Thursday, 3 November 2011

Street Parties and Day Trips to Uruguay - Buenos Aires Pt. II

Those who know me will be aware of a familial link between myself and one of Argentina's most well known leaders Juan Peron. Personally I think 'President Peron' has a nice ring to it, but that's just me and I AM a meglomaniac so that shouldn't surprise you too much. Despite having been ousted in 1955 there remains to this day, much evidence of his political legacy, with Graffitti espousing the virtues of the 'Peronistas' and 'Peronismo' a political movement based, as I understand it, on something not much different to Fascism. I like to think of it more as a 'no nonsense' kind of viewpoint, much like a Jim Davidson stand up comedy set or a Daily Mail comments page. Luckily for Juans legacy he married the wonderful Evita unfairly portrayed by brash loudmouth and cause whore Madonna in the terrible film of the same name (this may be completely unfair as I have not, nor have any intention of ever seeing said film). Evita was declared the 'Spiritual Leader of the Nation' and after her death at the age of 33 became a saint like figure for the millions of poor Argentinians she had made it her lifes work to help. She is buried in La Recoleta Cemetry in Buenos Aires where the mausoleum remains a huge draw for Argentinians and tourists alike, who go to pay their respects to someone who had a huge impact on Argentinian history. Emma and I cycled to the cemetry on a scorching day, which in itself is an impressive sight. There are street names and the tombs, some as large as a house, are meticulously looked after by generation after generation of the families entombed there. 

We had heard reports of certain tombs containing piles of human bones which had somehow escaped the attentions of under zealous coffin makers and sat gently bleaching in the Buenos Aires sun. Macabre I know, but come on, like you wouldn't have a look.

After ticking that gruesome box off the list we eventually found our way to Evitas grave sight and after waiting patiently in a queue of whooping Americans took some respectfully sombre shots of my namesakes final resting place. Its a strange feeling to stand in front of a mausoleum with your family name on it. But stand in front of it we did. And here's the proof.

That evening, after a days cycling and mausoleum viewing we managed to convince ourselves that we'd somehow 'earned' a few beers which coincided nicely with a big street party, the reasons for which completely escaped us. There was a stage playing Argentinian folk music with impromptu traditional dancing breaking out everywhere like rhythmic epilepsy. We joined in with the dancing where there was scarves involved and also the one where there was alot of finger clicking, I have absolutely no idea of the significance of either but we had a lovely time joining in and the locals all had a lovely time openly pointing and laughing at us not having a clue what we were doing. A fair trade I think.

One of things I didn't know about Buenos Aires was its proximity to Uruguay and in particular the viability of a day trip over there. The boxes this would tick would be two fold. The first being that we would have a lovely day trip to a beautiful town in Uruguay called Colonia, the second would be that we would also be able to have an extra stamp in our passports. Yup, we are those kinds of arseholes. The ferry took in the region of about an hour and a half and we arrived at about 10am, Colonia is a really pretty wee town right on the coast so it didn't take long to box off the sights until the early afternoon. There was 4 of us, Emma and I of course, a dutch girl and an Ozzy guy. After the sightseeing our collective mindset soon turned, as one to the prospect of enjoying the early afternoon sun with a bottle of the cheap and delicious local wine. This soon turned to 2 and three and before we knew it things had deteriorated to this: 

In my defence, the wine was delicious and cheap so cheap in fact that at those prices you couldn't afford not to drink it. We made it back in one piece although not before nearly missing our return trip to Buenos Aires that evening. I also remember hazy snapshots of the Arsenal v Barcelona Champions League game that was being shown on the way back. I think Barcelona must have won.

Next stop, Mendoza, where the wine consumption really starts to spiral out of control. In a good way!

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