Partying like it’s 1392

Fire in Rosario

The flame that burns in honor of the dead at the National Flag Memorial in Rosario, Argentina.

Many think of this past Wednesday as a change in season. For my friends in DC, this is the time of blossoming flowers and warmer days ahead. For my friends in Buenos Aires, it’s the beginning of colder months as we move into fall. But for me and my Persian mafia worldwide, this past Wednesday was most important as the start of 1392 – the Iranian New Year.

Iran adopts a calendar different from most countries, beginning the year with the vernal (a.k.a. spring) equinox. One of the pros of being raised between two cultures is that, while I usually fail my first New Year’s resolution by February, I get a second chance in March to start afresh.

Since the Persian community is scarce in Buenos Aires, I did not have the usual fair of Nowrouz (translated as “new day”) parties to share with this blog. To hold true to the one snapshot rule, I’ve posted a picture from the National Flag Memorial in Rosario because of the burning flame.

How could I possibly draw a connection between this and a Persian holiday?

Before Nowrouz, we make sure to end the year with fervor in celebration of Chaharshanbeh Souri (the last Wednesday of the year). Most notable is our ritual of jumping over three bonfires. The idea is to release all of one’s problems to the past and begin the new year with warmth and happiness.

To all my Persian friends, Happy Nowrouz!

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Dipping in Victoria’s waters

Victoria del Agua (Entre Rios, Argentina)

Entrance to thermal water park Victoria del Agua (Entre Rios, Argentina)

Well I’m back in the bustling Buenos Aires after a three-day rendezvous in Rosario. Just a four-hour ride from the capital, Rosario is one of my favorite getaways for relaxation. While I work on a post to sum up the trip, I’ll leave you all with the photo above from a thermal water park in the nearby city Victoria.

The first time I stepped in thermal waters was in Abano Terme, a small town in the province of Padua (Italy) known for its abundance of hot springs. This was during the winter of 2009, so I was overwhelmed with childlike pleasure from soaking in hot, salty water while looking at the snow above ground. Based on the crowd, this was clearly a common sentiment.

With that memory in mind, there was no way I could miss checking out the thermal spa near Rosario.

Victoria del Agua is a large compound with multiple pools of varying temperatures, slippery slides for the munchkins (or wannabe kids), and a couple bars to eat or drink. Its beautiful surrounding scenery adds to the natural harmony of any thermal spa.

Being that it’s winter here, I expected this place to be filled with half the town’s population. To my surprise, these cold months are actually low-season for the thermal spa. Only four of the 10 pools (rough count) were open, and I saw 70 people at most in their skimpy bikinis or swim trunks. By 6p.m. we were kicked out.

I was a little disappointed in not getting to shimmy down the slides and try out all the pools, but this was, nonetheless, the highlight of my trip and I highly recommend it to anyone in town!

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Greetings from Rosario!

Puente Rosario-Victoria (Argentina)

A snap with friends in front of the bridge, Puente Nuestra Señora del Rosario

Earlier this week my compatriots in the U.S. celebrated Independence Day, surely with a grand show of fireworks. Here in Argentina, that special day is July 9th. To take advantage of this long weekend, I came to Rosario with three very special friends on Saturday to visit Sole, our Rosarina.

Meet Sole, Jason and Maite, pictured above with me. Missing from the bunch is Julito, who unfortunately had to work while the rest of us went out to play yesterday. The bridge in the background, el Puente Nuestra Señora del Rosario, extends from Rosario (Santa Fe province) to Victoria, a small city in the Entre Rios province where we ladies spent the afternoon soaking in the thermal waters of Victoria del Agua.

Now I’m off to a bar with the gang for our last night here. More to come from the trip once I’m back in Buenos Aires!


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Jack Sparrow in San Telmo

Jack Sparrow in San Telmo!

Hello, hello. Riazi Snaps is back from its impromptu hiatus and has missed you all dearly.

These months apart have been a whirlwind. New job, (soon to be) new apartment, and memorable travels throughout Argentina. Rather than backtrack these past few months, I’d rather focus on the present…partying with Jack Sparrow in San Telmo!

Theme parties are popular in Argentina, with a much more creative twist than the common toga or color-themed parties that I’ve been to in the U.S.

Here the focus may be hair  accessories–think wig, tiara or a Santa Claus hat–or perhaps music, where each guest’s attire represents his interpretation of a song or band. The party that I went to last night was based on the theme, Mira Vos! translated in English as “look at you!” Had there been a competition, my friend and host pictured above would have taken the prize.

To visit the infamous pirate at his new humble abode were foreigners from as near as Venezuela and as far as South Africa. It was refreshing to meet others similar to myself, people who came to Buenos Aires and were trapped by some inexplicable force. The most exciting part of the night was meeting a fellow Persian. In D.C. that would be no more surprising than to meet an American, as there is a strong and growing Persian community. But here I have only met two with the same nationality since coming in March 2010!

The conversations last night revived my urge to share this experience with others, and hence brought this blog back to life. With that said, I will be speaking with you all soon!


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Back to Gualeguaychu for more Carnival festivities

Carnival weekend in Gualeguaychu (Entre Rios), Argentina

People, alcohol and music crowded by the river for Carnival weekend in Gualeguaychu (Entre Rios), Argentina

Gualeguaychu is a small, quiet town with a population shy of just 110,000. But when it’s the start of the year, Argentines flock to this Entre Rios municipal for the nation’s biggest Carnival festivities. I had to see for myself what all the hype was about, so last year I dragged my mom for a one-day excursion during her first visit to South America. As you can see in the picture above, it was madness.

Given that Carnival is a festival linked to religion, one would imagine a bit of conservatism. Of course the live streams I’ve seen from New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro on TV have shown me otherwise. In Gualeguaychu, the Argentines waste no time to get the party started. Without much to do before the parade at night, everyone heads to the river for drinks, music and all-out debauchery to be laughed about after the hangover settles.

I had thought of returning to this latin sin city last weekend for Carnival Round 2, but the (reasonably priced) rooms were sold out. Instead, I went to Mar del Plata for a calm four-day-weekend at one of the most popular beach spots in Argentina (posts to be published soon!).

To my surprise, the Gualeguaychu fun has been extended until next week. So, I am heading there tonight with a friend. We have no room reserved, and no return bus ticket in hand. Ahh, this will be interesting.

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