Friday, May 28, 2010

por andar detrás de la hormiga

Learned a new Spanish idiom today:
Por andar detrás de la hormiga, se te pasa el elfante.
"For trying to get the ant, the elephant passes you by/you miss the elephant."
Much like our "Can't see the forest for the trees."
Also, here is a photo of the vineyard.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Argentina

Mendoza was pretty fun, but probably BA was the place to be.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mendoza - sociedad insular?

At a Mendoza Expats happy hour last week, I met a Scottish neurobiologist who told me he'd lived in Mendoza since 1996. I told him, "So you're a real Mendocino now," and he just laughed. Pointing to his half-Argentinian 12 year daughter, who was born here, he said, "Maybe her kids will be real Mendocinos." That's the reputation -- that for as friendly as Mendocinos are with foreigners, to really get into the culture takes generations.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a couple I met traveling in Oaxaca. When I asked where they were from, they responded, "Well, we've been living in New Orleans for 20 years now, but, you know, until you're third generation you're not really from there." (Maybe geraldinemander can inform on the truth of that.)

It's an odd contrast. La gente son tan amable -- see my last post for an example. Out for drinks the other night, the waiter asked where I was from and upon learning Texas (this is very interesting to Argentinos), he sat at our table, got us free drinks, and chatted for a half hour. Es típico aca. People are warm and welcoming. Except on Sundays.

Sundays are family day. Everything is closed save a few restaurants. The tradition is to have a big asado with your extended family. And to get invited to one, you've got to be in. I think married to an Argentina does it, but not sure.

As my boss, who's lived here for almost 5 years, put it, "On Sundays I walk around town and I feel like I'm an orphan." I felt the same sentiment today walking around Parque Cívico for the bicentennial celebration (tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of Argentina). Toting around my small bottle of malbec after destroying a plate of ribs (very reminiscent of the Houston Greek Festival crossed with 4th of July, btw), I felt a little orphaned too. It's a culture centered on the family. I know, what culture isn't? But there's a purity to the family group here. In Mexico, a pachanga might be family, friends, business associates of the father, etc, but it doesn't appear so here. Porqúe?

De todos modos, happy birthday Argentina! I'm happy to celebrate it with you, even if I'm only partly invited.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

friendliness in Mendoza

Went to look at an apartment today. I met the owner's husband at his medical office (he's a pediatrician) and he took a 30 minute break to walk over to the apartment and show it to me. The apartment was tiny and weird. I stammered that I would get back to him. And then the doc asked me if he could buy me a cup of coffee to welcome me to Mendoza. I was stunned. Where does that happen? We stopped in a cafe, had an espresso, and chatted for 20 minutes. He gave me tips on how not to get mugged, talked some shit about porteños, said he'd connect me with some of his lawyer friends, chatted some about the wine business. and suggested his son (who's in university) and I get together, to practice English and Spanish, respectively. Told me to call him if I needed anything in Mendoza. I was suspicious the whole time, but I think he's just an avuncular, nice Mendocino.

Also, some wines to recommend:

Sunday, May 02, 2010

almohadas de vino

Cruz se mudó a Mendoza.