Hot Polo

Ivan and I had breakfast at 10 am at the guest house which was a croissant, toast, cereal and tea on December 24, 2012.

We got ready and were picked up at 10:50 am for the Argentina Polo Day.  Ivan and I were going to learn how to play polo today.  It took us 45 minutes to arrive at the El Camino Polo Club.

The staff are really friendly at the Argentina Polo Day.  We were given beef and potato empanadas.  Ivan told them he was vegetarian and he was given cheese and bread.  The group consisted of 9 people and us.  Everybody was also given red wine. 

It was a really hot and humid day.  We walked to the field and watched a polo match.  During the breaks between the 10 minutes of playing, we would practicing hitting a ball with a small mallet.  The ball is made of plastic.  There was an American teacher and she showed me three ways of hitting the ball.  I was good at hitting the ball, but I wasn’t on a horse doing it.  We were served red wine, tap water and more empanadas if we wanted it. 

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We spent an hour watching the professional polo players play.  Sometimes the horses would come off the field and come close to where we were seated. 

The group walked back and it was time for the BBQ lunch.  Ivan was given grilled potatoes, courgettes, onions and a big block of cheese.  It was a really bad having really basic vegetarian food.  Ivan thought they could have ran to the store to get something during the polo match.  I had salad, sausages, steak and grilled vegetables.  There was lots of meat if anybody wanted seconds.  The wine was unlimited as well.  Ivan and I drank the tap water.  I didn’t want to be drunk or buzzed  trying to learn how to play polo.

We learned that most polo horses are female.  If the horses are male, they are castrated first. 

It was an English woman’s birthday so a pan leche cake was brought out with a big white candle on top.  It was too windy for the candle to stay lit, so she didn’t have a chance to blow it out.  The pan leche cake is similar to a fruitcake.  It’s a bit dry and doesn’t have much flavor.

Dessert came out later which was fruit cocktail from a tin (just like the one Dole makes in the USA). 

Next, it was time to learn how to play polo.  Ivan and I were put on our horses.  I’ve never been the best at steering horses.  Ivan’s great on horses though.  I prefer to be on a camel which I’ve actually only done once in India. 

Our mallets are really long and heavy. 

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Mine wasn’t long enough since I’m short.  I had to bend really low to hit the balls.  My horse was really stubborn and I couldn’t steer him at all.  The American lady kept hitting balls near me so I could practice hitting it. 

My horse, which I named Rachel, was following Ivan’s horse which he named Tammy.  Later, my horse was following a horse that was being ridden by an English girl. 

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The mallet was heavy to carry around.  I know for sure I’m not going to be a polo player.  I can barely control my horse and hit balls at a standstill.  Ivan was doing alright on his horse.

At one point, Rachel and Tammy led me and Ivan off the field.  I’m not sure why the gate was wide open for any horse to leave.  The group kept continuing to ride around the field and try to hit the balls.  It would have been fun to play a match or a small game.  We spent an hour on the field.

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It was time to head back.  We were given water or beer.  I felt so sticky from the humidity.  Ivan went to pay the $170 USD per person.  We don’t think it was worth it.  We could have been served bottle water.  Ivan could have been served better vegetarian food.  The dessert could have been something better like a nice strawberry pie or alfajores.  Also, we think that it would have been fun to play a game to make it fun.  It was a fun day out.

Ivan and I went back in the mini bus back to the apartment. 

Later that night, we went 36 Billares for dinner.  Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve in Argentina so not many restaurants were actually open.  Lil Dave had banana ravioli.  Ivan and I shared a salmon salad for a starter.  We both got a trout for our main course.  The food was alright.

At midnight, we heard fireworks going off for Christmas.

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