Villa Ana – Gladis’ Birthday 2008


Gladis’ Birthday

Eduardo’s mother’s birthday was coming up and he wanted to be with her. Eduardo loves and appreciates his mother. They stay in close touch but there are precious few opportunities to be together, especially in his home village.

Life in Buenos Aires is intense and each day seems to arrive before the previous one has quite ended … With many activities on the go and projects to prepare it is never easy to leave, even for a few days.

The dense smoke from the big fires in the delta had covered the city for more than a week, filling both homes and lungs and made the usual pollution feel like a day in the country when the wind finally cleared the air ….

The residual effect of cough and throat irritation lingered though, and the fact that his home in Buenos Aires was being repainted, provided the incentive to leave the city and forego the usual champagne toast after his Tango show on Saturday night to get ready for the journey.

The bus left Retiro -the central bus station- a little before dawn and Eduardo had hardly finished his sandwich before he drifted off to sleep as the bus left the city.

When he opened his eyes he found himself in a world of fog again with the bus standing still at the entrance of a toll both along the highway,

The roads had been closed. He was surrounded by trucks carrying tropical fruit, meat and bread anxious to reach their destination, cattle being transported and unhappily voicing not being able to move, long distance buses and long lines of cars with people´s lives on hold waiting for the smoke and fog to clear enough for the authorities to give the go ahead.

As the hours passed so did the chances of him catching his next connection, and he began to wonder when he would arrive, and more urgently when and where he would find his next meal ……

Around mid day the smoke cleared enough for the line to start moving. The bus gradually made its way back to the main route and after passing through more points with restricted access finally arrived at its destination Rosario.

Having missed all possible connections during the day left him little choice but to wait for the evening departure. After having stored the bags he was bringing back to his home and stopping for a quick coffee with medialuna at the station, he was ready to enjoy this unexpected opportunity to explore the city.

A taxi brought him passed some of the beautiful old houses constructed in the early 1900s before dropping him off at El Monumento de las Banderas, from where he walked across to the river. Although not far from Buenos Aires, the climate felt different. The wind was cool, the carpet of leaves on the ground turning yellow and brown where in the capital the trees were still dressed in reds and greens.

He enjoyed being in the fresh air, strolling leisurely along the river, leaving the stress and the noise of the city behind, looking forward to visiting his village and family. He stopped at one of the restaurants and as he sipped a glass of white wine and savoured his meal of salmon with shrimp sauce, he glanced across the open sky and felt content with his life.

Back at the station, he was relieved to find that the bus left on time. After the walk, the fresh air and good food he looked forward to a few hours of sleep while driving through the night. The hours passed as the miles disappeared but once again he woke up to find the bus stopped by the side of the road. He could faintly hear voices discussing one of the tires and soon another bus arrived. The transfer of passengers and luggage was made quickly and quietly in the dark, moon lit night and the journey continued without any more interruptions until he arrived to Villa Ocampo in the northern part of the Province of Santa Fe.

He was almost home and he could think of nothing else. He easily found the rythm and language of his village as he caught up on the local news with the driver of the remise/rented car that brought him the last few miles to his beloved home.

Although it was not yet dawn, he knew his mother would have the light on,
the door open and clap her hands as she saw him arrive. They embraced with great affection and he wished her Happy Birthday. A journey that normally takes 10 hours had taken him 25 but Eduardo was happy to be home with his mother on her birthday.