Beer: the other white meat

The walking tour the other day in Buenos Aires was better than expected.

We trekked across the center of the city for about five hours, allowing an hour for lunch.

I ordered what I thought was scallops marsala, but which turned out to be a cut of meat called the scallop. Yeah, I hadn't heard of it either.

I'm a pesca-vegetarian, so I filled up on salad, potatoes, and water. At least I was a well hydrated cultural freak.

We visited a church that was built in 1806, but which was pummeled by cannons three years later. The cannonballs were still implanted in the side of one of the towers like little black whiteheads.

I wanted to pop them.

We saw an artisan make a mate. Mate is a cuplike container in which yerba mate, a drink of steamed green leaves from the yerba plant, is served. One drinks it through a bamboo (in Argentina) or metal (in Uruguay) straw with a filter at the end.

Same concept as tea, but a different chemical process. And it's also a cultural symbol of friendship as large groups are always sharing the mate and it's considered very impolite to turn it down.

I knew all that from living in Montevideo as Uruguayans drink yerba mate like it's their job.

What I didn't know is that it's better to drink it from a bamboo straw as metal contains carcinogens, so each time you take a sip of yerba mate from a metal (usually silver) straw, you're increasing your risk of cancer.

We checked out the museum of modern art, which I had visited the day before. I stopped in to say "hello" to the museum director, as I had met her prior. She helped explain a few pieces to the group, then left.

That was my cue to nap on a beanbag chair in the movie room.

Side note: as I don't sleep much at night here, I've discovered that places like beaches and art museums and old men's shoulders on buses are very comfortable. But don't worry, the old men like it.

By the end of the tour I was so exhausted that all I could do was take an excessively long shower and start drinking.

No more educational events for Sheila. Just lots of beer. And card games. And drinking card games.

Beer: the other white meat.

betholindo at 4:43 p.m.

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