Monday, January 23, 2006

Gaucho Madness

Buenos Aires, Argentina

We're back from our weekend excursion to a real life estancia, and boy does my ass hurt.
A day after Erik (my bro) and Karen (his fiance) arrived in BA, we set off for the long green pastures of las pampas. The estancia was a scant two hour bus ride and fifteen minute taxi ride away from the big city, but the atmosphere there was decidedly different. Where Buenos Aires is a bustling center for Argentinean business and nightlife, the La Bamba estancia is a cool, quiet country hamlet that becomes positively deserted after midnight. Very relaxing.
Except, of course, for the horse-riding. I'm sure for those experienced in the process, the horse-back ride is a blissful canter through the gaucho countryside. But, for a first-time gringo like me, it was a bit stressful.
Horses are huge. If they were to kick you, you would surely die. If you were to fall from their backs while galloping, you would surely die. If they decided to dash under a tree branch while cruising at 60 km/h, you would surely die. Also, they poop a lot. And then there's the obvious discomfort involved in bouncing up and down in the saddle, being forced to drop the entirety of your body weight onto your own external gonads. There's a lot to be worried about while trotting along on top of one of these things.
But, despite all the worries, I did actually have a good time on the horse-rides. The scenery around the estancia was hard to beat, and I learned enough to keep myself alive. By the third ride (with some patient help from Emma) I was galloping along and making the horse go where I wanted him to, instead of just wherever he felt like taking me.
We also managed some swimming, eating and sleeping on the ranch. There were plenty of dogs to play with, a croquet set, and a soccer ball. Overall, it was a nice family vacation.


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