I´ll build a geodesic dome and sail away

Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
Trip End Jan 20, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, October 29, 2007

Argentina has much to offer. Particularly red meat. And red wine. Both of which, doctors say, are good for you. So I can highly recommend the top Buenos Aires restaurant Grants, at which you pay 35 Pesos and can then help yourself to steak from the grill. There's also seafood. And salad and pasta and so on, but come on. Itīs the steak you want. All you can eat. Unless, like Hitler, you are a vegetarian.
And then. Onto Santa Fe. Dear, dear, dear Santa Fe. The journey is rather dull: the landscape too flat to be interesting. Much like the Netherlands. But without the windmills. Or a pizza. But without the cheese. There was, however, an impressive moon setting in the evening. Viewed from the top deck of the bus - an enormous, red moon sinking over the horizon. Not as spectacular as the one I saw in the Galapagos, but good nonetheless. One word of advice, however. Donīt sit on the front seat of the bus. You canīt see the film properly. And it looked like a fine film, too. With helicopters, and explosions. Unfortunately, not fully visible, I didnīt watch it all.
Talking of helicopters and explosions, Governer Arnold Schwarzenegger (surely Jello Biafra needs to update his classic "California Uber Alles"?) has made the suprising announcement than marijuana is not a drug. "That is not a drug. It's a leaf", he said, unintentionally echoing Chris Morris on the drugs episode of Brass Eye: "Some people say that alcohol is a drug. Itīs not a drug, itīs a drink." Ah well. Straight from Arnie's mouth, so it has to be true. After all, the man who gave us "Conan The Barbarian" and "Commando" - two of the finest films ever made - must be right.
Santa Fe provided the best thunderstorm IĻve ever seen. Sat in a bar with enormous windows, I watched, as first the rain began to pour, then lightning lit up the entire sky - sheets of it. And, as it was dying down, forks. But the sheets were most impressive - illuminating the city. Which became more spectacular after the electricity went down in the block containing my bar.
More bus rides, then. To Cordoba. Breakfast, in a cafe-bar in which the ceiling appeared to be crumbling (half of it plasterboard which finished abruptly, the other half, nothing other than the wooden beams above, holding up the roof) and a waitress who was more interested in watching "Free Willy" than anything else. I wouldnīt normally mind, but itīs such sentimal, mawkish shite that it offends me. Although the channel did advertise "Freddy versus Jason" (I didnīt catch the time or date it was on at, sadly). Now that is a fine film, and itīs treatment of the themes of personal identity and the nature of the self, along with morality, good and evil and the role of genetics and culture, make it a "must see" for any serious student of these topics.
The bus ride itself was again dull. Flatlands. I wonder if they were reclaimed. From rainforest, probably. The rainforest once stretched over most of Argentina and Brazil. Now it is restricted to the area round Iguazu, and a few National Parks. Replaced by farmlands. However, just before entering Cordoba, the mountains rose up. In the distance. The other side of the city. That was good - mountains, again.
Cordoba seems a very pleasant city. Colonial architecture, blending well with more modern buildings. Unfortunately, there are less cats than in Buenos Aires. However, there were some good ones at the zoo - not just big ones, but small ones, nipping in cages to make friends with the other animals, and one sharing food with the anteaters. Splendid.
Just outside Cordoba is Alta Gracia. Home, for a while, of Ernesto "Che" Guevara. So I took a trip there. The bus to Santa Fe passed through Rossario, his birthplace. I briefly considered stopping there, but decided against it. His one-time home, in Alta Gracia has a motorbike in it. Of the same type he rode around South America on. Not the same one, sadly. But it looks like it. So that's alright, then...
One last gripe. Cordoba seems more or less shut on Sundays. A bit like Cuenca. And when, on a hot, sticky afternoon, I found a bar that was open, I was told that they couldn't serve alcohol, because of the election. What sort of political suicide is that? If it was election day, and I was told I couldn't have a pint by some half-bit, corrupt politician, they certainly wouldn't be getting my vote. In fact, thinking about it, it's just the sort of mindlessly authoritarian, "We're doing it because it's good for you, whether you like it or not" sort of thing that Mr Tony Blair would introduce. Thankfully, he's no longer in power. Instead, we have the completely different Gordon Brown, who, despite pursuing an indentical set of policies, doesn't have the smarmy grin. No, to vote for the grin, you have to go for Cameron. So that's our next electoral choice - grin, or no grin. The policies are identical and irrelevant. Who cares, right? Right...
And then. Cinema. I have trecked around various cinemas in this town, but not one of them seems to be showing Resident Evil 3. This is a disgrace - the climax to the most important cinematic trilogy since Kieslowski's "Three Colours...", and it's being ignored. If this was some populist trash like Lord Of The Rings, would it be treated this way? You can bet it wouldn't be. It's a disgrace, I tell you. A disgrace.
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