Friday, September 18, 2009

Stay Tuned - Returning to Buenos Aires in January

Greetings All -

Our plans are all set. We will be arriving back in BA mid-January and staying in the same area of the Recoleta. This will be our third long term stay in BA and we are so looking forward to catching up with our friends and enjoying all the great things Buenos Aires and Argentina have to offer.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blog Post 20: Feria de Mataderos & the Long Good-bye

April 5 - 11

It’s Sunday and we take an hour-long bus ride across the city to the Feria de Mataderos (Fair of the Matadors).

It's held every weekend and it’s more a local than a tourist fair. There are gauchos with horses,

music and dancing,

stalls with local crafts that go on forever,

and, of course, all kinds of fair-food (like cotton candy and popcorn-covered jelly things!).

David’s favorites are, of course, the empanadas!

After walking the entire fair, which takes a few hours, we grab a table outside and dine al fresco. Our meal is just okay, but the people-watching is a blast. And before we head back, David wants to make one more loop around one section of the fair. We do and there, standing by the empanada stand buying lunch for her family, is our friend Gabriela from the Melody Cafe!

This is truly amazing because the fair is huge, so to run into someone we know is miraculous! She introduces us to her family and, after chatting (in Spanish) for a few minutes, we begin the long walk back to the bus stop.

And so our last weekend in Buenos Aires comes to an end.

Now there’s not a whole lot left to do but have friends over for a “clean-out-the apartment” party, since we're storing our stuff with them in BA until next year.

We have a few more lunches with friends, spend an evening at a milonga (tango club) watching Angela dance, and I have my last art class. For those of you who've asked me to post what I've been working on, here it is:

It's not perfect...but I'm happy with it. Unfortunately it's still wet, so I'm leaving it with Kevin and will pick it up next year.

We had a great time here this year. We loved doing the blog…and loved getting lots and lots of emails and comments from all of you blog-followers. Thanks for connecting with us regularly…and thanks to all our blog-stars for making our stay so memorable!

Adios amigos and amigas! Hasta el proximo ano...until next year.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blog Post 19: Won't Make that Mistake Again!

April 1 – 4

It’s Wednesday…David has his last Spanish session with Diego, we go to lunch with a friend, and I go to painting class. Rather an uneventful day.

Thursday, however, is quite the opposite. Early afternoon we leave our apartment and just around the corner, we see barricades lining the streets. Crowds are gathered and we realize today is the funeral for Raul Alfonsin, Argentina’s President from 1983 to ‘89, who died earlier this week. His was a landmark Presidency, as it symbolized the return of democracy and ended more than 7 years of a repressive military dictatorship that left thousands of people dead or “disappeared.”

He is being buried in the Recoleta Cemetery, only 5 blocks from where we live. While we don’t see the actual procession, we’re right outside the cemetery with throngs of people as the eulogy is being given...the Jablons witness a piece of Argentinian history!

That evening we have dinner with Angela, who David met at his Spanish class, and who turned us onto our personal trainer and our gym. We see Angela at the gym 3x per week as she warms up the personal trainer for us!

After dinner, she heads home and we walk back to our apartment building. The doorman lets us in, we go to the elevator, push the button for our floor, and nothing happens. Not a problem, or so we think! We speak to the doorman, who tells us the elevator isn’t working and won’t be fixed until tomorrow! He suggests we use the service elevator to let ourselves in through the back door of our apartment.

Sounds logical…but we never carry the key to the back door of our apartment. So using the service elevator won’t help. And since there’s no staircase to the front door of the apartment (only the elevator, which opens directly into a vestibule where you can access our apartment and one other) we are stuck. More specifically, we have no place to sleep.

Shoot…now what??? As we leave the building we realize there are only two options…bother our friends (who have their own guests in town) or go to a hotel…so we choose the latter. It’s already 1:30am when we check in, and we have no luggage. Can’t imagine what the desk clerk is thinking!

Since friend Jim lives around the corner from the hotel and we’re wide awake, we go over to say “hi” (although the party he had is winding down) and get some toothpaste before calling it a night. It’s really so easy here (when your friends all keep the same crazy hours) .

The next morning, the elevator has been fixed and the 1st thing we do is put the back door key on our key ring. Our friends tell us they have all had this happen to them…welcome to the club! Won’t let that happen again!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Blog Post Number 18: San Isidro & Tigre

March 27 – 30

The weather is still great…sunny with daytime temps around 75. And even though the days are getting shorter (gets dark around 7:00) the evenings are still warm enough to walk around in shorts.

With less than 2 weeks to go, we’re thinking we will have to do a “practice” pack soon to see if all the stuff we’ve bought over the last 2+ months fits in our 3 small suitcases and 2 knapsacks. David, who usually insists we only travel with carry-on luggage, has resigned himself to the fact that, due to airlines weight restrictions (baggage, not people), there’s no way we could have avoided the check-in process…so we might as well make it easy on ourselves and check it all.

Our weekend is quiet, but we have plans to see our friend Jorge on Tuesday. We met Jorge on last year’s cruise; we kept in touch with him after we returned to the States and have looked forward to reconnecting with him in person.

March 31

Jorge picks us up at 11:00. He has offered to show us some of BA’s northern suburbs and our 1st stop is San Isidro…just 20 kilometers outside of the city and you’re in another world. San Isidro lies along the Rio de la Plata and was once a weekend destination for BA’s wealthier families. Today you can still stroll along the original tree-lined cobblestone streets,

past large homes,

the occasional eye-catching store front,

through San Isidro Cathedral, which dates back to 1898,

and into Mitre Square, where an artisans’ fair is held every Sunday.

The original San Isidro train station dates back to the late 1890s; it was remodeled in 1995 but its original style was preserved.

From San Isidro, we make a brief photo stop at one of the riverside restaurants

and then drive to the Puerto de Frutos (Fruits’ Port) in Tigre. Situated on the Rio Lujan, it’s the gateway to the canals, islands and waterways that comprise the Delta area.

Shops and stalls line the river bank,

but we think the coolest things are the transport boats loading and unloading wood to be used for docks and pilings.

All this touring makes us hungry so we head over to Kansas, our favorite "rib joint" for lunch.

After lunch, we drive past elegant boathouses built at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century and still in use today.

We follow the Victoria Walkway, a promenade on the banks of the river, toward the historic El Tigre Club, a fabulous building once used for Gatsby-like dances but now the site of the Tigre art museum.

Closed today, we promise ourselves we’ll visit it next year with Jorge and then take one of the motorboats for a cruise through the Delta inlets and waterways.

It’s getting late, so we say goodbye to Jorge and board the train that takes us back to the city. After a leisurely day…quiet sun-drenched streets, waterways, palm trees…it’s a shock when we get off the train during rush hour...hoards of people everywhere! We walk the 20 minutes to our neighborhood, where the pace is slower and we have time to reflect on a wonderful day.

Thanks Jorge.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blog Post 17: Feliz Cumpleanos - It's a Banner Day

March 26
Feliz Cumpleanos – Today I turned 60!! Holy smoke – how did this happen?

As we are riding down in the elevator of our building to go for breakfast, David apologizes, for perhaps the 3rd time, telling me he hasn’t yet gotten me a birthday card. I tell him not to worry.

But as we leave our apartment building, I look to my left and there, stretched across our street, is a fabulous brightly colored banner…wishing me a happy birthday.

I just love it, as corny as that sounds. I feel like a celebrity in my neighborhood. It’s just so much fun. All day long, every time we go in or out of our building, every time we turn the corner to go home, there it is, making me smile. Thanks David…it’s better than a card!

Rick and Kevin drop off a beautiful bouquet of flowers,

We spend the day doing a little shopping, a little eating, a little visiting with friends. Jim brings me a lovely necklace.

David has made a reservation for dinner at our new favorite restaurant, Lola, for 2 at 8:30, or so he tells me.

But when we walk in, there are Kevin, Rick and Jim sitting at the bar waiting for us...he’s arranged a surprise party for me! We have a bottle of champagne at the bar…

then the maitre' d shows us to our table (without my knowing it, David had picked it out and planned the evening a few days before with the restaurant owner)

David and three great friends,

our favorite Malbec, fabulous food, more Malbec, fabulous desserts, more champagne, a birthday brownie covered with dulce de leche and marshmallow topping!!! What more could a girl want?

I have a wonderful birthday… and feel like 60 may not be so bad.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blog Post 16: Abasto, Puerto Madero & Plaza San Martin

March 20 – 21
Friday and Saturday are quiet days…leisurely breakfasts, dinners at home (3 in a row, in fact – a record!!). We often try to make lunch the big meal of the day, and these 2 days that is what we’ve done.

We stay in the Recoleta on Friday, but on Saturday we take the bus to the Abasto shopping mall, a former fruit and vegetable market. Built in the 1930’s, it still retains its original art deco facade. It’s very impressive with its soaring ceilings and 3 story-high arched windows.

It’s one of several modern shopping malls in the city, complete with the largest food court I’ve ever seen (including the only kosher McDonalds outside of Israel), a 12 screen movie theater, a carousel, and three floors of stores.

March 22 – Sunday
It’s the 1st day of autumn…oh my gosh. I wonder if that means I can no longer wear white (kind of like Labor Day at home?). If that’s the case, my wardrobe has just been severely compromised!

We’re off to the port area, Puerto Madero, for lunch at one of the many Italian restaurants on the River Plate. The old warehouses have been recycled and the cobbled walkways retained. It’s the last neighborhood in the city to be built up; remodeling began in 1991 and is still going full speed ahead.

There are also wonderful old buildings to see like the customs house

and more.

On the way home, we stop at Plaza San Martin

to see the United Buddy Bears exhibit – each is 2 meters tall and represents 140 countries recognized by the United Nations,

the fabulous wrought-iron gates of the Military Circle (club for retired military officers),

and the Palace San Martin.

March 23- 25
What a relief – women are still wearing white (maybe that’s because it’s still 80-85 degrees?).

We spend time outside, we occasionally run into people we know (that hardly ever happened to me in Boston!), and then we meet Ana and Jorge at a local parilla for dinner where we also celebrate the birth of their new grandson (earlier in the day).

Stay tuned...more tomorrow.