Argentine Hand Gestures: World Cup Edition

With the World Cup in full swing, not only are there plenty of chances to watch some heart-stopping soccer, but opportunities also exist to pick up on some bits of Argentine culture. During Argentina's World Cup match against Greece on Tuesday, I learned a new Argentine hand gesture. With the game tied 0-0, the camera cut to Diego Maradona, the head coach of Argentina's national team, right after Greece's goalkeeper managed a fortuitous save. Diego knitted his brow and flashed the gesture you see below.

¡Qué ojete! by Guido Indij [used with photographer's permission]¡Qué ojete/culo/orto! – What luck!
[Form the letter "L" with both hands, with your index fingers pointing down at an angle in front of the body.]

Here's a photo of Maradona making this gesture during Argentina's recent match against South Korea, although his hands are partially out of view.

Everyone knows that Lady Luck can be a fickle mistress. In the context of sports, you can use this hand gesture and accompanying phrase (¡Qué ojete! or ¡Qué culo!) to express that a team or player got lucky or that an opponent's success was undeserved.

Here are some additional examples of these words being used in a sporting context, which I found on an Argentine soccer forum:

"¡Qué ojete tuvo el arquero!"
"Man, the keeper got lucky!"

"Boca ganó el partido porque tuvo un culo impresionante."
"Boca (only) won the game because they lucked out big time."

"…ganaron con ese gol de orto"
"…they won on a lucky goal…"

¡Ojo!: The words "ojete," "culo" and "orto" outside of this context are considered quite vulgar, and they all carry the meaning of "ass" or "asshole." User discretion is advised!

Do you know of any other gestures or phrases specific to Argentine sports?

[Photo credit: Image courtesy of Guido Indij/Gestiarium]

Read More......

Losing a Friend

After having parted with the vast majority of my material possessions and leaving behind most everyone that was dear to me back in the United States, I felt immensely comforted by the fact that a couple of old friends could join me here in my new home.

And so, in October 2008, I brought my two cats, Cocoa and Ziggy, with me on the long voyage from the U.S. to Argentina. Cocoa took to his new surroundings almost immediately, and he quickly gained admirers here in Argentina.

The Groomers by katiealley on Flickr[Daniel's cousins Candela and Josefina brushing Cocoa]

He adapted to the local customs with ease. In fact, he started drinking mate even before I did.

Cocoa - Un Gato Bien Argentino by katiealley on Flickr

Though always an indoor cat when he lived in the U.S., Cocoa longed for a taste of freedom and the great outdoors. I finally relented to the pressure of Daniel's family, who insisted that I should let him go outside, despite my fears.

Behind Bars by katiealley on Flickr

His knowledge of the outside world remained limited to the patio and garden, but he loved it just the same. Cocoa spent many an afternoon soaking up the sunshine on the lawn or keeping cool and undercover beneath the planta de la moneda, where he observed our comings and goings with great interest.

An incredibly sweet and easygoing cat, Cocoa's most endearing trait was, without a doubt, his gentle and loving disposition. He adored the attention and company of his humans, and I rarely worked, relaxed, or sat down to a meal alone. His constant companionship and rumbling purr worked wonders on homesickness, the blahs and the blues – better than any other medicine I could imagine.

Lap Cat by katiealley on Flickr

There was something about Cocoa that felt extremely human; I swear that when I gazed into those large blue eyes, there was a soul in there that peered back at me.

May that soul now be at peace.

Read More......

Bariloche: Lago Moreno, Bosque de Arrayanes and Isla Victoria

On our second full day in Bariloche, we awoke to sunshine and cottony clouds, a stark contrast to the start of the previous day. After a light breakfast consisting of a pot of Cabrales coffee and a few pastries, we walked about ten minutes down the road from our cabin to Lago Moreno.

On the Shore of Lago Moreno Oeste by katiealley on Flickr [Overlooking the west branch of the lake]

Lago Moreno Oeste by katiealley on Flickr [The pristine waters of Lago Moreno]

The expansive Lago Moreno is split into an east and a west branch with a small bridge [photo] spanning the shallow waters at the dividing point. A number of homes dot the lakeshore, and I must admit that it wasn't difficult to imagine myself living in one of them, spending all of my days enjoying the majestic views of the lakes and the Andes.

Teros at Lago Moreno, Bariloche, Argentina by katiealley on Flickr [Teros (Southern lapwings) wading in the east branch]

Deep in Thought by katiealley on Flickr [Marianna contemplating life, the universe and everything]

For the afternoon, we had scheduled an excursion to Bosque de Arrayanes and Isla Victoria. We returned to Puerto Pañuelo, near the Hotel Llao Llao and Capilla San Eduardo, to board the historic Modesta Victoria for our first excursion on Lago Nahuel Huapi.

Modesta Victoria by katiealley on Flickr [The Modesta Victoria at Puerto Pañuelo]

After cruising along for about an hour, we arrived at our first stop. The Bosque de Arrayanes manages to maintain an air of serenity despite the hundreds of visitors it receives daily. Although arrayán trees, a species of myrtle, exist in other locations, this forest on the tip of the Quetrihué Peninsula is believed to be the only place in the world where you can find such a large concentration of these trees in one spot.

The arrayán trees' dappled, cinnamon-colored bark feels surprisingly cool to the touch, and their tiny leaves are only visible if you crane your neck to view the treetops. Their twisted trunks have a sculptural quality about them, with gnarled branches that seemed to reach out to us as we wandered past on the boardwalk path that winds through the forest.

Path Through Bosque de Arrayanes II by katiealley on Flickr

Los Arrayanes by katiealley on Flickr

Path Through Bosque de Arrayanes by katiealley on Flickr

The allure of travel lies in making connections to undiscovered places, to unfamiliar cultures, and most of all, to new friends. One of the most humorous and enjoyable moments of our entire trip came when we struck up a conversation with a group traveling together from the province of Córdoba. The cordobeses were a hoot! They were bowled over when they found out that Vince loves to drink mate, and they immediately proffered their mate to him in friendship. Vince was slightly hesitant at first, but with a bit of coaxing, he was soon sharing mate [photo] with our newfound amigos.

¡Fernet con Pepsi con los cordobeses! by katiealley on Flickr [Vince sampling his first Fernet con Pepsi with our friends from Córdoba]

Next, they asked Vince if he'd ever sampled Fernet, a spirit that is popular throughout Argentina but even more so in Córdoba. As soon as they discovered that Vince was a Fernet virgin, Fede (sitting to Vince's left in the photo) headed to the bar on board the ship to order up a Fernet with Coke. Returning with drink in hand, Fede declared this drink to be an inferior version since it was made with Pepsi, but it would do under the circumstances. Vince took a swig and gave the beverage a thumbs up. I also took a sip, as I had somehow managed to go all this time without ever trying Fernet, but I was less enthusiastic about the herbal-tasting concoction. After a brief time chatting, laughing and merrymaking with this bunch, we felt like we'd known them our whole lives, and we now have a standing invitation to visit Córdoba at any time.

The minutes flew past as we made conversation with the cordobeses, and we soon docked at Puerto Anchorena on Isla Victoria, the largest island within Lago Nahuel Huapi. When given the option, we decided to head to Playa del Toro – a quiet, pebble-strewn beach – on our own instead of going along with the hordes on the guided tour through the heart of the forest. Strolling along the path skirting the lake, we took in views of Lago Nahuel Huapi, the late afternoon sun glistening off its deep blue waters.

Late Afternoon on Isla Victoria by katiealley on Flickr Poised for Action by katiealley on Flickr[Chief shutterbug and shutterbug-in-training at Playa del Toro]

Estimated to be some 700 years old, Tehuelche cave paintings [photos] are also visible near Playa del Toro. The simple figures painted on these rocky walls demonstrate the close relationship that existed in the past between the daily life of the indigenous people, the environment and the sacred world.

We'd just finished checking out the cave paintings and were about to return to the port when we spotted an alien spacecraft!

Aliens Invade Bariloche by katiealley on Flickr[Citizens of Bariloche, we come in peace.]

Ok, so it's not really a flying saucer. It's actually a lenticular cloud, a type of cloud that forms at high altitudes when moisture-laden air travels over a mountain. A few minutes later a second cloud formed, and we considered the possibility that our vacation might be cut short by an extraterrestrial invasion. You can bet we hightailed it out of there and back to the boat pronto.

Next up: Cascada de los Alerces and Cerro Tronador

[Patagonia Series: Intro 1 2]
Read More......

Regional Food Specialties of Argentina

Argentina's incredible geographic and climatic diversity, indigenous influences, and contributions from various immigrant groups ensure that there's much more to the country's food scene than the holy trinity of asado, dulce de leche and mate. From Jujuy to Tierra del Fuego, explore the host of regional food and drink specialties that Argentina has on offer.

[OK, so maybe a few treats with dulce de leche found their way onto the list. Do you know how hard it is to get away from that stuff here!?]

Map of Argentina with Provinces [Used under Creative Commons license]

Provinces of Jujuy and Salta
» Native vegetables and grains including quinoa, oca [link], different varieties of corn, purple potatoes, and beans
» Humita en chala // grated corn mixture wrapped in corn husks and boiled [photo]
» Tamales // corn-based dough filled with beef or chicken, wrapped in corn husks and boiled [photo]
» Locro // hearty beef stew with hominy, beans and squash
» Empanadas with spicy beef and potato
» Chanfaina // stew made from the blood and offal of a lamb or goat [link in Spanish]
» Goat cheese
» Torrontés wine (Cafayate, Salta)
» Tomate de las yungas (Jujuy) // tree tomatoes [link]
» Alfajores salteños // sandwich cookies filled with a mixture of meringue and molasses [photo]
» Gaznates // baked or fried cannoli-shaped dough filled with dulce de leche
» Helado de vino (Cafayate, Salta) // wine sorbet
» Empanadillas de cayote // small empanadas filled with cayote (fig-leaf or Malabar gourd) [photo] jam
» Nueces confitadas //walnuts with dulce de leche covered in chocolate or fondant
» Jams from the Puna region [cuaresmillo (a type of small peach), figs, higos de tuna (prickly pear), and cayote]

Provinces of Tucumán and Santiago del Estero
» Empanadas with chopped beef, seasoned with paprika, green onion and cumin
» Chicha de algarrobo or aloja (Tucumán) // a fermented alcoholic beverage made from the pods of the algarrobo blanco tree [link]
» Locro // hearty beef stew with hominy, beans and squash
» Gaznates // baked or fried cannoli-shaped dough filled with dulce de leche
» Pan con chicharrones // bread or rolls made with cracklings from rendered pork or beef fat
» Vino patero //wine made the traditional way by crushing the grapes by foot
» Strawberries, oranges, kiwis and lemons (Tucumán)
» Miel de caña, arrope de tuna, and arrope de chañar // molasses, prickly pear syrup, and chañar (Chilean palo verde) [link] syrup, the latter traditionally used as cough syrup
» Rosquillas de anís //anise-flavored doughnuts
» Empanadillas de dulce de batata // small empanadas filled with sweet potato paste
» Tabletas de caña //molasses and sweet potato candy squares
» Alfeñiques // molasses-flavored hard candies shaped into small knots [photo]
» Tomate de las yungas (Tucumán) // tree tomatoes

Provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Ríos
» Freshwater fish [surubí (catfish), dorado [link], pacú, and boga]
» Bagna Cauda // specialty brought by Italian immigrants
» Alfajores santafesinos // sandwich cookies made with thin, brittle dough, filled with dulce de leche and covered in a thick sugar glaze [photo and link in Spanish]
» Torta asada // grilled flatbread [photo]
» Ensaimadas // sweet yeast dough filled with pastry cream
» Jams and jellies from the town of Coronda
» European-style desserts
» Beer (Santa Fe)
» Licor Monacal // liqueur made by Benedictine monks in Victoria, Entre Ríos [link in Spanish]
» Licor de yatay // liqueur made from the fruit of the Yatay palm

Provinces of Corrientes, Misiones, Formosa and Chaco
» Freshwater fish [surubí (catfish), dorado [link], pacú]
» Yopará // stew of beans, corn and cassava
» Chipá // cheese rolls made with tapioca flour [link]
» Tereré // refreshing, cold version of mate
» Goulash // specialty brought by Eastern European immigrants
» Native fruits and vegetables such as mandioca (cassava), guayabo (guava), palmitos (hearts of palm), pacurí (bakupari), ñangapiré (Surinam cherry) [link], and pindó (queen palm) [link]
» Alfajores de mandioca //sandwich cookies made with tapioca flour
» Mbeyú // flatbread made with tapioca flour
» Chipá guazú // corn soufflé
» Jams made from wild fruits [mamón [link], araticú (soursop) [link with photo], guavirá (gabiroba) [photo], and pindó]
» Mbaipi // cooked grated corn mixture with cheese and milk
» Quibebe // squash soup

Provinces of Catamarca and La Rioja
» Carbonada // stew made with beef, squash, corn, sweet potatoes and dried peaches
» Humita en chala // grated corn mixture wrapped in corn husks and boiled
» Tamales // corn-based dough filled with beef or chicken
» Locro // hearty beef stew with hominy, beans and squash
» Wines from La Rioja
» Vino patero (Catamarca) //wine made the traditional way by crushing the grapes by foot
» Candied fruits in syrup [cayote (fig-leaf or Malabar gourd), zapallo (squash), figs, limes, higos de tuna (prickly pear), cuaresmillo (a type of small peach), membrillo (quince)]
» Arrope de tuna (Catamarca) // prickly pear syrup
» Green and black olives
» Extra-virgin olive oil

Provinces of San Juan and Mendoza
» Wines – particularly Malbec
» Chivito // grilled young goat
» Empanadas baked in a clay oven
» Humita en olla // cooked mixture of grated corn, tomato, and onion served in a dish [photo]
» Olives and olive-based products
» Tortitas jachalleras (San Juan) // large scone flavored with anise liqueur
» Tabletas de alcayota (cayote) // sandwich cookies filled with fig-leaf gourd jam [photo]
» Apple, quince and sweet potato pastes
» Dried fruits

Province of Córdoba
» Beer (Villa General Belgrano)
» Cabrito // grilled kid goat
» Candied fruits and squash in syrup
» Alfajores cordobeses // sandwich cookies filled with jam or dulce de leche and covered in a sugar glaze [photos]
» Rustic, country bread baked in a clay oven
» European-style desserts

Province of Buenos Aires
» Vaquillona con cuero // beef roasted with the hide left on [photo]
» Pastelitos de membrillo y batata // fried dough filled with quince or sweet potato jam and topped with sprinkles
» Tortas fritas // fried discs of dough sprinkled with sugar
» Pizza with fainá (City of Buenos Aires) // pizza topped with a flatbread made from chickpea/garbanzo flour
» Freshwater fish and seafood (in coastal areas)
» Homemade pastas
» Cheeses and sausages (Sierra de los Padres and Tandil)
» Alfajores marplatenses //cake-like sandwich cookie filled with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate [photo]
» Panqueques (Villa Gesell) // sweet and savory crepes
» Honey and other bee products

Province of Río Negro
» Chocolates
» Smoked trout, wild boar, salmon and venison
» Curanto // beef, lamb, chorizo, potatoes, sweet potatoes and vegetables cooked in a pit with hot stones [link with photos]
» Hongos de pino y de ciprés // Slippery Jack and morel mushrooms
» Berries including strawberries, raspberries, grosellas (red currants), saucos (elderberries), and rosa mosqueta (rose hips)
» Preserves made from regional fruits
» Artisanal beers
» Pecorino cheese

Provinces of Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego
» Seafood [merluza negra (Chilean sea bass), abadejo (pollack), salmon, centolla (king crab), lobster and squid]
» Patagonian lamb (grilled, baked, smoked or stewed with herbs)
» Goat cheese
» Jams and liqueurs made from berries and other local fruits
» Torta negra galesa // Welsh black cake, similar to fruitcake
» Chocolates

Did I miss one of your favorite typical foods from a particular corner of Argentina? Let's hear about it in the comments.

[Map: Wikimedia Commons]

Read More......
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...