Buenos Aires – On waking up I had that delightful leaden feel of having eaten my body weight in cholesterol. Noticing too that I have been adding a few centimeters to my center section, I decided it was time to get back to working out. So I wandered down the block to the gym that’s been awaiting me on the corner. Not overly dismayed by the whopping fee of $12 a month, I duly forked over my money and signed up. Now feeling a bit peckish, I decided that the exercise of walking to and signing my name at the gym was quite sufficient for the morning, and wandered on to the fish market.
The fishmonger had just laid out some freshly baked salmon and tuna empanadas, an unusual sight in Buenos Aires. The idea of fish in an empanada is considered just wrong, unless of course you’re on a diet. There are tuna empanadas to be found in supermarkets, generally picked up by the cottage cheese and peach-half crowd. But for me, on my exploration of this pastry wrapped treat, the thought of fresh salmon and tuna was too much to resist. I nabbed a couple and headed home.
A quick reheat and I cut them open, just to see the insides. Wonderfully aromatic steam did that whole steaming thing, so I picked them up and downed them quickly. Delicious! Not just the fresh fish, but a nice blend of herbs and spices made these some of the better empanadas I’ve had, albeit not locally traditional. (Chileans apparently are into fish empanadas, but that’s another whole kettle of something or other.)
I got back on the exercise track with a walk to visit some friends in the neighborhood of San Telmo, a solid hour and a quarter’s walk. I don’t know what it is, but I’m apparently one of those people of whom directions are to be asked. I’ve visited roughly a dozen countries, and in each and every one, at least once, someone has stopped me and asked for directions. Usually in a language that I don’t understand, and invariably in a language that isn’t spoken in that country. I must exude some sort of directional confidence and have the look of someone from a remarkable range of homelands. It’s happened to me half a dozen times already here, including this afternoon – for a change, today, in Spanish, and I’ve learned enough to understand the question and give them an answer! I was quite pleased with myself. It was a far better encounter than last week when some young American tourists asked me in halting Spanish for directions. Taking pity on them, I decided not to try to respond in nearly as bad vernacular and gave them directions in English. They thanked me and told me that I could probably be fluent and have a decent accent if I worked hard at it. I should have given them directions in Esperanto.
Coffee and then the subway back (one walk is quite sufficient thank you); a light dinner of salad and chicken (the local butcher is now calling out to me as I pass by, greeting and offering specials). By morning I should be ready to get back in the saddle. Speaking of which, after class, I’m off to the city of La Plata on Tuesday afternoon for a tour and an evening of Peruvian Independence Day festivities. Apparently pretty much the biggest such celebration outside of Peru, it sounded like too much fun to pass up. News when I return on Wednesday…