Since Christmas doesn’t start in October here, our first event was last Monday, when we celebrated with the guys in the prison. I realised how famous Martin has become in the prison, when I was walking through the corridor with Joni, watching the guards pointing him out to each other as “son of Frost”. We had a service, with some speeches given by sundry invitees, followed by sharing a large cake. It was a good atmosphere, and Joni was in his element being passed around between the infamous of Cordoba.
The same evening found us on a bus to San Marcos where we spent a few days sharing a cabaña with the family of our friend and team-leader, Priscilla, affectionately known as La Jefa (the Boss). We had some good working/not-working time; went to the childrens’ home a couple of times, and bounced a few ideas around. Joni had his first dip, which he responded well to, after the original surprise; he’s used to a slightly different bath-time routine….
Christmas happens on the 24th here, which we spent with our friends Ana and Oscar, sharing food and fellowship before heading outside to watch the fireworks at midnight. I really like the uncomplicated nature of Christmas in Argentina, although as an English person I also feel cheated that nothing happens on the 25th; it’s just another bank holiday like any other.
This year the 25th began even less auspiciously than usual, with the discovery that we had a burst pipe leaking water down the kitchen wall. The small consolation was that clambering onto the roof to locate the stop-cock was probably slightly more interesting than watching the East-Enders special which is apparently what half of the UK population were actually doing. Our second discovery was that there was no food in the house because we’d taken it all to Ana and Oscar’s the day before. Luckily, eating chocolate for breakfast on Christmas morning is an age old family tradition. Deciding that the day needed some improvement, we took the car out for a random drive into the back of beyond, and came across this rather cool range of mountains. Ambitiously named Los Gigantes, (The Giants), they aren’t exactly Everest or even Aconcagua, but at 2,300 metres, to us Europeans they are a very respectable height.
Unlike most mountains in Europe, we were the only people there. And just a couple of kilometres away we found a little outpost selling the scrumiest empanadas (think Cornish pasty). Now I’m coveting a serious baby-carrier rucksack so we can go for a proper walk another time.