Memories; lest we forget – Day 469
The day of memories; lest we forget. First, homework remembering our sentences in Spanish. Then a sad visit to the Memory Museum and the Cathedral. There was some light relief; a Skype and Art Museum before Tim’s dental nerve extraction.
We were both ready. We had practised at least 6 times each while walking to our Language School and now was our big moment. I went first. “Este fin de semana queiro volar a Salta, ver las montañas y sacar fotos. Además quiero escribir sobre mi esperiencia” Phew! With my slow Essex twang and my struggle to roll my Rs, the accent wasn't the best, but at least I remembered it all. What a relief.
The lesson today zoomed by, and we were both amazed when our two hours were up. It was a bit of a roller coaster of a ride for me. Frustration, confusion, relief, happy, back to feeling frustrated. At one point an idea crossed my mind to walk out. Good job I don’t take most of my thoughts seriously. I could see my thinking change rapidly, it was quite amusing to watch really.
We learnt when to use “para, por and porque” and started to learn simple present verbs which all end with either “ar, er or ir”. It is fascinating learning with Tim, we both have different styles and abilities. I pick up concepts quickly whereas Tim is better at the pronunciation and memorising vocabulary; he puts more effort into studying them.
Afterwards, we came back to our apartment as we had a Skype with travel friends Stuart and Sue. They have been travelling for 3 years with their daughter Annabel who is now 13-years-old. We had such a lovely chat with them.
They mainly move at a much slower speed than us, and we were interested in discovering their strategy. Despite loving our life, we do think that we are zooming from one place to the next. What’s the rush? Well, for a start we have an exit flight on 25th June and South America is a big continent. What a wonderful conversation; much laughter and learning with this adorable family. We hope that we skype more with them in the future and perhaps our journeys will coincide one day. You never know.
We had a few hours to spare before Tim’s dentist appointment, so we went to visit Córdoba’s Museum of Memory. Along the road was bunting, but not of pretty colourful cloth. This was photos of missing people, male, female, many young, some old that were never found during and after the Dirty War which ended in 1983, just 35 years ago.
The Museum of Memory is situated at the former detention centre where the Special Intelligence brought around 20,000 people who were against the political regime here. Many were interrogated, tortured and killed. It had quite an eerie feeling knowing that these people had suffered and died in the rooms here.
In each of the labyrinth of small rooms are important reminders of this dreadful time. Photograph albums that families have produced of their lost loved ones, personal stories, letters and even personal items such as a guitar, clothes and a red moped with a photo of the young couple who owned it, never to ride it again.
There were descriptions of some of the young people taken, like María Amelia, a graduate teacher aged 24 who was “cheerful, intelligent, studious, and loved reading and art”. She hardly sounds like a military threat does she? María was never seen again.
Exhibited were also arrest warrants, books of interview reports, and a register of people arrested and photographed. 82 boxes were found with a total of 136,242 photographic negatives of the detainees from 1964 to 1992. Some of the photos shown on a video, we could see police holding the blindfolds or bags to go over the victims’ heads.
We left feeling quite numb and just over the wall was the Cathedral overlooking this dreadful place. It is beyond my comprehension that men of the holy order could witness what was happening. Many questions were going in my head. Were they victims, turning a blind eye or even involved in some way themselves?
We walked into the Cathedral; its opulence had a bad taste in my mouth. Gentle music was playing in the background while a few people sat and prayed. A lady was sobbing, a man was being comforted by a woman. As I sat there contemplating life, the sorrows and the joys that we experience, a man came up to me with a look of desperation on his face. I couldn’t understand him but guessed he was asking for money. We gave him a little.
We still had an hour to spare, so found Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Dr Genaro Pérez. We needed a bit of light relief. It is located in a beautiful imposing 19th-century building tucked away, so I am sure many people don’t notice it. It was once the home for the Garzón family, and now a very spacious art museum with a mixture of genres. On the ground floor were some of Pérez’s work plus other 19th-century artwork such as Antonio Berni. Upstairs was more contemporary and included videos of various artists explaining their style of work. Sadly, with just 8 hours of learning Spanish, I was not up to the job of translating.
We still had time before Tim’s appointment, enough for a beverage and found a delightful café cum bookshop called Café del Alba. Shelves of books lined the café, and we discovered that you could borrow certain books for a small fee while enjoying sipping your coffee or smoothie. An elderly man started chatting to us when he heard that we were English, and from the reaction of the waitress to him, he was definitely a regular; it seemed that kind of place.
Off Tim went for his appointment with Patricia the dentist and I wandered back to the apartment. He arrived back here 2.5 hours later, numb, this time from the anaesthetic. Let’s hope he is OK for tomorrow.