What’s this?! An actual blog post? I know, I know, it’s been awhile. Very sorry for the long absence but I promise I will be updating this week with stories of my latest adventures. Pinky swear.

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September 11th was the date for this year’s Festival of the Moon(La Festival de la Luna), one of the oldest and most important holidays in Chinese culture.  For the first time, Buenos Aires’ Chinatown hosted an outdoor festival to honor the holiday. Conveniently, Barrio Chino is a mere three blocks from my house so I decided to check it out with a few girlfriends of mine.

According to the flier I received, the holiday occurs every year on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month when, according to legend, the moon is the most full and bright of the whole year.

Paper lanterns hang above the street during the Festival de la Luna in Buenos Aires' Chinatown.

And, according to legend, Chang Er flew to the moon where she now lives and you may see her dancing up there during the Moon Festival. The festival is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture.  Families often reunite to watch the full moon and celebrate together.

Martial Arts show during the Moon Festival. They were pretty impressive.

Buenos Aires’ Chinatown is quite small, as I mentioned in a previous post, but there was a crowd of people stuffed into  four blocks. Some friends and I browsed the market stands, listened to a singer, watched a Martial Arts show and enjoyed some “Asian Cuisine” at a restaurant. Hey, it can’t be entirely authentic, we are in Argentina after all.

Members of the Chinatown Association carried the dragon through the streets.

We enjoyed watching the dragon meander through the streets.

Altogether it was a nice, relaxing day and a good way to enjoy some of the early spring weather we were having. It was also pretty exciting to experience some Chinese culture while living in South America.

My first experience with Melon Popcicles. So yummy!

Tour de Belgrano

August 28, 2011

This post originally appeared on August 14 on the University of South Carolina’s study abroad blog.

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For my post this week, I thought I’d give you a little tour of the area of Buenos Aires that I’m living in. I live in the barrio Belgrano, which is split into four sections, of which I live in Belgrano C.  As you can see from the map, Buenos Aires is split into 48 barrios and Belgrano is in the northern part of the city.  According to Wikipedia, a little under 140,000 people live within Belgrano, which is only two and a half square miles – wow!

The barrio received its name from Manuel Belgrano, a politician and military leader who created the Argentine national flag.  In addition, the law declaring Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina was issued in Belgrano.

These days, the neighborhood is a nice, upper-middle class residential area with lots of parks and restaurants. It is just south of Palermo, the largest barrio in Bs As which is a very trendy bar and club area as well as residential.  I’ve come to enjoy running on the bike path that goes from Belgrano to the large parks in Palermo.

Drinking gourmet tea at my favorite cafe and homework spot in Belgrano - Tea Connection.

Enjoying some yummy Argentine steak at a parilla near my house.

My house is three blocks from Buenos Aires’ Chinatown, which is quite small (about 8 blocks or so) but is always bustling.  My 20 minute walk to school takes me through Chinatown and along a park so it’s a really nice walk. I particularly enjoy watching the shopkeepers in Chinatown set up in the mornings – although the smell of fish isn’t as enjoyable.

The arch in Buenos Aires Chinatown.

Every weekend, there is a feria (artisanal market) in the Plaza de Belgrano.  It’s smaller than some of the other more touristy ferias in the city but I think the products are generally of higher quality and at better prices.  Most Sundays, I stop by to look around.

Some stands at the Feria de Belgrano.

The University of Belgrano, the school I'm currently studying at.

I’ve really enjoyed exploring Belgrano and feel pretty lucky to live here.  I’m a ten minute walk from the Subte (subway), am blocks away from stops for many of the city’s bus lines and can walk to school every day.  While I’m still obviously in the city, it’s comparatively quieter than other areas and I’ve never felt unsafe in this area.

My room.

My house.

I’m also excited to explore some of the other 48 barrios. Next stop, Once, home to the city’s Jewish, Korean and Peruvian immigrants.

An aerial view of Belgrano.