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Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

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Calhoun, Georgia
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Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

Person from Austria your thread was probably deleted because you wrote it in Spanish. Tripadvisor rules state that posts should be in English. I had typed a reply and when I went to post it the thread had vanished. But you raised an interesting question that I have been meaning to address so I have posted the gist of your question to get other people’s thoughts.

The topic raised was, "What influence has Cervantes had on Argentina. Do you see much of Don Quixote and Man of La Mancha in the tourist places?” The following is my answer I wrote before the thread was deleted.

Last month I went to the musical, "The Man of la Mancha" in Buenos Aires, which was fantastic. Other than the play, I did not notice any noticeable references to Cervantes anywhere in the two weeks we were in Buenos Aires, not that there are not any. I vaguely remember a billboard with the famous sketch of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The most noticeable theme we saw was tango. It is everywhere and on everything having to do with tourists. During the two weeks we went to many of the major tourist sites in BA. We did not go out of Buenos Aires so I can’t comment on places other than the city.

I will also venture to say that I saw little influence of Spain other than the language, of course. I would describe Buenos Aires as more Italian. The Spanish they speak is with an Italian accent. Almost every restaurant we went to served Italian dishes along with beef. I did see some that had paella on the menu but more often they served pizza and pastas.

I have traveled to many Latin American countries and Argentina, or at least Buenos Aires, seems to be connected to its Spanish roots the least, in my opinion. The country that I could see the most influence still was Cuba.

A side note: My goal many years ago was to be able to read Don Quixote in Spanish and understand it. Maybe now is the time to get the book and begin. It seemed like an impossible dream when I was a child.

Well, now the “Impossible Dream” music is in my head from the play. I think I’ll now go find the book and a CD with the music in Spanish on line. What a great play that was.

Buenos Aires...
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1. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

You are partly right. We do have a strong Italian influence, but I would say that much more Spanish. Perhaps you perceived that there is more Italian because we do in fact have excellent pasta here, everywhere! But, if you search deeper, you will realize that most families (last names, background, culture- including art, customs, etc.) are Spanish-descendant. On the other hand, while the architecture in city of Buenos Aires' is very Parisian - as well as the design of its avenues, if you go to the interior of the country you will notice more Spanish- colonial style. For example in Salta. If you visit Bariloche in Patagonia you will see more Swiss- German influence. And if you go to soem estancias in Argentina, you will note the British influence in some of them.

Anyway, I'm glad that you are finally going to read Don Quijote- it is fabulous. I always want to read Ulises, but can never find the time to do so.

Last but not least, that is a fabulous musical you went to see!!

Buenos Aires...
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2. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

Reinarubia,

I forgot to mention that I agree- Cuba does have a very strong Spanish influence and so does Chile.

Branford...
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3. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

On the outskirts of Mar del Plata near a large public park with lots of soccer fields there is a modernistic statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Nicely done in a small park along the water. I am trying to remember where exactly. On the side of Mar del near Constitucion where all the discos are I believe. Also a MacDonalds is nearby (talk about a clash of cultures).

I read exerpts of Cervantes in high school in 4th year Spanish. That was over 35 years ago. I recently picked up a copy of Don Quixote in English and I planned to bring it along on my trip to Argentina next week.

I find Argentina to be fascinating in terms of its history and its people. The influences that some many difference people and nationalities had on the country is amazing. I think the Italian immigration had the most effect on modern Argentina. A study of the history of Argentina shows it was not conquered like Peru and Mexico for its riches. It was largely empty and full of nomadic and fiece indian tribes. The pampas was considered a wasteland. A few horses and cattle escaped and when the spanish came back 30 years later they saw huge herds of cattles and horses that started with the few strays and they realized the potential of the pampas. Buenos Aires was a port to get goods to and from Spain. It was a area of transist in the early years. A place to be bypassed. The golden years came after independence when Spain was long gone.

Buenos AIres
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4. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

The main reason the Spanish had to conquer this territories was to find "The Cesars city" that was more a legend than a real truth. Apparently this legend came from the norther provinces, that had some comunication with Peru and Bolivia.

Argentina has a very similar "mix" in %, both of Spanish and Italians, first inmigrations were almost 100 % Spanish with some Portuguese and other nationalities ( Irish /French/ Uk´s .

Calhoun, Georgia
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5. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

My husband and I both agree that if we were somehow put down in the middle of Buenos Aires without being told where we were we would think we were in New York City. The people looked very much like New Yorkers to us. Of course New York has a great Italian influence along with other nationalities.

Buenos AIres
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6. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

The Cesars city legend speaks of a city where gold was everywhere ,shining so strongly that sometimes you couldn´t look at it from far away.... ( maybe the sun inspired it)

Calhoun, Georgia
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7. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

I found this about the Italian influence on Argentina. This is a review of an Argentine restaurant in Forest Hills, NY queenscourier.com/dining/2003/tangomambo.htm

“Why does Tango Mambo’s menu combine Argentine grill with Italian food? Argentina, like the US, is a country of immigrants, mainly from Europe. In the early part of the 20th century there was a large wave of immigrants from Italy, and today almost 40% of Argentines are of Italian ancestry. According to a Colombian friend of mine, people from Argentina speak Spanish with an Italian accent.”

Buenos AIres
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8. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

Reina :

Italy has provided Argentina many hard workers and the "Italian factor" :))

....probably same as Spain ...

Abilene, Texas
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9. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

And with Italian hand gestures imo.

Calhoun, Georgia
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10. Re: Spanish Influence and Cervantes' Don Quixote in Argentina

I guess I should make the point that I am not downplaying the Spanish influence. Its just that the Italian jumps out, at least it did for me, and I loved it.