Sunday, March 6, 2011

Richard Willes and the Vendimia Parade

President's friend Richard Willes came to town. I think he comes to check President's pulse to make sure he is still kicking. He was able to spend a few days and see the Vendimia (harvest of grapes) celebrations. This is his third visit. He likes to remind us that he has been to Argentina now more times than we have.
President and he went to visit Elder Evans (neighbor to Richard and Vicki Willes) down in San Rafael. This is the rented chapel in the background for Salto de las Rosas.
Elder Boyle and Elder Evans in their patio picking the grapes.
Richard in front of a wealthy Argentine gentleman. His horse was decorated with a beautiful silver breast plate and saddle. His gaucho outfit was of the finest of fabric. It is hard to see in this picture how stately the gentleman was. Oh, and Richard isn't all that bad himself- outfit though, not quite as authentic.

I have a video of the tango dancers seen in the photo above, and another of the young lady and her friend doing a spanish dance.
The Hermanas who serve in Godoy Cruz and Hermana Packer (our nurse) all received costume jewelry crowns from President (have to support the street peddlers). (left) Hermanas Ochoa, Wilde, Packer, Roas, Ricks.
The picture below is an example of the many floats that carry the Vendimia Queens from each area of Mendoza. When ever they saw our nicely dressed American missionaries and Latino's they would make comments and throw them the fruit of their region.
This is the float for the many Queens from years past. They are just loving this experience of reliving the past.
Every year it happens. One of our missionaries receives a bottle of wine. Elder Frischknecht was thrown a carton of wine. Elder Leal below received a bottle which he signed and we will save to bring out at reunion time. The other missionaries said it was no fair- Elder Frishknecht is a head taller than any other Elders, and has long arms. He seemed to be catching everything that day.
Our Latingo (combination word for Latin/Gringo) Elder Cabranes taking his picture with the dancing girls. Elder Cabranes is serving in the office as secretary. He is a Peruvian/Argentine who attended BYU and whose language ability is very useful.
The Bolivian dancing girls.

I just wanted to show a few things that are part of the gaucho outfit. First is the wide pleated pants, the wide brimmed hat, the soft leather boots with spurs, the machete knife tucked in his belt in his back, the silver handled whip for the horse. The saddle does not have a horn, and it has layers of soft sheep skin padding to sit on which places it up higher than most American saddles.
The young boy sits on a layer of sheep skin. His boots are made by hand of soft sheep skin. This is a typical gaucho outfit for a young boy, with a silk scarf. This would be for a upper class young boy. Notice the hats are not bent into shape like the western cowboy hat.
Of course in the day, all women rode side saddle. This brother and sister pair are all decked out.
This group of dancers and bag pipe players was a Celtic group. They have large pockets of people from Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.
This princess caught my eye. She looks like she was wearing an antique costume from Spain. She was a beautiful Spanish girl, very regal.
Notice the home made breast plates and harnesses. Even the bit was a thick piece of leather. The stirrups were cut and sewn leather and the saddles home made also. There wasn't a piece of metal anywhere to be seen.

I would hate to be this lady riding side saddle all day. It hurts my back to look at her.
This is the metro that we have been waiting to see installed for two years now. It is a gift from the "Presidenta" Christina. The tracks are not yet completed and we don't expect it will be for a long time. Like most things moveable (golf carts, trains, etc), they were made in the U.S.. The side of the trolley still says San Diego on it. We know where the cities get their fire trucks, stop lights, and metros- they buy the old ones that are being replaced in the states.
This is a firetruck and those are our Hermanas sitting with those firemen.
Elder Huntington just had to have his picture taken in the fire truck. I think he used to do some volunteer fireman work.

The Antique John Deere Studebaker
The flag of Argentina.
The aristocratic family (very spanish looking)
The country folk (very indian looking)
You can see how light skinned the children of the Europeans are.
This little boy was so cute. You could tell he had been handling a horse since he could walk. All these children on these horses, live on their horses. They ride them everyday. They are working with the fathers in the fields and on the ranches. Very few people have cars. The horse is still an important source of transportation. Notice the soft homemade sheep skin boots.

Most of the floats that carried the royalty, all were throwing fruits from their regions. One float threw alfahors (a soft cookie treat that is famously Argentine). Elder Ivy was the lucky one to catch an alfahor. He was quietly in the back eating it without saying anything to anyone. Smart thinking- it was a little too small to share. Elder Ivy is now working in the office.
The melon catchers, Elders Sorensen, Taylor, Frischknecht.
The plum catchers, Elders Campbell, Huntington, Frischknecht, Leal, Cabranes, White.
Even a pet duck got into the parade.
The lucky group of missionaries who happened to be serving in the city at the time of the Vendimia parade. We are sorry the others didn't get to see it- but somebody has to be out working and baptizing! It was a great experience, and I am sure they will be telling stories about it for years.
Elders Cabranes, Frost, Quebbeman, Crowther, White, Frischknecht, Ivy, Huntington, Sorensen, Moncur (sorry) Campbell, Taylor. Hermanas Wilde, Ochoa, Ricks, Roas, Burnett.
Elder Sorensen, just wanted to have one of these costumes. Sorry, this picture will have to do.
Peach catchers, Elders Taylor, Sorensen, Campbell.
If you can see me in the background, I finally caught something on my own. These missionaries are just too darn tall!
Apple catchers, Elders Cabranes, White, Frischknecht, Taylor
Pear catchers, Elders Ivy, Quebbeman, Leal.

Sister Burnetts parents came to pick her up this week from the mission, and stayed around for the Saturday parade. Brother Burnett and President were in the shade talking. President looked down the parade route and said to Brother Burnett, "I want you to watch this, all of my missionaries will turn around and look at me in just a minute." It was like someone had cued them. As the next float of belly dancers came into view, with their skimpy outfits, all the Elders on the street turned their faces away from the girls. You parents should all be proud.

This might be a first for all of you. Not many floats are barbequing goat. Mendoza is known for its goat festival in Malargue. This is a yearly festival where they BBQ about 3,000 goats around a horse track. Quite famous.
Elder Campbell was the lucky one. He came back with a goat sandwich that was handed to him off the float.
The gang. Right behind the last float was an army of clean up people and trucks. Within the hour all the streets involved in the parade were clean. This main street is the street that the mission home is on- Avenida Emilio Civit. This will be our last of 3 Vendimia celebrations in Argentina.
Saying goodbye to Richard at the airport. This will be the last trip to Argentina for him. The joke that is now circulating- when we return home at the end of June, Richard will arrive at the airport with President's cowboy clothes and horses in the trailer ready to go get lost in the wilderness without a cell phone. There will also be a limousine arrive for me, to take me to Costco! (I hope I never have to soak my lettuce in bleach again)

1 comment:

grandmasue said...

We felt we were right at the parade with you. I must say it seems alot more fruit and goodies were caught. How fun. Loved the videos.