Title: Touring Cordoba's sorrounding areas
Location: Cordoba, Argentina
The next day was just as hot and we decided to do it all again, booking with the same tour company for a different tour and being collected surprisingly by the same driver and tour guide as the previous day (thankfully I had tipped him reasonably the day before, but the Argentineans don't seem to bother that much with tipping guides so never really sure of the form). This time we headed off in a different direction to the Valle de Calamuchita, passing one of the Jesuit estancias on the way - for which the Cordoba area is famous. To cut a long story the Jesuits were a bunch of neo-catholicists who got kicked out of the main church for being naughty so had to buy farm estates for themselves to feed and pay for the missionary/educational work they did. Next stop was the Che museum, which was full of memorabilia of the man himself, and pretty interesting.
This trip ended without getting caught in traffic but we arrived back to hotel only to discover that it was in the middle of a power cut. No lights, but more importantly, no air-con. The second biggest city in Argentina plunged into darkness and heat because too many people turned on their air-con and blew the system up. Great. So we survived by sitting by the fridge in the bar, drinking its contents before it all got too warm and playing scrabble until it was too dark to see the end of our noses, at which point power was finally restored.
Day three and there were no more tours to do that could possibly get us to cooler climes, so we woke with trepidation of being stuck in our aircon room all day, as long as the power held out. Luckily it was cloudy and mercifully cooler, so we went to the main attraction of the area, a town called Jesus Maria, which is definitely a one-horse town with an estancia which is quite pleasant to look around, having a museum with english signs, and nice grounds. Worth the easy but boring bus ride from Cordoba. But this week there was also the annual rodeo and music festival for the gauchos from all over Argentina. Definitely a different class of people that attend this, and as we sauntered past the campsite that afternoon you could tell that they had been up partying all night and were resting all day... We stayed to see everyone start queuing to get in, then went around the gaucho market which was clearly there just for the week, before getting back to Cordoba to watch some of the rodeo on the tele... This consists mainly of a guy tied to a horse, which is then released and jumps around like a mad thing trying to get this geezer off. So eventually he falls off, hopefully after the buzzer has gone to indicate time up, and tries not to get trampled on by the horse. Most manage this quite spectacularly, but one didnt make it and had to be carted off in an ambulance. Its all very emotional and everyone is there to watch their local hero from their region triumph. Rousing stuff. And all the while the musical concert is going on in the background, like two separate events occurring at the same time.
After all these events we finally started our Spanish immersion classes. They are really helping, and we can now clearly understand at least 60% of what is going on in the trips we make.