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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cocktail Party and Fulbright Fest

Last weekend was incredible!
Argentina had provincial elections on Sunday and, since voting is mandatory here (crazy, I know), no bars are open the night before. Even more, no grocery stores will sell you alcohol on voting day. Well, this naturally left a lot of people without anywhere to go, so I decided to have a cocktail party at my place. Luckily, one of my friends. Valentina, was able to find mint so that we could make mojitos.

I know what you're thinking: A cocktail party...that's pretty cool. It's better than that, though. Teresa and Alex, two Fulbrighters who were traveling up north, were in Villa María visiting Jen, another Fulbrighter. They all managed to make it to Río Cuarto to enjoy the festivities. They, combined with me and Samantha (last year's Fulbrighter), made 5 Americans at a single party in Río Cuarto. That was like 1/4 of the population! Well, that's enough chit-chat. Let's get to the story...

So, Jen, her friend Silvana, Alex, and Teresa were coming in during the evening, right about dinner time. Since my empanadas have become kind of a Fulbright legend, I set to making the best that I could: jamón y queso and cebolla y queso, my two specialties (ham and cheese and onion and cheese). I also threw in a few tomato and cheese ones too, for good measure. I started getting them ready, and by the time the americanos got to my apartment I had all twenty of those babies ready to go.
Mmm mmm....empanaughties
So, the next natural step was fryin' 'em up. We supped on empanadas and some yellow rice that I had leftover, and all was delicious. Then, naturally, we had to have dessert: brownies with peanut butter, Aguila dorada chocolate, and dulce de leche-flavored licor. Oh, baby, was that rich!

Side note: I seem to talk a lot about food. Keep this in mind when I get back to the United States and have gained 20-30 pounds. Empanadas, asado, and dulce de leche...what's a man to do?

So, we had dinner, cleaned up, the guests freshened up a bit, and then we started making cocktails. Slowly, but surely, the Argentine guests started arriving. Suffice it to say that the night was excellent and full of copious intake of ethanol in varying, fruity and minty flavors. I also debated politics in Argentina versus the United States again, but in a jovial tone.

The party ended around 5:30 AM with every very happy. You don't get to see the really good pictures. Here are some that make it look like we were being responsible, though! That's like listening to an edited Eminem CD!

What wonderful cultural ambassadors!
We got a little swing dancing action

Potentially the best photo of any 3 Fulbrighters

The next day, Jen and Silvana had to leave, unfortunately. It was fun while it lasted. Teresa and Alex decided to stay for Sunday and Monday, though, so I planned a few fun things for them. Once we finally got up on Sunday, I took them to the andino, an abandoned train station in Río Cuarto, to have mate. The weather was nice, the sights were grand, and delicious mate was to be had.

That evening, we gathered up Samantha to have an All-American outing, once again for more food. This time, I took them to Don Zoilo, Río Cuarto's number-one gourmet restaurant. I think they were sufficiently impressed. I had a beef tenderloin with onions and a delicious sauce, Teresa had the ever-delectable steak with pepper sauce, and Alex and Samantha had my favorite creation ever: Ribeye steak with prosciutto, rugula lettuce, and mozzarella cheese, complete with artesan-style potatoes and a criollo sauce. Oh...I can't keep describing it without getting hungry.

On Monday, Teresa came to school with me and sat in on a few of my meetings. I then gave her a tour of Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, and we came back home for a grilled cheese and soup lunch. Then, of course, it was snack time. 

Again, I'm talking about food. I think gluttony might be my most enticing cardinal sin.
Luís María y Compañía is a delicious little coffee place a few blocks away. They have this whole series of heavenly cakes, tortes, cheesecakes, and everything under the sun. Teresa and I split a degustación de 12 sabores (a sampler platter of 12 flavors), and had coffe. It was $5 per person. I love Argentina.

Well, Teresa and Alex left that evening and, not considering when Alex came back for a night before heading out finally, that was the end of our adventure. I was so happy to see everybody, and I hope I'll get to visit soon!

Bajofondo concert

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