Sunday, February 15, 2009
12 Hours in Gualeguaychu
We made it!! And after our experience in Gualeguaychu, I think the Argentine Carnaval can be summed up in one word: BUTTS. Yes, the curso, or the parade of floats symbolizing Carnaval, is colored by thousands of perfectly shaped buns, both male and female. The owners of these heavenly shaped orbs were bedecked in feathery headresses, boa-fied wings, glittery thongs (yes, male and female), and golden go-go boots. That's right, golden go-go boots. Imagine a parade with thousands of frankly, perfect asses, wiggling on top of strangely Asian-themed floats, the dancers raising their arms to a cheering crowd and shaking their booties with everything they've got. That is Carnaval.
And boy was it an experience!! Our bus took off from the terminal in Buenos Aires at 4 o'clock, and we arrived at the Gualeguyachu depot at 7 o'clock, only to find out that all the hostels, hotels, and campgrounds were booked to capacity. Oy vey, it looked like it would be a sleepless night! But no matter, we figured the curso lasted until the wee hours of the morning, and we could catch the first bus back to Buenos Aires as the sun rose (quite the adventure for us abuelos!!). So we set out--Nick, Leonor, Elsa, Fernanda, and myself, to the city centro to buy our Carnaval tickets and find some parilla for dinner. Both tasks were completed with little stress, and our parilla was delicious!! 20 pesos a person for heaps and heaps of amazing barbecue, french fries, salad, and ice-cold Quilmes. Unbeatable! After feasting, we were ready to hit the show. Off we went, down the streets of the normally sleepy Gualeguaychu city center, to the arena where the curso was about to begin its parade. However, before we entered those pre-Lent-party-it-out-of-your-system gates, we decided to join the fray and get our faces painted. A bejeweled woman was our chosen artist, and she painted all five of us in Carnaval style.
Now we looked like we fit in and it was time to enter the gates. That we did! But we didn't sit in our seats before first posing for some pictures with random Carnaval props, such as the French fry man:
Finally, we sat down and enjoyed the show. And you know what happenned there. :-) It was four hours of ostentatious, unbelievable, holy-cow-I-did-not-expect-this-from-a-Catholic-country scenery. Quite the memories!! What a strange and unforgettable time we had... After the curso was done and all the beautiful bodies had finished their march, the five of us doggedly trudged to the bus depot, where we had two and a half hours to wait for our bus. We ordered bad coffees in the station cafe and tried to keep each other awake through chatting. Finally, 6:30 rolled around, and it was time to hop on that bus. That we did, and our eyes closed within seconds of sitting down. Three hours and a much-needed nap later, we were back in Capital Federal, slightly enriched (scandalized?) by our 12 hours in Gualeguaychu.