when in rome....
we are still at maxi´s, we were planning on leaving tonight for iguazu falls (20 hour bus ride from here) and try and make it to chile by the 17th or 18th to make it in time for the end of their independence day festivities but maxi and his family invited us to stay so we figured we should take them up and not rush things. words can´t describe how awesome this experience with maxi and his family has been. there is no way more authentic to discover a culture than to really be immersed in it... today and yesterday we´ve really just been experiencing the local life and it has been a great time. im glad we decided not to rush things - instead of leaving tonight we are going to leave sunday evening, so we basically get to stay here twice as long which just goes to show how incredibly nice and hospitable this family has been. they are beyond awesome.
last night we took a walk with maxi and his sister caande around town. it´s a pretty simple town, the streets are gridlike, there are few big parks. it´s a relatively short town too, the tallest building is i think 8 stories and it´s the only one that height. the streets are pretty deserted, i haven´t seen one cop and i feel like everyone that passes by maxi knows. anyways, got back to their house probably around 10pm? i was feeling a little hungry and was more than happy when i found out that dinner had yet to be served. we had dinner at 11pm - cheeseburgers! it´s funny, bacon cheeseburgers are popular in america but here they literally put a slice of ham on their burgers, it was realllly good, much better burger experience than at the restaurant the other day.
we all finished our burgers, more than satisfied, and within five minutes we were served another round. maxi´s dad told us ´don´t be shy´ so... needless to say we all had another. the meal did not end there, caande and mich went after dinner to get ice cream and terimisu cake. maxi´s dad poured jameson on his ice cream, quickly offering us the same. we had already finished our ice cream but he gave us a liquor which star poured into shots and topped on with baileys. the meal lasted for about an hour and a half, afterwhich we just hung out at the table. as it got a little later maddy and i headed to our bags to get into more comfy clothes. right after we changed michelle walks in and asks if we´re ready to go out..... after changing again we headed out to a local bar, it was probably close to 2. it wasnt too big.. there was a huge poker game going on, like at least ten people playing, a pool table, and then the bar. we ordered a couple beers for the group (probably size equivalent to 40s, maybe 32 oz bottles) and settled into a casual night at the bar. played pool (or at least tried to in my case, maddy proved to be a pro and was on the table for basically the whole night), drank beer, and tried to communicate with the locals til about 330. it was mostly guys, there was this one woman who was clearly stoked we were at the bar because it meant she could shout out all the english phrases she knew, which was a limited number. her vocab was limited, she would shout out ´random things like ´game over´, or (i didn´t hear her say this, but i wish i did) ´HOT DOG!´
we left with maxi and a couple of his homies but didn´t make it far beyond the bar. about a 30 second walk to the left and we were at a pretty big intersection that had a statue. apparently they just put in traffic lights there which required them to change a lot of one way direction streets to the other direction, which, as one would guess, would create a lot of confusion and eventually result in an accident. well the accident happened 2 days after changing the rules and we could still see the glass from the crash i nthe middle of the intersection. anyways, as i said the streets are pretty deserted, so deserted that it was perfectly normal for maxis friend driving by to stop and park basically in the middle of an intersection. so we hung out there for a little while then made our way back to maxi´s and passed out.
we got up around noon today and pretty soon after made our way to maxi´s grandmas house for lunch. she made us a delicious pasta dish - she literally made the pasta herself, it was sooo good. similar story to last night, downed two servings of the main dish, maxi went to get lemon pie cake (literally the same as the terimisu but lemon flavored), ate a slice of that, then sat there in disbelief of how much we had eaten. i kind of expected the lunch to be a big deal but it was super casual, maxi´s little cousin turned his video games onto this huge projector and we watched him play grand theft auto and fifa. he was definitely into it but i was surprised at how quickly his video game sesh was.... only like 15 minutes of each game, never seen some one with such selfcontrol regarding video games....
maddy and star went into a food coma and passed so i went over some spanish words with mich then we got into a game of spanish categories. after a few rounds we decided to wake the girls up and head back to maxis. maddy and i got to ride with maxi in this huge truck he drives for work (oil transporting i think, his whole family is a part of it). got back to his place, star and maddy left again with maxi to go to the bus terminal to figure out our bus to iguazu. michelle and i stayed behind and hung out with cande who made us a cold mate. everyone drinks mate here, so often too. usually its hot but cande told us that another version is having it with cold juice (apparently more standard in paraguay). it was soooo good. i wish i could describe it, kind of like the best lemonade in the world. and i dont even really like lemonade. we sat outside sipping and talking for a while, came back inside and before too long star maddy and maxi were back as well.
we walked around the corner to a meat shop to get dinner (craziest meat shop ive been too, even more so than mzolis -- there were brains, intestines, kidneys, livers, parts of an animal i didn´t know existed... maddy was in shock), dropped the goods off at home then went to another store to get veggies that looked straight out of the garden. unlike any grocery store in the us, so local and so authentic. anyways, came back home and started preparing for dinner. maxi light up the grill and we chilled as the veggies (peppers with eggs and cheese and zuchinnis with cheese) and meat cooked. some of maxi´s family had come for dinner and maddy and star started giving the two younger ones hairwraps, but were cut short for dinner which was served around 11pm. another delicious meal, pork ribs, salad, french fries, stuffed veggies, bread, beer. what more could you ask for? meals here are so different than at home. it´s such a family event but its also so casual. the tv is usually on, people are on their phones, but it doesn´t matter because it is such a long activity. it´s 1 now, we finished eating probably 45 minutes or an hour ago but we´re all still together.... maddy just finished her hairwrap, maxi and gaston are passed out on bean bags in front of the tv, and the adults are still sitting around the table. i love it. im so happy to have another night of this. they are all so nice. and being around them is just really enjoyable because its so real. i can´t understand them half the time but its cool to just listen and try to understand, i definitely feel myself getting a better grip on spanish which im stoked about.
trying to think of what other details to add.... some random things about argentina: at the hostel and most places the sewage system can´t handle toilet paper so you have to throw it away instead of flushing it down. everyone smokes cigarettes, anywhere and everywhere. they are smoking at the table now. its natural for parents and kids to smoke together (not the real young ones but maxi). hmmmm tryna think of other things but im drawing a blank. ive been on here forever, i get so carried away and these are all just the thoughts and things that come to mind first. oh! maxi´s family has the cutest little, luna, shes 8 years old but looks like she could still be a pup. she has a bad back leg so her front legs lead and her rear kind of hops/slides around after. too cute.
just took a break for some of maxi´s dad infamous ice cream with whiskey. he called me over to ask if i wanted ice cream, i obviously said yes, then he offered the whiskey and i couldn´t say no, until he kept pouring it on literally until i said no. strong but yummy. this family is too awesome i am going to be really sad to leave even though i have a hard time communicating with all of them. never met a family more kind and hospitable. truly great people.