Monday, July 20, 2009

Flying over the Andes

On the way back home, we flew to Santiago, Chile before going north. Here are a couple of shots from my airplane window seat.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Goodbye Argentina!

After three weeks of exploring the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and after battling the obstacles of swine flu, we decided to change our tickets and come home a little early. This is not a problem for me--I now have some time home with my family and friends.

We had a pretty awesome flight over the Andes mountains into Santiago, Chile yesterday. The mountains are amazing and the country looked beautiful from the air. We had a 4 hour layover and headed north, arriving in MSP in the morning.

I'm glad for the time we had in South America, and am already planning my next trip there!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mate (pronounced: mot.tay)

Every weekend, there is an artisans market outside the cemetery in Ricoleta, which is right outside our apartment. We have walked through the market a few times, priced things out and made mental notes of what we wanted to bring home as souvenirs.

We both picked out a mate gourd and straw and decided to try some (finally). Mate seems like the national drink, well...that and red wine.

After filling the gourd with mate and hot water, the mate host should drink the first cupfull through the filtered straw because the first drink is the most bitter. Next, he/she should refill it with hot water and pass it to the next person, and keep doing this until it has lost flavor before starting again.

I've noticed people with their mate gourds and thermoses of hot water sipping mate all day every day. Kara read that it is believed that when you share a mate with your friend, you share your dreams. :)

Cafe Tortoni

Today was tango day! We finally bought tickets to a show at the city's oldest cafe: Cafe Tortoni. It was established in 1858 (I read that on the mug). We stopped in earlier this afternoon for a coffee and some churros, and while we were there we picked up tickets which turned out to be a good idea. We got better seats for purchasing them early.

The show was almost two hours long and really great! There were four musicians including a guy playing the accordian. There was a male singer who was able to get everyone to sing "por una cabeza" with gusto, as well as another song which he quickly told us the words before we had to sing them (I think I got at least 40%). Finally, my favorite part was watching the tango dancers. It really makes me want to take dance lessons when I get back to the States! So beautiful!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ghosts in the graveyard...

As posted previously, our Buenos Aires apartment is across the street from a really creepy awesome graveyard. After mysterious visits from the unmentionables in the middle of the night (ha ha...reference to Pride and Predjudice and Zombies, which Kara so thoughtfully lent me this week), we made a return visit to hunt down the burial site of Eva Peron (a.k.a. 'Evita').

This cat, the one in the corner of the picture above, seriously followed us through the many narrow walkways of the cemetery. It followed us past Evita's grave, and down the next few rows of tombs. It stubbornly refused to pose for a picture, so I snuck up from behind. There were so many stray cats in the cemetery. Mangy, dirty cats everywhere.

We found Evita. Mostly because she was the only recognizable name for us to search for! :)

A day in Uruguay

Today, Kara and I woke up really early and boarded a boat for Uruguay. It was freezing cold this morning when we left, despite my four layers of clothing! When we got to Colonia, we found maps and started walking.

Colonia is a UNESCO heritage site, showcasing many buildings dating back from the 1600's! We took it easy all day, wandered the streets and stopped in for a Cappuccino Italiana and some sweets.

After coffee, we walked and walked and walked. Thankfully, it warmed up and we weren't blocks of ice anymore.

Finally, before boarding the boat back to Buenos Aires, we stopped at a local parilla to eat a chivito, an Uruguayan steak sandwich with ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato and a fried egg. It was so good!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What is it?

Yesterday, in the park, I saw this bird. It looks like a turkey/pheasant/chicken mix with pants on! Does anyone know what it is?

Buenos Aires, Week 3

Just got back from the MALBA (museum of Latin American art)... Very cool.

Taken from the middle of Avenida 9 de Julio, possibly the widest avenue in the world. It takes several stoplights to cross the whole thing!

Sculpture park near our apartment in Ricoleta.

We stumbled upon this architectural gem on Avenida de Mayo while looking for the Tango theater.

Finally, our trip wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without this: la Gripe A, known to the North Americans as "Swine Flu." More on that in another post...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

La Biela

La Biela is an Argentine institution, "the best in all of Buenos Aires," according to our elderly neighbors. It is a place where locals come for an afternoon coffee, beer or dessert. A group of men gathered at one table this afternoon while we were there, wearing their old fashioned suits and bow ties, sipping their espressos and having a jolly conversation with one another.

This cafe is such a great place, partly because of the food and drinks and partly because of its location. Just outside this restaurant is a huge, 200-year-old rubber tree. There are several benches situated around the tree, and lots of people milling about selling things or playing music.

Floralis Generica

To tell you the truth, Kara and I have been laying low today because of the threat of Swine Flu. These pictures are from this afternoon when we finally got out and around town a little. We decided to go for a coffee in a little cafe around the corner before getting some groceries and heading home.

We decided that it was much too nice of a day to sit indoors, so we took off down an undiscovered street. We found this statue. This giant steal space flower is located in the middle of a park. One interesting thing I learned about it is that it closes each night and opens again in the morning.

We are still enjoying our time in Argentina, but are keeping a close eye on the H1N1 stuff. Some local schools were closed today because of recent outbreaks, but it doesn't seem to be too bad yet.

Tomorrow's schedule: take the 11AM English tour around the neighborhood cemetery, then check out the area known as Palermo Hollywood.