The town of Resistencia in Argentina was a nice treat after a long trip coming from Acunción, Paraguay. Located in the Chaco province, this city is known as “Ciudad de las Esculturas” (sculptures city). Founded in 1878, it is known since the 1960’s as open-air museum featuring more than 500 sculptures and murals around town. Moreover, since 1988, there are symposiums, in which artists from all over the world compete, after the competition their statues add to the rich diversity of culture – virtually at every street corner. The idea of this initiative was launched about 40 years ago by a local professor and theater activist, Aldo Boglietti, who had the idea to embellish the rapidly growing city with art works.
Somehow, Resistencia hit me immediately with such a comfort and feeling at home, that I couldn’t stop thinking about how it would be to live here 365 days per year. This actually never had happened to me before. Considering myself grown up enough, I do know that a town which looks like paradise during holidays, doesn’t necessarily have enough quality for everyday’s life. Since Resistencia is not a typical tourist spot, I felt much more inclined to think about living here. Yes, it is by far the nicest town I have seen in Argentina. People are wonderful and so nice. There is virtually nothing bad that I could possibly tell from here. And then, there was this Argentinean farmer, who would drive me around and show me the city. Just because he had time and because he was curious to speak with a foreigner. He helped me in finding a cheap, clean residencia, smack downtown Resistencia. Awesome.
Yes, again I complain about my Spanish skills. Because I feel guilty and my knowledge of the language is way too basic. Being around Ignacio, my gaucho host, I picked up a few more basic words during the few days I stayed. But then again, Francisco, another friendly Argentinean bloke whom I met back in Buenos Aires gave me also good Spanish tips. He was giggling, when I pronounced the “Avenida Lavalle” with a French intonation. He tought me the proper pronunciation for the double-L, which is “sh”. “Lavalle” therefore sounds very close to the French term “La vache“, by pronouncing an extra “e” at the end. If you don’t speak French: pronounce it as “lawashe“. That is actually easy to remember – thus being in the know, each time I see this street name, I do think of cows.
The fact, that I am still focusing on learning Russian while travelling through South America, doesn’t help me at all to improve my Spanish language skills. But that choice for the next language has been made a few months ago and I stick with that decision.
Finally, I got introduced by Ignacio to the whole variety of Argentine cuisine. Their version of the barbecue, called Asado, was the standard meal, we would eat at least once a day. Although I tasted the intestines (Chinchulines) and kidneys (Riñones), he quickly understood that I largely prefer the standard sausage and steak type of food. Eating with an Argentinean family was definitely a welcome change from the fast food I had enjoyed so far, which mainly consits of meat fillets with egg on bread (Milanesas) or pizzas.
As for breakfast, the croissants (Medialunas) and other pastry are simply called Facturas. It was only now, that I started to realize, that whenever I ordered coffee and “Dulces” (which I believed to be the Spanish term for pastry) – and the waiter would confirm my order with “Facturas?” – he would not actually want to bring me the bill. Since my usual mix-up with Italian would lead me to think of the term “factura” being just another term for the bill, I was confused why waiters were so eager to get the money at breakfast time. As you see, every now and then, I finally clean up my weird (bogus?) Spanish with the help of a local. But I wonder how on Earth I made it so far on this continent without properly speaking the local language.
Being in the enormous region of Gran Chaco, a region which contains the Chaco province, the nature and the views consist mostly of grassland and thorny forests. So there is not much variety, which certainly contributes to the fact that not many visitors are to be found in Resistencia. But then again, this town is a major cross road between Northwest and the Central / South of Argentina. Which makes it very accessible and a good stop over for a couple of nights and to break a long bus trip into shorter journeys.
Actually, here in Argentina and in Chile, I have seen the most comfortable buses for my entire life. Buses in Europe cannot compete with that standard and are nowhere near that exclusive comfort found here in the South of South America. Some of the coaches come with only three seats per row, looking suspiciously similar to business class seats on airplanes. Even if there are four seats, there is heaps of legroom and large leg-rests. Sometimes, meals are being served as well. And almost all of the buses show decent, recent movies. To my surprise, the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, shown on the bus from Asunción, was actually dubbed in Russian (!) with Spanish subtitles. Which worked out perfectly for me, since I knew about 30% of story from the plot, understood 50% of the Spanish subtitles and another 20% from the Russian dialogues. I definitely have to work harder on that Russian language.
But then again, I am seriously tempted to stop my journey and settle in Resistencia. Therefore, the unfolding blog story in my next posting will not really be much of a surprise to my keen readers.