Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Divorce, Christmas Dinner, And Fireworks! Oh My!

Despite the recent lootings, protests, strikes, and civil unrest, the Christmas spirit was in full bloom in Cordoba Argentina.
For a country that is considered to be in an economic crisis, people sure were spending an awful lot of money. The nice thing is that people in the province seem genuinely happy … for the most part.
Last year was tough for me because it was my first Christmas in Argentina, and my spouse Zach was in New York. This year I had the fortune of spending the holidays with him, but it was bittersweet. After twelve years together, of which a year and 9 months we’ve spent legally married, we’ve mutually decided to end our marriage. The stress of living abroad and the financial and emotional consequences this has brought has forced us to make this painful choice. We are however remaining friends and will continue to live together. Think of it as Fran and Peter from the TVLAND sitcom HAPPILY DIVORCED. We still care very deeply for each other and we will continue to support and look after one another as we continue to adjust to life in Argentina.

Christmas Eve was a quiet meal with our friend Brian. We decided to avoid making a big production like we did during Thanksgiving because of our budget and also our recent break-up, but we still had a great time.
After dinner, we sat in the living room and watched a few films. We’re basically three huge sci-fi fans so we watched Terminator Salvation and Pandorum on my Blu-Ray player.
At midnight, we went outside and watched the fireworks. People in Argentina light these up at midnight as if it were New Years. At the stroke of midnight, we got the chance to see an amazing light show in the sky. It was truly breathtaking. I took some video footage and added it under the photos of the fireworks.
With most of our friends either visiting their families in the States or in nearby provinces, I expect New Year’s Eve to be quite uneventful. I’ll admit that I can’t wait to say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014.
I hope all of my friends, both in the States and in Argentina, and of course my readers from all over the world, had a fantastic Christmas!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get ready to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Jesuit Crypt - Exploring A Piece Of Cordoba's Past

The Jesuit Crypt was built centuries ago in the province of Cordoba. It was originally designed to serve the Jesuits, but was later converted to a crypt and crematorium. The Jesuits were a society of Jesus Christ followers within the Catholic Church. Some say, that the crypt was used as a training area for Jesuit followers. It was eventually abandoned after the Jesuits were expelled.
Original entrance into the crypt that was buried by construction long ago
Over time, urbanization of the city caused the crypt to be buried and forgotten. It wasn’t until 1989 that it was accidently unearthed. The city immediately began restoring the crypt and turned it into a historical site.
Modern day entrance into the crypt
I must have passed the Jesuit Crypt dozens of times since my arrival in Argentina but I never considered going into it. I was probably reluctant because I am not a God fearing person. However, a fellow expat friend talked me into exploring the museum and I agreed out of sheer curiosity.
3D Map of the crypt's interior

Walking underneath the city into this museum reminded me a bit of what it must have been like to enter an Egyptian tomb. There wasn’t a whole lot to see or do but it was still quite fascinating. There were ancient artifacts displayed behind a glass case. I was also able to see the original entrance to the crypt, which was sealed off long ago.
Recovered artifacts
It felt amazing to be standing on such a historic site. Imagine the history that was in this place and in these walls? I could almost feel the presence of those old souls who occupied the same space I was standing in.
It only took me 15 minutes to tour the entire underground crypt. Then again, it only cost 5 Argentinean pesos (80 U.S. cents), so that wasn’t too bad. Whether, you’re a fan of history or archeology, I highly recommend you take a moment to visit the Jesuit Crypt.

Decomposition chamber where the dead were placed and covered with quicklime to mask the stench and speed up the decomposition process

Thursday, December 5, 2013

All Hell Breaks Loose in Cordoba Argentina!

On December 3rd, 2013, all hell broke loose in the province of Cordoba! Vandals looted supermarkets, stores, and mom and pop shops throughout the city. While some were interested in food, most thieves focused mainly on stealing alcohol and electronics.
So what caused this crime spree that made the L.A. riots look like Disneyland? The police force! Only a month after a drug scandal broke out, the cops in the province demanded an undeserved pay increase. They went on strike as soon as the government failed to meet their demands.
For over 24 hours, Cordoba had no police protection whatsoever. People of all ages, skin tone, and gender began looting. Some store owners took to firing guns in the air to warn vandals to stay clear of their properties.

The tragedy here is that some of the teens and young adults boasted about their criminal activities on their personal facebook page. Aside from the fact that this is probably the stupidest move ever, it shows a lack of remorse for their actions. I worry about what the future holds for Argentina if these are our future governors, teachers, etc.
I took to social media to protest the actions of the vandals. For the most part, the general consensus of the Argentinean people was the same, they were all ashamed and disgusted by the actions of these thieves. Some people even took matters into their own hands to stop the vandals. 
People beat the crap out of this looter

Sure! Cry all you want! You should have thought of it before you started stealing
Some people blamed the government, while others blamed poverty, but it’s my opinion that neither of these things are an excuse to behave like criminals. I don’t need the police to keep my moral compass in check. As a civilized society, everyone MUST respect each other, their property, and their city.
By Wednesday afternoon, the government gave into the demands of the police and cops went back to work. Order has been restored … for the most part, but there were over 60 injuries and at least one death in all this mayhem, not to mention that over a thousand stores were damaged.
On Thursday I walked the streets of Cordoba Capital and noticed that life had returned to normal. There didn’t seem to be any indication that anything had ever happened. I’m told that while protests are nothing new in Argentina, this type of chaos has not been seen in the province of Cordoba in nearly 30 years. I can only hope that this is an isolated incident or that the government responds to any future threat in a more timely and efficient manner.