Matt’s been on several solo trips to Argentina and because of Skype, I can tell you that when he is here alone, on most nights he’ll do a little foraging for dinner and then either call or video chat with me. I’ll force Vilas’s face into my webcam, he’ll show me the crazy water pressure of the bidet, and then we say “I love you” and fall asleep on our different continents. Though I appreciate a bidet stream so intense it reaches the ceiling as much as the next person, it has been so much more fun for me to experience Rosario from this side of Skype, and I know Matt’s enjoying having a significant other on his arm, if only because I can help point out little piles of perro poo on the sidewalk. As you’d expect of a city that loves dogs this much, there is a lot of poo.
All of my Chinese friends assumed that our engagement meant we were already married, and maybe that’s why we’ve been telling people here that we’re married. It could also be that the word for “fiance” is a tiny bit harder for me to say than “husband” (prometido vs esposo), but my tongue’s laziness aside, I love being married in Rosario. It’s been one long date night, and in a city as romantic as this, I suddenly understand why people elope. (That said, don’t worry, Mom and Dad. You haven’t missed anything. 🙂
We’ve planned a lot of our dates around trying the different foods that Rosario is known for. Second only to large portions of juicy meat, I’d say Rosarinos love fresh arugula the most. Arugula and delicious cheese. After living in a culture where every vegetable was steamed or fried, and milk-like yogurt was the closest dairy product to cheese, and steak was about as easy to find as a good Chinese wine, I feel like I’m the other side of the world. (Which, if you look at Rosario and Hangzhou on a map, is pretty much the case.)
Classic starters: empanadas and arugula and parmesan salad.
Gigantic fish! This is a pacu, a large relative of the piranha.
Our pacu was grilled here. We saw some serious meat tossed onto this baby.
Special Argentine dessert: the Don Pedro. Or in layman’s terms, a whiskey float.
Sorrentinos. The food here is heavily influenced by Italian and Spanish cuisine; this pasta is a cross between a gnocchi and a ravioli. Mine had squash and cheese inside.
After we eat, we usually order a little shot of espresso in these tiny little cups with tiny little biscotti and tiny little spoons that I have to physically restrain myself from stealing because they’re so adorable.
On Friday night, we went to a newish brewpub that we knew hosted a Spanish roundtable for expats. We met Carlos, the incredibly warm and welcoming husband of the woman who started the roundtable. He indulged me by speaking in English and only laughing a little at my cheek-kissing awkwardness. It’s hard to break the handshaking habit!
Oh, bless you, wonderful bleu cheese. It was so creamy that I could scoop up pieces of it with my toothpick.
After lunch on Saturday, we found Matt’s idol, musical mentor-from-afar, and apparent doppelgänger.
For Matt, having a constant date (and a light workload) means that he’s seeing a lot of new places in Rosario. We’ve been spending quite a bit of time on Bulevar Oroño, a street that’s similar to Summit Avenue in St. Paul with its wide boulevard and fancy homes. I’m happy to report that rollerblading is alive and well in Rosario, very popular here on Oroño.
Lovely church on Oroño.
At the end of Oroño (can you tell that I’ve just learned how to make a tilde on my Mac and am loving it?!), we toured a giant park that among other things, houses one of the city’s 2 football clubs. These next photos are all taken at El Parque de la Independencia.
This dog was retrieving balls from the fountain and loving life.
New flower arrangements every day to reflect the date. This felt very Chinese, very Hangzhounese, to me.
Ignore that 6…hmm, I wonder whose birthday is on the 30th?
Paddle-boating. In the middle of winter. Love it. Combined with the animal rides (see below), El Parque de la Independencia had a cheery carnival atmosphere.
Doggy wheelchair. The poor thing had an injured leg but an obviously loving owner.
On Saturday night, we tried to find a tango show but learned that the only regular tango shows have all moved to B.A. (That’s what the cool kids call Buenos Aires.) So instead, we went bowling, which is a bit different here than the PBA-style sport we know.
We wore our street shoes, which made sense since neither the floors nor the lanes were waxed, and it was pretty hard to find a ball heavier than 8 pounds, although the 6-pound balls were plentiful. The pins were individually attached to strings in order to be easily reset, and more than once they missed the triggers to tell the computer scoring system that they were down, so our scores were more like approximations instead of exact records. At one point, we noticed that our ball return had stopped sending balls back, but since we were the only ones still bowling, we waited to tell someone until we’d bowled nearly every ball in the place. But by far, the best part of the night was making new Argentine friends with some of the other bowlers who were also guests at a birthday party. The birthday party of an 11-year-old girl. Apparently 10pm is way too early for the adults to go out, but the whole night was a blast.
Keeping his fingers crossed…
…but that one ended up in the gutter.
Hmm…what happened to the 85 balls we started with?
Little Virginia and her friends, playing pool and celebrating her 11th year. These kids are way more cosmopolitan than I was at their age.
Sunday we reentered adulthood and spent the day with two other married couples. Matt’s coworker, Gustavo, invited us over to his home for asado, Argentine barbecue. Gustavo and his wife have a pair of daughters and a woodsy, rustic home with wide-planked wooden floors and cowhides on the walls. They also have a courtyard that separates their main home from this cozy cabin with a built-in parrilla, which is where we ate with his family and another coworker, Alberto, his wife Claudia, and their two boys. I thought the kiss greeting was sweet with grown-ups, but I didn’t predict how utterly charming it would be with a 2nd-grader. Again, these kids are much more sophisticated than I’ll probably ever be!
Gustavo dressing the pork and beef with a little lemon juice. He commented later that he’d prepared a kilo of meat per person. Fan-tastic.
Spicy Malbec, cuts of meat carved and served individually by Gustavo, and terrific company. My only sadness was that I don’t know enough Spanish yet to really enter any conversations, but Claudia is an English teacher who did her best to interpret, and they were all very patient with my English.
So we enter our final few days in Rosario with a few more friends, a few more stories- and certainly a few more pounds- and I am so happy to be here.
Reading this brings back so many memories of our time abroad, when Alta's co-workers and their families would host dinner parties for us at their home. The generosity and hospitality of foreigners has never ceased to amaze me. I also recall many meals that I sat through basically just smiling because I couldn't yet communicate. What a magical time! I'm so glad you're making the most of it!
Um… I want to ride a Lama! 🙂
That meat looks fantastic! How fun!