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Our Introduction to Polo – Argentina vs. England

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Polo Books

The British influence in Buenos Aires is apparent in a lot of ways, from the English architecture of picturesque neighborhoods like Belgrano “R”, to the still-festering political resentment over the Falkands, and in the world of sports. The Brits are the reason that some soccer teams in Buenos Aires have names like “River Plate”, “All Boys” and “Newell’s”, and they’re also to thank for another staple of the Argentine sporting scene: polo.

British Day

We picked up tickets for the Easter weekend Copa de Naciones match at the Palermo Polo Grounds: Argentina vs. England. Putting on our smashing-best clothes (jeans mostly without holes and t-shirts only slightly wrinkled), we went out to hob-nob with the jet-set. Or at least, sit down with a beer and leer silently at the beautiful people.

I had never seen polo before, and was skeptical of its entertainment factor. In my mind, it would be respectable gentlemen wearing top hats and monocles, lightly tapping balls from atop their horses, and saying “Jolly Good” a lot. But it turned out to be a fast-paced and exciting sport. It’s played four-a-side, and the skill of these guys, maneuvering their horses and whacking a little ball backwards while galloping at full speed is nothing short of impressive. There was also a good amount of body-checking, which is even cooler when you consider that they’re horse bodies.

The crowd wasn’t as huge as I expected for a grand-sounding event like the “Cup of Nations”, but still enthusiastic. It helped that Argentina whupped the English, 13-8. Overall, we had a great time, and recommend that you take advantage should you have the chance to check out a match.

Argentine Polo Association
Location of the Polo Field

Polo Horses
Gaucho
Chandon Travel Blog
Rolex Traqvel Blog
Marching for England
Polo Bets
Polo Player
Me and My Jumpy
Crazy Horses
Fast Horse
Polo Sticks

Hotels Buenos Aires

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May 3, 2011 at 7:58 pm Comments (0)

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
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April 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm Comments (3)
Our Introduction to Polo - Argentina vs. England
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