Monday, 14 August 2017

Hidden stories

Friday morning brought a heavy amount of rain.  Indiana was able to go to school but Truce and Depp’s ride comes 25 minutes later and in that time some of the streets were blocked and at about 9:30 we decided that Depp and Truce wouldn’t be going to school.  Although it’s nice to have a day off, it’s always nicer to have the sleep in that goes with it.

9 de Julio is not a tourist town and sometimes it looks like it is having its own siesta.  But a slightly more ponderous look reveals that there are untold stories.  On a Sunday morning, trailers are having the day off and presumably their owners are too.  Trailers pay an important role here.  Furniture vendors attach home made trailers onto the back of motor bikes and roam the streets selling furniture door to door.  

Spring is only a month away and the local council has been going around trimming all the trees ready for new growth.  All the offcuts are piled into specially shaped trailers perfect for tree branches.

The country is preparing for an election and you don’t need to be able to read Spanish to know what all the posters of smiling faces that have popped up around town are for.  This weekend isn’t the actual elections.   It’s like a quarterfinal.  This weekend, people vote for who they’re going to vote for in the real election.

We’ve noticed cars with plastic bottles on the roof.  For a while we thought it was a sign that a mobile car washer had just washed the car.  But we realised that the majority of cars with bottles on top were in certain areas.  The bottle means that the car is for sale.  It makes perfect sense.  Bottles are readily available and they stand out more than a sign in the window.  When learning a language, there is so much more than just putting verbs and nouns in the right place.  There are many non-verbal cues that have to be learnt too. 

Monday, 7 August 2017

One for the home, one for the office.

When people are posed with the hypothetical question what would they grab in an emergency, most talk about the things they think are valuable such as the family photo album.  Only when nature calls and all you have are photos from the camping trip last Christmas you will suddenly realise the value of toilet paper.  One company here has made it easy to always have a roll of toilet paper on your person.  The slogan on the packet is one for your home, one mini roll to take.

We’ve past the halfway mark on our time in Argentina and realised that there are a few things that we miss from Australia.  It has been a long time since we had curry.  Curry paste and coconut milk are not overly common in Argentina and they are non-existent in 9 de Julio.  Fortunately we found some curry powder during the holidays in Buenos Aires so Talluah has been able to make curries again.  Something else that has been difficult to find is Greek yoghurt or at least a yoghurt that hasn’t been flavoured with enough numbers that it looks like someone’s phone number.  Talluah has also started making her own yoghurt and after realising how simple and cheap it is has voted against buying yoghurt ever again.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Is that a farm-I-see?

Talluah has spent the last seven days bed ridden with the influenza and has required different levels of pain medication.  We’ve been trying to find equivalents to cold and flu medicine that we use in Australia.  One thing that I learnt is that you need a prescription to buy anything with codeine in it.  Over the counter medicine can be bought by the box lot and at times you can just buy one blister pack.

In fact it’s surprising what things can be bought by the unit.  Chorri pan is a staple bread here that comes in a long roll and is broken into manageable sizes.  It sells for around ARS$28 per kilo so you can buy as little or as much as you want.  We needed a few cable ties to refasten the basket on the bike.  We only needed three and the bloke at the hardware store said it wasn’t a problem.  The packet was already open and he just pulled out three cable ties.  Batteries come in packs and also in stripes with perforated division so you can buy as many or as little you want.  Vegetable shops are usually happy to halve pumpkins for you.

Perhaps the most interesting purchase is the life essential that is given the worst job in the world – toilet paper.  You can buy toilet paper in bulk packs or, if you choose, for whatever reason, just one little individual roll.  I’m not sure at what point in your life you think that you only need to buy one roll at a time.  Somewhere out there, there must be highly efficient, well scheduled people who know exactly when, where and how much paper they need.

Friday, 21 July 2017

A cold went hunting.

Depp’s cold has done what most colds do in a family and has migrated to another host.  Talluah has fallen victim to high temperatures and lethargy, but unlike Depp, I can’t carry her around BsAs.  We tried an overdose of orange juice from one of the mobile juice vendors.  The owner of this cart is either on the run from an angry wife or the tax man.  Either way, he wouldn’t let me take the photograph with him anywhere near the device, even when I said I just wanted a shot of his hands in action.

Our hostel is on Florida in the centre of town.  Florida is only for pedestrians and at night time is well lit with a mixture of money changers, people heading home from work, street vendors, shops and places to eat.  The deal with the hostel is that children younger than 5 are free if they share a bed with someone.  Our four bedroom dorm has four single beds.  On Wednesday night, Depp was snoring so heavily that Talluah and I decided to share a bed and let him sleep without having to share.  This meant that Talluah and I had to synchronise when we rolled over, faced east or west, scratched our nose or flinched as we fell asleep.  In the morning, Talluah was feeling the effects of the flu so Thursday night I shared with Depp.  Truce asked why we were putting the biggest person with the smallest.  I explained that my parental training meant I knew how to sleep on a postage stamp if there was a child in the bed.  By morning I was curled up like a cat using my allocated 10% of the bed with Depp snoring peacefully with his 90%.

The hostel is a few hundred metres from the Subte station B line, which leads directly to the Museum of Natural Science about five kilometres away.  The kids and I left Talluah to rest while we rode the subway to look at dinosaur bones, minerals, mounted animals, shells and other natural wonders.  While on the train, we were entertained by an keyboard player with an amp and numerous people selling pens, lollies and even prayers.  The building itself is quiet grand and the girls thought it could easily be a secret entrance for the Ministry of Magic.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Happy Constitution Day

We didn't give Montevideo a chance to show us its charm.  We unknowingly arrived during the public holiday for Constitution Day, so 90% of the city was closed leaving only a few convenience stores and Mercado del Puerto open.  The mercado is an old train station that now houses numerous parrilla restaurants and a few touristy shops.

Yesterday morning started slowly.  We didn't leave our groovy house, which we later found out is owned by a Uruguayan film director and writer with a few credits to his name, until around lunch time.  Depp was completely wiped out after lunch at Mercado del Puerto so we headed back to the house for him to have a sleep.  By late afternoon, the glow of the fire voted against us  exploring the city any further.  Perhaps another time when the sun is a little stronger and we're here when things are open.

The ferry crossing back to BsAs was a bit rougher this time.   There are several crossings each day and the morning and evening ones are in the larger boats and the middle of the day isn't as busy so they use smaller boats.  We aren't sea faring folk and we were all glad to be off the boat.  After a quick bus trip from La Boca we booked into Hostel Florida Suites with our four bed dorm.  Who is going to top and tail I hear you ask?  Wait and see.