Argentina...the land of red meat & mate

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
Trip End Apr 08, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, February 22, 2008

A suggestion...when you go to Argentina, you leave plenty of least 6 days, for Salta.  It's up in the northwestern corner of Argentina...there's lots of stuff happening right in town and the towns on the outskirts are naturally beautiful to visit.  Argentina is a whole different world from where we've been so far.  A few observations....the Spanish is different...having a real hard time understanding.  In fact, people ask you if you speak Castilian, not Spanish....cause they speak Spanish, which is their own version of the Spanish I know. 
And then there's the red meat and gauchos.  The land of the PARILLA.  Here's how a parilla works.  The cow is divided into every cut of meat possible, then it's grilled up, and, if you order parilla for two, you get about 5 pounds of it grilled.  Now this includes not only big old steaks, but ribs, sausages of unidentifiable variety, and organs liver, ovaries...I don't know what else.  I ask them to leave off the organ meat.  I mean who wants to eat ovaries?  When I've dissected them, they don't look particularly suited to the grill.  But then it's all what you're accustomed to.  And I'm not accustomed to eating ovaries.  But the parilla is great if a table full of red meat only is your thing... .you don't even have to order vegetables and a starch if you don't want.  And you really don't start eating until at least 10 o'clock...the places really fill up by 11 or so.  And there's a show with singing and dancing every night.  All over town...there are tourists and locals alike.  It's a very social atmosphere.  The dancing is phenomenal...gauchos are Argentinian cowboys...and although they're dancing with women, they are the real show.  Fancy boot dances...sword dances, drum's all there.  Got some great footage...I'll try to load it but you may have to watch it when I get back.
And the mate.  Everybody drinks it...with little metal straws to filter out the herb.  Tastes like tea to can have it hot or cold....but the country is addicted to it.   People carry around leather coolers of mate and sip on it all exaggeration.   Officers directing traffic...sipping mate.  Everyone...young and old.  I know I'm bringing some home. 
Salta is great...wish we had more time to spend here.  The central square is a happening place, the whole town is vibrant.  But we feel a need to go Iguazu Falls.  Way up in a skinny corner of NE Argentina...supposed to be twice as big as Niagara.  Second in the world only to Victoria Falls.  24 hours on a bus.  Irresistible.   

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