Arrival in Latin America & intro to Mar del Plata

Trip Start Mar 04, 2013
Trip End May 27, 2013

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Samsara Beach
Villa Victoria Ocampo
Playa Varesse
Plazoleta de skate
Peatonal San Martin
Lobos marinos
Sierra de los Padres
Torreon del Monje
Plaza San Martin
Puerto Pesquero
Torre Tanque
La Bodeguita

Flag of Argentina  , Central Argentina,
Thursday, September 27, 2012

On the Heathrow Airport we have said goodbye to London and shared the very last moments sipping typical British draught beer. It also helped us through the whole stressful process of checking-in, boarding and taking off. After a few movies, on-flight meals and a total journey of 18 hours ... We have landed on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. 
The border crossing at the airport always has been hassle free, either this time we have had no problems. The visa is not required, neither any certificate of vaccination. Most of EU travellers are given a 90 day touristic visa. Our fingerprints and pictures have been taken, which is a standard procedure in here. 
Nota bene - the fingerprint reader has been invented in Argentina, as well as a ballpoint pen!   
Latin America...the New World... America's Backyard...brings in my mind so many connotations: Ancient Civilizations, Caipirinha, Galapagos Islands, Latin Music, Mate, Asado, Mendoza's Vineyards, Bolivia's Salt Flats, Titicaca, Ayahuasca, Tango, Ceviche, Caribbean coast, Wave of Coups d'Etat, Pink rise, Corralito, Copacabana, Pachamama, Samba...I could go on, and on, and on! A magic fusion felt with all 5 senses: through the skin, fragrance, landscapes, blaze of colours, sounds and flavours.   

Our first long term destination (and the only long-term) in Latin America is Mar del Plata. We are going to live in the Province of Buenos Aires in the biggest city on the Atlantic Coast, 400 km south from Buenos Aires. It receives a plague of tourists during the summertime, which happens to be in January and February, we are looking forward to both the summer and the movement. 
Mar del Plata outnumbers Buenos Aires in the hotel rooms by 4,000, however the tourists who visit here are in 95% Argentines. Inbound tourism rules on the Atlantic Coast. 

 A little bit of local history...
It is believed that the first mention of Mar del Plata was made by Ferdinand Magellan 1519, who sailed the Latin East Coast in search of strait to make it to the other side of the continent. He named it "Punta de Arenas Gordas", after seeing the part of Mar del Plata, which is currently "Punta Mogotes" on the south of the city.
From the first mention to the arrival and settling of the Europeans, many years have passed.   
The indigenous peoples of Las Pampas, were indians who led a nomadic life-style. 
Spanish Jesuits were sent on a mission in 1746 to convert and teach Indians, and eventually convince them to settle-down. It didn't work. Jesuits had to escape after being attacked by the Tehuelches, and in a battle led by Jose Hernandez in 1770 Indians were fought, and majority of them was killed. 

The area again remained unexplored until a Portuguese - Coelho de Meirelles in 1856 builds a meat-salting facility, and people start settling down. The salted meat was produced for export to Brasil and was a staple food of slaves.  The business didn't last for long...the slavery abolishment laws started to be imposed slowly in Brazil in 1871. 

Coelho dies and most of his land goes under governance of Patricio Peralta Ramos. On the 10th of February 1874 Mar del Plata, with its current name, has been founded. 
Since then it has taken a different turn... but about that in the next blog. 
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