It Takes Two to Tango
Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
187Trip End Ongoing
Although we had figured on having a quiet few days to get ourselves organized and re-oriented, before we barely had time to turn around we had an offer we couldn't resist. A weekend camping with members of the Argentina Westfalia Club in the Entre Rios area of the Delta del Paraná near Zárate - a good chance to make some new friends. By Saturday afternoon eight vans, each with their contingent of 'Westfaleros', congregated at a shady site close to the river. We spent the weekend exchanging stories and checking out each others vans - oh, and eating, of course! Carlos was the 'Rey de la Parrilla' (BBQ King) and on two separate occasions served up huge assortments of grilled steaks, chops, ribs, spicy sausage, chicken and a variety of other mouth-watering offerings from his sizzling asado. This was a very friendly group where we immediately felt at home, and of course we were besieged with questions about our trip down through the Americas. Interspersed with good food and fine wines, we shared the ubiquitous mate gourd and enjoyed the lyrical musical entertainment provided by Ana and Gina.
We were invited to this get-together by Dandy and Ester, who run a garage in San Isidro specializing in Porsche, BMW and Mercedes. We had met up with them back in February at Lake Nahuel Huapi - who could miss their bright orange '68 VW Bus with, it turned out, almost 900,000 km on the clock
During the week we also managed a day in BsAs investigating our shipping options, and checking out a few more of the sights. Porteños are well known for their elegant and fashionable taste and are well served by many very ritzy shopping plazas and downtown promenades. If you are in need of an exquisite leather coat or a pair of classy boots, then Galerías Pacifico or Avenida Florida are certainly places to check out. A stroll around the amazing Cementario de la Recoletta was another eye-opener on the tradition and privilege afforded the elite of high Argentinean society
By the Columbus Day long weekend (falling on the same date as Thanksgiving) we were back in Tigre to make our final preparations for getting back on the road. It is a very significant holiday here in Argentina, so the crowds in this holiday town were overwhelming and there was absolutely no room at Casona la Ruchi - or anywhere else for that matter. Luckily, Alejandra at our favourite B&B invited us to camp in the garden - alongside the swimming pool and surrounded by trees in spring blossom. With elegant breakfast trays provided each morning, what could be nicer! The van got its long awaited thorough cleaning inside and out, and we got everything restocked and reorganized to our satisfaction. Our quest for propane turned out to be a wild goose chase (what else is new!), but we were confident that we would have more success in a smaller town further up the delta.
On Sunday we spent the afternoon at the famous San Telmo antiques fair in Plaza Dorrego browsing the stalls and enjoying the wide array of street entertainment - from outdoor tango to puppet shows; from mime artists to stiff-legged stilt performers; from bangles and beads to tributes to Carlos Gardel, the legendary heart-throb tango singer who died in a plane crash seventy years ago
Thanksgiving Monday we celebrated with a special offering of eggs on toast. We had dined royally at the tango hall the previous evening, and besides, we had already celebrated with a somewhat premature but nonetheless magnificent thanksgiving turkey dinner at Sally & Ron's with good company the week before we left Ottawa. The next day, as we finally set out on the Pan American Highway heading for the border with Uruguay, we ran smack into a national truckers strike - burning tyres and all!