this past weekend was the holiday “Day of the Worker,” meaning that everyone gets the day off, but, ironically fell on a Saturday…anyway, so I decided that I had to take advantage of the break from Saturday classes and see a bit more of the country. I’ve been here about 6 weeks now and haven’t really left the city (Argentina, until you get to the mountains is so so flat!). So, me and and my friend Brandon decide to rent a car and head off to Cordoba, which is the second largest city here. We didn’t really have much of a plan, just figured we would just see where things take us.
So first night we make it half way to the city of Rosario (this is after driving about 45 minutes in the wrong direction after making a wrong turn on the highway…we finally just pulled a illegal U-turn across the grass!). There we met up with our other friend, Esteban. Ha…so the next morning the three of us set off (with hot water for mate, which Esteban was always very careful to be sure we had). By the way, Brandon speaks pretty basic Spanish, and Esteban is studying English translation, and so knows English almost perfectly when it’s written, but spoken is another matter, so for the rest of the trip I found myself being the linking language person, which just made everything that much funnier. It meant I got to laugh at every joke twice, once hearing and then again after translating it.
Anyway, after driving for a couple hours its clear we need to get gas, but there is nothing. I mean nothing, but farmland for miles. Then the gas light goes on and we drive another 45 minutes without seeing anything that looks like there is the slightest chance of a gas station. Now we’re starting to get nervous, and those initial jokes about pushing the car are seeming a bit less amusing. We ask Estaban (as our resident local expert) what he thinks we should do, and he says “pray”. Ha. But finally get to a toll booth and ask there what we can do. So they direct us to go like three miles down a dirt road until we finally get to this tiny town with an ancient gas station, aptly named, well what else but…. ‘Estacion Joy.’ I would not make that up.
We finally make it to Cordoba, but in the end don’t end up spending too much time there, just one night; long enough to relax check out some of the main sites down town. Mostly I was pretty impressed by how clean the streets are. I’m just so used to Central America where there are vast amounts of trash everywhere.
Estaban (always ready with hot water for mate) suggests that we check out a small little town about an hour away, so we head off to Carlos de Paz, which is a pretty little tourist town on the edge of a lake. We spend some time wandering around, enjoying the slower pace after Cordoba and being in the rush of Buenos Aires. The highlight was absolutely go-cart racing. It was a high stakes race, as well. I lost. But only because a hit a curve badly and my car completely shut off! The little guy had to run over and re-start me, so it really was not a fair race at all…..and beside, I know that it would have been really hard for a guy to lose a car race to a girl, so didn’t want to inflict that on their pride…
The next day we hiked to the highest peak in the area (hot water and mate in tow) and got to check out a great view. From there headed back to Rosario, and the boys let me practice driving stick shift. I give them a lot of credit for trusting me with their lives like that. I got the hang of it pretty well, but still need a bit more practice to perfect it. Ha. I only stalled it in an intersection once or twice….
Anyway, got back just in time for classes super exhausted, but having thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip. Sometimes it’s really absolutely perfect not to have any plan and just see what adventures come your way.