Monday 24th- A sleep in this morning after a late evening. Today is planned shopping day with Cristina to show me some nice places, Monday many shops are closed due to open on weekend, however we found a beautiful leather shop for jackets, and a few shoe shops. Stopped by Marco's restaurant for a look while closed also.
Tuesday 25th- Planned strike day, most places are shut, can hear some loud speakers in the street. We went for a drive to see the River side and had lunch at a lovely café by the river and yacht club, then drove around San Isidro, a rather upper class of Buenos Aires. A touch of north America feel to it with the food shops. A magnificent Cathedral to visit which was established in 1709.
As we go around Buenos Aires you see many people sipping on a straw, drinking from a little cup, and often carrying a flask with them. It's a drink called Mate`
Mate is a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink, that was first consumed by the Guaraní and also spread by the Tupí people. In the last centuries, it became particularly popular in Argentina, Uruguay, also Paraguay, the Bolivian Chaco, Southern Chile and Southern Brazil. It is also consumed in Syria, the largest importer in the world, and in Lebanon. It is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) in hot water and is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabash gourd. The straw is called a bombilla in Spanish which is traditionally made of silver. Modern, commercially available straws are typically made of nickel silver, stainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane. The gourd is known as a mate or a guampa. The mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba, (herb). The bombilla functions as both a straw and a sieve. The submerged end is flared, with small holes or slots that allow the brewed liquid in, but block the chunky matter that makes up much of the mixture. Mate has a strong cultural significance both in terms of national identity and well as socially and is the national drink of Argentina, it's a common social event. The preparation consists of filling a container with yerba, pouring hot, but not boiling, water over the leaves, and drinking with a straw, the bombilla, which acts as a filter so as to draw only the liquid and not the yerba leaves. Mate contains B and C vitamins, polyphenol antioxidants, and has a slightly higher antioxidant capacity than green tea. Some people add sugar or honey to make it a sweet drink. Quite frankly it looks like they are drinking from a cup of grass clippings.
Another much consumed drink is Fernet-Branca is an Italian type of amaro, a bitter, aromatic spirit and is made from a number of herbs and spices which vary according to the brand, but usually include myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile, cardamom, aloe, and especially saffron, with a base of grape distilled spirits Fernet may be considered a naturopathic medicine. The founder and "self-taught apothecary" Bernardino Branca began providing a Milan hospital with his recipe during a bad 19th-century outbreak of Asiatic cholera. While it certainly wasn't a cure, the stuff seemed to help so Fernet-Branca was taken for everything from menstrual cramps to digestion issues to virility. When Fernet went from medicinal to commercial in 1845, the recipe was adjusted slightly. The exact ingredients and proportions are not known publicly, of the 27 ingredients including "Rhubarb from China, Gentian from France, Galanga from India or Sri Lanka, Chamomile from Europe or Argentina, five are mixed by the CEO in a locked room. Fernet uses 75 percent of the global supply of saffron. It is Argentina's national drink. The country drinks upwards of 75 percent of the global supply. Some really good marketing team positioned it as part of a cocktail with Coca-Cola in the '90s. Argentinians began ordering it as a "90-2-10," or one-tenth Fernet to nine-tenths Coke and two ice cubes. A clever marketing ploy to get people to drink more Coca-Cola I think!