Parks & Weekend Markets

La Plata has many beautiful parks, from any place in the city you can reach a nice plot of green within the walking distance of maximum 4 blocks. A block refers to the distance between two streets and is usually 100 meters or 300 ft.

Almost throughout the year in many of these green areas there are delightful markets on weekends. From handicraft jewelry, to carved wooden boards for kitchen or Asado use, from honey to smoked sausages and fresh cooked specialities – your eye and tongue may drown in a thousand different views, smells and tastes.

One may wonder how the average Argentinian keeps in good shape with so many delights to dwell on. The answer is rather simple. Most of these parks also have simple fitness machines installed and you see plenty of people in all ages using them. Joggers are seen everywhere, which gives me too the incentive, to make more exercise instead of sitting around writing on my blog 😉

At least my fitness partner in crime is nagging every day to go out for a walk. Good to have a dog …

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“go out and play”

There is something here that we seem to have lost in many places in Europe. It’s totally understandable that we hide during the cold and unbearable season of Autumn, Winter and partly in Springtime in our comfortable flats or houses. But even in Summer you would not find all too many people in the parks or on the streets. Rather than chatting lively with our friends and neighbors we post and like on Facebook or get hypnotized by the tv or games console.

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Sad but a modern reality. In my young age my mother used to say “go out and play” and she would expect me to be home latest at sunset. No mobile, only the trust I would have a good time with my friends and would be home in time.

Here in Argentina you find lot’s of people outside, especially on weekends in and around the many parks. Ok, Winter here is a mere joke in La Plata as on sunny days you have t-shirt conditions. Nevertheless it’s a lively pulsating feeling. It’s one of the many good reasons I relocated to Argentina.

But beware. Also here the younger generation is getting more and more addicted to electronics in all forms. You might not have smartphone zombies – that are people staring at smartphone screens while walking on and even more dangerously across the road. Simple because someone might rob it from you when you show it openly on the street. But first signs are there. I could already spot some kids on their bikes, hands free, looking at their phone. And that under the local traffic conditions

So if you have no one near to talk to, at least talk to yourself. But better start talking to your neighbours and shopkeepers and whomever you meet. You will be surprised. And they too 😉

Argentinians love cows ;-)

wp-1470243996013.jpegAs much as Indians respect and worship cows, Argentinians love their cows beyond imagination. And while Indians will never eat cow meat – no there is no beef big mac in Delhi – local people here celebrate the taste of Argentinian beef.

A quick comparison. Austrian cows usually live on the steep meadows of our mountains. A daily trip consists a lot of ups and downs and exercise for them. Kind of sport cows which makes the meat rather strong and hard to bite or eat. It even led as minced meat to the creation of the Hamburger.

Now for most of the cows here in Argentina, live is completely different. Flat ground, almost every day sunshine, blue skye, nice grass is a bow down with your nose away. You could simply get the idea they would be smiling all day long.

Now once such a cow ends her happy live and lands on a Parilla (=grill) she seems to be still smiling. The celebration of her smiling on the grill is called “Asado” that you would spell out something like “Ah + Za + Dough”. If they use any condiments to season the meat at all then it would be a pinch of salt. nothing else. The meat is already so blue sky sunshine smiling tasty that you do not need any musturd or grill sauce as we would usually apply in Europe.

Finally on your plate, the cow still seems to be smiling, at least you can feel the smile on your tounge. Even in your stomach the smile seems to be ongoing. For the later I spare my comment.

Now there is more about the religiously celebrated ceremony of Asado. Once the man or lady who prepared the meat on the grill has finished his/her job, there is always an applouse by the crowd gathering for the feast. Nice treat for standing several hours close to the fire watching over the smiling beef.

Then there is Chimichurri, a mix of spices and oil that you could/would apply to the meat on your plate. What else would you eat with your Asado? Well usually green and/or tomato salad and delicious white bread – which comes very close to the rich taste of Viennese Kaisersemmeln.

 

The humble people of La Plata

Something I found out during a sunny day, walking my dog. People in La Plata seem to be very humble. Always their head slightly tilted towards mother earth, not much looking left and right. Even when walking together, having a lively discussion, their focus is on the path in front of them.

Well, it’s the cities dogs that do the trick. Most of them roam the streets alone and have free choice. Of where to place their “fly catchers”. Small dogs place tiny ones, big dogs place master fly catchers.

Is is exactly this reason that humbles the local population. No spouse is all too happy, in case you walk home with one of these fly catchers nicely attached to your shoe…

City Traffic in La Plata

City Traffic in La Plata

Welcome to the jungle. Or better – welcome to Jumanji. Personally I love the idea of a completely structured and pre planned city. Streets have no names but numbers. You look for a place and find it at the intersection of street 56 with street 23. Or the place to go is on AV 7 between 43 and 44. No need to study a map, once you understand the numbering system. Especially for taxi drivers. Quite hard to get a taxi driving license in Vienna as you need to remember a lot of street names to find the destination address.

Simple road rules. Your turn if you are coming from the right. Most streets are one way, alternating in each direction. Avenidas e.g. 1, 7, 13 etc. are bidirectional with a green island as a lane separator. Streets crossing the Avenida have to give way. Round abouts – whoever comes inside needs to give way. So much about the theory.

Back to the local taxi drivers. All above rules seem not to apply to them at all. Although they respect the one way traffic. The most important advice I got about traffic here: “Whenever there is a taxi coming, let it pass, even it’s your right to go first. They stop for nothing, except passengers…” Fact. Either they have a fully damage insurance or maybe 1000 guardian angles with and around them or …. only god knows. They obey the rules as much as a mere suggestion. If you are too slow for them they might overtake from the right, from the left (more seldom), from the top – if they could, like Bruce Willis in the Fifth Element. Red/Green lights? Beware! Just an indication. Even if you have a green light, watch out, for a taxi might be speed crossing your way.

Zebra crossings? If you stop at those you are instantely an obstacle of wonder and surprise. First, pedestrians will look at you with big eyes for stopping – they are not used to that at all. Secondly, the car behind you will not expect you to stop for pedestrians and crash you with full speed as they keep a very short distance to you – or – if you are more lucky, hit the brakes and call you a lot of new names you never heard or learned before.

Nevertheless with all that above, I still enjoy driving here a lot. You need to have full attention in all directions and if possible little or no distraction while you drive and you are safe – just keep a healthy distance to the taxis.

Tree hugging

In my humble opinion trees are the most spiritual advanced plants around us. I remember the bad feeling when I had to cut dead branches from our hundred year old apricot tree back in Vienna. A feeling like the need to ask for permission first and later for forgiveness. And I did hug that big old tree many times. My youngest daughter even made a painting at her school show in her dad hug the tree in the back yard.

There are plenty of people around the world who love hugging trees, including me. One would not start hugging roses as the mostly protect themselves with pointy thorns. Trees, no question. You can hug any tree, right?

Well, no. Besides the 2000 year old trees at the east coast of the the US, which are simple too huge to hug, I recently encountered trees in Argentina you would never hug in any case.


Never saw such thick and strong based thorns on the trunk of a tree before. Even the dogs are very very careful while marking their territory at such a tree…

Rain!

Rain!

We have a simple statement in Austria: “There is nothing like bad weather, only badly dressed people…”

Here in Argentina you get nicely surprised in case it starts raining. As if there was a secret rule, anyone of the service industry e.g. plummers, electricians, telecom guys, simply do not show up in case it starts to rain. You might have an appointment, even a reminder call one hour ahead of it. Rain starts and people go home instead of showing up where they were ordered to. Of course building sites are empty too in such case. Maybe selling raincoats could become a big business here, who knows? 

A phone call at the local telecom provider gives more details. “Of course our people do not come when it’s raining. Of course we did not call you to cancel the appointment, everyone knows about the rain. Do you want a new appointment for Wednesday?” Ah yes, but this time for sure? “Sure… if it doesn’t rain again, you know..”