Another overnight bus got me to Cordoba, this time very comfortably. Unlike the previous week, I had no problem finding a hostel. It turned out Cordoba was fresh out of tourists, so I spent much of the week wandering around the city solo, or hanging out with people that worked at (or lived at) my hostel. It was the first time since those first two days in Brazil that I failed to meet anyone that spoke fluent English, but now that I have learned the backpacking ropes, I enjoyed the time alone.
A full night in Argentina looks something like this: dinner at 11, drinks at 1, dancing at 3, sleep at 6. I’ve seen many toddlers eating with their families well past midnight. Even a laid back night here can go past 4. And because my hostel served croutons and jam for “breakfast,” I didn’t bother to wake up before 11 all week. Suddenly, I felt like a freshman in college again; sleeping until lunch and still wanting an afternoon nap. A group of hostel employees playing Dave Matthews Band and Greenday from the lobby adjacent my room completed the illusion.
I considered skipping Cordoba, but I'm glad I didn't. The center of the city nicely combines a colonial history with a modern incarnation as a university town. I spent my days exploring old buildings and new museums, and my nights with locals in sidewalk bars (fittingly) full of college students. My Spanish is still very limited, but it has gotten good enough that I can survive an evening with a non English speaker. This, more or less, has been the goal since I arrived, so I am happy to report that progress is good.
A few days into my stay, a pair of french girls I’d met in Mendoza arrived in Cordoba. We spent a bit of time exploring together, but didn't link up often. Marion and I did, however, decide to take a five day road trip, and backtrack towards Mendoza to see the parks we were unable to reach during the Easter holiday. I was finally able to find a rental car that wasn't outrageously expensive, so the plan stuck.