Jul 24, 2009

Cold in Corrientes

We took the bus from Puerto Iguazú last night in the coldest bus ever. We landed in Corrientes, a large city in northeastern Argentina, at 6:30 in the freezing morning. The temp was right about 1 degree celsius, which is just above freezing. We sought shelter in the little coffee shop in the bus terminal, dreary as it was, because we were purt near hypothermic. I think they had the air conditioning on in that damn bus. After 2 hot drinks, we ventured out, only to find that it was still freezing. I commenced to walking for the next hour and a half, while Elizabeth returned to the cafe in order to tuck into her book and another cuppa joe.

The headlines shout about this "Ola Polar," or Polar Wave, that is causing all of Argentina to put on every last layer they have. As most buildings do not have central heat and must rely on space heaters, a cold wave is no small event. The computer tells me it's 84 degrees in St. Paul! While typically heat makes me wilt and suffer, warmth sounds really good right now. In any case, it is now past noon and has warmed up into the high 40's.

We are here less than 12 hours. We catch a bus tonight for Salta, a colonial city in the dry Andean northwest. We had yet another cafe con leche (strong coffee with hot milk. Yum.) in a classy cafe/tea room in the city center. Argentines often seem to identify more with Europeans than with the rest of Latin America, and this tea room reflects that: fabulous pastry counter, tasty espresso, waiters in ties. Here most table service is provided by men, for whom it is a profession. Another note about that European leaning: 70% of all Argentines have Italian heritage, and those of German descent maintain a German language newspaper.

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