We are back from our whirlwind weekend in Argentina and Uruguay. Over the next week I will post a different segment of our trip because there are just too many things to include in one blog. First up…The Gauchos!
Gauchos are pants, aren’t they? And it is interesting they are making a comeback in the fashion world. But no that is not what I am talking about…
They’ve been called the wanderers… as they have been known to wander the countryside as early as the 1600’s, time in which the ‘flatlands’ were overpopulated by ‘cimarron’ cattle, brought to South America by Pedro de Mendoza in 1538.
At that time and for many centuries, cow leather was one of most traded goods between the old world and the colonies. The main importance of cattle was not the meat but the leather obtained from it.
Gauchos are the Cowboys of South America!
Argentina and Uruguay are the two countries in South America where Gauchos are more abundant. The Gauchos are an important part of Argentina’s and Uruguay’s folklore and culture. The Pampas is the region in Argentina where the Gauchos are most abundant. The Pampas cover one-fifth of the country, and was named that from the Quechum Indian word that means “level land”. The Pampas is a large flat plain that covers approximately 403,000 square miles. The landscape is mostly grass, with some small bushes, and few trees. The Western Pampa is cattle country. The large farms and ranches are fenced in now, but the gauchos used to drive huge herds of cattle across unfenced land.
Gauchos were different from the North American cowboys, both seemed to be above the law and were highlyskilled , and romanticized in novels and poetry, but the South American Gauchos lived differently, performed different skills and tasks and wore a unique style of clothing. They wore a square poncho with a broad-brimmed hat and long-sleeved cotton shirts with baggy pants.
It is just so interesting for us to travel to different countries to see and experience the culture and way of life. When we were in Argentina and Uruguay we saw first hand a little bit of the Gaucho lifestyle and this Argentine way of life has existed for three centuries.
Today, Gauchos enjoy great recognition. They do exist and can be seen in villages or towns in the countryside carrying themselves with pride. As much as Tango, Mate and other Argentine traditions…Gauchos are a definite symbol of Argentine history and it seems that they are regarded highly.
We had hoped to go to the Gaucho Fair or even to a ranch but there was only so much time in our whirlwind weekend and so we just stayed in the city core. The Gauchos come in to the city and are often seen selling crafts and furs, doing some of the traditional folk dance. I tried so hard to get some good pics of the few Gauchos I saw, but I am having camera problems( I really need a new one) and the few pics I have are very blurry. Oh well, I still wanted to share this important part of Argentine culture!
Today is our first day back. We got home at 5am and David was up at 7 to be to work for 8am. I have been doing the normal after trip stuff… unpacking and laundry and trying to rest. I really think my dizziness is flying related.
Stay tuned for more posts and some pics from Argentina! Have a great week, oops it’s Monday, I almost forgot, I have to go check James and DJ’s post on youtube!
See you tomorrow!