Never knowing when to say when, ten months and a decade of days in have left us on our asses. Full of wonder, buena onda (good vibes), and good beer. Content as ever, as the colors of autumn nudge us into a peaceful bliss, and rock us even further into wanderlusting. Where shall we go next? Our eyes have glazed over and a silly smirk has been painted on our ugly mugs. Mayness and Junetime creep in and throw off our senses. E.E. Cummings’s lonely leaf crashes head first into a bed of recycled bottle tops and ink stained paper, waking us up a little from our beastly slumber. We find ourselves waiting on the next nudge to make a move and leave our mark. As the tale goes, someone, somehow, somewhere lurking behind the door’s shadow, double-dog-dared us into throwing a dart at the Malbec blood red stained map on the wall, and commit to it. Just as our luck would have it, the damn thing landed in the middle of Argentina. Right on Córdoba; so we packed the essentials – a 21st century camera, a handmade wooden pipe gifted to us by a nice young man in Junín de los Andes, and an ice-cold book for the road – and headed inland. We journeyed there by car, arriving 12 hours later with a burning desire to knock a few colds ones back, get rid of the sting, take a siesta, and play that on repeat.
Córdoba, province of Buenos Aires and the perfect place to turn women into women and men into men, or so they say. Located at the very center of the country and weighing in at a stout 63,831 square miles, yet and still a light swig of Angostura Bitters compared to that of Texas´ double whiskey pour with a fattened up cut of ice 268,581; yet and still offering the same amount, and possibly a half ton more, of magic. It was an excursion which would prove to be worthwhile. A quick trip to the much talked about heart of Argentina, a strategic venture to conquer ourselves – and subsequently those who recklessly lie in the way. To find our passions, our flaws, or to liberate a dream deferred, and pull the fire alarm such that the quenching might begin.
The views were full of sophisticated mountains, hearty lagoons and snake shaped routes. It hosted a fiery sun which trailed our descent into a closeted part of town. Clusters of little cottages and beer huts gathered round in song, eagerly waiting for our arrival. Good thing because exploring a fertile land like this one left a curious thirst in the belly of ours mouths, and so somewhere along the infamous 100 Curvas (100 curves) through the mountains, down into the valleys, over the clear blue bodies of water, and ‘round the river bend, a beer stop was a toll worth paying.
Never mind us losing our way around curve number 32. We arrived after the 100th curve, and came upon a misplaced village called Villa General Belgrano to pay the tariff. An appropriate charge at that, since it’s this very village that hosts Argentina`s annual beer festival – Oktoberfest. Wait a moment, Oktoberfest in Argentina? Picture it…through one eye you’ve got the mechanically rich cut-and-dry stick-to-itiveness from Munich and through the other, the beautiful terror of time not existing in South America, both making Oktoberfest in Córdoba a real treat. At least that’s what they say, for we half-wittedly ventured there in May. Fortunately? Or a failed shot in the dark? Never the matter, the closer we got to this quaint little village, the more some of the most potent fragrances of barley, wheat, and liquor-kissed souls came flushing out of the mountain tops. Good thing we yet have a few months to train hard and strong for the festival in October.
For the intellectually thirsty, Oktoberfest in Córdoba is regarded as the third-most important Oktoberfest site after Munich and Blumenau in Brazil. Founded in 1930 something, two German settlers marked their territory, either with an inconspicuous zip of the fly to break the seal, or by force. We won’t look into the details of the thing. What we know now, is that thanks to these two German chaps, the middle of Argentina hosts a land with luscious rivers full of libations, mountains with creamy head covered tops, and plunging caves that have the unspeakable waiting for good company in exchange for a piece of good dignity. In fact, settlers from Switzerland, Italy and Austria also settled here later on due to the Alpine quality of the land and blah, blah, blah. But let’s be honest, they wanted to find a place in the middle of what they thought was nowhere, surrounded by beautiful peaks and milk and honey lowlands to keep us outsiders out, and to brew their delicious varieties all the live long day.
Well, they have been found out! 100 times over! We have come to sip on, to be reminded of, and to forget all that daunts us. All that raises our spirits and crushes them with one breath. Imagine being in a land that looked like Switzerland on the outside, houses and decor, pieces of that culture scattered about… but had the spice and punch of Argentina. The experience was sort of like being in WIlly Wonka’s factory, expect the chocolate was hidden in their tap`s – stouts, porters and the like. We came to offer our help as the Oompa Loompas did, dressed up as fancy Texans far from home, stammering about with our eyes wide closed, and our skin a greenish purplish hue.
We’d gone to exploit and replenish the hidden treasures held within the lands of this gem of a village in Córdoba.
We’d arrived in the form of Wonk’s highly qualified, rigorously trained, foreign looking peoples offering our ever flourishing tongue to taste the ever pouring taps.
And we left completely satiated.
And now for a poem about Córdoba and a young horse, by Federico García Lorca.
Song of the Horseman
Away and alone
Pitchblack pony, risen moon.
A sack of olives at my saddle.
Though I know the roads I travel
I shall never get to Córdoba.
Through the meadow, through the wind,
Pitchblack pony, crimson moon.
I am in the sights of Doom
That watches from the towers of Córdoba.
Oh the road lies long before me!
Oh for my courageous pony!
Oh for Doom out waiting for me
Long before I get to Córdoba.
Away and alone
Canción del Jinete
Lejana y sola.
Jaca negra, luna grande,
y aceitunas en mi alforja.
Aunque sepa los caminos
yo nunca llegaré a Córdoba.
Por el llano, por el viento,
jaca negra, luna roja.
La muerte me está mirando
desde las torres de Córdoba.
¡Ay qué camino tan largo!
¡Ay mi jaca valerosa!
¡Ay, que la muerte me espera,
antes de llegar a Córdoba.
Lejana y sola.