Cosquin...a taste of the local way of life.

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hola amigos,

Once we heard about the Folklore Festival happening in Cosquin, only one hour outside of Cordoba, we figured that going to Cosquin would be a great escape from our boredom, the inconsiderate Israelis (see prior entry), and the heat of the city. I never looked forward to a bus ride in my entire life as much as I did the day we went to Cosquin because the mini buses (colectivo chiquito) are air conditioned. We missed our first bus at 10am after a station employee misdirected us but were able to secure seats on the 11am bus. No hassles, no penalty fees...things are very simple here.

During the festival, Cosquin gets packed every 3rd week of January then turns dead the rest of the year. This year, there was also a Rock Festival happening simultaneouly in the neighboring town. On the bus we knew that we were close when we started to see head-banger, grungie, hippie lookingī kids straggling down the side of the road with tents and packs galore. As the colectivo pulled into Cosquin, we could immediately feel the festival vibe in the air. People were buzzing about every which way, shopping at the flea market (feria) for local hand-made crafts, sipping cafes in the 90 degree heat, taking in the excitement of the festival.

To our dismay, after speaking with several locals, we learned that the real music of the festival didnīt get started until nighttime. However, after visiting the local tourist office, we learned about a few spots along the Rio Cosquin where we could hear some good local music during the day. Wandering several blocks through some side streets and quiet neighborhoods, we made our way towards the river and stepped into another world....

As far as our eyes could see up and down the river, were hundreds upon hundreds of people-families, couples, children-playing, wading, swimming, bathing in the Rio Cosquin. It was an incredible sight to behold. Pete and I stood there in amazement, looking at the trash, plastic bottles floating by, no one else seeming to notice. They were there enjoying the day, celebrating the summer, the festival, day-to-day life as they knew it. Pete and I thought back to our summers as children at local swim clubs. We reflected on the cleanliness of the club, the pool, the overwhelming selection of food from the snack bar. We were so privledged. However, I must admit, we seemed to be the only ones there who knew they were poor. They were having a blast.

The thought of swimming seemed nice considering the heat, but the obvious slow moving water and trash made us think twice. We continued to wander up and down the shores and found several local bands playing in various staged areas. People were dancing and lounging, taking the scene in just like us. We were different though. We stood out, with our fanny packs and cameras...we were clearly outsiders to these people. Itīs always difficult to immerse yourself in another culture when you look like freaking tourists.

All in all, the day was fantastic. While we didnīt actually get to see the big-time festival acts, we were lucky to discover a local, hidden spot that we probably would have never found under different circumstances. Be sure to check out the pics and videos.

Take care,
Ashley and Pete
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