¡Hola amigos! As life settles down here in Buenos Aires and we feel more like we're living here and less like we're on vacation, I've become a bit remiss in my blogging. I've invited Ken to join the festivities here at UFF as a contributor, but as he has yet to put pen to paper, so to speak, you're stuck with me. Suckas.
As last Sunday was Easter and I have latent Catholicism, I'd planned to attend Mass. However, we spent Saturday evening with the aforementioned Frenchy and Dutchy (aka The Europeans) and on Sunday
morningafternoon when I woke up I was in no shape to be awake, which is usually a requirement, at least to get to a church. Also, Mass was over. So we leisurely started our day with oatmeal and coffee, and just after 1 p.m. Audrey called to tell us they wanted to go to the Feria de Mataderos, which I'd mentioned the night before as a possible Sunday activity.
Against all odds (odds that included hangovers and miscommunicated meeting places) we managed to meet the Europeans at the Retiro train station and find the bus that would take us to the feria (market). It was about an hour from the city centre. Once we arrived and found our way into the market we were not disappointed. In addition to the usual market stalls, there was a large group of Argentine folk singers, and another group of folk dancers who looked like they were having a grand time. We watched them for a while, then continued our tour to find a gaucho horse racing contest called Carerra de Sortija, or the Race of the Ring. The Buenos Aires Argentina Guide describes the race:
Gauchos race their horses at breakneck speeds towards a small ring hung onto a raised metal frame overhead. The gauchos stand up in their stirrups as they race, and try to spear the ring, which is no larger than a normal piece of jewelry, with a small pointy stick.
See the little pen-like thing in this guy's hand?He was trying to put that through a ring about the size of a keychain that was hanging just above his head as he galloped by. Not only did some of the cowboys actually achieve this feat, we didn't see one person fall off his horse!
Despite all this excitement, the best part of the day, and maybe of our whole time in Buenos Aires so far, was our chance wandering into a restaurant beside the market. As we were walking by we noticed a couple of guys playing guitars inside, and since we were looking for a place to eat, we thought it might be a good bet. The place was pretty full but the waitress found us a table at the back, and we sat for hours listening to the most beautiful Argentine folkloric music. To top it all off, a litre of beer cost a mere 10 pesos (about 2.72USD/3.28CAD). I'm not sure the short video I took will do the music justice. The main performer had both amazing guitar skills and a powerful, operatic voice, and he was joined in rotation by other people in the bar. The guy who we think was the head honcho welcomed us openly and tried to explain the meanings of the lyrics to us (pain, love, and imprisonment were amongst the themes). He even insisted that we pose for a photo!
Finally, I can assure you that this guy's reaction was not representative of the rest of the crowd: He'd obviously just been taking advantage of the 10-peso beers.