Saturday, October 4, 2008
Cruising on the Tigre Delta
Dos bolletos para ida y vuelta.
Ah, refresco...Two round-trip tickets to Tigre, a small coastal town about an hour north of the city. A sunny Saturday tooling around a quaint riverside town, all for four pesos for the both of us. Not bad.
The whistle blew, signalling the approaching departure, and we hustled through the sliding doors. We walked through almost all of the cars, but it seemed as though everyone else in Buenos Aires had the same idea as us...And it was standing room only. We staked a position by the door, and as the train clunked away on the tracks and our coffee splashed along with every clunk, we peered out the window and took in life outside of Buenos Aires.
When we rolled into Tigre 45 minutes later, we stepped out into the sunshine and were greeted by vendors selling freshly baked empanadas in woven baskets. A few blocks later we found ourselves at the banks of the Rio de la Plata Tigre Delta surrounded by kiosks selling tickets to ferry rides in and around the delta. 15 pesos buys you an hour-long delta cruise, so we paid up and hopped on board.
The tour boat was pontoon-style, and it chugged slowly through the murky waters of the delta. Lofty trees weighed down with webs of what looked to be Spanish moss lined the banks, and little homes on stilts dotted both sides of the river. Native Tigreans sunbathed on their piers or sat outside eating parilla in a circle of plastic lawn chairs. Young Argentine men zipped by on jet skis, and middle-aged Argentine fathers sped by on speedboats, the arms wrapped protectively around their life-vest-clad children. Argentine flags, worn threadbare from years of being whipped in the wind, blew from poles attached to piers, some flags so old the blue and white stripes flew sans a smiling, centered sun. Boats filled with logs or palm trunks created wakes in front of us, and dogs barked from docks as we passed.
After the ferry ride, we walked around the town of Tigre, drooling as we passed street vendors selling strawberries dripping with chocolate (maybe that was just me...) and street carts offering spicy chorizo (okay, that was definitely both of us). We stopped at an outdoor cafe and split a litre of Quilmes and a plate of salted French fries. We walked on, mosying around the gigantic flea market that wraps around nearly the whole town. Vendors advertise home-made furniture, paintings, mate cups, leather ware, and other traditional Argentine goods, including choripan. Nick and I and the friends we were travelling with all bought one of the deliciously juicy sausages sandwhiched between two thick pieces of toasted bread, drenched them in spicy chimichurri sauce, and dug in. There is no ladylike way to eat a choripan, and the chimichurri sauce dripped down my wrist as I devoured my sandwhich, and I ordered a coke from the waitress before Nick had a chance to wipe the mustard smear from across my cheek. But it is too delicious to care.
An hour later, we made our way back to the train station for our veulta back to the Capital Federal. On our walk back, we passed a vendor selling spices from baskets and we spotted the unmistakeable golden dust of the curry powder for which we had searched Buenos Aires up and down to no avail. Two bags of curry powder later, and we were ready to call it a day. A week later, the curry is almost gone, but our taste-of-India apartment really feels like home now.