Monday, January 07, 2008

Welcome Home!

Man! (Please read as a genderless expression...)

Am I glad to be home. The family spent 3 great weeks in Argentina over the holidays. Here's the highlights and lowlights, in no particular order:

  • Argentines know how to eat, and how to drink. Every good Argentine home has a parrilla. That's a grill for cooking on, but I hesitate to compare it to anything in the states. It's huge, huger than Texas size, capable of cooking two pigs at once. Entire pigs. I was there, I saw it. And when you order parrilla in a restaurant, you get tons of meat (including things like kidneys and molleja) for a fraction of what you pay in the States for half the food. And the wine--especially my favorite, Malbec--available at every meal and every corner store. [Interestingly, there's very little incidence of drunkenness in Argentina, even though wine is consumed in many homes, even the Baptist ones. But that's another post.] Parrilla for 2-3 people was 50 pesos, about $18US. And a bottle of decent table wine in the kioskos was 5 pesos--$1.80!

  • I'm not a great beach person, but it's pretty cool to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's on a beach. I've got the best winter tan ever!

  • I read James Michener's "Texas" during the trip. Wow. I now know where a lot of my Texas co-dependencies come from. Great book!

  • 9 hour flights are no fun in coach.

  • Miami has to be the worst airport in the US.

  • Truco is the greatest card game ever. Kind of a combination of spades and poker, it involves lots of bluffing, and bridge players will think that it has cheating built into the rules, as there are standard signals to alert your partners what cards you have. The only problem is the signals are the same for everyone, so your opponents can steal your signals if you're not careful.

  • Berisso, the suburb of La Plata where my father in law is from and where we stayed a couple of days, is an hour south of Buenos Aires. It's about the same distance south of the equator as San Antonio is north, with about the same climate. So January there is like July here. And very few people have air conditioning. My family doesn't. So last week when the heat index was 42C (108F), it was hot!

  • Alfajor chocolate is the greatest candy bar in existence. Hands down. I brought home 4 cases to prove it.

  • Argentina is a great country. But there's no place like home.

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