Day 41: From Culture Shock to Cultural Bang / by Sarah Kakusho

The city of Buenos Aires held a 100 years celebration of Okinawa. I’m not too sure what exactly the 100 years part was, but I got to see something exciting!

I swear, I’d never seen this many people out meandering the streets of Buenos Aires. This celebration was a big deal. I’ve wanted to see some kind of parade since I’ve been here, and this opportunity absolutely came out of nowhere. I had just read an email from Mario about an Okinawan festival in Plaza de Mayo [3 train stops down from me], but I thought it’d just be another look-around-at-pretty-things. Not some huge extravaganza FESTIVAL.

It was fun though. There were people from everywhere. I don’t know what exactly it was, but there were Okinawans from places like Peru, Hawaii, L.A, China, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, etc. Oh, and from Okinawa, duh. It was so lively. They had really traditional performances like Okinawan drums, and TAIKO. It was fun! Afterwards, they switched gears and had a live tango show. It was so good.

Erika has established that people who aren’t on TV sing much better than those that do get one TV…mainly speaking about Latin American Idol, which have probably the most mediocre-and-below singers…

ANYWAY, Erika and I were trippin’ out when we saw L.A. and Hawaii specifically because we thought we would know someone. XD But, we missed them after the parade, so we could never know, unless we go back and start asking everyone person we know if they went to Argentina.

One thing I was disappointed about was there was no food. I was starving. XD But, I’m glad there are vendors outside who make caramelized nuts on the streets. I had my first pack of caramelized almonds, and they were bomb. SOOOOO GOOD. Perfect snack.

But, the festival was awesome enough that I could just forget about that. One day, I will visit Okinawa.

So, afterwards, Erika and I sought at Calle Florida which is said to be one of the most touristy and inexpensive shopping area in Buenos Aires. While looking for this street, we drew out what I would like to call the ping pong effect. We went one way, and back again, and then back once more to find it. It’s okay, it was good exercise.

And, it was no joke, this place was really cheap.

It was more amusing than at the Recoleta feria. Calle Florida is a pedestrian street so there were many, many types of vendors just on streets trying to sell stuff. There were many people who were making money being statues, selling paintings and magnets, playing harps and guitars, and stuff like that. There was this one guy who painted his paintings with his foot. His paintings were amazingly detailed and beautiful.

We ventured the entire street and made it out the other end which led us to Retiro. I had to buy a phone card for my phone. If you ever come to Buenos Aires, don’t get a Movistar phone, a lot of kiosks don’t sell Movistar phone cards so to save yourself some time, go with Personal or a different carrier.

But yea, today was very…culturally striking. I’ve realized I need to reach out more to the Argentine culture though. Maybe next week… XD