What a whirlwind it has been so far… We arrived yesterday morning (Sunday) after a connecting flight from Atlanta that took a bit over 10 hours. After clearing customs, we quickly drove off to see the city of Buenos Aires and thus begin our tour of Argentina.
We began with a stop in a neighborhood called “La Boca,” in which the houses were adorned with bright splashes of flamboyant color, a famous soccer stadium loomed overhead, and we were greeted by the yips of dogs in sweaters and jeans. We spent our time petting dogs, testing out our Spanish, and trying empanadas, a food that would quickly become a fairly unanimous favorite among the group.
After the short stop, and another to drop off our luggage at the hotel, we began a more thorough tour of the city, through a mixture of bus rides and stops to walk and take pictures. Not only were we taken on a journey through bustling streets (the giant, more-lanes-than-fingers-to-count, reminding-us-of-the-game-Frogger ones) that adorn the picturesque postcard images we are familiar with, but we were also taken on a journey through Argentina’s rich culture and history. We learned and saw many things, such as where their president’s offices are, where Pope Francis used to stay and work before becoming the Pope, and some of the most elaborate estates many of us had ever seen, dating back to the golden era of Argentina, when it fed the world with its products. Since it was Sunday, Buenos Aires was not bustling with its typical millions of workers, and we were gifted a special look at the culturally rich city, to which we will be given a chance next weekend to return to and explore in more detail.
That night, we ate delicious steaks, getting our first real taste of Argentina’s famous beef, and with content stomachs, we were more than happy to collapse into sleep after a busy 24 hours.
Today, we awoke to a gorgeous sunrise, framed by a silhouette skyline, as I’m sure many of you have seen across students’ Instagrams, Facebooks, SnapChat stories, etcetera. We departed for St. Andrew’s school after breakfast, and were greeted by (yay!) trays upon trays of fresh empanadas. Needless to say, we can’t get enough and doubt we will be tired of them by the end of the week. Besides the food, we were also greeted by very friendly and welcoming staff and students at the school. We were given a chance to perform a shortened version of our concert repertoire, and also given a chance to meet with and talk to a good number of the students. Everyone was genuinely thankful that we came, and I feel that it was a great start to what may be a long relationship between the school and GTCYS. Maestro also tried his first matte (a famous, and delicious (in my opinion, at least), drink of Argentina) with the faculty of the school, which is a great symbol of friendship and acceptance.
After the school, we took a 4 1/2 hour bus ride to the city of Rosario, where we will be spending several days.
Tonight, we finished off with a dinner at a delicious buffet filled with too many items to list. But, of course, there were steaks and empanadas. Again, we are heading off to bed with a content and pleased palate.
Tomorrow, we leave early to embark on both a city tour and a boat tour of a local river, then tomorrow night, we have our first formal concert at Teatro El Circulo.
Buenas noches, and we will check in again soon!