Monday, March 06, 2006

Gaucho time

First mate gaucho of El Alamo, lover of 3 ladies, ex-husband of 2, gaucho swagger exuding.

"The Gauchos, or countrymen, are very superior to those who reside in the towns. The Gaucho is invariably most obliging, polite, and hospitable: I did not meet with even one instance of rudeness or inhospitality. He is modest, both respecting himself and country, but at the same time a spirited, bold fellow."

- Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle

In a land of 3.5 million people amidst 8 million plus cattle and a half million some horses, the gaucho is - by necessity - king.

Uruguay's two official times reflect the phenomenon. Estancia owners (landed gentry), city folk and deinzens of the decandent-but-Uruguay-unrelated Punta del Este observe one time. The gauchos, along with the country's sheep, cows, horses and flocks, are one hour behind (not recognizing daylight savings).

Cattle-time = goucho time.

And that's not all.

Time spent on an estancia requires a gaucho glossary.

Boleadores (or Las Tres Marias): leather wrapped metal or stone balls tethered to a leather thong used to bring down cattle, ostrich or - in the day - wayward indians.
Bombacha - the natty wide top, tight legged gaucho traousers.
Domidor: Gaucho subduer of horses. A multi-step/year process that produces horses with hair-trigger reflexes suited to the game of polo and novice riders.
Facon: Gaucho knife, tucked in the back of the Bombacha pants.
Yerra: The complete process, done in one swoop, of branding/dehorning/castrating young cattle. ("In autumn and when the moon is waning, branding is carried out in every cattle breeding establishment in the country.")

C - missing gauching it up (R's term)

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