Ben McGuire – Argentina

Argentina feels like a good fit for me.  The first thing I was told after getting off the plane was that “Argentinians care about two things, Carne and futbol”.  Never have truer words been spoken.  After 35 hours awake, I didn’t sleep.  I went to a soccer game.  To watch my host, Luciano, play.  It went…alright.  For lunch I tried what is likely to be my number one love for this trip–Milenesa Napolitana.  This is thin veal that has been breaded and fried to perfection and then covered in tomato sauce and melted cheese; a meat pizza.  Dinner is always late in Argentina so I had some time to wait.   The next day I got to eat asado, the favored food in Argentina.  It is several cuts of meat from flank steak to pork belly, all cooked over a grill of charcoal.  It was amazing, cooked to perfection.

The following week I was allowed a day out of school to follow the rugby team to a tournament.   This was a new experience for me.  First off rugby, which is not huge in the United States, and secondly the whole atmosphere surrounding the tournament.  Teams are incredibly intense, and the sport is incredibly taxing on the players.  Also we went to several art museums in Buenos Aires, the Malba and the national fine arts museum. Both were beautiful with a fantastic collection of paintings, including Frida Kahlo and Francisco Goya.

Lastly, my arrival was timed with the Copa America.  The day before and the day after a game, there is nothing that people here talk about other than that.  Soccer is so important to the public that politicians wait for the team to win before delivering news.  Last night the finals happened, and Argentina lost in penalty kicks to Chile.  As a result, Messi quit along with much of the team.  The city was distraught.  I have never seen such passion for a game before, not even the Bay Area’s love for the Warriors.  It has been an amazing experience here and I will be sad to leave someday.