I struck it doubly lucky in Rosario. Andres, a CouchSurfer, offered me a room for my entire time here. I spent the first few nights in a hostel, Art Rosario, and then moseyed on over to Andres’ place which was not only superbly located and snazzy but which was complemented by the most generous host you could wish for. A systems programmer, Andres and I have loads in common and it was such a pleasure to make a temporary home in his. Still not sure how to say thank you …
Of the many things Andres treated me to, the weekend trips out of town to swimming pools and barbeques with friends are highlights. This is an institution in Rosario. Without fail, just a few kilometres out of the city, someone or someone’s parents or someone’s friends’ parents has a weekend house with a swimming pool. This, mis amigos, is known as the asado.
It’s a braai, guys. It feels like home. It involves fernet (sweet, bitter fernet) and Coca-Cola, swimming, tanning, talking and laughing. “Eat, drink and talk politics”- those are the only rules. I met the most excellent people and had the most excellent time, even though most of the time I understood
very little nothing.
The Rosarinos were quick to compliment my broken Spanish and even quicker to help out with a word here and there and everywhere. And one’s consumption of fernet is directly proportionate to one’s ability to speak Spanish. Top tip!
I reaaally love fernet. Argentinians are surprised when I tell them this. Like, really really love it. It’s bitter and tangy, and unfortunately they drink it with coke (Coke Zero tastes fine, though) so it’s not exactly healthy. But damn, it is good. It makes this foamy layer at the top of the glass. It requires a lot of ice. And at asados it’s passed around in a big mug in a ritual reminiscent of mate.
Everything you’ve heard about Argentinian hospitality and social spirit is true. These were some wonderful days in the sun (I am impossibly brown).