Trip Start Apr 02, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Argentina  , Central Argentina,
Friday, May 9, 2008

We were met at the bus terminal in Cordoba by Nicholas and Virginia, who we met on Ihla Grande in Brazil. They are both from the city and we promised we would visit. We wandered around the city centre with them for the day and then headed back to the hostel for food. The owners cooked an Asado (BBQ) for the residents and we had a nice night meeting people who were staying at the hostel.
The next day Nicholas and Virginia collected us and took us Southwest.We had a great day sightseeing. Sat by a river for a while where Virginia gave us Mate. Mate is a form of tea (basically, crushed leaves). It was what the natives drank before the Spaniards arrived (who tried to bring it to Europe, but it never caught on) and it is more popular in Argentina and Uruguay than coffee or regular tea. Itīs not on cafe menus, so you have to know a `native` to get to drink it. Itīs a very social drink. Itīs passed around by the person who makes it, you have to pass it back after you finish your bit. Many Argentinians drink it ALL day and itīs rare to see them without a flask of hot water by their side and their Mate. Its good for the digestive system, but Virginia put in lots of sugar for us as itīs quite bitter. We had a long lunch, and tried some Northern Argentinian food (corn), drove some more, had more Mate, then some ice cream, visited a market and finished the evening by discussing the state of the Argentine Economy over a food board (meats, cheeses and olives) at the market. They dropped us back to the Hostel, we were asleep by 9.30.
On our final day in Cordoba we managed to ask for our bus ticket entirely in Spanish. We are getting there. Had some fish at a market which was recommended to us, really good, and so nice to have fish for a change! Called Virginia, who took a half day from work. She brought us out to the University where she and Nicholas studied. Cordoba is viewed as the centre of education in Argentina, it all goes back to the Jesuits who set up one of the first Universities in the country in the city centre. She brought us to a leafy area outside of the city called Cerro de las Rosas, where we had coffee and in Michaelīs case, cold quiche! We said goodbye to the lads and tonight we say goodbye to Cordoba to take an overnight bus to the province of San Juan.  
Knowing the locals is useful, you learn the most interesting things!

Some interesting facts on cordoba and argentina...(by Michael)
Cars can run on gas just like in OZ. Except on a small tank, they can only do, less than 100kms. Which will cost the local person less than 8 pesos. That  is 1.63 euro for 100kms...  or  $2.67 in Australia for
100 kms...   That is GAS!
A bottle of average red is $10 pesos.  To do the maths that is 2 euro for an average but good drop red or white...  And $3.34 for someone on in Aussie dollars!
People that decide to live on the outskirts of Cordoba chose to live in a Country! A country is like a hosuing estate. Except they have there own community including schools, parks and security. Wired fences, the works. You can only be invited into the Country.  Seems mad but its what they do.
Stray dogs are everywhere....and commands to dogs are in English, because spanish is too lengthy..
Around the 10th of each month is time to pay off that credit card. Big queues in banks around that time of month... No Online banking as yet...
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