Holiday town in Argentina
Trip Start Oct 24, 2006
157Trip End Oct 30, 2007
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Well, we did it. We finally went against the advice given by Lonely Planet. I had to do it, having often, since the beginning of the trip, been disappointed by its recommendations or found its information misleading. "Go here, go there, so and so is not to be missed". Where was the last place we ended up when following its advice? Oh yes, in Cachi, the "cutest" little village. It "is a breath of fresh air ... pituresque, quaint... endearing". Not so. Cachi was in fact so depressing we stayed there only an hour and decided to shorten our three day trip to two days (that was the one with the hole in the petrol tank of our rented car).
Then I read about Villa Carlos Paz, supposedly one of the most popular summer destinations for the Argentines, with its "crowded dance floors, lakeshores and kitchy attractions" due to which "foreigners generally find it less than appealing"
Not exactly what we would call "our scene". After 10 minutes walking past one booming, bright, flashy game arcade after another, we decided to stop fighting the crowds on the streets and sit down and watch them instead, on a (crowded) terrace. Groups of girls, groups of guys, all dressed up, eyeing each other up and down: "pick up" heaven. Spanking new 4x4s drove by with the windows down, music beating. The "top" one had us roaring: a huge old American car, looking ready to fall apart, drove by, music booming too, full of guys, one with orange hair, the other pink, one shaking his rattles, the other playing a comb on an old tin. And not one of them had forgotten their huge fashionable sunglasses!
We strolled through the town, in search of what attracted the crowds. But found no answer, apart from the crowds themselves. (Sorry, we did see one tourist attraction, which we duly had our photo taken beside: a giant cuckoo clock. Only so far from home could we Swiss do that without feeling too embarrassed!) Basically, it is just the place to be and to be seen. An unhappy mixture between St Tropez and the cheapest, kitchiest beach resort in England.
As we neared the murky river and I looked up at the green trees then back down at the littered river banks and the stream of cars and fashion victims heading into town, a wave of sadness hit me. Three days in noisy, built-up Córdoba, both of us needed a change of scene, neither of us being city-lovers.
And here we were in what was perhaps even worse - a mecca of consumerism and "artificialness". All around us were the products and users of those products that are superficial, unnecessary, and contribute to the consumer society. That same society that is contributing to the "time-bomb" that is at the heart of the film "An Inconvenient Truth"- consume, destroy, pollute the planet... and forget.
It hit me that much harder because of the contrast between what we were observing, and the way Patrick and I are living at the moment. Rather than caring about what expected of us, what society would say about us, and going against some sound advice about our careers and reintegration on our return, we seized an opportunity, an ideal moment in both of our lives, to come together and set off to discover the world. In contrast with what visitors of Villa Carlos Paz were doing, we are living simply: our belongings for a year on our backs, a minimal amount of clothing, barely any accessories (yes, I am living without a watch!) not caring, really, what we look like, or about material belongings. Our priority is learning and discovering. And seeing this world in all its beauty, but its uglier side too...