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The Feria de Mataderos

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Gaucho Stories

The barrio of Mataderos, former home to Buenos Aires’ slaughterhouses, has always been tightly linked to gaucho culture and the meat industry. In fact, the neighborhood is also known as “Nueva Chicago”: a nickname the local football team still plays under.

Not Fake

Though the days of gauchos leading herds of cows into Mataderos for the slaughter have long passed, the neighborhood still strongly identifies itself with gaucho culture. The connection is never more evident than on Sunday, during the Feria de Mataderos, a wonderful celebration complete with music, food, trick riding and stands selling everything that can possibly be made from a cow.

The barrio is far outside the normal tourist haunts of Buenos Aires, but if you have a free Sunday, it’s absolutely worth the effort. In fact, it’s one of the best things we did during our months here. Stepping off the 126 bus, shopping was our first order of business. There was so much to browse through, from knives and matecitos to leather vests and wine flasks made of cow hooves. With friendly vendors and incredible prices, it was a blast to browse around; I bought a leather belt with “Argentina” stitched into the loop for $40 (US$10).

Our shopping was interrupted by the beginning of a dance concert. A group of young gauchos and chinas got onto the stage and proceeded to tear the place up. They were from a nearby town, and in a very flamboyant performance, demonstrated that gaucho culture isn’t all machismo and mate. I never thought I’d find myself enthusiastically clapping for a group of dancing cowboys, but there you are.

The food was great, too, though getting any required herculean patience. While Jürgen hunted for a place to sit, I waited in line for nearly an hour, to order empanadas, tamales and sweet red wine. Arms precariously full of food, I stepped through the crowd searching for Jürgen, finding him at a table with an Argentine family, with his mouth full. They were forcing him to try their locro, a corn-based stew, and regaling him with stories of the different Argentine cities he simply had to visit. I joined in the conversation, and we enjoyed one of the most entertaining meals we’ve had in Buenos Aires.

After eating, we said adiós to our new friends and went to watch the horse riding competition. Gauchos propelled their horses at breakneck speed down the street and attempted to spear a ring with a stick. I mean, a regular ring meant for a finger. A nearly impossible task, and the few competitors who succeeded happily soaked up the crowd’s appreciation.

Overall, the Feria de Mataderos met our expectations, and then some. Check out the video and pictures, and if you have the opportunity, don’t skip out on this fair. Tons of fun.

Feria de Mataderos
Location of the Fair on our Buenos Aires Map

Proud Gaucho
Tiny Gaucho
Gaucha
Gaucho Belt
Crafts Belts
Horn
Silver Horse
Wild Gaucho
Sweet Lady
Mean Gaucho
Gaucho Culture
Gaucho Dance
Spectacle
BBQ Heaven
Asado
Gaucho Sausage
Smoked Meat
Booty Knife
City Gauchos
For Sale
Gaucho Price
Corked
Hoof Work
Gaucho Kids
Gaucho Gear
Gaucho Fest
Super Gaucho
Lama Drama
Gaucho
Bar Oviedo
Cool Dude
Caja
Cool Gang
Eistruhe

-Savannah Travel Blog

Yerba Mate Online
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April 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm Comments (3)

Tango, Desaparecidos, Maradona

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“What do you know about Buenos Aires?” That’s the question posed to Barcelonan detective Pepe Carvalho at the beginning of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s excellent crime novel Quinteto de Buenos Aires. Carvahlo’s response mirrors what mine would have been: “Tango, desaparecidos, Maradona”. I suppose I might have added Evita. Not much else.

Buenos Aires Tango

Neither Jürgen nor I had ever been to Argentina before. Or South America, for that matter. I can’t say exactly why we chose Buenos Aires for our next three month stay; for some indefinable reason, the city has always tempted us. The words “Buenos Aires” conjure images of smoky tango clubs, chaotic street life, and beautiful, rotting decadence. The very idea of the city is alluring. Maybe it was the promise of steaks and pizza, or the reputation which Argentines enjoy of physical beauty. Whatever the reason, we arrived in February of 2011 to find a huge metropolis teeming with culture and history laid out before us, just waiting to be explored.

It’s a bit daunting: our last two stays were in the smaller cities of Oviedo, Spain and Savannah, Georgia. Our experience in Buenos Aires would be massively different. There was no chance we’d ever get to know this megalopolis as intimately as we did Savannah, or as thoroughly as Oviedo. The idea of comprehensively experiencing Buenos Aires in three months is ridiculous. Instead of our normal maturation from “bewildered newcomers” to “almost locals”, we’d never progress further than “slightly less bewildered newcomers”.

But our education began quickly. Within our first couple days in Buenos Aires, I became addicted to both mate and Carlos Gardel. By the end of the first week, I was using the word “Che” with the newspaper vendor, pronouncing my “ll”s like “zsa” and comfortable with the various cuts of beef at the parrilla down the street. Basically a local already.

Whether you’ve lived here for years or never been, we hope you enjoy our pictures and the accounts of our experiences in Buenos Aires. As already mentioned, we don’t yet know much about the city, so if you have any great recommendations, we’d love to hear them… shoot us an email, or contact us via Facebook or Twitter. Our 91 days in Buenos Aires is underway!


The Buenos Aires Quintet (Five Star Fiction S.)

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February 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm Comments (9)