The only fixed date on our trip so far (except the flight home) is Christmas in Buenos Aires or BsAs as the locals call it (maybe the A-Team had copyright protection on BA?) This is our home for the 3 weeks over Christmas and New Year.
Week one was all about Kate’s thirst for knowledge and so she promptly booked herself in for a week’s language school while I promptly booked myself onto the nearest sofa – some things travelling can’t cure! Kate’s Spanish has been getting pretty good (although she doesn’t think so) but Argentinians have an Italian background so they speak Spanish very differently from the rest of South America (e.g then”yeh” sounds becomes an “atcher” sound), they also speak it at high-speed, don’t pause at all between words and gesticulate wildly – far different from the nice, slow, easy to understand Spanish from Bolivia and Peru.
There were two main highlights from week one.
On the Monday night we went to La Bomba de Tiempo (labombadetiempo.blogspot.com). This is a freestyle percussion performance and is the place to be seen if you are a cool, young thing – which we aren’t, but we went anyway. We arrived at what looked like an old vehicle repair yard outside the Kodex centre and were relieved to find that we were not the oldest ones there by far and that the cool, young thing tag only related to young and cool at heart, not in age. La Bomba is a band made up of 15 or so percussionists playing various types of drums, tom toms, maracas and something that looked like a cheese grater. The band members take it in turns to conduct the others with a series of simple hand gestures presumably to denote tempo, beats per minute, volume etc., in the same way as a symphony conductor would do with a baton but a whole lot cooler. The music is not rehearsed or planned, each conductor leads the percussion in whichever way they feel best suits mood and/or the crowd and the result is amazingly infectious music and a really great night.
On Saturday we took part in Foto-Ruta (foto-ruta.com) around the San Telmo barria. Foto-Ruta is effectively a photography treasure hunt where you receive some basic photography tips from a professional photographer and then go out to explore a neighbourhood while trying to take photos along the treasure hunt clues provided by the organisers. After teaming up with an irish couple, a dutch girl and a brazilian guy we headed off in search of clue inspiration. The clues ranged from christmas related themes such as “signs of santa” and “reindeer replacement” to more obscure like “boledo or bohemian”. Two hours later we returned with our 10 clue based photos to a large glass of wine and a viewing and critique of everyone’s shots. It was a fantastic afternoon, great for meeting people and, more importantly for me, it kickstarted my creative photography that had been in a post-Patagonia slump (mainly because Uruguay was sooooo dull).
These are our photos from the day:
The clues were: Signs of Santa, Replacement for Reindeer, Boludo or Bohemian, Dulce Defensa, Ancient or Antique, Cultural Clash, Tangled Tango, Tackiest Tourist, Fashion or Faux Pas, and Bedtime Stories. Can you work out which is which?