The gauchos of the 19th century, the sort found in José Hernández poem, “El Gaucho Martín Fierro”, made their boots from the skin of a horse's leg, their stirrups from knuckle bones. Their elaborately-decorated facóns were tucked into the back of their belts. These knives survived into the 1960s when I was in Argentina – we'd slice barbequed beef for breakfast with them before herding the cattle. But today nothing of the gaucho is left. Not even their knifes. The thousands of square miles of pampas grasslands have been turned over to Monsanto GM soya. You can discover more about life on the pampas in 'Left Field'.
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