Greetings from Calamuchita, Family and Friends,
Andrey and I are well and hope that you had a fantastic February. Time is flying for sure and we are already in March! But what were we up to at Hostel Tinktinkie?
February was a slow month. I am not sure what the reason was. Maybe the Rio Carnival in Brazil impacted on tourism in February. Another reason could be that the school holidays in Argentina were cut short by one month. Children here normally have 3 months school holidays but this year it changed to 2 months. February people want to stay home and prepare for the schools to start in March. We also learn as we go along and each year we will be better prepared. We only had 2 girls here in February, Lucrecia (Argentinian) and Irina (Russia). They stayed for a couple of days and explored the Calamuchita Valley.
But all was not doom and gloom and we had a fantastic time in February. The reason? My Dad from Cape Town and his wife Annelize came to visit. It was their first visit to Argentina and I have not seen him in almost 2 years.Christmas arrived early for me this year! When they opened their suitcases, Rooibos tea, Marmite, Marshmallows, Vicks and Milky Bars popped out!!! All the things that I cannot find here.
But I think the nicest gift in the suitcase was the biltong! Wow you guys have no idea how I longed for Biltong! But my Dad also brought us spices to make our own biltong, chili bytes and droe wors. He showed Andrey how to make Chili bytes and Andrey had his first try. I am not sure if tasting every 30 minutes is part of the recipe. I keep on telling him that Russian people cannot eat biltong and that it is only for South Africans but he keeps on laughing and tell me that I talk nonsense. Well, you can imagine what we will be making for the next couple of months. We really have excellent meat in Argentina.
Andrey and I took turns to show them the Calamuchita Valley, La Cumbrecita, Villa General Belgrano and Cordoba City. At La Cumbrecita we did the "Foefie" slide in the mountains or the "Tirolessa" as the call it here. Normally I am on standby with the camera but this time I also went down the rope. They quickly learnt that "tres" is 3 and "dos" is 2...I had no choice! At the Tirolessa we met a young Argentinian man who was an exchange student in Sandton. Imagine our surprise when he greeted us in Afrikaans! He was our instructor and I had so much fun! Andrey could not go with us because we cannot leave the Hostel alone. Andrey made us an excellent "braai" one night and my Dad told Andrey that he CAN "braai". I was very proud because he knows how we South Africans like our meat. It is one of our traditions that he has learnt quickly. I have learnt how to make a very good Russian salad and each time it is getting better. Andrey taught me well.Then we combine our South African and Russian traditions and finish it off with a very good Argentinian wine.
Time came to say goodbye and We took the bus to Buenos Aires. It is strange how quickly I have adapted to the quiet, country life here in Argentina. By the second day the people in the city were driving me crazy. The problem in Buenos Aires is that you always need to be alert.
It is a big city and tourists are targets. We saw that first hand when a couple next to us was robbed of their bag with money in it when we were watching a Tango show in Caminito. Poor people I felt so sorry for them. Luckily I know my way around in the city and it made things easier. When we were living in Buenos Aires Andrey showed me everything and I know which areas are safe and where to walk at night. That helped me allot. They were suppose to fly back on the Wednesday but then a protest march took place in the city. Avenida 9 de Julio is one of the the main streets that links the city to the highway. We could not get out of the city! What a disaster. They missed their flight as we were 7 minutes late. They refused to help us. I was already booked to leave for home later in the evening and we had disaster on our hands. Luckily our friends Alex and Natalia could accommodate them and I managed to change my ticket to leave on the Saturday. Good thing was that it gave us some extra time together. We managed to change their tickets and they could leave on the Sunday. I am happy that they managed to see more of the city. We visited Tigre (45 minutes outside Buenos Aires and took a 2 hour boat ride on the river), Recoletta (Cemetery were rich and famous people are buried), Caminito (Tango shows and restaurants), Puerto Madero (At the harbour with hundreds of different restaurants) and various parts of the city. They also first handed experienced some Russian hospitality as Alex and Natalia went out of their way to make them feel at home. I am grateful for friends like that.
While we were in Buenos Aires an earth quake hit Chile and a lot of damage was done. I am not sure if you have seen it on Television? Andrey said he could feel the earth quake up to here. We are right in the middle of Argentina. Luckily nothing happened here and we are safe but our hearts go out to the people in Chile. We got some nice rain in February and we are very grateful.
I left on the Saturday and was just in time to see the 2 girls before they left. Andrey had to cope on his own and it is not easy to manage everything on your own. The city was great and I managed to do some promotion work while I was there.
We miss all our family and friends and hopefully we will have more family coming to visit this year!
Take care everyone!
Andrey and Nelieta