Day 20

Day 20: An extended national holiday

In Argentina, the National Flag Day (June 20th) is a movable holiday that falls on a Monday so that you always end up with a three-day weekend. So this year it was moved to June 21st to fall on a Monday. This meant no photography class.

I followed the sunim to a person’s house who makes ceremonial Korean food for weddings to eat empanadas. It’s very expensive to order this ceremonial Korean food because there are very few people who specialize in it here, and since it’s for a wedding, they demand a lot of money. I don’t know how accurate this is, but according to the ceremonial food maker and the sunim, engaged Korean couples customarily announce their wedding by advertising the ceremony in the local Korean newspapers–not by sending out invitations. I think that’s crazy, because then just anybody can come to your wedding. But I guess since the Korean community is pretty small here, you pretty much know everybody; so I guess you kind of don’t mind if just anybody comes…?

She made empanadas with corn and ricotta cheese; I couldn’t eat a lot because I can’t eat ricotta.

After talking about how people spend crazy amounts of money on wedding ceremonies, we decided to take a remis over to the Japanese Garden in Recoleta, since the streets weren’t that busy due to the thee-day weekend.

The Japanese Garden was pretty disappointing; it felt very artificial and was not well-kept. I would definitely not have paid 8 pesos to visit it if I knew this before.

a very disappointing Japanese garden in Recoleta

We then decided to walk over to the cemetery in Recoleta but ended up walking the wrong way and had to take the colectivo there. To our surprise, the feria was open at Recoleta because it was a holiday! I ended up spending all of my money at the feria and didn’t even have enough money to take the subte back home. Luckily, the sunim had some money. : )

Recoleta Cemetery

the Duarte family mausoleum

But before we went home, we went over to the cemetery to go see Eva Peron’s mausoleum (I saw it before, but the sunim hadn’t). We wandered around for a while and couldn’t find it– and just as we were giving up (since it was closing time), we found it! Unfortunately, the lighting was bad so I couldn’t take a decent picture of it. But while we were walking around searching for Eva Peron, there were all of these fat cats just lounging about in the cemetery. I thought it was because there might be a lot of mice in a cemetery, but then as we were walking, I noticed that someone had put out cat food on certain mausoleums. I had taken out my camera and the smell of the ricotta and corn empanadas (that the lady had given us to take home) wafted out of my bag. I started noticing that all of the cats started following me like mad– at first, I thought it was just because they thought I was a cool person : ), but then it became creepy and they all started meowing at me. I realized that they wanted those empanadas that I couldn’t even digest– I started to quickly walk away from them and accidentally ended up kicking a cat while trying to get away. It was such an eerie experience in a cemetery. I don’t want it to happen again. Never again. I was so creeped out the whole time that I had the sunim hold my camera bag so that I wouldn’t be swarmed again. And the cats had such smug faces. It’s just too much for me.

a smug face

fat cats!

Anyhow, we made it back to 109 and went to “Kul,” a Korean restaurant frequented by the younger crowd, apparently. It’s located in Bajo Flores, at the corner of Avenida Carabobo and Zuviria.

The exterior is covered with green bars and the windows are tinted so that you can’t look into the restaurant. Thus, the restaurant always looks closed. It’s also only open for dinner, and not according to the Argentine dinner schedule, mind you. We went there and ate kimchi-chi-gae (kimchi stew). I thought it was rather expensive; 60 pesos for the stew. That’s about USD $15. But the stew was enough for two persons, so in that sense, it wasn’t that expensive. The atmosphere/interior is pretty low-key– and somewhat not very inviting. But nothing here is really inviting because everything is covered in bars and fences and security cameras lurk everywhere because theft is so common, it seems. But the food was good and authentic, and a lot of local Korean-Argentines do go there to eat.

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