(6 comments, 235 posts)
I’m Head of Secondary at St.Hilda's College in Buenos Aires, Argentina
I have lots of interests including windsurfing, camper vanning, web design, playing and watching football (knees a bit creaky now) and wasting too much time on the internet.
Home page: http://www.prettejohn.net
Posts by Chris Prettejohn
We had a great Easter which was packed full of visiting friends, playing games at the club and eating far too much chocolate! We missed being home for the traditional Ruses Mill Easter Egg Bunny hunt but the fine weather, great food and fun and games sort of made up for it!
Alex, one one of the great new people we’ve met here in Argentina, is a a huge river Plate fan and being a typically generous Argentine offered to take me to the Monumental Stadium to watch River play Velez. It was a great evening. The trip in on the Pa Americana gave a flavour of the passion of the fans as they hung out of the windows of various school buses swinging their scarves and shouting and yelling at passing cars.
Walking in past all the Choripan stores, being searched about three times and then fumbling over the turnstiles and then the long cimb upwards past the horrendous toilets before coming out into the huge Monumental Stadium.
The football wasn’t great , probably Championship standard in the UK, but this was more than compensated by the incredible atmosphere as the singing rippled around the train and the banter between the two sets of fans intensified.
Considering how small their section was the Velez fans belted out their songs with gusto and doled out a fair amount of abuse.
At one point the chant went up ‘Stand up if you hate the English’ for no apparent reason except I guess that Malvinas day is on Tuesday. I decided to keep a low profile at this point despite the fact I was wearing a suspiciously Boca coloured T-Shirt too!! The result was a boring goalless draw but this didn’t matter as I’d had a great time and it reminded me of the previous times I’d experienced Argentine football. Bring on the Superclasico and I need to buy a River Plate shirt!!
We’re just back from a fantastic day out in the Delta near Tigre with Ewan and Linda. Having been picked up at Hurlingham by Ewan we headed down to the Poseidon boat park at San Fernado and set off in his speed boat. the boys loved it as we zoomed through the beautiful delta which was a complete contrast to the dirt and traffic snarled streets of BA. We then found a great Parilla where we filled ourselves with a typically great Argentina meat feast and then onto the beach which actually had palm trees growing on it. With the exception of the silt laden brown river we could have been on a Carribean isleand as we watched the boys run up and down the beach and eventually run into and out of the water and eventually fall in the water before rolling in the sand. Good job we brought those spare clothes. After this we headed back to BA and the only blip in an other wise excellent day was the flat tyre on the way home. Thanks Ewan and Linda for a great day out!
We’ve been in Argentina for about 6 weeks now and have had a great time so far. The people, as I remember from my last time here, have been so warm, welcoming helpful and friendly. Going out of their way to invite us to asados, driving us around the area, introducing us to people and just helping to make the whole experience of moving half way across the world so much easier.
The school is a great place to work with the key part being the positive and polite students who consistently say ‘Hi Sir’, ‘Thank You Sir’ at the beginning of every lesson. The most serious disciplinary issue is making sure the top button is done up on their shirts and moving them off the school benches outside when they’re sat sunning themselves at break time after the bell’s gone.
The flat is dated but a good size for us and has the additional benefit of having an entire school as a play ground in the evening and at weekends including a lovely big swimming pool, rugby pitch, sports hall and gigantic long jump sand pit!
The high street is 2 blocks away and has a large Carrefour plus lots of small quirky shops which all seem to be thriving and stay open until about 8ish. Although everything is closed from about 1 to 4 which I keep forgetting. Unfortunately there isn’t a good restaurant but they’re all a short 30 peso Remis trip away (£4). As many developing countries, the traffic management system is a bit of a contradiction in terms with it basically being a bit of a free for all. Crossing the road involves looking right, left,right left, behind and in front and then double checking the red light is still on. It can also be a bit scruffy with the idea of recycling and rubbish bins something of an annoyance when there’s an entire street to drop it in. However another contradiction is the amazing tree lined avenues and streets which like the cows in India appear to be sacred and there’s no ridiculous Health and Safety officer condemning them because of the the root trip hazard.
Weather is great too with lovely long fluffy white cloud days and exciting thunderstorms with lots of relampago which also involves me running around and pulling out all the plugs in the house to ensure the electrics don’t get fried.
Food is great too with fresh pasta up the road, great meat as expected, dulce de leche, fresh pastries, empanadas and just about every street corner has an ice cream shop. What’s not to like!
Check back again as it’s only been 6 weeks so far…!
For some reason the boys found an oval egg shaped ball and before I knew it started wrestling away despite my love for the round ball. Still St.Hilda’s has a fine tradition of rugby having raised such fine players like Mario Ledesma (worth reading the first paragraph of his Wikipedia entry to see how you can’t always believe Wikipedia! Hilarious.) so hopefully my boys will go onto great things!
This weekend we have spent moslty in the water! THe weather was chilly so the Interhouse Swimming sports had to be postponed. This despite the fact that the water had been heated to a lovely warm bathwater temp. As such the PJ boys took full advantage and spent the weekend in and out of the pool having hours of fun. Needless to say they’ve slept like logs too!
Homework for Mum’s who send their children to the Kindergarten this week was to make a sock puppet. As usual Claire took to the task with gusto and learnt a whole load of new Spanish words including needle, buttons, wool, etc… Unfortunately there is no known word for what she created out of it all. Is it a crocodile? Dog? Zebra? Alien? Who cares when you’re married to such a talented lady…!
So we headed in on the train to Palermo in the centre of BA on a hot and sticky day. It was a good example of a developing country zoo with an exciting array of loosely held and escaped animals. Several cages looked as though they may have been vacated and are probably wandering around parts of BA mingling with the locals.
Needless to say the highlight of the trip for the boys was the slide and play area combined with the Rocket lolly!
After about 5pm during the week and all weekend school is usually almost empty except for Sergio our burly but friendly porter/security man and as such we have the run of the place. This means the primary library becomes our own private collection and the boys love going there to read a 30 year old Ladybird book or have Enid Blyton read to them. Unsurprisingly the stories don’t change but the covers do!