Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 15: Details

I have yet to mention the details of Bariloche that I probably look at more than most people. The shower knobs read "C" and "F": caliente y frio. My first shower two weeks ago finally resulted in me discovering that C did not mean cold...

My "mom" has amazing gardens. Though, most of the houses around have immense rose gardens. Red, pink, yellow and orange roses. The calles smell of lavender. Always. Big, purple lavender bushes line the streets. The calles.

But my "mom" also has food gardens. Right now there are raspberries, strawberries and gooseberries. A few days ago, she planted a blackberry bush. Last night for dinner she needed an onion. I went outside and picked one from her garden, and she put into this soup with eggplant, corn, mushrooms and tomotes. Fresco. Fresh.

I sat outside in the backyard for a few hours this morning and read. There was a bird. The same bird pulled brown, wiggling worms out of the ground for hours. This bird was old. His plumas were ruffled in the front. White and ruffled from many years of flying. Tattered from years of living.

I got into a car today for the first time in two weeks. I went out with my "mom" and one of her friends for the afternoon. It was nice that she invited me. The warm sun disappeared on us though as we got to the beach. But this beach was not really a beach. A dock located on a hiking trail in this small, almost laguna, sort of place. When we arrived, only one young girl had jumped ship into the cold waters.

As I may have stated before, the summer this year in Bariloche has been really cold. My "mom" likes to go to the beach during the summer. Around here, the sun only shines brightly for two, maybe three, months out of the year. The summer sun rejuvenates the people of Bariloche. My "mom" wanted so bad to have summer today that she became the second person to plunge in.


Mate. Mate tea. I have yet to mention Mate. It is a very strong tea that is from Argentina. People can drink it in a tea bag form OR-- people drink it from a mate cup. Google it. You must see the variety of cups that people use to drink it. They come in all shapes and sizes and it has a straw: wood and aluminum are the most popular. In the cup you put Mate in it, pack it down with the straw and then fill it with water. The water is hot but you drink it fast.

I will be the first to tell you that Mate looks like someone scraped up dirt out of my mom's flower bed and decided to start drinking it... ha. BUT let me tell ya... it is good. I am addicted. Just like everyone else in Argentina.

We sipped our Mate on the dock until its warmth no longer kept the goosebumps at bay in the disappearing sun. The playa turned into a trip to Colonial Suiza. A local entity turned into a toursit trap. Colonial Suiza is a Swiss Colony that settled in Argentina around the 1930s. Think of the place as a permanent art festival. Clothes, jewerly, pantings, food, chocolate. All handmade. Everything wonderful.

The last detail I want to talk about is the museo. Today, I felt this spirit of old Swiss in this yellow house. This yellow house with white trim and shutters was the first house in the colony. The whole house is surrounded by verduras and jardins. The veggie gardens are all lined up perfectly, each with a wooden stock at each end. There is a tienda that sells the fruits and veggies that are grown there.

This place is special because it was built by one family many years ago and has survived. Not only has it survived, it has grown. The same family still owns and operates this colony in such a modern time. The small spirit of that first house has lived on and I wish that more places like it still prospered.

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