Sunday, September 29, 2013

Checking Out Cordoba, Argentina's 2013 Book Fair

Every year, the province of Cordoba holds a book fair in Plaza San Martin. The fair is sponsored by the provincial government, Holiday Inn, and local banks. You’ll find all types of genres like science fiction, suspense, horror, young adult, romance, religious, anime, graphic novels, cookbooks, college textbooks and children’s books.
There's a café in one of the tents, where people can sit a bit and read the book they purchased, but unfortunately, I found nothing to read in English. 
The only thing you’re not likely to find is an abundance of books written in international languages, such as English. Novels like Interview with the Vampire, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Twilight, City of Bones, or Vampire Diaries are only available in Spanish.
Even if books don’t interest you that much, take some time to do a little sightseeing in Plaza San Martin in the evening. It's beautiful. 
The book fair, known as Feria de Libros, is held in the beginning of September and lasts about two weeks. So, mark your calendars for 2014 and check it out! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

ConComics Argentina 2013: Meeting Jason Faunt, The Red Time Force Ranger

Well... it’s that time of the year when people start behaving like characters from The Big Bang Theory. I’m talking about the Comic Con… or rather ConComics Argentina 2013! 
Click play on the video above to see what the 2013 convention was like.

Last year’s ConComics was not up to par with the Comic Cons in the States, and I was a little nervous that we might have been wasting our money buying tickets for this event. In 2012, many people, including myself, had complained on the ConComics site that the event was too small and didn’t offer enough recognizable celebrity guests. Well, they must have listened because the 2013 ConComics in Cordoba, Argentina was filled with merchandise and people from different provinces. 
There were more pins, memorabilia and T-shirts from various films, TV shows and anime, and since we had a lot more spending money this year, we splurged! 
Before we went, I put on my Doctor Who socks, and my Dalek t-shirt in honor of this year’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary. My spouse, Zach wore a Tardis t-shirt to show his support as well. 
Cosplay is a big thing in this event. A lot of people are quite inventive when it comes to making their own costumes. 
Of course, the biggest event, at least for me, was meeting celebrity guest Jason Faunt. Jason starred on Power Rangers Time Force as Wes Collins, the Red Ranger, and also his future counterpart, Alex. He was the coolest. He answered fan questions and he took his time in getting to know his fans. He took photos with everyone and signed just about anything. If people didn’t have, or couldn’t afford a photo of him, he’d sign the back of cell phones and even blank paper. He was even kind enough to allow me to film a shout out to my friend Joey in Colorado, who is also a fan. Jason’s autograph line was the longest of all the other guests, but that wasn't a surprise to anyone.   

Click play on the video to watch Jason Faunt answer questions on stage.
I’d say that this was quite an enjoyable Comic Con convention for both of us, and I look forward to an even bigger convention (hopefully) in 2014 with more amazing guests like Jason Faunt. 
For now, we'll cherish the memories of holding light sabers, and joining Umbrella Corporation and taking down zombies.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

American Expats in Buenos Aires: Day 3 and 4 – Multicultural Observations And Racism

We spent days 3 and 4 of our Buenos Aires trip sightseeing and taking photographs. Along the way, we found some theaters, which reminded us a bit of Broadway in Manhattan. In fact, there seemed to be more plays than movie cinemas. 
We found a Cuban restaurant called “Oye Chico!” (translated as “Hey kid!”), which is a common phrase used by Cubans. My spouse and I love Cuban food. Being from Miami, I got the chance to eat lots of Cuban food growing upUnfortunately, I didn't think I'd ever get the chance to eat any again, unless I made it myself. So this seemed like the right opportunity to try something we hadn’t had in the 15 months we’d been in Argentina. 
It didn’t quite work out though because the restaurant was closed during the day. It only seemed to be open at night, so we told ourselves we’d come back. Unfortunately, we didn’t. We ran into this amazing pizza place at night called UGI’S. It is the first pizza place in Argentina that does brick oven style pizza right! It has the taste and texture of a NY style pizza (minus the pepperoni). So in lieu of “Oye Chico!”, we chose to buy a pizza at UGI’s and take it back to the hotel. 

On our final day, we had to check out by noon, but since our train didn’t leave until 8:30 that night, Hotel Mundial was kind enough to hold our bags for us so we wouldn't have to drag them around the city all day.

We needed to charge our phones and MP3 players so that we’d have something to keep us entertained on our long train ride back to Cordoba, but the plugs we brought were incompatible. So, we asked around and learned that a lot of the electronic mom and pop shops around the city are owned by members of the Asian community. There are a lot more Asians in Buenos Aires than in Cordoba, which meant there were Asian buffet restaurants like in the States. As tempted as we were to eat in one, we decided not to eat at an Asian buffet because we were going to be stuck on a train for 21 hours. We didn’t want to eat too heavy for the trip back.

We also noticed that there were more black people in Buenos Aires than in Cordoba. Unfortunately, with the added mixture of different cultures comes racism. As I was walking by a building I saw a graffiti sign stating “Negros Toxico”, which translates to blacks are toxic.

Update: One reader posted on the comments below that the reference to the word "Negro" isn't so much related to someone's skin color, but to the poor, particularly those called "villeros". 
That’s not the only disturbing type of graffiti I’d found. Now, it’s no secret that some Argentinians have anti-American and anti-British ways of thinking. Although I’d never seen this type of graffiti in Cordoba, there was one that said, “No a la ley anti-terrorista”, which translates to “Say no to anti-terrorist laws”. This, as I understood it, was basically showing support for terrorism. 
As I passed an HSBC Bank, which is a British bank, I saw that someone had spray painted the words “Fuera Ingleses”, which roughly translates as “British, leave!” 
Buenos Aires was a lot like home in NY. It was more commercialized. People spent more and there was more cultural diversity. Despite, some of the racist graffiti, I’d like to point out that we were never discriminated against and we never saw anyone being discriminated during our 4-day stay. In fact, for the most part, the people of Buenos Aires were quite friendly and more open-minded than our host province. 
 It’s funny though. For the first time since I came to Argentina, Cordoba felt like home and I couldn’t wait to get back to it. I love Buenos Aires, but I definitely was looking forward to the calmer, not-so-hectic lifestyle of the province of Cordoba. 
I’ll be posting a video of footage I took in Buenos Aires soon. So keep checking back… and as always, thank you to everyone around the world for supporting my blog. 

Related Posts:
American Expats in Buenos Aires: Day 1 - The Arrival

American Expats in Buenos Aires: Day 2 - The Search for KFC and Wendy's

Racism in Argentina