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.