The doctor who picked us from Malargüe offered us some hash brownies so the trip to San Rafael, in both senses of the word, was quite enjoyable. To me San Rafael was the most sane and liveable (climate wise) place so far in the trip. However we didn’t spend much time in the city and took our places next to the road. A local lady took us to her car. She was not going far but somehow the short conversation was so enjoyable that she invited us to her house for the night and offered to drop us to a convenient hitchhiking spot the next day. We agreed.
Her house turned out to be an organic farm. When we arrived there was her husband with a few of their customers who came to buy some grapes to make wine. This interaction was taking place in the form of a barbeque party with home made cheese, farm’s wine, fresh fruit and salad. They mentioned that during harvest time they accepted volunteers to work in the farm and so us showing up was not a big surprise in the beginning but when the clients found out that we were only hitchhiking, they had serious doubts and asked a million questions which became quite a fun conversation. The husband told that, us, the city kids do not know how hard it is to work at a farm that we long for. He mentioned the hardships of the trade which can be limited to physical work and following the climate. To me who was working 60 hours a week in front of a computer, with the non-stopping telephone ring on my ears, and unending pointless meetings; having wine and barbeque at business hours didn’t seem so hard. My opinions only got stronger when everybody left for siesta. Siesta may be one of the most humane inventions on earth. During the siesta time, the helper took us to the fields and showed us how to pick watermelons and squash. This was an unexpected but interesting knowledge to learn.
Dried tomatoes in the farm
In the evening the hosts asked us if we wanted to join the birthday party of one of their neighbors. We wanted. The birthday boy was a younger guy and had a pottery wheel that he showed us when we are introduced. His interest was to travel to museums around, look for ancient musical instruments and try to make them to his best ability and play them afterwards. He had a few functioning instruments which we tried. I could not even produce a sound out of them. The night was filled with unlimited wine from the local farms, continuous music from the ever changing friends, lots of dance from people from all ages and a lot of chatting between friends. At some point after the birthday song, the birthday guy came up with his band and played a few songs using his own instruments. This experience, which could not be bought but only be encountered, was very defining to me on many aspects. I was sure about the truth of the cult of Dionysus. Compared to the society I come from which is socially retarded, too formal, too rigid and too shallow this was like learning how things could be done without all those unnecessary restrictions.
Around the farm
For us having fun simple occasions is one thing, doing it with the presence of elderly is another. My judging formal society would not allow this. In addition, the intellectual curiosity among people, not only this guy, but the Chilean bird watcher that we met in Chaltén, the entomology enthusiast that took us, or even the alternative medicine followers were all interested in one thing and spent effort to learn. In my society this is considered a dumb thing. Thinking or learning is thought something to be avoided, knowledge considered to be a sign of nerdyness or useless at best, and people with knowledge are humiliated and exiled. People consider training, education or any intellectual activity as a big burden and somehow leave it as soon as they have a degree. Though there are exceptions, the general profile that you meet where I come from is not too much fun and I find this repelling.
With those ideas in my mind next to the hangover, they asked if we wanted some of their wine. With great reluctance, we had to refuse due to lack of space. And after that we were on the road again towards Cordoba where we were going to part our ways with Mariana. Hers would take her to UK and mine to Chile.
My last favorite brand now