Whew. 9 days left. I can´t even believe it´s coming to an end. It feels so short and so long at the same time. Peru and Bolivia feel ages ago, yet these past 3 months sped by faster than any other 3 months of my life. I´ve loved it all. Well, almost all. Can´t say I´m stoked on losing all our pictures. But it just means we have to come back and do it all over!
Buenos Aires has been a completely different experience than any other place. We spent only 3 days in Lima and 2 in Santiago, so we didn´t experience much of the Latin American giant-metropolis life. But it´s a huge part of what makes Latin America, well, Latin America. BA has 13 million people crammed into a city, looking for a prosperous life. A life different from the rural areas. The city throbs contantly with cars, people, music, dogs - it doesn´t really stop. They eat dinner at 11 or 12 pm, start going to clubs at 2am and to bed in the wee hours of the morning. Almost every shop has a siesta around 2-4pm. People drink mate all day, everyday. The city is hot, humid and polluted. There´s no where to escape. Oh, can you tell that I´m not a city person? I´m glad we ended up here because I needed to see it. But there was a reason why cities weren´t on our orginal agenda.
Joel and I have had some good times. We went to the zoo, saw our first Pudú (miniature deer) so that was cool. The zoo was quite depressing though, the cages were soooo tiny and un-natural looking. The only other zoo I remember going to is the one in Calgary and the animals there have huge (comparatively speaking) cages with natual-ish surroundings. There was a polar bear here, his water smelt like chlorine. They also had a grizzly bear- I didn´t know they came so small! No joke, he was the size of a large dog. They also had these Rodents Of Unusual Size which were freely ripping around the zoo. Hanna, they did have Red Panda´s, but we couldn´t spot them.
Today we got our bus tickets to Mendoza for Tuesday where we´re meeting up with Susan and Leana again. Yippie! From the bus station we walked to the Ecological Researve, thinking it should be pretty. It´s 5kms long, stretching along the water. The only cool thing about it was the butterflies and a couple of interesting shrubs. The path was a huge gravel road with no shade, tons of people and the sitting areas were covered with trash. We left the E.R. and walked back to our hostel. It was a looonngg day of walking in humid pollution.
I hope I´m not being too negative. I´m sure there´s great things about this city. I´m just not into shopping (soo much cool stuff to buy, but no money), clubbing, eatting out, or sitting in parks drinking mate. I´d rather be outside exploring a lakeshore or hiking. Or just doing nothing, and not having to listen to traffic and dogs.
Our hostel has been great though. It´s a cute little place full of people doing the same thing as us. The majority of backpackers have been couples, so we all sit around a lot chatting. There´s a couple from Atlanta/California who have travelled through Central America and have inspired me to go to Panama and Costa Rica (not that I needed much convincing). There´s another couple from Isreal (there are TONS of Isrealis in SA) that have been married 10 months and spent all of it travelling so far. Talk about a honeymoon!
Okay, now that I´ve got all that city talk out of my system I have good news. I found a job for this summer, working for a small sustainable urban design consultant firm. By small, I mean it´s basically one woman. I´ll be helping organize a conference on the health of Saanich Inlet, volunteer at the Gaining Grounds Summit , research the importance of urban forests, prepare a funding proposal for a waste-to-resource facility, gather data for state of the environment indicators for the Captial Regional District...and much more. I´m so stoked on this job, it pairs so well with my studies, specifically my Urban Argiculture research (I posted a link in one of my first blog enteries here because it was on Rossario, Argentina). Well, I wasn´t even planning on applying for jobs this summer since I wanted to be in school, but Joel saw it and told me about it. It will be a very different experience from working for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. Between the two coop experiences I´ll be prepped for life post graduation and pay back these student loans!
Other good news is that our passports should be ready Monday, hence why we´re leaving BA on Tuesday. The Canadian Consulate figured we´d have them mid next week, so they are early. :)