Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Welcome to Smurfsville

Bueno, when I left you last were were eating pancakes and putting kids on a bus. As they headed down the driveway we hopped into Fernando's car and Santiago dropped us off at a bus stop in Marciel where we waited for about an hour and a half for a bus to Santa Fe. Lucky for us Aidine had two liters of cerveza. Yea, that turned out to be stupid seeing as the bus to Santa Fe was two hours long and there was no bathroom. I almost burst. In Santa Fe we caught a bus to Reconquista and arrived at one am. Unbeknown to us, the teacher who organized the whole thing, was waiting for us with heaters. Ignorant to this fact we got into two taxis with all the luggage and headed for La Jacaranda.
A word about Jacaranda: Its a strange place built for religious retreats. Apparently the building is falling apart of sinking into the ground and no one can repair it. Therefore the stay is ten pesos a night. There is a communal kitchen, and no heating system. Lucky for us there was plenty of hot water.
When we couldn't find it in the dark I randomly called the teacher because Ana was the first one in the phonebook of the phone I had been given. She was pretty pissed that we didn't know she was waiting for us. Thanks Ecolonias. She sent the heaters in a taxi and we went to bed exhausted and slightly warmed by the heaters.

The outdoor hallways of Jacaranda

I woke up hot and slightly disoriented and found my way into the sunlight where Soyna was smoking. In the sun it was hot, and we spend the afternoon in the sun on blankets. Ana brought some food and with every one's help I cooked some pasta and we had a picnic!!!:
from the left: Sonya, Will, Fiachra

Aidine's cave

Will playing guitar on the roof at sunset

That night we headed into Reconquista to explore and to eat. The town was nice and small and in my opinion more European than Buenos Aires. The plaza was really pretty, and the church was a big presence. Fiachra grabbed a mass and we wondered around the streets that strangely lacked stray dogs. We picked Fiachra up from mass and headed to a restaurant for dinner, but stopped on the way to head to a small market (not run by Chinese people). There was a perfect cross section of a pig, and I had to document:
We weren't sure how much we could spend on dinner, because as usual no one tells us anything, so we had a cheap but good dinner followed by the cheapest ice cream ever. It was pretty good. I got a waffle cone with chocolate coating and nuts with two flavors for $3.50 (pesos). So loco!!

The next day we did Camelot day camp for kids with limited English. It was like banging my head against a wall. There were only 4o something of them though, so the groups were small and it wasn't physically exhausting.

Spelling Dragon for a photo scavenger hunt. I might as well have asked them to write an essay on the unification of Germany.

Will got his hair did during lunch

The kids had made awesome shields

Kick ass obstacle course. Only two kids got hurt!

Tug of war tired them out and hurt their hands, but they won lots of "crystals" to make up for the one's they had lost speaking Spanish

Getting ready for the banquet

The knighting ceremony got real with candles and medieval music. The kids loved it and so did the parents. It was pretty cool to meet the parents for the first time.

Aidine knights a chica for using crappy English all day.

Finally, the kids left and we got down to business. We had the fixin's for an asado and a gringo asado it was. We took tips from everyone we could and got the thing done. We had asado and vacio and veggies and of course churipan (sadly no chimichuri). I ate...well, let's just say I ate a lot. I also polished off the salad too, but after days of potatoes and ground beef in differing variations I felt like the red meat done me good.

More photos of the place

The second day of camp went really well. There were only 15 kids and spy camp is way cooler than Camelot. We actually had free time, and I almost took a nap as I waited wrapped in rope for the kids to find me as an end to their mission. Being held camptive in one's own bed is awesome. For dinner we made a quick pasta and then hopped on the bus back to Retiro. One sleeping pill, an alfahore, 15 minutes of awake time and eleven hours later we were pulling into Retiro and I was happy to be home.

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