On Sunday of this week, my program, AIFS, took us to an Estancia (ranch) about an hour outside the city. Unfortunately it was raining, and I knew that even before I got out of bed, because Meghan called asking if she still had to go because she wanted to stay inside where it was warm and dry (she did end up going, but because her host mom told her to, not because of me). Kim (my roomie) and I walked over to where we were meeting the bus and my feet got wet in the rain and puddles, and stayed wet all day :(
BUT, when we got there we had really delicious empanadas (which I know how to make now, and I’m going to make them for all of you at Christmas!). We went to the barn, and watched a guy milk a cow, and then a few people tried it too. Then we all got on some really angry horses and I was one of the first, so there was time to sit around being worried that I was going to get thrown off if and when my horse got in a fight with another one. Luckily that didn’t happen! Then we went for a short ride around a couple fields, and my horse kept putting his ears back and trying to run around the other horses, and my saddle was slipping sideways, which was a bit unpleasant. Then as we were getting back to the barn, my horse (and Kristina and Nick’s horses) kept stopping to eat grass and I couldn’t make it start walking again for more than 5 seconds at a time. So one of the guys who works there kept hitting my horse to make it go, and then it would start running! Soooo not ok! And then he just stopped and ate again.
Then we had a carriage ride around the ranch, and sat by a fire for a minute before going into the dining area to eat lots and LOTS of meat. Asado (barbecue) is really traditional in Argentina, so that’s what we had, and they brought us several courses of it: sausage (and blood sausage, which is…interesting…), chicken, and at least 2 kinds of beef. While we were eating there were dancers and singers performing typical songs and dances from various parts of Argentina. Then one guy played songs on his guitar from the countries of people who were visiting—Russia, Colombia, Peru and the US. And Ben, from my group got up and sang When the Saints go Marching On for the US portion of it. An AMAZING lunch! Also, the ice cream was delish.
The next part of our day was to go out and see the gauchos in action. Gauchos are traditional Argentine cowboys, so we sat and watched them race their horses and herd horses and there was even a horse whose best friend is a dog. What could be cuter? Also, there’s this tradition where women hang their rings on a bar above the rider’s head so he has to ride by and stand up on his horse and grab it and then offer it to her. Then they get married *sigh*…¡que romántico! And then we had mate (gaucho tea) and ate cookies and talked to our program coordinators. Liza and Valentina came with us, and they sat and patiently explained the difference between llevar and traer, which is to take and to bring, respectively, and depends on the geographical location of the speaker.
It was a fun day, even though my horse made me a bit nervous! It was really nice to come home after a day in the rain to take a hot shower and watch the last 3 episodes of season 3 of Desperate Housewives :)