Probably the happiest I have been for a really long time- Argentina is beautiful and wonderful, the people merry and very kind. A lot of banter to be had about the Malvinas- from hearing about it from the side of the Argentines, it is not as black and white as the British believe. Over supper one night in Puesto Viejo, I met a half American, half British Polo player called Mike. When he was at University in the States, he came back to B.A to visit family. The Army came and knocked on the door of his smart B.A mansion for conscription one day and the maid lied to them, saying Mike was back in Florida. He in fact hid in a rose bush for 5 hrs- Germany 1938 springs to mind. In fact, I do not want another conversation about it- the fact we went to war against these great people, who were so poorly equipped they borrowed jumpers from the islanders, for the lives of 1500 people is so ridiculous it makes me laugh. However, every time I pass blue signs on the Autopista that say ´Malvinas Son Argentinas´, I get a tiny little buzz.
I had made a lot of friends at Puesto Viejo despite the occassional frustration and language barrier. Why is it the tacking up a pony in Argentina is much more difficult than at home? The strings that the Argentines use for the girth or ´sincha´ I think are pretty complicated and the amount of times I rode off into the distance with a saddle looser than Lindsay Lohan on a Saturday night are countless. Poor Jorge lost his temper with me- ´punta madre!´ I shot back ´stupid dickhead´- all I got was Ýes´ with Jorge beaming at me. Sometimes a language barrier is a good thing.
Another thing I have noticed in Argentina is that most men do not believe in the concept of friendship between man and woman. Unwittingly, I said I had an ámigo´ in the city to the guys at Puesto Viejo who collasped into laughter. Its true I have an amigo and like the vast majority of my guy friends in the UK, he is a friend without the weird quote things you do with your fingers. Argentina it seems has a long way to go in that sense- I have a boy in the city- yes. Is he a friend? Yes. Have we had sex? No. Will we? No. I was shown a picture one day of one of the groom´s amigas, a pornographic shot with her bum on display. ´Beautiful, isn´t she?´ he said proudly. Beautiful is not what sprung to mind.
My internship in Canuelas finished on thursday and I travelled the 11 hrs to Northern Argentina, back to altitude. It was sad to say goodbye to B.A, a city I have grown really fond of, even though I am returning in a month anyway. Sadder still saying goodbye to everyone at Puesto Viejo and after a surprise leaving asado (Argentina BBQ) I hit the road. All through the journey, I contenplated what life was waiting for me in Cordoba. I had been warned it was more ´rustic, a river instead of a swimming pool, and less of a club, more of a training ground for young horses. After South Africa two years ago, I found that this is really the line of Equestrain work I want to fall into.
On being picked up from Villa Del Totoral by Ale Nouvilla, a beautiful Argentine woman and the wife of Carlos, my new family for the duration of May, I started to relax. So far, my days here have consisted on pinics by the river, a long polo tournament with a world famous tennis player playing, parties with the classic Cordoba drink Fernet. Like Asados and Mate, why we do not have Fernet in the UK facinates me.
I have just got back from stick and balling with Delfie, the younger daughter of the family who when two days she saw me in a bikini clapped her hand over her eyes and said ´man, you are so white!´. Weird, I thought, considering I have never been so brown...