Sunday, March 28, 2010

Uruguay...and Back

It's the law...without a long term visa, a foreigner cannot stay in Argentina for more than 90 days, which we are fast approaching. So we decide to spend Sunday in Colonia, Uruguay, get our passports stamped, and return to BA that evening. Matina and Steve, who we met here last year, are back in town and want to go too, as does Jim, who also needs his passport stamped.

Colonia, a day trip from Buenos Aires, is just one hour away by high-speed ferry. The guide books say it's a charming colonial town, a former Portuguese settlement dating to 1680 and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our plan is to take the 12:30 ferry there, spend the day touring, and return on the 9:30 ferry.

And we're not talking about some rinky-dink ferry – no chickens on this ship! The seats are relatively cushy and, for those who get bored easily, there's a snack bar and duty free shopping.

But on Sunday morning, the weather has done a 180...Saturday was glorious, and today we wake up to a driving rain, cool temps and high winds. We decide to go anyway and, even though its raining really hard, the ride over is smooth.

After the ferry pulls in, we have a quick conference at the Uruguay terminal and decide to exchange our 9:30 tickets for a 5:30 return...not so easy, of course, since the woman at the ticket counter doesn't initially understand what we want to do and then can't quite get a handle around what the additional cost will be. But 20 or so minutes later and three different price changes, we've successfully exchanged our tickets...and we're on our way.

I was optimistic about what the weather would be like when we arrived but it's raining even harder, so we abandon any thoughts of sightseeing and taxi to a restaurant in town, where we spend the next 2 hours eating, drinking, and having a really good time.

On the ride back, I try to take skyline photos of BA, but they're blurred almost beyond recognition by the rain that hasn't let up all day.

However, the minute we get off the ferry, the sky clears...

so we walk back to the Recoleta...drop Matina and Steve off at their hotel...

and agree that Colonia will have to wait 'til next year!

We also agree that we should eat at home for at least 3 days in a the scheme of things, a rather insignificant but, none-the-less, binding decision on our part, made easier because Matina has brought us a homemade banana bread, and I find myself eating it for or after almost every meal. Great comfort food...great gift.

We spend a day in San Telmo, primarily to go to Walrus Book Store, which is known for its selection of “slightly used” English books.

On Thursday evening, we break our “restaurant fast” and meet Angela for dinner...

and then it's birthday!! Feliz cumpleanos to me. To start the day, I get a “flower delivery” from Rick and Kevin, .

and later that evening 8 of us meet at one of our favorite “locals” for dinner. We order an assortment of tastes, including langostinos, lomo (beef) and champagne...

and then birthday cake, complete with candle...and a song (in Spanish, of course).

Around midnight, I go to the ladies room...2 little stalls opposite one another. I use the one on my right, but when I go to open the door, the handle comes off in my hand. I'm locked in and, try as I might, I can't get the darn door open. So I sit there, thinking how nice it would be if I had a cell phone with me, looking through the key hole, waiting for someone else to come in.

Finally, I hear someone and start banging on the door (feeling really silly). Of course, if I knew Spanish, I could have shouted “Ayudame, por favor” - “Help me please” - but of all the phrases I've learned, that's not one of them! I know she hears me, but instead of saying something, she just walks out and, much as I do find the humor in this, I can't help but wonder how long I'll be stuck in there.

And then, a miracle!!! The door of the waiters has come to my rescue! I look up at him, he looks down at me, and we burst out laughing. My savior!

Perhaps 10 minutes have passed. I walk back to our table, carrying the door handle, and ask if anyone has missed me? The answer....NO. Good thing I wasn't waiting for any of them to come looking for me!!

To round out my 48 hour birthday celebration, David and I go to a little French bistro on Saturday for a “romantic” dinner... pate, boeuf bourguignon a la Julia, crème brule, and champagne.


1 comment:

  1. The two of you look very chic in black! BTW...belated Happy B-Day! You all actually ate 3 days at home? OMG....I thought you looked for apartments that had no refrigerators, so you had to eat
    ..As always....enjoying the blog immensely!