Day 4, part 1
We arrived at the hotel around 2:15am from our performance in Rosario. As 81 musicians rush up to their respective hotel rooms, the elevators were overwhelmed. My roommate and I decided that waiting 30 minutes for an elevator wouldn’t suffice for our need to sleep, so we walked up 24 flights of 8 stairs each to get to our 8th floor room. Winded and sore, we quickly got ready for bed and slept soundly until 7:00am.
We originally set our alarms for 7:00, but we were far too tired and kept pressing snooze until 7:30. We were the first few at breakfast where we had toast, eggs, ham, juice, and coffee. After breakfast we went back up to our hotel room for a quick 45 minute nap, and we squeezed in every second we could.
When we awoke from our less than peaceful slumber, we walked down to the ATM to retrieve more pesos for today’s trip: Santa Susana ranch. Before we departed from the hotel, bus one and two (the united airlines group) had to get money from their
accounts, and that took no less than an hour and fifteen minutes. Bus three was waiting anxiously and sleepily for the go ahead to commence the hour and forty-five minute drive to the ranch.
About half an hour until we hit the ranch soil, our bilingual tour guide showed us how to make, serve, and share mate, a delicious and poetic drink served in Argentina. Mate is a South American caffeinated herbal drink that can be made with or without sugar. You usually share a mate with a friend or a family member, and once you or the other person has had enough mate, you say “thank you.”
At the ranch, Santa Susana, we had time to walk around and look at the various activities they had on the property. A museum, a gift shop, a stable, and most importantly, the amazing restaurant. At the museum, which was furnished like a lived-in home, there were perfume bottles, mirrors, and eerie baby doll heads askew. The gift shop was riddled with fine scarves and mate cups which were both beautiful and affordable. The stable had easily over 20 horses and 3 dogs; one of which MYSO collectively named “Empanada” because apparently the sleeping dog awoke when someone screamed empanada.
After we wandered around aimlessly but with the purpose of experiencing this new culture, we were called, by bell, to come eat lunch. Lunch was served in waves of food; salad, meat, meat, more meat, flan con dulce de leche, coffee. Throughout dinner we had two wonderful dancers and the orchestra of Santa Susana play and tango for us. Once the two amazing dancers ended their set, people from the MYSO crowd went up to dance in their place. Eventually, so many of us wanted to dance, we all got up and made a pseudo-conga line around the tables and ran around a few times before the song ended.
After our dinner and dance, we headed down to the horse area to watch a demonstration given by the stable men. They brought the horses out and Empanada joined them. Empanada rounded the horses up and kept them in their place; he was such a good boy. The men showed us Corrida de Sortija, a traditional sport where the rider must charge full speed at a loop of metal suspended on a beam that is 10 feet high. The loop is no larger than a wedding ring and must be taken off with a skewer that the horsemen holds. Once the horsemen has successfully taken the loop off, he chooses a woman in the crowd to kiss and hands over the loop.
I was lucky enough to receive a loop and a kiss from one of the head riders. It was very exciting to see this part of the culture that many of us had not experienced before. To see this fun and adrenaline-pushing sport played is truly a gift. I thank the estancia (ranch en español) for giving us this opportunity to try new foods and see new aspects of Argentinian culture. Hasta luego mis amigos.