19 November, 2009

Che!

Oktoberfest, Villa General Belgrano, Córdoba

"CHE!" nos decían a cada rato unos muchachos de Rosario esa noche. En esos momentos, bien ebrio y solamente alegre de tener la oportunidad de conocer a otra gente, simplemente contestaba lo mismo y me moría de risa entre mis nuevos amigos. Era la Fiesta de la Cerveza Nacional de Argentina, o el Oktoberfest en Villa General Belgrano de la Provincia de Córdoba.

Han pasado casi doce meses desde que llegué a Buenos Aires. En muchas maneras, ha sido un largo año. En ciertos momentos, me sentí aislado y quise volver a casa. Como un extranjero bien en el medio de una de las ciudades más grandes en las Américas, soy un desconocido en una tierra extraña. Llegué sin mucho conocimiento de Argentina, del idioma, y sin niguna idea de cómo los porteños me recibirían.

En cambio, me he divertido tanto, que el año pasó volando. Distinto de cuando llegué, ya puedo conversar con los sudamericanos adecuadamente. Aunque ningún argentino me identificaría como un habitante local, la habilidad de tener charlas más profundas con ellos debe ser uno de los aspectos más satisfactorios de mi viaje aquí.

Tres Morros, Jujuy

En los últimos meses, mientras preferí viajar alegremente más que documentar, he dejado de lado escribir en este blog. Desde que regresé de Brasil en agosto, he viajado a la Provincia de Córdoba por el Octoberfest de Argentina, seguí el sol hacia el norte hasta Salta y Jujuy para contemplar las Salinas Grandes, y subí cerros con tantos colores, que sin duda, Van Gogh hubiera pasado una vida entera interpretando en lienzo estas obras de la naturaleza.


The Hills of Pumamarca, Jujuy/Las Colinas de Pumamarca, Jujuy

La semana pasada, finalmente tuve la oportunidad de conocer Uruguay. No puedo explicar como me siento ahora, pero tengo un sentimiento de alegría y lamento al mismo tiempo. Mientras he tenido casi un año entero para conocer esta parte de América Latina, ya he aprendido tantas cosas sobre ella, que me parece que tengo mucho más para entender y experimentar. Como dije anteriormente, es como que solamente vi un preestreno de un libro que quizás nunca pueda terminar. En unas semanas, voy a marcharme de Argentina con una sensación de melancolía.

Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

En Punta del Diablo en la Banda Oriental, encontré un poco de paz. En ese pueblito tranquilo, estaba el Juancho, el viejo cerca del mar. Todo el día se sentaba al lado de su choza destartalada, la que quería vender por U$S10.000, y hablaba con cualquier persona que quisiera hablar. Estaba la hijita de Juan, el almacenero local, que quería practicar inglés pero sólo sonreía con timidez después de unas palabras, y los pescadores que pescaban cuando quisieran y vendían lo que fuera que el mar les reglaba.

* * *

"CHE!" a group of lads from Rosario called to us for the duration of the night. In those moments, well past soberness and only happy that I had the opportunity to met friends, I simply reciprocated in that most Argentine of greetings and let loose a great laugh amongst my new companions. It was Argentina's National Beer Festival, also known as the Oktoberfest at Villa General Belgrano, Córdoba Province.

Oktoberfest, Villa General Belgran, Córdoba

It has been almost twelve months since I arrived at Buenos Aires. In many ways, it has been a long year. In certain moments, I felt isolated and wanted to go home. As a foreigner in the middle of one of the largest cities in the Americas, I was a stranger in a new land. I arrived without much knowledge of Argentina, of the language, and without any idea how the locals would receive me.

Conversely, I have been enjoying myself so much that the year simply flew by. Unlike when I first arrived, I can now move past the basics and enjoy more profound conversations with South Americans. While no Argentine would make the mistake of thinking me a local, sorting out the communications issue must be one of the most satisfying aspect of my travels here.

The Great Salt Flats/Salinas Grandes

In the past few months, happy to experience rather than document, I have neglected to write in this blog. Since returning from Brazil in August, I have traveled to Córdoba Province for Argentina's Octoberfest, chased the sun north to Salta and Jujuy Provinces to gaze at one of the world's great salt flats, and hiked surging peaks with so many colors that Van Gogh surely could have spent a lifetime duplicating nature's work on canvas.

Last week I finally had the opportunity to explore Uruguay. At this moment I really cannot explain the feelings in my head, a cocktail of happiness and regret at the same time. While I have had almost an entire year to get to know this part of Latin America, and I have learned so much, it feels that I have so much more to see and experience. As I said before, it is like I have only read the jacket of a book that I might never finish. In a few weeks, I will leave Argentina swimming in a sea of melancholy.

Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

In Punta del Diablo, Uruguay, I found a little bit of peace. In this peaceful seaside village, there was the Juancho, literally an old man by the sea. All day he would sit on the side of his broken-down shack, which he would like to sell for US$10,000, and talk with whomever wanted to talk. Then there was the little daughter of Juan, the local grocer, who wanted to practice English, but would only smile shyly after a few words, and the fishermen who fished whenever they wanted and would sell whatever gifts the sea brought them.

Lady, the puppy at El Diablo Tranquilo Hostel/Lady, la cachorra del Diablo Tranquilo Hostel

4 comments:

Baino said...

God I can't believe you've been away for 12 months it's gone so fast. Great photos, reminiscent of Clare's trip and lots of fun photos with perspective at the salt flats. Will you be there next year or are you heading back to work. And I can't understand it but looks like your spanish is coming along just fine and dandy.

Quickroute said...

God ! 12 months already - time srely does fly - good recap

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Anonymous said...

Nice stories and pictures. I met argentinian north this summer and it was one of the best viajes por argentina i have made.Cheers.