Birds, beef and beer in Argentina

February 05, 2002
  • Jim Cherry (right photo, from left) of San Marino, Pete Cliffton of Pasadena, Jim Cliffton of Monarch Bay, Mark Boch of Tustin, Wes Seegers of Orange and Imperial Valley Press Staff Photographer George Bell of El Centro stop for lunch and a few beers in a Buenos Aires, Argentina, pub in the city's shopping district. The group of friends went to the country to hunt dove. GEORGE BELL PHOTO

Story and photos by GEORGE M. BELL II, Staff Photographer

After 12 and a half hours of flying time south from Los Angeles, I met up with six old friends in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

We spent two nights at the beautiful and comfortable Alvear Palace Hotel situated in what might be described as the Beverly Hills of Buenos Aires. The hotel is rated as one of the best in all of Latin America, and we enjoyed the service from a friendly and professional staff. This place was tops with all of us.

We arrived Jan. 20, a day of street fairs and flea-marketing, with tango-dancing demonstrations and art expositions in Buenos Aires, and a lot of walking through old streets filled with French architecture.

A stroll through the cemetery and a stop at the tomb of Evita Perón, beloved first lady of Argentina, is considered a must for the foreign traveler and out-of-towner.


Jan. 21 was a bit warmer than our first day in Beunos Aires but 20 degrees below what it could have been this time of year, as it was summer.

Shopping and a city tour had been arranged, and I was glad I was not driving in this weekday traffic. Leather goods, shoes, belts, bags, etc., were popular with our group, as were Cuban cigars.

A beautiful, bustling city, Buenos Aires showed no evidence of the civil unrest from financial problems reported in the world news. People expressed an attitude of, "We will get through it, although it will take some time."

But why was our small group of friends in Argentina?

We were here to visit Estancia los Chañares, a ranch about an hour and 45-minute drive from the central city of Cordoba. Here there is unquestionably the best high-volume dove-hunting in the world!

Our host, Serge Dompierre, is owner of a 10,000-acre ranch. He's a man of many talents and languages who possesses a master's degree in game biology and business and was a chief executive officer of a large Canadian sports equipment manufacturing company.

He was eminently qualified to educate us in farming, ranching, game management and shooting in Argentina. Whether discussing fine Argentine wine or the finer points of the world's finest shotguns, Serge was at home, and a gorgeous home it is.

Our accommodations made us feel at home. Serge urged us old guys to enjoy all we saw "as game is to be seen" and do all we can while there for we are all on what he called "TR" — "time remaining."

The chef at los Chañares prepared dove as a side dish only on two occasions, both the most memorable of my life.

Naturally, Argentine beef was the main course, and I must say it was excellent.

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