Wednesday 21 April 2010

A morning in Carmelo

I left the earplugs out in the hope that any cockroach scuttling might wake me before I suffered a 1984 moment and had my face overrun by the little bastards. I needn't have worried. It wasn't the best night's sleep of my life, but it was thankfully insect-free. After another instalment of a recurring dream in which I return to my old job at Ladbrokes (!), I woke to be confronted by a quite wonderful day. Not a cloud in the sky, and a few hours to kill before my one o'clock bus to Mercedes.

I grab some breakfast on the square and watch the world go by. Carmelo might be small, but it feels very busy. Everyone in town owns a motorbike or scooter it seems, except those that still go by horse. There are kids everywhere too. It feels very similar to Salta - that sense of contentment and general happiness. Everything is where it needs to be, and if it isn't, well, it'll get there when it's ready. It's nowhere as beautiful mind you. The cathedral is ugly and frankly the bell tower looks worryingly chimney-like.

The cathedral sells the town short


I cross the bridge over the Arroyo de las Vacas (Cow Creek) and make my way down to the beach. There's a different feel to the centre of town - quieter, peaceful and definitely a few rungs up the social ladder. There's even a yacht club for God's sake.

Choose your weapons

Up Cow Creek without a paddle

There are some pretty tasty looking houses along this stretch of road, and a few empty plots of land with for sale signs up. My mind naturally wanders. The beach itself is small but isolated. Personally I wouldn't fancy a dip in the Rio de la Plata, but I'd happily while away the hours sipping mate and looking at the sun shimmering in its still waters.

Playa Sere

I wouldn't be alone. Young and old are down here, just passing the time of day. Que lindo día, I remark to one of them. Un precioso día, es cierto, he replies, smiling. Everyone says hello when you walk past them here. It's a great feeling. Suddenly I'm noticing everything - the leaves are falling, the sun's shining bright and the trees are glowing in their different hues. I spend the next hour or two smiling to myself, plotting my return.

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