"Before you can search for truth, you must be interested in finding it." -Miroslav Volf

Monday, July 14, 2008

Argentina: Buenos Aires & Rio Cuarto

Just wrapped up my time in Argentina last night. Eight wonderful days...four in Buenos Aires, four in Rio Cuarto...two very different experiences.

I'll let the pictures guide the story...
This picture provides a good example of the city, with a mix of modern and more historical architecture. Buenos Aires is a fascinating city--huge, diverse, chaotic, beautiful. Very fast-paced, a variety of quaint neighborhoods to visit and unending skyscrapers.


Not necessarily a great picture, but captures an interesting event. While in my hotel, I heard gunshots and people yelling...I walked out to my balcony (maybe I should have hid) to find hoards of people on the street below, running by, causing destruction as they went. Argentina is in a bit of a political crisis right now, with many furious with the government for a variety of economic-related reasons, which I can elaborate on later (it's actually fairly righteous anger considering the circumstances...though I don't quite agree with the violent reactions). But such riots are common, I guess. Anyway, a police barricade chased these people out of the main streets. But seriously...chaos...these protestors had everything from slingshots to nunchucks to molotov cocktails to sticks being used as swords (thought of you, Ian). Fascinating to watch.

This is Dr. Pablo Deiros, a seminary professor I met with. Seems to be very connected to what is going on here and in the Church...also seems to be a very "important" man, if I can use that description. I'm talking, like, Paris Hilton or Jose Canseco or Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen important. Okay, those probably aren't great examples of legitimately important people. But...he's important.

Wonderful interview, maybe one of the most important of my trip. Our time sort of felt like a climax or summary or maybe confirmation of all I'd been seeing and learning these past weeks. And Pablo is filled with such warmth and wisdom and understanding...the kind of man I'd want to follow around and say "teach me, form me." Hopefully this is a relationship that will continue, as both of us seem willing to stay in touch.


Anybody recognize these ladies? This is Valerie and Natalia. No, I didn't PAY them to hang out with me. Sheesh...give me some credit! It's a small world...for those who saw my pictures from my Europe trip last year, these are the two Argentinians with whom I shared a tiny hostel room in Prague. We had exchanged contact info last summer, so we were able to coordinate some time to hang out a bit, and Natalia (right) was helpful in getting me acquainted with the city.


The "La Boca" neighborhood...beautiful, artsy, quirky, historically radical neighborhood...also the origin of Argentinian tango, I believe.

This is a group of twenty-something Christians (several more not in the picture) with whom I spent one afternoon. We are making ravioli here. This was a great experience of Christian community...in ways, this is a perfect example of the kind of young Christian groups I was hoping to discover in Latin America...a very warm, welcoming, kind, joyful, intimate group, in which all seem connected and participating and contributing, all very much valued by one another. Very special time with these people.

I'll stop there for Buenos Aires, and just offer a couple pictures from Rio Cuarto. I spent several days on a farm, mostly relaxing and reflecting. An older couple, Humberto and Graciela, friends of a friend from Woodland, hosted me, and spoiled me with their hospitality. I spent my time reading and writing, eating a lot, hiking in some beautiful country, learning a bit more about the political situation of the country from Graciela (very politically active woman) and taking on a sort of unoffical mentor-relationship with her teenage grandson Juan for a couple days.

Here are a couple pics...one of me, um, parting the waters I guess...and one of me with Graciela, my host.


Great time in Argentina, though brief. I just arrived today (Monday) in Santiago, Chile, my last stop on this journey before heading back to Lima and flying home (in 11 days). I'm staying with the family of Ornella, an exchange student with whom I went to high school (though she's in England). Continuing to have a wonderful time, though all the friends and family I miss have made me about ready to come home.

3 comments:

joann renee said...

I am deeply hoping that you sang "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" or at least some other not as well known Evita song from the balcony of your hotel room in Buenos Aires. I shall be highly disappointed in you if you didn't.

However, I would forgive you if you sing (or at least hum, sheesh) it while flying back over South America on your way home.

Dan said...

matty - thanks for the email...great to get some correspondence from south of all the borders...can't wait to chat when you're back my friend.

dan

MELISSA said...

HELLO MY COUSIN !!! WHAT IN THE WORLD ?!? MY GOODNESS YOU ARE SO FAR AWAY !! I HOPE YOU ARE SAFE & HAVING FUN !! I GOT SOME OF THE COOLEST STUFF FOR YOU TO CHECK OUT & I NEED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PLEASE !!! BEAUTIFUL PICTURES !! MAYBE YOU WILL TAKE ME NEXT TIME !!

BTW WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO VISIT ME ?!? IM SURE YOU HEARD I MOVED ?!? CANT WAIT TO HEAR FROM YOU !!


LOVE YA , MELISSA