the brilliant person in charge who was sending the guy to Iraq? I can’t imagine sending a Muslim to go kill other Muslims. It would be like giving me a gun and sending me to attack Utah. They’re family, you know? The best thing about Islam is its sense of brotherhood. There must be other US soldiers out there who are Muslim and fighting other Muslims but I wonder if they were as blatantly religious as this guy.
*Since the LDS Church had to go all out about passing Prop. 8, I’m very pleased they’ve at least come out in support of anti­­?gay discrimination laws to balance things out. Yea for extending a hand of friendship to gay people.
*I had an idea. Instead of sending billions of dollars in aid from taxpayers to poverty-stricken countries, what if the government provided travel vouchers instead? You can visit Niger, Uganda, or Sierra Leone for free. Then what would happen, is that people would visit those countries, and the country would respond by building its infrastructure. New tourist businesses would open, like Sierra Leonean handmade crafts, and people would become economically self-sufficient. Everyone would benefit.

I read a blog about an expat in Columbia who says the natives are angry that Americans keep sending “aid” money because it goes straight to fueling the drug problem in their country. Sending money is not the answer!!! Education and business promoting activities are.
Kiva.org is my new favorite charity for that reason. You can loan interest-free to enterprising people in poor countries, you get your money back, and you’ve helped a family become self-sufficient.

*Did you know around 72 percent of Afghan people are illiterate? Or that only 12 percent of Afghan women can read? How about educating these people instead of killing them? What a novel idea…

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 361 awesome articles for us.

  • Adespain

    Glad Argentina is treating well. I happen to love dulce de leche. You can buy it here in a can. My mom also knows how to make it. Next time your here, we'll open one!

    I am not so sure I agree with your point about the fort hood shootings. First of all, he was in the military. It's not like they were forcing some guy out of his home to do this. HE SIGNED UP to be part of the military and had to know that someday he would be asked to go and fight. Secondly, assignments aren't done on an individual basis. I highly doubt the person who assigned his group even knew him. I doubt that they look up each muslim in each troop and try and find out how blatantly religious they are. Maybe they will now though, who knows. Third, if he is not trained to fight, he MOST likely not going there to shoot a gun. From what I have read, they use non fighters like him to do construction, office work, public affairs, cleaning, etc so that those who are trained to do the fighting are the ones doing it. Somethings to think about.

    Oh, and next time you come, we'll have to make empanadas. My aunts who came the weekend after you guys were here brought us some and gave us the recipe. So yummy. They were born in Argentina.

  • Jacob and Kalli Hiller

    Andrea…I'd love a recipe. Seems like they'd be easy to make. Especially if you had the right bread or whatever for them…

    I have done a lot of reading on this guy and he joined the military while young before the current wars. He's been trying to get out of it for years and had even enlisted a lawyer to try to get out. He told people he felt like America was fighting Islam, not terror. Also, higher ups knew he'd been in contact privately with members of al Queda and they still kept him in that position. Finally, he gave several presentations to the military that made many people uncomfortable where he said Islam always came before America. Everyone who knew him knew how strict of a Muslim he was. He wouldn't stand near women in company photos because of his religion. Etc… I think it was a blatant mistake that was waiting to happen.

  • Burke and Julia

    Just found your blog. Glad to see you are getting to travel the world like you always wanted! Just make sure to get to China for me. ;) Hope you are doing well. Despains are in our ward.
    Julia Manning

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