Sunday, April 25, 2010

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina

Husband #1 and I jetted off to Buenos Aires last week sans kids. My MIL was gracious enough to come up and stay with our kids while we were gone. Husband #1 had a conference to attend and I just tagged along for the almost free vacation!

The flight was overnight. We flew to Dallas at 3pm and from there it was 10.5 hours direct to Buenos Aires. Thank goodness for Tylenol PM! Still, we were exhausted from poor sleep on the flight when we arrived at 8am the next morning. There is only a two hour time difference from Central time basically like the west coast.

The language barrier was challenging (Spanish) but now that we are home I am still trying to address waiters and such in Spanish! Plus, Lowe's would not take payment in our leftover pesos! The weather was perfect and I think it was warmer than usual for this time of year (fall for them). Husband #1 and I even did the water drain experiment since we were south of the equator...yep, drains counter clockwise!

We had steak every day. I have a strong feeling it will be quite a while before I have another steak. I actually had to beg a waiter for some lettuce one day. We also had (seemingly) gallons of red wine every day. Argentinean Malbec is yummy! We really liked Trumpeter and Luigi Bosca. Now we just need to figure out if they export those here.

We attended a Tango dinner one evening. It seemed obligatory since we were in Argentina. It was a wonderful show and the dancers were fabulous in an historic theater. This is just one photo of a really cool scene set from the show.

Husband #1 and I in an outdoor brew pub drinking 8.5% alcohol beer. Yum. First time we did not have wine at a meal.

Me in front of Eva Peron/Evita's tomb (and her family). The cemetery was amazing and one of my favorite parts of the entire city. More photos follow!!

Each one of these that look like small houses were individual family tombs. Most are very elaborate and have granite and marble and stained glass and such. They go three stories below ground and hold about 11 coffins plus urns of cremations. Each tomb costs roughly $60,000 American dollars just to have and then you have to pay upkeep. Some did and some obviously did not as you will see below.

I'll spare you the photo but one of the tombs (not the one pictured above) was open with corrugated metal half covering it and the coffin inside was smashed open on one end. I actually have photos of the person's leg bone and knee joint...very old and just bones. I can only imagine what the health issues were. Husband #1 was teasing me I had dead people dust in my nose and on my hands, etc.

Can you guess what we ate at dinner this night?

This was a very cool statue. It opens during the day and closes at night. It is made out of some kind of metal, much like the arch in St. Louis

You thought roads in the US were bad? Now that is a SERIOUS pothole...right in the middle of the lane.

This was an area in Boca in Buenos Aires... La Caminita where all the houses are painted different colors like this. Story is that the people who used to live there mostly worked at the shipyard and docks. Their employers did not always have money to pay them so paid them with paint from the various ships, hence the varied colors.
This is the soccer stadium in Boca. Same story about the colors. They could not decide on colors for the team so decided the next ship that came in would be the was a Swedish ship.

Me inside a cathedral. 80% of Buenos Aires is catholic. This place was beautiful and well maintained for being so old.
This is the office of the president, basically the Argentinean equivalent of the White House but the president does not live there. Their current president is a woman.
I was pretty sure I was going to die on a daily basis whenever I got inside a cab. Those guys are nuts! The government could save a bundle of pesos if they just forgot painting stripes on the road. No one pays attention to them anyway. Three cars per every two lanes was standard. As was making a right turn from a left hand lane across four lanes of traffic.
One day I think I may have almost been mugged. Not too positive but it was concerning. The tour guide the day before had warned of a tactic where they throw mustard or ketchup on you and then approach and help you clean it off meanwhile stealing your stuff. I was in a park by myself under a tree when something splattered all over the left side of me from behind. I wasn't sure if it was bird poop or what. I turned quickly and this guy walks up. I start to back away and he fumbles through some Spanish words and busts out with "water" and motions cleaning and points the other way. I say okay and he walks off the way he came. I head towards this pond thing he pointed at but as I go that way I notice he has begun to circle around the long way over to where I am heading. I immediately turn around and head the opposite direction. I found a cafe with a bathroom to disrobe and wash off most of the goop. It was white and smelled like a permanent (hair) solution or something. It was gross and stunk to high heaven. I am still not sure what happened, maybe he was innocent and it was bird poop but I am just glad nothing bad happened.
We had fun and relaxed and saw some sights. It was my first time below the equator! Husband #1 was unexpectedly asked to give a talk at the conference at the last minute (think asked/told at 3pm Sunday for an 8am Monday talk). Many people were unable to attend due to the volcano so many speakers were not there. We spent some wonderful meals with some friends and colleagues from Wash U. We are glad to be home, though. And for once, the kids actually missed us!!

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