24 hours without tango…

The Tigre delta The last 24 hours were magic and I didn’t dance a single tango. Well I lie, because I danced to Gotan in the street outside a music shop in my trainers, coat, with my weekend bag on my shoulder. It was one perfect moment in a weekend of perfect moments.

Last week Carlos offered to show me Tigre, and the Delta del Parana; my first excursion outside the city. Our adventure began with a walk through Belgrano to the station. We passed La Glorieta where we first met. In daylight it looked beautiful. The whole of Buenos Aires looked beautiful in the hot sun as we boarded the train.

Forty five minutes  later, we were in Tigre , 28km to the northwest of the city. We wandered along the river bank, down quiet streets, eating candy floss – which I can NEVER resist. Somehow its name in castellano, copas de nieve (cups of snow) makes it even more heavenly. We joined day trippers in the markets, bought Press (named because of the label on her tummy, and conveniently short for Princess or for preciosa). Press is now the novia (girlfriend) of my tiger Hubert who travels with me on all my adventures. We enjoyed a long lunch, and as the sun was setting made our way to the dock where the small boats leave for the channels surrounding the islands in the Delta. At a tiny kiosk we booked a Hosteleria for the night and boarded our boat.

As the light faded I began to feel more relaxed than I have been in years. The stillness of the water ahead of us, the darkness in the boat, the gentle chatter of my fellow passengers… and I was almost sleeping when we arrived. The place was entirely ours for the night. The welcome we received was warm. We sat and drank mate. Carlos taught me how to prepare it. I like it with lots of sugar. We ate a delicious dinner freshly prepared by our hosts. We listened to Argentine folk music and Carlos talked to me about the provinces around Buenos Aires. I felt that at any minute someone might pinch me and tell me to wake up, that my life is a dream. But as I sat there in the warmth from the stove I realised that no, this is my life. We walked on the pontoon under the stars, and drank in the silence that we never hear in the city.

This morning dawned bright and clear. The sun was hot and we took our breakfast on the small ‘beach’ in front of the Hosteleria. We watched the wooden boats glide past, the water shops arrive and depart. We drank more mate, but this time I prepared it for Carlos. It is special to prepare mate for others. I felt honoured. Soy portena ahora! It was tough to drag ourselves away from this piece of paradise, but today Carlos had to get back to the city by six, to vote in the city elections. Voting is compulsary.

We said our farewells to the family that had made us so welcome. We promised to return. We will. On the mainland again I bought a mate gourd (also called the mate) and straw (bombilla) for my apartment. Mate will be part of my life from now on. As we walked back through Belgrano through the market, on the spur of the moment, we both decided to have tarot readings. Carlos had never had one before, and me only a few times in Australia. I was shocked at the reality and truth in what I heard about Carlos and about myself. The old man touched me with his warmth and his care. Some things he told me about my past reached my soul. I felt tears in my eyes. However, he told me that my projects are going to be very successful. This part I liked. Maybe I will be a famous tango dancer after all…

If you’re wondering how much all this cost us, wonder no more. Per person: the train fare was $.70 pesos each way, the boat was $5 pesos, the night in the Hosteleria including dinner and breakfast was $70 pesos. Our drinks were extra but cheap. So in total it cost me around£15 for a night in paradise.

See pictures of my weekend in Tigre

And just in case you haven’t understood yet why I love this country so much, I have some music videos to share with you. Bersuit Vergarabat are a famous Argentine rock band. Ariel introduced me to this particular track, La Argentinidad al palo, last week. I have played it ever since. The song is about ‘Argentinity’. It talks of many things, all of which I love. Play it loudly, watch the videos, read the lyrics and know why I want to live here.

La Argentinidad al palo with lyric friendly video

La Argentinidad al palo with original video (I think)

Read the lyrics of La Argentinidad al palo

Read about the Argentine rock band Bersuit Vergarabat

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One Response

  1. One of my goals next time I visit is to visit the estancias and the pampas…and I want to visit El Tigre, too.

    Glad you had a relaxing time. 🙂

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