Welcome to 2013! It's going to be a very exciting year :)
Last weekend we went with our friends Matias and Jessica to Rosario, a city 3-4 hours drive northwest of Buenos Aires. The high temperature was in the 90s, but felt too hot to do anything but jump in the river, so that's what we did. You can take a ferry across the river to spend the day at the beach, about $6 each adult both ways. Predictably, the veg food selection was limited but I did enjoy several ice cream cones throughout the weekend (here fruit flavors of ice cream are usually al agua, water-based without dairy). We stayed in a small hotel in Rosario that was very nice, we hope it's a good start to finding affordable places to stay with good service on our trip!
Upon our return, we had the treat of a couple of Skype calls, with my parents (happy birthday Mom!!) and our friends from California, Luc and Connie, who were bundled up to ski in Utah while we were in the pool here. We spent almost all of the last day of 2012 in the kitchen, making quinoa, salad with candied walnuts, vegan sliders on mini buns, cashew cheese, and cookies, before heading to Diego's godfather Nacho's house for New Year's Eve celebrations with family. Let me clarify that in Argentina, it's still quite common for all children to be assigned godparents who are usually somewhat active in their lives, at least while they are kids, and they have nothing to do with the mafia. Also, Diego's Godfather is called Nacho but probably has never eaten tortilla chips with cheese; Mexican food isn't very popular here. Anyway, at his house we shared dinner with 30 relatives, had a champagne toast at midnight, and then came fireworks and a tradition I've only heard of here, lighting things made of tissue paper in the form of hot air balloons on fire and trying not to all die in the inevitable aftermath on windy evenings. Although in my 3 New Year parties here I've never seen one successfully take off, I'm promised that it will happen if we keep trying.
Following the family dancing to Gangnam Style, playing musical chairs, limbo, and similar activities, at 3 we went to join friends at their house. Several rounds of a version of Pictionary ensued before we came home at 6 with daylight already shining bright. Today we had a relaxing day at home with family watching movies, playing board games, and of course lots of eating. Tomorrow we'll get back to work, but also try to fit in lots of visits here in the 8 days we have left in Argentina.