Silvina invited us out for her son’s birthday party. We assumed that they lived near 9 de Julio and thought that it would be a good opportunity to try out our bikes. It turns out their house is 40 kilometres away and we were grateful that Alejandro was able to come and pick us up. Incidentally, the people here use the same verb that means to search for (buscar) as they do for pick you up by car. We had spent a little bit of time wondering why different people were going to look for us at certain times. We thought perhaps there was a town game of hide and seek that we were not aware of and they were giving us a head start.
The party was at the house Silvina’s father was born in. For some time it remained unoccupied until Silvina and her husband, Alejandro, restored to its former glory. They use a generator for electricity and pump fresh spring water up for all their needs. The original homestead has four-metre ceilings and stone floors. A vegetable garden is hidden amongst the acres of maize that surrounds the house. Some of us walked through the garden selecting different items to use during the day while others cut cakes in preparation for the party.
We sat in the shade of a grand old chestnut tree eating endless amounts of cakes and treats. A smoothie stand was set up with banana milkshakes and tinned peaches mixed with lemonade on offer. We showed them how to make a “spider” by mixing soft drink and ice cream. They said they do a similar thing except they use champagne instead of soft drink. The children found relief from the heatwave in the cool of the spring fed water tank. We feel like we have shifted back to a time when people were more relaxed. The water tank has some rough edges on it, the water has little creatures swimming around in it and when you touch the bottom something touches you back. There was no talk about chlorine or soft edges, it was just about laughing and cooling off.