Monday, November 9, 2009

My weekend in San Antonio del Areco etc.

What a weekend this weekend was. Gauchos, leather, roasting meat, faconès, horseshit, folklorico music, more leather, silver, gaucho items, cloth, clothing, hats, mud, fresh air, greenery, warm sun and frosty nights filled all eight senses (if you count dèja vus a 6th sense, danger as a 7th sense, and being a ninja as the 8th sense- for me, anyways).

I am writing this from San Antonio del Areco, a village pueblo some 100 km North of BsAs., on Monday, 9 Nov. at 6:11pm current local time. As my final days wound down in BsAs, I had the chance to visit the Museo de las Armas, a museum filled with - you guessed it - guns and knives and swords and cannons of all types. Pretty cool, and the samurai armor room scared the shit outta me when it's motion-sensor light went on, with all the display guards aimed straight at me. Last post I couldn´t upload photos, and apparently I can`t here either. Next post will probably just be a ton of photos, I hope.

I headed out of the city around 9:30am, bound for a cow town full of gauchos, for the Dìa de la Tradición, the bulk of it happening over this weekend. It is quite the nice change here, with much cleaner air, 100.000 times less traffic, and an overall large community feel. There were gauchos on horseback by the dozen everywhere I looked upon arriving to my hostel, Hostel Gaucho. It is conveniently located right near mosto f the activities that happened on Saturday and Sunday. Only 1.4 hours from BsAs, I arrived to check in at about…12 or so. Anyways, I headed immediately out around town, then to Parque Criollo, where the vast open expanse was filled with tourists from BsAs and other parts of the country, as well as many from other parts of the World. I can`t believe how many people from Europe are in Argentina and South America, traveling for weeks and months at a time on their strong Euro current.

Anyways, most of the horsemanship shows for Saturday were canceled not due to rain, but to the heavy amounts of mud. Still, many gauchos raced each other down a narrow track either just for horse racing, or to try and pull a tiny cloth ring out of a hanging metal stand with a stick that they hold in one hand, balancing on the galloping horse with the other three limbs. Crazy, just crazy, but how awesome tambièn!

That night was a huge dance in a nearby field, with a scorpion-like, Spanish-influenced series of tradicional gaucho and Argentine dances. Chacarera, el gáto, and a couple others are varying versions of this, with a lot of fancy legwork and twirling. Pretty cool, and not something I was about to attempt.

Sunday (ayer) held a ton of activities, which made up for Saturday. In addition to double the amount of however many thousands of people were here the day prior, there were excellent displays of a military marching band, horses parading through the streets, and the eventual trip back to Parque Criollo. At Parque Criollo, about 55 gauchos, each with 7 to 10 unchained horses, galloped in circles, trotted, hung out, and eventually gathered together and amassed a vortex of stampeding (and very controlled) horses (caballos). I can`t begin to descibe the experience of several hundred horses stampeding around the field we sat in, my friend from Manchester, England and me.

Later that day I returned to the vendor stands near streetside to resume conversations with a bunch of vendors I met and befriended during my lounging around Saturday morning. I am invited to a house in Ramallo (a pueblo North of here), and tonight I am staying a day longer to sleep in this other local`s house after he invited me. I can`t begin to describe THAT experience either, of how much heart I have for the locals.

Anyways, I guess tomorrow I`m off to Ramallo to stay for a day, then to Rosario and further North. My current plan is to shoot up to the Litoral province, between Rios Uruguay and Paranà, in the Northeast of Argentina, stopping through Mercedes, Posadas and the Misiones around there and San Ignacio, Paso de los Libres, Colonia Pellegrini (to hit the Reserva Provincial Esteros del Ibera, which is chock full of pirañas, caimans, capybaras, and more.), a tiny town called Yapeyù, and eventually to Puerto Iguazù to hit the World`s largest cataracts (waterfalls). Afterwards, I’d like to head West across the Chaco to Salta and Jujuy area, then Southeast to Cordoba, or maybe Mendoza, who knows? Anyways, that`s all for now, and much, much more for later. I`ll try to call home this week, and defintely will update before the week`s end. Until then, this is Drew Peters.

2 comments:

  1. Yo Drew, I'm really happy for you, and I'm gonna let you finish, but Nick Montemarano had one of the best foreign trips of all time!

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  2. That motion sensor in the samurai armor room scared the shit out of me too...lol... Foxy

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