Well, in the last year we have had people from three continents visit our little home (Actually, four continents, if you count Paul coming from
Anyhow, our latest guests were some wonderful Argentineans who arrived carrying goodwill and yerba maté and, after staying a few days and giving goodbye hugs, floated away on a cloud of cigarette smoke and colorful profanity. I really love Argentineans, and the two who visited are two of my favorites.
The people I speak of are Nacho and Julia, as depicted in the pictures below. When I was an exchange student in
We did the standard
around the area, but we also stayed around here some, too. While eating dinner at Angela’s parents’ house, Nacho explained to us all the physics behind flight by demonstrating with a napkin (and it finally made sense to me, actually), and Julia explained to us what engineers actually do. They also brought maté, the ubiquitous drink in
As a matter of fact, as I write these words right now, I am drinking maté that they left me, and let me say that I think it’s just great. In reality, drinking maté is akin to drinking green tea from a dried gourd, and although that sounds strange, it’s actually an integral part of the Argentine lifestyle. I had asked them to bring the materials necessary for drinking maté, but they told me that even if I hadn’t asked them to do so, they would have still brought their own maté “kits” for their own personal consumption. They also reminded me of the broader maté etiquette, while teaching me some of the finer points.
For example, if you’re drinking maté with friends, you all share the same gourd and the same metal straw. One person drinks at a time, and he or she drinks until there’s a slurping sound. At that point, it’s passed to the…well, I guess the matémaster…who refills the water and passes it to the next person. And so on. Also, you shouldn’t say “thanks” unless you want to indicate that this will be your last turn. I think that for me, it’s all so appealing because on the surface it could be so simple, but in the end it’s made quite complicated. In this case, the extra ceremony and etiquette can lead to a certain feeling of initiation; I suppose much like it would feel like being in a cult. At the same time, I also love that it’s something that’s deliberately slow and complex, and it causes you to take a break from the day and share that break with friends, if at all possible. Julia said that drinking maté is banned in many workplaces in
But look at me. Here I began talking about two Argentinean friends and their visit to
In any case, I digress. Julia and Nacho: thanks for visiting. Andrés: get your ass up here. Everyone else in
Finally, once again, I will let pictures say a thousand (more) words:
Here’s a picture of the volcano Arenal that kinda freaks me out, for some reason. It sort of looks like it’s from the pictures for the new Nine Inch Nails album.