Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The last few days in Monte Grande

As promised earlier, I'm back with a day by day update of the last four days.

Sunday 28th November

Sunday started early (at about 12:30am) because Saturday never really finished! Carolina and Fernanda came to pick Camila and me up from her house, from where we went to Monte Grande's very own Irish Pub. I felt it only right that I should drink a cerveza negra, although it was a local variety, which more resembled a fizzy, sweet black lager than the velvety black meal-in-a-glass that is Guinness, but still, it was actually quite nice. Axel then came to meet us, but stayed in the pub (for political reasons) while we went to the Rugby Club for the social event of the year month week evening.

The most notable aspect of the evening was the drop in temperature (mentioned in my previous post), and generally speaking it wasn't quite as much fun as the previous evening. The crowd was bigger and younger, the music more repetitive and I was rather more tired. By 5am I was falling asleep and as the sun started to rise (with beautiful colours in the sky) it was time to hit the sack.

I managed to sleep until almost lunchtime (and so was quite impressed with myself!), and upon arising, went downstairs to discover an asado being prepared in the back garden. This time it was chicken rather than beef, with plenty of different salads (I was starting to crave vegetables, so they were much appreciated), and it was washed down with a nice bottle of Torrontés from Cafayate in the north west of Argentina (where I hope to go to later in my trip).

In the afternoon we went round to Fernanda's house (one of Camila's friends whose graduation party I had been to on Friday night), for mate and facturas in the garden. We stayed there chatting for most of the evening (eating emanadas for dinner later on) before going to Cream & Cream (Monte Grande's prime Heladeria) for a late night ice-cream. All in all a very pleasant and relaxing day, mostly spent eating! :-)

Monday 29th November

After the exertions of the weekend (we're talking late-night-style exertions rather than anything truely taxing: I'm on holiday, after all), Monday began very slowly. So slowly that I can't really remember what I did for most of the day. It probably involved lounging around, eating (naturally), speaking with various different people, checking e-mails and generally getting my energy back. The temperature was on the rise again, I remember that much, and the sun was shining. :-)

In the late afternoon/evening, Martín, Camila and I went into Palermo SoHo (that's a district of Buenos Aires) for picadas (nibbles) and beer. It's a really nice area of the city, but a bit of a pain to get there (a combination of train and bus, which took about 2.5 hours door to door). Still, at least with good company the time goes quickly. I can't imagine having to commute like that every day though, which probably suggests that big city living isn't really for me!

Tuesday 30th November

Sightseeing was back on the agenda today, although I woke up with a bit of a sore throat and felt a bit lethargic as a result. I must also have been rendered (even) more clumsy than usual because I managed to snap my old (spare) glasses while trying to reshape them! They broke clean in the middle (where the bridge joins the frame). Whoops. I just have to hope now that my main glasses remain intact for the whole trip (although I suppose it  would be possible to get replacements if not).

Anyway, despite feeling under-par I managed to make it into Buenos Aires (all alone this time). I spent the day wandering around La Boca, which is a mixture of slightly rough working-class barrio and tourist trap tat. Still, it was an interesting place and the PROA museum/gallery was beautiful and a nice air-conditioned refuge from the heat of the midday sun. After La Boca, I walked back up to the very centre of the city, perusing further streets in San Telmo and Monserrat, and taking plenty of photos: (in case you haven't already seen Part I, they are here:

The train journey back was less packed than usual and I managed to get a seat for once. This proved to be a potential curse (as well as a blessing), because I fell asleep (most unlike me - I must be ill!) and wondered where I was when I woke up. As it happened I was about 2 minutes away from Monte Grande. Luckily, I saw the sign just in time (still wondering if I was dreaming or not) and managed to leap out of my seat and off the train. Phew. That was a close shave (although there are only 2 stops after Monte Grande, so it wouldn't exactly have been a disaster, even if I had missed the stop and had to get the train back - especially as it only costs about 20p a journey).

After a quick freshen up (desperately needed after trekking around in the heat), we went to Fernanda's birthday gathering (stopping to buy a present en route). It was a classic "birthday tea party", with cute little sandwiches, rolls and cakes (and the obligatory fizzy drinks, of course!). The tea party sort of rolled into the evening, with hot dogs and lemon-meringue-pie-birthday-cake (with candles). And it ended with Carla dropping her phone down the back of the armchair, which got completely stuck. It was rather funny, because you could hear it ringing, but there was no way of retrieving it. I don't know if they managed in the end because our taxi had arrived and we had to leave. If I receive any updates about the fate of the phone, I'll be sure to let you know!

Wednesday 1st December

Well, here we are. It's now today and my cold has got a little bit worse (oh, the irony - in England it's minus a lot and here it's summer and I've gone and got myself a sore throat and a runny nose... go on, laugh why don't you!!!). This, combined with rising heat levels, has meant that I've stayed at (Cami's*) home so far today. I was chatting with Adrián earlier, and it now seems that we're going to meet up in Córdoba on Friday. This will entail getting the overnight bus from here on Thursday evening (it's about 10 hours), which will be an experience in itself. In a little while we are going to the travel agents to try and sort out the ticket (hopefully getting picked up from as close to here as possible, because the main bus station is rather a schlep).

Right, that's it for now. Updates might get more sporadic and fragmented from now on. I'm not sure when I'll have decent computer access, but I'll do my best to keep you informed. For those of you in cooler climes: wrap up warm and enjoy the snow (if you've got any, that is - which is unlikely in Sidmouth, I guess).

Best wishes to you all,
Love James xx

*I put this in afterwards because I realised that saying "home" made it sound like I'd got my feet well and truly under the table (but obviously it was just a subconcious way of saying how much I've been made to feel at home while I've been staying here). :-)

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