by Tom Hvala
Twenty boys and four staff members departed a cold and wintery Melbourne for destination Argentina on the 31st of March. A tedious twenty-four hours later we arrived in Buenos Aires, keen for some rest before we began sightseeing and playing hockey. Vibrant and exotic, Argentina offered an intense travelling experience for each of us.
The first full day included a three hour guided tour of Buenos Aires, including the centre of the city – the Plaza de Mayo. For many of us, the noise and appearance of the city was unfamiliar and intriguing, as billboards were situated high above old-fashioned buildings while we drove down eight-lane roads. During the next four days we competed in the Argentina Hockey Festival, where we played teams from Canada, Argentina and other countries. As well as a boy’s tournament, there was a girl’s too, encouraging some of the Scotch boys to broaden their vocabulary and enhance multicultural experiences. Our first match was against a local Argentinean side, San Martin. In the first two minutes, the Argentinean side scored two fast goals off short corners, meanwhile, our cheer squad consisting of subbed-off players and staff were thinking “dice gilipolleces.” Australia managed to hit back, we had scored. However, it wasn’t enough as we lost four to two. That afternoon we played our second match against another Argentinean side – BA Christian School. A high scoring game resulted but we lost four to two. Despite the early loses, Scotch managed to earn a spot in the Grand Finale of the competition – against San Martin. The air felt static and a large crowd of spectators including other teams and Argentines was building. It was a rematch. Australia vs Argentina. The game started well and Australia had scored. There was blood and sweat, and even tears (from the girls watching Charlie Cross). Scotch fought hard but despite our best efforts, San Martin came away with a two to one win.
While in Buenos Aires, we visited numerous tourist attractions including the Delta del Parana, where we took a river cruise through some of Argentina’s beautifully presented houses. Afterwards, it was time to put the life insurance to the test, as a visit to the Paque de la Costa Theme Park involved looping rollercoasters and rides.
Salta provided a more traditional atmosphere in comparison to Buenos Aires, allowing the tour group to experience a richer, more vibrant example of Argentinean culture and architecture. While in Salta, we played two friendly matches with the provincial ‘Popeye Hockey Club.’ We lost the first match three to five, but after regrouping and rafting up in Salta’s mountains, we beat Popeye three to one. Proceeding Salta, we travelled to Tucuman, passing through Tafi Del Valle – a small town, secluded from its surroundings and littered with classic architecture in Argentina’s northern mountains.
The town of Tucuman presented the boys with another experience to explore the unique Argentinean lifestyle – as well as the friendly townspeople. Much to our delight, people were often out late at night, proving beneficial for some of the tour group. While there, we played two friendly matches against a regional team. The first game was played during the so-called ‘cool of the evening’ that floated around 30 Celsius. We lost our first match against Tucuman, but we were able to win the second match three to one. Tucuman’s nightlife provided an exciting opportunity for the boys to meet up with the local Argentinean ladies, as shops were open well after midnight. Leaving Tucuman, we flew back to Buenos Aires to touch base and catch up on some last minute downtime, while soaking in the last opportunity to appreciate the Argentinean culture.
The group would like to thank the staff members for looking after us, translating Spanish, answering our innumerable questions and cheering for the team.
Scotch College: ABN 86 852 826 445 ACN 005 650 395 CRICOS 00624A (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students)