I love lunch. It’s my favorite meal of the day. On vacation, you can treat yourself to a bottle of wine without judgement and still have the rest of the day to burn off half of the cow that you consumed during your meal. Unlike the U.S. where the dinner rush hour is 6-8pm, here it’s 9-11pm which unfortunately coincides with my grannyesque bedtime. By the time dinner is finished, the sun has risen and I have yet to start the digestion process.
But at lunch, you have half the day ahead of you. Over a glass of local red, with grilled intestines and mollejas digesting in your stomach, you are sated and sleepy. You can then take a nap and wake up just in time for dinner. And that’s the true definition of a good vacation. And Argentina is the definition of a good vacation for me.
The official tourism slogan for Argentina that I found on the Internet but that I’ve never heard of is “Argentina beats to your rhythm.” If the rhythm the government is referring to is the sound of a Malbec cork popping and a steak searing on the grill, then yes, this is quite accurate. But I think a much more effective one would be “Argentina: half the price and double the flavor.” Because a grass-grazed hunk of succulent, mouth-watering, perfectly grilled, crispy-on-the-outside with a cool blood-red center bife de chorizo (sirloin steak) will cost you $20. Compare that with the U.S. where this morsel from heaven will take you back $50.
I rely on Michael to do the ordering for us in restaurants. He can wow the locals with his “gangster Mexican Spanish” as I call it. He’s fluent and knows all the slang but leaves the locals perplexed as to where the hell he comes from. Asian-looking from one angle, Mexican from the other, with the right kind of accent and clipped, easy slang of a local from some Spanish-speaking country. But which one? He understands everything they say and can respond in a flowing dialect that leaves me simmering with jealousy. Because naturally, I am competitive, even when I have no business being so. What can I say, I’m a Leo by birth and a Leo by action. So here I go again, trying to get attention by impressing the locals with my Spanish. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know how this goes.
“Kasey, we will be here for ten days so just tell them that when they ask. In English, please.”
“No, I can do this in Spanish. Diez dios!”
“Ten gods is not it.”
“Dios, dias, it’s close enough. They’ll understand me.”
“I want a coffee with dessert but I will order it myself. I don’t need your help so please don’t talk. Thanks.”
“Ok. What will you say?”
“Una copa de caballo, por favor senõr.”
“No. That’s not it. Just let me do the ordering.”
“What did I say wrong??”
“You ordered a cup of horse.”
“Ok. Wait, you’re right, I was way off. I got it now. Una copa de caballero?”
“Again, no. But you have succeeded with continuing the western theme.”
“You ordered cup of cowboy.”
“Ok, well that’s not what I intended but that’s doesn’t sound too bad. He he.”
Michael is not amused. In the end he orders the “cortado” (espresso with a drop of frothy milk) that I want.
I might have been defeated today but tomorrow is a new day and with fresh wine flowing through my veins, who knows what I will attempt to order next.