Monday, August 15, 2011

villa dolores. nothing short of awesome.

Villa Dolores is where I fell in love with Córdoba. Who would have guessed? Villa Dolores is perhaps the most populated town in the Traslasierras. It’s not exceedingly beautiful. And, now that I’ve seen much more of Córdoba, it still surprises me that I decided then and there to fall head over heals. But I did. And I think it was the people.

Melisa was my couch surfing host for 5 nights. She is true Virgo and unexpected fernet-inspired partier. She’s a cordobesa and a world traveler. She’s interested in social change at small town level. And she found me a job for a day. She’s pretty awesome.

Thanks to Melisa, her family and friends, I found it very hard to have a boring time.

The first two days were rest days. I needed some rest days.

The third day was a work day…? Work? Yes, work.

It’s elections-season in the Province of Córdoba. And it’s obligatory for all citizens to vote. So, the campaign trucks are out in full swing. The plaza is colored with banners, the ground littered with pamphlets, and the streets full of cars with huge speakers blasting propaganda.

My job was to hand out political pamphlets. I was a promoter. Yes, the political t-shirt, tight pants, and makeup wearing girls who walk down the street getting all the attention. They asked me to wear high heals, (I don’t have high heals) but they didn’t ask me to actually know anything about the candidate. All they asked me to do was to look nice, give people pamphlets, and smile.

Now, this isn’t a job I’d normally take. Nor do I think I’ll follow this career line in the future. Why? Because I was paid to sell a political party with my image, not my knowledge. And that’s not in line with my normal philosophy. But they paid surprisingly well and it was only for 4 hours. So I whipped out my smile and started littering the streets with paper for a candidate I may actually have been interested in if they had taken the time to inform me.

That night the boys arrived. Guille, a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in three years, and Miguel, the French backpacking couch surfer, arrived. That night it also happened to be Emilce’s birthday, so we got rowdy in the YPF station in Villa de la Rosas dancing quarteto, drinking beer, and causing a ruckus.

That night we threw some mattresses on the floor, and crashed.

The fourth day, we walked a lot through the city. I laughed out loud when I saw the palo borracho tree in the park. And instantly wanted nothing more than to climb it

The sunset provoked a late afternoon bike ride. We picked oranges from the sidewalk trees. It’s exceeding beautiful to me when I walk down the street to accompanied by orange trees, branches heavy with fruit. Even if no one cares for the trees and their fruit is bitterly acidic. Having fruit trees adds color to an ordinary concrete sidewalk. The oranges may not be edible, but they are useful for juggling practice and for making daquiris. So we did both.

That night was the big party. To sum it up: fernet, wine, guitar, singing, empanadas, a very very delicious cake, some dancing, and a whole lot of ruckus-causing. Sadly I have no photos to publish.

The next morning left us almost out-of-commission. But we got up relatively early anyway. Why?? One word: LOCRO!

Locro is a typical Argentine dish. It’s a stew of beans, meat, bacon, squash… una bomba! I had never tried it. Melisa’s mother was appalled when she found out and a few days later she prepared my first locro.
Of couse we picked the hottest day of the week to eat it (it is normally a cold weather dish, check out the ingredient list!), but it was amazing. I ate two heaping bowls.


We packed up the mate and sat at the dique sipping and chatting.

Diego (yes, Diego from Mendoza) showed up on his motorcycle and joined in for the asado that night. Guitar, singing, food, drink… En fin, another amazing night.

The next day was departure day. After five spectacular event-packed days, we said goodbye to Melisa and her amazing clan of friends and family, and pedaled away.

We? Yes. I have found someone crazy enough to hop on a bike and accompany me for the next 200+ km.

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