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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

Buenos Aires

January 29:  New Adventure - the train. We have walked by the station several times but today we enter and purchased our ticket to Tigre. The city is only 17 miles away but it took us over an hour to get there. It must have been rush hour even though it was 9 AM. The train was packed so we were standing but we had a good place to stand and the air conditioning was on. The town was founded in 1820 and gets it’s name “tigres” or jaguars that were hunted in its early years. We bought our cruise ticket but had an hour before the tour. We purchased 4 empanadas and two cervezas as it was 11 AM. After eating we visited the very popular wicker shops that lined the port.  Our 1 1/2 hour cruise was through the Parana Delta. There were many homes/hotels built on the islands. Most of the homes are built on stilts as the area will flood between September and December. It was 93 degrees but it felt like 110. The wind from boat didn’t even cool me down. I was miserable. We headed back to the train - no air conditioning but I did get to sit down. On our way home we stopped for a late afternoon pizza. The restaurant was nice and cool. We got back to the apartment building and the lobby was dark and the lobby attendant wasn’t around. I was pushing the buttons for the 3 elevators - nothing was happening. THE ELECTRICITY WAS OFF!  WE HAD TO CLIMB TO THE 7TH FLOOR! I was only able to find the key hole to the apartment by feeling. We opened all doors and got a small breeze. I jumped into the shower to cool off. Thank goodness we had water. We entertained ourselves with the computer. Thank goodness the battery was full as the electricity didn’t come on until 7:30 PM. It took forever to cool down the apartment. It was quite the day.

January 26:  Museum of Fine Arts. The museum only had the main floor open at 10 AM. The museum had a couple of painting by all the famous painters. They also had some wonderful sculptures. I am always amazed how the sculptor can make the stone look so delicate.

January 25: Reflections  The apartment: The elevator has pull doors that must be shut before the elevator will move. The elevator floor will drop an inch or two when getting on the elevator on the 7 and pushing the down button. The first couple of times made put heart beat faster. There is the main entrance door to the lobby and a gate which is locked from the inside and outside. The gate is only used on the weekends. If there ever was a fire I hope the first person out puts out a door stop for both doors. The city: The sidewalks are awful. They use large cement tiles to pave the sidewalks. The titles are broken or missing - you must watch were you are going. There are parks everywhere in the city. On the weekends the large parks will have the crafter vendors selling their merchandise. It seems like every other block you will find a pharmacy, and a pastry store. Dog walkers are all over the city and will have at least 6+ dogs. The city sidewalks are empty on the weekends which amazed me for a city this size. Chorizo doesn’t mean a spicy sausage but a “thick” steak.

January 23:  Plaza Congreso was the sight seeing destination. It is located only several blocks from the apartment.  All Argentine National Highways begin with zero kilometers and is marked on a milestone at the Plaza. The Congress building was inaugurated in 1906 containing a 72-seat Senate and a 257-seat Chamber of Deputies.

January 22: Speaking of the doctor, I got up at 5:30 am to get to the clinic in order to get an Rx for my asthma medicine. Prescriptions are so much cheaper outside of the USA. I was successful - hooray.

January 21:  Our objective was a visit to the Japanese Gardens. As we left the subway we discovered the City Zoo. We were told not to visit this zoo as there is a better zoo in the town of Escobar. We peeked through the fence and saw a ton of flamingos. The Japanese gardens were a relaxing haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city. All that relaxing made us hungry - it really was all the walking. We found a place that served up great pizza and cold beer. Not just warm beer put into a bucket of ice, which has been the norm, but refrigerated beer placed in a bucket of ice. It was just what the doctor ordered.

January 20:  The Abasto de Buenos Aires was the central wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 1893 to 1984. Since 1999, it has served as a shopping mall. We walk all four floors of the mall and then walked outside to find a place to eat (no fast food for us). We had a delightful lunch. Gary’s relleno, made with a crepe, was out of this world. We then headed to the hipermercado Coto for our groceries. They didn’t have peanut butter or green onions. Darn.

January 19:  It has been raining all morning. It’s nice to have the windows open and give the air conditioner a rest. I don’t know if we will get to the grocery store today.

January 18:  Happy Birthday Dad.  Gary and I had eye appointments in the afternoon. My eye sight had not changed - that’s a good thing. I called home and spoke to Mom, Dad, Marci and Alexia. They had been out to lunch for the Big Day. Everyone sounded fat and happy.

January 17:  Today’s visit was to the Recoleta area. It was several long block from the subway and it was a hot and sunny day. The bell tower of Our Lady of Pilar can be seen from the edge of the area. It made a excellent GPS point. The basilica was finished in 1732 and was home to several monks until 1822. We spend 50 cents US to visit the Cloisters. I was amazed to see that the windows are the original alabaster instead of glass. The three levels of the Cloisters are now a museum. Next door is the Recoleta Cemetery.  The garden of the convent/basilica was converted into the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires. The property (14 acres) contains 4691 vaults, all above ground, of which 94 have been declared National Historical Monuments by the Argentine government. After a quick view of the cemetery, we stopped for a Starbucks frappuccino. I can’t tell you how good it felt to cool down our internal temperature. Instead of a brain freeze I had chest freeze. We met some nice folks from Florida and exchanged emails. Feeling refreshed we made our way through Plaza Francia. The museum of Fine Arts will have to wait for another day, my dogs were beginning to bark. We did visit the Palais de Glace, a former ice rink now turned exposition hall. They had a great display of art work incorporating cloth/threads which I really enjoyed - Gary not so much.

January 16: We were scheduled for an eye exam but it was rescheduled for Friday. We had a quiet day at home until 6:45 PM. We vacated the apartment so the landlord could clean. We found the Los 36 Billares cafe just 2 blocks away. As I walked in I thought I remembered reading about this cafe as one of the “notable cafes” in the city. We were the only people eating at 7 PM. We didn’t mind as we could check out the place. The food was good. As we are finishing up, we noticed the restaurant was preparing for a show. For $10 US per person we could hear singing and see tango dancing. I walked back to the apartment to get the camera. Gary made friends with Daniel Alexis (the main act), the lighting man and a young lady that gave Gary a brochure of the notable (historical) cafes in the city. I went downstairs to check out the billiards. Most of the tables had no pockets and used only three balls. To score points, the shooter had to hit all three balls with one move. Wikipedia says it is called Carom billiards. It was about 9:45 PM when the show began. The singers were truly great performers and the tango was excellent as well. In 2009 the tango was declared part of the world's "intangible cultural heritage" by UNESCO. We could not have planned the night to be any better.

January 15: Today I ran over to the pastry shop. Is this becoming a habit? My challenge was to get our laundry done. I noticed the laundry shop when we were in the taxi the first night we arrived. It is around the corner from the apartment so it is very close. We thought we had purchased laundry detergent but it turned out to be softener. I made sure to look up the word for soap, my bags were packed with clothes and I had 32 pesos in my pocket. The attendant spoke a couple of words of English so all was well except I didn’t have enough money when all was said and done. I trotted off to the apartment and quickly returned with the remaining amount owed. My one double load cost $9.69 US.

January 14:  This morning, Gary made a quick run to the pastry store across the street from the apartment. The sweet rolls were yummy with my oatmeal! We rode the subway to the neighborhood of Belgrano. The major street, Juramento, was tree lined and the street was cobble stoned yet it had tall new apartment buildings. The stores were like any you would find in a small town: hardware store, small clothing stores, and small book stores. It had a much more relaxed easy going feeling then the downtown area of B.A. It was quite delightful. Belgrano is also home to Chinatown. We found the Casa China grocery store mentioned on the Internet. The Internet indicated the store sold peanut butter and I desperately needed some. It was closed, maybe not enough business. Again, the Internet was out of date. Luckily the store next door had the extra crunchy that we prefer. My peanut butter urge was fulfilled.

January 13:  I had the privilege of cooking breakfast - oatmeal and toast. The apartment doesn’t have a toaster but it had a grill to place for the gas burner. I could only prepare one piece at a time and they were cold when I served them but it worked out ok.

January 12:  Purchased our airline tickets to Guatemala City. We were able to see the Bronco game on the computer - They lost!!!  The one time I tune into the game and they don’t win.

January 11:  Primary objective - tour the Colon Theater.  The Colon is the main opera house in Buenos Aires, acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. It took 20 years to build and opened in 1908. Back then, women widowed 2 years or less, were not allow to be seen in public. They sat behind a grill at floor level. The cost of a ticket dictated which entrance door you entered and which reception rooms you could visit during intermission. It was good to be the Elite. The theater was closed for 4 years for refurbishing from 2006 -2010. It was amazing to see several spots that were not restored. The walls and floors were filthy. We then walked down to San Martin Plaza.  In 1713, the land was sold to the British South Sea Company. The South Sea Company operated their slave trade out of the former governor's residence.

January 9:  We took the subway with our SUBE card to the address for a Carrefour (supermarket) I found on the internet. Tip - you can’t always trust the internet of a foreign country- no Carrefour in the neighborhood. We did find a Vea, thank goodness, and filled Gary’s backpack and another bag with groceries.

January 8:  Our morning was spent at the Puerto Madero area. We first walked to the Ecological Reserve.  In 1918, the reserve was the Municipal Riverside resort. It is now a protected nature area. There are many food stalls to purchase a snack but we were there too early. We then paid 50 cents (US) to board the Sarmiento Frigate. She is considered to be the last intact cruising training ship from the 1890s. Lunch was at the restaurant Asia. We ordered a combination Sashimi plate. They were out of Tuna. How can you offer sashimi and be out of Tuna?????  Back at the studio I packed up for our move to the apartment we would rent for the next month.

January 7:  We had a more relaxing day. Didn’t leave the studio until noon. We walked to the Galerias Pacifico building in hopes of finding a upscale grocery store. The building was constructed in 1889. In 1987, a film crew was shooting in the basement of the Galerias Pacifico and to their horror they stumbled on an abandoned torture center. The dungeon walls still bore the desperate markings made by its long-dead prisoners: names, dates, pleas for help. All I saw was a modern but beautiful shopping center. Next door is the Centro Naval building. OMG! Opened in 1918, it houses the Naval officers club. We didn’t go in. I wished we had.

January 6:  It is Sunday so we decide to see the San Telmo’s Sunday market. We walked over to Defensa Street. Vendors were setting up their stalls ... You name it. It went on for blocks until you got to Plaza Dorrego. Along the way we came upon the statue of Mafalda. Mafalda was a comic strip by an Argentine cartoonist. The strip featured a 6-year-old girl named Mafalda, who was deeply concerned about humanity and world peace and rebels against the current state of the world. The strip ran from 1964 to 1973. We also wander through the Mercado de San Telmo, an iron structure opened in 1897 selling food and antiques.

January 5:  We walked to the Avenue de Mayo and then head to Plaza de Mayo. Casa Rosada (The Pink House) is the office of the President of Argentina. We were able to get a tour of the building. Also in the plaza is the Cathedral Metropolitana with it’s 12 columns representing the 12 Apostles and the Cabildo, a museum now but was the seat of the postcolonial administrative council. By the time I get back to the studio, I was drenched with sweat - the shower felt so good.  

January 4:  We arrive at the studio apartment we will have for only 4 days.  It is in a great location, three blocks from the major boulevard Avenue 9 de Julio and one block away from the pedestrian street Florida. The city reminds me a lot of Paris but more run down. We had lunch at a small restaurant. Gary’s steak (like a T bone) was wonderful. We found the Office of Tourism. The gentleman gave us some great advice which we will look forward to putting into action. We definitely need more work on our Spanish.