Day 2 – Buenos Aires - February 20, 2009
Greeting to All,
Our flight was uneventful however we did rock and roll a little bit flying over the Andes. Everything on time and the food was really good for airplane food. Of course our time spent in the airport lounges wasn’t bad either. Plenty of free food and wine! Of course, since we didn’t have to drive anywhere, why not? We were pleasantly surprise to find out that it was only a 10 hour flight because of a 3 hour time change.
The Elderhostel group seems great so far. They met us at the airport which was good because the trip into town was sporting with over eight lanes converging in and out. When we got to the hotel a group leader was here attending to our every need. As with most European hotels you have to put the room key into as slot to turn on room power which includes the air conditioner. That way when you take your key when you leave everything goes off, especially the air conditioner, but it does conserve energy. It is really hot and humid here, much worse than Florida so through some American ingenuity I was able to get a second key so the air conditioner stays on when we leave. Now Buenos Aires at first glance doesn’t look like a city we want to return to any time soon. Very dirty and huge plus so far we have encountered a real language barrier. Going through immigration was a real challenge when we didn’t have a clue what the immigration officer was saying to us. I guess it worked out okay because we were able to collect our luggage and leave the airport. Our luggage incidentally appears to be twice as much as everyone else is carrying. Time for a hot shower although Holly has already been shopping.
More to follow,
Tom & Holly
Continued – Buenos Aires
Greeting to All,
Yesterday we met our fellow travelers for lunch. If the food continues like this, we will not be going hungry. There is couple who are both working research cancer scientists – she was born in South Africa and moved to Belgium, he was from England and they now live in California. Another couple who he is a research scientist and she does computer programming, then two college professors and some lady traveling alone from Canada. Quite the group! Our guide’s name is Regina and she takes good care of us. Went to an art Latino museum, Sonja, a school/artist friend, would have been proud of me. I realize how little Tom and I know about art because I can’t believe that these paintings are worth a fortune. Maybe in my next life, art like that will have more meaning. We did understand the USAF jet flying into the ground with Jesus nailed to the outside. We also understood the young man hanging onto the outside of the subway with his eyes bulging out of his head. That is how we felt riding the Russian subway. I think we will pass the subway system in Buenos Aires.
Then it was time for our next lecture on Argentine Culture and dinner. Our speaker was very interesting. At the end we all had Mate. It is an herbal tea and served very ceremoniously. The head fixes each serving and everyone drinks from the gourd with a silver straw that looks like an Amsterdam bong. You can only imagine our thoughts sharing this “stuff” at the beginning of our trip. That was a little friendlier than I wanted to be, but I am still alive this morning so here’s hoping. Oh, Yes, it was STRONG! I don’t think I would call it tea. Anyway after that the evening flowed along rather smoothly. It was a BBQ place unlike the United States. They had a huge open pit with all the meats cooking as you walked in. There was chicken, goat (proved to be delicious) pig and of course beef. Beef is consumed something like 67 kg per person per year in Argentina. Even though the country has a very long coast line, people here only eat fish during lent. On the whole pork and chicken are rare with beef being number one. The meal started with a meat pie that I have had at school on special feasting occasions, then a enormous salad, fried provolone cheese, a sausage filled with “you guess what” and we decided not to ask, and then the BBQ comes out – enough to feed 50 people- on a platter over a pan filled with charcoal. Of course, there was dessert too. We have had ice cream for lunch and dinner and both tasted much richer than our normal ice cream. I don’t think we will starve on this trip. Oh, forgot to mention that a great Argentina red wine flowed like water with dinner, bottle after bottle and than we topped off dessert with Champagne. After a 5 block walk home through the many homeless sleeping in the streets we hung out our big open unscreened, unbarred 5th story hotel window and had a glass of wine and watched the garbage pickers. We did sleep well, now off to a full day of touring with Tango lessons and wine tasting planned for tonight.
More to follow,
Tom & Holly