Sunday 26 November 2017

A spoonful of sugar.

Tunes from the musical Mary Poppins have been running through the house for the past six weeks.  For the past couple of years the school presents a concert in English.  This year they decided to do a slightly abridged version of Mary Poppins and Talluah said that she would help out with the organisational side of things.

Indiana took on the role of Mary Poppins, Truce had multiple roles as Ellen the housekeeper, the birdwoman, the flower giver and a townsperson for the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious dance.  Depp's grade were the toys in the nursery for the Spoonful of sugar number.  Depp loved his toy bear costume so much that he wore it all the next day while he played in the back yard.  All three children did a spectacular job and have made us very proud.

Indiana made the bird umbrella and the carousel horses from paper mache as well as help create some of the backdrops.

Talluah worked tirelessly with the music, dance, English and curriculum teachers to bring together a production that had children from the Kinder 3 class all the way to grade 12 being on stage at some time.  At the end of the night people were raving about how spectacular the whole show was.

As I was the curtain puller I could only take photos from one position so there are plenty of profile shots.  

Friday 10 November 2017

A traditional day in Argentina

November 10th marks the birthday poet of Jose Hernandez.  Jose wrote a very famous poem about the spirit of the gaucho (Argentine cowboys).  The day is celebrated across the nation with asados, traditional dances, rodeos and cultural events.

The primary school students all presented some style of traditional dance for the parents and later we were invited to eat our body weight in empanadas.  

Sunday 5 November 2017

Polo for beginners.

Polo is a very popular sport here and our friend Lucy drove us to a town called 25 de Mayo (the 25th of May) to watch some weekend polo.  It felt like a little bit of time travel as we went from one town named after a date to another.

It was a beautiful spring day and the riders were in top form.  We watched a poor defenceless, once round, ball being chased and bashed about the field by thundering hoofbeats. 

Later on we went out to Silvina and Alejandro's farm and the kids were able to play hide and seek in the wheat fields.  This is one of the main differences between here and Australia.  Our immediate concern was that there might be snakes in the fields but we needn't worry.  We had to explain that we always have to be cautious rummaging around woodpiles, playing in long grass or turning over sheets of tin.  Here, the kids can play happily in the bush lands as there are no dangerous snakes here.

Saturday 21 October 2017

A day in el campo.

Many of the families here have un campo in el campo.  Which means they have a farm in the countryside.  While we have access to a car we were able to accept an invitation to el campo.

Rosario and Juan's farm is about an hour out of 9 de Julio along a series of unnamed dirt roads.  Depp was immediately ecstatic because Alejo had brought along two hockey sticks so they could play some one on one.

We were getting ready to go for a horse ride when Juan saw a snake going under the cattle grid.  He said that it was safe.  Because we come from Australia we had to ask him several times if it really was safe as Australian snakes are able to bite through a tin can and hot wire cars.  Indiana dived her hand in the leaf litter and pulled out the snake.  Juan and the farm hand were shocked that Indiana wasn't afraid of catching a snake.

Part of the tour included going into the dairy while the cows were being milked.  We must have had tickets to the cheap seats because we were right at the tail end of the cows and Mooton's 4th Law of Grass Consumption states that what goes in eventually must come out.  We tried to scamper out of the splatter zone but several jeans and few exposed bits of skin received some moosturiser.   

There were three horses saddled for us to take a short ride.  This is the second time that Indiana has been on a horse and she seems to have developed a love for horse riding.  Depp, who has a fear of doing new things, didn't want to go on the horse so we told him to just sit there for a picture, but the light wasn't right so we had to move the horse a few metres. 

After I took him for a little walk he said that he would like to go a little bit further.  This is one boy who needs a love shove when it comes to new things.

Sunsets here are long and slow with vivid colours.  The night ended with an asado (BBQ).  Our hosts told us while we were eating at around 8 o'clock that, that was the time they usually light the fire for their asado.  Argentine people eat dinner much later and we are constantly asked if we are hungry when we go to bed.

We can't thank Juan and Rosario enough for their hospitality in el campo.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

The day Vegemite came to 9 de Julio

There are two camps in Australia.  On one side you have the people who love Vegemite and can eat it at any time of the day.  The other camp is for people who think that Vegemite is a good substitute for when you run out of shoe polish.

Talluah's parents brought over some Vegemite and Tim-Tams for the locals to try (the latter will be shared more discerningly than the former).

We met the Argentineans half way by putting the Vegemite on chorri pan, the local bread.  As expected there were mixed responses from one student saying, "I love it.  It tastes like beer and chorizo sausage." - to students and teachers agreeing that it is salty while trying to hold it in their cheek until we had turned around.

The Tim-Tams, for those lucky enough to try some of our small supply agreed that Tim-Tams are indeed a gift from the Greek god of sweet biscuits, Chocola.

Jim and Colleen were treated to a Los Ciebos art show while they were here and we were all impressed by the exposure and quality of the art work done by Depp and his peers.

The children receive inspiration from a graffiti artist in Bs As, a Japanese artist and a Russian abstract artist. 

Saturday 14 October 2017

Delta del Tigre

The Tigre Delta is a 45 minute train ride from the capital's Retiro train station on the Mitre line.  With a Sube card the cost of the journey is around 6 pesos and goes direct to the Tigre station.  There is a second option using the Tren de la Costa but it has mixed reviews on the internet, costs more and takes longer. Once at the Tigre station it's just a case of follow the crowds and the river to see the sights.  Outside the train station is a 3D map of the town with Braille information.

A few hundred metres from the train station is a row of tour boats offering anything from an hour excursion to full day trips.  It's just a case of finding the one that suits your budget and time requirements.  Our boat didn't charge for Depp and thought that exhaust pipes were unnecessary.  The hour tours take you on a loop through the labyrinth of rivers and islands where the locals live with their houses on stills and muelles (docks) that look like the wake from the next passing boat could knock them over.  It's in this network of islands that you can stay at guest houses or stop for an asado lunch.

The rivers are shared by kayaks dodging the numerous tour boats that follow the same loop.

Back on the mainland we wandered into the Puerto de Frutos markets.  What used to be the fruit and timber market is now a mix of commercial shops, artisan markets, food outlets, furniture, cow hides... need I go on?

On the way back to Retiro, the train passes Barrio Chino (the Chinese neighbourhood) and the Belgrano station stops right out the front of Chinatown.  We popped in for a quick look and had dinner. 

Thursday 12 October 2017

Colonia once more.

Every three months we have to exit and reenter the country to have our tourist visas renewed.  Our three months are up next week and today we went to Colonia in Uruguay to get our stamps.  We could have used last week's unexpected trip to Brazil as our exit/reentry but we had already bought our ferry tickets and we wanted to show Talluah's parents some more of South America.

The last two times we've been to Uruguay it was a weekend.  Today, being a weekday and the threat of rain, the ferry was only a third full and the historic part of Colonia was lovely and quiet.  Three months ago when we were on the ferry, they played a song called Give me back my toaster.  It is mainly in Spanish but the chorus drops the f-bomb in English numerous times.  Several weeks after Depp heard the song and us talking about it he asked what the bad word was in it as he hadn't picked up on it because he never hears it.  We said he doesn't need to know it.  Well, three months later the ferry is still playing the same song on a 20 minute loop.  Luckily Depp was too busy looking out the window to notice.

The skies were grey and the wind was blowing but we had packed our jackets and ponchos from the falls and were ready for anything.  With less tourists milling around the town we were able to enjoy the artisan shops at a gentler pace and take time to explore.

If you're in Buenos Aires it's worth doing a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento.  There are tour guides but the area is small enough that with a free map you can guide yourself round, imagine the ghosts of explorers setting up a new colony and read the history at another time.

One thing we did do differently this time was look for sea glass along the beach.  I asked one shop keeper what they call sea glass and he said in Spanish, "Glass.  It's just glass."  I think the magic of something going from a dangerous sharp object to a smooth piece of artwork was lost on him.   Another shop keeper said esmerilado vidrio which translates to frosted glass.  Google translate says cristal marino.