Archive for the ‘Argentine Customs and Culture’ Category

Top 5 Best Countries to Learn Spanish in South America

Friday, February 24, 2017 12:52

Categories - Argentine Customs and Culture, Art, Museums, Theatre & Cinema, Buenos Aires City Attractions, Spanish, Uncategorized - 0 Comments

Interested in learning Spanish as a second language in South America? Dreaming of a career in international business? Fallen in love with a native Spanish speaker? These are just a few reasons why one may want to take on the task of becoming bilingual in Spanish. As the world’s second most spoken language, it is clear how essential it has become to learn Spanish, and what better way to learn than to immerse yourself in a South America! Full of history, breathtaking landscapes, and rich culture, here are our top 5 best countries to learn Spanish in South America.

  1. Chile

Chile is quite impressive with its widely contrasting landscapes. From the wilderness to the Andes to the rivers of Patagonia, Chile is just as enchanting as any fairytale story from your childhood. The biggest difference in the Spanish spoken in Chile is that it is heavily influenced by the dialect spoken in southern Spain. Pronunciation varies significantly from its South American neighbors as well as the use of the formal Usted. The Spanish you will learn in Chile will be much different from the Spanish you will learn in Argentina or in Colombia, which could be something worth considering if you plan to travel throughout South America. Chileans are also notorious for their fast paced Spanish speaking abilities. Be prepared to give yourself sometime to learn to keep up with the conversation. Luckily, Chileans are rather patient and always encouraging of those trying to learn Chilean Spanish.

The metropolis of Santiago is top choice for a collection of different Spanish learning programs. With several chains and additional independent programs, there is a wide array of options for travelers looking to learn Spanish in Chile. Regardless of which route you decide to take, you will undoubtedly learn the unique Chilean slang no university elsewhere can teach you. Better yet, you will be able to practice it all throughout your Chilean travels.

 

chile 1 300x227 Top 5 Best Countries to Learn Spanish in South America

  1. Ecuador

Ecuador is an excellent place to learn Spanish while enjoying South American culture. Ecuador moves on a much slower pace creating a very laidback atmosphere in which people from all over the world can seamlessly coexist. Ecuador also boasts diverse sce
nery, including the Andes, the Amazon Rainforest and the Galapagos islands. The cost of living is quite low so be sure to take advantage of all the natural beauty Ecuador has to offer.

The capital city of Quito is home to a variety of schools in which you can learn Spanish. In contrast to Chile, the Spanish is spoken at a much slower pace and the accent can be easily imitated. However, there are very few Ecuadorians in Quito who speak English, so be aware that you will need to rely on your Spanish speaking abilities to maneuver throughout the city. For more of a coastal Caribbean feel, Guayaquil serves as the country’s seaport and remains an essential piece of the true identity of Ecuador. Plentiful in seafood and tropical music, Ecuador is a great place to learn Spanish in South America.

 

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  1.  Peru

Peru is an exquisite country luxuriant in mystifying history as well as some of the most recognizable travel destinations in the world. With the highly sought after Machu Picchu and Peruvian amazon, Peru grants it’s international travelers the experience of a lifetime. Also known for its simplicity, the Spanish spoken in Peru renders deep pronunciation and a fluidity of style that is easily recognizable. Additionally, Peru’s friendly population will allow you to practice your Spanish with the locals.

Cusco is by far the most favored location to learn SpanishinPeru. The attraction of Machu Picchu alone is enough to entice those looking to learn Spanish in South America. However, as a result of the booming tourism industry, you will find many locals will quickly turn to English when providing directions or offering a recommendation. While there are other popular destinations in Peru, such as Lima and Arequipa, they currently do not have the capacity to provide travelers the same opportunities to learn Spanish as does Cusco. Choosing the best city for you in Peru is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Whichever you maychoose you will find Peru to be abundant in natural beauty,fine cuisine, and good people.

 

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  1. Colombia

While Colombia embodies a variety of different customs, from food to music to overall landscape, one thing that remains constant is the clarity of the Spanish spoken throughout. Colombia is ideal for a per
son who has never spoken a word of Spanish in their lifetime as the native people speak rather slowly and quite clearly. The lack of a strong accent makes it easier for those who are at the very basic level of learning Spanish. If you choose to study Spanish in Colombia, you will undoubtedly experience the Spanish language in one of its most pure forms.

The two best places to learn Spanish in Colombia are MedellĂ­n and Cartagena. MedellĂ­n is a great city within Colombia that cultivates a cosmopolitan feel and just so happens to be located in the heart of the nation’s coffee district. With mild temperatures and an abundance of city sights, MedellĂ­n has come a long way from the notorious days of Pablo Escobar. Cartagena is a great option for those seeking a tropical climate. The port city is infamous for high temperatures and even higher humidity. With cobblestone streets and c
olorful colonial buildings, Cartagena is a popular choice for those looking to learn Spanish during the week and retreat to the white sand beaches on the weekend. Clearly, Colombia has more to offer its international visitors than just the foundation needed for speaking Spanish.

 

 

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  1. Argentina

Argentina is our number one best place to learn Spanish in South America. With the cosmopolitan capital of Buenos Aires, vast rural countryside, and glacier-filled Patagonia, Argentina truly inhabits the best of all worlds.  As a country rich in history and culture, Argentina constantly draws forth the attention of a vibrant international crowd. From Brazil to Europe to the USA, Argentina has established itself as a haven for expats from all over the w
orld. Naturally, most expats reside in Buenos Aires, a city with limitless activities and a never-ending nightlife. The city’s diverse atmosphere is evident in the various different barrios throughout the city, such as bohemian-centric San Telmo and the lively streets of Palermo Soho. Whether you are seeking to dance tango in Plaza Dorrego, attend a futbol game in the famous Bombonera, or enjoy some of the world’s best meat in a traditional parrilla, Buenos Aires certainly has something to offer to all.

In addition to its energetic culture and animated scenery, Buenos Aires provides the most unique learning experience to those pursuing the art of speaking Spanish. The Spanish spoken in Buenos Aires, castellano, is arguably the most beautiful dialect of the Spanish language. With the help of yours truly, Expanish, you will be speaking like a native Argentine in no time! Here at Expanish we offer high quality Spanish educational programs including weekly courses, study abroad, and volunteer placements in Argentina. We strive to combine education with cultural immersion to provide the best possible experience to each and every person who steps foot through our doors. We are proud to be known as one of the best Spanish schools in all of Latin America and Spain, with notable accreditations and awards from various organizations around the world. Expanish is a leader in immersion programs and a provider of top quality services to hundreds of students every year. If you would like more information about our school, please do not hesitate to contact us through our website at www.expanish.com


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Learning Spanish over Christmas in Buenos Aires

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 8:08

Categories - Argentine Customs and Culture, Buenos Aires City Attractions, Concerts, Events, Festivals and Holidays, Food in Buenos Aires, Restaurants, Bars, Cafes, Clubs, Uncategorized - 0 Comments

If you came in Buenos Aires learning Spanish and that this is your first time spending Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere, the first thing that will stands out is the heat. It’s summertime in Argentina and the days are getting hotter and hotter, so say goodbye to your christmas sweaters, blankets and hot cocoa by the fire. You will definitely want to opt for your swimsuit and pool time after having walked throughout the city.

 Photo blog Learning Spanish over Christmas in Buenos Aires

The guide to spend a traditional Christmas in Argentina while learning Spanish :

Before Christmas :

You will start hearing some Christmas vocabulary as people in the street, stores or even in spanish class start talking about all the preparation and plans. Being around Buenos Aires at this time of the year when learning spanish really allows you to immerge in the culture and tradition of the country as well as improving a specific vocabulary about Christmas season and celebrations. Before the D-Day people usually celebrate Christmas with friends and coworkers. For example, here at Expanish we organize a Christmas party and as there are a lot of different nationalities, it is a good way to learn about other Christmas traditions while practicing your spanish.  

24th of December :

On the 24th people gather with their family. At Expanish, a lot of our students take the opportunity to practice their Spanish by choosing a homestay. This allow our students to spend Christmas with a local family and get a traditional experience of a typical Argentine Christmas. Usually everyone brings something to eat. As it is summer, it is more common to eat an asado and cold dishes, rather than the hot dishes and Christmas hams you may be used to. When midnight rolls around everyone will have toast, drink cider, eat pan dulce and commence opening gifts! Christmas celebrations usually end around 2AM but it wouldn’t be a proper Buenos Aires party without the younger generations heading to the “boliches (clubs) to dance until the sunrise. Argentines truly like to party!

25th of December :

On the 25th most Argentines gather again in the afternoon (everyone needs a good sleep especially the ones that went clubbing) and eat either the leftovers from the night before or have an asado. Be aware that most public transports will not run on Christmas day, so my advice would be to plan in advance. If you choose to live in a homestay, this will allow you to meet even more people and practice your presentation skills in Spanish, by the end of the Christmas celebration you should be an expert and feel more confident talking in Spanish.

New Year’s Eve :

While in other countries it may typically be a night out on the town with friends to ring in the new year, New Year’s Eve in Argentina is a very family centered holiday. Argentines gather with their family once again to have an asado and drink Malbec. It’s always best to have a friend or family member that has a rooftop host the New Year’s Eve party so that you can enjoy the fireworks at midnight, so don’t hesitate to ask around to your local friend if they have a “terraza”. Again, it wouldn’t be a true party without the younger generation heading off to the boliches with their friends after midnight while the older crowd heads out to parties with their friends and family.

Activities and places to go to during Christmas in Buenos Aires as a foreigner learning Spanish :

  • Play the lottery and maybe treat yourself to a big money prize. Every year, Argentina organizes a Christmas Lottery called “Gordo de Navidad” where you could win this year 15.000.000 pesos!!!
  • For Christmas dinner : La Dorita in Palermo (Humboldt 1892) is a “parilla” restaurant with one of the most complete menu and famous for it’s high quality. It offers a great variety of meat such as a 400g piece of “Bife de lomo” (Beef tenderloin).
  • Christmas party : Kika Club in Palermo (Honduras 5339) is one of the most famous boliches in the city, there is no doubt you will have a good time there and maybe meet some new Porteño friends as this is a very popular social spot! This could be a good opportunity to learn slang called “lunfardo” which is used a lot by the young generation.
  • New Year’s dinner : If you want celebrate the New Year in style, Casa Cruz in Palermo Viejo (Uriarte 1658) is the place for you. For more than 10 years, Casa Cruz has offered a wide variety of meat cuts and sides dishes as well as a very wide choice of wines, in an upscale yet cozy atmosphere. Another option could be to catch Tango Shows, many of which offer special dinner and show packages.
  • New Year’ Eve party: Club Shampoo, located in the heart of Recoleta and one of Buenos Aires’ most exclusive nightclubs is a great place to ring in the New Year. If nightclubs are not your thing, you can head to Palermo Hollywood where the streets are filled with local block parties with djs and bands playing music, Porteños hosting asados and people enjoying the warm summer night to dance all night long until sunrise.

Expanish wishes you a “Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo” !

 

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Spanish & Tango in Buenos Aires

Thursday, January 21, 2016 12:23

Categories - Argentine Customs and Culture - 0 Comments

TanjaMiletic 14 1024x683 Spanish & Tango in Buenos Aires

Argentina is considered the birthplace and remains the beating heart of Tango so if you are here in Buenos Aires learning spanish you should also spend some time learning this sacred national dance!

Here at Expanish we offer a combined package of Spanish and Tango classes. We offer many cultural “add-ons” that are specific to Argentina and they are a brilliant way to experience the local culture here in Buenos Aires. With this option of the Tango add-on, you can have Spanish classes for four hours every morning during the week and then twice a week in the afternoon, you can go on to a tango class close to the school – one group class and one individual class.

The group classes are a fun way to practice the Spanish you have learnt in class with a local professor, and other students from all over the world including some Argentinians too. The professors are all highly trained and experienced. You will learn the key steps through formal instructions and dance floor practice. As with the Spanish classes, we also have tango classes for different levels from beginner to advanced. The classes are usually given in Spanish but the professor will be happy to help in English if you need some clarification.
 
If you are taking Spanish classes, you are always encouraged to speak as much Spanish outside of the classroom to practice your skills day to day in real life situations. The same goes for tango – apart from the classes, you should get out there and practice! You could visit a tango hall to watch a show or even go to a Milonga which is a local tango dance hall where you can put into practice what you have learnt! You can arrange any of these extra activities here at the school when you arrive.
 
So if you want to improve your spanish whilst immersing yourself in the tango culture of Argentina, talk to us about our Spanish & Tango Package! You can contact us here.

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New Year in Buenos Aires

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 12:09

Categories - Argentina Travel Info, Argentine Customs and Culture, Buenos Aires City Attractions - 0 Comments

64788763 New Year in Buenos Aires

Much like Christmas, New Year is also a time for Porteños to spend with the family. Most families will get together at home so that they can enjoy plenty to eat and drink together. A traditional asado is very popular but at this time of year it can sometimes be far too hot and people may prefer to eat cold food such as salads and cold meats. Ensalada Rusa and vitel toné are very popular choices here in Argentina. When all of the family has arrived, it is time to enjoy the food and of course plenty to drink!

At midnight everyone celebrates the arrival of the New Year with a toast and the party continues into the early hours with music and dancing.

Some of the younger family members will leave the party to meet with friends at a club to continue the party. Most clubs open around 2am or 3am so it’s best to make other plans for the stroke of midnight. www.vuenosairez.com is a good place to start with all of the club listings to help you find an event to your taste.

Another option would be to make a booking at a restaurant, many of the cities restaurants will have special fixed menus for New Year but this can be expensive. Many hotels will also have this option on offer.

Puerto Madero is a good option with many restaurants and it is a perfect location to see the firework display on the river at midnight. There is usually a firework display at the Planetario in Palermo but you might want to check in advance as there are closures for refurbishment in January.

You could of course visit one of the city’s famous Tango houses which will be offering a dance show and fixed dinner menus for New Year’s Eve.

Public transport and taxis in the city on the will be very limited between 9pm and 3am so you should make alternative plans to ensure you don’t have to rely on public transport to get home – you may be left stranded!

New Year’s Day is very similar to 25 December in that it is a quieter day for relaxing and again meeting up with family to eat together in the afternoon. After another asado or maybe some left overs from the night before the family may enjoy some mate in the garden (If you haven’t yet tried the traditional Argentine drink known as mate, we have regular tasting sessions at the school where we can tell you all about the preparation etc. Ask at reception for more information). If anyone in the family has a pool at home, this is also a popular option for relaxing and staying cool.

However you choose to spend the 31st, we wish you a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you in 2016!

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Spending Christmas in Buenos Aires

Thursday, December 24, 2015 6:22

Categories - Argentine Customs and Culture - 0 Comments

In Argentina, Christmas is traditionally spent with family members and the main celebration takes place on Christmas Eve (Nochebuena). Families like to get together at home for a big meal and plenty to drink. Like any other party, it is polite to bring something with you as a contribution if you are a guest. Here, the family often agree in advance who should bring what, (e.g someone should bring the salad, another bring the wine and more often than not, the party is likely to be held by the person with the best grill!) Given the heat at this time of year, some prefer to eat cold food, (including the world famous Argentinian meat obviously!) but others will have the traditional asado. Another option is to eat out and some restaurants will offer a fixed price menu for Christmas Eve. This can be a little more expensive than usual and you will need to book in advance. Many tourists will be looking for somewhere to enjoy the festivities on Christmas Eve and some tango houses put on a show where you can enjoy good Argentinian food and music, so this is another alternative.

Navidad en Buenos aires Spending Christmas in Buenos Aires

At midnight everyone gathers to make a toast and maybe watch some fireworks before opening gifts. There will probably be fireworks all over the city at midnight including near the famous Obelisco which is always busy at any time for celebration. At around 2am, people start to return home and some will go on to other parties with friends or a nightclub. The clubs will open at around 2-3am and the parties continue into Christmas morning.

Public transport and taxis in the city on the 24th will be very limited between 9pm and 3am so you should bear this in mind.

Christmas Day is a more tranquil affair with many people sleeping off the excess from the night before. People tend to gather again for lunch with family and friends for maybe yet another asado or possible just to eat leftovers from the day before. You should also remember that most supermarkets and smaller shops will be closed on the 25th.

If you don’t have any plans want to look at options for restaurants or tango shows, then here are some options to help you find something suitable:

La Ventana offers a special show in the heart of San Telmo for Christmas Eve (and new year too) and you can make reservations online – www.laventanaweb.com/reservas

Piazolla Tango also offers a special evening of dancing, dinner and a party afterwards. You can find more information here –  www.piazzollatango.com/eventos.htm

Madero Tango offers a delicious Christmas Dinner, a tango show, a firework display on the river and the best view of Puerto Madero – www.maderotango.com

If tango is not your thing but you would still like to eat out, you may consider Parilla La Cabrera which was listed in Latin America´s 50 best restaurants in 2013, 2014 and 2015. They are located in Palermo and will be offering a special Christmas menu. You can find more information on their Facebook page, call them on 4832-5754 / 4831-7002. Cel: 11-2434-3333, or send an email to info@parrillalacabrera.com.ar

If you like Italian food, another option is Cucina D´Onore. They also offer a special Christmas menu which includes some drinks, a midnight Champagne toast and a ´mesa dulce´. More information at www.cucinadonore.com/promociones.php

If you would prefer to dance the night away in a Buenos Aires boliche, you can check the Christmas listings using this website where you are sure you find something to suit your tastes www.vuenosairez.com.

However you decide to spend Christmas this year, we hope you enjoy the holidays. Feliz Navidad!

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Easy Living: Buenos Aires Shopping Survival Guide

Thursday, February 5, 2015 14:28

Categories - Argentine Customs and Culture, Shopping - 1 Comment

Coming from the U.S., I’m used to having to drive everywhere or shlep my shopping bags around on the bus when I want to go out. Even living in mid-sized cities like Seattle, you can expect to have to travel quite a ways to find what you need to make dinner, treat a cold, or find a decent coffee. Often, people will make a weekly or biweekly drive to a giant one-size-fits-all supermarket/pharmacy/housewares store and stock up on groceries and everything else they need to survive without leaving the house.

Living in Buenos Aires, I’ve found that I have to change my shopping habits a little bit – but for the better, I think! In my neighborhood, San Telmo, there are tiny shops on every block where you can buy fruits & veggies, meat, bread and pastries, medicine, or snack foods. Many of these shops are basically identical to each other at first sight, but vary in quality when you get to know them. I’ve developed a loyalty to a certain verduleria that I swear always has the best peaches. You can try and find your favorite, or you can just pick whichever is most conveniently located! There is sure to be one type of every shop within a few blocks of wherever you are staying.

Kiosco – Convenience Store

Imagekiosco 300x199 Easy Living: Buenos Aires Shopping Survival Guide

These are literally everywhere, and I am using literally in the traditional sense of actually there are probably 4 on every single block. Kioscos are usually little hole in the wall places where you can buy junk food, candy, drinks, gum, cigarettes, beer… you name it. Many also sell cheap cell phones and SUBE cards (to be used on the subte, bus, and train), and have stations where you can add credit to both phones and cards. Sometimes you will see a “maxi-kiosco” or “super-kiosco,” which usually means they also sell panchos (hot dogs) and maybe have a few tables and chairs to sit down and eat. Kioscos often close their gates at a certain time every night, but this doesn’t mean they are closed! You just ask the clerk for whatever you want and they will bring it to you at the little window.

VerdulerĂ­as – Fruits & Vegetables

Verduleria 300x225 Easy Living: Buenos Aires Shopping Survival Guide

Exactly what it sounds like. This is where you find fresh fruits and vegetables. Surprisingly enough, you can also find high quality produce at Carrefour (a grocery store chain sort of reminiscent of QFC or Stop & Shop). The verdulerias are sometimes more expensive than Carrefour, but they are so darned cute and convenient! Some are self-serve, and some of them ask you to wait outside and tell them what you want (per kilo). I prefer the self-serve places because I like to pick out my own fruit (especially with peaches and avocadoes). There are also ferias itinerantes, which are sort of like farmer’s markets. Sometimes these can be much cheaper, but the quality isn’t necessarily better.

PanaderĂ­as – Bakeries

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Your local source for delightful pastries (facturas) and daily bread! The bread here is usually sold in rolls or small oval-ish loaves and is basically just white bread. The most common pastry is the medialuna. I prefer the medialuna de grasa, which is long and skinny and less sweet. Often panaderias are shockingly cheap – you can buy a small bread and a few pastries for $15 pesos (at current exchange rates, this comes out to about $1.50 USD). Of course the quality varies immensely – fancy places will of course charge more.

CarnicerĂ­a – Meat

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Very simple. These shops sell meat by the kilo. Popular cuts include lomo, bife de chorizo, and ojo de bife. Some carnicerias also sell sausages (chorizo comun, which is beef, or chorizo de cerdo, which is pork). I have heard that Carrefour has decent meat as well, which can be cheaper.

Farmacia – Pharmacy

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There is the local chain Farmacity, which is EVERYWHERE, and there are small corner shops as well. Here you can find everything you would expect to find at a pharmacy, as well as toiletries, cleaning products, herbal teas, etc.

HeladerĂ­a – Ice Cream Shop

 Easy Living: Buenos Aires Shopping Survival Guide

Instead of buying Ben & Jerry’s at the supermarket (not knocking Ben & Jerry’s here, just suggesting something else), peep your local artisanal ice cream shop – in addition to selling the traditional cones, they also sell ice cream to take home buy the ÂĽ kilo, ½ kilo, and kilo! You can ask for as many flavors as they can fit into the tub. Many places also deliver.

Mercado – Small Generic Supermarket

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They often have blue metal gates. More like a convenience store than a kiosco really, because kioscos are usually just tiny stands. These markets often have a huge selection of very cheap Argentine wine (and beer – Quilmes, of course). They also sell basic dry and canned goods, some housewares, toiletries, etc. Quality is not super great and sometimes they can be strangely expensive, but a definite must to stock up on cheap house wine. If you bring your empty beer bottles back, you get a few pesos knocked off a new bottle.

LavanderĂ­a – Laundromat

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For $28 pesos, you can haul a bag of laundry to a lavanderĂ­a, hand it through the window, and pick it up the next day washed, dried, folded, and placed into a bag.

The Do’s & Dont’s of Mate

Friday, January 2, 2015 11:33

Categories - Argentine Customs and Culture - 0 Comments

Pass the Mate

Mate. In Argentina, you are bound to hear the word mate in a conversation. Exploring South America, you are very likely to see people walking with a strange cup in one hand and a thermos in the other. Maybe you have tried it or you are curious to know what it is like. Most foreigners are apprehensive to try it because it’s so different and almost sacred to Argentineans. And then we learn that everyone shares the same cup. It’s a lot of culture in one little drink.

My first try was in the comfort of my own home but many people try mate in front of a group of Argentineans because it is, after all, a social drink. It can be embarrassing if you don’t know what to do because there seems to be so many rules! I’ve officially completed my right of passage with mate in Argentina–the day a person drinks mate alone for the very first time. It’s one of the proudest moments in a parent’s life, so I’m told. But preparing mate for a group of people is complicated to learn–what is the technique, the temperature, the etiquette?

Yerba mate, the tea-looking part, comes from the holly plant. As a traditional South American drink, it’s grown and sold in abundance. The leaves from the holly plant are dried and crushed to become yerba. The cup you put the yerba in is actually called the mate…a little tricky there. A mate cup is traditionally made of a type of gourd. The straw you drink from is called a bombilla. The bombilla acts as a filter sucking up the water and leaving behind the yerba. Never move or remove the straw when you are drinking…it’s considered rude and will mess up the yerba flow.

The person who prepares and serves the mate is called the cebador. The cebador will put hot but not boiling water (this is key, don’t let an Argentinean hear the kettle screaming) into the yerba-filled mate cup. I learned to pour the water slowly during the first pour as to let the water seep through the yerba correctly. The cebador will then take the first drink because it is usually cold or too bitter. Once it’s just right, you can pass it around.

Each person will drink all the water from the mate until you hear a sucking noise. This means all the water is gone. Many first-timers (myself included) just take a sip. Think about it–it makes sense to finish all the water. The cebador will refill the mate for each person. If you don’t want more, you say gracias and everyone will understand that you do not want any more. Don’t say gracias just to be polite and say thank you because it will be misinterpreted as I’m finished. So watch out for that additional tricky mate rule.

Mate can be amargo (bitter), dulce (sweet), tereré (with juice instead of water) or another variation. I like to add a little bit of azucar rubia to the water or perhaps some instant coffee if I want more energy for Spanish class. But I also like it bitter without anything added which surprises a lot of porteños. Mate is similar to coffee in the way that it is an acquired taste and the more you drink the more you become accustomed and truly enjoy it. Not only that, but it’s very social. Mate is offered almost instantly upon arriving at an Argentinean home.

And don’t be afraid to drink up! Mate is good for you. It has a fair amount of caffeine to wake you up but contains less than a cup of coffee. It also has antioxidants and a few vitamins and minerals such as iron and Vitamin B. Mate is most often served with galletitas (traditional Argentinean cookies) or facturas such as medialunas around 5, 6 or 7pm in between lunch and dinner. This is great if you are eating dinner according to Argentina time–around 9 or 10 pm!

Be sure to join one of Expanish’s mate tasting classes to learn more and try it for yourself!

TanjaMiletic 12 300x200 The Dos & Donts of Mate

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Fiestas vs. Holidays: Argentine traditions for Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 7:37

Categories - Argentine Customs and Culture - 0 Comments

It’s the Holidays -or Las Fiestas as they say in Argentina -a time for exchanging gifts, eating good food and being with friends and family. As foreigners, the tradition can be quite different to us. If you’re from the States (like me) or the UK, for example, it’s good to know what Christmas looks like in Buenos Aires, Argentina. First off, it’s summertime. Maybe Australians are used to the sun during Navidad but I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Second, the big day here is celebrated on the 24th as opposed to the 25th. Want to know more? Let me walk you through Las Fiestas so you don’t show up in a friend’s home bright and early while everyone is asleep.

tn galerias pacifico 300x225 Fiestas vs. Holidays: Argentine traditions for Christmas

December 24th: Christmas Eve to us. Some people are wrapping last minute gifts and listening to Christmas music, maybe having a nice dinner tonight, tomorrow, or both nights with family and setting out cookies for Santa. The kids go to bed early but are too excited for what’s in store in the morning to sleep. We get into our PJs with a cup of hot cocoa by the fire and perhaps open one gift early and watch Holiday movies. Nochebuena here in Argentina is when everybody gathers, usually in the parent’s home for a big dinner, perhaps a traditional asado, and drink good wine. They celebrate leading up to the midnight hour when they will have a brindis (a toast) consisting of cider and pan dulce. Then they begin opening all the presents. There will be fireworks and boliches full of the younger crowd celebrating with friends around 2am.

December 25th: This is the morning everyone has been sweating over. We wake up early, and if you’re a child, run straight to the tree and begin opening presents. You can have a big breakfast, call up family and spend the rest of the day visiting other people and exchanging gifts. The day is filled with delicious desserts, pies, and sparkling cider. In Argentina, everyone is asleep from the shenanigans the day before or outside soaking up the sun. Perhaps you will visit other people or have another asado.

December 26th: Today is a big shopping day once again. Many people are returning gifts or buying things on sale. For Argentina, perhaps it’s back to work.

January 6th: Just another day in the new year. We are starting New Year’s Resolutions and playing with our new gadgets. In Argentina, Las Fiestas has another day–the Day of the Wise Men. Children leave their shoes by the door and water and grass for the camels because the Three Kings are coming! More presents for the children come too in the following morning, those lucky kiddos! Then it’s back to reality for all of us.

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Navidad en Buenos Aires

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 6:47

Categories - Argentina Travel Info, Argentine Customs and Culture - 0 Comments

navidad en ba 1024x517 Navidad en Buenos Aires

Navidad es una de las fechas más especiales del año para todos los argentinos. Si vas a pasar esa noche en Buenos Aires, te contamos todo lo que necesitás saber para que sea inolvidable:

  • En Argentina es tradicional festejar Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) con una cena familiar la noche del 24 de Diciembre. Las reuniones suelen ser en una casa y es comĂşn que cada invitado lleve algo para comer o tomar. Es tradicional en la cena de Nochebuena comer comidas frĂ­as porque hace calor en las noches de verano, pero tambiĂ©n muchas familias eligen hacer un clásico asado. Normalmente se sirven ensaladas, carnes frĂ­as, huevos rellenos y de postre, ensalada de frutas o helado. Todos esperan hasta las 12 de la noche para brindar, ver los shows de fuegos artificiales y abrir todos los regalos. Con el brindis es muy tradicional comer pan dulce, frutas secas y turrones. DespuĂ©s de brindar, los más jĂłvenes se despiden de sus familias y se reĂşnen con amigos para festejar toda la noche. Los boliches abren alrededor de las 2 am y la fiesta sigue hasta la mañana siguiente.
  • El dĂ­a de Navidad las familias en Argentina se reĂşnen para almorzar, normalmente un asado o sobras de la noche anterior. Es un dĂ­a más tranquilo que el 24, donde todos aprovechan para relajarse y disfrutar de un dĂ­a al aire libre. Hay que tener en cuenta que la mayorĂ­a de lugares comerciales están cerrados durante el dĂ­a (supermercados, shoppings, etc).
  • Es importante saber que durante la noche del 24 y la mayor parte del 25 los transportes pĂşblicos funcionan con servicios reducidos. Durante la madrugada del 25 es difĂ­cil conseguir colectivos y taxis, por lo que recomendamos planear con anticipaciĂłn los recorridos.
  • Si estás pensando en cenar en un restaurante para Navidad, es importante reservar con anticipaciĂłn. La mayorĂ­a ofrecen un menĂş con comida tradicional navideña a un precio fijo. Es normal que los restaurantes en esas noches especiales pidan algĂşn dinero por adelantado para hacer la reserva.

Si todavía no tenés planes para pasar Navidad en Buenos Aires, acá hay algunas buenas opciones para tener en cuenta:

  • Cena al ritmo del tango: Nada más tradicional en Buenos Aires que una noche de tango. Algunas opciones para hacer en Navidad son:

La Ventana: Ofrecen una cena show especial para Navidad en el corazón de San Telmo. Se puede reservar online acá: http://www.laventanaweb.com/

La Viruta: La tradicional milonga porteña abre sus puertas a partir de la medianoche para ir a bailar tango. Más información en http://www.lavirutatango.com/

Piazzolla Tango: Ofrecen cena show de tango y una fiesta con DJ para después de la medianoche. Información y reservas en http://www.piazzollatango.com/

  • Cena en un restaurante: Una opciĂłn clásica para compartir la cena navideña con argentinos y extranjeros. Si tenĂ©s algĂşn restaurante favorito, podĂ©s averiguar si ofrecen algĂşn menĂş navideño. Si no, acá hay algunas opciones:

Rodizio: Para vivir la llegada de Navidad frente al rĂ­o, Rodizio ofrece un menĂş de cena show, fuegos artificiales a la medianoche y DJ para musicalizar. Pueden contactarlos en http://rodizio.com.ar/promos/

La Cabrera: Navidad a puro asado. Esta reconocida parrilla de Palermo propone un menú con la mejor carne de Buenos Aires y un brindis navideño a la medianoche. Para más información: http://www.parrillalacabrera.com.ar/

Cucina D´onore: Una opción de comida italiana en Puerto Madero y un brindis con mesa dulce incluído. Más información en http://www.cucinadonore.com/promociones.php

  • Cena en los hoteles más lindos de Buenos Aires: Para una noche más especial, los hoteles más lujosos de la ciudad abren sus puertas en la noche de Navidad. ConocĂ© algunas opciones:

Alvear Palace Hotel: El famoso hotel de Recoleta ofrece una cena de 7 pasos en su restaurante La Bourgogne. El 25 de Diciembre van a servir un brunch navideño con opciones para niños y adultos. Pueden contactarse con ellos a través de su Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alvearpalacehotel

Hilton Buenos Aires: Proponen un menú de 5 pasos en su restaurante El Faro. Al estar ubicado en Puerto Madero, es un punto ideal para ver los shows de fuegos artificiales. Para más información: https://www.facebook.com/HiltonBuenosAires

Sheraton Buenos Aires: El hotel ofrece una cena con show sorpresa, brindis, regalos para los más pequeños y fiesta con DJ toda la noche en su Salón Retiro. Información y contacto en https://www.facebook.com/SheratonBuenosAires

  • Salir a bailar: DespuĂ©s de la medianoche, los boliches abren sus puertas para bailar hasta el amanecer. Estas son algunas de las opciones para la noche de Navidad (recuerden que para esta fecha los porteños salen más tarde que las noches normales porque es tradicional pasar tiempo con la familia antes)

X Mas Tattersall: Una de las fiestas más exclusivas de la noche porteña. Se puede ir a cenar o directamente a la fiesta, que ofrece performances y Djs en vivo toda la noche. Para más información: https://www.facebook.com/events/940130252683597/

Pacha: Para quienes disfrutan la música electrónica, Pacha es ideal para vivir la madrugada navideña bailando frente al río. Más información de su evento en http://www.vuenosairez.com/ar/ciudad-de-buenos-aires/agenda/pig-dan-en-buenos-aires/115890

Hipólito Club: Para una noche más informal, en Hipólito Club habrá una fiesta con entrada gratis hasta las 3 am. Más información: http://www.vuenosairez.com/ar/ciudad-de-buenos-aires/agenda/acid-party-fiesta-de-la-flor/115892

¿Vas a pasar Navidad en Buenos Aires? ¡Contanos tus planes!

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Watching TV in Argentina

Friday, November 28, 2014 13:25

Categories - Argentine Customs and Culture - 1 Comment

It’s easy to talk about the movies in Argentina, the nightlife or the music—all of which have a lot to say for themselves. The movies have their ups and down, the nightlife never ends and the music is very diverse. But what about the television? Let’s imagine that you have some free time in Buenos Aires. You turn on the TV and what do you see? My first few times watching the television here—or tele as they say—it seemed filled with a lot of fast-talking game-shows and voiced-over movies but I have come to like some of the programs (see #2!). I have never been a huge fan of watching TV in my spare time but I think we can all agree that it is good Spanish practice!

So what are the hip programs to view and do as the porteños do? The following top programs are all part of a channel called El Trece (Channel 13). Turn to El Trece for some quintessential Argentine television.

Showmatch 2014: A TV show very similar to Dancing With the Stars. It’s a huge hit often just called Tinelli after the name of the host and producer. Give this show a chance to see Argentinean culture, celebrities, fashion, and dancing.

showmatch 300x200 Watching TV in Argentina

Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 22:45 to 00:15

A Todo o Nada + Los 8 Escalones: These two shows are Argentinean game shows at their best and are hosted by the same guy. A Todo o Nada is a day-time draining-your-daily-worries-away game show that spitfires new contestants playing to win a new car, ipad or money in many different and often silly situations. Los 8 Escalones is a nighttime game show much like an easier and quicker version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Contestants must answer 8 questions correctly to get to the final showdown against a very intelligent celebrity.

04205 tv entretenimientos 8 escalones 4 300x150 Watching TV in Argentina

(A Todo o Nada) Monday through Friday from 18:45 to 20:00 and Friday from 21:15 to 22:45

(Los 8 Escalones) Saturday from 20:15 to 22:00 and Sunday from 20:30 to 22:15

Guapas: Sex & the City meets New Girl with this hit TV show for the ladies. Watch this show to see the Argentinean lifestyle acted out on screen with tears and laughter.

guapas 300x168 Watching TV in Argentina

Monday through Wednesday from 21:00 to 21:45 and Thursday from 21:15 to 22:45

Or head to http://www.eltrecetv.com.ar/ to watch online and see other shows!

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