The smell of steak, chorizo, barbecue smoke and wine fill the air. Your ears are tuned to laughs and Spanglish. Bienvenidos, you're at an Argentinian Barbecue gathering, also known as an Asado or Barbacoa. Mike and I are invited to an Asado at least twice a week, as their great social gatherings for meeting people, practicing Castellano, and spoiling your appetite. We usually attend our friend Sarah's asado in San Telmo (tango district). This is where much of our network has been built. Her house consists of six other roommates, half of whom are bilingual and the other half speak only Spanish. Paola from Peru speaks only Spanish but she'll open up to you with the sweetest smile and treat you like family from day one. All in all, we have come away from every asado meeting someone new and leaving with affirmation that we made the right move to Buenos Aires
The rules of a great asado are much like your typical 'potluck' in the US. You're welcome to bring meat, usually chorizo or steaks, salad or dessert. Everyone provides their own drinks, either a nice bottle of wine or some beer which is roughly $5 USD. Then you have the privelage of learning something new about this culture or the Spanish language and maybe even teach some English. Anywhere you go in Buenos Aires, you can smell the barbecue smoke from the parilla (parilla=grill). This last Saturday, we decided to rid some of our energy by running along the Rio de la plata in a park which stretches nearly 10 miles. By the end, we had covered about 6 miles in the hot summer sun and needed some replenishment. What do we see? A street vendor selling cheap choripons. Doesn't everybody follow up their exercise with a chorizo?
We now sit in our apartment in Congreso District for the last night of our residence in this parade-filled area of the city. Our Christmas Eve day will be spent moving into our new apartment in Palermo, which is the nicer area of Buenos Aires. I've heard it called the Beverly Hills of Buenos Aires, a hefty comparison that I wouldn't make but it certainly is where you want to live in this city. Our apartment will be roughly 10 blocks from the Recoleta Cemetary (Cementerio de Recoleta) which is blocked off by walls like a gated community. Instead of homes, tombs of the many famous people, including Eva Perron, of Argentina occupy the enclosed neighborhood. Many other fine attractions also lie in our next barrio=neighborhood, including bars, clubs, restaurants, and our tango classes!
Hard to believe, but it's that time of year where I usually wake up to cold weather and wonder if Santa made his visit to my home. I do miss the Wintery spirit of Christmas but I can't complain about my Christmas plans here either. What are Robin's Christmas plans for 2007 you may ask? What else, we'll be attending another Asado at our friend Kate's in Palermo. May your holidays be filled tummy satisfaction, laughs and good people as well. If you need to find Mike or I, we'll be near the platilla.
Prost, Salud, Cheers!