Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 2: Buenos Aires Bike Tour

Biking through Buenos Aires
We got up early to catch breakfast downstairs and then headed to the common room to meet with Mariano and Jimena, the volunteer coordinator from Voluntario Global. This nonprofit places volunteers all over Buenos Aires where they work in different areas such as education, health, community building, and sustainable development. Mariano and Jimena told us about the income inequality in Buenos Aires and how the poor struggle everyday to make ends meet. We were told that we were going to volunteer in a community center called "Jardín Los Pinitos." The owner of this center, Cecilia, volunteered her house to function as a daycare center for the poorest families in her low-income neighborhood. Our service project was going to consist of cleaning up and renovating the backyard area to provide a safe, fun environment for the children to play in. We were all super excited to be able to work with children!
After our meeting with Jimena and Mariano, we geared up to go on a bike tour of Buenos Aires. Our guide, Amelia let us pick out our bikes and we set off to ride around the city.
We stopped at La Plaza de Mayo, where La Casa Rosada (otherwise known as the Presidential Palace) is located. We learned about the history of the city, including the Fascist period of Argentina's history, where thousands were killed and even more disappeared. It was fascinating to learn about this aspect of Argentina's past. To this day, women who have lost loved ones gather in the Plaza every Sunday with candles and pictures to demand action against these crimes that still remain unresolved. 
We rode through San Telmo, Puerto Madero and stopped in La Boca. This little section of the city was founded by Italian immigrants many, many years ago. It is a colorful, lively area with lots of history and culture. There were performers dancing tango all around us and little stores were open selling souvenirs to eager tourists. This area is also home to the La Bombonera, the soccer stadium belonging to one of the two most prominent league soccer teams in the country. 
It was a rainy, cold ride back from our bike tour. It was certainly exhausting to see so much of Buenos Aires in a matter of a couple of hours. We got back to Milhouse, washed up, had a lovely dinner and a good night's sleep. 

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