It was back when Rio was selected as a host of 2016 olympic games, and Bush was passing the presidents seat to Obama. So to say 2009 😉
The preparations started a year earlier, when I was selecting the place in South America to do my international students exchange. Out of the schools preselected were the one in Caracas, and another in Buenos Aires. Till the very last minute I opted for Venezuela, due to both legendary beauty of the girls there, and the spanish spoken, which would be better described as singing. But the problem was their crazy leader in that time, Hugo Chavez. I didn’t feel like bringing cash for my whole 6 months stay (in that time it was impossible to get the money out of the ATM). But the biggest concern was a security. The news were that every weekend there were 200 killed just in Caracas, in various tiroteos, or just passbyers from balas perdidas.
That, with semi broken heart left me with the choice of Argentina, which in that time was 3B. Bueno, Bonito e Barato. It was the time of economic bonanza, according to the news. I was going to find out by myself.
Gathering money, preparing for the trip, making vaccinations, getting the paperwork done (in spite of our universities having some kind of bilateral agreement, I had to fill all the papers and send them by courier, quite costly thing). It was time consuming, and one has to bear in mind that my university supposedly top 3 in economics in Poland. The timing was harsh – the exam session was finishing in mid June, and my flight was scheduled on 8th of June. Needless to say, I couldn’t afford failing any single exam. No parties, nights spent studying, luck and some negotiations with professors. That mix made the impossible happen, I gathered all passing notes.
I did one more thing then. Remembering Barcelona, when I was all miserably alone and not prepared (then I paid for 1 week hostel, and it was a must to find an apartment within that period), this time I made sure it doesn’t repeat. I started browsing local version of craigslists, and found several rooms available. I prefered to be closer to university than to nightlife, and soon found my selection. It was a room in the apartment with older couple (like my parents age). They were the only ones that didn’t need me to visit “in person” nor pay any kind of advance prior to arrival. It was back in time when international transfers were costly, and almost noone had a paypal account. One thing less to worry about.
Then it was about socializing. I did one smart move, and gathered the complete email list of the exchange students (over 80 people – it was pretty small university). Created the group on facebook called Torcuato Di Tella intercambio 2009. I was the only admin there. Within a week, every single person joined. Since my spanish was already very good in that time, I was browsing the events in the city, things to do and so on, together with setting the meetings once landed.
The big day came, and my flight was on. Iberia flight Warsaw through Madrid (6 hours sightseeing&lunch break) and then on.
I arrived on 9th of July, 9 de julio. The independence day. The taxi all the way from the airport was cheap (30 kilometers ride, 25 USD), and I came directly to the apartment.
First thing I did was go out and try the legendary argentinian steak. It was up to the expectations, which were quite high.
Next thing I did was to take a stroll around the city. I was expecting the bubble butt beauties as latinas should be.
This didn’t stand up to the expectations at all. Only later I learnt that Argentina was the worst choice of whole South America in terms of girls. They were plain looking, “histeric” and general not a pleasure to be around. Somehow it reminded me of Spain. I promised myself to choose next countries to live in with more background check on that one.
It was still one week to start the spanish course (I decided to take it, since spanish from Spain was different than one from Argentina).
The people started arriving, and I was already familiar with them. We would meet up, stroll around the city, and get to know each other.
More to come soon