Friday, May 7, 2010

Getting Out of the Office

Yesterday morning I was surprised to come in and find that I had been invited to the country for the day. Not that it was a day off by any means, but at the very least I would be getting into the field again. A large group from Canada was ending their tour and was going to spend the afternoon in the Pampas at Estancia Santa Susana. Since this was a large group and is similar to the kinds of programs that my company runs, the idea was for me to see the event firsthand and then be able to write a good review on it.

Though the morning was gray and rainy, the afternoon cleared up with bright blue skies so that by the time we left the office after 2 pm, it was turning into a perfect day. We drove about an hour and 15 minutes until reaching the estancia, where things were still being set up before the group arrived. First I walked around taking photos of the place and the decorations. Once the group arrived, my task was to stand by the door and show people to the bathrooms if they looked lost.

They were always kind of surprised at how well I speak English, and I'd have to ruin it by saying, "Well I can't take too much credit, I'm an American." One day I'd like to say, "Oh thanks, I was educated in the United States," which is not a lie. I did find, however, that it took me a minute to figure out what I had to say in English, and at some points I almost pronounced words incorrectly in the same way as Argentinians might. The truth is that I think in Spanish almost as much as I do in English now, and while that's great for the second language, it's not so great for the first.

A nice part of the day was I got to see some gaucho horse skill demonstrations, including the taming of wild horses and a game called "Carrera de Sortija," which is when three gauchos race on horseback and with just a pen try to catch a finger-sized ring. The winner gets to choose a woman from the crowd to kiss. I continued to take photos and once the sun had set we went inside for the dinner. Of course it was a feast with all kinds of meat, tango and folklore performers.

Once the dinner was over we had to take everything down, and didn't get to the office until after midnight. So by the time I got home it was 1 am, and I still had to be in the office in the morning. Today was a tiring day, as a result. But in the end, it was another great day taking advantage of working at a travel agency. I mean, how many other foreigners get to mingle with gauchos on the job?

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