Sunday, 27 January 2008

Bs As montage

So, I know I've been pretty quiet here lately. I was without internet for ages, and then - well, this place eats time. It's like it's built around a black hole, or maybe a hellmouth or something.

Anyway. I have a lot of backstory to catch up on, and realistically I'm never going to manage it. So instead I'll do one of those 'time passes' montages to cover the time I've spent in Bs As so far:

Watching really great dancers just messing about at the milongas; Pablo and Maria at Practica X, Julio and Corina at La Calesita, Gaston and Mariela at Villa Malcolm, and a very, very pregnant Moira Castellano at Tango Brujo.

Icecream. A lot of icecream. They have their priorities straight here: the icecream takes up about three times as much room as the cone.

Meeting the lovely Sallycat, and seeing her dance (she's very elegant).

Omnipresent jacarandas.

Eli overcoming his performance anxiety and making it to the Superbowl. OK, that really has nothing to do with Bs As, but still.

A lot of shoe shopping, including my first trip to CIF.

New friends and kind strangers.

Taxi drivers. Despite the dire warnings everyone gave me before I came, the taxi drivers have been universally lovely; they're friendly, chatty, helpful, and patient with my Spanish, they wait to make sure I get into my apartment building safely, and round my fares down.

Right, back to real time.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Home from home

There are perhaps two main things that Cornwall* is generally known for in the rest of the UK. One is the piskie. Pretty much every tourist shop in the country (county, if you're confused and/or pedantic) sells little statues or little pewter talismans of piskies. Piskies are the local fairy folk, these days usually portrayed as gnome-like, ie pointy hat, no wings.

Imagine my surprise when I wandered into the Abasto to be confronted with a stall selling these:

These are Peques, and they appear to be the Patagonian equivalent of piskies. Piskies, Peques... is it possible they have the same origin? Did our Welsh cousins bring the stories with them to Patagonia? Or are they indigenous, in which case the name is just a weird coincidence?

The other thing that Cornwall is famous for, perhaps the thing is is most famous for, is the pasty. The pasty is so Cornish that in the rest of the UK it is referred to as a Cornish pasty. Here's one.

Cornish pasty

"But wait!" I hear you cry, "that's an empanada!" No, my friends, it's a pasty. This is an empanada:


Can't tell the difference? That would be because they're the same thing!!! Well, ok, they're not exactly identical. For example, empanadas seem to be made with minced meat instead of whole chunks of steak. But still, near as dammit.

I don't know, you go half way round the world, only to be confronted with piskies and pasties. If they had clotted cream and wreckers as well, I'd be convinced someone was playing an elaborate practical joke on me.

* A few words of explanation for my American friends. Cornwall (Kernow) is the county at the southwestern tip of Great Britain. Like the Welsh, the Cornish are the descendents of the ancient British people who were pushed gradually west, first by the Romans, then by the Saxons. Studies show there remains a clear genetic difference between the Welsh / Cornish and the English! Cornwall has its own language (close related to Welsh and Breton) and mythology and a distinct culture. Many of us still consider it a separate country. It started to become a part of England in the middle ages, but Cornishmen were considered 'foreign' by the rest of England for many hundreds of years after that. My mother gives her nationality as 'Cornish' instead of 'British', and so would I if I could be bothered to deal with the resulting arguments with officials. :)