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Transition period

As soon as the date indicator on my Swatch jumps to Dec 24 a very Special Theory of Relativity seems to go in effect. Not the one which predicts that when moving at extreme speed the clocks tick slower, but one which postulates just the contrary: stay put and time will fly.
During the last business days before Christmas I'd been constantly running around trying to get people moving on my move - on my cargo, that is, which still sits (supposedly) in a storage shelter in Buenos Aires. Doing pretty much the same for days without any discernible effect gives the impression that nothing moves, not even the large hand on the clock on the kitchen wall. Now, on Christmas Eve, I felt a relaxing decompression, there was nothing I could do to accelerate my pressing business. The decision to go downtown was driven only by momentary inspiration and not the need to follow up on administrative foul-ups. The visit with Carlos at "Cinco Sentidos" served only the purpose to browse Internet or bookshelves and not to conduct yet another strategy session on how to proceed with insurance and customs issues. Even shopping for a couple of Christmas presents turned into an entirely relaxed affair, thanks to the low key character of a holiday season during summer months.
At 9:30pm I left home to join Claudia and Gustavo at a Christmas Eve party Argentinean style. About twenty five people, mostly young families with kids, met in the huge, almost empty living room of a house, partly still under construction. Dardo, master of the house, heaved one load of beef and sausage after another from the grill in the open fireplace on the big table, which was already overloaded with salads, potatoes, rice, beer and wine etc., etc..

Buenanoche_Clau - - - Dardo_asado_7048

At midnight "Papa Noel", aka Santa Claus, arrived and handed out a couple of presents. No big deal, no competition for the most expensive gift, the most original Christmas card or the most illuminating decoration - very pleasant. And while the kids unwrapped their presents, the adults toasted to a Merry Christmas.


Christmas day turned out to be in stark contrast to the big, family-style affair of the previous night.
In my favorite bookstore I had met a retired doc, who had spent more than 15 years working in Boston. After finding out that I was a physicist he invited me spontaneously to a small luncheon in his house, remarking "..that a physicist is exactly what's missing in my club !" - Oh well...
It turned out, that the American Way of Life under the NeoCons was not his cup of tea at all, so he decided to quit and move back to his home country and settle in Patagonia. He lives in a wonderful house high above San Martin, with spectacular views. To get there, however, takes a lot of courage, some boy scout tracking experience and a working four wheel drive, as the last 4 miles resemble a steep hiking trail. Food and wine was great, conversation very interesting with a high entertainment value. Not only is the guy a knowledgeable connoisseur of classical music, he also has the equipment to celebrate his hobby. And he's also a bit "loco", or should I say: idiosyncratic, which helped no end whenever the conversation threatened to turn boring or mundane.

During the last days of the old year nothing much happened. Only time passed.
Then New Years Eve came and with it a kind of a replay of Christmas: a different circle of friends met, this time at Claudia and Gustavo's. Since the traditional fireworks had been cancelled due to extreme drought conditions in the surrounding forests, we could concentrate fully on gourmet food and exquisite wines - and on pleasant company...


Afterwards I stayed put and let time fly. Now we are already deep into 2008, high time to send out best wishes for a happy New Year. In Germany there is a proverb, which says that New Year's wishes are accepted until the first hay is cut. Well, here you have to be careful with that. Gustavo climbed already into the cherry tree while the "other" tree was still displaying its festive decoration!


So here they come: All the best for 2008 - health, success, fun, interesting adventures, profound insights and a bunch of great friends....