Drew International Seminar-Argentina 2006-2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

Home safe and sound!

January 21, 2007

Cristal Reyes and Brian Kelly

Winding down.....

Our trip is coming to its end, so many of us realized today that research in this country must be finalized by… tomorrow. This morning we received comments on the progress report we wrote about our papers and projects, and learnt that there was still much to uncover about our respective topics. Many of us split up, heading to different places and activities in Buenos Aires, from walks around the hotel to a very informative trip to Once, for Joshua, Chelsea, Seth and Jamie.

In the afternoon, we attended a lecture on British influence in Buenos Aires with Professor Maxine Hanon. She informed us that the original reason why the British settled in Argentina was not economic… apparently they were stranded by a number of shipwrecks! We found it rather amusing that the English sent their prisoners to Australia through South America. This “mistake” proved to be quite successful, seeing that six Argentine Presidents have been of English descent and that English education is still considered top notch in Argentine society.

English influence has played a major role in Argentine history and culture, however, Brian and I note more of an American influence in Buenos Aires. This may be due to the fact that we are more familiar with U.S. culture and do not recognize the British influence.

Those of us who have not visited a British tea shop yet plan to go to Belgrano tomorrow to enjoy some crumpets and tea. It will be interesting to compare this tea shop to the ones we visited back in the United States. For the rest of this afternoon, we are all planning to conclude shopping and take advantage of the second to last night we have in Argentina.

January 20, 2007

By Lara Heskestad and Lindsay Sabatino

Free Day: Destination, La Boca

Lara, Josh, Harmony, Paul, Jamin, Gabbie, and Lindsay decided to spend the day in La Boca.

Lara and Lindsay needed to do research for their projects. Lindsay checked out restaurants and then they went to Boca Juniors Stadium for Lara´s project. The tour was at one and lasted about an hour. The stadium is incredible. It was built for intimidation because they put the rowdy people in a section that is right above the opponents’ locker room. The stadium has moved 4 cm because or all the jumping and moving of the fans. We also did some shopping and bought souvenirs. People are very outgoing in this area. They are constantly shoving flyers in our faces and inviting us to Tango with them. The street vendors were also trying hard to get your attention and draw you to their stands to make a purchase. We ate at a small café where the woman, who was serving us, was extremely friendly and understanding to us lacking knowledge of the Spanish language.

We were nervous at first about the cab ride back because we are two female American tourists who are unfamiliar with the language and we made sure to get a Radio taxi to be safe. Our cab driver was understanding and tried to make conversation with us, while acknowledging the fact that we were not fluent. He also wouldn´t let Lara out of the cab until she properly said the number of the hotel (Once ochenta y cinco).

After a nice nap, Lindsay went to the Mexican restaurant with Maria, Terace, Lisa, Claire, Cristal, Chelsea, Jeremy and his parents. And Lara ate at the mall food court on Florida with Gabbie, Harmony, Josh, Jamin, and Paul.

At night we walked around Buenos Aires and enjoyed the city. It was overall a great day!

January 19, 2007

Chelsea Boska and Vladimir Alexandre

The drive back from the wonderful trip!

The drive back was much more manageable than the ride to Rafaela and Entre Rios. Along the way Vlad contracted the infection in his mouth, and people slept and sang to music. The bus drivers had very bad senses of direction, and tended to go off roading. It was quite the adventure. We were all relieved to be back at our hotel... it felt like home. The receptionists seemed like old friends, and our rooms seemed so much more comfortable after the long trip.

We all ordered empanadas when we got back, of all kinds. Everyone was so tired from the trip, but we were all pleasantly full when we were done. After that, people went out and did their own things.

What we learned from this trip is to be patient with what you can´t control, and to find the positives in things. We all bonded to spite adversity, and learned a lot more about ourselves in the process

January 18, 2007

Gabbie Haenn and Paul Barker

Basavilbaso and Estancia President Urquize

We woke up to see an amazing view from the Hotel Quirinale. It overlooked Rio Uruguay and an old ship. We started out again at 11am back on the buses going to Basavilbaso, a Jewish community started in 1894. Once in the town we stopped a at museum displaying the history of the town and learned about how it started. We then visited the first synagogue of the area which was built in a ranch style and was separated into two rooms for the men and the women. It was the only place of worship until 1950 and was also used as a school for the first few years it was built. We then walked down the road a little bit and looked at an old historical house that had original antique furniture and a very excitable dog. From here, we went to the new synagogue, near the center of the town. It was very colorful and there were beautiful murals painted on the ceiling depicting important Jewish symbols. After this, we took the bus to the Estancia formerly owned by President Urquiza. He had a huge house with lots of gardens and grapes. His house was huge with 2 large courtyards. We were able to leisurely stroll through the property and see all of his house. Our guide told us that President Urquiza owned about 20,000 acres, which took up about half of the province. We got back to the hotel at 7pm and decided to all go to the pool and get some time to relax. After a couple of hours, we went out to a great restaurant called El Viejo Almacen. And then we went to bed.

Monday, January 15, 2007

January 17, 2007

Joel Santana and Claire Horvath

Today was a very interesting day. After waking up at our lovely hotel around 10AM (our professors are awesome and let us sleep in a little), we left Hotel Campoalegre and we were off to Moisesville, which is a small Jewish town where many Jewish immigrants first established a home in thanks to funding by Baron Hirsch. We went to various jewish cemeteries, where we were able to see very old graves of immigrants who came here long ago. We also had a lecture on this day where we all learned that Jewish individuals had problems at first with getting land for their families in order to survive in Argentina. At first they had no land and many of them died in the train station waiting for teh land they were promised. When they did get land, they were only allowed 300 acres, which is almost nothing for a family to survive on in the pampas. After 25 years of arguing to raise this number, they were allowed 400 acres, but even this number is very low. This however, proves that the Jewish community works very hard for their rights and that they try their best to stay connected with one another because distance was another problem they faced. They had various schools and synagogues in order to remain a close-knit society where they can all help each other out and better their lives, and they also work with AMIA the organization we visited in Buenos Aires.

The town itself also was interesting. We had a lecture in one of the oldest libraries-turned-theatres in the town by Preofessor Karina ?? from the Rafaela campus of UBA. It was interesting to hear the history of how a lot of these Jewish settlers came over to Argentina, the poor reception that they received, as well as the ways in which they also had to eventually move out of the far-off communities in order for their children to get an education that was higher than primary school. We also were able to see the section of the building that retained books from the first immigrants- most were behind glass panes in bookshelves, but you could read the Hebrew, Russian, and Spanish titles and see how old the pages were.

After our visit to Moisesville, we continued our voyage on the bus for another three hours until we made our way to Humboldt. We arrived pretty late, it was already 6pm by then and so we had to cut our visit to this town short since we still had a few more hours on the buses to get to our next hotel. In Humboldt, we went to a museum where we were able to see old Swiss artifacts like guns and household items they used on a daily basis. It is amazing to see how these individuals used certain items that we would never think about using because we’ve evolved so much since then. Our world is growing more and more everyday and technological breakthroughs are making it possible for us to better our lives more and more. It’s important to understand and to see how past civilizations survived and lived their lives because we can learn from their mistakes and we can better our lives by taking their ideas to different levels.

Our visit to Humboldt was an unfortunate one, because at that point everyone was just ready to head back to the hotel, and not really looking forward to seeing another museum. After waiting in line for the bathroom (a process which took half an hour or so for everyone to finish), we did indeed journey to the museum. It was actually an interesting place- there were all sorts of old artifacts such as old picture books, pictures of the immigrants (one lady had hair that reached almost to her feet), very very old cameras, and a pipe that looked like something out of Lord of the Rings. It was overall interesting material, though at that point we didn´t really see the necessity of having to stop there… especially when faced with the drive ahead of us, which we were blissfully unawares of the length thereof.

Afterwards, we left for Hotel Quirinale, which we’ve hoped would have been closer because we spent about seven hours on the road to reach this destination. The time we spent on the bus consisted of random bouts of sleeping, bursting into song (or an entire rendition of ´Trapped in the Closet¨), as well as discussions concerning the paranormal, life after death, faith/religion, philosophy, and all those sorts of discussions one is bound to have eventually if stuck with the same people for enough time. We also had one of our bus members telling us how, if this were a REAL horror story, we would soon break down in the middle of nowhere… someone would realize who the killer was, and thus would be the first to die… let me tell you, friends, it was a lot of fun. The drive also was spent driving entirely in the dark, with only our bus and the one behind us lighting up the road- no streetlights or cars to speak of. The times where there WERE other cars on the road were semi-terrifying, as they drove close to the center of the road and nearly drove us off. The one amazing thing about the trip was looking up out the window and seeing the incredible amount of stars that were visible- more than I´ve ever seen.

We were all very grumpy, tired, and hungry when we finally arrived at the hotel at around 1 A.M. Some of us were so tired that we had lost our appetites. Those who were still hungry ordered pizza and went to bed soon after. The whole day was mainly spent on the bus, and it was an interesting experience because as the head of IES put it: we sometimes have to put ourselves in same positions that the immigrants were in when they traveled from Europe to Argentina. Since we were learning about these immigrants, it was interesting to see how we went through an experience that, although less severe than the immigrant’s voyages, was still a very difficult experience. Our conditions on the bus: hot, tired, uncomfortable were probably very similar to those of the immigrants on the boats. At least we were lucky enough to be with friends because some immigrants traveled alone and didn’t know anyone. At least we were able to stop at gas stations to get snacks and drinks whereas the immigrants did not have the ability to do so. Our experience was not a pleasant one, but it is one that we all survived and one that we will never forget. Besides, we probably expected something like this to happen after our flight was delayed and the events that took place because of our delayed flight were priceless. Thus, we should have expected more “priceless moments” like this one.

January 16, 2007

By Lisa Apple and Harmony Dougher

We departed from Buenos Aires in two buses headed to a hotel where we would spend the night after what we believed would be a 5 hour bus ride. However, continuing in the grand tradition of our trip that began with our delayed flight, the journey turned out to be a better story than what happened when we arrived at our destination. Most of us packed our bags when we woke up in the morning for our 3 night trip to the pampas. A lot of students made quick trips to either the supermarket or the 24 hour store to get snacks and have lunch before our departure at 1pm. We got snacks and drinks for the bus ride which turned out to be 8 hours long and incredibly uncomfortable.

Pastures with sheep and cows, barns, and scattered windmills lined the roads on which we traveled. Unlike the system of highways which we might have taken if we were traveling from state to state in the United States, the roads we were on had two lanes (one in each direction). This meant that the busses could only travel as fast as the vehicles in front of them and could only pass those vehicles when no traffic was coming in the opposite direction. In addition, construction and detours in the towns we traveled through slowed our pace. So, what distance-wise should have only become a 5 hour trip became much longer.

For the first few hours of the bus ride spirits were high and people looked out the windows, slept, listened to music, and talked. Though not the best of conditions, we were, for the most part, content. However, after hour seven when the sun began to set spirits lowered. When we finally arrived at the hotel, approximately 8-9 hours after our bus ride began, we were more than ready for dinner and bed.

We were split into two different buses, 11 students on 1 and 9 on the other. Those of us on the bus with 11 students, especially us sitting in the back, were incredibly uncomfortable. The air conditioning barely worked and windows that we thought didn´t open (we figured out how to get them open the following day.. when it was chilly and rainy). The people in the front weren´t so unhappy because it wasn´t quite as hot, but we were all still jammed onto the bus. In the back we ripped up half of a notebook and used it along with shoelaces to prop it in front of the air conditioning vent to get what little cool air it was providing.. clever students in this group. After that, we all pretty much slept the entire way with our iPods playing. A few gas station stops allowed us to do snack and bathroom runs, so that held us over until we got to the hotel around 930 that night.

The hotel we arrived at was gorgeous. We were put in rooms by groups of 4 and I think most students were wishing that had been our hotel for the entire trip. After we dropped off our bags in our rooms, we all returned to the lobby to eat dinner. The vegetarians´meals were screwed up again, which has turned into a routine by now, and eventually were just given noodles with butter and cheese. But there was a salad, and meat or pasta for the other students. There was also a soccer team staying in the hotel and from what we could see, they were being fed a special meal and had a special daily schedule for their training. Some of is spoke to them a little bit and a few students hung out with them at the pool after dinner. Because we had to be up so early the next morning, not much else about the hotel was able to be enjoyed, but for the night, we were all happy to stay there.

January 15, 2007

Josh Mirrer and Seth Gorenstein

Today was the final dual-lecture day before embarking on our road trip to Santa Fe. The morning began with our last lecture at CEMLA, at which we learned about the Argentine-Italian population today. After the lecture, many of us did a service to ourselves and to the rest of the group: Laundry. Though washing underwear and shirts in a kitchen sink seemed charmingly low-key, it was a anachronistic and inconvenient practice in a world-class city with cheap and efficient laundromats just down the street. So for 13 pesos, we gave in, and dropped off our clothing around noon. Before some of us left for the cleaners, Lara´s purse was stolen from the hotel lobby, putting us on alert and showing us first-hand the hazards of travel. The afternoon brought us the second lecture of the day, lead by Ana Weinstein of AMIA, the Jewish organization of Argentina. She lectured us about the recent bombings of the Israeli embassy and AMIA, and highlighted the government´s lackluster judicial response to the latter. That night, after picking up our clean AND folded clothing, we lay low in the hotel: tomorrow would bring us the road trip, and an early start.

January 14, 2007

Carla Emanuele and Jamin Patel

El Tigre....Grrr!!! (Tiger...get it?)

This morning our departure time was set for 9:00am to El Tigre, a major river vacation and tourist attraction just outside of Buenos Aires. Leaving our hotel we arrived at El Tigre after about 30 minutes of driving and waiting for our tour guide, who led us to the boat and told us where we were (Rio de Tigre). She also said we would visit the house of former President Sarmento, a major political influence who helped schools and society in Argentina Going along the riverside we saw many homes, which were once owned by politicians and musicians sort of like our Beverly Hills, California, back at the states, but now the homes are more like summer homes which is not so unusual in the states. Something that was very interesting was how groceries were delivered along with many other things by grocery boat. In general the river was now more used for swimming, rowing, wave running, boating, and touring. Many people from all around came and take the tour because in the area there is also amazing food and an amusement park. Stopping at Sarmento´s house, the house was glass protected for preservation and was full of benches, flowers, and statues of Sarmento.

Once we finished our river tour, which lasted about 90 minutes, we were able to seek food meeting in about 2 ½ hours at 3:00pm. El Tigre offers many different food options. Josh, Gabbie, Lindsey, Paul, and Jamin went to a grill with amazing burgers for only $2.50 pesos. While others sat in a restaurant and struggled with horrible service and raw food. Absolutely horrible, actually. Half of us didn't receive food and the food that was received was pretty terrible. Looking around and observing how much of a vacation attraction this was (they served popcorn, cotton candy, caramel apples) we enjoyed the walk until it was time to depart.

After returning to the hotel, to which we took the bus, we were free to do as we wished and plan for dinner. We enjoyed a quick nap, then a group of us went to the local park where we wrote journals, sun bathed, and slept for a few hours. Jamie and Carla went to see "Dracula" the musical--and boy was that an experience. There was a brutal combination of theatrical styles that the crowds just seemed to eat up with a spoon. The five leads were also apparently major artists in Buenos Aires, and while their talent was undeniable, the script and presentation of this show was pretty chaotic and not at all consistent. But, the tickets were inexpensive, so at least it is a good story. Meeting at different times for dinner, some went to the Peruvian restaurant while others just went to the small local eateries and grabbed a quick bite to eat. Returning after dinner we called it an evening and went to bed.

Friday, January 12, 2007

January 13, 2007

Lara Heskestad and Cristal Reyes

Today we went to three cemeteries , Chacaritas, The British Cemetery and the Recolecta.

During our visit to Chacaritas, in our search for the grave/monument of Carlos Gardel, we found a section dedicated to famous athletes, musicians, and artists. Although we ran out of time and were not as lucky as our fellow students who found Gardel´s grave, we came across the grave of Benito Quinquela Martin, a painter whose artwork we have studied and admired for so long. His gravestone was detailed with a replica of the village he so famously depicted in his pieces, La Boca. It was colorful and truly representative of his artwork, further, it stated that Martin was ¨Ël Hombre que invento un puerto¨ (translation= The man who created a port, aka, La Boca). There were other famous individuals buried there as well, such as sports athlete Adolfo Pedernera, but we focused on those who we knew best. We noticed quite a contrast between the graves of non-famous Argentines and the wealthy, well-known. The ones pertaining to the wealthy were more aesthetically pleasing while the others were meager and simple, depicting to us a prominent socio-economic statement.

This observation was evident once again in the British Cemetery. It was explained to us that many Jews were removed from this cemetery and placed in neighboring cemeteries allowing that location to be predominantly non-Jewish. After walking around for a brief period of time, we noticed several tombstones with common Jewish names and Stars of David. We then realized that the Jewish tombstones were for the most part, on the outer sides of the cemetery, giving the British and other Protestants a bigger emphasis.

During our lectures we have heard various comments over the lack of the preservation of Argentine history. We found a veracity to those statements when comparing and contrasting the British Cemetary to Chacaritas. We noted that the British Cemetery was named, ¨El Jardin de los Recuerdos¨ (translation= Garden of Remembrance) and featured stately, marble graves with intricate etches and dedications. The average (for lack of a better term) graves in the Chacaritas cemetery were not as well kept and decorated- supporting the idea that maybe the Argentines have not shown such a concern for their past….

The last stop of our day was La Recolecta cemetery which is popular for the graves of Evita, Sarmiento and other well known individuals. Walking through this cemetery was overwhelming due to the size and quantity of graves, as well as the abundance of people visiting that day. The tombs, although beautiful, were crowded together in rows – creating a tunnel sensation when walking through. In a way, this overcrowding made the graves seem less important and more of a tourist attraction.

At night, we had the feast of our lives… well in Argentina, at the Gourmet Porteño, a buffet with everything you could ever imagine.. sea food, steak, chicken, sea food, pasta and even sushi!! It was a delicious, much needed break after walking around in the fierce Argentine sun. We all gladly headed out, fully fed, satisfied and eager for our next adventure.

The End. (For now) :)

January 12, 2007

Terace Thomas and Josh Mirrer

January 12, 2007

Our schedule for today wrote in italicized letters that we were all supposed to have met at 8:30AM for breakfast in the hotel and then be in the lobby by 9:00AM. But as can be expected some students do not eat breakfast and some students were just rolling out of bed at 8:50AM, but everyone was in the lobby by 9:02AM.

Today was a jam packed day as we had two lectures. Our first lecture was at 9:30am-11:30am at CEMLA, and our focus topic was on History of Italian immigration in Argentina: regional origins, periods of immigration, institutional organization, etc. Our second lecture by Ana Weinstein at 2:00PM-400PM at IES was on the topic: The history of Jewish immigration in Argentina. All semester long we had learned about the Jewish immigration into Argentina but life always teaches that we cannot learn everything at once. One of the most new and interesting fact that the lecture taught me was that through the Jewish immigrants that settled down in the outskirts of Buenos Aires their establishment of healthcare and education system for their community also benefited dwellers around them as it become open to them.

The lectures today were incredibly informative. Both were essentially history lessons, but it was incredible to discover how interconnected the world is. In world history courses we never learn how global events such as wars, economic collapse or persecution are completely interrelated. We were never taught to think that way. However, after WWII, Italians emigrated to Argentina to find a new start and move away from the destruction. The Jews of Eastern Europe escaped vicious anti-Semitic tendencies and violent pogroms by immigrating to this South American nation.

I feel our education is cut short in the United States and it continues to be blanketed by the media. We learn very little about how our world works, which can only become increasingly dangerous as globalization brings us ever closer; advancing our global community through the 21st Century. Despite our nation´s desire to improve international relations, we continue to ignore information that is out there.

For dinner some students and I ate some empanadas and pizza. We ordered the empanadas at Solo Empanadas, a food chain in Argentina. I had chicken empanadas and ham and cheese empanadas. It was great!

Along with our schedule for each day that is arranged by our professors we have an obligation to do journal entries each day in Argentina. We did not have a journal entry for today but all our journal entries that we have written thus far were due at 9PM tonight. And then the fun begins! Actually it started before because almost everyone had handed in their journals in by 7:30pm. Ah! What good students we are :)

Now to skip to the night life…

The Argentinian night life is incredible. Very much like going out in Barcelona, the festivities do not begin until 1AM. When I say 1AM, I mean the clubs open up at that time. People don’t actually start showing up until 2-3AM. The club we went to was called Asia. Once you pay the 40 peso cover charge ($15.00) you enter into a club that shares an environment not much different from the clubs found in any major city. Walking into almost complete darkness shaded by strobes of green, red and white light (a veritable dancing Italian flag), the atmosphere of Asia is filled with the pumping beat of American pop, rock and techno.

January 11, 2007

Maria Gonzales and Jamie Sherman

...Our First Trip to CEMLA, the Plaza de Mayo, and a Visit to a Milonga...

Today we all met early in the morning and trundled off to CEMLA for a lecture by Alicia Bernasconi on Italian immigration, mostly focusing on its history and the reasons Italians left their homeland for Argentina. We learned about the government´s population policies during different eras (e.g. the periods when immigration was almost completely unrestricted vs. those that were completely government controlled), as well as the ideologies behind restrictions and immigration patterns. After this, some of us returned to the hotel for some extra rest, while the rest of us searched for lunch. Of course, we stumbled upon more restaurants with excellent empanadas, which seem to have become a staple of our diets here.

After this, we walked to the Plaza de Mayo (which is not a short one, to be sure), and observed the weekly march of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo), who march every Thursday with photos of their family members who were of the desaparecidos (the disappeared) during the Dirty War. After this, we returned to the hotel to get ready for tango lessons. After a bit of trouble finding the milonga (tango bar) where we had made reservations, we entered the crowded bar and had a wonderful time learning the basic steps of Argentine tango. Of course we worked up an appetite, so we hit a steak house on the way back, where Carla mis-translated and ordered me (Jamie) kidney. That’s right. Kidney. After I turned very red with embarrassment and some laughter from the waiter, we sorted it out and I got the most amazing steak I have ever tasted. Everyone enjoyed their meal, and we ended the day with a cab ride back to the hotel and some much-needed rest.

The most poignant part of the day, by far, was the march of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. These elderly women, some of which have a hard time walking in general, don their white headscarves and, as they’ve done faithfully for 30 years, march around the statue in the middle of the Plaza de Mayo. Even after so many years, they still talk with each other and ask questions about their disappeared loved ones. They hold banners, pickets, and sometimes even just hang the photos around their necks as they trek around the plaza, and in each of their eyes we saw a distant but very much unforgotten sadness. It brought a solemnity down on all of us watching…although it was irritating to watch some of the tourists running up in the old women’s faces and photographing or videotaping them. It is true that publicity is what keeps their cause going and what keeps their hope alive, but it’s hard to see how this annoyance doesn’t really phase them.

In a close second came the trip to the milonga to learn to tango. It was really quite an experience, and since girls outnumber boys on this trip, some of us danced with Argentine men and really got a cultural experience with those who knew how to dance already. It was interesting, but very crowded, so a few of us plan to return for intermediate lessons so we can learn more and show off our skills.

January 10, 2007

Chelsea Boska and Vladimir Alexandre

Trip To Ranelagh

This morning it was the first time that it rained for real here in Buenos Aires since we got here. It cooled down for a bit, which was a pleasant change. We were supposed to go for a walking tour in Ranelagh, but instead we went to our tourguide´s house and listened to her lecture on the history of the British neighborhood and British assimilation. Her house was beautiful, and it was interesting to look around at when she talked, because it was a traditional house. Her lecture was very interesting to listen to, because it told about how the British settled in Ranelagh, and how the Argetntinians accepted them into society. What was particulary interesting was how they assimilated, and kept their Britishness, while still being recognized as Argentinians. Though they spoke spanish outside the home, they preserved their Britishness by teaching their children, and retaining english schooling and clubs, etc. Argentina allowed this, because they respected the fact of maintaining identity within groups, and they were a significant group. It was surprising that the support for the British even strengthened after the Malvinas war, because the Argentinians recognized all of their citizens as Argentine, despite where they came from, and supported the British Argentine citizens, seeing they supported Argentina over their roots. The houses were also fascinating in themselves, seeing as they were passed down from generation to generation, and though one would think all of them would be modeled after English architecture, many were actually modeled after Spanish styles.

After the lecture we went to lunch at the golf club, where we ate a full course meal. The food was good, with the traditional breads at the beginning of the meal, and fantas, cokes, and water to drink. People got an egg dish or crepes for an appetizer, and chicken, pasta, or steak for a main course, and most people got icecream or fruit for dessert. It was nice to eat in the club, overlooking the vast golf course, and have further conversation with everyone together.

After that we were supposed to look at some traditional chalets, but instead we headed back to the hotel.Upon getting back to the hotel, some people went swimming at a public pool. This pool was enormous, with actually more than one, with waterslides, and including a children´s park, tennis courts, and a workout center. It was gorgeous, with tons of trees and lawns. For a public pool, it was very clean, with a body inspection required before you could get in the pool. The water was very shallow, which is not like American pools, and it was hard to see lifeguards, if there were any. IT was a good experience to go to in order to compare and contrast to American pools, because it ended up being very different.

At night a group of us went out to pizza down the street from the hotel. Pizza is very different here, with less sauce and a variety of cheeses, and olives on all of them. They are also extremely cheap. We learned what it is like to be American in another countrty when we realized how much louder we are than everyone else. After some people went to get dessert, and some just went back to the hotel.Today was a day of a bunch of different experiences, which taught us about Argentinian culture in the past and in today. It also exposed the difference between our two cultures, and sort of put out there what it is like to be an American in Argentina.

January 9, 2007

Carla Emanuele and Harmony Dougher

La Estancia! Y muchos bugs! -- Our visit to an Estancia

We went as a group at around 9:30 am to leave on a bus trip to visit an estancia. The trip was about two hours long but it wasn’t bad. It was interesting to watch our surroundings change from city into a more rural setting and wide fields as we drove further away from Buenos Aires.

The many fields had cattle or horses grazing and the grass was high. The trees were tall and very spread out. The fields seemed dry but occasionally you could note a small stream running through them.

Once we reached the estancia, the driver had to get out to open the gate before we could drive in. The road leading into the estancia was long, we assume to provide some sort of protection to the property. We were given a tour of the house, which dated back to the 1800s and the early 1900s. We saw all of the insides of the houses and the outside and were given a more detailed description of different rooms. The woman told us about their collection of 50,000 books and stacks of newspapers dating back to the early 1800s. She also showed us the kitchen and different bedrooms. The house had a rustic look. It was dark and cold on the inside compared to the hot and muggy outside. The woman told us about the different people who came and studied from different universities, such as Princeton and Harvard and used their library for research.

After the tour, we were given some free time while the woman and her family prepared lunch. We split up and walked either to the pool or to the van, to avoid the massive attack of insects. We were all surprised at how clean the pool actually was and had a lot of fun playing games, joking around and sun-bathing. We were served lunch at 1pm which began with empanadas, followed by salad and vegetables and finally, a variety of meats. Dessert was a custard-flan type of thing complimented by a chocolate sauce served in hand-made bowls.

After the estancia, we drove to a church-the Basilica of the Virgin of Luján, the patron saint of Argentina. the basilica is very large and gorgeous on the inside, although teh virgin herslef is only 2 feet tall. There was plenty to see, and plenty to buy right outside. There is an endless row of street vendors, dressed in lab coats for some reason.

After the church, we split up and had dinner at different places. One group went to the shopping center on Florida Ave, while another had dinner at a nice Peruvian restaurant. Another group had dinner at a little café behind the hotel and it was a hilarious experience. Let’s just say, bad ravioli and bad drinks but a lot of laughter. All in all it was a good day. Very hot and full of bites, but entertaining and very informative. The pool was also a nice touch for those of us that went!

January 8, 2007

Jamin Patel and Paul Barker

...McDonald´s and the Brits...

Starting the morning without any assigned obligations this morning, we woke up at our own time and ate breakfast at the hotel. Getting into a group of seven, Josh, Jamin, Paul, Harmony, Lara, Gabbie, and Linsey, all decided to explore the streets and head over to Florida Avenue, a major tourist shopping and street show attraction. We stopped at a number of different stores admiring the leather work and different styles. The most fascinating store was Ashanti leathers, which had everything from bags and wallets to belts and jackets. The materials were specialized such as antalope, lamb skin, and Pinchoeo, a native animal of Argentina. We spoke to one of the sales representatives, Fernando, whom we spoke about our trip and the purpose to study immigration and assimilation of the British, Italian, and Jewish people. Fernanado in addition to our description spoke about how he is half Indian through this maternal side and half Portugese through his paternal size.

Realizing how much more immigration was present on top of our focused research was very interesting. But finally realizing how much money we could spend at the store and the fact that we were all college students we decided to walk back to the IES building a few blocks from our hotel. At IES we checked our mail and did other things on the computer until it was time for our lecture to begin.

At two p.m. our lecture started with Professor Klaus Gallo who spoke about the British. Gallo spoke about how the British were necessary to Argentina and focused on the hardships Argentina faced when the British rule ended. A lot of the sports that came from the British such as soccer, tennis, golf, and rugby, helped Argentina unite as a country as their own teams developed with more and more Argentinian players rather than British players. The economic success of Argentina came from the British trade and protection. Since British capital was a desired necessity to become an industrialized society, Argentina was kept out of war to provide the British with food and goods, allowing Argentina to industrialize and mancufacutre things like refrigerators, washing machines, and railroads.

After the IES lecture with Prof Gallo, we went back to the hotel where we made plans to eat dinner later that night. Our group decided to eat dinner at a McDonald´s whereas the other group decided to go to the Kosher McDonald´s in Once. The students that went to the Kosher McDonald´s thought it was rather awkward food because of the lack of cheese and absence of chicken nuggets. Also the group obeserved a greater number of orthadox Jewish customers and were surprised how many actually came to the McDonald´s. We wondered why the US has never established one. The regular McDonald´s on Flordia Avenue shocked us when we saw the decor, service, and quantity of the food. We were amazed how the fast food restaurant in the States differed so much; this one was more of a sit down causual restuarant than a fast food place. Leaving from the McDonald´s we headed back to the hotel at approximately 12 am and called it an early night.

January 7, 2007

Gabbie Haenn and Claire Horvath

Our First Sunday in Buenos Aires...

On Sunday we had nothing specific scheduled for our group. Many of us decided to go to the Flea Market at San Telmo, a common place for many Porteños to do on a Sunday (since most other places are closed). We did not go as a big group, but most of the class ended up there at some point in the day.

I went in a group with Josh, Jamin, Lindsay, Harmony, Paul and mysel to the market. First we decided to walk around Florida Street which is the main shopping area near our hotel. It is a very long road that is closed to cars and contains many shops geared toward both tourists and Argentineans. There are places to buy touristy items such as wool and cashmere sweaters, leather, and postcards. Most of the shops we went into had at least one if not more salespersons who spoke english to us.

After we got an idea of the things we might like to buy later on in the trip we found a subway station, called el Subte here, to take us to San Telmo for the market. This was my first time navigating el Subte and I was pleasently surprised at how easy and cheap it was to use. Each stop is listed on an electronic scroll inside the train car so you always know when you need to get off the train.

When we arrived at the station near San Telmo we encountered some interesting trees that all of us stopped to admire and photograph. They are sometimes called los borrachos (the drunks) because their trunks are swollen at the bottom and they bend in such a way that they look like drunks with stomaches full of beer. Our IES guide Sebastian told me earlier in the trip that they explained the origin of fish. The myth goes that all the fish in the world were contained in the trees (which are full of water) and that one day a man cut down a tree and all the fish spilled out onto the Earth.

Back to San Telmo... We finally arrived at the market where the streets were lined with people, vendors, and entertainment. The streets were closed off and then a central square held many stands selling antiques. Art, food, and clothes were also being sold.

After wandering around for a bit we all decided to get some food. We found a small store that sold only pizza, tortas, and empanadas. We ordered empanadas that were muy ricos (very tasty). These empanadas were of cheese and onion, beef, or chicken. We walked back to el subte while stuffing our faces.

When we arrived back at the hotel everyone went their own ways. Some people wrote emails, others rested, and others wrote in their journals. Josh and I decided to go for a 30 minute run. Our 30 minute run turned into about an hour of twisting and turning through the streets of el micro centro, the area around our hotel. On our run there were three significant things we learned about the city: 1. Men have no shame about looking at women when they pass and are often rude about it (by my American standard). 2. Josh’s red/orange hair attracted the most attention of all. (Two people called out to him about it). 3. If you go running in a city that you do not know well you should always run in a circle… or leave some breadcrumbs.

When we finally returned to the hotel, sufficiently tired and sweaty from the humidity, we had to go straight upstairs to get ready for dinner at a nice restaurant called El Marisol (the sunflower). We had planned on going to another restaurant at first that some of our group had passed earlier that day, but were unable to find it again. El Marisol was suggested, and we put in our reservations. There were a number of us, about 15 or so, and we had a 45 minute wait before a table could be ready. We walked about 5 blocks over to a common park to pass the time. Another useful fact about Argentina: parks are the place to go with your significant other if you want… well, not exactly privacy, but there is apparently an unspoken rule that you steer clear of shadowy forms on the grass at night.

We arrived at the park, found that it was nearly time for our reservations to be up, and hiked back to the restaurant. Since we had been planning on going someplace different to begin with, some of us were a little underdressed--the place was pretty classy. The staff ushered upstairs to the higher level, which consisted of a table of about 6 elderly people, and us--the hoard of loud American teenagers.

We found out pretty quickly that the food was going to be expensive, but it looked quite delicious as well. Some of us shared meals, while others decided to indulge and go all out. The food WAS delicious, but…the experience itself was kind of odd. For example, there were at least two waiters hovering around our massive table the entire time, and we stayed for at least an hour and a half. From what we could see, none of the other tables got this kind of attention, though the only other group there with us left within a half hour, leaving us to (basically) our own devices. The staff was quite attentive, which was… nice, though it worked against our plans of not spending oodles of money. The second someone emptied their water glass, they would instantly come over and refill our glasses for us, opening bottle upon bottle of water- not looking so good for our bill. They also cut up some of our food for us, a service that was not really necessary, but was a good depiction of what kind of service they were giving us, or perhaps the size of the tip they were expecting. This seems to be a common trend in Argentina- once the restaurant finds out that we are American, theyll either treat you practically like royalty, or give you the worst service of your life. Fortunately this was the former kind, and a delicious meal was had by nearly all who went.

Funny quote of the evening:
Gabbie: “Paul, Im giving you tango eyes. Theyre coming from my chicken.”

January 6, 2007

Lisa Apple and Lindsay Sabatino

Tour around the city of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is one province out of twenty-three in Argentina, and the city of Buenos Aires is in the province, but not the capital (see the comment for explanation). The northern part of the city is more upscale and has a lot of European influence, which can be seen through the architecture of the buildings. The southern part of the city is more closely linked to immigration. Touring the city gave us a good chance to become acquainted with it, learn were places are located, and learn the history about it. We were able to witness how each immigrant group impacted the city shaping it to the way it is today. Palermo is the first section we saw. The biggest park in Buenos Aires is located in this section. There were a lot of people running on the streets, which is not common in the area we are staying. The elite also tend to live in this area.

Belgrano is a section that the British gradually took over following their failed attempts tried to take over the country in 1806 and then again in 1807. The first English settlers were the liberated prisoners from the invasion, but now this is a very upscale area. The buildings of a mixture of styles including Tudor houses from the English influence. The side roads are made of laid bricks and stones. The people we originally lived in this area have now moved to wealthy private districts or back to England.

Once is a more Jewish (from Eastern Europe) section of the city. This is more of a commercial district. The Jewish people now do not necessarily run the business, but instead own the buildings. Yiddish is spoken in this area.

The downtown area of BA is also very commercialized and inspired by Paris. We stopped at Plaza de Mayo and walked around for a while. The buildings around this area are the Cabildo, or the Old City Hall, and Metropolitan Cathedral. The Metropolitan Cathedral contains 5 side alters and 1 main alter. Protests take place in front of Casa Rosada, including the Madres de las Plaza de Mayo.

We headed to La Boca next. This is mainly an Italian section. We were able to walk around this area as well. The tenement houses in this area were not supplied for the Italian immigrants but they had to build them. They are very colorful because they painted the houses with left over paint from the boats. They used only what they could. During the time of exploring the streets of the area people could hear music blasting from stores and playing from the streets. There was also Tango being danced in the streets. Things were being sold on the streets as well, such as paintings of the city, clothes, or jewelry. Italian flags were also hung everywhere through out this section. People are very proud to live in this section. They paint pictures on buildings to depict important events in their history.

After lunch we visited two very different art museums both in La Boca. The first, the Quinquela Martin museum, has art from both Martin and other La Boca artists. The art displayed ranged from portraits, landscapes, scenes of La Boca, sculptures, and art by modern artists who had won a competition.

Martin´s art, displayed mainly in the upper floor of the museum (in the same space where Martin used to live and work), reflects the harsh realities of life working in the port at La Boca. Many of his paintings depicted a working scene where brightly colored boats and dark, faceless workers stood out against a backdrop of the water and the often dark sky. Interestingly, some of Martin´s art also had spiritual and religious tones. Three paintings in particular (which were displayed near one another in the museum) reflected this theme. “Annunciacion” (which showed sunlight streaming through a parting in clouds as a sailor looked out at the port), “Ternura Espiritual” (depicting a sort of boat graveyard and a weeping willow draped over a deteriorating boat), and “Reencarnacion” (a painting of flowers growing inside a boat full of holes).

After spending time in that museum we went to another. In this museum (which is actually the home of the artist Celia Chevalier) we had the opportunity to speak with Chevalier and she explained the thought process behind many of her paintings. She told us that she paints Argentina the way it looked when she was a child. Specifically, she paints the Argentina she remembers from the summer of 1952. Chevalier explained that she chose that date because historians consider that the year Argentine society began to decline. She paints to help preserve the society she knew. Chevalier pointed out to us several interesting details about her paintings. For example, the red car that appears in each one of her paintings. She told us that her family had this car until she was nine (when it was sold) and that by including the car in each one of the paintings it strings the paintings together and makes each painting part of her journey through Argentina.

After we finished speaking with Celia Chevalier we left La Boca and returned to the hotel.

January 5, 2007

Seth Gorenstein and Brian Kelly

Our First day in Buenos Aires

In the morning, after waking up early for breakfast, we visited AMIA, the Jewish aid organization. There we learned about the difficulties the Jewish community faced in Buenos Aires. We also explored the neighborhood around AMIA while waiting for our appointment. After being shown around AMIA, we returned to the hotel, and found a place to change our money. We went to a small cafe around the corner from the hotel for lunch, and then returned to our rooms to settle in. Later in the afternoon, we went to IES for an orientation. It covered general policies, the trip itinerary, and the cell phones everyone on the trip had to buy. That night, we split up for dinner. One group of people went to a steakhouse in the neighborhood Palermo Hollywood, and another to a pizza restaurant a few blocks from the hotel, while my group ate at a cafe a block from the hotel, near a park. After dinner, we went back to the hotel to continue settling into our rooms and to get ready for another full day. - Brian

Simply entering AMIA was an experience in itself. First, all of our passports were confiscated by Professor Ortuzar-Young per inspection by AMIA security. We then waited alongside the building as we were admitted one at a time. Security was stringent...I noticed white road barriars flanked the building´s entrance. My request for a photo of the building was denied by one of the two armed guards. A man with a ear piece waited stoicly and admitted one of us every few minutes. And watching each of the Drew students disappear into the unassuming building only upped the level of anxiety. Once I was finally admitted, I went through a metal detector, and then entered the complex´s open foyer. Despite Buenos Aires´ vocal and prominent Jewish community, the amount of security at AMIA made sense because of the deadly 1994 bombing that wiped out the original complex and claimed 88 lives. To stand in the beautiful new complex and to experience the tight security firsthand made me feel the aftershocks of the bombing--something that I had only read before--much more real. - Seth

January 3-January 4, 2007

Jeremy Tang and Joel Santana

And so it begins

Airports are funny places. As all of you know, the recent airport scares tracing back to the events of 9/11 have caused airport security to become drastically more stringent when it comes to security. For those who travel internationally, you know that you should arrive at the airport a good three to four hours before the flight is meant to leave, because checking baggage into the airport is one of the biggest airport pains. So naturally, these are the annoyance I expected to greet me at the airport on my ride to JFK – too bad life is rarely that simple.

We have all been waiting for this event the entire semester and the day had finally arrived for us to leave for our DIS in Buenos Aires. On January 3rd, 22 of us (professors included) headed to JFK International Airport, and we planned to meet past the security checkpoint at 7:00 PM. The flight itself would leave at 10 PM that night, we would sleep on the plane finally wake up refreshed in Buenos Aires at 10 AM Buenos Aires time (for those who don’t know BA is 2 hours head of EST, so it was a 10 hour flight). Our buddy, Murphy’s Law, decided to have other plans for us.

For those who don’t know the concept of Murphy’s Law or just want to be reminded of what it is, it’s the concept and idea that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Now I’m not a pessimist or even believe that Murphy’s Law can be applied to everything in our lives, but we all got a fun dose of its treatment on the 3rd day of the new year whether we wanted it or not.

After a small personal debacle, I arrive at the airport at 7:03, which is not terrible considering that I was not the last one to arrive at the airport and Sandra (our professor) was stuck in New York traffic. As I was waiting in line, I noticed some familiar faces and started to observe why I was moving one space perhaps ever 10 minutes. American Airlines was heavily understaffed (there apparently was also a downstairs check in that some of us were at but were scooted upstairs to the other painfully slow line), and for some reason no one had the urge to open up another check in counter or two. I wasn’t going to let Murphy ruin what I’ve been waiting for the entire semester, so I just dealt with the slow line. About 30 minutes of waiting, I get a nice phone call from Chelsea, who had been near the front of the line, and the transcript of the conversation went something like this:

Chelsea: Hey guess what?
Jeremy: Hey, I don’t know, what?
Chelsea: Well our plane is delayed until tomorrow morning…8:30 AM.
Jeremy: This is a joke right?
Chelsea: Nope no joke, I’m being serious.
Jeremy: If this is a joke, this is a really bad one, like the one where I will kill someone bad.
Chelsea: Well we [Chelsea, Lisa, and Joel] are calling people and telling them. Check your bags in though just so you don’t have to go through with it tomorrow. Bye

Murphy 1, us 0

I turn to Cristal, who was a good line behind me.
Jeremy: So uh, Cristal…our plane is delayed…
Cristal: Oh no…until what time?
Jeremy: Until 8.
Cristal: But that’s in an hour and our flight leaves at 10 I thought.
Jeremy: I know. I meant 8 AM.
Cristal: WHAT!?!?!?!
Guy Behind her in line with Spanish Accent: Excuse me, what’s been delayed?
Jeremy: The flight to Buenos Aires.
Guy: But I just checked the flights before I got here.
Jeremy: Well, I’m not sure if my friends are joking…
Guy: This is not a very good joke.
Jeremy: I know.
Guy leaves and comes back about 2 minutes later: You are right…this is ridiculous.

Nothing spreads faster than bad news. Within minutes, the word had spread that the plane had been delayed and needless to say there were a lot of mad people. A man at the front was arguing with the check in counter and you could hear snip bits of the conversation that included:

Check in Lady: Sir, calm down, I’m doing the best I can…
Lady: I will not take that tone and attitude from you sir!
Lady: If you talk like this, I’m sure he won’t want to see you!
Lady: That’s fine, you can take your business elsewhere. I don’t think we’d mind losing a customer like you!
Lady: If you yell at me anymore I will work slower!

Now the man’s wife was trying to calm him down but of course he’s a guy and he would never give into a situation like this. He’s the customer and he’s always right in these situations. Gotta love America. So on top of this, we’re down one more check in person on the already painful line.

Murphy 2, us 0.

So I let Cristal cut me and after a bit of time we finally get to the front and make our way to the teller only to have her walk out on us because she was being summoned to work at the check in counter across the way at the other American Airlines desk.

Murphy 3, us 0.

We finally check in our bags and the check in lady was extremely nice and helpful to us. She even reminds us that we need our pj’s and toothbrush from our luggage bag which we take out (I think I need to point out that Cristal has 2 luggage bags: one for shoes and the other for her clothes and she needs to sit on her luggage to close it). She gave us our food vouchers and told us to wait by a group of people to get our hotel vouchers.

Murphy 3, us 1. Ha, what now! Murphy doesn’t like it when we have some spark of hope…he makes us pay.

We get yelled at for pressuring the guy who’s giving out the vouchers, which is slower and more painful than waiting for check in. (In his defense, he also had to deal with the man from above and a good handful of irate customers who wanted to place him on a stake and burn him without a moments notice.) Cristal and I decide to run and meet the rest of the group because they said we didn’t need the hotel vouchers and were waiting for us (they are in terminal 8, we were in terminal 9 so it was a walk.)

What the heck, I’ll give Murphy a point here for deception so Murphy 4, us 1.

We were the last ones to join our group (we were greeted by sarcastic applause but I understand) and we went to the food court. (I learned that Josh and Gabby decided to go to Josh’s home in NYC and rest for the night there; the rest of us are not as fortunate and must rough it out in the airport.) So the food court was about to close anyways which means that there is barely any food available. We pick what we want (there were debacles about food vouchers, but it was all sorted out in the end. Apparently the food court doesn’t like vouchers too much and will do anything in its path to ensure that we get as little benefits as possible from our vouchers), and after we were finished, we went back to terminal 9 to get to our hotel. Now we had to travel on the monorail system over one stop to get to hotel shuttles (called the Jamaican Rail). Sandra decided to call the hotels (we couldn’t find the shuttles at first), and honestly we were growing impatient and were willing to sleep at the airport. Luckily Sandra called the hotel because American Airlines had overbooked the hotel and there were no more rooms available.

Murphy 5, us 1.

Now another hotel made a deal with us: If we go back to the check in counter and get new vouchers, we can squeeze into their hotel. (It’s around 11 or 12 at this point for those of you are interested.) Good deal right? We get back onto the Jamaican Rail system. Now you think one stop over and we’re there right? Yeah you guessed it.

Murphy 6, us 1.

If you don’t know JFK really well, I’ll summarize its layout. It’s a huge international airport with 9 terminals all looped around a center. Now this creates a circle for those who have trouble envisioning this, and the Jamaican Rail system also moves in a circle…but in a one way direction. So we have to go through about 7 or 8 stops before we finally reach the terminal (terminal 8 and 9 share a station), walk back to terminal 8 and finally make it back to the ticket counter. We get our new vouchers and American Airlines tells us that there will be a shuttle to pick us up right at the entrance closest to us in 10 minutes.

Murphy 6, us 2. You remember what I said about Murphy being a sore winner?

We wait outside, and it’s kind of chilly out, around 50 degrees or slightly higher (really warm for us around this time of the year). We talk and some of us move inside to where it’s warm. We talk some more, laugh about how this will be a fun little memory to tell our friends later, and see the same limousine pass by us about 10 times…. Wait a sec… We check our watches and it is almost 1 AM in the morning.

Murphy 7, us 2.

During this time, Sandra has been going back to the ticket counter and asking what’s going on and the lady assured her that the shuttle was coming. Boy, were we gullible. Sandra called the Ramada Inn (our false savior) and it turns out that they have no idea what we’re talking about when we said that a shuttle was supposed to come pick us up. Their reasoning: they had no more rooms in their hotel, so why would they bother sending a shuttle? Logical, yes. Were we happy…of course not. From that point on a few things happened pretty quickly and they happened like this in particular order.

Sandra was yelling at the check in lady and her supervisor to find us hotels to sleep in (there were hotels available, and they would take our vouchers with an extra $200 on top of it, like the Marriot, but we’re college students and money is something we like to keep), and we were not allowed to sleep in the airport (again we’re college students, we’d sleep anywhere but they just wouldn’t let us). Now we were not the only victims of this fiscal. There was an elderly couple who was suffering every moment with us and was just as mad as we were. Have you ever been to NYC and seen one of those crazy guys on the corner warning you that the world will end any time soon? Well the wife of the couple decided to jump on top of the counter and make a show as she displayed her anger her audience: the 20 of us, the check in lady and her supervisor, and various arcade machines strewed along the terminal. Afterwards, she came to us and preach to us and here is some things she said.

Us (at least in our heads): Yeah we know…leave us alone…we’re tired

Now what makes matters interesting is that the check in lady decided to call the cops and they strolled on by to see what was going on. The lady decided to inform them about our situation.

Police: I can’t do anything about it. They’re not breaking the law, but you can write a complaint about it.
Police: Madam, if you don't calm down and stop jumping on counters, I'm going to have to arrest you. You can complain on this side of the counter.
Husband of Lady: Well at least there are beds in jail...

Nothing terribly interesting transpired, but Maria decided to throw in her two cents into conversation (in her defense she tried to make the situation clear), and eventually it became an argument between people and the cops were not too happy with us. We finally manage to get some rooms at the Ramada Inn somehow, just to show their good will, they send a shuttle, which actually came.

Murphy 7, us 3. Yes we got a spark of hope again!

Unfortunately there was only room for about 8 of us, we some of us volunteered to go stay behind and let the others go (I’d like to spend this moment to note that every guy and I mean all 8 of us volunteered to stay behind despite our disgruntled attitudes, and 8 girls happily ran to the shuttle.) As we were waiting for the shuttle to return, we find out some more news. There were no more rooms at the Ramada and we needed to find another hotel.

Murphy 8, us 3.

After some talking, the Fairfield Inn finally agreed to take us and the rest of us hopped into the shuttle when it arrived. Now it was the rest of us and then there was a poor woman in the corner (I’m pretty sure she worked for the inn and just was there to make sure the driver didn’t get hurt on the way back or something). We finally get our rooms and at 2:30 AM. We probably went to sleep within 15 minutes of that and all was well. We got a wonderful wake up call at 6:00 AM, meaning we got about 3 hours of sleep and trudged on over to the lobby, where we proceeded to raid all of the breakfast foods we could (hey they were free, we’re college kids, you get the picture), and get onto the shuttle to JFK.

Murphy 9 for the 3 hours of sleep, us 3.

We get to the airport and smile as we don’t have to check in our bags. We march on over to the security check point at terminal 8 and get through without much trouble. Now you would think we were out of the woods. The gate is right there, the plane was going to leave in less than an hour. Nah, that would be too nice. Maria ended up getting caught up in security and Sandra asked a guard who told us we were in the wrong terminal. Sandra decided to wait for Maria as the rest of us marched on out of the terminal and made our way back to terminal 9. Harmony gets a call from Josh and asks where we are. Harmony said that our flight is at terminal 9, Josh begged to differ. Apparently he was in terminal 8, at the gate, and they were boarding.

Murphy 10, us 3.

We had to go through security again and managed to get through quicker than we thought, and found the rest of our group. We managed to get onto the airplane, and 10 hours later, we were in Buenos Aires, starving and tired. We managed to survive the taxi ride to the hotel and before we knew we were finally checked in. Despite our fatigue of traveling, our stomachs demanded food, so we traveled to the corner and ate at the Plaza Café where most of us tried our first Argentine beer (meal and drinks courtesy of Sandra). We finally settled in after our long day and wished for the best (see I told you I wasn’t a pessimist.) Maybe some of the other blogs will show whether or not Murphy followed us around.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Itinerary, January 2007!

We are getting ready to leave. A draft itinerary and other useful things (like flight information and hotel addresses) are available on the class wiki.
List of lists: http://dis-argentina-2007.pbwiki.com/Various-lists-for-Argentina-2007!"
Flight and hotel information: http://dis-argentina-2007.pbwiki.com/Travel-itinerary-and-flight-numbers"
Draft itinerary (this will be updates once we arrive): http://dis-argentina-2007.pbwiki.com/draft-itinerary"

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Terace Thomas

Terace Thomas

Jeremy Tang

Jeremy Tang

Joel Santana

Joel Santana

Lindsay Sabatino

Lindsay Sabatino

Jamin Patel

Jamin Patel

Joshua Mirrer

Joshua Mirrer

Lara Heskestad

Lara Heskestad

Seth Gorenstein

Seth Gorenstein

Maria Gonzalez

Maria Gonzalez

Carla Emanuele

Carla Emanuele

Vladimir Alexandre

Vladimir Alexandre

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Paul Barker
Year: Senior
Concentration: Major in Sociology and minor in Spanish
Interests: Criminology, studying other cultures

I have always enjoyed studying other cultures. I have been studying Spanish cultures for the past 7 to 8 years and Asian cultures for the past 2 years. I will enjoy going to Argentina because it will be my first chance to study in a Spanish speaking country.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Drew International Seminar-Argentina 2006-2007

Drew International Seminar-Argentina 2006-2007

Eco-Villages in Argentina!
Just an interesting bit of info on what some people are doing in response to the economic depression.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Group No Name's Ellis Island Experience!

Our group unfortunately all traveled to Ellis Island throughout 3 separate trips. So we’re going to post about what we all agreed were the most interesting parts of the museum.

We really found the artifacts that were left behind to be interesting because it showed the different types of cultures and lifestyles from so many different areas all being forced into the one same building and to follow the same process. The different styles of clothing were interesting because it portrayed different types of families that came over. We talked about some items specifically as well, for example the kitchen utensils. It is to be assumed that mothers brought pots, pans, and utensils because one of their main concerns was how they were going to feed their families, their children, and more importantly, what they were going to feed them with. There were many spoons and different utensils from all different cultures, showing that they all had a main concern in common.

The example dormitory room was also interesting. When the group I went with asked the tour guide if we were able to see a real room, he said that no one was allowed in the building where they were located because there was asbestos and soot almost knee high. The size of the dorm beds were so small that a young child could barely fit comfortably on them and the nearby sinks were in a line against the wall.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The guide also spoke about how people were kept on the island until they were cleared of all problems and health issues. He told a short story about one girl who was kept on the island for 4 years, and finally was sent back home after being declared mentally ill. It’s hard to comprehend being stuck on an island where you’re watching people day after day pour in and out and onto their way of a better life while you sit there with no control over your own. Only then to be determined mentally ill and sent back to where you were making an escape from.

We also liked the rooms that showed the progress of the island and how it grew from being a small building into such a large complex structure of buildings and sites. We have a few pictures of that as well, but I can’t get them to save from Lindsay’s website into my photobucket right now. So when I get that taken care of, I’ll come back and edit our post.

Finally we were all impressed by the room with all of the statistics. The globe which showed the immigration movements from one place to another during different time periods was an amazing visual. I, personally, was SO impressed. How cool! We also liked the displays that showed the number of women vs men who immigrated and the percentage from each country and in what time period. They did a nice job at creating visual displays for people instead of making them read it in paragraphs on plaques.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ellis Island, the Highlights

Cristal Reyes
Jamin Patel
Paul Barker
Jeremy Tang

The official Ellis Island site (ellisisland.org) states that the museum works to “make the immigrant experience come alive.”

Through the information gathered at the many exhibits and memorials in Ellis Island, we all brought back certain insights that helped us relate in some way or form to the immigrant experience.

For Jamin, the data gathered on the peaks in immigration as well as the strict guidelines administering entrance to the United States was what fascinated him the most. Strict rules determining acceptance according to intelligence, gender, age, health and political affiliations seemed a bit extreme and at times ridiculous and subjective.

Jeremy found that the idea of Americanization impacted him the most and presents an interesting comparison to our concept of identity today. It seems as if back then, people were a bit more hesitant to refer to the culture of their ancestors and feared association with their ethnicity. On the other hand, people in American society today tend to embrace their heritage and use it to mold their identity as individuals and citizens.

Paul was drawn to the exhibit on the articles immigrants brought with them to America. He was drawn to the religious items brought overseas and the attachment these people had to their beliefs. He paid particular attention to the story of the one guy who brought a key from his house in Italy, just in case he decided to return to his native country. Additionally, the fact that immigrants remained informed via the newspapers in languages other in English showed that communities flourished through different mediums that accommodated their language needs.

Seth would have liked to have seen the reasons to the changing spikes of immigration for different groups, for example, the Asian Americans. Why did that specific group migrate during that time period? Was it due to socio-economic issues? Political Exile? Famine? All of the above?

Lastly, what caught my attention was the exhibit on the children of the immigrants, those who were “living on the hyphen” and standing between two worlds, that of their parents and their culture as well as the constantly changing American culture which characterized their daily lives. These kids served as messengers between the cultures, interpreting languages, facilitating doctors’ appointments and translating their day to day life in order to accommodate two different worlds. It’s a weighty task and an admirable feat for those who were transfixed in the middle, but this “dual-identity” is what composes a majority of the population that makes up the U.S. today.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ellis Island Reflections

We arrived at Ellis Island and split off from one another to allow everyone to go through the exhibits at their own pace. Everyone in our group noticed something another group member had missed. However, despite the fact that we went through the exhibits at different paces, and all paid attention to slightly different things, most of us had similar reactions.

Vlad reacted strongly to the depiction of the migration patterns. A large globe used traveling lights to provide a visual of where the immigrants came from and at what time. This visual representation made understanding the statistics easier.

Joel and Lisa both liked the graffiti on the walls. Joel wrote, “Graffiti is a very important aspect of society because it allows us to express how we feel, in many ways. I remember looking at the graffiti and looking at how big some of the people wrote there names, signifying that they are proud of their background and surely proud to be where they are.” Lisa found it particularly interesting that graffiti was preserved in the museum while in other parts of society (for example, out on the streets) graffiti is not a respected form of communication and self expression.

Brian and Claire were both impressed with the use of personal quotations to tell the immigrants’ stories. The quotes gave insight into how the immigrants view both themselves and their new surroundings. Claire’s favorite quote was, “Well, I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, I found out three things: first, the streets weren’t paved with gold. Second, they weren’t paved at all. And third, I was expected to pave them” (Old Italian Story).

This quote really sums up the overall mood of Ellis Island. Wandering through Ellis Island it was easy to feel as though the spirits of the immigrants still lingered in the building. The museum’s exhibits highlighted the immigrants’ disappointment with America, or, alternately, their elation at finally arriving at the place they would soon call home.

A visit to Ellis Island

Jamie Sherman
Josh Mirrer
Carla Emanuele
Chelsea Boska

When you first enter the building at Ellis Island, it is awe inspiring to think of the millions of people who floaited throught trying to make a new life in America. The signs of waiting were everywhere, like the etchings on the walls serving as a coping mechanism, counting down to their release. The history of the actual location is also completely amazing. It started out as a 3.3 acre island and expanded into a 27 acre facility, serving around 5,000 people daily. After World War II, the place was completely abandoned and it wasn't until the 80's that the government decided to refurbish the place and turn it into a museum where Americans today can come in and find out more about the creation of this diverse country. We learned that the busiest day on record at Ellis Island had 11,000 people. So, thinking of being responsible for initiating that many people into the country is crazy. There were so many people in fact, that the overnight conditions were poor, and extremely cramped. People were more like produce than people. One person quoted that "we looked like marked down merchandise in Gimble's Basement storeroom." It was amazing to see the hardships that everyone had to go through to get into the country, from the medical testing to the citizenship tests. It is hard to see why we did this as a country, when only 2 percent of entering immigrants got turned away.

Chelsea Boska

Chelsea Boska
Year: Sophomore
Major/Minor: Double major in Psychology/French, minor in Sociology
Hometown: Niskayuna, New York
Activities: Cross Country, Orchestra, Habitat for Humanity, Lifeguarding, Teaching swim lessons, watching tons of movies, and listening to good music

Jamie Sherman

Jamie Sherman
Year: Senior
Major/Minor: Biology/Biochemistry
Hometown: Pilesgrove, NJ
Activities: dance (dance team, DUDS dance show choreographer/performer), reading, poetry, running, video games, Pre-Med Society V.P., BBB, watching TV shows on DVD about 3 years after they were on TV, and sleeping in times few and far between

Friday, September 29, 2006

Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly
Year: Sophomore
Major/Minor: Physics, with Math as either a double major or a minor
Hometown: Dorset, VT
Activities: When not doing school/VRC/IVCF work, reading, watching TV, thinking up ways to free people from day-to-day monotony.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lisa Apple

Lisa Apple
Year: Sophomore
Major: Philosophy
Minor: Writing
Hometown: Oreland, PA .. outside Philadelphia
Activities: Writing, dreaming, climbing trees, Res Life, VRC, WoCo, and Hillel.

Harmony D.

Harmony Dougher
Year: Sophomore
Major: Spanish
Minor: Mathematics or Business
Hometown: White Mills, PA .. the Poconosss <3
Activities: Orientation Committee, UPB
Interests: Art, spanish culture, oooh and video games (even though I never have any time to playyy them)

Claire Horvath

Claire Horvath
Year: Senior
Major: Religious Studies
Minor: Studio Art
Hometown: Brick, NJ
Interests: Photography, That Medieval Thing

Cristal Reyes

Cristal Reyes
Year: Junior
Major: Double Major in English and Spanish
Hometown: Union City, NJ
Interests:Activism, volunteering, making a difference. Some core groups I work with are Ariel, VRC, APO, etc.

I've studied immigration, culture and diversity within the United States (particularly immigration from countries of latino origin), So I feel as if this class will broaden my perspectives, since we're analyzing a different kind of immigration in a country of Spanish origin.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gabrielle Haenn

Gabrielle (Gabbie) Haenn
Year: Senior
Major: Spanish
Minor: Environmental Studies
Hometown: small town SW of Philly
Interests: I play soccer and lacrosse at Drew.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Teens and Tango, La Boca 2006

I love this image! The Tango is, of course, being danced for tourists; the local teenagers are totally ignoring both the dancer and the photographer, yet one is wearing a tourist t-shirt (I heart Argentina). And the post was just there, conveniently dividing the image and representing the fading paint in the non-tourist areas of La Boca. For me, this juxtaposition of contradictions and the complicated economic layering typifies contemporary Buenos Aires.


Welcome to the DIS-Argentina 2006-2007 Blog.

This blog is part of Drew University's International Seminar (DIS) program to Argentina in Fall 2006-Spring 2007. The program begins with a 4-credit seminar (ENGL 40/SPAN 117: "Identity and Ethnicity in Argentina") to be held at Drew in Fall 2006, team-taught by Ada Ortuzar-Young (Professor of Spanish) and Sandra Jamieson (Professor of English). In January 2007, we go to Argentina for a little over 3 weeks (spending most of our time in Buenos Aires). Then, on our return to Drew, students complete work on their research project and present their research in a public colloquium. They also complete and edit a collection of travel writing begun whilst in Argentina.

During our time in Argentina, students will explore the questions at the heart of the seminar, conducting research, interacting with citizens, and traveling to significant districts of Buenos Aires and adjacent towns (including Moisesville). They will also post regularly to this blog to keep parents and friends updated on their research--and adventures. There will be occasional posts in Fall 2006, and we will provide links to the final projects and travel writing that students produce in Spring 2007, but most of the posts--at least one a day--will be added in January 2007. In the meantime, we have posted a few pictures to show you where we are going.

We hope you enjoy the journey!