This is the second part of the story of Estefi and Paulina, their encounter with me, their loveliness and their friendship to each other.
The bus ride from Buenos Aires to Trenque Lauquen was comfortable as always. I arrived before sunrise and since my two lovely girls did not show up immediately I chose to get me back some sleep I lost the night bus.
So I made myself comfortable on a bench in the waiting lounge. In defense of Estefi who passed me two times without noticing me I have to admit that I changed my appearance a lot since we met in Mompiche. No beard, no long hair and no hippie clothing. So we were happy that she was able to recognise me the third time she rushed through the hall. We gave us a big hug. The welcoming was emotional and warming. Again I felt so happy with them.
First stop: a bakery to buy us an Argentinian breakfast consisting of all kinds of sweet pastry and coffee. Both have been at the bus station in time which explained our tiredness that vanished slowly with more coffee and sugar. Trenque Lauquen South East of Buenos Aires is a provincial town founded by colonial troops and by repression of the indigenous Mapuche that used to live in this area hundreds of years earlier. This and more information is shown in the municipal museum. We even stopped at the visitor information centre to check what one could do in the city of planned square streets and middle class family houses. Estefi was surprised and equally happy to find out that there are actually things to do in her city apart from meeting friends and barbecues. I saw her regional proud lifting up when she went through the brochures over and over again.
We met some of her friends to get meat for the barbecue and little time after we entered their house we saw us puzzling with the frozen pieces of beef to get the rest back into the massive chest type freezer.
Later we visited some kind of municipal theatre and started to dance on stage, without music. The mixture of high blood sugar and little sleep kept us smiling all day long. Reckless children we have been at the municipal playground consisting of old rusty tractors and all sorts of climbs and swings. The province actively tries to market its peaceful atmosphere along with golf and some other day activities. Estefi’s mother drove us to a lake nearby where they planned to build up a boat rent. What impressed me was the silence and the peace I felt walking around these places far from all the hectic in the never sleeping metropolis of Buenos Aires. Here they own land; they build their houses and follow down to earth life structures that do not grant much space for self-actualisation needs of us dreamers. Here they get married and kids just as it was established long time ago. Here they have barbecues every Sunday and most residents would hang out with the same people they went to school with. Perspectives are provided by the elder generation in all kinds of family-run businesses.
On the flip-side, having no future plans, travelling loose as we did seemed a little off the ground, which is why I felt that Estefi was in a little fight with herself. I saw her happy with her nephew and future family plans of her relatives, but time will show if that is the way she wants her life to be.
We enjoyed the end of the day at their farm; we laid in the grass, told us stories, drank some mate and listened to the birds. The hacienda was hundreds of years old and invited us to wrap us in dreams about our next travels. It was perfectly warm outside and we just let the refreshing wind pass by. Every Sunday so Estefi’s father, is barbecue day. Most people in the town would invite their family, set a nice fire and grill meat the traditional way. Since I was in Argentina, I had to join their come together celebrated with the finest meat on earth. Every bite was so juicy. It was simply a good craftsmanship developed over generations. We all sat down together with Estefi’s family. Full of proud she introduced me to her nephew and to her sister and brother.
When everybody left the table to refresh himself or to take a shower, Pau and I were left behind with the baby. We cleaned the table when we did too much noise and the baby woke up. Of course she was crying and Pau tried her best to calm her down, but both we were just too unexperienced. Estefi came from the bathroom and rushed down the stairs, took her nephew and put her on her body just like a mother would do. Pau tried the same before, but when now the young aunt was in charge the baby calmed down immediately leaving us behind in smile and sure to have seen Estefi as the future mother. After that situation we did not dare to make any more noise. We wanted to hit the clubs anyway.
Estefi lead us to the best one in place frequented by her former school friends. They made me try a mix of coke and Fernet Branca. Although I drank one more cup I did not like it. When the band started to play I switched to beer. We had a great time meeting Estefi’s friends. We kept on dancing to the cumbia sounds wide after midnight. Pau left us earlier with a guy so that we had to drive home alone. Estefi was very drunk but indicated that she could make it until home and that the police is not very eager to stop late-night drivers anyway. We arrived safely as we kept maximum speed to 20 Km/hour and both looking through the front window like Alice into wonderland. Her nose so close to the glass with her head above the wheel, Estefi seemed as if she could use some help directing us home. I gave her my two eyes and both we managed to even park the car without accident. We stumbled in, gave us a big hug, watched one second into our glassy eyes and said good night.
I purchased my ticket for the next early morning, so we just had a few hours to get rid of the alcohol in our blood. We did not succeed though. In the morning I made myself ready to leave, noticed the girls and saw Pau sleeping in her bed. She came back a few hours ago. So we were all three together for the last piece of a wonderful acquaintance that started two months ago in a country 14 days of overnight busses away from Trenque Lauquen, the lovely, calm province town in south east Argentina.
I wished them luck for every future idea they shared with me, for following their dreams and their next travels. They have been so lovely together and I could not imagine seeing them separated in some point of time. A few months later Pau came back to Poland. The two girls are planning to travel together in 2015. I think that this is what we travellers all share: coining memories in the people we met and the desire to meet them again, wherever they are.