South America part 1 – Argentina

The flight was excruciatingly painfully long, as much as the transition from freezing cold of North American winter to South American summer – in South America it is summer from December to February. And fall starts in March, even schools start not September 1st, like in the US, but on March 1st.

First thing I did after landing was ran to the ladies room to get out of my winter clothes and put on a pair of shorts and a linen shirt.

As I ran out of the bathroom, we grabbed our luggage and headed to search for Alberto. My husband went to a pay phone and I stayed guarding the suitcases. We had 3 suitcases plus a small carry-on. The large suitcase – mine, the small one – my husband’s, and third on my mother-in-law asked us to take to Paraguay to my brother-in-law, her oldest son.

Not one of Alberto’s numbers have been answered and I started to get nervous – I have been approached by at least 20 different men offering me different things, from a ride to my destination to marriage. Suddenly I hear someone shouting behind me “Na zdorov’e!” (That’s what Albert used to call me)

Albert came to pick us up with his brother and finally we were on our way to Villa Gessel – sort opf a beach resort where Bill Gates bought himself a summer home. Then we were headed to Buenos Aires, and at the end of the trip – to La Plata.

First stop we made was Matadero to drop off the money we brought for them from the US from their relatives, and afterwards we stopped by La Plata to drop off the luggage before heading to the beach.

By the side of the road, on the open air, some people were roasting the meat and the smell of smoke and delicious rpasted meat was overwhelming. We stopped twice to enjoy some entraña (a steak from the least expensive part of the cow but nevertheless mouthwatering) and get a drink, and second time to try choripan – choriso wrapped in bread.

After such a wonderful lunch I fell asleep on the back seat.

The beach impressed me with the quantity of open swim suites. My brasilian bikini did not look so offensive here as it did in the US. In the US it constantly starts arguments at the beach and by the pool by some matonly women who claims it is quite “inappropriate”. If you ask me the only inappropriate thing is to rudely interrupt someone’s rest with nasty comments about their beach attire. Can only imagine what those people would say if they saw such an abundance of half-naked bodies as Villa Gessel’s beach had to offer:)

To be honest, I feel much more comfortable among those who does not concern themselves with what will others think. Here everyone was relaxed and comfotable and didn’t care one bit about anyone’s opinion.

While in the US I heard that in Argentina you simply won’t see an overweight person at the beach but it is a myth. I saw people of all shapes and sizes all equally enjoying the beach and being comfortable in their own skin.

Also Argentina has probably the most delicious food in the world. Any food, starting from plain and simple butter and ending with salad leaves. Not to say anything about pastries and medialunas!

My favorite Argentinian pastries are medialunas – pastries shaped like the moon, churros – pastry sticks filled with dulce de leche, and tartas – sort of pies. A piece of dough gets covered with ham, cheese, vegetables etc., then it gets covered with another piece of dough and then gets baked. Very simple and very good.

The most favored pizza here is the one with palmito topping – pieces of marinated palm tree. To be honest I am not crazy about those salty bits and prefer olives.

My beloved empañadas here were so much more delicious then in the US, it seemed like I will never be able to consume the US ones. Even simple juice here was like ambrosia.

When Marcela and I went to Walmart in Buenos Aires, I discovered the soy drink my husband and I favored so much – Ades. In the US there is one store near us that carries apple and orange Ades. I often take half an hour trips just to pick up a few containers. The apple Ades tastes just like fresh squeezed apple juice my mom prepared for me when I was a kid.

Here, in Buenos Aires they carried much more varieties of Ades – peach, apricot, you name it. Marcela was looking at me like I’ve gone mad, watching me load up the cart with tons and tons of Ades. Finally she said “What’s wrong with you? This is just soy drink…”

I know it is, but my husband and I simply adore it.

Not only Marcela but also 7-year old Lucia and even 2-year-old Elena were looking at me like I have gone mad.

After spending Valentine’s Day and the rest of the weekend at the beach we went back to Buenos Aires. I had a very well defined plan of what I wanted to see – Recoletta and the zoo in Palermo, Jardin Japones, Cafe Tortoni – the oldest and most famous cafe in B.A>, San Telmo, La Boca – place where tango was born, Avenida Corrientes – the widest street, and many more other, no less appealing places.

We started out from visiting La Boca.

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