dusk near Cuernavaca

dusk near Cuernavaca

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Land of the Gauchos

Last month I wrote a couple posts about the tour which I took in 1986 to Brazil and Argentina.  While we were in Argentina, we took an excursion out to the Pampas to visit a cattle ranch.  There we had a chance to learn about the "gauchos", the cowboys of Argentina.  It was very touristy, but a very enjoyable experience nevertheless.

As you see from the bare tree branches, it was winter down there.  It was chilly at times, but when the sun was out, it was like a pleasant autumn day up here.

A number of the gauchos were dressed in traditional attire, including "bombachas", baggy pants tucked into their boots.   The "bombachas" are worn with a coin-studded belt. (In the old days, the belt was a gaucho's portable "bank account".)

Tucked into the back of the belt, the gaucho would have his "facón", a knife which was used not only as a weapon, but for eating meat grilled outdoors on the range.

Yours truly posing with the gauchos
A couple of future gauchos
We were given a chance to try "yerba mate", a type of tea made from the leaves of a native shrub.  It is the most popular beverage in Argentina and Uruguay.  It is steeped in a hollowed out gourd and drunk through a metal straw called a "bombilla" which has a strainer at the end.  It is rather bitter, but with sugar is not bad.

We were also given a demonstration of a typical gaucho sport, "sortija".  A ring ("sortija") is suspended from an upright.
The gauchos then gallop on horseback under the upright.  They hold a small wooden peg in their hand, and attempt to grab the ring.
A lunch of grilled meats was prepared for us.
During lunch we were entertained by a performance of traditional gaucho music and dancing.


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