I landed in Santiago Chile after a flight over the Pacific and a number of time zones that zonked me out for a few days. Nothing that a few empanada snacks and vino could not repair! To adjust to South American mode I also tried a seafood dish in the wonderful central market designed by Eiffel (yes THAT tower) called Piure which is a gang of messy red molluscs tasting like iodine, scallops and the mysterious ocean. After the seafood lunch and finally retrieving my delayed baggage then there was a seven-hour drive over the Andes, which was most spectacular. A few days after arrival in Argentina a small group exhibition was held in Mendoza of artists who had collaborated together as couples. The small gallery run by the very charming Tano Arcidiacono usually shows photographic works but this show displayed drawing, sewing, photography, painting, and sculpture all bonding together under the title of ALGO CONTIGO.
Settling into Argentinean time has been my first chore here in the small village of La Consulta in Uco Valley. Today it is hot, dusty and there is no shortage of BBQ-ed meat to be had. Snow-capped mountains, vineyards and cactus are outside the window. Pretty views and a quiet country ambience surround me.
Argentineans could be described as “ meat-packing literati” a term adapted from a song dealing with the topic of the Malvinas/Falkland islands war. Not a very amusing part of recent history but I find the term amusing enough to use here as a way of expressing the Argentinean passion for both BBQ-ed meat and the written word.
The past few days I removed a very large toad and a small bird from inside the house. I see these creatures as locals visiting to see the new stranger in town. Another type of stranger I have encountered here is Gauchito Gil. Senor Gil is a popularised saint-like figure of a Gaucho (an Argentinean cowboy) with a Mate teacup who has a liking for the colour red. This semi religious figure is believed to offer help to those that place gifts at his numerous roadside shrines. These constructions grow over time by the continual addition of personal belongings. A Christian/pagan miss-mash of rustic installation art is the end result, decorating country roads with bright red coloured hope.