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Enjoy the show in Buenos Aires

I'm now in Buenos Aires to take intensive tango classes and dance salsa like crazy. It's the perfect place for me!
Tango has been created here and it is until now really part of the culture, we can admire dancers in the streets or in many of the city theaters or ballrooms. For me tango is one of the most elegant dance, the most difficult to learn too... And dancing in a milonga (name of the tango ballroom) is extremely complicated and codified. For example the dancer cannot talk to invite a lady to dance but he "nods" to her and the lady has to understand and "nod" back. Very funny...
Here the cultural activities and shows are everywhere, in every square, in the streets, in theaters, and I'm not the only one to enjoy it, as you can see below... :)

Gaucho culture in San Antonio de Areco

When I arrived in the state of Buenos Aires, I had the chance again to be there at the right time. I just came for the Tradition Festival. Every year, San Antonio de Areco, a small town in Buenos Aires great suburb, organizes this gaucho celebration: horse-riding and games, criollas skills, exhibition, dances and traditional parade of horse-riding "gauchos". Gauchos are the argentinian farmers who herd cattle in the vast farms, they look really like cowboys.
I was quite fun to see them trying to ride wild horses and taste their unbeatable barbequed red meat.
The perfect place to get a taste of the lifestyle of the pampas.

An Argentinian day in Rosario

When I arrived in Rosario I didn't have any idea about what to expect, as usual. I prefer not to have a guide book or read about the touristic attractions and let the opportunities come to me.
My first stop was at a couchsurfer's house, I met Eduardo. A nice middle class argentinian guy who introduced me to the local culture.
On the menu of this typical day: the Asado. Asado is actually a bbq. Argentinians are very proud of this "culinary specialty", but it is basically just a huge amount of beef they throw on the grill and cook perfectly. What looks awkward to me is that they hardly eat any vegetable or side dish with it. Purely carnivore...

On the drink list you can't miss the Mate (pronounce Matay). It's a very unique tradition of Argentina spread a bit over south of Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Mate is an herb they consume as a tea, with hot water. But it's more than a beverage here, it's a way of living, a symbol of conviviality, and an addictive habit. At the moment I crossed the Argentinian border, I've been puzzled at the sight of so many people walking around with a thermos tucked under one arm, sucking on a metal pipe stuck into a gourd with a silver rim. Obviously I had to try. Eduardo prepared one for us. But as soon as I sip into the famous gourd I cough of disgust, stroke by the bitter, earthy and grassy tasting... My host tried to hide his disappointment of my dislike and passed the mate to his friend. But he was decided to have me liking this Argentinian addiction, so he went off to the kitchen to prepare a "terere". "This one you'll like it, you'll see!" he says determined. It consists of the same herb prepared with orange juice on a bed of ice, the orange juice (very sweet) compensate the bitterness of the herb, making it much more drinkable. I was afraid of not liking it, Eduardo was so eager of convincing me, I didn't want to disappoint him too much... Thankfully I could drink it...
Later on that day, the news announce the death of Nestor Kirshner, the former president who was suspected of governing through his wife, elected in 2007. It's a big thing, the whole country is shocked and 3 days of mourning are proclaimed. It gives us the start of the long discussion on Argentina's history and politics.
A perfect argentinian day: asado, mate, terere, and political discussion with a cute argentinian guy. :)

Traveling in question

When I meet people and say I've been traveling for 13 months now, their reaction is always the same. The most frequent one is: "Wow! You're rich or what? How do you finance that?". And the 2nd most frequent is: "Wow! You're lucky, I wish I could do the same".
I find that both lack terribly of creativity and imagination apart from being totally untrue.
For the first one, people are always under the illusion travel is expensive. It’s not. There’s a plethora of ways to travel cheap. I traveled South America for about 20 dollars a day. I’ve heard of people who do it on less. Travel is not expensive, you just need to make it a financial priority. We regret the things we didn’t do. If you want to travel, use that money now- you can’t take it with you when you die.
For the 2nd one, what keeps people from traveling? "I've too many responsibilities". This is the biggest excuse people give. But when you leave, you have none. Bills disappear, car payments go away, errands you have to run become non-existent. It is often said that the more stuff we own, the more our stuff owns us. The modern world creates a lot of baggage that ties us to society’s approved path. Once you make the decision to go, you’ll find that all those bonds quickly disappear and those responsibilities vanish. The only responsibilities I have are the ones I create for myself, the only bills I have are those of my everyday needs. Once you come back, you’ll also realize you can do with much less. Also I've seen entire families traveling for one year on a bicycle. The limits we have are the ones we give to ourselves...

In the end, it's fear that keeps most people from traveling.

Instead of these two basic answers, I wish I would be asked: "What did you learn in 13 months?", "Where have you seen the most beautiful smile?", "What are your dreams?".... But nobody has ever asked me any of these questions...

As Antoine de St Exupery wrote: "Grown up never ask you any questions about essential matters. [...] If you were to say to the grown-ups: "I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof," they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all. You would have to say to them: "I saw a house that cost $200,000." Then they would exclaim: "Oh, what a pretty house that is!"

Feeling tiny in Iguazu

Puerto Iguazu is the Argentinian city nearest to the famous falls. It took me 23 hours of bus to reach this place from Salta but it was worth it.
The falls are just breathtaking, I felt so small in front of these powerful and huge waterfalls! The pics surely cannot translate the impression we have in front of this fierce power of nature.
They are moreover situated in a national park of the same name and while wandering between the falls I could make friend with lots of animals...butterflies, caotis begging for food, toucans and even a couple of Parisian people :)...

Road trip to Cafayate

Arrived in Salta, a bourgeois city which could be easily part of Spain, being so similar to Barcelona, I partied a lot with my new friends from France, Spain, Australia, Switzerland, and UK. The bars offered for most of them a folkloric show with traditional costumes and an ambiance incredible.
From there we decided to rent a car and go on the road to Cafayate, capital of a pretty wine region of Argentina. The drive was amazing for the variety of landscapes we crossed! Valleys full of cactus, huge sculpted rocks houses of parrots, green mountains, small traditional villages in the middle of the desert, and extended wineries in a dry valley. Extraordinary!

7 colors of Purmamarca

On my way to Salta, main city of northern Argentina, I stopped by a small village called Purmamarca (very difficult name to remember).
It was my first stop in Argentina. What a change compared to Bolivia. I felt like I went 100 years ahead in time and a few thousand kilometers away... Here, people smile, there are roads and road signs, nice cars, shops, my stay in this country will be good to accommodate to European way of life again.
I could relax there for one day and look at the incredible geological wonder of these mountains of 7 colors.

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About me

About me

Travelling to learn, learning to travel.