Sr. Manteca y Sr. Culaso

Feliz Semana Santa a todos! Or happy Passover, or Easter, or Earth Day, or whatever you choose to celebrate! As I already wrote, I go tomorrow to Mar del Plata to spend the holiday with my aunt Baboush, who lives there.

Spending the last couple of days in Capital – or downtown Buenos Aires – has been lovely. I have to say, I never realized how much I loved art museums until coming here. I went to the MALBA, the modern art museum, with my family, and I went to the Museo de Bellas Artes a couple days ago too. I could spend hours there. I like to think about the intention behind each brushstroke or each collage item pasted on each painting, and how purposed each piece of art in that museum is. I also spent an hour in a bookstore the other day just browsing through books. I am taking advantage of appreciating the creative arts here! Alejandra, my friend from Cholila with whom I am staying right now, plays the saxophone, so I also went to watch her band practice and then to a jam session (zapada). The band practiced in a tiny practice room in somebody’s apartment, with green-tinted lighting and smoke filling the room from the chain-smoking bassist. There wasn’t room for me to sit down, which ended up being good, because I would not have been able to sit still and only tap my foot to the soulful blues and rock pieces that they played. After the practice, we travelled across the city to a cafe that hosts a blues jam session every Sunday night, where Alejandra also played, and I sat at a table with a fifteen-year-old boy who played the harmonica beautifully (and boldly, at a jam session with so many old, experienced musicians!) although he had only been playing for a year. Then, as always, I enjoy walking around the Buenos Aires ferias and looking at the beautiful things that people make and sell there.

For the Patagonia stories of the last few days:

The first is a story that everyone from El Fortin remembers and has told me, even my mom, who was only there for a summer. Each of the aunts had a special horse on which they learned to ride starting from when they had about 3 or 4 years old. Lilian even said that pretty much as soon as the girls could sit up, they put them on horseback and started to take them on little walks around the yard. The aunts remember almost every horse that lived on El Fortin while they spent their summers there, and they can tell you stories about each horse. Mus, an aunt who lives in Spain, had a very trusting horse named Nahuel. Nahuel was silly, and had ‘una cara de sabandija,’ or a rascal’s face. He was also awkward, and could never quite figure out where his feet were. One day, he stepped on Mus’ foot and didn’t quite realize it, so he just stood there looking at her while she screamed and pushed him off. He also loved sugar and plums… so much so that he would step up onto the porch outside the kitchen and stick his neck inside begging for sweets. And after he ate the plums, he would even spit out the pits onto the floor!

The second is another Mamtschi story. Mamtschi loved to laugh, and with my aunts, she would sometimes turn into an adolescent girl again as she laughed with them. However, she always remained the grandmother, and they the grandchildren. But one day, two men arrived to visit Mamtschi. They stepped out of the car and introduced themselves as Sr. Manteca and Sr. Culaso. Manteca means butter, and Culo in Spanish is a not-so-nice way to say rear end. Furthermore, the suffix ‘aso’ is sort of like full of, or something of the sort. So out walked Mr. Butter and Mr. Full-of-rear-end from the car, and Mamtschi, Monica, Baboush, and anyone else all started giggling like teenagers (which Monica and Baboush were, but Mamtschi definitely not). Monica swears that Sr. Manteca and Sr. Culaso actually were their real names!

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6 Responses to Sr. Manteca y Sr. Culaso

  1. bridget says:

    sounds fun! love the stories

  2. Grandma says:

    It is great to hear what you are doing with your family history, as well as profitting so much from this year! Grandpa and I are looking forward to seeing the family tree after all your studies! I wonder how you feel about this year drawing to a close. Enjoy, and take care.

    Love, Gma

  3. marjorie says:

    Aawww I actually kind of remember awkward Nahuel. I think I rode Sofia, Carlos rode Pajarito, and Baboush rode Zorro – see if Baboush remembers. Meiti’s Flicka was an old mare that nobody rode when we were there. I always thought it was Zorro who ate the plums, though.

    I wish you and B could have experienced a summer on El Fortin!

  4. Jessica says:

    “Each of the aunts had a special horse on which they learned to ride starting from when they had about 3 or 4 years old”

    “cuando tenían tres o cuatro años” doesn’t quite translate to “when they had about 3 or 4 years old”! haha! (when they WERE about 3 or 4 years old). hahahahaha – i think your spanish is better than your english now!

  5. mamaperl says:


  6. baboush says:

    Sí, Marjorie. You’re right. Zorro also loved plums.
    beso, baboush

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