An Alien in Argentina
Argentina. If that name doesn't make you burst out in songs of political revolt, please move along. Kidding kidding! Argentina is a beautiful, welcoming country with a fascinating history, but most people are hesitant to travel in South America, and many never get the opportunity to get a taste of the region.
If you decide to take the leap, however, consider Argentina for your first taste of South America. It’s a hugely accessible place filled with geological features, vibrant tastes and the most sincere smiles you'll ever see! Naturally, you should make yourself more than just a tourist there. Get off the beaten path and immerse yourself with fun, challenging, life-changing experiences. Below you'll find a few of my favourites, do let me know what other adventures you'd love to do in Argentina in the comments below!
Learn to Tango
You got that right - it's time to put your dancing shoes one! Tango, one of the world’s greatest dancing styles, was born in Argentina. Records indicate that its origins took place in the brothels of Buenos Aires, where dancers would be there to entertain the gentlemen waiting for, ahem, 'alternative' entertainment. It probably wasn’t invented for this purpose, though. The records would only state this because brothels were the only place the record keepers would have encountered it!
Few dance styles are as feisty, energetic or challenging. Given its rich history there, why not learn to Tango in its birthplace? And I’m not talking about taking one or two lessons in-between beef and wine feasts. Try going there for a few weeks and taking several Tango lessons! Try getting fit before you go there, though. It takes a lot of stamina!
Speak the language
It’s often said that the natives of pretty much any country get slightly annoyed by obnoxious English travelers. And I'm not talking about people who have actively studied hard to learn the global language. I'm talking about those who were born in an English speaking family and never bothered to learn any other lingo. In this day and age, it's ridiculous, and frankly, annoying.
Spanish is the official language of Argentina. It’s also the second most widely spoken language in the world, with an estimated 470 million native speakers. Being able to speak any second language looks great on a CV, but Spanish is one of the most useful to know. Imagine how good “learned Spanish in Argentina” would look! There are places where anyone can stay and learn Spanish at the same time. If you’re thinking of learning, this is the way to do it, and hey, no more embarrassing lost-in-translation moments!
When you stick to guided tours and hotels, you don't always get to see just how varied life is in another country. When you roam streets and heritage sites, you don’t get all the possible stories. This is partly because the stories, and the lives of those telling them, aren’t always idyllic.
Volunteering is not only a relatively simple way of getting to Argentina. It is an opportunity to get involved in its social and political systems. Education, childcare, elderly care, construction and renovation are all in need of help. It’s a side of Argentinian life the typical tourist won’t see. But by closing our eyes to such things, we miss out on a tremendous opportunity to help others. There learning opportunity here is unlike any other. It’s a way of truly immersing yourself in this fascinating, hypnotizing country. I've already written about the wonderful experience that is volunteering here, and I simply cannot recommend it enough.
So while I won't be calling out to the masses outside Casa Rosada anytime soon, you can guess that I'd love to be able to experience the soul of Argentina! Do share your experiences, I'd love to know what you thought of the country.
The Anti-Tourist was commissioned to write this post: opinions however remain, as always, my own.