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Thread: Argentina - 2011 Mega Encuentro Renault - Buenos Aires

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    Arrow Argentina - 2011 Mega Encuentro Renault - Buenos Aires



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    Dear Fellow Renault Enthusiasts,

    Here’s my opportunity to put pen to paper, or in this case fingertips to keyboard, to write about an event that I was well beyond anxious to attend. Turns out, I got much more than I bargained for.

    I have been a member of the Renault Owner’s Club of North America for a few years now (or at least since I’ve owned my 1985 Fuego 2.2 US spec.). Also, having lived in Argentina for a couple of years in the 80’s, I decided that I would subtly beg membership into the Club Renault Fuego (CRF) of Buenos Aires (even though I in no way resemble a native, nor am I a current resident). Not only was I admitted membership into the club, I was welcomed with arms wide open. My passion for the car was shared and likely surpassed by a people blessed to have furthered the manufacture of the Fuego into the early 90’s.

    Due to a sudden revelation that I needed to bond with my new brothers, I convinced my wife that our annual vacation would necessitate 13 hours of flying to the southern part of South America. I was initially met with resistance. In fact, my spouse had never travelled beyond our great, yet sporadically secured borders. The mention of a lengthy sojourn was understandably shocking, however, little time passed when she later responded: “Why not?” That was the spark I needed to ignite my preparations.

    Once I obtained a suitable date from a close associate in the club (who assured me that an event, the “Mega Encuentro Renault” in September 2011, was going to be formidable), we assembled our itinerary, secured our reservations, notified our loved ones on both continents and counted the days.

    With few days remaining until the big trip, whilst perusing the classified section on the ROCONA web site, I happened to notice that the President, Marvin McFalls posted that he had acquired many new parts from a now defunct Renault dealership. I was excited to hear that among these items was the likelihood of Fuego parts. Needless to say, through my contact with him on the subject, to our great surprise, we found out that he, with some friends would be attending the same event in Buenos Aires! I won’t bore you with the details, but I was excited at the prospect of not only having other North Americans at the show, but also to have the ear of the president of our North American club. I obviously took full advantage of this and somehow, despite my tendencies to pester, we became friends and still do to this day!

    As a matter of fact, I did not meet Marvin in person until the day of the event. We communicated our schedules prior, but concluded that we would eventually bump into each other at the show. We also mutually agreed to plead to Mother Nature for good weather and to God for safe flights for both parties. Both came through for us! We did meet, however Marvin was incognito, sporting sunglasses and a newly gifted strikingly yellow embroidered “Fuego” ball cap. No, I didn’t know what he looked like either. Guys don’t text pictures of themselves to each other (well, at least we don’t). As a result, when Marvin was presented to me for introduction the morning of the show, I switched on my castellano (Argentine/Spanish dialect) thinking he was a local. Once I completed spouting my cordialities (of which he never interrupted I might add), I got “I’m Marvin” as a response. I was left mouth agape. Thanks Marv.

    Well, after a short period of formalities (including meeting the president of the CRF - Daniel Curia and the vice president -Daniel Cortese among many many others), introductions, and immediate photo taking, our “Rock Star” status began . I’m sure Marvin will recount the specifics of the vehicles in the show, so I will skip-off that portion. I will mention, though that the day was filled with some hero worship and swarm-like gatherings of various locals. Marvin broke out the ROCONA banner and the hornets made a bee line for photographic opportunities, including me. We met Marvin’s friend Ben GĂ©nisse who accompanied him from Mexico. We’re honored to make his acquaintance and now consider him a friend as well.

    Marvin indicated we could go our separate ways at this point (I believe an unspoken agreement was also struck between Marvin and me that I would keep my distance from him during the day ) and we all spent the day drooling over the Renaults, chicas and chorizos. There were some fine cars presented, along with some not so fine cars. Didn’t matter – they were all Renaults of some sort and if you wanted to bring one, you had every reason to. I personally enjoyed every single one and each owner who represented them. More than a few gentlemen displayed much pride over his car and for good reason. I am impressed with the meticulous care that many examples displayed. Quite a few original condition Renaults were present, which pleased me muy mucho.

    Later that afternoon, the crowd gathered to a central location for the announcement of promised awards and door prizes. Many received framed certificates. We were no exception. The powers that be were evidently impressed with the distance we travelled to participate, enough so to warrant a certificate. Yours truly was called on to accept my part in the award, but alas, Marvin and Ben were MIA when their names went out over the PA. That was unacceptable, so a scout was dispatched. Dead air was also unacceptable, so while the crowd anxiously awaited the arrival of the Chosen One, it was petitioned of me to entertain the flock with song. Being the rock star that I am, I acquiesced. Terror gripped me , nevertheless I commenced with my number which was of Argentine origin. To my amazement, the crowd quickly joined in, soothing my fears. I followed with another. Same result. Mercifully by this time, Marvin, et al arrived, putting an end to my short-lived fame. We huddled to be photographed and the evidence can be easily obtained - Facebook is plastered with it.

    Monday evening brought an occasion to assemble the officers of the club, who had painstakingly planned, produced and flawlessly brought the grand event to fruition. We “Gringos” were included in the festivities which were held in the home of the event organizer, Sebastian Grasso. We spent the evening chowing on empanadas and Coke, taking pictures and autographing memorabilia. Marvin presented the club with some AMC Renault paraphernalia he had collected. We had a great time reminiscing and waxing poetic with our opinions on cars, countries, and the “Mega Encuentro” from the day before, We even enjoyed listening to the Argentines discuss the differences between their Spanish and Mexican Spanish with Ben and his two companions Julio and Marcelo. Language barriers seemed non existent however that night. Somehow we understood each other through our broken Spanglish sentences and phrases. We all had common ground. The Renault Fuego. This was the “vehicle” that brought new relationships and friendships (even though Marvin kept scooting his chair away from me ).

    When the little hand on the clock fell to a 90 degree right angle or thereabouts and my ability to speak or translate either language came to a crashing halt, a Renault Fuego caravan was assembled to take us all back to our respective hotels eliminating our need to summon a taxi during a time when only questionable characters roam the streets (such as ourselves). At each stop, hugs (abrazos) take longer and carry emotional baggage knowing that this is goodbye for a time. Cheek kisses are customary to Argentine men and women and were doled out generously. Marvin and I got close, but he suddenly recognized me in the glimmering moonlight and quickly pulled back. I kissed my wife instead.

    Mary and I will remember our experiences in Buenos Aires forever. We brought home cherished new relationships and precious memories along with some pre-packaged sweet treats. We saw more Renaults in one day than we ever have up to that historic day. What an amazing occurrence! What generous hospitality! What extraordinary solidarity! What a dream...

    ...all from a little red French car I bought!

    Jamie Grigg

    jamgrigg



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    Here is a link to an album with many more pics ---- enjoy!!
    http://imageshack.us/g/408/posterxk.jpg/
    Last edited by jamgrigg; 10-09-2011 at 04:20 PM. Reason: repair photos

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