Friday, February 27, 2015

Exploring Buenos Aires

On Monday, Feb. 23, we really checked out our room.  It’s quite nice and even has a bidet.  We need to figure that out.  But we can do that later.

Side by side ... let's try out both. 

Our room is quite nice ... and comfortable
We walked and walked and walked.  There are lots of cool buildings and we shot photos right and left.  It appears there is a monument, statue, palace, church, government building or just something beautiful on nearly every corner.  We found good coffee right away at a little cafĂ©/coffee shop about a half block away, just down the street from Starbucks.  It ain’t Nescafe, baby.  Hallelujah!!!!

Even found a Beagle.

The buildings are fabulous, many with balconies that remind me of the ones in
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, except these are more ornate and the buildings are quite fancy . 

Is there anything finer than a beautiful church?
And the interior is even more beautiful.
The clock tower, Torre Monumental, was a gift from the local British community to the city in commemoration of the centennial of the May Revolution of 1810.  After the Falklands War in 1982 the tower was renamed Torre Monumental though some still call it by its original name of Torre de los Ingleses.

The clock tower is absolutely gorgeous.
The totem kwa’Guilth was donated to Argentina in 1964  by the Canadian government, but I couldn’t find much other information about it.  It’s a very cool piece.
It was very fun to see a totem in South America.

These "bullets" are set along many of the streets where we've walked.  Lots of people trip over them, lots of scooters ride in between and park and some cars park between them as well.
Buildings with character is something we've lost at home with everything old torn down and replaced with more modern and not as beautiful concrete and glass.
In addition to all of the buildings and statues there are many other things that we don’t see at home.  We were kept very busy with our cameras.  In fact, they might have been smoking hot they were in such use.

Every now and again someone is using a cart.

Inside one of the judicial buildings we took a break for water.  It appeared to be a type of courthouse and place to get some type of documentation as there was a long line in one part of it. 

We also found planes in front of some military establishment.

I'm always up for a cop shot, especially when there are bikes involved.

This odd type of fountain was near the military place.

This was a block set in the pavement.  Some sort of justice wanted.

Lots of corners have shoe shine folks.

So many of the doors are magnificent, and are very tall.
So many of the buildings use the corner and it makes for a very attractive building.
There is a piece of culture in every direction.
We passed these young guys a couple of times.  They were painting, and this was the end of the day for them.

If I needed an armored car this is the one I would choose, black and yellow.

This city is full of clocks and towers.

Another beautiful building, and I seem to try to photograph all of them.

These young people were sitting on the sidewalk playing cards.  This is near a university.
We were by some government building that had police on every corner, as well as the required beautiful statue.

In addition to lots of police there was a water truck to use to spray the crowd if they got out of control.

Yes, I know pigeons are "sky rats" but they are pretty and there sure are a lot of them here.
We walked at night, too.  No one really pays you much mind, although they seem very concerned about our cameras, and we’ve been warned to watch them closely and always keep our hands on them.

Many buildings are used as billboards, this one for the tango.

Curved arches add something or make something out of a simple photo.
About 10 or so blocks away there is an obelisk.  The Obelisco de Buenos Aires is a national historic monument, built in 1936 to commemorate the fourth centenary of the first foundation of the city.  It was built by a German company in 31 days, with 157 workers. 
There are so many people out at night you wonder if anyone stays home.

Some folks are working at night cleaning up trash getting it ready for pickup.

All the trash goes onto the streets in cloth-type or plastic bags.
On Tuesday, Feb. 24, we walked to the Hard Rock Cafe to pick up a pin for a friend but it doesn’t open until noon.  Being that it’s about 2 miles from the hotel, we couldn’t hang around as a friend I met through a friend was going to come to our hotel to meet us at 1 p.m.  She is a harpist of a quite famous nature and I did not want to miss meeting her in person.

Closed.  Won't be getting that pink for my friend today.
There are lots of little markets everywhere and we've taken to buying yogurt and a local orange juice that is excellent.
One thing we’ve found is that there are these little squares of paper like Post It notes that advertise some type of sex thing … maybe escort services or something.  People paste them up all over everything … trash bins, light poles, sides of buildings. 

Don't look closely; these are nasty.  But quite decorative how they're placed.

Any surface will do for the lovely little sex post its.

As we walked down to Hard Rock Cafe there were a number of people with scrapers and bottles of cleaning liquid removing them.  That was nice.  However, on our way back we came up behind people a few blocks behind the cleaners putting up new ones.  I guess that’s job security … for those removing them and those replacing them.  It was rather amusing.

Cleaning and scraping the post its, but they'll soon return.

We got back to the hotel and met Patricia. What a lovely lady she is.  Her English is quite good and we wandered over to the nearby mall for lunch.  Who would have thought there was such a great place to eat in the mall.  She said we should have beef as Argentina is known for its beef.  We did.  And it was excellent.  She also said we should try the “budin de pan con dulce de leche.”  It’s like a flan, and was absolutely delicious.  I sure hope we find that again.

Patricia is a lovely lady.  I went to school with David Brown in Whittier, Alaska.  We got reacquainted a few years ago and this is his lovely lady  David passed, but Patricia and I became friends.  When she found out we were coming to Buenos Aires, she wanted to get together and I'm so glad she did.  She's a wonderful person and we hope to see her again before we leave.

Argentina beef ... pretty good.  Yum.

This was the gem of a dessert.  I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I ate this.  "Budin de pan con dulce de leche." Remember that if you ever come across it on a menu.
After lunch we walked with her back to the subway which is how she would get home, maybe 60 blocks from where we are, and about 45 minutes on the subway. 

There is an armament museum and she took us in.  There are more than 3,000 arms of various types … cannons, guns of all types, swords.  It was quite interesting, and while we didn’t spend a lot of time, we were able to see a lot.  It would take a couple of visits to take it all in.   

I particularly liked the display of pitchfork-type weapons.

How would you recognize someone in this get-up?

There was a huge display of cannons, some with multiple barrels. 
Patricia headed to the subway and we headed back to the hotel, stopping to look at and photograph still more things … this city is a photographer’s dream … or maybe we just like to photograph things a little off the beaten path, as well as those on it.



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Taking care of business

We've seen some pretty cool things on Easter Island, art and culture and history.

We've stopped to take photos of things not on the beaten path.
But on Friday, Feb. 20, we needed to spend a day taking care of business.  And maybe do a bit of wandering around.  We returned the scooters.  Yep … rode in sandals.

Look at those sandals.

We found a good cuppa Joe.

We also went to the LAN office to get our tickets fixed and to see if we could change a flight to shorten or eliminate the long layover in Lima.  Nope.  Flights are full.  Oh well.  Was interesting there were so many people at the office.  Took about an hour or so.  You sat in a chair or stood while waiting, and Jaz had to let some someone know she was not next in line, only our Number One.  Okay.  No.  We were both quite polite.

I'll miss hearing the chickens in the morning.

I'll miss seeing the horses everywhere.
I'll miss the beauty of the flowers.
We walked around some, found another moai, got caught in some warm rain, looked at trinkets, shared an e’tun (tuna) empanada and just spent the day in slow motion, getting ready for the next marathon of flying.
I'll never understand why the cop cars have their windows and lights covered with metal screens with a hole for the driver to look through.

I'll miss the people who are friendly.

I won't miss the pounding rain although it did not last long.
I'll miss the colorful boats.

And the people willing to ham it up for a photo.

And I'll never enjoy a meal at a table for one on the beach of Isla de Pascua.
Saturday, Feb 21, was the day we would leave.  We had been speaking with a man from Seattle who said you could go to the post office and get your passport stamped with a stamp from Easter Island.  We all walked down to the post office to get our stamp.  It’s pretty cool.  Easter Island … the name given by the island’s first recorded European visitor who encountered it on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722.  We had a great time.  And by the way, the island’s official Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means Easter Island.
It was a great addition to the other stamps.
Marcello, our host, took us to the airport, pushed past everyone and took us to the head of the line.  He gave us both necklaces with a shell and a chicken feather. 
So long, beautiful island with your beautiful shore and water.
Enough mooning over the beautiful place we'd been.  It was now time for our next marathon of airplane flights.  Easter Island to Santiago, Chile.  Santiago to Lima, Peru.  Aggggghhhhh!!!!!  Another 8-9 hour layover  This time the airport was hopping and we couldn’t find a real quiet place to take much of a nap.  But never to be left without an adventure, Jaz’s reciprocity paperwork was not 100 percent in order.  I stayed with the luggage at the gate while she ran back and forth twice before getting it fixed.  All those months in the gym paid off.  We boarded the bus to our flight with three minutes to spare. 

Finally, Sunday, Feb. 22.  We arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  We were tired but had arranged for a transfer from the airport so it went smoothly except we were too tired to really take in anything.  The Hotel Esplendor is right down town, check in went very smoothly and we got into our room.  We didn’t do much.  We had a bite to eat at the little restaurant across the street, walked around the block and came back to the room.

The next item on our list of to do’s was to get our computers up and running.  Well, wouldn’t you know it … we blew the fuse in our room, all the lights went out and we fried our surge suppressor.  Guess it did what it was supposed to.  The hotel folks came and fixed the fuse right away, but now we were without Internet.  And that’s just not acceptable.

We discovered Jaz’s machine could be plugged directly into the converter, but mine could not.  I ran on battery as long as I could … but …