Escaping the bugs and humidity that had arrived with the recent heat wave in Rosario was a relief as I boarded a night bus for Mar del Plata. My 5 yanqui compañeros from LMU had relocated from BsAs to live like Argentines for the month of December. The weather was overcast as I got in, but I got a chance to check out the beach they conveniently live 4 blocks from before the rain hit. Later, we drew our Secret Santa names and headed out to find gifts for under 50 pesos. During this time I convinced the guys that we should cook a lechón (baby pig) for a massive holiday dinner. After asking the butcher to remove the head, the piglet, which had been split lengthwise, still weighed about 11 Lbs.
We got to preparing deviled eggs, fruit salad and pasta while our little porker slow cooked:
During the gift exchange, my buddy David got me “Venas Abiertas de America Latina,” which I had already read with some difficulty in English, but a great gift nonetheless. I got Alex a shoulder bag to carry his laptop. We soaked in a little sun at the beach before watching some amazing skateboarders do tricks off the plaza with the Quixote statue. Concerned about overcooking our piglet, I threw down a few sheets of foil, which kept the meat nice and tender, but didn’t get the skin (the BEST part) crispy and flaky as I had hoped. It’s not often that you are given this much meat as a responsibility so at least I’ll be ready to make it better next time.The lechón was tasty and we made quick work carving it using Brian’s Rambo knife.
Later on, we ended up buying some bottlerockets and M80s to partake in the Argentine tradition of blowing stuff up at midnite. And to the amusement of an assemblance of Xmas partygoers, we had a classic fireworks “fight” with Roman candles. One of the reasons I love hanging with my college buds down here: it’s just like being 14 again. Same jokes, same fun, same trouble. Though my Spanish language skills are usually put hold when I’m hangin with them, it’s still nice to have a lifeline of good friends when you’re so far from home.