As a latino male, I didn’t expect the type of culture shock I would experience in Buenos Aires. While the pasta and pizza joints on every block are a wonderful representation of Argentina’s Italian influence, I’ve seen and met a lot of people that lead me to believe that Argentina is evolving into an even more culturally rich country. There are new and old incomers from South American neighbors like Colombia, Ecuador, and other Latin American countries. To offer a glimpse into this, I want to tell you about some of my favorite go-to joints, where I feel at home.
I had to start my list off with my favorite place in Buenos Aires. Everything in this place is pretty special. From the Ecuadorian and Argentine flags which merge along the walls, to the Afro-Latino Art, and the books on intersectional activism on the shelves. I’ll never forget my first time eating here, After giving thanks to the owner, we ended up having a conversation about what it means to be Afro-Latino in Argentina, the country’s history, and about our preserving the culture. It felt so good to have some of these conversations in a place that already started to feel like home. I went home with plantain chips (my favorite), well fed, and smiling ear to ear from as if I just left my grandparents house. That was just the beginning. Like my grandparents house, Rincon Ecuatoriano became a safe place I know I could always go, feel loved, get fed incredible food, hear great music, and spend time with wonderful people. I spent countless weekend mornings here laughing and eating with people that became another family.
Epa La Arepa:
The picture above is of my Best Friend from St. Olaf trying his first Arepa. His study abroad group arrived here on the 21st, and I had to take him to one of my favorite spots. Like Rincon Ecuatoriano, the recognizable salsa beats, as soon as you walk in, and the arroz con habichuelas make me feel like I’m at home. This place has dishes influenced by countries all over South America with some great salsa too (something that was hard to find in Buenos Aires). The color scheme that matches the Colombian Flag only adds to the experience. I probably had one too many arepas in this joint. It also helped that it was so close to the IES Abroad Building.
Imperio Flow Barbershop:
When I first got to Buenos Aires, I was worried about where I could get my haircut. For Black and Latino men, the line-up on your haircut is sacred (kinda kidding...not really though). Anyways, when I stepped into my new barbershop and heard Willie Colon (Puerto Rican Salsa Singer) playing, and the crowd and staff of Dominicans, Venezuelans, and Colombians, I knew I was going to get a good haircut. It was also great to be able to blend in a bit more too.
The one and only: El Alamo. So many memories were made in this Resto-Bar, so many friendships solidified, and long nights with great laughs. The staff here is representative of Latin America as a whole and the food reflects that well. Many nights spent here getting to know locals and American Expats made me feel like the Piano Man from that one Billy Joel song. Salsa, Cumbia, Reggaeton, and even some Green Day blared from this place. What more can you ask for? At El Alamo, you can find people from all over, this meant a lot to me because it was an incredibly fun place where I didn’t feel out of place.
Mainstream Buenos Aires isn’t always representative of everyone here in this big city. Therefore, I felt out of place a lot of times. However, these are some of the places that meant the most to me in the city where I could go and just be another guy in the room.
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<p>I love coffee, friends, and exploring new places. I would love to write and publish a book where I learn more about some of the most unheard voices in places around the world. Hearing new stories and visiting new places are two of my favorite experiences.</p>