Cordoba, Argentina

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
Trip End Dec 16, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  , Central Argentina,
Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cordoba was nice, but it's a bit of a tweener city.  At 1.5M people it's definitely in the 'big city' class - but Cordoba wasn't quite big enough to develop an energy like Buenos Aires (or BA as the cool people say).

With seven universities and 25,000 students there is a young energy - good music and a lively restaurant and bar scene, as well as a strong artistic community.  But the city really didn't grab me so I only spent the day and booked a bus that night to Mendoza so I could get back to the mountains.  

My day was wonderful - it was Sunday, so most everything was closed; except an artist market where I spent a good deal of time.

I continue to try to learn Spanish - that evening, I was showing my purchases off to a local woman.

"How do you say 'Artist' in Spanish" I asked her.

"I don't understand that word."  She said.

"What do you call the people who make and sell jewelry and pottery?  What is the Spanish word?" I asked.

"Oh.  We call them Hippies"

Got it... thanks. 

Next up: Mendoza - the heart of Argentina's wine country and back to the Andes.

Argentines are addicted to a drink called matte.  It is an herbal tea that grows in the north-eastern part of the country, and the ritual of drinking matte is complex.  They start with a gourd like the ones above, and fill it about 3/4 of the way with the dried herbs (it looks like tea).  Next, they put a silver straw with a filter at the end into the herb and add hot water out of a thermos.  Sipping on the straw to get a strong, bitter tea-like drink.  Add a little more hot water to top it off and pass the gourd to your amigo.  

Matte must be addictive because everywhere, Argentines lugging around their thermos, a big bag of the herb, and their gourds.  I wanted the experience - so I cast off some unnecessary things in my backpack and am lugging around a thermos, bag of herb, and a gourd like everyone else.  The jury is out... it's definitely a stimulant, but it's a lot of effort!


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