Traveling in South America? Buenos Aires is a great place to improve your Spanish. Learning Spanish is a breeze when you are immersed in a culture, and culture is something Buenos Aires has in spades. The city has so much to offer expats. From tango to football to the best beef in the world. Take a Spanish course from our native speakers here in Palermo and in no time at all, you’ll be speaking Porteño like a local. The relaxed atmosphere of our language school in the heart of Palermo makes students feel at home. Expats can learn Spanish in our conversation cafe while making friends and experiencing Buenos Aires like a local. Native porteños will introduce you to one of the richest cultural experiences in South America. Buenos Aires has everything you want and need to learn Spanish.
How to Speak Porteño Spanish
So, you`ve arrived in Buenos Aires and discovered that 2 semesters of Spanish in HIgh School or your 2 months living in Barcelona has not prepared you to converse with the average Porteño? The people of Buenos Aires (Porteños) have their own distinctive way of speaking that is different from the Spanish spoken worldwide and even from the rest of Argentina. Here are a few tips to help you blend in with the natives.
The first thing you will notice is the pronunciation of certain letters in porteño is unique to Buenos Aires. For example, the Y and LL in porteño make shh sound instead of Y like yankee. “Yo me llamo Shaq” becomes “Sho me Shamo Shaq”. Also, the Spanish of Spain’s TH pronunciation of S, C, and Z is ignored in Porteño. “Grathiath por la thervetha” becomes “gracias por la cerveza” Here is a helpful video breaking down the differences.
The most notable grammatical difference is the presence of “vos” in the second person. Instead of using the Spanish tú,Porteños use vos in this case and it results in a change in the conjugation of verbs.. Eres becomes sos and most other verbs pick up an accented change in the second person such as quieres-querés and puedes-podés. “Tú eres de Argentina¨ becomes “Vos sos de Argentina”. “Tú quieres helado” becomes “vos querés helado”. Here is an explanation of the history of this usage in Argentina.
Porteños have deep cultural ties to their Italian heritage as does their distinct slang lunfardo. Lunfardo roots lie in the criminal colloquialisms of early immigrants and is commonly found in the lyrics of tango music. So if “Che, vamos a morfar como bachichas” means nothing to you, then maybe you should pick up a dictionary of lunfardo.
If there is one thing the expressive, demonstrative Porteños do well, it is speak with their whole body. Here is a great guide to how to say it without (or with fewer) words in Buenos Aires.
To go more in depth about Argentine Spanish our lvstudio teachers will be more than happy to help in Palermo, Microcentro, Puerto Madero, Belgrano or online if you are not in Buenos Aires!
4 Free Tango Dancing Opportunities in Buenos Aires
So, you are new to BA and want to experience the most seductive dance in the world but are on a shoestring budget? You want to see some professionals dance but don’t want to spend the dough on a high-priced touristy show? Here are 4 great ways to pick up a few steps absolutely free.
Tango in Buenos Aires at Museo Casa Carlos Gardel
The museum periodically has free tango lessons in Buenos Aires offered in the courtyard by a professional tango teacher. The courtyard is a tight space for dancing but that’s all the more reason to dance apilado style. Occasionally the museum also organizes tango music concerts. Check the museum’s facebook page for upcoming events.
Tango in Buenos Aires at La Glorieta de la Plaza de Barrancas
In this open-air gazebo in Belgrano, you will find free tango dancing every weekend (weather permitting) starting at eight pm. Arrive a bit early and there is a free lesson for the basic steps. Facebook
In the heart of San Telmo almost every Sunday you can find tango dancing in this plaza to be watched, and if you are lucky, you may be asked to join in. Enjoy a glass of wine and let the professionals do their thing or bring your dancing shoes and look ready to dance. Take a look at the city’s website for more details.
Caminito en La Boca
Another great opportunity to enjoy Tango in Bueno Aires o here in the iconic La Boca barrio.
Studying Spanish with lvstudio will give you a great discount for tango classes with DNI TANGO. One Month Intensive Spanish Course + 5 Tango Classes: 1000 USD.
lvstudio Spanish School – Tigre Time Out!
After one week of a Super Intensive Spanish Course in lvstudio Spanish School Buenos Aires you may need a relaxed weekend. If you are just looking for a place to spend a nice weekend, a trip to Tigre will do you a treat.
Tigre is a town just North of Buenos Aires. The town sits on an island created by several small streams and rivers and was founded in 1820, “after floods had destroyed other settlements in the area, then known as the ‘Partido de las Conchas’.”
In fact, Tigre is called Tigre because of the Jaguars that roamed there before they were all killed.
The town is easily reached by a 45 minute train ride from the Retiro station and well worth it at only a click on the Sube card!
Apart from the obvious things to do in Tigre such as ferry rides, museums and dining in the river side restaurants, here are a few unexpected things I found and did and will come back to do again in Tigre!
- Go to China town! I had never heard anything about the China town mall that stands very prominently opposite the river side. It is not the China town that excited me but the most amazing pancake-dulce de leche cake things that were sold in a small stall in the right when you enter the mall. As unexpected as it was, they were absolutely incredible and I advise you that if you ever go to this mall, do not leave before trying these things. With three flavours; dulce de leche, crema pastelera, and chocolate , I recommend ordering six and trying two of each. Surprisingly not overly sweet, these beauties really hit the spot! If you are able, bring some on monday to share with the students of lvstudio Spanish School in Buenos Aires.
- Puerto de Frutos market– make sure you go to Tigre on a Sunday so not to miss out on the artisanal market down by the river. Delicious food vendors and all sorts of interesting arts and crafts. Although similar to the markets of San Telmo, Recoleta and Palermo near our Spanish School. I found this one to be cheaper, a little more relaxed with more original, interesting items.
- Kayaking on the Parana Delta- after a busy week of rushing to work in chaotic public transport and sweating away in the sweltering Argentinian heat, there is nothing better than taking a day out to paddle along the beautiful Tigre waters. Unlike a ferry you see so much more on a Kayak and really feel a sense of freedom and peacefulness.
Due to the proximity , easy accessibility and cheap train tickets, Tigre makes for the perfect daytime getaway!
Buscando café de calidad más allá de un “cortado”
Estudiantes extranjeros que estudian en lvstudio escuela de español en palermo se quejan constantemente de la mala calidad del café que les sirven en la mayor parte de los bares, restaurantes y cafeterías que visitan. Si bien los porteños nos enorgullecemos de nuestros bares tradicionales, con color local y decoraciones del siglo XIX, puede ser que para el paladar de un amante del café acostumbrado a granos de alta calidad, el cortado clásico que se encuentra en esos lugares no sea lo ideal para empezar la mañana.
Es por eso que a continuación hacemos un listado de cafeterías en Palermo con granos de calidad que no te van a decepcionar, y otras atracciones cafeteras que podés encontrar en Buenos Aires cerca de lvstudio escuela de español en palermo.
LAB coffee shop (Humboldt 1542)
Tiene una estética industrial muy agradable, iluminación perfecta y buen ambiente. Ofrecen muchos diferentes tipos de filtrado del café, una gran variedad de bolsas de café recién tostado para que te lleves esos sabores a tu casa, además de servicios y asesoramiento para empresas.
LaTTente (Thames 1891) ( http://www.cafelattente.com )
El café es riquísimo y a buen precio, tienen pastelería poco variada pero de lujo, que incluye fustucas (combinación increíble de pistachos, clara de huevo y azúcar), que no se pueden encontrar en ningún otro lado. En general no hay demasiado lugar, es una cafetería pequeña, pero muchos turistas se suelen juntar allí a hacer sociales. Los domingos al mediodía podés encontrar en la puerta a Sheikob’s bagels, que hace los mejores de la ciudad. Tienen su propio blend para llevar, y el certificado de excelencia de Trip Advisor hace años.
Plus: si llevás tu propia taza, tenés un extra shot de café gratis.
LaTTente en La librería del fondo (Costa Rica 4568)
Otra sucursal de Lattente, pero al fondo de una librería hermosa en la que todos queremos quedarnos horas. Al fondo hay un patio bastante grande, para aprovechar días lindos leyendo algo y tomando un café de los dioses.
Felix felicis & Co (José Antonio Cabrera 5002)
Además de ofrecer un gran café, tienen brownies húmedos excelentes, y gracias al silencio y la barra en la ventana es una buena idea ir para sentarse a trabajar con la computadora. También venden máquinas de café y un blend molido en el momento para llevarte a tu casa.
Otras cosas que te pueden interesar:
TRAINING PARA BARISTAS AMATEURS Y PROFESIONALES que ofrece LAB: Duran cuatro horas, incluyen teoría, práctica y degustaciones.
CUPPING ROOM SESSIONS: Encontrás más información en: http://labcafe.com.ar/
FERIAS DE CAFÉ DE CALIDAD Y CONCURSO DE BARISTAS
Se realiza anualmente, alrededor de Agosto o Septiembre, se llama “Exigí buen café” y reúne a profesionales y a todos los amantes del café que quieren degustar los productos de diferentes empresas. (Más información en http://exigibuencafe.com )
The Venezuelan Gem Hiding in Buenos Aires’ Microcentro
I pace back and forth from the skinny wooden counter to the chalkboard outside — unconfident in my arepa choosing capabilities. Aura Jimenez is perpetually patient despite me blocking up the traffic of her packed restaurant. A waiter carrying plates of tequeños, black bean soup, pork chops and generously stuffed arepas does his best to inch past me. Jimenez is the matriarch of Guaica, a tiny Venezuelan eatery hidden past a broken escalator and a long corridor in the basement of a three story mall dominated by computer shops. It is just barely out of ear shot of the peddlers that shout “cambio!” up above.
I audibly debate the pros and cons of the nearly two dozen listed options. “Braised pork leg and avocado sounds great but is it as juicy as the asado negro and can I put fried plantains on everything?” We finally come to a decision, a reina pepiada, the traditional shredded chicken and avocado filling. She is about to pass the ticket along to the kitchen when a plate of shredded beef, black beans, avocado and fried plantains floats by like a dream. “Hold up,” I proclaim, “I want that.”
For years, Jimenez and her husband Javier León, who mans the kitchen, were amongst a small group of cooks offering traditional Venezuelan dishes. The pair have a natural warmth that makes you immediately feel welcome. They arrived from Mérida to Buenos Aires more than a decade ago, “With a suitcase, some debt and a lot of dreams,” starts León. Mérida is a small mountain region on the Southwest edge of Venezuela. It is, according to León, one of the country’s most diverse food regions in part because of its unique Andean culture and a climate that produces much of the nation’s agriculture.
The pair began as a closed door and catering service in Palermo before setting up their brick-and-mortar on the ground floor of the famous Galería Jardín three years ago. “We were a complete anomaly. Not just in Microcentro where there wasn’t a lot of variety but imagine walking through this mall and finding a little arepa stand in the middle of a bunch of computer shops.”
The pabellón arrives on a simple dish that fits perfectly with the homeyness of its contents. Sprinkles of cumin and chile powder waft through the air and to your nose before you can even take in the rest of the dish. The tender shreds of braised beef pop with the savory juices of a rich broth. Bites are complimented by fatty avocado, the sweet char of gooey fried plantains and light strings of white cheese. Squirts of a citrusy cream sauce makes a great pair for the earthy black beans. A chunky hot sauce made of bright yellow aji limon packs a heat that settles on the tip of the tongue and only begins to graze to the back of the throat when paired with the bits of carne.
“Arepas come from the indigenous tribes. It is our interpretation of corn which you in every cuisine across South America. In Mexico, they turned it into tortillas [sic] in Argentina you see it in humita. We made arepas and it’s what we eat everyday,” explains León, “Guaica comes from Guaicaipuro, an indigenous chief that fought off Spanish influence and who was able to keep Venezuela free of a Viceroyalty. We wanted to pay respect to that strength and the indigenous influence that you see in typical Venezuelan dishes.”
Corn shows up across the menu. Empanadas are made with a corn dough before being stuffed and deep fried. The filling is made with chicken that is lightly fried in achiote-infused oil before being seasoned with sweet pepper and a touch of curry and cooked until it can be served pisillo, or shredded. The dough is fried to a golden brown and has a beautiful flakey crunch that gives way to succulent chicken. Long cylinders of soft cheese are wrapped in broad ribbons of the same dough and are also thrown into the deep fryer until the masa begins to bubble without sacrificing the chewy texture of the mozzarella. Both appetizers should be doused in sauce — I liked the combination of the hot sauce tempered by the citrus of a thin white cream.
Soups change daily and can be ordered as a small accompaniment or a large main. A warm black bean soup had a wonderful fattiness from the rings of fat that rose up from the chicken broth. Although I found the garlic sauce too rich with the other dishes, in the soup it heightened the comforting buttery flavors. Arepas can be prepared any way you want with options for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters, alike. A vegan option stuffed with fried plantains, beans and avocado was just as satisfying as the asado negro, which came with generous strips of beef braised in a sweet panela and red wine marinade. Most guests ask for the asado negro to come stuffed with cheese but Aura insists the typical preparation is with thin slices of tomatoes. The white corn arepas are toasted to a nice crunchy texture that stands as a nice contrast to the lush fillings.
To drink, I preferred the tangy sweetness of a flor de jamaica soda over the simple (but equally tasty) iced tea. A house made beer is prepared with hibiscus and flor de jamaica as well and recently took home a gold medal at the South Beer Cup for Spice Beer category. A well-stocked bar means that guests can have an early drink and small dish before the 7pm closing time.
It would take nearly a month to chow through every item on the menu. It’s a welcome challenge.
In most people’s mind the word “expat” recalls images of luxury, shiny desks in multinational corporates and privileged lifestyles. On the other hand, when it comes about the term “immigrant”, we tend to think about dreams, hopes and cardboard suitcases. Two words, two deeply different concepts.
As someone who has been living in Asia for several years, I’ve always taken for granted that I was an
That’s just my imagination, but I encourage you to daydream with me. Cue the Tango. In Argentina, it is mid-summer. Today’s forecast for Buenos Aires is mostly sunny with a high temperature of 82 degrees. Sounds nice, eh?
Our friend Tim is a fully deputized Washington Beer Blog Correspondent. Tim is currently on assignment in Argentina. I am guessing that his adventures don’t match my imagination. Tim is on vacation and is generously reporting to us about what kind of beer he finds as he bounces around the country between Buenos Aires and Mendoza. In a country where wine reigns supreme, Tim has managed to find some craft beer – cerveza artesenal, as the locals call it.
“I knew about Buller Brewing and sought them out,” says Tim via email. “I went to one of their pubs – the one right across the street from the Recoleta Cemetery, where Evita is buried.”
If there is a craft beer revolution happening in Argentina, and that is a big if, Buller Brewing started it. In operation for more than a decade, Buller Brewing operates two gastropubs in Buenos Aires: one near the famous cemetery and the other downtown. They are slick, urban establishments that morph into lively night clubs after dark. According to our reporter, Buller Brewing is not exactly like your cute, little neighborhood pub. After all, Buenos Aires makes Seattle look like a sleepy little one-horse town.
The beer lineup at Buller Brewing includes Light Lager, Blonde Ale, Honey Ale, IPA and Stout. Tim reports that the beers are serviceable but nothing like he is used to drinking at home (Seattle). That is, he’s not complaining. “Honey Ale is a big deal here in Argentina. It’s basically a blond ale with a sweet taste. Also, the IPAs here taste like malt and not hops.”
One more beer stop in Buenos Aires: Cerveza Atresenal Antares. Located in the Palermo neighborhood, this is one of several Antares locations in Argentina (at least a dozen). Again, this place is urbane, big and swanky. Unless something was lost in translation, the company’s main brewery is in Mar del Plata, where it produces beer for both domestic and export markets. Each location in Argentina has its own brewery, which comes complete with the individual brewer’s creative flair. Antares is not exactly small, but it is crafty and produces a full compliment of beer styles ranging from Kolsch to Stout. Yes, and a honey beer.
But it is not all about the big city. And my imagination runs wild again.
A dirty little kid with a big smile is totally unaware that I’m watching as he uses a stick to push a tireless bicycle wheel down the dusty street. Across the way, a group of more dirty kids chase a half-flat soccer ball and a cloud of dust around a vacant lot. I walk into a place that looks like it might be a bar. Everyone stares. I struggle to remember the words, knowing that a few precious phrases are essential for my survival. “Disculpe, señor, necesito una cerveza, por favor.” The beer is barely cold, it is closer to tepid, and the glass is dirty. Everything is perfect. “Muchas gracias.”
Ah, I can dream.
Tim tells us about the next stop. “The next brewery, we just happened to stumble upon,” Tim explains. “We found Cerveza Artesanal Pirca along the roadside in an area called Colonia Suiza as we approached the city of Mendoza. It’s on the other side of the county, up against the foothills of the Andes. Pirca has a rustic beer garden and taproom.”
The beer selection at Cerveza Artesanal Pirca was simple: a Rubio, a Rojo, and a Negro (blond, red, and black). Again, Tim describes the beers as adequate, but given how far away from home he is, they are welcomed and refreshing.
We’ve turned Tim loose now. Maybe we will hear more from him. We hope not. Just go have fun, Tim. Leave us to our daydreaming.
Photos by Tim West
I am a “professional” dancer because I teach tango and get paid for exhibitions. But I wouldn’t be a pro here in Buenos Aires if it weren’t for my partner. He is the draw. He is the Argentine who spent most of his life in the milongas, who lives and breathes and sings the tango. We work very well together, but if it weren’t for me, he could also work well with someone else who has the same tango point of view. Foreign dancers especially love getting to know a milonguero and hearing his stories and dance secrets that otherwise they wouldn’t be able to do, particularly if they don’t speak Castellano.
Ruben wasn’t always a professional dancer; he used to work in television until the crisis of 2001. He was passionate about his job, traveled all over Argentina working, and danced tango every night for the love of it. Now tango is his job. He earns his livelihood from tango. It’s now more than pleasure; it’s work–which he enjoys. He teaches, does taxi dancing, and gives historical Tango Tours of Buenos Aires. Sometimes this puts him in a difficult situation with friends at the milongas we go to for enjoyment and socializing. (We also go to milongas for work when we do milonga accompaniment.)
Foreign women friends expect that Ruben will dance with them. Sometimes he does. But if not, sometimes they outright ask him to dance, which puts him in a bad place as it does with all milongueros. For one thing, milongueros don’t like to be invited, nor do they want to refuse a lady, and for another, if he danced with all the women who wanted him to, what about me? What about our social evening together? We are at Los Consagrados or Chiqué to enjoy ourselves.
He will always dance one tanda with current students. It’s part of their education and he likes to check their progress. And he will bend over backward to make sure our friends get their drink orders, are comfortable, and help them have a great time at the milonga. But there are friends who expect dances with Ruben at the same time they are telling me they are taking classes at DNI, or El Beso, or expensive privates with Maximiliano Superstar. They ask me to “tell” Ruben to dance with them! Ruben owns his own dance. (I do not give him orders.) Read more here. They expect him to give it away for free. They forget that the tango is what he has to sell.
Do these same people ask for free consultations from doctors and lawyers at social gatherings back home? Ruben is a low-profile real milonguero, not a stage dancer who tours the world giving classes and making a big name for himself. He’s in Buenos Aires every week of the year dancing in the milongas, as he’s done for the past 30 years. All the women want to dance with him and all of the men want to dance like him. But he is a professional. Friendly, affable, funny, and fun as well. And available for classes and milonga accompaniment. I wish the women would remember that at the milongas.
With electrical usage way up and insufficient power generation to handle the demand, rolling power outages are the order of the day in Buenos Aires. Here are some tips to prepare yourself for the next outage:
– First of all, control your energy consumption. The hospital and elderly home down the street need the power a lot more then you need to run the air conditioner at 18 degrees.
-It’s not a bad idea to acclimate yourself in advance to using the stairs for when their is no elevator. If you live on the twelfth floor, take the stairs a couple of times a week and build up those great calf muscles.
– Security can be an issue when the power goes out. Be aware of your surroundings and be careful who you let in the building.
– Depending on the size of the tanks on the roof of your building. Once the power goes out you may soon run out of running water. Prepare yourself by keeping as many containers of water as possible handy. No need to generate more trash by buying bottled water if you are only going to use it for washing dishes, flushing toilet, etc. Just save any old plastic bottles, tupperware, old coffee jars, etc. and fill ’em up and put ’em under the sink.
– Fill the bidet in order to have water to flush the toilet
– A watering can for plants can provide a sorely-needed shower in desperate circumstances, especially if you have a friend to help you pour.
– Fill several tupperware containers with water and freeze them to preserve your food. Leave some in the freezer and move some to the fridge when the power goes out to keep your food cold.
– Put your flashlight with extra batteries in a specific place by the door and remember to put it back whenever you use it. Avoid candles, the fire department is busy enough this time of year.
-Plan on travel delays. Porteños are very vocal in their disapproval of power outages. Don’t be surprised to find burning piles of garbage piled up in intersections of affected areas.
-Don’t forget about any elderly or disabled people who may live in your building. Drop by and make sure they are ok. Offer to help carrying groceries or water up the stairs if you are able-bodied.
-Relax. Carry on. It should be back in a few hours.
Photo Source: parabuenosaires.com