“Vivien, Moises, Antionella and Algo” = Argentinian kindess

10 Jul

Now in Scotland would you meet two foreigners in a square,invite them back to your house, feed them, water them and then provide them with a contact for their next destination?

I think not.

But this is exactly what happened in the Argentinian city of Tucuman.

I have to admit that Tucuman was not entirely what I expected….for some reason my guide book reading skills had totally failed me and instead of it being the small backwater which I thought it turned out to be one of the biggest cities of Argentina with many million inhabitants…oops! Had to apologise to my travel companions for that…

However, I did hit Tucuman at the time of the bicentenary celebrations for independence. This meant that there were lots of stuff going on, including free hot chocolate and bread in the main square. Result!

So armed with my bicentenary programme I headed to the square to see what was going on and collect my free hot chocolate and bread. There I met Vivien and Moises and their two lovely kids, Antionella and Algo. Got talking to them when Vivien gave me a copy of a poem which an old man on a bike had given her. All very random…we chatted for a while and then they asked me and my travel companion back to their house for tea. We piled into their car complete with Trinni, a friend of Algo´s and headed out to their place in San Javier passing the lemon plantations en route.

Me with Argentinian kindness

Me with Argentinian kindness

Man their house was super cute. They had a little grocery shop attached to their house. Every now and then a local kid would come in and buy one sweet or some bread. They also had a ladder you could climb in the back yard which let you see the city. Again random but cute.

We chatted with them for several hours. What a nice couple. I told Vivien she looked like Julia Roberts. She did. Moises said he had been told he looked like Nicholas Cage. He did. A bit.

Vivien told us several times she hated to cook. However, she gave us a lovely lunch of tongue with a vinaigrette dressing, locro (she couldn’t be bothered to put the meat into it though and she forgot the beans which are one of the main ingredients of locro!) and a cake which she had made with bread, milk and some eggs in a round shaped baking tin!!!!

They were among the most open people I have ever met. Their house had an open door with local kids popping in all throughout the day and the kids bringing in their friends to meet the “foreigners”.

They showed us their wedding photos. They married in secret. Her family did not approve of him. She borrowed a dress and got up in the middle of the night to head off to marry him. None of her family were at their wedding. I love a good old fashioned love story! The first meal she made him (she hates to cook) she burned all the potatoes. At the time, he did not have the heart to tell her so he ate them anyway!

Moises’ dream is to set up an institution to rehabilitate children. While he has the skills to do this, he does not have the money for it. Meantime, he works as a post man delivering the letters on his bike. Vivien does not work. She likes to bring up her kids herself and decided not to work so that she could do this.  And what cute kids they were!

The family

The family

I tell them I am headed for Tafi Del Valle next and they give us the name of a guy Moises used to work with who lives there and who loves to hike (he is called “Gustave”). They give us a little slip of paper with his name on it, tell me he works in the local school and write a message for him to help us however he can…these people are among the kindest I have ever met. They even drop me back at the hostel after letting me see the lights of the city from the top of the ladder in the garden.

I know that I would never do this back home in Scotland but it certainly makes me think about whether I should? Now off with the slip of paper to meet “Gustave”.

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