I finally learned a joke in Spanish: How many stars are there in the sky? Sin-cuenta. HA. Hahaha. Ask your Spanish speaking friends about that one. Or ask me later. Or don’t, it’s really not that funny.
Overall, this week has been pretty laid-back, which is largely the reason I haven’t written anything. BUT today was super cool, so now I’m behind again. I’ll start from last weekend.
Last weekend was my first experience in the Argentine pueblo Arteaga, which is basically a small town. How small? Think the size of Mt. Ida, and I’m sorry that reference will be lost on a number of people. To sum up last weekend, it was overwhelming in the language department. It was one of Fernando’s cousin’s 2nd birthday, as well as Children’s Day, which is actually a big deal here, comparable to our Mother’s and Father’s Days. So we’re talking 40 people in one house, 15 of which are under the age of 8. My head nearly exploded, true story. Not only that, but the birthday girl wanted nothing to do with me and cried every single time I tried to get a kiss from her or really even talk to her(there’s more to this story later on). But it was fun to goof off in a small town because reminded me a lot of home, and as a personal victory, I drove! The rules of the road are all the same as the US, so this really holds very little significance. My last day in Arteaga I went to a Flea Market that is held every few months, where another cousin sells wooden toys that she makes. Cool experience overall.
As I said, this past week was relatively low-key. Monday was a holiday (I’ve yet to figure out exactly why), and my teacher was sick on Wednesday, so no class on those days. As I’ve had some extra time on my hands, I started on a rigorous running schedule, meaning I’ve run twice. I basically run as far as I can along the river and when I feel like I’m about to die, I walk home. My workout and diet videos come out next week. That’s obviously a joke.
What one can take from my exercising outdoors is that we’re finally having some beautiful spring-like weather! It feels like a sin to not be outdoors, I’d watch grass grow if it meant I got to spend the day outside. As I’m spending a lot of time outside, usually in the parks, I’ve taken notice to something that appears to be commonplace here, but is very, let me emphasize, very different than anything I’ve seen in the US: PDA. This goes far beyond hand-holding or butterfly kisses that one might find in a park in the US. I’m talking full out spooning and cuddling in the grass, girls straddling their significant others on the benches, possibly a make out sesh next to another couple having a make out sesh. I’m not making this up. On a pretty day, I can pick any spot in the park and point out 5 couples doing any 1 of those 3. Again, I realize this is likely very normal here. Still totally different than anything I’m used to seeing. Regardless of all of that, here is a pretty view from the park, in which I coincidentally captured 2 pairs being very couple-y, but that was unintentional.
Side note: remember the 2 year old birthday girl who was brought to tears at the thought of interacting with me? Well before the end of the week we had an exciting turn of events, and at dinner on Friday I found out she had started using the word “okay” in conversation (!!).. Which means she’d actually been listening to me the weekend before and picked up on an English word that I use (probably too much)! Later on she even played with me and gave me a kiss goodbye, so we’re basically homies now.
Since the weather has been beautiful the last couple of days, I got to do a lot of fun outdoorsy activities that have been more or less restricted due to cold and rain. But no more! Saturday (yesterday), Fernando and I went to a museum(I know, this is indoors. But there was a lot of walking before and after, so it still fits in with my story,) where I spent most of my time trying to read descriptions to figure out what exactly it was that I was looking at. I also enjoyed a variety of setting off hidden alarms and meandering into off-limit areas that were lacking sufficient signage. That, or I just wasn’t looking hard enough. Take it as you will. But I also looked at some art, two of my favorite pieces being this super fancy mate (see previous entries, I can’t stop talking about it) and this painting that might be the most beautiful work of art I’ve ever seen:
Okay yeah, I made Fernando take a selfie with me in a fancy mirror.
After walking what was probably a thousand miles, we finally ended up at the Rosario Jockey Club. Very cool, and also very open to the public. We walked in the front doors and there were a few people chatting over what I’m assuming must’ve been horsey things. I thought they were going to stop us, but neigh(lol), we walked right on in. On the infield there was a futbol game, some people walking their dogs, and a couple of horses walking around on their horsey way. Much more casual than the Oaklawn Jockey Club of Hot Springs, which would (probably) never let me frolic with the ponies on the infield 😦 .
After all of this, I got a headache to end all headaches, thus causing me to sleep for over 12 hours and miss any fun Saturday night activities. The good news is that when I woke up this morning, I was headache-free and fully rested for a day full of AcTiViTiEs.
Every Sunday, the city of Rosario closes the main street that runs along the river and park for recreational use only, meaning one will find runners, walkers, cyclists, roller bladers, dog walkers, really anything. Especially when it’s a beautiful day like it was today. Fernando and I hopped on our bikes and took a ride, partly because it was a beautiful day and partly because I wanted to know how to get to my school without using the bus.
You can’t see it, but we were heading straight toward a mass of people around that corner. I nearly ended the lives of no less than 100 kids today, it’s really hard to maneuver through a crowd on a bike with no brakes.
After lunch back to the apartment, we caught a bus to what would become my favorite place in Rosario thus far. It’s an old, abandoned military compound(base?). I’m not sure what to call it exactly, but we went because Fernando’s sister-in-law was putting on an event for kids with special needs where they got to play and ride horses and do other outdoorsy things. I’m going to go ahead and apologize to my mom now, because the rest of this is one of those stories that I usually wait a few months before telling her. Moving forward. We got off the bus and had a bit of a walking distance ahead of us, as the compound is encompassed by a 9ish foot wall and we had to walk around it to find the open entrance. Well, we would have, but a car stopped and asked us how to get to the same place we were going, so they offered us a ride and off we went.
As the event was held in the old army compound, we were heading to the place they used to keep their horses, so there were a lot of old barns and pens outside, holding around 15 horses and ponies. This part is relatively tame, aside from the occasional dodging of spooked horses. Fer did get stepped on, though. Sorry about that :/. We started to explore the rest of the compound, which Fernando knows pretty well because his dad used to live there when he was in the military, and he had explored the place for years after it had been abandoned.
The first place I wanted to explore was that tower, obviously, so we started to climb with Fer in tow saying “your mom is going to kill me…” (see mom, he knows) and from the top got a pretty spectacular view of Rosario and the rest of the compound. Worth it.
After the tower, we spent a lot of time exploring other abandoned buildings in the compound, including this one.
Walking in this one felt like how I imagine it must feel to scuba dive around the Titanic, maybe slightly less significant, but I have nothing else for comparison. It has beautiful marble stair cases and a big ballroom downstairs, with soldier’s rooms and things of that nature on the other floors. Not only was Fer telling me how beautiful this place was, but I felt like at any minute ghosts would start dancing out of the walls in ballgowns like in Anastasia. His sister even had her quinceanera here, meaning it hasn’t been abandoned but for less than 15ish years, but it was sad to see such a beautiful building going to ruin. Honestly, I should have gotten more pictures of the inside, but since I didn’t know we were coming to the coolest place ever, I didn’t think to bring my phone. The one time. Sometimes I’m not so smart. Luckily my good pal Fernando let me use his.
Like I said, we explored a lot of old buildings, and eventually we both admitted that we were expecting to find a dead body or homeless person eventually. Thankfully, we never did. We did, however, find some other interesting things, like this room full of empty cots,
and dark scary hallways such as this one,
and the occasional horrific prank to make it look like there were bodies lying around.
All of which were enjoyable and not unnerving at all.
After a couple of hours of exploration, it was time to leave the compound. To avoid walking a hundred miles to the official “exit,” I suggested we jump the wall. Which was a great plan in theory, until I fell flat on my back in front of enough traffic to make it embarrassing. Such is my life. But it was a great way to end the day and the weekend. That about wraps it up, now I’m just going to leave my favorite picture from the day here for any to enjoy. Toodles.