Thursday, March 24, 2011

All I Need to Know Is "Cafe con Leche"

There are two anti-typhoid pills, five days, and a ten hour flight between me and Argentina.

This morning, I spent an hour with a native Argentine who gives Spanish lessons. It became a lovely, rolling discussion about Buenos Aires, the generosity and openness of the Argentinean soul, and the Italian inflections in the language.

While Ciao and Buenos Dias are no big stretch, I've given up on trying to learn the words for the many, many different cuts of beef. I purposefully tuned out the words for tripe and kidneys (ick). But a few words did stick. A punto means cooked medium and vino tinto is red wine. Papas fritas a la provenzal are french fries seasoned with garlic and parsley. And then there are the desserts. My eyes got really wide when I heard about alfajores, cookies stuffed with sweet, creamy dulce de leche. I can't think of anything I'd rather eat, especially with a strong cafe con leche (or, in my case, a cafe con mucho leche).

So we're almost off. The next few days will be guaranteed mayhem. I'm scribbling little notes to myself ("Pack white linen dress," "Buy sunscreen," "Cucurucho means ice cream cone") and I'm non-stop doing laundry. Three weeks in a foreign country... it's no joke.

But, once I take those last two typhoid pills and maneuver the pile of skirts and sandals into my suitcase, it'll eventually be time to get on that flight. I won't sleep much, maybe an hour, and then we'll land, just as I'm falling asleep.

I have sketchy ideas of what to expect... there's talk of tango, and cobblestone streets in San Telmo, and hot afternoons in vineyards, and dinners that start at 10pm.

But, from all accounts, I know this much: we'll be in a dream.

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