Blog by Sarah Jacobs:
On New Year’s Eve, we traveled on the bus to Mar del Plata far longer than we anticipated because all of Buenos Aires wanted to celebrate New Year’s at the beach to bring in the new year. After finally arriving, several of us went to put our toes in the sand and to test out the temperature of the water. After our team dinner, we ventured down to the beach. The coaches broke out the champagne, many pictures were taken, and we counted down to the New Year. Fireworks were exploding; people were cheering and yelling €œYa Hop!€ There was no better way to celebrate New Years than with your whole team, it was a wonderful experience! It seems that New Years a lot of times is built up to be better than it usually is but not this time, as we were in a foreign place and just got to enjoy our time together. After the toast everyone somehow went separate ways and by the end of the night most people had to walk several blocks because the cabs were nowhere to be found. Anyone in heels immediately regretted wearing them.
We woke up on New Years day to find rain and overcast skies; this was clearly no way to enjoy a beach day. Several of us rode on the bus to see if we could find something of interest. They took us to these cliffs along the beach, which were absolutely beautiful. After taking several photos, venturing out on the rocks and enjoying the views, we made our way home to relax. There was quite a bit of walking involved, and everything was closed until late in the afternoon. The sun came out for a while and some people got to enjoy the beach. After a while, the clouds came in, and we were unexpectedly met with a torrential downpour. We booked it back to the hotel to stay happy and dry. That night, we went to a disco called Coyote Ugly. We had dinner there and were serenaded by a mariachi band. My birthday is coming up on the 6th, so when the mariachi band asked if anyone had a birthday you can imagine whose name everyone was chanting. I don’t speak Spanish but I was able to figure out they wanted me to go up on stage, wear a sombrero, and dance as they sang a song to me. After the show, a group of us stayed and went to the disco area. It was the coolest place! There were many different bars and clubs located around a jungle-themed common outdoor area. Each bar and club played different types of music. We danced up a storm and caught the attention of some of the locals with our moves.
On January 2nd, we were finally able to travel to the beach and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky! We took a bus to a nicer beach which they said would get crowded by the end of the day, and they were certainly right about that. After slathering on sunscreen, several of us laid around to tan, read, and relax. If we were in the states we would be in cold weather and several layers; it was a blast that we were able to actually be in swim suits and sun and no longer have to be pale and ghostly looking. About six of us decided to take a surf lesson in the afternoon. Lessons were very inexpensive, and it was definitely one of the best parts of the trip!! We had 2 cute instructors who first made us do a warm up lap by running up and down the beach and then we had to stretch. After learning the proper technique on the sand, we were able to finally get out in the water. The instructors pushed us to help us catch a wave. Everyone was able to stand, if not on the first try, then at least by the third. A few of us were able to do it without their help! Coach and a few others got some great pictures of us both surfing and wiping out. It was so much fun and such an adrenaline rush!! By the end of the day, several people took themselves home because many of us had pretty bad sunburns. The sun down here It didn’t feel that bad when we were out there. The rest of us stayed and enjoyed a live reggae show while sitting on the beach. The coaches and Chad made a crocodile in the sand and in seashells we wrote JHU FH. After all this we went home and a lot of us took long naps to attempt to forget about our burns. After going out to dinner, we went to a disco on one of the most popular streets where the nightlife is happening. We got in relatively early and enjoyed hanging out and some dancing. By the end of the night, there was not a line to get in but a huge mob to get it. There were people everywhere, both inside the disco and outside on the streets! We caught a taxi home and called it a night at about 3:30. I had to sprint ahead of some people to get a taxi! People were still arriving at this point to go to the bars as we were going home. The late nightlife here is unreal and this is coming from me, a night owl. People do not go to bed until the sunrises!
It has been a great adventure so far. Everyday seems so long because we put so much into the days. I am going to sleep very, very well when I get home. It has been so much fun to be with the team and enjoying this experience and culture!