This weekend is special because we are smack dab in the middle of spring and have the luxury of a three day weekend. Just a few weeks ago the government surprised us with a surplus of holidays for the upcoming year, and on Monday we’ll be celebrating the Day of Sovereignty. No one really seems to be totally sure of what this holiday exactly means or celebrates, but it has something to do with the navies of France and/or England sailing up the Parana River in the 19th century without permission. If I’m not mistaken, Argentina was mad and said, “Ohhh, what’s a-mattah you? This is our country, you can’t just sail your yacht through our backyard.” And apparently war was avoided because they respected Argentina’s right to sovereignty.
No one I’ve talked to really cares about the little details, but you will be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t want an extra day off in the best part of the year. It’s hot but not overbearingly hot like it will be in just a couple of weeks. Even the humidity has been fairly low recently, and upon going out for a run at dusk, you’ll find that the humidity is low, the breeze is perfect, there’s still light by 7:45 pm, and everyone is just in a general good mood. Spring always brings out the best in people.
I was thinking of going to Tigre today, and it would have been beautiful for it, but in the end went with laziness after an all-night salsa party with my new Peruvian friends once again in the neighborhood of Paternal. For the first time I feel I was invited to a legitimate and traditional parilla (barbecue). Not just a restaurant, work function, or picnic. With the birthday girls father, the men gathered on the roof of the house and surrounded the grill with low-heat charcoal, bullshitting over some drinks in the dark. Just a single light bulb illuminated the grill with the choripan (sausage) and meat. The full moon was so bright and stars were out that we probably didn’t even need the light bulb. It was the first time I’ve seen the stars since going to Chile and being in the countryside.
That’s the kind of parilla I’d imagined for a long time but struggled to find. Some kind of old dirty fire pit pieced together on an aluminum roof with years of experience rather than a pretty face. But the experience in the case of a parilla is the pretty face. Empanadas filled in the gap, of course, and we danced salsa long into the night. As I was leaving I thanked the father for the asado and he told me, “This was nothing, just a snack. You have to come back when I have a real asado.” I’m already salivating.