Holidays abroad can be tricky. Realizing that you are 7,000 miles away from your family, friends and pumpkin pie… well it’s kind of a bummer. But nothing chases away the I-miss-my-homeland blues like a good ol’ expat Thanksgiving dinner.
My lovely hosts (and fellow Americanos) Lindsey and John, prepared an authentic Día del Gracias dinner for 16 people. Not an easy task, especially when half the ingredients you need don’t exist in Argentina. Minor setback. Not to be deterred by geography, John went above and beyond the call of duty to import cranberries, pumpkin pie ingredients and marshmallows for the yams (my favorite dish) during a recent trip stateside.
For the vast majority of the guests it was their first Thanksgiving dinner. A mix of Argentines, Frenchies, Colombians and a pair of South Africans, it was fun to hear them ask with genuine curiosity/disgust, “So you put the stuffing in the turkey and then you eat it?” followed by “So this is what you really eat?” and “Where do you put the gravy?”
The Wreckage and Dessert
Usually on Turkey Day, I am grateful for warm stuffing and oh-so-filling turkey meat. But with the Buenos Aires’s spring serving up 30 degree Celsius days with 50% humidity, there was a lot more sweating than eating. Gross. Still, I was extremely grateful to have a little slice of home placed on my plate.
Chicas de Thanksgiving
Every year, the Bolivian community in Buenos Aires puts on their finest metallic suits and 4-inch party heals to celebrate the Virgin of Copacabana. And it’s one hell of a party. You can hear the drums beating from blocks away as marching bands keep the energy alive with giant drums, trumpets and trombones, all decorated with the colors of the Bolivian flag. Purple incense smoke billows through the air and you are instantly warmed to the streets of La Paz as troops of dancers swagger their way into the city center. The women in bowler hats are covered in gold bling, right down to their front teeth. With over 20 blocks of twirling skirts pom-poms on braided pig-tails and shoulder padded costumes, it’s just something you gotta see.
More than slightly jealous of these outfits. Why can't I wear 4-inch gold heels and pom-poms? #whitegrlproblem
Macho men in sequins and shoulder pads = Bolivian Love
Spinning Ladies in Pink
Dancing until sundown
Practical Stuff: The parade generally takes place the first two weekends after October 12 and celebrations are held in the San Martin barrio (close to the San Lorenzo Soccer Stadium). But on Saturday Oct 15, I was lucky enough to catch the celebration making it’s way to the Casa Rosada.