It’s been a week of speaking Spanish – first with July and Naty in La Plata, then with Melina and Juan back in Buenos Aires. We completely failed to do the “cultural” activities we’d planned, but spent lots of time with Argentinians… which always seems like more of an experience anyway.
Monday 22/8 We woke up in Rauch, a town with not much to offer but accommodation — although finding that at 2am the night before had been a huge relief. We hopped back in the car and drove on to Monte, a small town by a lake, for a lunch of cheap, tasty pizza.
The drive home after that wasn’t too long, we arrived in mid-afternoon and rested for a bit, then Naty introduced me to her favourite computer game. A bit later on, Naty’s parents showed up and we spent the evening chatting and eating picada — snacking on salami, cheese and bread, really — a great way to eat.
Tuesday 23/8 After a sleep in, Craig and I headed into the city to pick up ingredients for dinner. For some reason we decided to walk home, which at least meant we got to see some of La Plata’s street art, and get some exercise as well.
It’s great how late dinner is here — I could take as long as I wanted to cook dinner and not have to worry about when to put it on the table. After dinner July and Naty introduced us to their favourite board game, TEG, which Craig is now unashamedly addicted to.
Wednesday 24/8 We spent the day at home trying to get some work done, then all pitched in to make a tasty dinner of Spanish tortilla and tuna tarta, which was followed by a couple of rounds of TEG. Awesome.
Thursday 25/8 Washing clothes sometimes feels like an ordeal — it did today. We planned to put it on, wait for the cycle to finish, hang it out, then head to the city to see the cathedral. This plan was foiled by the fact that it was a two-and-a-half hour cycle! We finally left and caught the bus into the city, where we had pizza in the main square then looked around the cathedral and its museum. As part of the museum entrance fee, you can take the elevator up one of the towers for a good view of La Plata.
Naty’s parents had invited us to their house for an asado, so we headed over there in the evening, and proceeded to eat far too much meat. There was salami to start; then chorizo sausages, glands and intestines; followed by huge slabs of pork and beef. And some very nice vegetables, I should add.
After dinner, Naty’s brother was showing us physics tricks with coins and forks, which moved on to a maths game, which seemed to flow on logically to the monkey game — where people have to do different actions with their bodies depending on where they’re sitting. I managed to convince everyone to play, and it was hilarious. We ended up spending several hours playing that and other similarly silly games.
Friday 26/8 After another day of work, it was time to head back to Buenos Aires. Naty and July drove us to the station, where we caught a but to the capital, followed by the subte to the house of our Couchsurfing hosts Melina and Juan. They have a beautiful apartment in San Telmo, with high ceilings and gorgeous details… and a crazy cat. They cooked up some dinner of sausages and chips and we sat around chatting until it was time to go to bed.
Saturday 27/8 We didn’t mean to sleep in so much, but it was so good! It did mean that we didn’t really have time for our planned cultural day in the city, so we stayed around San Telmo with Melina and Juan. We all wandered down to the market to pick up some fish for lunch, which Melina and Juan prepared to perfection. We tried to repay the favour by making burritos for dinner, but it wasn’t the same.
Juan’s friend’s band was playing a gig later on, so we all headed out at about 1:45am to see him play, accompanied by another of Juan’s friends. The gig was at Konex, a cultural space that used to be a factory, and one wall of which had been decorated by some of the street artists whose work we’d seen on the Graffiti Mundo tour. The music was good and everyone was having a really good time — when Juan’s friend’s band came on, a lot of people were singing along, so they obviously have a good fan base!
Sunday 28/8 Since we’d got home at 6am the night before, a sleep-in was definitely in order. We dragged ourselves out of bed at about 1pm, because we’d organised to meet Crystal, an ITP listener, at 2. We even managed to not be late! We had lunch with her, then wandered around the city centre and Puerto Madero for a couple of hours.
When we got back to Melina and Juan’s, the neighbours were over, so we chatted with them for an hour or so, then relaxed before heading out for a hamburger dinner and tasty ice-cream.
Tomorrow we’re starting a tour with Intrepid Travel, so we have to meet the rest of the group in the early afternoon. The tour runs from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro via Uruguay and the Iguazu Falls, so most of the next week we’ll be in Uruguay.