Monday, August 31, 2009

The Dog Days of...Late Winter?

I remember about 3 months ago, just before winter began, when Nick excitedly told me: “Alright, here comes mate season”. That’s not to say that Argentines don’t enjoy mate year-round, irrespective of the season, just like British people with tea and North Americans with chicken sandwiches in which the chicken is the bun; rather, he was looking forward to the cooler weather that would make drinking mate an even more desirable pastime. Now, it’s worth noting that Nick is one of those lunatics (aka people from Vermont) that revel in lowering temperatures, but his point was not lost on me: Buenos Aires would get cold. And even though it took a while, it was legitimately cold for days at a time. I’m not talking about the brick-cold of the northeast, where in high school we actually observed a “cold day” because the temperatures were dangerously low for students waiting for the bus, but definitely cold to the point where I almost paid for my habitual under dressing. It became normal to wear a winter hat to Frisbee practices during the day, and practices at night were approaching unbearable. Some days were even rainy and cold, my least favorite combo. But, sure enough, I would often look forward to escaping the elements and sitting down with a steaming mate (which, taken out of context and read as an English word, could be quite unseemly). For the first time in sixteen months, I had to experience winter, albeit a tamer version.

Those days, my friends, have fallen by the wayside. Although today produced in-climate weather that is more winter-like, the forecast for the rest of the week looks like that of last week: sunny, mostly clear skies, low 80's. Late last week I spent my morning on the terraza enjoying the uncharacteristically warm weather, Manzi by my side. After exerting energy by running around in circles for no apparent reason, she was forced to seek refuge under the lounge chair and then under the table. And for the first time in my relationship with Manzita, I witnessed her pant. That's right, our puppy is outside and panting in the middle of winter. Just one reason I enjoy living in Buenos Aires...that is until it gets oppressively hot and I can't leave the house without losing five-pounds of water-weight.

Speaking of our devilish hound, Manzi finally received the vaccinations necessary to take her outside, and we wasted no time in taking advanage of it yesterday afternoon by bringing her to the park. She met the wide world outside Casa Cochabamba with a hint of trepidation, at first preferring to be carried rather than walk on her own, but before long she was at ease walking at our heels. As Julia noted, since we've had Manzi since she was so young we really are her parents and she can't imagine life without us, which therefore makes her less of a flight risk than other dogs might be. Thus we brought out Manzi sans leash without a problem. She trotted alongside us and obediently stopped at each of the two street crossings, waiting until we told her she could go. We sat in the grass and she calmly sat with us, occasionally barking at people walking by but desisting after a few yelps. She and I even did a quick lap around the park, with her beside or behind me all the while. It showed last night, when she was completely exhausted from her big day exploring the world. True, she continues to do her business wherever she pleases, but hopefully we can get her outside more and start training her fickle bladder. And if this weather continues, she'll have loads more dog days of summer to do so before the season even arrives.

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