The sun shone, the blossom blossomed, and the hillsides were alive with newly hatched lambs as we stomped the paths with Joni bouncing along in his back-pack behind me. Each walk makes me greedy for the next, I can’t get enough of it. This is what I really miss about England. No, we don’t have the drama of the Andes, the Iguazu falls, the pampas, or the glaciers. English countryside isn’t show-offy, but that, ironically, is one of the reasons why I love her understated rolling green so much. And even more important, it’s only two minutes walk from my door. I think that’s the main reason why we don’t take enough time off in Argentina; we’ve never managed to figure out what one does for free time in a country where hardly anyone just goes for a walk, and in any case most places are too far away for anything other than a major expedition.
One of the things I was really looking forward to about England was a chocolate-fest, since Argentinean chocolate is officially nasty. But now I’m here and faced with groaning shop counters of everything I could possibly want in the confectionary department, I find I’m not as excited by the prospect as I thought I was. In fact I am surprised to discover that the one thing I really wanted but didn’t know it, is a good greasy English “All day breakfast”. I love English sausages, even though they actually are rubbish; the “meat” content is barely meat, and the other ingredients are barely food. Nevertheless, despite feeling my arteries harden with every grease laden serving, I am joyfully taking every occasion to plough through a good old fashioned fry-up. And in case you were wondering, I’m not even pregnant.
Still on the theme of food, we finally made it out for a curry the other evening. It was fantastic, needs to be repeated soon. The place was moderately busy for a weekday evening, so we were surprised by the amount of personal attention we were receiving from the waiters. Polite and friendly Bangladeshi guys, they all came to talk to us, even the ones who didn’t appear to have a reason to be at our table. And the questions they were asking seemed rather strange; the “where are you from and what brings you to these parts” variety of questions that we normally expect to answer five times a day in Argentina. Then we realised; everyone else was smartly dressed and neatly occupying their table in grown-up twos and fours, having left the kids at home with a baby-sitter. Cultural gaffe number one. As Martin observed, even after only a couple of years abroad we are already at the stage where we can only just about masquerade as English, and even then it doesn’t always work. For the record, our baby expresses a preference for popadoms and mango chutney.