Sunday 18 March 2012

We're in Argentina

Days 1 and 2.

Argentina. What does it mean? Tango, steak, great red wine, artists, writers, passionate football fans, some of the finest footballers of all time, the newest member of an elite 4 Nations rugby tournament with South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, the Corridors cricket club.  Yes, now we, the Corridors Cricket Club, on tour in March 2012, are indelibly linked and inked into the cricketing history of this extraordinary place.

It is an amazing, friendly, vibrant county with an incredible history. And EVERYONE should come here. We have. How cool is that?

Wednesday night was a late one. Once we were ensconced in our hotel (5, 5 and 4 to an apartment), it was time for dinner - a very late dinner, which is almost unheard of in England, but almost the law in Argentina. And what, exactly, were we going to eat? If I say the word "steak", does it conjure up salivatory thoughts of joy and flavour? It does here. Rarely have I seen steaks the size of the 13 we ordered between us. What they may have lacked in flavourful finesse, they more than made up for in meaty magnificence. Steak is big here. A very good thing. Wine too. Wine makes me smile. I did a lot of smiling. Sometimes in the direction of other people, too. What a way to start a your time in BA. In fact, according to Russ, BA is "very like Asia. Lots of foliage. Not as dirty".  We are very well travelled, don't you know.

A quick word about our accommodation here in BA. Amy and Ray run the Conventillo de Lujo, which is basically made up of rather lovely apartments sleeping up to 5. Amy is a former competitive tango dancer and Ray's background is that of dance against all odds. From a family that banned dancing, he married into a culture that not only celebrates it but claims it as its own with a form of vertical passion that borders on the obscene - TANGO. And this place oozes tango, with a dance studio on the ground floor and dancers, literally everywhere, every day. What better place to be for 14 blokes on a cricket tour! We're out when everyone else is here!

Our first full day in Buenos Aires began with a whirlwind tour of the city in a bus. Genuinely, we were introduced to this amazing city with a view of everything and there is a LOT to seen. Daniela, our guide, was not only patient and good humoured, she was also massively indulgent with a hungover tour group with nothing but innuendo in mind. Although, if you're going to tell us that the best thing to eat in BA is something called an Alpha Whore (alright, it's Alfajor and it's a gorgeous chocolate/caramel biscuit, but they say "j" with "h") you have to expect some naughtiness to ensue. And it has.

Apparently, one of the absolute must-see places in BA is the cemetary. It is like a city on a small scale with mausoleums, tiny streets etc. But the moment Panda described it as the "model village of death" - a Port Merion of cadavres - Dani had lost us, but in a good way. In fact, in such a good way, that I'm pretty sure that once we had descibed described the Greek Embassy as the German Embassy's second residence, her comment "that's the French Embassy, at the moment" might well have been more beautifully translated than she could ever have imagined.

I'd like to get serious here, but only for a brief moment. We, as Brits, have a sometimes "difficult" relationship with Argentina. Currently, that is being played up in the British press as a potential crisis. Well, try this... we have seen grafitti that could be upsetting, we have seen preparations for protests and long-term camps highlighting the plight of soldiers who have fought for their country, but at no time have we experienced anything other than hospitality. It may well be that it is "we" who are too touchy. This is a very personal view and is not meant to offend, but simply to say that no matter what the politicians may be doing and the press may be saying, this is a wonderful place. Although I'm unlikely to wander into certain areas wearing an England shirt (of whatever denomination)! But one does that anywhere!

We followed the city tour with a HUGE lunch in the centre of town. Steak? Yes. Pork? Yes. Beer? Yes. Wind? very definitely. (I meant to write "wine", but I can't help myself from leaving it in!)
But for it all, minus the wind and plus the wine, a grateful thanks to Gary Savage once more for laying on a "top spread", followed by shopping, sight seeing, more beer. Well, we are on tour.

There are many characters on this tour and a fantastically laissez-faire attitude. There is no desperate need for everyone to do everything or, indeed, do everything together and Thursday night provided a brilliant opportunity for everyone to experience their own "special" blow-out; whether dropping Jaeger bombs 'til the wee smalls or supping cocktails through a phone booth (no, really, it's true!), BA offers all sorts of fun and some absolutely incredible food! Yes, we do have recommendations!

Friday morning saw some very sore heads and some very pale faces but offered even more in the way of experience! For those who wanted it, a city wander beckoned, and for those with a desire for peaceful meandering, a boat ride through the Delta. I did the Delta (Tigre) and it's mostly like millionaire row, but right on the water and on an island. Incredible. Although, seriously, nipples  barely covered while sunbathing with that facial hair. Skip. Swiss. There might be children watching!

Finally, dinner. I might have mentioned steak before. Well, I'll say it again, then. Steak. We, as a group, really do like steak and you dan get it everywhere! Did I mention that I like Buenos Aires / Argentina? D'oh!

Tomorrow we start with the point of the tour. It's our first cricket match. There's not a single tourist on this party who isn't straining at the leash to be part of it- although Paulo is suffering from a cold (I know, in Argentina's summer - late though it may be) and Barbarossa who has stepped aside - both have offered to stand down to allow Skip to simply Skip and not to "pick"!

What an amazing place.

What an amazing opportunity.

What an amazing bunch of tourists.

I feel honoured and very lucky to be part of it all.

More to come.


1 comment:

  1. what wonderful updates! thanks for letting us know what's going on - sounds absolutely amazing!