They saved the best company visit for last. We went to a cosmetic manufacturer called Natura. They run a lot like Avon, but seem to have much better success with over $3B sales in seven Latin American counties versus the $11B for Avon from over 150 countries. The speakers were really energetic and passionate about the company. They were very willing to answer questions. Not only did they feed us, take pictures, and answer a million questions-we got to take home samples! Really interesting company and highly focused on social and environmental impacts as well as the bottom line.
We ended our trip with a farewell lunch at a traditional Argentine buffet. Samantha gave us a good farewell and congrats to all those who were now done with the program (unfortunately not me). Back to the hotel for some goodbyes and planning for the rest of the day.
We went to La Boca since some people needed pesos and Andrew & I wanted paintings. Less people than last time, so I think we got a better price for our artwork :-) We made it back just in time to change for an activity James set up for us called
the Argentine Experience. Those of us that were ready on time started walking there while the rest planned to cab it. When we finally made it to the address-the place wasn't there. So we looked it up and realized we went to the wrong place. So in a cab we went and made it later than the others to the correct place.
It was worth the hassle though- the activity was fantastic! It started with a drink as we walked in. Then we made our own empanadas with their instruction. Then he set us free to compete for the most creative empanada - mine was an ice cream scoop. James ended up winning with a flower. He got some free activity items, but since we didn't have time to use them he gave them to a couple at the next table. Personally, I thought Kevin's palm tree was the best.
The steak course followed next. They highly encouraged going as rare as you dare, so I went medium. Some of the guys did rare. It was amazing! All of us agreed it was one of the best steaks we'd ever had. Apparently you brown the meat in the
fridge and thawing for six hours to room temperature first then sear on a smoking hot cast iron skillet with oil and salt. That was it! It was followed up with mate and alfajores (biscuits filled with dulce de leche covered in chocolate). Mate tasted like a tiny bit more bitter green tea. Still very good and nice ending to the meal. To fill some of the time gaps between courses the hosts provided some cultural information. For example they walked us through some common hand gestures Porteños use - chicken, cheap, what's your problem, and you're breaking my balls... just to name a couple. After a fun group photo in our aprons and chief hats, we heard out to party.
First stop was at the Library. It was a very fancy lounge at one of the nicest hotels I've ever been in. There was a 200 peso minimum, a jazz band, and infinity pool. The hotel was so posh the bathroom was marble with crazy swan sinks. We had a blast drinking nice drinks, chatting, and the boys had cigars. From there we moved to the nearby club Asia de Cuba. I was stopped just inside the door
to chat with a local. I weaseled away to go dance. James found a nice Argentina girl to dance with so the rest of us paired up and danced until 5 am. Since we all had a traveling day, we called it quits then.
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