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.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Zen in BA

Yesterday we went to the Japanese Gardens in the Northern part of Bs. As.  The gardens can be reached by either bus or Sube (underground rail) and we decided to go with the bus as it gives a view of the city at the same time.  The bus was full of locals who also wanted a view of their city.  We slid into every available space and rode 59A with the other sardines.  By the time we reached our stop everyone was feeling the effects of being lurched through traffic stuck to someone else's armpit.

The Japanese Gardens are the set on five acres and feature a mix of Japanese and South American trees.   Several bridges cross the ponds allowing you to see the large koi swimming around.  It was a nice way to spend a few hours in a green space.

Our plans changed dramatically today when Talluah's mother slipped down the stairs at the apartment block we're staying in.  She gave herself a nasty cut on her arm but after we combined our medical knowledge from Grey's Anatomy, M*A*S*H and A Country Practice we realised that it wouldn't need stitching and we could fix it with butterfly bandaids and Betadine.  Today turned into  a rest day as Colleen was feeling rather bruised.