I sound like a broken record but things are really busy around here! We are in the middle of the temporada grande, or big season, for polo, and therefore of course there are lots of polo interested people visiting to play and to watch polo. The biggest change from earlier in the season is that there isn’t that much difference between weekdays and weekends – Thursday night we had 18 for dinner, for instance. This afternoon is quieter though, there are only about eight people in the hotel right now, the rest have gone to Palermo for the second to last weekend of the Argentine Open. Have to say it is kind of nice!
At least today is Caturday:
While all the high level action is taking place in Palermo, we have lots of polo going on here as well, both with the regular club members and with the polo holiday guests who are here to play and improve. This includes three members of the Norwegian Polo Club! How cool is that. (I am embarrassed I never went to see them when I was in Norway, it would have been so much fun…) They are all super nice and I am of course thrilled to be speaking Norwegian all the time!
It is almost surreal to me that I am now a person that drives quite a lot. I drive to source and shop for the hotel, and now I also sometimes drive to go places for personal reasons. I have now driven in Buenos Aires many times, mainly for work but also for pleasure, and it just seems so weird to me – before coming here, my driving was very limited. I got a US driver’s license at age 25, because I never bothered to get it in Norway; it is extremely expensive and I didn’t want to spend my money on it. In DC, I had a Zipcar membership, but I didn’t use it very often, only a few times a year to go to IKEA and to pick people up from the airport. I don’t like cars at all – I don’t like talking about them, I hate car-centric developments, I love trains and bikes and buses. So it is pretty funny that I went from almost no driving (and only automatic) to driving in a large Latin American city. From 0 to 100, really. For those who know BsAs, I have driven on General Paz in the worst of Friday rush hour, I have done the piquetes on the highway, 9 de julio late a night (and my favorite, Corrientes), and 25 de mayo – Ricchieri – Autopista Ezeiza-Cañuelas more times than I can count. And I really surprise myself when I drive in the city; with all the craziness, I actually almost enjoy it. You never seize to be amazed!
Sometimes I wonder how many times I’ve set the table this year. Definitely a lot! I have to say I miss setting the table for my own dinner parties! I used to have a lot of dinners back in DC (and other places I have lived) and I miss that.
Flowers in the hotel make a huge difference:
The world’s best and most important polo tournament, the Argentine Open, is starting on Saturday and it means that we are officially in our highest season. Things are busy!! I hope I get to go at least once, it is an amazing experience. Here’s a shot from last year’s final.
A very grandiose title, but don’t worry, these are just two small observations that I find interesting.
1. Kissing teachers and classmates: I quickly learned at the IDB that the Argentines (and Uruguayans, and Brazilians, and others too) kiss in professional settings, like when greeting colleagues or meeting new people. (I love the awkward first meeting between a kissing Argentine and a rather stiff Cololombian stretching out his hand; quintessential IDB moment!) Anyway, here it is all kissing, all the time. Men and women, women and women, men and men. But what was new to me was kissing teachers and classmates. I take a class in BsAs Wednesday nights and find it really nice the way we say goodbye to our teachers and classmates with a kiss. It was surprising at first, as I didn’t think of it as a kissing setting, but now I like it.
2. What food to eat when you are sick to your stomach: This I have found funny for a long time; that there are pronounced cultural differences to what to eat when you are sick. In the US, for instance, they suggest bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast (often referred to as the BRAT diet). In Norway, apple sauce isn’t really a thing, but the toast definitely is used. Here in Argentina, they go for the rice, but avoid the toast, and say that bananas are really bad! They are also much faster in re-introducing red meat, and think that a small piece of steak is a good idea while recovering. Bananas, however, is a no no! And while in Norway people often drink Sprite or something like that, but with sugar, which supposedly helps settle the stomach, here, they suggest the light version, as they say sugar will upset the belly… Interesting stuff!