Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quintessential Argentina

The soul of a country is rarely found in the cities, but instead it's found in the countryside where the primary producers live off the land that shapes their culture. For Argentina, the soul is in the tango of the city and the gauchos of the campo.

I find myself in San Antonia de Areco, a bucolic town sitting on the Areco river with cobbled streets, a single church and a people wandering the banks of the river and commuting on bicycles and horseback. The horse is a quintessential part of Argentine culture - they herd cattle, use them for transport and allow rich people to feel important when they play polo. In the countryside, the horse is revered, respected and a passion.

When I found myself sitting on a bench near the river with a roll of Oreos in hand I wasn't surprised to hear the sounds of a gaucho astride his mount galloping across the puento viejo (or old bridge) of San Antonia de Areco.

It takes a special talent to eat Oreos and snap a picture of the perfection of that moment.

I haven't given Argentian horses a go yet. Maybe tomorrow I'll try my hand at mastering the gaucho ways, complete with their oversized beret.

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