Experiencing Argentine Hospital-ity
October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
The title of this post could refer to me getting sick on our very first night. Or it could be the hospitality Katie showed us by hosting us in her apartment. In reality, it was neither of those plausible explanations that led us to the inside of a hospital and showed us the generosity of our host country the second day of our trip.
Night #1 found us eating a steak dinner, the first in several years for me. It proved to be a challenge, not for any upset stomach or gag reflex at the taste of meat, but for the actual chewing of meat. I couldn’t accurately gauge how much meat to bite off, and how many chews it takes to digest. Eventually my esophagus spasms subsided and we were able to end the night peacefully.
The next morning, we headed off to the soccer fields just outside of Buenos Aires. As prevalent as soccer is in South America, the sport is not common for women. Katie’s local team had a 6 on 6 game, and as someone with relatively significant experience in playing, I got to fill a spot left by someone who couldn’t make the game that day.
The team welcomed me and I got to experience the little subtle differences in the team culture. For example, as germ-conscious as people are in the States, I cannot imagine a team of Americans passing around a water bottle from person to person, including a newcomer. There was also the cheek kissing after the game – it is a common greeting between people, even between male friends or family.
After the game, one of Katie’s teammates was going to drop Joe and I back downtown so we could embark on our apartment hunt. She decided to sub in for the following game, and we would return home afterwards. However, halfway through the game, 2 girls on the same team collided heads. She seemed fine at first, then as she turned towards us and touched her head, we saw there was blood everywhere. We all piled into a car (2 injured players, 1 friend, Joe and me), and headed for the hospital.
We got to see the inside of a very nice hospital, and later learned this was one of the private ones. Alternatively, one can visit the public system which is free and although waits may be longer, is still quite suitable. Since our ride home was now in line to see the doctor, we figured we were stranded. Luckily, another player´s boyfriend came to see her at the hospital, and volunteered to drop us at the train station.
The group described in detail the route we would need to take home, which sounded a bit daunting but doable (Retiro bound train 7 stops to Belgrano, cross the road Viamonte and get on Bus 29 to Coronel Diaz). They also pooled their change together so Joe and I would have appropriate train and bus fare.
It was such a generous gesture to have Katie´s fianceé’s sister’s teammate’s boyfriend drive us to the station, that we did not mind the delay it caused for our afternoon plans. After a morning spent at the soccer fields, the hospital, and then navigating the train and buses to visit an apartment, we felt like locals already.