Before leaving the Netherlands for my annual visit to Argentina, I thought it might be a good idea to ask you, the readers, what you already knew about the country and to run a sort of quizz with photos and questions. I was pleasantly surprised to read all your responses and to discover that actually, all of those who frequently visit my blog already had some previous knowledge of the country where I was born and raised.
Of course some of you, have acquired that knowledge through first-hand experience: either from your visits to Argentina or because you have lived there at some point of your lives.
Such is the case of Rebecca, for example, who married an Argentine and fell in love with the country, its people, its traditions and, of course, its food, as she explains in her blog "From Argentina, with Love", where she explores Argentinean culture and especially, Argentinean cuisine.
I found her blog some time ago by chance, while Googling names for my own blog - and a lucky find that was!
If you are curious about what we Argentineans eat, I suggest you visit her blog - you'll find there traditional recipes and tales told with flair and good humour.
Others, instead, have come to know more about Argentina directly from me. Probably, every time we meet or talk online and I happen to mention how things are different in my country, you think to yourselves, "oh-oh, here we go again!" But hey, consider it this way: I am in a manner of speaking, giving you a free Geography or History or Culture lesson ... so you are welcome! (just joking!)
In my post Imagining Argentina I shared with you a collage with photos of (rather) famous Argentinean people. Many of you could name quite a number of them. Starting from the upper left-hand corner, they are:
1) Eva Duarte de Perón, or better known as Evita, former first lady of Argentina (1946-52), political icon and legend, known for her work in favour of better conditions for the poor and for the working classes;
2) Diego Maradona, a former football player considered by many to be one of the best players of all times and also, a very controversial and newsworthy figure in my country;
3) Princess Máxima of the Netherlands (née Máxima Zorreguieta), the Argentine-born wife of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands;
4) Ernesto "Che" Guevara, an Argentinean Marxist revolutionary active in the Cuban Revolution and whom since his death has become a symbol within popular culture;
5) Gabriela Sabatini, former professional tennis player who became one of the leading players in the 1980s and 90s. She somehow became an icon of Latin beauty in her day;
6) Julio Bocca, one of the most important ballet dancers of the last part of the 20th century and certainly the most important dancer in Argentina;
7) Jorge Luis Borges, leading figure of Argentinean literature of world renown who inspired a whole generation of 20th century writers like Umberto Ecco or Paulo Coelho;
8) Astor Piazzolla, Argentinean composer and bandoneón player who transformed (some say "modernised") tango music by incorporating elements of jazz and classical music. It was to the notes of his "Adiós, Nonino" that Princess Máxima of the Netherlands wept during her wedding ceremony back in 2002;
9) Juan Martín del Potro, another professional tennis player, currently ranking number 5 on the ATP list;
10) Carlos Gardel, the most prominent figure in the history of tango.
I also posted this photo of a famous house in the city of Buenos Aires in Argentina, and I asked if you recognised it or if you had seen it before. This is the Casa Rosada (literally, Pink House), the seat of the national government in Argentina. You may have recognised the building from the film Evita in which Madonna plays the role of Eva Perón, in which you can see her (Madonna/Evita) rallying the masses from the balcony of this very government house.
My beautiful Córdoba
This mosaic of photos I posted on Imagining Argentina, shows you different places and views of the province where I was born: Córdoba. It so happens that the capital city of that province is also called Córdoba - easy to remember, don't you think?
Next week I will be posting some of the interesting and/or funny comments you wrote in that blog entry and I will try to answer your queries about Argentina, too. Stay tuned!
For now, I wish you Happiness, Prosperity and good times to last you all the year 2010 and I hope to continue enjoying your company next year!
Sunrise at the Cordón del Plata, in the Andes (Mendoza, Argentina).