Friday, October 4, 2013

A day in the life of a partner of a dog besotted person.

"Oh no, I think he's not well," cried Saint Cushion. We had just passed a dog that was lying on the pavement in the late morning sun. He was sticking out quite a bit onto the walking path but everyone was careful to avoid him.

My first reaction was to ignore the man. (Someone has to be the bad cop in this story). 

To help you understand the situation better, this was the 3rd dog-related stop we'd made since stepping out from our casa half an hour ago. 

The 1st was 100 metres from our front gate when he realised he'd forgotten his bag of kibble. "My friends will be upset," he grumbled, when I told him we couldn't turn back because we were running late. He meant Kanocky, Hambre and Timido (pictures in the last post, who are now so fat, they spat out the asado bones he gave them yesterday). "And I need some food for the dogs in the city," he continued grumbling. I had to be stern. "NO! You can get a bag in the city." 

The 2nd time was when we got off the bus in Salta city, almost on top of 2 dogs huddled against a building wall. One of them had a gash on his leg. (I didn't see this myself.) "We have to get him to a vet!" Saint Cushion immediately declared, oblivious of the crowd of people around him trying to board the bus. "¿Veterinario, veterinario?" He asked everyone. "HOW are you going to get him to the vet?" I wanted to know. "He's not a small dog." I thought it was a very sensible question. As it turned out, no one knew if there was a vet nearby. So reluctantly, he moved away from the dog, muttering under his breath about how the dog's friend was so good to protect him.

This 3rd dog, on the busy pavement in front of Plaza 9 de Julio, he was not going to move away from.

There was a tiny puddle of moisture on the dry pavement, just under the dog's muzzle. He was an even bigger dog. His belly was distended, somewhat misshapen. His fur was dusty and matted. His legs were twitching.

"He's definitely sick. We have to do something." Saint Cushion was adamant. 

I wasn't sure how he jumped to this conclusion. "He could just be sleeping and dreaming," I thought I'd mention. "Like Georgia? Having a nightmare?"

No. The man was convinced the dog was very sick.

By this time, he had attracted a few passersby. "El perro está enfermo," he told them. (The dog is sick - amazing how much his español improves in a crisis.) The passersby shook their heads in commiseration. They said stuff that neither of us understood. They came closer to have a look at the poor sick dog. "¿Veterinario, cerca de aquí?" (Vet close by?) But once again, no one knew.

Being the cool (and, dare I say, rational) one, I suggested he ask the policeman in his booth at the street corner. He bounded over, relieved I'm sure to at last be doing something useful. He came back armed with the knowledge that there might be a vet down the road and round the corner and he could go get him. (There was no way we could have carried that dog.)

Then Saint Cushion bent down to look at the dog, perhaps to whisper some comforting words to him in español. Right at that moment, the dog took a deep breath, let it out, shuddered. Then. Nothing. 

Saint Cushion was beside himself. 


"Calm down! How do you know he's dead? He could just be sleeping."

"HE'S DEAD!!!"

More passersby stopped to see what the turista was doing to their street dog. 

"¡MUERTO!" The turista told them.

Finally, after more than 10 minutes of this melodrama that was going nowhere, one man decided to give the dead dog's paw a nudge with his foot. 

The poor dog. He opened his eyes for the merest moment, then went right back to sleep and wouldn't open them again even when Saint Cushion gave his paw another few nudges. (I guess the man just wanted to be sure.)

I'm never letting you forget this, Cushion! Ever! Hence, this post. 

Of course, I had to be the one to tell the policeman in his booth, "Perro no enfermo, señor. Siesta sólo."  (Dog not sick, sir. Only siesta.)

*With apologies for the Spanish or lack of*

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

So yesterday, I got an injection in my butt.

They said it wouldn't hurt! But it did! Boohoo. I hope Cushion appreciates how I'm always offering myself to check out local health services on our travels. The doctor thinks it might be food poisoning. Too many empanadas maybe. More likely, it's the fig jam I bought from a dusty roadside stall in the mountains - forgot to mention that to the doctor - which I am still eating because it's so good. I must be learning how to live dangerously.

Personally though, I think it's the change in weather that's messing me up. 

Less than 2 weeks ago, we were walking around in heavy rain and wind. We were constantly soaked and cold. 
As you can see, only mad dogs and turistas go out in this sort of weather.

A week ago, we arrived in Salta, which is in the northwest of Argentina, at the foothills of the Andes. It hasn't rained here for 8 months and everything is brown. The air is hazy with dust.
It's hot in the day, very cold at night. I wake up every morning with blood plugs in my nose. My eyeballs are gritty with dust. Even our underwear washes out brown though how dust could have gotten in there is beyond me.
Despite copious amounts of body butter, coconut oil and pawpaw ointment, my feet cracked in 2 days.
Not so Cushion, who did absolutely nada and still has baby soft feet. Life can be so unfair.

Salta may be unforgiving to namby-pamby turistas, but it is beautiful. 
The city is famous for its colonial architecture. I found the street art more interesting.

Work is being done on the stunning San Francisco Cathedral. It's a mess outside, but inside, it's cool and peaceful.

It would be very cheap to live here, no doubt about it. A few days ago, I went to the local supermarket and bought 2 bananas, 2 mandarins, a head of lettuce, 2 tomatoes, 2 avocados, an onion and 4 bread rolls for 21 pesos (and got 5 sweets in change). If you were smart (like us) and got the unofficial blue exchange rate, that would be AUD2.30 which is less than what I would pay for one avocado in our supermarket in Balmain (usually around AUD2.95).

Every one tells us life here is muy tranquilo. Sitting in the sun, blowing bagsful of yellow snot and squinting at the ants working hard at hauling leaves to god knows where, I understand what they mean. Who knows. Now that I've got some Salta germs in me, maybe I'm a little more resilient and can live here too.


In our neighbourhood of San Lorenzo.
The local vet lets street dogs sleep in her clinic and feeds them every day. On very cold nights, she puts coats on them. How can you not like a place like that?
Kanocky can be belligerent.
Cushion named these 2. Timido (Shy) in the front and Hambre (Hunger) in the back. Hambre is exactly like Georgia and lives for food. 

These happy dogs were off-leash but looked like they might belong to someone. 
Around here, it can be hard to tell a street dog from a dog with a home who enjoys wandering. They are all equally dusty.

Riding in the hills around our neighbourhood.
Pedro has a lot of dogs and they all came along for the 3 hour ride. 
And if you've ever wondered...yes, real gauchos do use mobile phones. 

Piriapolis, Uruguay.
Despite the gangsta hoodie, some dogs are obviously not from the street.

Montevideo, Uruguay.

It is our conclusion (not verified) that everywhere is off-leash in Uruguay (and probably Argentina too).

Salta, Argentina.
Look at that! Dogs on leashes! They exist!

On the road from Salta to Cachi, Argentina.

Dogs living on the tourist route know how to get a handout.
 These 2 came running as the bus pulled up.

This one in Cachi tried asking politely for food. He didn't get any from the table, stingy sods. Luckily, Cushion always travels with a bag of kibble.

And finally, for all my neglected friends out there in the dogblog park - sunset over the Rio de la Plata,  only 10 days ago.
Much love from a snotty dusty exhausted person who wishes she could be home in her own bed but still has 2 months to go X

P.S.   We're having a parilla night. Barbecue. Out host tells us the butcher at the supermercado only makes an appearance at 6.30pm. Like everywhere else outside of the tourist strip, the siestas here are serious and a few hours long. 

At 6.29 precisely, Cushion gets ready to walk out to the supermarket. "But what time is it now?" our host asks, puzzled. "6.30." Cushion tells him. "The butcher should be open?" "Maybe. Maybe no." our host replies. "It's good to wait another 15, 30 minutes. This is Argentina, yes?"

So I'm learning. Mañana isn't necessarily tomorrow, yet life goes on and all is muy tranquilo.