The Community of South America – Chapter One

Good day, good readers! In a matter of moments, a couple of The Gumboot‘s contributors – Michelle Burtnyk and, well, yours truly – will be heading way, way down South to the country of South America! Crap, I know better than that. After all, I am an historian. Michelle and I will be visiting our Latin America Correspondent, Martin Martin. He lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Funny story about Buenos Aires. The city’s mayor, Mauricio Macri, just declared a state of emergency in Argentina’s capital. Now, pessimists will tell you that traveling through a city and/or country during a state of emergency will doubtlessly present problems. But I beg to differ. There will be fewer tourists jamming the streets downtown area. The many rides in Buenos Aires will be free (I’ve been told/promised that there are several fun rides throughout the city). And here’s the biggest positive as I see it. Two words: discount pork.

In all seriousness for any of our friends and family who are seriously concerned, we’ll be fine. Michelle speaks fluent Portuguese and is a vegetarian (“Yo soy vegetariano!”). In 2004, she also, I kid you not, was teaching English in Guang Dong, the Chinese town that was where SARS started. She’s got street cred in spades, people. And, hey, even though I’m allergic to the Sun I went to Africa and survived – if not thrived – in the Dark Continent (which isn’t really dark at all, is it, misguided European colonial storytellers?!). And, much to my surprise, it turned out that I traveled through Northern Uganda during a civil war. Has Argentina been in a civil war since the early 1980s? I don’t think it has. But do you know what China, Uganda and Argentina do have? Adventure.

We will keep you abreast of our story-filled travels. Not swine flu nor revolution nor Sun nor emergency dental surgery will stop us from calling it as we see it and telling it like it is. We will collect stories from South America and use them to build community. At home, and abroad.

Happy travels!

- John and Michelle