I've just got time for a very brief update from San Rafael, making the most of siesta time here, while I await the opening of the bodegas for wine tasting. This morning's outing ended in abject failure, as I walked about 15 blocks, only to find one wine company's headquarters (not the vineyard) without a tasting room in sight. Boo. So, it was then another (almost) fruitless search for a supermarket (walking around in ever-decreasing circles), before I stumbled (literally - these flip-flops aren't the most secure walking devices: the French would be shocked by the inappropriate nature of my footwear) upon a corner shop where I was able to procure items for lunch. Suitably sated, I am now able to write this. Since it's been almost a fortnight since my last entry, I am going to head back (virtually) to Buenos Aires, and recommence my day-by-day analysis of proceedings thus far. In the 30 minutes I've got left, I might even get as far as Córdoba (if you're lucky). So, once again, here goes:
Thursday 2nd December 2010
Having managed to obtain a suitable bus ticket the night before (leaving from close to where Cami lives), I was able to sleep soundly (unusually for me) in the knowledge that the following night would be spent riding across the flat plains of Argentina, trying (in vain) to keep my eyes closed while the bus bumped and heaved it´s way to the middle of the country.
Morning brought a breakfast date with Fernanda, Lourdes and Carolina (cafe con leche y medialunas) in a nice (but empty) cafe in the middle of Monte Grande, which was followed by assorted bag-preparation, the eating of a ton of rice salad for lunch (thanks Cami), the drinking of yerba mate and eating of pan dulce (about 10 slices of!) in the garden. I could probably survive the entire trip on my fat reserves alone, such was the generosity I experienced staying in M.G.
So, that was nearly it. The time for "real" (i.e. unaccompanied) travel was nigh. Martín came to say goodbye (which was nice) and I was packed off with a load of food for the journey and the whole family came with me in the car to say goodbye (including Brisa, the adorable spannel* [sic.]).
I must say the bus was very comfortable (almost like a Business Class airline seat) and not at all expensive (28 pounds for a 12 hour journey). However, being in possession of Dad's travel-sleep genes, I didn't manage to sleep much. There were also some rather abrupt changes in temperature, which did wonders for my cold. Not. It started off freezing cold (air-con on max) so I put on my fleece. Then they turned the air-con off, so I got really hot. This process duly continued until my throat was nice and sore and my nose was running like Paula Radcliffe (i.e. a lot, not stopping running half-way for a shit).
*this is a Wood family joke, for anyone puzzled by the deliberate misspelling
Friday 3rd December 2010
We arrived into Córdoba more or less on time (well, about 30 mins late, but I'm feeling generous - and anyway, I was too zonked to really care). Adrián, Oscar and Andres were waiting for me at the bus station, which was nice. The day passed in something of a sleep-deprived blur, so I will record the events of the day in the form of a bullet-pointed list (reflecting the effort required to complete the most simple of tasks [and the resulting satifaction from getting them done without falling asleep]):
- Went to hostel (which I had rigourously researched) to dump bags (check-in wasn't until 12 noon)Looked around city (good first impressions - a more manageable size than B.A.) and stopped in a cafe to have breakfast.
- Bought empanadas and wine for lunch.
- Drank wine.
- Had siesta.
- Went to park. Skimmed stones in a fetid and filthy lake (sorry Córdoba, but it was). Otherwise it was a pleasant park (sort of green and park-like, but not parky because it must have been about 28 degrees).
- Ate asado at the hostel and drank more wine.
- Drank Fernet and coke (and could develop a serious liking for it, I fear).
- Went to Studio Teatro nightclub, which played good music and was (as the name might suggest) in a nice old theatre.
- Danced the night away (literally)
- Went to bed at about 7am (thus meaning I should now be writing this in the following day's entry, which I shall duly jump to).
Saturday 4th December 2010
We all had a good long lie-in (the whole sleep pretty much being a lie-in if you consider that my normal get-up time is about 7:15am), with meals now operating on a time-delay system. Thus, breakfast is at lunchtime (on this occasion actually a late lunch), lunch is at dinnertime and dinner is in the middle of the night (a midnight snack, if you like, only 10 times the size*!)
Once again the weather was just about perfect, and we engaged in further city-rambling. This time we went as far as the river at the northern limit of the centre (not that exctiting, but the whole city is a very pleasant place to stroll - I like Córdoba a lot). The undoubted highlight of the walk was Adrián desperately needing a poo (recallying memories of Dad's infamous stay on the Italian Riviera), and being unable to find a toilet anywhere (much hilarity came from the discovery of a toilet shop, though!). Eventually he found a toilet in a petrol station, but he was so long we thought he was needing to wash himself down, after finding the toilet "just a few seconds too late". This provided ample opportunity to bond with Oscar and Andres (Adrián's Chinese housemates), as we used toilet humour to bridge the linguistic gap!
I cooked pasta for dinner. More wine was consumed and we went to a nice bar in the evening (well, more middle-of-the-night if you are reading this in northern Europe or in another colder clime). It was a more relaxed evening than the previous one but equally enjoyable and still later than your typical Sidmouth night out.
Well, that's all I've got time for, for now. The rest of Córdoba, Mina Clavero, San Luis and now San Rafael will just have to wait. Don't worry, I've been having a good time wherever I've been. This time next week I'll be staying with Adrián in La Rioja, so I should hopefully have better computer access from there, and thus be able to get this blog back on track. Until then, I will wish you all a happy and healthy run-up to Christmas and I'll try sending some of the Argentinian sun to anyone out there suffering from S.A.D. (the weather continues to be glorious here, it must be said, which will no doubt leave you all with a sour taste in your mouth, as those of you back home [or nearby] freeze your collective bits off).
Time for wine-tasting now (sorry, I'm not deliberately trying to make you jealous**)...
Love J xx
*eat you heart out Nigella!
**not much! ;-)