Sheeva and I were by no means alone in Tucuman. You may have heard something recently about the Fulbrighter invasion of 2009? My house. July. Don't worry, we survived.
It started the night before Independence Day: July 9th in these parts. The congress that resulted in the declaration of Argentine independence from Spain was held here in Tucuman, and at midnight the event is celebrated here with a march of gauchos on horses, the totally random
manifestation of a crowd-plowing marching band, and FIIIIIIIREWORKS!
The next day, with everything closed and everyone (or at least everyone I've met here) completely indifferent to the fact that the president was giving a speech in the nearby plaza, we celebrated with a Fulbright night of wild peanut-butter binging and giggles. Three Fulbrighters were traveling with siblings (koinkeedink!!), so we took oodles of adorable fotos together, and generally threw around kindness and happy smiles. We had so much fun that we all returned two days later to do it all again over the best pizza on earth. Oh, you didn't know? The best pizza on earth is officially manufactured here in my kitchen by my roommate Gustavo. Something I'd like to bring home from this night: The idea of cooking several small servings of food with large groups of people that are meant to be served one taste at a time over hours. Imagine a group of about 15 starving wine-guzzlers being served one slice of pizza per 15 minutes over the course of two hours, each slice with different flavor and delivered (and eaten) by hand. Thank you to everyone who shared this night.
Before heading out, our crew headed up the nearby mountain of San Javier, a brilliant experience slightly tinted early on by our decision to follow a steep trail that lead up directly up Up and UP for about four hours. The workout was fantastic, but the uncertainty of whether or not we were ever going to arrive, well, anywhere, left the group slightly insecure. Kat, our resident hiking expert, calmed us by recognizing that while we may not have had much water left, at least we have a flashlight and warcm clothes. The speech had a mixed effect. Ultimately, we chose to trek following nature's subtlest of signals: horse shit. Reasoning that horses could only follow a path that led, somewhat, to some type of flat surface, we used the trail of dookie to ultimately reach the top of the mountain. Look at Sheeva's face. Clearly worth it, right?