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Cordoba, Argentina

Apart from the straightforward jump over the border and the troubling jump in ticket prices once in Argentina, our journey to Cordoba was pretty uneventful. The Argentinian buses feel more like trains, particularly after so much time spent on the rattling deathtraps that cloud up the crazy roads of Bolivia. I was careful not to mention, while we still used the Bolivian deathroads, Niall´s accident- but now that we have escaped them I think I can relay the story without raising my mums blood pressure too much (she is, after all, pretty much the only person who reads this blog). Niall was on his way to Sucre from La Paz. He has a habit of taking diazepam before a long journey and was just easing himself into a drug induced sleep when his bus swerved off the road. Apparently a lorry or bus was driving on the wrong side of the road and the driver was forced off the road in order to avoid a head on collision. The bus turned on its side and although there was not (as there often is) a steep drop off the side of the road, the crash resulted in a number of small injuries and two fatalities. This could have been any bus in Bolivia. Niall escaped, with the other passengers, through the windscreen and was forced to return to La Paz. Shaken and understandably not wishing to relive the experience, he headed to Potosi instead, where we found him still in shock and nursing a rather pathetic bruise on the nail of his little finger.

It was, therefore, with understandable relief that we were able to bid farewell to the Bolivia buses and welcome the long, straight roads and the smooth, spacious new buses of Argentina, with their unlimited free tea and generous supply of films. The lavish luxury of these new buses was extended once we got off to the galleries, restaurants, cafes and museums of Cordoba. The streets were smart and lined with orderly rows of tall trees, the roads were wide and busy, the shops had shiny shelves filled with rows of goods. We hadn´t seen anything like this for a while. The dusty shelves of a typical shop in Bolivia would contain a scattering of products, most of which look like they belong in a museum. Suddenly we were surrounded by supermarkets, statues, electric buses and more tight jeans than Reading festival. Smart old men wore tweed jackets and cravats and everywhere seemed to me to have a sophisticated European feel to it.

This is all very nice on one level but when you are a traveller with little money such a transition is also a bit of a worry. We had come up with a few money saving ideas, one of which was to invest in hip flasks (secretly I had been looking for an excuse to buy one for a while) and when we got to Cordoba we were eager to try them out in the local bars. We filled them with frenet, the local spirit of choice although I´m not sure why because a) it is Italian and b) it tastes like leaves and medicine. Anyway, our experiment was a success - we topped up cokes in dark smoky corners while listening to reggaeton and hanging out with our room mates - a pair of quirky Finnish vegetarians. Niall, who had found his way down to Cordoba after being seperated from and then reunited with his bags (he really wasn´t having much luck with buses) topped off the night in characteristic style by vomitting a lomito out of the cab, which then refused to go on.

In case you are wondering, a lomito - meaning a small steak – is a kind of steak sandwich popular in Argentina. My first lomito also contained two eggs, ham, a slab of cheese, salad and mayonnaise. By the time I had finished my head hurt and I was pretty sure that if I listened closely enough I would be able to hear my heart faintly sobbing. It did taste pretty good but was nothing compared to my second Argentinian steak experience in one of the citys more credible establishments. It was the best steak I have ever had in my life. Over an inch thick and the most mouth wateringly juicy and tender piece of meat imaginable, I vowed to eat as many of these as possible before Brazil. No more ice-creams, no more snacks, I would even cut down on water if it meant that I could feasibly have one of these every night. It is a strange feeling to at once devote your life to the consumption of meat but there was no doubt in my mind - I needed to make the most of these.

Before we left Cordoba we visited the house in which Che spent most of his childhood - it is now a museum with some rooms still "intact" and some devoted to various articals and exhibits, my favourite being a a 500cc Norton motorbike identical to 'La Poderosa'- the Powerful One- which famously carried Che and Alberto across South America in The Motorcycle Diaries. Our own (only slightly less epic) journey continued the next day to the place of Che´s birth, Rosario.

permalink written by  steve_stamp on August 12, 2009 from Cordoba, Argentina
from the travel blog: The art of being lost
tagged Argentina, Steak, Lomito, Fernet, Hipflasks and Che

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Finally someone will understand why I can no longer eat the 'steak' in this country... enjoy them while you can bruvva!!

permalink written by  Nickon on August 13, 2009

vomito lomito. Easy come easy go. I feel for Niall!

permalink written by  sue stamp on August 13, 2009

NOT TURE! I read this blog as well!!!!!

permalink written by  Janey mcHardcore Manton on August 15, 2009

Ah - little do you know Steve. My boyfriend Joe (who hasn't ever actually met you) loves this blog so much he has the RSS Feed (or whatever it's called) direct to his Mobile phone so he can see it the instant it is updated.
You have a following........

permalink written by  Laura Spencer on August 19, 2009

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