Last weekend, to roughly coincide with Holi, Buenos Aires hosted a ‘celebration of India’. Given how much we love Indian food – and the one Indian restaurant we tried here having been somewhat disappointing – we couldn’t resist heading downtown to see if we could score some decent curry or onion bhajis, or even just some poppadums, and maybe stock up on spices. I just get looked at blankly when I ask for cumin or turmeric (or, god forbid, chilli) in the local stores here.
The event was extremely well attended; the entertainment was well received, and the stalls selling Indian cosmetics and clothes and jewelry seemed to be doing a good trade, but it was way too crowded for us to do anything much more than soak up the atmosphere then retreat to a shady spot.
I counted roughly a hundred people in one queue for food, which goes to show portenos are certainly open to trying different food, but no way was I standing in line for that long, so we quickly skipped that idea and decided to enjoy the cultural offerings (traditional dance, yoga, martial arts and music) up on stage before retreating to a middle eastern place that at least served up humus and baba ganoush alongside the ubiquitous empanadas.
It was a nice event, and in contrast to the Chinese new year celebrations, genuinely did seem to revolve around the Indian community. These events always make me, as a Brit, feel rather sorry not to have a country I can really feel proud of, in the way that certain people seem to be able to feel about their countries or places of origin. All countries have their defects, and British culture has some positives, but it must be nice to be able to feel on balance proud of one’s culture and heritage while recognizing their imperfections.
I wonder what culture, if any, Lauren will identify with when she grows up – so far she seems to join half the world in wanting to be Irish, having stated she wanted to represent Ireland at the Olympics. Oh well, she could do worse – when I posted on an expat forum here asking if there was anywhere to buy custard (we have cravings!) an Irish woman not only offered us her last bit of Birds custard powder, brought from Ireland, but offered to bring it into Buenos Aires for us as she lives out of town! Anyone willing to share their last custard powder with strangers is someone I can be friends with!!!!