Thursday, December 20, 2012

Papers and Beer

We've been driving to a lot of different government offices this week trying to get our marriage recognized in Argentina; we've tried and failed before but really want to get this done this trip. Actually, we almost got married again here in Quilmes because we were having so much trouble getting our US marriage to be accepted by Argentina but were then told we couldn't do that either. On our drive to an office in La Plata yesterday I snapped this picture of street performers (the two on the left are jugglers, the guy on the right is just aggressively crossing the street). It is pretty common at busy intersections in cities in Argentina to see people asking for money but, admirably, they've found many ways to provide a service in exchange for tips instead of just begging -- dancing or juggling, washing car windows, selling flowers, cold drinks or snacks or other small items are all popular. Unfortunately our trip was again unsuccessful; we were told to go back to the US and get an "apostille" on our documents. Has anyone ever heard of that before? I certainly hadn't, but apparently it is a real thing! I'll be calling the US west coast today once the 5-hour time difference catches up.

While we were in La Plata we found their only vegan restaurant for a late lunch. It is run by Rastas (followers of the Rastafari movement that originated in Jamaica), which apparently embrace a diet called Ital that's not too different from what we usually eat. I guess you do learn something new every day! Here in Argentina it seems like there's a significant Rasta community, more so than I've noticed in the US. They definitely seem to have their own culture; the service at the restaurant was much more relaxed than we're used to, but the food was good.

In the evening we met friends at the Cerveceria, a huge restaurant operating in the original factory in Quilmes, the city where Diego grew up, but the name is more famous as that of Argentina's favorite beer. The story goes that Germans came to this suburb of Buenos Aires and built a German neighborhood including the beer factory, a park, and cute rows of houses, all of which still stand although the actual beer production has moved to a modern facility. It's a favorite meeting spot in part because the beer used to be a killer deal (less than $1 for a Chopp, a large glass), but it's since gone up (to about $1.50), as it seems most prices here have!

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