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Like in the Old DaysPablo EtcheversPablo Etchevers
La Vieja Esquina is a unique pub and coffee-shop in the District of Mercedes. Its customers seem to be the same habituès of last century with almost the same habits.
If there is a place where everything happens at a different pace, it is called La Vieja Esquina (the Old Corner) and it is located in the junction of Streets 25 and 28 in the City of Mercedes.
Grocery Store’s Customs
Inexplicable for some, this journey to the past starts only 100 kilometers away from the City of Buenos Aires. Opposite the Court Building in Mercedes, which has been operating in this small city for almost 150 years, there stands this old pulpería or grocery store that has been a meeting point for several generations of Argentinian people.
Vermouth and snacks are a daily custom enjoyed both by locals and strangers. In recent times, this place has been visited by “tourists” who wish to watch how time has stopped.
Snacks are served all around the store and all tables are indulged with a piece of salami or cheese. According to the owners, everything is produced here in Mercedes: from the dry chorizos, the bacon, the cheese and the salami to some patero wine or other.
If there is a classical football match, such as Boca vs. River or the national team plays, the site is filled with the typical characters from town. Not attending a great event at the old corner means not wanting to be a part of it.
“The look of whoever steps in for the first time is a piece of art”, the bar tender says as he stands by the hundred-year-old cash register, the star of the store, which is still working.
The old hardwood floors groan when somebody steps on them, either to approach the counter, to go to the restrooms, or simply to watch some of the many photographs that decorate the site, just like the pieces of ham and the salamis that seem to have been hanging there for ages.
“A snack for four”, the waiter says to the owner. No sooner does the preparation start than the spirit of this place seems to come back to life. Bottles of Coca Cola and aperitifs such as Cinzano and Fernet are distributed around the tables as customers wait for their servings of cheese and cold cuts.
After a while, everyone starts to leave. Many of them head for the new downtown coffee-shop to watch a match in the largest screen in town. La Vieja Esquina has survived modern times and progress. Deep inside, it knows that customers will come back.
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Situated only 100 km away from Capital Federal, Mercedes it is a center which is ideal to do minitourism to people who wish to spend a dinamic weekend or days in the country surrounded by a beautiful natural environment.