Sunday, July 31, 2011

Viaje al Tigre


Before I tell you about my trip to El Tigre, I have to tell you about the delicious dinner that I had on Friday night.  It smelled heavenly in the staircase when I went downstairs for dinner.  I sat down at the table and Clarisa presented me with a piece of a very strange looking tarta (it was basically a savory pie).  It was mashed up, and orange, and had little pieces of ham.  It smelled divine though so I took a bite and it was DELICIOUS!!!  I asked what it was, and Clarisa told me it was a tarta de jamon, queso y calabaza (ham, cheese, and pumpkin, thee was also onion in it, but she didn't tell me that).  It was absolutely amazing.  Unfortunately Clarisa didn't make it so I can't ask her for the recipe.  The woman that comes and cleans our house every week made it.  I'm still not entirely sure how this cleaning lady thing works, Clarisa told me she only comes once a week (I'm assuming Tuesday because the last 2 weeks the house was cleaned and my sheets were changed on Tuesday), but when I came home on Friday aforementioned tarta was being made by the woman.

Sabado - 30 de Julio
Yesterday I got up early to go to El Tigre with Julie, Andy, and Melissa.  I had a quick breakfast of yogurt and some toast and headed over to Julie's.  We took a colectivo to the estacion del tren and then paid $1.10 pesos ($0.27) to ride the 30 minutes to El Tigre.  Once there we went to the tourist information center and asked for a map.  The woman at the counter was very helpful and circled some places of interest for us and gave us detailed directions.

We walked towards Puerto de Frutos, which is a big fruit and crafts market, although I didn't see much fruit there.

I've seen A TON of Simpsons stuff here!

I didn't end up buying anything but there was a lot of cool stuff to see there.  After walking around for a little we decided to head back to where we came from and go in the other direction towards the restaurants, museums, and tourist-y sights.  There were a ton of Clubes de Regata (rowing clubs) and there were also a ton of crazy people out in shorts and tank tops rowing (it was the coldest day here so far, about 40 degrees).

Melissa, Julie, Me

We got lunch at a little restaurant.  I got a tarta and a salad (I'm still not sure what the heck was in the tarta, but it was delicious!).


Melissa got the same thing, and Julie and Andy got some sort of pasta dishes...
Andy and his pasta

Julie and her lunch - looks gross, but tasted delicious

I have no clue why they were black (maybe squid ink?).  Being here has made me realize how limited my Spanish vocab is for food (and also in general).

Afterwards we stopped at El Museo del Mate (a very popular tea like drink).  It was only $10 pesos ($2.50) to get in!

We watched a short video about Mate production and then toured el Museo with a guide.  At first he spoke in Spanish which was nice, but then another group joined our tour and he spoke mostly in English because one of the people didn't understand Spanish.  We saw all different kinds of mate gourds.

Notice the two sided straw for "los enamorados"

And bombillas (straws)

And old mate sacks and a very cool little hut outside.

Unfortunately there was no taste testing (although the woman at the beginning said something about a sample, but then she disappeared and our tour guide just wanted us to buy something from the gift shop, which we didn't), so I still haven't had mate.

We continued walking up the beautiful path.

They love rowing there...

A message from the grass

Eventually we arrived at El Museo del Arte Tigre (which was also only $10 pesos).  It was really beautiful!  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside but we saw some very cool paintings and photos.  We jumped onto the end of a guided tour (which was free, but we only saw the last 15 minutes, as they go only at certain times).  You could go out onto a patio and there were great views from there!

This reminded me of Gettysburg :)

It was getting dark so we headed back to the train station, where we passed by some sort of protest

We took the train back, then found our bus stop and waited to go home.  I saw a couple walking with a ridgeback, which was neat.  After we got off the bus I took Melissa to the bus stop by house so she could get back home, and then I went home to get ready for dinner.

Our host moms don't make dinner for us on Saturdays so I went to a Parilla (traditional Argentine restaurant) with Ludi, Alicia, and Rory.  The way a parilla works is they have a set price of $70 pesos ($17.50) per person and you can order anything from the menu in any order you would like.  None of us really knew anything from the menu so we asked our waitress to just bring out what was good.  We also ordered a bottle of malbec ($68 pesos - $17) and a large bottle of water ($11 pesos - just under $3) to share.We started with a baked provelone cheese (one for each of us) that was absolutely amazing, and a platter of assorted meats to share.  There was some sort of sausage that was actually delicious, a blood sausage (which I actually tried, even though it looked foul) that had a very interesting texture and taste, it wasn't terrible but I have no desire to eat a lot of it.  There were also two other things, one of which we think was liver, and one we have no clue what it was.  I tried them both and didn't care for either of them.  We also had french fries and salad with lettuce and tomatoes to accompany our meal (the dressing here is almost always olive oil and vinegar that you add yourself, which is actually pretty good).  Next they brought out a plate of 3 different cuts of the best steak I ever had (Jared - you would have been in absolute heaven, this place will bring you plates upon plates of meat until you tell them to stop).  Lastly (because we were all stuffed) she brought out what looked like a rib, some other cut of steak, and a strange cut of meat stuffed with some soft of vegetable (it was really tender, but I have no clue what is was). There were also pastas on the menu but we were all too full for those.  However, we decide to get a dessert sampler to split ($40 pesos - $10).  There was a wide variety of desserts, a lemony airy mouse cake thing with candied lemon peel on top, a strawberry topped cheesecake like thing, a brownie with nuts, a vanilla and chocolate ice-cream topped with shaved chocolate, a pastry filled with strawberry ice cream, a chocolate cream things, fresh strawberries, and my personal favorite, a vanilla (shocking I know) ice cream cake with a crunchy, sugary, toffee like nut crust, with a layer of chocoalte on top.  Unfortunately my camera died after using it all day at El Tigre and I didn't have time to charge it, but don't worry, I will most definitely be going back!  The whole meal (including wine, water, and dessert) only cost me $100 pesos ($25)!!!!!! I was super excited, because it was soooooo delicious and soooooo much food.  We ended up being there for about 3 hours (although it didn't seem like that long).  Waiters in Argentina are also a lot different as they don't bother you nearly as often as waiters in the US and you have to ask for the check (we were there for at least an hour after we finished and she didn't once come bother us).  Argentines like to take a lot more time to enjoy their food company.  Tipping is also different, as we were told by portenos that you usually leave a flat rate, and not nearly as much as in the US.  We left her $6 and we had to explain that it was a tip for her.

I got home at around 11PM and  crashed soon after, as I was very tired from getting up early and being out all day.

31 de julio
Today I got up and had some cornflakes for breakfast.  Clarisa told me she was going to vote (voting is obligatory in Argentina) para los elecciones municipales.  Fun fact: Argentina stops serving alcohol at midnight on election day and doesn't resume sales until elections are over.  I have a lot of random stuff to do with figuring out my schedule, how to get to my classes (public transportation still confuses me), and what orientation classes I have this week, so I don't think I'll be doing much of anything today other than staying in and getting those things all figured out.


Random picture:
Ricky Martin Argentina Tour 2011

If only it was 10 years ago, Jared would have been all over this!