Thursday, February 26, 2009

We're Back!

We have been out of the country for 30 days (left on Jan. 27th), have just recently gotten connected to the internet, and are now ready to start blogging. Posting to the blog and especially posting pictures can be a really frustrating experience, as the internet connection here is unreliable.

Once we have relived the past 4+ weeks, we hope to add updates every few days for the remainder of our stay, which could be another 7-10 weeks (no confirmed return date yet – typical of how we’ve approached this entire trip).

Arriving in BA

After an uneventful but long flight we arrived at EZE, BA's international airport - to heat, humidity and our friend Jorge, who offered to pick us up (much to our delight) and drive us to our friend Jim's apartment where we spent a few days before taking our cruise around Cape Horn...more about that later. For the next 3 days, we caught up with friends Jim, Rick, and Kevin (who turned us on to a new batch of really good restaurants, including La Paraloccia and Brute Nature),

met friend Santiago for empanadas, took the train to Olivos, one of BA’s suburbs, to dine al fresco with Jorge, Ana, and their family,

and met another 2 couples (friends of our friend Margot, who lives in the US), for brunch.

Last year, we found it impossible to figure out how to take city buses (collectivos), so this year our friend Jim accompanied us on our first bus ride, to barrio Palermo (though we are still clueless about how to do it on our own!).

We are 3 hours ahead of EST, but we immediately started functionally on BA time; i.e., sitting down to dinner between 10-11:30, going to bed anywhere from 12-2 a.m. and getting up later than we normally do (I won’t reveal how much later!!). And, as many of you know, this past fall, David took beginner Spanish at Cape Cod Community College, and his new-found language skills have helped him with some very lively conversations with taxi drivers, store owners, and waiters.

We’ve noticed that BA seems cleaner than last year; sidewalks are being repaired and lots more portenos (locals) are curbing their dogs. A bottle of good Malbec is still relatively inexpensive ($8-10 US), though inflation has definitely affected prices here. The women are still thin and fashionable (no obesity issues here!), the cafĂ© and pastries are still delicious, and our days are, for the most part, long and lazy.

On our 4th day here (Sunday, February 1st), we left Jim’s apartment, taxied to BA’s port area, boarded one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) ships, the Sun, and spent the next 14 days sailing around Cape Horn;

our final destination – Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile. For years I’ve wanted to go to Ushuaia and the Tierra del Fuego (a dream David did not share until recently), so this was an amazing experience for me. Now that we’ve become cruise “experts” (with one cruise under our belts) we fell right into a cruising mode. Our cabin was in the aft of the ship, complete with a balcony – perfect for great views. And since David had spent time on Cruise Critic while still at home, he had already become “acquainted” with other couples, including Carol and Frank (our starboard side neighbors), who had the mini-suite next to our room – great for pre-dinner cocktail parties!

and Barbara and Bill (our port side neighbors).... more pre-dinner cocktail parties!

Our cruise started in Montevideo, Uruguay – not a very memorable city, at least from our vantage point.

We walked around the main plaza for an hour, took a few photos, and returned to the ship.

Tomorrow we are off to Puerto Madryn, AR...after a day at sea....where we will go to the Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery...stay tuned!