Norton Ink

Argentina 2002

01 de Agosto 2002, part b

First, I want to say, I apologize for not using the BCC header with the last email, I just have to get off that crack pipe.

Back to the story:

I got to the hotel room expecting to see Teresa and EvilG, but they weren’t there. I was pretty tired from my adventures, so I called Kevin, wrote in my journal and went to bed. The two ladies didn’t arrive until about midnight. Gustavo told me that he would be the tour guide for my trip the next day, too, and while I was happy about that I was a little worried that Graciela would ruin it. My alarm clock decided to schitz out so we all slept past 830, so we were rushing around. Well around 9 we all stumble out the door of the room. Teresa stopped for a second to look through her bag. I had the key so I didn’t lock the door in case she had forgotten something. Graciela says to me, “Carmen, give me the key.” Not in a nice tone, I might add. Teresa is still looking through her bag, so I decided not to understand what she had said. So EvilG says is AGAIN, but louder. No please, no may I, no manners. So I turned to her and said, “I was waiting for Teresa in case she needed anything.” So, Teresa is ready to go, I hand Stinky the key and she just walks off, she didn’t even lock the door! Hello???? Boy am I looking forward to spending a day with her.

So we go down to breakfast, but as soon as I get my coffee, Gustavo is there. I go over to him and tell him the other 2 ladies are on their way. Teresa grabs her stuff, but grumpy lady stays at the table. Turns out that on the city tour the day before, we stopped to see this beautiful church, apparently they have Capuchin Monks (how that is different from capuchin monkeys I have NO idea) at this church and Graciela was ticked off that we didn’t take the time to go see in and see them. She decided to spend the day in Cordoba, seeing these monks and who knows what else. Personally I think she didn’t want to spend the 42 pesos + lunch. All in all, it was perfectly fine with me.

This second tour was a tour of the Sierras and the pueblos around them. First stop, Alta Gracia and then Che Guevara’s house. Teresa had already seen the cathedral at Alta Gracia and I had enough churches the day before so we both went and looked at all the crafts that were for sale in the open-air market. I found this really cool black pottery and bought a little plate and tiny vase. There was this really fabulous 10” tall vase with nice designs, I wanted it soooo bad but I don’t want to buy anything too heavy or too delicate, because I don’t want to be carrying it everywhere later, when I am traveling through Argentina. So I didn’t buy it, but I felt bad about it later. Oh well.

Well the Sierras are stunning. Clear, blue air, dry climate, all the beautiful colors that mountains give. We saw all these great pueblos, a dam (no, Dad, there wasn’t a fish ladder), more artisan stuff, bought some jewelry. Generally had a great time with Teresa. We talked a lot and laughed a lot, I told her about my breakthrough with the language and she is going to help me with vocabulary. At one pueblo, there was this huge group of gigantic hotels (7 in all) that would hold about 600 people, kept grounds, trees cut into all these wonderful shapes. But it was like a ghost village, I guess that one of the hotels is still open, but this showed an Argentina that was big business with tourists, once upon a time. But now, no one. This isn’t recent either, the buildings looked like they hadn’t been inhabited in a decade or more.

As we headed back, we talked a little about EvilG. Apparently the day before, with Teresa she had been a real handful. Insisting on finding a video of something to watch in the hotel instead of catching an earlier bus to the city where Celso’s aunt lives, then making them take the last bus back to Cordoba. Just being willful, and not caring about other people’s feelings. Teresa told me that she snapped at her once and that she felt bad about it. This is a rare thing for a person like Teresa, she is so sweet and generous in her nature, she must have been really pushed to say something. Teresa told me that she was going to spend part of Saturday with her family and I asked to come along, she said, sure.

We also talked about how it was just 2 more days of EvilG (Teresa of course didn’t call her that) and we just needed to be nice and sweet and soon we wouldn’t have to think of her one little bit. We both agreed there would be no fighting. So when we got back to the hotel room, we were both really nice, asking about her day, telling her about our trip. We told her we were going to go get a small meal and did she want to come along. The first thing she said in response to that was, “Who is paying?” PUH-LEASE. This wasn’t a dinner-is-on-me kind of invite. She decided to go along anyway, which was fine. As we walked to find a restaurant, Stinky took Teresa’s arm, and walked close. Then Teresa took my arm so we were all joined, which was nice. Still I got the feeling that Graciela was jealous of me. That she wanted Teresa to do all the things she wanted to do, to hang out with her and leave me to my lonesome. Since this was my vacation, and we came to Cordoba for me, and just invited her along, I don’t know where she came up with this idea, but whatever.

Dinner went reasonably well, then Teresa paid! I thanked her, it was a nice gesture, I know she was just trying to make EvilG happy, and that woman didn’t even say thanks for it! How RUDE. As we walked back, Stinky kinda walked all by herself, I kept slowing down to stay even with her but then she would slow down even more. I finally gave up. When we got to the hotel, I took a shower, while I was in the bathroom, Graciela started a fight with Teresa! She wanted to know why we weren’t involving her in things, why she was always by herself! Excuse me? I was under the impression that we invited her along to everything that we did and she chose not to go with!!!!!

She also wanted to know why Teresa kept going over to her family’s house. Yeah, like you go and visit the city your family lives in and then don’t hang out with them. What she basically told Teresa was that she thought that she and Teresa should go and sleep at the family home and I should be all alone in the hotel, paying the whole bill of course.

After this whole thing Teresa was really upset, I could tell she was really hurt and she was crying. She packed up her things, told EvilG that tomorrow she and I were going to her family’s house to hang out, then the next night she would stay at her family’s house and then pick her up before the bus left back for Posadas. (I had decided to stay in Cordoba for two more days on my own.) So Saturday, Teresa arranged to pay the bill one day in advance (I think to make sure that Graciela paid her share, but also so that she could spend the Sat night with her family and not worry about having to come back.) Then we went and spent a very nice day with her family, telling horror stories about Evila and laughing, but Teresa was still hurt. I told her that I thought that Graciela was maybe a tad insane, for real. After we told some of the things that happened to the sisters they came to that conclusion as well. I tried to explain the concept of “Passive/Aggressive” to Lina and she said that is what they call, “A cow in the arms” and I think it is very fitting. A big weight, that contributes nothing, carries you down and makes everything difficult.

I am sorry that I was correct about evilG, not for myself (I mean, come on, we all LOVE saying, “I told you so.”) but I know it hit Teresa really hard, and that bothers me, because she is really dear to me, I wouldn’t have her hurt for the world.

We decided to return to Alta Gracia to look for that vase I wanted and to see the inside of Che Guevara’s house because I didn’t go in that first time. At the last minute, Teresa decided to call Graciela and invite her along, just to be polite. Well she decided to go!!! She did manage to keep her mouth completely shut. She went and looked at the church with Teresa as her guide and I found that GREAT vase. I guess I will be shipping some things back to the states.

I ended up spending Sunday, Monday and Tuesday on my own, exploring the city and having some private time. It was really nice (except for the broken toilet in my hotel room on Sunday that couldn’t get fixed until Monday, it was usable but the water ran 24 hours a day, and sooo noisy! What IS it with me and toilets in this country????). I also went and saw an Argentinean movie in the theater, “Apasionado” it was really sweet and I understood a good portion of it. Monday as a treat to myself I decided to see “Men In Black II” in English, but it ended up being dubbed! Still it was pretty funny, that pug is GREAT, and there were parts that were so American that I was the only one laughing in the theater, probably with everyone else wondering what the hell was going on.

Tuesday I checked out of the hotel and the morning desk clerk who barely said more than “Buenos Dias” to me the whole week had a HUGE conversation with me about travel, student exchange, Europe, Argentina, Cordoba……it was really nice. My bus didn’t leave that night until 6pm, so I went to the bus terminal and checked my bag into something I can only call “left luggage” you pay someone to put your bag, back and away and safe. Well it turns out, that not only was I able to leave my bag there all day for just one peso, but because I had my ticket on me, they also gave me a claim check and put it on the bus for me! When I got back to Posadas it was stored on the bus and I picked it up! It was so easy! The man who checked my bag turned out to be a Sonics fan and he had a chatty conversation with me as well. Figures, on the last day. But it was really sweet and you can’t help but like people who tell you how well you talk!

One of the movies on the bus was “Me, Myself and Irene” which also turned out to be MUCH better than I expected, some icky parts but in general, reasonably funny. When I got off the bus Teresa was there to meet me, and when I got home, Celso was really sweet, saying he missed our after lunch walks. Then I had to wash every bit of clothing I owned because after all that time, everything was dirty.

The best surprise was that Kevin had sent me a care package that showed up at the house while I was gone. It had a really wonderful card, film and just in time, I used my last roll in Cordoba, some chocolate kisses (awwwwww), a CD from one of my favorite bands and HOORAY! Coffee from Diva, and a solo French press. Now each morning my coffee is wonderful.

I really do hope that everyone is enjoying my travelogue, because I do actually put a decent amount of time into them, even if it seems like an impersonal chain letter. To everyone who has written me personal emails, thank you SO much, because it ends up meaning a LOT to me. When I am down, or tired, they really lift my spirits. I do miss Seattle and my family and friends, but this is the trip of a lifetime. I can’t believe it is already half over!

Sorry this last one was so long (with both combined, I mean) but I had so much to tell. I am so excited about my Spanish, now I just need to stop sounding so gringo!

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book - I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas (1900-1966)