Rehearsing my social skills pt II

Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
Trip End Jun 14, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, May 26, 2006

I had arranged to meet Pablo, Anita's friend, for breakfast, at his house, several blocks from downtown. Having found it, I stood around outside for a few minutes owing to an evidently ineffectual doorbell, but then he emerged. Upon seeing me, he gave me a hug and the customary kiss on the cheek, saw me in, introduced me to his dog Turca (imprisoned upon the stairs as punishment for an episode of old-age incontinence), gave me a set of keys, told me he'd see me in an hour and left. Overwhelmed? What do you mean overwhelmed? I wasn't the least bit overwhelmed.

We had breakfast when he got back, and I took the opportunity to quiz him on all the things that had been bugging me about Argentinian history, such as why the polulation profile was so overwhelmingly white (in contrast to Brazil, for example), and what exactly did happen to cause the sudden devaluation of the peso in 2003. Once he had eruditely satisfied my curiousities, I went off to do my sightseeing thing, and we regrouped in the evening, which we spent with some of the many and multifarious groups of Pablo's friends, including two beefed-up but incredibly kind gym instructors, a circus troupe, and a bunch of friendly thesps and musos.

The next day was a public holiday, and the first time I had ever seen anywhere in Argentina look busy. The very attractive costanera riverside was rammed, as was the nice park which provided nice benches for me to take a nice siesta in the nice sunshine for two afternoons on the trot (a cycling man needs his rest!). I also visited Rosario's modern art museum, which in common with its London and Newcastle (and no doubt countless other) counterparts, was located in a resurrected factory. I met up with Pablo again that evening, where we went for dinner with some of his old university friends at one of their houses. I was in the priveleged position of being only the second or third person ever to have joined in on their traditional game of trivial pursuits, which they all very amicably offered running interpretation for where necessary, owing to each having fluent English. The game continued into the night, the only snag being that this house was the other side of Rosario to Pablo's, and I was with Packhorse, my two-wheeled best friend (Pablo: "you should try people one day"). The girls all insisted that cycling back across the city at this time wasn't safe, so I brazenly ignored their advice and set off, and needless to say saw barely another soul the whole way...

Spending time with Pablo was fabulous, as he unpretentiously treated me like a friend rather than a tourist. By the end I was even starting to feel affection for his doddery, beady-eyed, ugly and incontinent dog Turca, although to be honest she was already fairly high in my estimations simply by virtue of neither chasing me down the road nor aiming even the subtlest bark or growl in my direction. Pablo y Turca, ímuchisimas gracias! Espero que voy a verte en Ingleterra algun dia (quizas sin Turca...)

Beard status: definitely not ideal for social situations. But I must confess, I do enjoy stroking it.
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