In the winter of 2007, my family and I ventured to the vast expanse of land known as Argentina, located in South America alongside Brazil. My father is from Rosario, a small rural town approximately an hour away from Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. For the first time, I was able to re-connect with various relatives I had never met, and re-kindle my love for nature and adventure. Surely it was a change of perspective – I've never taken electricity for granted since! Of course many appliances still function, and they have indoor plumbing, but there's nothing like milking a cow for the first time, and feeling it's harsh leather-like rudders under the grip of your hands, as it relinquishes warm, natural milk. At 13 years of age, this was all very surreal to me.
Since we were on a tight budget and the airline expenses for a family of five weren't exactly cheap, we resided with some cousins, in both Buenos Aires and Arroyo Seco/Rosario. We visited the local "club" in Rosario, comprised of a large swimming pool, accompanied by tennis/racquet ball courts, playgrounds, and a concession stand. It was amazing how all of the teenagers and families gathered here daily to spend their summer. Moreover, we were able to take a tour of my Great Uncle's ranch. From there, we rode various horses and traveled to a small river, where they retrieved their water supply. It was incredible to see all the labor put forth to obtain fresh water and milk! Even more flabberghasting, my family and I witnessed the process of sausage-making. In America, we never get to experience these behind-the-scenes actions – we're just thankful we don't have to be the ones to wring the chicken's neck or kill the pig for Bacon!
After four days in Rosario, we advanced onto Buenos Aires, the flourishing capital of Argentina! There we saw their Argentine Congress captial building, and other various structures which we also were fortunate enough to visit, such as their City Hall, and Palace of Justice. This area resembled our US captial, Washington D.C., with its large overwhelming buildings and bustling activity. On surrounding roads, there were numerous restaurants and shops, as the streets were overflowing with taxis, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians alike. During our stay, we went to Siamo Nel Forno, a pizzeria which literally translates from its Italian root as "We are in the oven." The pizzas were delectable, and that strip of the city was busy until 2 AM, when we left. It was quite the contrast from American stores and businesses which typically close by 11 PM.
Overall, this vacation taught me values that I'll never forget, changed my outlook on life, and reminded me that I shouldn't take anything for granted. Food and resources there were as precious as diamonds, and people were genuinely kind. In America, we forget to say as much as "hello, good morning, please," and "thank you." Through such a drastic change of scenery, I was able to absorb the different cultural aspects of Argentina, and relate them to myself, while hoping to reflect on them, as they are a part of my heritage. I would go back to this country in a heartbeat, it was the best trip, appropriate for all ages, whether you prefer the wilderness or residing in an upscale hotel. The rivers and ranches are ample, but if you prefer a stroll down the city streets or a day in a shopping center, I can guarantee there's a taxi awaiting your arrival in the beautiful country of Argentina.