Argentina is an incredibly social country and it shows through in many ways: from the tradition of passing a mate around a circle of friends, to the preferred low-key drinks of beer, wine, and coke and fernet that are perfectly conducive to sitting around and talking for hours, to the way that everyone flocks to restaurants for World Cup games to sceam in joy and moan in agony together. So it's no surprise that in the past few weeks some of the most fun and interesting experiences I've had have been with friends.
Two Fridays ago my friend Vir and I joined Flor and her boyfriend Diego again to attend a dance class. We spent two hours getting our salsa on, and for free! The class was a lot of fun - it was small enough that we got to know everyone who attended just a little bit and there were two experienced women leading the class and showing us the moves. I think I was glad we went to salsa over tango even though tango is so classically Argentine - watching tango through the window salsa seems like it was definitely a lot more fun! Unfortunately there was no class this past week as Friday was Independence Day but hopefully this week I can go again. Either way, I think I learned enough to look slick on the dance floor at home!
Saturday of that weekend was the big game - Argentina vs. Germany. I watched it at my friend Vero's apartment with a bunch of her girlfriends. It was an experience to watch a game with impassioned Argentines, though we don't need to talk much about the game since in my opinion Argentina played terribly and they got whooped by Germany 4-0 which knocked them out of the World Cup. But don't tell my Argentine friends I said that.
Saturday night into Sunday started my birthday! I had a group of friends over to my apartment to celebrate and chat, and after a few hours we hit up the boliche (club). Once again we danced until the club closed at 5am and wore ourselves out! My actual birthday being a Sunday, a lot of places were closed all day and the streets are empty, which worked out well because I needed the recovery time anyway. I finished my birthday with a nice dinner out and hit the hay early to get to work on time.
This past weekend I took a day trip with CEDHA to Alta Gracia. We are currently hosting Kyle Stone from Harvard for a week, who is working with the business and human rights group on a database project. My friend Vero, another colleague Daniel, and Andrew and I brought Kyle out to the suburb of Cordoba on bus, about an hour away from the city center, where we met up with another friend of Vero's. Alta Gracia is in the mountains and known for its scenic location, its Jesuit history, and also for being the hometown of the legendary revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in his childhood. His parents moved out from Buenos Aires to Alta Gracia when Guevara was young in the hopes that the fresh air would alleviate his severe asthma. The first place we went to was his childhood home, which is now a museum. Here's a picture of it.
From there we went toward the center of town to see the reservoir, which is held in by a centuries-old retaining wall built by the Jesuits and which supplies Alta Gracia with its water. From there, we went and saw a centuries-old church and the Jesuit estancia. The rooms were full of furnishings to show how the complex would have looked about two centuries ago. Having studied Latin American history, it was interesting to see so many sights and realities that previously I'd only read about in books. Here is a picture of the front courtyard of the complex, with the church forming the large structure on the left side behind the tree:
From there we made our way back to a restaurant with views of the reservoir to watch the final game of the World Cup and grab something to eat. After a heart-wrenching few hours we saw Spain win, to the delight of some and distaste of others. Exhausted from all our walking and with bellies full of food we made the decision to catch the colectivo back to Cordoba.
Lastly I leave you with a picture of CEDHA from our Environment Day asado that just made its way into my hands.
I'm into my last week here in Cordoba, so expect a "the best of" post soon. After that it's off to Buenos Aires before I head home to the states!
Hasta la victoria siempre (Ever onward until victory -Ernesto "Che" Guevara),