land of silver
“With their bright-colored garments, great spurs clanking about t
heir heels, and knives stuck as daggers at their waists, they look a very different race of men from what might be expected from their name of Gauchos, or simple countryman. Their politeness is excessive; they never drink their spirits without expecting you to taste it, but whilst making their exceedingly graceful bow, they seem quite as ready, if occasion offered, to cut your throat.” Good food, singing and dancing also takes place during this festival. Payadas are improvisational poetic musical duels that allow the gauchos to demonstrate their creativity and musical talent. They are sung to the rhythm of the guitar. History, popular culture and current events are some of the many themes that find expression in these kinds of songs. I always found payadas to be clever and amusing, especially if two Gauchos were trying to vie with each other in what is called contrapunto. This once a year festival brings together two very different lifestyles. The busy, monotonous city life and the peaceful, relaxed ways of the country. This gives a city girl like me the opportunity to savor some of the joys and wonders of our beautiful countryside. It also gives me the opportunity to meet some of the people, who are helping our nation to remain true to its origins. The often-romanticized figure of the gaucho has survived through time and numerous changes, but its essence has always remained true. With the advance of technology many gauchos are finding less working opportunities, and life in the country is becoming harsher and less rewarding. But, even though gauchos are slowly disappearing they will always be a part of Uruguayan folklore. Poems, literature and legends will always keep this heroic countryman immortalized in history. Poems such as this one:
? Meat prices are taking off at retail level, but not at farmgate. Taking good cattle, ordinary cattle and butchers’ cows together, beef in Argentina is costing the butcher no more that 210c/kg (140p) boneless. ? Retail prices range from: mince 350c/kg (217p); Assado (flank from an eight-rib hind) on the bone 450c/kg (305p), to silverside 540c/kg (366p).
? The meat consumption per capita in Argentina in 2008 was 63.75 kilos per person.