04 Oct Out West in Argentina
Buenos Aires is comparable, some say, to New York City. Fast-pace lifestyle coupled with a “work hard, play hard” mentality make days zoom by as quickly as los colectivos (city buses). It’s very easy to create a routine of attending class or internship duties, only to see the semester over, the afternoon sun pushing temperature past 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and you missing all moments to breathe.
I unknowingly crave peaceful serenity when hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires seems all but suffocating. I find my breath of fresh air—literally—in la pampa.
Known for gauchos, cattle, and maté, la pampa is the area out west from the capital city in Argentina. It’s farm and soy fields, free-ranging cows and asados. Delicious asados—the Argentine bbq. It’s savory smells of a charcoal grill lined with freshly chopped green and red bell peppers, pork, beef, cornhusks and quail if you’re lucky.
And that’s where you find your personal time. You soak poolside in the sun, the only sound nearby a colorful bird chirping to her friends. Or the lunchtime bell ringing. After homemade, oven-toasted empanadas, dulce de leche pours over homemade flan. Lunch alone takes more energy to consume than combating crowded sidewalks in central Buenos Aires. But it’s a different energy needed, that of natural food digestion and letting your mind wander through the quiet of the flatlands.
What little entertainment there is in a 2,000-person town in Argentina is unique to that town. Oftentimes a mini rodeo takes place, equipped with wrestling steer and sheep. Take in with friends a local band of accordions, guitar, drums, upright bass and singer fusing the tango tunes from Buenos Aires with the country twang of the West.
Cuero—leather, in Spanish—is the real deal out west. You meet the maker of fine belts, hats, jackets and rings, he inviting you into his tent, showing you the process from stripping the hide to stretching it into a work of art. You’ll appreciate the craftsmanship only found in these men and women’s products. Why? Because they pride in being the first gauchos, the first to understand and appreciate all that a cow can provide.
Comparing does not serve justice. It’s apples to oranges to compare the province and capital city Buenos Aires, to that of peace and respite found only under the stars and eucalyptus trees of la pampa.
When are you going out to la pampa to find your time? Saddle up on horseback. Peacefulness is calling.
Tony Amante Schepers