Cordoba Crazy

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I arrived early in the morning (before sunrise) in Cordoba and took a taxi to the Tango hostel nearby. I had no plans but it sounded pretty good from what I read in the Lonely Planet so I just headed straight there. I have to admit, I give that book a lot of grief but whoever recommended this hostel really got it right: staying at Tango was one of the best decisions I've made in Argentina. It's owned by a Colombian family that, like most Colombians, instantly make you feel welcome and at home. I planned to get a bit more sleep as it had been a short nap on the bus at best but that never really happened. I settled in, got a few things done, and met up with some of the fellow hostellers. The big plan for the morning - that is after I helped the owners set up their new internet/wifi modem - was Argentina playing their first game against Nigeria in the world cup at 11:30. After getting a cup of Lulo (!!!) for my efforts, I went with an English guy named Rob and an American girl named Lauren and we found a good outdoor lounge which, as it turns out, was the perfect place to watch. The sidewalk was full of fans, the beer was good, and the game was great. When the goal was scored you could hear car horns all the way to Buenos Aires. When they won the game, the city went nuts as though they had just been declared champions of the World Cup. Confetti in the skies, flags waving in the streets, clapping, banging, marching to the plaza with horns and songs, and bleached white toilet paper raining down against the blue sky in a proud display of Argentina's colours. They sure do love their soccer here, and it's hard not to get caught up in it.

Cordoba is mostly a university town with a huge student population which makes it a lively stopover at the best of times. My plan was to spend a night going out and the next day exploring before catching another night bus to Mendoza and then Chile to make up for a bit of lost time. After the game, the three of us walked towards the centre to witness some of the craziness and then grabbed some choripan (sausage sandwich) before splitting up. England and the US had a match that afternoon and they wanted to watch but with my limited time I wanted to explore the city some more. It is an incredible network of pedestrian streets and plazas, but it was siesta time and everything felt empty. I imagine a later time would be quite incredible to walk around but I went to visit a church which was nice on the outside and stunning on the inside and went back to the hostel to relax a bit and have a siesta of my own. Then it was dinner time (aka 10 PM). Our Colombian hosts had decided it was a Colombian food night and we were treated to Mora, Lula, and other juices, arepas con queso (better than I ever had in Colombia), meats, olives, cheeses, and of course Empanadas (Cali Style!). We all ate together and I got to meet a couple nice French girls and a Swiss guy not to mention several other great people staying at the hostel. Oh! And my first traveller from Luxembourg. That's when they kicked in the music and started dancing lessons. I tried a bit of salsa, merengue, and (I think) cumbia and we had a lot of fun before playing waterfall and then heading out to the club. The club wasn't where I would've chosen to go on a victory Saturday night - it was full and small and pretty ordinary all said, but there was no cover and we went with a good group and so had fun anyway. A really nice guy from Ireland and I weren't ready to call it a night when we dispersed so we went in search of another club and instead wound up chatting with a couple Argentine girls in front of their house until 7 AM or so.

The next morning was a slow start all said; I didn't roll out of bed until around 11 and we didn't get out of the hostel until 1:00. We went, with our Dutch guide (he's been in Cordoba for a month) to the nearby park and museum which was a lot of fun, surprisingly. They had some great and some terrible exhibits but we tried our own hand at modern art with our cameras and then went for a walk in the park afterwards. From there, Rob and I bought our tickets to Mendoza and came back to hang out at the hostel until it was time to go. It is amazing that after having known these people for 30-some hours I really didn't want to leave; this was complicated by a really awesome clerk at the ice cream shop that I developed an instant affection for. She was pretty, friendly, and had a good sense of humour. If Phil were here he'd say I'd fallen in love, as he often proclaimed while traveling this part of the world. But what kind of a travel blog would this be if I let such things stand in the way of new adventures? Probably more interesting, you're right, but it so happens that Cordoba is 'sort of' on the way back to Buenos Aires so there are plenty of excuses for a stopover awaiting me. As it was, I caught the overnight bus and took off for the Chilean border for a quick detour out of Argentina to visit Valparaiso and of course, Santiago. Or at least, that was the plan...

Cordoba Photos

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