9 de Julio

9 de Julio Travel Blog

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Salsa lesson
The grounds here at Carmelos de San Jose were hidden from me nearly everyday. I could only go in my little casita the plot of grass in front of it, the gathering room next door, and the pathway here. The women rarely leave the convent and only do so with special permission to visit family or attend appointments. Their work is to create ceramic images of biblical figures, which they spend about 3 hours a day doing. The schedule here is very strict, but fortunately my great aunt is on a sort of vacation due to a recent surgery and my visit so we got to spend a good amount of time together.

I never got to eat with everyone because the dinning room is in the forbidden area, so mostly I ate alone with my tia for every meal. After lunch there is an hour of recreation, the first one was “let’s interview Bridgit hour,” and yesterday was “Bridgit teaches the nuns salsa,” and they taught me folk dances.
Arg. Samba show
Of course not all of the nuns participated, but they sure enjoyed watching. And they made me sing all alone and even recorded it! Thank goodness they have not discovered YouTube and while I did help them with all sorts of computer programs (they are really jumping into sending PowerPoint presentations for the holidays) I refuse to show them how to use YouTube just in case.

After recreation is siesta, which is taken very seriously in the small cities and towns of the country. A practice that I love and will implement in the States when I am president. Siesta is followed by chill time and a little before 7pm is a psalm singing service. After this it is time to prepare dinner and after dinner we sleep. Well, they sleep and I write this. They awake at 5:30am have mass and start all over again.
train station
Saturday is cleaning day and Sunday is a free day, except for the masses.

On Saturday tia arranged for a friend of the convent to come pick me up and take me around the small city for a tour. The city is very typical with a center plaza which spreads out into the main commercial area, which expands into the residences, which soon becomes quintas, and then farms. Quintas are like villas, large plots of land with oversized homes, personal pools, a lot of grass and some other plants.

After the tour I met the daughter, Pilar, who is just lovely, and her friends. The girls were very nice and inclusive, enthusiastic with their questions about the boys in our country (if they cheat as much as they do here), what are those white sweet things the we put in the fire and then eat (…do you have it? It must of took me 5 minutes to figure it out what they were talking about, with some reference to Homer Simpson, I was thinking doughnuts.
city center
But no one mentioned the pink frosting so that wasn’t it…marshmallows!) and numerous other things. We drove in circles around the center, a very common practice referred to as vueltas, and did a little shopping for them. That night we were going to go to a boliche or dance club, but I did not make it unfortunately. We spent most of the time talking at a friend’s house, then we went to some unfinished, unofficially open, future building for a bar, and by the time Pilar wanted to do another vuelta is was 4 am and we still had not gone dancing. Since the next day was my last in 9 de Julio, I decided it was best to return and get some sleep.

9 de Julio also has a lovely park dedicated to Jose San Martin, who is the national war hero. And a few other parks here and there. There is also inadequate room in the school system for all of the children so parents wait in line for days to get their kids in.
roast pig dinner
Apparently, education was not a prerogative of the last presidential administration. I also learned the public university system, which nearly free like ours once was, went through a long period of disaster where professors were not paid and consequently suffered from low standards and poor education. Now, however, the system seems to be back on track, as the University of Buenos Aires is one of the best in Latin America.

Tomorrow I begin the next adventure of my trip. I leave bright and early to Buenos Aires, where I will eat lunch, a Freddo ice cream cone, get my bag and head to the main intercity/province transportation station called Retiro. From here I will take a bus with beds on an 18+ hours trip to Chilecito, where more family is waiting for me.
the nuns
I am very excited to arrive and see the friend I made there last year. Live the simple life, eat, go to the pool, kick it, siesta, eat, go out sleep and start all over. I will definitely need to find something to do with my time there.
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Salsa lesson
Salsa lesson
Arg. Samba show
Arg. Samba show
train station
train station
city center
city center
roast pig dinner
roast pig dinner
the nuns
the nuns
the chapel
the chapel
the chapel with daisies
the chapel with daisies
9 de Julio
photo by: bvanb