Imagine a grill, a giant grill, equipped with its own chimney and resting atop un monton de carbon--a mountain of coal. Imagine a patio dimly lit, a plastic table holding soda, wine, bread and cheese. The smells of choripan and proveleta--grilled provolone cheese--are wafting to the table, making everyone's mouth water. Imagine the sound of an acoustic guitar finger-picked in a snapping rhythm, and the sound of clapping in accompaniment.
It is a calm night in Ciudadela, a town in the province of Buenos Aires. Here we sit on Eduardo and Paula's patio, our magical intercambio pals. We have played Scrabble--once in English and once in Spanish-- and 20 Questions, munched our way through Pringles and peanuts, and now we wait for the good stuff--the asado.
While we wait, Eduardo plays chacarera songs on his guitar. Tango is the music of the Capital and chacarera is the music of la provincia. It is the first time we have heard Chacarera--it sounds rustic and flavorful. Eduardo hands out lyrics he printed out for us, and this is how they read:
Anda con la cola al viento
Corre para todos lados
Le hablo mi perro hambriente
Que me tiene preocupado...
He goes with his tail to the wind
He runs to all sides
I speak of my hungry dog
That has me worried...
Such a simple story, with such a crisp beat. The music breaks up the stillness of the night and we all sing along.
We didn't get home that night til after four in the morning. We laugh about how a night in Ciudadela is our big night out--and really it is. But we are so happy with that. Sometimes we can not believe how open and warm people have been to us here. There we were on Saturday with people who were strangers a mere month ago. And now they have opened up their home to us, shared an asado with us, and taught us the songs of the province. These are memories to be collected.