Postcard from Argentina: final

By | Category: Travel destinations

Kaye’s constant quest for adventure has taken her back to Argentina – the land of gauchos, glaciers, football, tango and beef

Continued from last time

This is the end, dear reader.

My Argentine adventure is coming to a close and I am returning, albeit reluctantly, to the UK.

I’m reluctant to leave despite the fact that I am penning this postcard as something of a prisoner: the cafe that is acting as my ‘office’ today has bolted  its doors owing to the fact that the Peronists are protesting passionately outside, against president Mauricio Macri and his latest austerity measures.

For while the blue eyed businessman, with a penchant for polo shirts, still enjoys approval levels of 61 percent his popularity has nonetheless plummeted since assuming office in December 2015.

This is partly due to the Panama papers saga (Macri is  only Latin American president in office to appear in the Panama Papers, as a board-member of two companies located in tax havens) but mostly because the fun loving Argentines aren’t exactly enamoured with his fiscal policies…. Make no mistake: life is getting tougher for Argentines, after one-off rises of as much as 500 per cent in utility tariffs that had been frozen for years.

But I digress… I’m sad to be heading home even though, on Easter Sunday, I was mugged out of the blue in broad daylight – an experience that left me shocked and shaken to the core. (Argentina is nowhere near as dangerous as other South American destinations – here’s looking at Venezuela and Brazil – but it still can’t be classed as ‘safe’ per se.)

And yet while I’ve sometimes endured testing days, for the most part my adventures in Argentina have always lifted my spirits. So much so that I don’t want my trip to end: I wish I could keep going.

Sure I may have slept in umpteen different Airbnb beds since the beginning of the year but, as a born wanderer who feels confined when with the same people and surroundings for any length of time, I’ve loved every minute of it. 

IMG_1828

 

I didn’t mean to end up in Argentina when I first visited in February 2015… it just happened. But the more I explored, the more I enchanted I  became with the land of gauchos, glaciers, futbol, tango and beef. I found I adored the fact that Argentina still has the type of shops that have pretty much vanished from British high streets. I’m talking independent bookstores, butchers, bakers, green grocers, repair shops, hardware store, proper cafes (Costa doesn’t count) and post offices.

I discovered that I loved living in a country where I could stroll to individual shops each day to get my Cortado (essentially a shot of espresso, with an equal amount of steamed milk) and alfore (a divine Dulche de leche cookie) fix and fulfil my errands. And I came to love the loud and proud locals, whose passion for life you can’t help but admire.

IMG_1868

Subsequently when I woke, in January 2016, in need of an imminent escape from Harrow –  my hometown where big plans mean dinner at Frankie and Bennys and a job as a bank manager – I had my destination. I’ve encountered things – estancias, milongas, closed-door restaurants, I could continue – that I would never have encountered, if I hadn’t come to Argentina. The last few months have given me a million fabulous things that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. Essentially going to Argentina I concluded, one wonderful Malbec filled (but then when did anyone ever drink Malbec and not have a fantastic time?) evening, always does me good.

20160214_211015

All of which, dear reader, is my way of announcing that I will be returning to Argentina again in the near future because, while I adore London – I must have lived in dozens of different parts and know every aspect of the city which never fails to fascinate –  I don’t really belong in it. And I am never satisfied to live there for long.

Perhaps it’s not surprising then that my various London abodes have never really resembled a ‘proper’ home – partly because I have no real interest in possessions and partly because I’m hell bent upon seeing new places. Consequently lodgings in the UK are a necessity into which I have never truly settled. Even when my body is at home in Harrow, my mind isn’t – rather, it’s roaming across another continent.

20160314_133106

Writing this with warm feelings for Argentina and one glass too many of Malbec swishing in my stomach, I can’t wait to get back but first I plan spend some time living, working in and writing about Hawaii (let’s face it no one ever wrote about Harrow).  I want to see and experience more of our world and fortunately for me, dear reader, I can. (Travel isn’t necessarily required for me to do my jobs, but neither is staying in one place.)

Argentina has afforded me some perspective: I know now that  I don’t like keeping regular – a word which, for me, is synonymous with dullness – hours. It’s almost as if I’m almost afraid of regularity having never known the order and convention of domestic life.

thumb_IMG_5408_1024

Conversely I find the constant movement that comes with being a digital nomad, stimulating and exciting. It’s taken a while but it’s finally dawned on me that if I keep trying to follow in the footsteps of childhood friends and family and jump aboard the conventional conveyor belt of life, only misery and madness lie in my path.
In the meantime, thank-you for reading my various ‘Postcards from Argentina’. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these diary entries – I’ve certainly enjoyed writing them. Or as former Python and seasoned traveller, Michael Palin puts it: “The attraction of a diary is that it remains in its own time. It reflects only what happened on that particular day. It doesn’t flatter and it isn’t distorted by what happened later. In that way it’s the most truthful record of real life. And it’s your own life and nobody else’s. Keeping a diary means that all that seeing and hearing, loving and laughing, excitement and embarrassment, gladness and gloom that make you what you are, is not forgotten. A diary blows away the mists of time and offers your life back to you.”

IMG_0399

 

To read part one of Kaye’s Postcard from Argentina series, please click here

To read part two of Kaye’s Postcard from Argentina series, please click here

To read part three of Kaye’s Postcard from Argentina series, please click here

To read part four of Kaye’s Postcard from Argentina series, please click here and here

To read part five of Kaye’s Postcard from Argentina series, please click here  and here

To read part six Kaye’s Postcard from Argentina series, please click here  and here

To read part seven of Kaye’s Postcard from Argentina series, please click here and here

To read part eight of Kaye’s Postcard from Argentina series, please click here and here

Words and pictures: Kaye Holland

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,