Friday, June 12, 2009

Hola y Abujevete from Argentina

Argentina is a Spanish-speaking country but they also have aboriginal people, the Guarani, and "Abujevete" is the way they greet each other. "Hola" is "hello" in Spanish.

It is amazing that we can stay in the luxurious Grand Hotel and drive for 30 minutes to a place where people still live much like they have for years. Our Guarani guide, Carai, said, "Our people don’t speak much and we don’t have a word for ‘no.’ If a man asks a women to marry him and she doesn’t want to, she says nothing. Saying nothing means no."
Carai is a hunter. He showed us some very clever ways to catch animals. When he wants some fish he takes a two-foot section of a thick woody vine and puts it in water like a post. It attracts the fish but something in the wood puts the fish to sleep and then he picks the fish out of the water.

He explained, "Now it is difficult to be a hunter because we do not have much land. When I was a young boy we lived in union with nature, there were no country borders, we were free, and lived to be very old. Now we know about money, we buy things to eat, and our bodies are not use to it. We buy medicines instead of using the natural ones. We are not as healthy."
Carai told us many interesting things about his way of life. He pointed to a plant and said, "When it flowers we know it is the beginning of a new year." Their houses are made out of wood, mud and reeds. They only cut the wood for their houses during the full moon. Wood that is cut during the full moon is stronger and protected from termites." When we were ready to leave the children sang some Guarnai songs. They giggled when they saw us! I think they thought we were cute!
The Guarani live very near one of the world’s most incredible waterfalls – Iguazu Falls, which is on the Brazil-Argentina border. It is about the same height as Niagara Falls but has more than 250 separate falls spread out for nearly two miles in the rainforest. On the way to see Iguazu Falls we met Oriana Rios. She is studying to be an English teacher. We complimented her on her command of English. Oriana said,
"Learning English is very difficult because there are many sounds for the same letter." We think learning Spanish is difficult.

The food in Argentina is very good. They are famous for their excellent beef. The food is similar to the food in America but they have some different items that we really love. One is empanadas, which are like turnovers filled with meat, chicken, cheese, or dulce de leche. We love dulce de leche, which means "milk candy." It is a bit like caramel. They spread on toast and use it as a filling in pastries. It is also a flavor of ice cream. Yummy! The one thing we find difficult is the time people eat their dinner in Argentina. Most people eat around ten PM so most restaurants do not open until 8 PM. But there are places like McDonald’s that are open all day and sell empanadas for about 40 cents each.

We like Argentina. The people are friendly and they have many interesting things to see and do. To get to Bariloche, Argentina we traveled over the Andes Mountains from Puerto Montt, Chile by a route they call "Sail the Andes." The trip included four bus rides and three boat rides. It was very beautiful and we saw several snow-covered volcanoes. The world is very interesting.