Monday, July 2, 2012

Brazil v Argentina

Recently Argentina beat Brazil 4-3 in an international football/soccer game. I know this because I was in Salvador at the time trying to be a tourist, doing my share of dining, shopping and sight-seeing (not necessarily either in that order or as actions independent of each other) The city had come to a standstill to watch the game. Any interruption of an Australian wanting to add to the local economy was greeted with a look ranging from disinterest to horror. Peak hour traffic seemed to be later in the day than expected in most Brazilian cities. This was not due to some greater work ethic but rather the end of work game of football that was played daily.

This love of football, as extreme as it was did not compare to that of Argentina. In the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires there are paintings, photographs and statues recognising people important in Argentina’s history; artists, performers, revolutionists, political and military leaders and sports stars. Each was afforded one or two representations. Except Maradona. He had a wall of photographs in his honour. The commitment to football did not stop there. The palace contained many rooms, the President’s personal office, caucus meeting room, estate room for international dignitaries, the waiting room for said dignitaries, the presentation room and of course the room dedicated to welcoming the national football side before and after every international tournament.

Argentina 1, Brazil 0.

Brazilians are very good looking, but are aggressive and in the major cities likely to want to steal from tourists. Tourists will be distracted by how little clothing the potential thieves are wearing at the time. Argentina whilst less pleasing to the eye will be more willing to help tourists and have a greater grasp of the English language. Even beggars, despite their obvious lack of education speak fluent English when there is a chance it will lead to money. Argentineans are also very willing to accost people in the street and offer them sex at surprisingly cheap prices, however I want to point out the earlier statements about their appearance.

No addition to the score.

Natural wonder, Brazil boasts the Amazon with its wondrous array of fauna and flora. Then there are the mountains, the rock pools, caves, crystals and minor waterfalls. Then there is Iguazu Falls, 20% of the worlds second largest waterfall is in Brazil. It is also the best place for the perfect National Geographic come postcard photograph.

Argentina lays claim to the remaining 80% of the falls. On this side visitors can truly visit the falls of walk ways that in many cases take tourists right over the “fall”. One cannot stay dry on the Argentinean side and the power of the falls will blow off any article of clothing that is not securely fastened. Further south Argentina also offers glaciers.

Excellent defence and counter attack, but alas all to no avail.

When it comes to souvenirs Argentina has a much bigger range available, in some places it seems like it is the main purpose for the town’s existence. Both Argentina and Brazil have an equal supply of cheap and tacky souvenirs, perfect for work colleagues and other people to whom wary tourists must supply a gift on their return home. Brazil does make souvenir shopping easier by clumping their sellers altogether in large market places. Almost scoring an own-goal Argentina does focus the artistic designs of its souvenirs heavily on football and tango. In the complete absence of snow domes in Brazil...

Argentina 2, Brazil 0.

Beaches. Brazil. Copacabana Rio de Jeneiro + Brazilian cut swimwear.

Argentina 2, Brazil 1.

Brazil even in winter has weather consistently in the high twenties low thirties however it often comes with high humidity. A person should be able to notice the difference in moisture on their skin after towelling down after a shower or swim. All perfect if you are a summer person, not so much if you are a spring, winter or autumn person.

Argentina being further south has more variable weather and being the closest land mass to Antarctica can get more than chilly in some areas.

No change in score.

Brazil offers meat and three veg types of meals with the meat being mainly chicken or fish. Vegetables include: spinach, beans, pumpkin, potatoes, corn, tomatoes and more beans.

Argentina has a much more varied cuisine with Spanish, French and Italian influences. They are also renown for their beef and wine, with good reason. Steaks just melt in your mouth and the wine while it is no Barossa Valley vintage is still very smooth.

Ultimately it is the amazing flavours of a traditional Brazilian BBQ chicken that gets them across the line

2 all.

Argentina has a revolutionary past, as a consequence they do love a protest rally. In a four day period in Buenos Aires I witnessed no less than 7 protests; Traffic police, past soldiers, families of lost children, evangelical Christians and three others which due to my lack of Spanish language skills I never determined their cause. The one thing I did notice was that they were all highly organised, scaffolding, amplification equipment, professional banners and flags, pins, shirts and hats. Brazil there was only one protest about the right to have unions. Quite frankly if they are protesting already then they do not really need a union.

Argentina 2, Brazil 3 (Argentina own goal)

Brazil can’t win this one, on exchange rate alone. (1:2 for Brazil, 1:4 Argentina). Argentina then sweetens the deal by offering 1:5 if tourists use the American dollar – a currency they still think is worth something. Besides that the prices are just cheaper in Argentina. I bought a pair of shoes that would have cost around $250 in Australia for only $100. In Brazil I paid $15 for a fridge magnet!

3 all.

Half time.

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