Here we go!
Aug 22- Well our travels in South America have come to an end. We head to the airport in an hour to catch our flight home to Alaska. We have had an epic adventure and we are happy you chose to follow us across the country! From Buenos Aires to Colonia Uruguay, to Montevideo Uruguay, to Salto Uruguay, to Concordia Argentina, to Iguazu Falls, to Resistencia, to Salta Argentina, to Tucuman, to Cordoba, to Capilla del Monte, to Rosario, to Mar del Plata, and back to Buenos Aires.
It's been an amazing experience with wonderful memories made, interesting people met, friends made along the way, stories told, adventures shared. We will be in Alaska tomorrow night at 7 pm Alaska time and from there home to our quiet quaint homestead in Eagle where we should be home by 9 pm on Sunday after 2 days of driving. The weather forecast for our area is heavy rain and stormy conditions. It should be interesting pulling our trailer up dirt and gravel roads to get home.
Keep following! We'll be updating our blog as we can when we get down to the library to log on. Be safe and enjoy life daily!!
Aug 21- Started our morning off early, up at 0700 for breakfast, ordered some weird foods (nate's plate had blood sausage on it, which he valiantly tried a bite but then about gagged. Mine had what was supposed to be smoked trout, but ended up being funky smelling sushi. I couldn't eat mine either.
We sat in the hotel lobby waiting for our tour bus to arrive. In walks the lady (Laura) we met at the Recoleta cemetery a few days ago who had offered for us to join the last 10 minutes of her tour there. She brightened up when she saw us and said, "Hey! I know you!! You're the couple from Alaska I met at the cemetery! I'm your tour guide today!"
Wow! Small world! So off we went to the Tigre Delta. We picked up a couple from Colorado, a couple from Brazil and a young lady from Spain. We all hopped on a river boat and sailed for 2 hours into the Delta, seeing the city of Buenos Aires fall behind us as we ventured into the river systems of the delta.
We saw many birds, a river otter, grocery boats that run the rivers daily to sell their food to locals, they even have ice cream boats, just like ice cream trucks that roll city streets, these float the rivers selling ice cream to kids. Houses along the delta have to be painted every two years due to the wind, rain and humidity. Houses on average cost $50,000 USD. The erosion control walls required to be erected and maintained along the waterfront of your property cost half of whatever you paid the price of the house. Water has to be bought bottled or people can boat to a free fresh water pump in Tigre to fill their water jugs. They have electricity, free WiFi, and satellite television. The kids start school at 10 am and ride a river boat for a bus. They start late because of morning fog making it unsafe to boat then.
It was interesting! Then we got dropped off in the city of Tigre which is on the road system. We went to lunch and had empanadas and really great lemonade. Then we walked around the fruit market, which curiously had zero fruit stands, mostly locals selling wicker crafts and trinkets. We went to San Isidro and saw an old cathedral where the founding priest's ashes are on display behind glass in a wooden box in the main lobby.
We had a good time hearing stories of the history of the areas we drove thru. Laura was a great tour guide and it was neat our paths had crossed again. Hopefully she'll come visit Alaska someday and we can be her tour guides!
Aug 19- We slept in til 9 am today, first day we've really done that this entire trip. Easy morning getting ready to head out. Walked to the US Embassy. When we saw Old Glory waving strong, we both stood and looked at our flag for awhile. We both miss home immensely. It was comforting to see. We wandered past and found a coffee shop, sat and had a cappuccino, then headed into a beautiful park. We meandered aimlessly, taking photos and enjoying the green grass, sculptures, landscaping and water fountains.
Walking back we found alot of people were entering a large covered arena and figured we'd check it out. The front security guy asked for tickets, we held our hands out showing we had none. He pointed to a counter so we headed to it. Trying to ask how much a ticket was, wasn't working. The counter guy finally got frustrated with us and waved us in saying, pass, pass, and pointing inside. So in we went for free to discover an outdoor show with a ton of booths and some old military exhibits.
We browsed and stopped at a booth that had police and military gear. We told them we were retired police from Alaska. They showed us patches and exchanged friendly broken english chit chat. We walked away and were headed to another booth when one of the guys from the police booth caught up to us and stopped us.
"You are police from Alaska?" He asked.
" Yes, retired police me, " I said pointing to myself, "and retired military police him," pointing to Nate.
"Very good!" He replied, " gift for you! " and handed us both Argentina police thin blue line patches and SOG stickers.
Well, that was certainly cool!
So we kept on, Nate chatted with military guys. We looked at a bunch of rifles and handguns on display, each having a poster from popular American movies that had the specific gun in it.
We found the kayaks we'd love to get, took photos and found out they do international shipping.
A guy selling boxer puppies on the corner caught our attention and Nate had to pet the puppies. They were very cute. The guy spoke English fairly well, told us about his grandfather from Spain and how he'd just moved here from his grandparents place in the country to the big city of Buenos Aires. He told us how different it was here than in the country. He was happy we liked Argentina and it's people. It was nice talking to him while Nate played with the puppies.
We decided to walk deeper into town to the weekend outdoor craft market. We stopped at Sullivan's bar, had an amazing lunch of tenderloin kabobs, mozzarella sticks, fried chicken strips and some awesome breaded fried shrimp.
Full, we wandered the market and didn't find anything we needed. So we returned to our room, just in time to beat the rain. We found an English speaking movie channel on tv and have been enjoying a relaxing evening, watching movies, drinking coffee and just relaxing.
It was a great day!
Aug 17- We walked around San Telmo. Very old town. Lots of antique shops. Stopping for lunch, we ordered a pizza. It wasn't edible due to the pancheta meat on it that neither of us cared for. We wrapped it to go and went to pay. Their visa card machine evidently wasn't working. Not sure what to do since we didn't have enough cash to cover our $20 meal, we stood there while she tried calling the provider for the machine. No luck. So we offered her our last $15. She took it and we left, feeling bad, but there wasn't anything else we could do. We gave our leftover pizza to a homeless guy that had been hanging out near our hostel. He seemed very grateful, so we felt better about everything.
Later that night we went to the Nim Bar, a really cool swanky bar with gourmet burgers. We sat beside a fire outside and dined on burgers, potato wedges and a dark beer called Black Mamba that was 40 IBU with 6.9% alcohol. It was all really good.
This morning we caught a taxi to Palermo district. We ended up hailing Mario Andretti as a driver. As we zoomed thru heavy traffic, bobbing and weaving, getting our ab workout trying to stay upright in our seat, I noticed the driver would occasionally make the sign of the cross on himself. Now I wasn't sure if he was doing this as we sped by random churches or if he was just erring on the side of caution so if we wrecked he'd be covered!
But we made it to our destination in one piece. Well, kind of. He dropped us off on a street corner and pointed in the direction of our address. We unloaded our bags, backpacked up and started walking the rest of the way, which was about a city block.
We waited outside the locked apartments. The guy with the key didn't show at 11 am, so we had been told if he wasn't there at 11, he'd be there by 3. So we sat on the sidewalk and waited an hour. People walked by looking at us like we were homeless. Which technically, I guess we are... Had to be the banjo sitting near our backpacks. I told Nate we should get out one of our coffee mugs and set it out while we strum our banjo.
He said "we dont even know how to play it".
"Yes, I know, but maybe they'll take pity on us and we can make some pocket change to pay the $5 we welched on..."
We decided to pack up and look for lunch. Nearby we found a little cafe. Ordered a steak and a salad. The salad had zero lettuce in it. Just shredded carrots, boiled potatoes and eggs and some chicken chunks. It wasn't too bad. Nate's steak though was rancid. Not even edible. Lost in translation we returned the plate of food. I went to pay the bill and thru much arguing with the owner, I made him take that dish off our bill. He was insistent I pay for it. I was insistent I wouldn't. I won. The coffee was good though.
Sitting in Plaza Italia, while waiting for our key guy to arrive, we watched homeless people milling about, digging thru trash cans. Nate watched one girl remove a bottle of soda from the trash, took off the lid and drank it. Pretty gross, glad I didn't witness that one... The weather is warm, slightly breezy and we're looking forward to getting checked in to our room.
2 pm: We meandered back over to where we had sat earlier at 11 am to wait for the key to arrive. At 3:30 there was still no key. From down the street, a grandma looking lady and a younger 20 something gal approached us. They had passed us earlier this morning. The grandma said, "what is wrong?!" And then said alot of stuff in spanish.
"We're waiting for a key." I said.
"Call on your phone," the girl says.
"We don't have a phone." Nate says.
"You need help? Use her phone?" Grandma says.
"Yes, we need help." I reply.
So the girl calls the number listed on our reservation. Carlos answers and says the maid has been upstairs all day waiting for us. Well, that would've been nice to know ahead of time. He knew we were arriving at 11 am. He was the one that emailed me and said if nobody was there at 11, someone would meet us at the door at 3.
Well, she hung up with Carlos and we waited. Grandma waited with us. Nobody showed up to let us in. Grandma started going off in a Spanish tirade that indicated she was highly irate. She started pushing all the call box buttons on the 9th floor.
Finally a very heavyset woman came to the front door. Grandma launched into her, berating her for being so lazy that she couldn't even come check to see if we were there at 11 or 3 and that we'd been there waiting at the door all day since this morning.
Well, with grandma's fiery help and the translator girl assisting us, we got into our apartment. Grandma kissed each of us on the cheek and wished us well, apologizing for the long wait. She was very sweet and happened to be the assistant sent to help us along in this journey. So thanks grandma! That was a huge blessing you came across our path when needed most!
It seems that no matter where we go in this city, we are getting the tourist shaft rates. Thankful for grandma stepping in to help out complete strangers. Be glad to get on that plane home in 4 days!!
So at the cemetery I decided to actually knock on a tomb using this lion knocker... Several raps with no response.
"What are you doing?!" Nate asked.
" Seeing if anybody answers. " I reply.
"You better hope there's no response!" He laughs.
i respond with a light bulb moment, "we need to put one of these on our tombstone and install a solar operated answering machine that's activated with the knocker, saying "Why are you disturbing us? We couldn't escape you in the bathroom, so why should I think it'd be any different here? What do you need now??"
THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!