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Buenos Aires Argentina


Saturday, May 03 2008

Very cute toucan we saw

Before leaving Iguassu we visited an excellent bird park. The birds in Brazil are quite amazing in their variety and colors. We have been to several bird parks in our travels but this one, which is by the Iguassu airport, was by far the best organized and maintained.

Next it was a two hour flight to Sao Paulo without event. Then a short safe shuttle transfer from the Sao Paulo airport to the airport Marriott where we stopped for the night.

Sunday, May 04 2008

This was another "hurry up and wait day" that happens when you travel quite frequently. Our flight did not leave for Buenos Aires until 6:00pm so we had a leisurely lunch, sat in the sun and read, took a slow ride back to the airport in the shuttle, waited for check in time, checked in, and then waited to board our flight. The flight from Sao Paul to Buenos Aires was the better part of four hours and uneventful.

This was the last day of taking the Larium anti-malaria tablets. We are sure happy about stopping this as it means we can return to our normal consumption of alcohol and continue to burn off brain cells with reckless abandon.

A quick taxi ride from the Buenos Aires airport to our hotel, the Wilton hotel (yes the Wilton not the Hilton), and we were tucked away dreaming of electric sheep once again. The Wilton was not a great hotel or a bad one (there have been many much worse), but it was clean and safe. We listened to the sounds of Buenos Aires city traffic through our open window as the city slowly went to sleep too.

Monday, May 05 2008

Julia in her new temporary home

After partaking of one of our last buffet breakfasts for some time to come we left the hotel via a taxi ride to our apartment in Palermo Hollywood.

Enjoying the lunch. You can see from the focus I was already on my second glass of wine.

Palermo Hollywood is a suburb of Buenos Aires and it takes its name from all of the movie, TV, and radio production companies in the area not to mention the numerous actors that live here. We walked the neighborhood and found it reminded us a lot of San Francisco neighborhoods, only with very uneven footpaths or sidewalks.

We had a wonderful $20 US gourmet lunch at one of the many local neighborhood restaurants. Lunch consisted of two firsts, two mains, sparkling water, and three glass of wine!

After lunch we walked to a park near the zoo. I was here in November 2007, two things had changed: one the park was full of cats, and two the weather was pleasant and not humid.

Tuesday, May 06 2008

Here is a photo for Verna. It is one of the many antique stores that Buenos Aires is famous for.

Today we toured about the city center and did some clothes shopping. On Thursday we plan to go to a dinner and a tango show, but our clothes (that we have been wearing for the last 5 months) are really wearing out and not up to a night out. Fortunately the US dollar is running about three times as strong as the Argentine Peso so things are cheap for us here.

Julia really wanted a pair of "tango" shoes. These are stiletto heeled shoes that are claimed to be extremely comfortable to wear; even while dancing the tango.

We found the street where they were sold the famous handmade tango shoes selected a shop we liked and proceeded to by a pair of shoes. Julia speaking only English and the shop keeper speaking only Spanish made the transaction fun to watch. This process was proof positive of the power of consumerism to overcome all obstacles in the pursuit of a sale. Julia and the shop keeper were very entertaining as each of them used every trick they could muster to communicate complex message such as: these shoe are too narrow, these shoes are cramping my toes, etc. Finally the correct shoes were found and purchased; and all parties were satisfied.

Later in the evening we returned to the city center to Florida Street, which is a long pedestrian mall, to watch the street performers dance the tango.

Tango Video

Wednesday, May 07 2008

Julia in front of some Argentine art. It looks like junk but it is in fact a dragon.

From Julia: It was another warm sunny day for us and the perfect weather for a bike tour. So after one of the most delicious (I hate to say it) buffet lunches, we met up with Santiago at what was known as the English Tower. We learnt that name was officially changed to Monument Tower after the war with England over the 1982 Malvinas/Falklands conflict, but everyone still calls it English Tower.

Julia's spooky graveyard, full of vampires.

Santiago was our guide on a bike tour of Buenos Aires. We were grateful for the mountain bikes we rode, which were good for negotiating the broken sidewalks. At times the traffic was scary, but overall it was a fantastic trip. First we went to a part of town that was built in the late C19th by rich families escaping a yellow fever outbreak, and to the Recoleta Cemetery. The cemetery looked like a film set for a vampire movie, and was so atmospheric that during the night I had nightmares about being attacked by them! Strangely, May 7th was Evita's birthday, so her tomb was covered in wreaths and flowers, and there was a crowd of passionate supporters and an old man reciting poetry about her. Although we couldn"t understand, it all sounded very fervent and adoring, and the crowd kept on applauding him. Santiago tried to explain some of the political history of Argentina and Evita. It all sounded very complicated with three different current day camps of Peron supporters. He claimed not to be a "Peronist" himself. Just to get an idea of the politics, apparently, last year the government decided to move Peron's body from Buenos Aires to his home town to comply with his wishes.

On the day of transportation, an argument broke out between the three Peronist factions about which were to carry the coffin. It got to the point where shots were fired and several people were injured.

The tour went up to Palermo district through parks and past monuments. Santiago tried to persuade us to go out to a Milonga, a local dance and Tango club. But at 7pm, when the biking ended, we were just about able to drag ourselves home, sip some wine and fall into bed.

Thursday, May 08 2008

Here am I enjoying some sculpture.

We went to the National Museum which had a reasonable collection of old masters and modern Argentinean artist's works. The weather has been very fair and sunny for all of our time here in Buenos Aires so we took advantage of todays fair weather and walked to the Museum from our apartment.

This was our last night in town so to celebrate the fact we are only two flights from home we went out to see a tango show and have dinner. We both put on our new clothes and shoes, it was great just to wear something different for the first time in awhile, and caught a taxi to El Querandi. The tango and its music are really something special to experience. It somehow seems to capture the passion of being human and express it through dance and music.

Friday, May 09 2008

Hip, hip, hooray! It is our last day outside of the good old US of A. What lies before us is a taxi ride back to the airport at 10:00pm, luggage check in, customs check, 8 hour flight to Miami, and we will be in the land of milk and honey once again. I have a feeling it will be a long day today.


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