Feb 25, 2009

argentina stuff

Without any superdeep reflection on how it has been here so far, here are some keywords that have caught my attention in this universe called “Argentina”:

Beunos Aires. Crazy big, 12 million inhabitants, the closest place with some nature is at least 100km any direction (yeah yeah go ahead, google it in google maps:)). But at the same time its colorful and bright and entertaining and fun, there’s raw life there and vivacity far from that you can see in Europe. All the street artists and fairs in the weekends, grand buildings and wooden underground trains, huge parks and lovely cemeteries (islands of peace in the middle of hectic capital life) – it’s all making an incredible endless mixture. I can’t say it I love it or that it’s a must see, but I respect this place for what it is.

Mate. The South American herbal tea that they consume in extraordinary amounts is a thing people in here cannot live without. You can hardly see anyone without his mate cup, a thermos (they bring the hot or cold water with them wherever they go so they can prepare another shot of mate), sugar and yerba which is the actual tea. They drink it from a little cup (that have many different sizes and designs and materials it is made of) from a metal straw, passing it one to each other. Be aware if you do it for the first time coz there are certain unwritten rules you have to know and fallow in order not to offend the one preparing mate (we already have done some serious mistakes that would not be forgiven if we weren’t foreigners)
Mate is so huge in here that they don’t drink any other hot drinks which gives a hard time for people like me who are addicted to coffee. But the whole thing about mate is not about mate actually (something from the story about THIS actually being about THAT) It is about being together, sharing something very basic and common, asi f saying – ok, eveni f i dont know you that well, mate can be one thing we have in common.
And sometimes the best stories are shared exactly there, with a mate cup in your hand.

Siesta. Around noon here everything stops. Life freezes in the sun and heat. Shops close, buses do not go so often anymore, and people go for a nap. It is not possible to work, call it lazy if you will, but I am with them on this – after lunch I go to sleep. It is quite challenging for my western “you have to be effective” soul, but on the other hand – I won’t be the one to give up a nap when I am officially allowed to take it in the middle of the day.

Helado. Ice-cream. The best I have had. Ever. You walk into an ice-cream place, and there are like 40 different flavors to choose from, and you get a head ache from exercising your freedom of choice. Awesome. Plain awesome.

Murga. Something really weird and therefore even more captivating. Murga is like a street carnival but not really, like a parade done by people of all kinds and ages, a huge celebration for low and middle class people. They close the whole street, grab huge drums, dress themselves up in a colorful, clown-like costumes and dance in a line, doing some very “interesting” (I am using this word simply because I cant think of anything else that could describe this better) moves. At times it all together seems almost like something religious, the moves keep repeating and drums go faster and faster… another thing is that all hundreds and hundreds of people who are there are spraying soap foam onto each other, literally. It’s crazy and it’s fun, and we happened to be right in the middle of that.

It’s a different world out here. Don’t come unprepared