Argentines like to kiss.

Yesterday, Matt and I walked through customs at EZE and into the waiting arms of Hugo, our driver, who greeted me with a kiss on the cheek after Matt introduced us in Spanish.  Tired, unshowered, and bagless, I was completely charmed.  24 hours in, I’ve decided that I love Argentina.
And it’s not just because it was difficult to get here, though relatively speaking, it was.  In all of Matt’s 10-odd trips here, he’s never experienced any sort of travel complications, but on this occasion, our flight from MSP to ATL was delayed by 2 hours, which ate up our 90 minutes of layover and forced us to run like people possessed to our gate, only to discover that our plane was already taxiing towards takeoff.  After fighting and pleading with the (for lack of a better PG word) uncooperative women at the international rebooking counter, we were able to snag seats on a flight to Santiago, Chile and connect from there to Buenos Aires.  Happily, we made it safely to Rosario (thank you, Hugo!) but our luggage has yet to follow, which means that I’m on Day 3 of the same outfit and have been sans comb and mascara since Monday morning.  As you can imagine, I look ravishing.
A hazy view of the Andes from the airport in Santiago.

First South American coffee for me: cafe doble.

Starbucks in Chile.  Trisha, this picture is for you.
My first impressions of Rosario are few and scattered, but the city lies next to the Parana River, is lined with grids of cobblestone, and adorns itself with monuments to the bandera nacional, the Argentine flag.  It looks not unlike a cozy European city.  It’s midwinter here and the air feels like early November.  I don’t have my coat with me yet, and though most others are bundled up, I’m comfortable in my cardigan.  The only exploring I’ve done so far is to El Viejo Balcon, a parrilla restaurant that Matt really likes for its properly decadent Argentine steak.  We ate ourselves into matching protein comas.

Empanadas.

I wonder what it’s like to eat steak with chopsticks.  Messy?

Ah, salud!

The city from our hotel room.
I feel incredibly lucky to be able to accompany Matt on his work trip.  That’s where he is right now, but according to his colleague Luis, whom I met this morning at breakfast (with a kiss!), quitting time should be early today and we’ll have time to wander around together this afternoon.
As I finish this post, I have to mention that a new show has just begun on the Spanish version of Nick Jr. (Yes, I was watching Dora the Explorer.)  It’s called Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, and it appears to take place in animated China.  A Chinese cartoon character, presumably Kai-Lan, is speaking Spanish and teaching kids how to say “water” in Chinese (shui).  
And I am struck by how the world is so big, yet can seem so small.

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