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Showing posts from November, 2008

Daily Pic 46 : Terraza Neptuno, Santiago

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Santiago

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We're in Santiago! We caught the bus through the Andes. It was amazing. We left Mendoza at 07.30 and started the 7 hour journey up the mountains. The border post is located high in the mountains. Once through we started the long and winding route down. Very steep and very cool indeed. I can only imagine what it is like when there is more snow on the ground, right now we only saw a bit near the peaks.

So far I'm loving Santiago. After finding our accommodation we went for a stroll and enjoyed a delicious lunch in town. It was Saturday afternoon so it all felt kind of chilled out and sleepy, it's hard to tell if that is what Santiago is always like or if it's due to the weekend.

In the evening we went for dinner and a went to an amazing bar called Vox Populi. It had the coolest back garden where we enjoyed a drink. It was great.

Today we are chilling out a bit more and will probably head up to one of the pools at the top of the hill in the middle of town and check out the …

Daily Pic(s) 45 : Mendoza Arcades

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As in BsAs there are loads of little shopping arcades in Mendoza, all seemingly monuments to a 60s and 70s urban planning vision. This one had an amazing staircase. Most of them seem to be fairly and quiet, possibly not the buzzing centres of commerce intended.

I also spotted another arcade which had a more classical feel.

Mendoza

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We're in Mendoza, travelling etc has meant that is hasn't been too easy to post daily, sorry for that. What has been going on?

Rhonagh's first night in BsAs was brilliant. We enjoyed delicious empanadas at the apartment, Vlad came over. Then we went into Palermo and met up with some friends at a bar called Limbo. It was cool, some really fun people came along. We ended the night (after a brief stop at Mundo Bizzaro) at a club called Madagascar dancing to Latin beats. Of all the new arrivals, I think Rho has the most impressive stamina.

The next day We had quite a big lunch in El Federal in San Telmo. We caught the bus (micro) that night from Retiro station bus stand. It's a 10 hour bus trip to Mendoza. It was comfy as usual. The oddest thing was the game of bingo that we played, hosted by the waiter dude. A weird little interlude before dinner.

We arrived in Mendoza on Thursday morning at around 9am. It was already scorching. The temperature rose to around 37C! Hot. We sp…

Daily Pic 44 : Amusements

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The little shopping arcade near our house (there are lots of them) is also host to this array of little rides for children. When I was a kid you were lucky if there was a manky flying elephant outside the Pick 'n Pay! I've never seen anyone using the rides. Lord knows where they would get the change from?

Rhonagh is in town

Rhonagh arrived today. Chris and I went to EZE to meet her around lunch time. She seemed very energetic considering the long flight she'd just had. We came back to the flat and then headed out for a quick lunch at the organic café up the road. All very lovely. We're all just emerging from a much needed siesta and are meeting some folk in Palermo for drinks a little later. Vlad is coming over to meet us first and we are going to get some Empanadas! Happy Times.

Out with a bang

Spotted this on the weekend. An Argentine man (wanted for crimes against human rights) killed himself, live on television. Police were on their way to arrest him. BBC News

Wandering around

Chris and I are in San Telmo again. We popped down, thought it would be good to make a bit of effort and travel from the relative familiarity of Palermo. It's also nice and chilled out here, so pleasant. It's hot again... of course. Standing in the sun for a few moments is enough to drive you insane.

We're staying in the shade as much as possible. We caught the Subte down to Catedral and walked down Defensa. It's good to get out of the apartment, for a fear it is about to explode.

It's appears to be leaking from every possible place. When I mentioned it to a local friend he assured me it was simply part of the Argentine experience. Problem is that the leaking was getting worse and I fear that serious damage was not far off.

It all started with a slow leak in the bathroom sink. This steadily grew to a full flow. We could only stop it by turning off the main water supply tap. This was a fine short term measure, you just had to turn on the main tap every time you needed…

Daily Pic 43 : Christmas decorations, BA style

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Not universally but in the general, Christmas decorations are quite subtle and understated here. I like it. This is Alto Palermo mall.

Sunday

Sunday was a good day. For lunch, I went down to the Nature Reserve with my local friend, Alejandro. We had lunch down there, making delicious sandwiches. It was very pleasant, although really really hot. The sun was unforgiving.

After that we walked up to San Telmo so I could say goodbye to Richard Smith. He was at Vlad's for the day as he had to check out of his apartment early. He was flying at 11 that night. We had a little sit and a chat in a little café in San Telmo. Then Alejandro and I went to a free concert at a local church. It was Baroque classical music. Not my usual thing, but I really enjoyed it. It was exceedingly cool indeed.

Then, I went to meet Vlad and Chris who were still in San Telmo and we shared a pizza at Senor Telmo. It was nice and cheap... A good day.

Daily Pic 42 : Subte Station

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Friday Night

Last night Chris and I went to visit Nicoline and Catarine, the lovely Norwegians we met at school. They are leaving BA today so it was nice to spend some time with them. We sat on their terrace and chatted. Some other folk came too. We then met Vlad and had a few drinks at Sitges... lots of Latin music! Fun.

Daily Pic 41 : Café Richmond, Florida

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Love this place. A traditional hangout for intellectuals and writers. So naturally I spend a lot of time there. Hardly.

Daily Pics 40 : Avenida 9 de Julio

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A big ol' street. Beautiful! Stunning in the glorious sun shine. Of course in real life the obelisk points straight up!



Well I never

Turns out the man who owns our local lavadero is almost South African. Well he's Italian, but lived in Cape Town for 10 years, married a South African stukkie and they moved to BsAs 2 and a half months ago. He bought the business.

Wednesday

A relatively slow day today. I met up with my language exchange kid and we took a stroll through some of the Palermo parks. It was very pleasant indeed. After that I swung by Richard's apartment where Vlad and Chris met us. We hung out there for a while and enjoyed some empanadas.

In the afternoon I took a stroll home (on a roundabout route) and conducted some personal admin (phone calls, banking etc). In the evening I met up with the boys again for some dinner, home by 12.30.

Daily Pic 39 : Another Jacaranda

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Palermo

Richard is the latest visitor from London... today I met him for lunch in Palermo. We met at 14.00 on the corner of Armenia and Costa Rica. As Richard pointed out, this city is great for creating moments of geographical impossibility. We strolled down to Mott. I had a feeling Richard would like it. It's got that impossibility stylish feel to it... designed and then designed again. We had a good time, perhaps one or two many glasses of white wine.

Then CMC and Vlad joined us and we took a short stroll... only down the road to Quimbobó for a little sit and a look at the view. Cab home and a snooze. Perfect day, almost.

Daily Pic 38 : More graf art, Palermo

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Happy Birthday

It was CMC's birthday on Sunday and we had a wonderful day. It started with a picnic in the Jardin Botanico. Which was fun... everyone came... so we had quite a large group of people. It was cool. Then a few of us went back to Richard Smith's holiday apartment. It is on the 31st floor and has amazing views of the city and a stunning terrace. Quite a different way to experience Buenos Aires. We spend a few hours there enjoying some wine and the sunset.


After a quick pit stop we went to Sitges to meet some folk for karaoke. The drag queen make the bar sing happy birthday, the usual scene! It was a very pleasant day indeed... I think Chris really enjoyed it too.

Global Coverage

Last night the three of us were in a cab, going from Sitges to Glam (as you do, it was David's last night in the city) and the cab driver asked us where we were from. I said Canada (Vlad), Wales (David) and South Africa (for Chris and I)... it always sounds more exotic that way, rather than Londres. When I said South Africa, he got very animated. Seems he was referring to Miriam Makeba's passing. Pata Pata he said! Sweet. Who'd have thought it.

Living the city life

It's a joy to be back in BsAs for a prolonged period again. As much as I enjoyed our brief travels, just being in BsAs give me pleasure. Today I walked up Santa Fe to Palermo (I'm finding with this weather that sometimes it's easier to walk than to catch the Subte). I was due to meet my friend, Janer, from a language exchange website. He has an interview soon and is trying to brush up on his English. Annoyingly there was some confusion about the time, so we didn't meet. We're going to try again tomorrow.

After that I took a slow stroll back down Santa Fe, popping into a shop or two. I need to buy some new clothes... slowly but surely all mine are shrinking (such is the tender care afforded by the laundry services in BsAs). I'm not going to buy anything now though, I'm waiting until we move and have our own laundry room. That way I can try to prevent further shrinkage. Thankfully BsAs is a very casual city (it's big enough not to have to pretend it's …

Making friends

Slowly but surely I am making local friends... it's not that easy (obviously) and the temptation is to hang out only with the people I'm here with and the other foreigners I have met at the Spanish school. Now that I have finished with the school I am forcing myself to make more effort. Language exchange meetings have been quite good and I've met a couple of people through some posts on local forums.

It's really good to meet Argentines and talk to them to find out more their views on the country etc. I'm also gaining a new perspective of the Argentines and am enjoying discovering whether the stereotypes are based on any reality. My experience so far has (predictably) indicated that of course there are elements of these stereotypes evident but that everyone is different and offers a unique view.

Daily Pic 37 : Jacaranda trees

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I promise I'll take some better pics of the trees but this will have to do for now.

Tigre

On Monday we finally we to Tigre. We caught the train from Retiro station and wandered down to the water's edge and booked a trip to El Gato Blanco, which is a restaurant on the delta. It had been mentioned by quite a few people. We then boarded a boat and took the 45 min trip to the restaurant. It was a very pleasant trip and quite interesting to see all the houses and hostels on the little islands.

The restaurant itself was only okay, nothing special and quite pricey, but hardly surprising really. Then we headed home. It was a good day out.

(not so) Daily Pic 36 : Tigre

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Lazy eye

A rather opportunistic mosquito took a bite out of my eyelid last night... cheeky blighter. Now my right eye wouldn't look out of place on Sylvester Stallone... swollen. My left ear suffered a similar fate although that doesn't look as bad.

La Brigada

Last night Chris and went out for dinner in San Telmo with Vlad and David. We went to a restaurant called La Brigada, it came highly recommended. It was cool although we didn't love it. The room is amazing and full of charm, quaint and cutesy. Feels a bit like a bistro. The food was superb and the steaks delicious. The waiter was the only problem, he was kind of a bully about what food we should eat and he was hap hazard in delivering his service. Fussy about delivering "silver service" style cutlery usage but at the same time dripping sauce all over the table-cloth. Almost like he wants to do a good job but doesn't have the time. He was a pain, made the dining experience quite tense.

Mama Africa has died

I am sad to hear the news that Miriam Makeba has passed away in Italy. BBC News

Weekend

Tonight we are all going for dinner down in San Telmo at a restaurant recommended by Chris' Spanish teacher, should be fun I think. It will be good to be that side of town for a change. The weather is still scorching...

On Friday morning we were woken by the neighbour downstairs, our aircon had been leaking onto his little stoep and was going inside onto his parquet. Well I think that was the problem, he didn't speak much English. I think we need to be more careful about the drips and make sure we empty the container before it gets full.

We're going to Tigre tomorrow so hopefully I'll be able to get some good pics.

Hot

Wow, it's hot in Buenos Aires. Now I don't want to sound all wussy but it's very hot! So hot. I understand that it's unusually hot for this time of year but that it will also be much hotter later in the summer. I need to devise a strategy for managing the heat... loin cloth maybe?

Last night Chris and went out for dinner with Robin and John from Spanish school. We went to the Thai restaurant in Las Canitas. It was great to have some spicy food although it was kind of pricey. Afterwards we all went to Sitges and watched the most appalling drag act ever. I think this one queen might actually think she is Cher. She also did one song which featured a video montage of every TV appearance she's ever had! Talk about vanity. Such a dull show. I felt bad dragging John and Robin there...

Today I had a Spanish lesson, we went to Café Richmond on Florida. I do like it there. I have another lesson on Tuesday.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames & Blindess

The recent trip has been great for my reading! There is not greater place on earth to read than on Ipanema beach. It's true. Anyway.

I finished the latest David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames.I enjoyed it although it wasn't anywhere are satisfying as his earlier books. The book lacked continuity and surprisingly seemed to imply a moral self satisfaction which was surprising. But, I'm being harsh, it was a good read.

Then this afternoon CMC and went to the Ciné Recoleta to watch Blindness. I loved the book (José Saramago) and have been looking forward to the film for ages. I wasn't disappointed, the cinematography and setting are stunning, the grading of the film and the sequences of blindness are haunting. The film also certainly didn't shy away from any of the more gruesome parts of the book.

Setting it in a make believe city (filmed in Sao Paulo but with English, American and British, being spoken created a slightly disturbing sense of discomfort and lack …

Drip Drip Drip

Hottest day in BA yet and guess what happens... Everyone turns on their air conditioner, walking down the street is a new adventure, trying to avoid the big juicy drops of water. There aren't loads of them, very intermittent which makes them all the more tricky.

Sorry the posts have been a little light lately, I've been feeling sorry for myself (cold) and been mooching about. Chris and I went to go see Blindness (Ceguera) at Cine Recoleta this afternoon.

Last day in Rio

Our last day in Rio today! Annoyingly I'm feeling a little under the weather, a slight cold. I guess the combination of hot weather and air conditioning isn't too healthy. So I'm taking it easy today. The boys have gone out to Copacabana but I'm just chilling out. We fly later this afternoon.

Last night we went for dinner a little local style restaurant followed by a few drinks. Not a big night for a change.

Daily Pic 35 : Rio

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Rio and BsAs are very different

Doh! Of course they are... here are my top 5 things that I feelare most different.

5. Haircuts. In BsAs a mullet is considered quite fashionable and short hair is a no-no. In Rio it's the opposite and short hair (on men) is common. I kind of like that BsAs is different, out last night we could have been in any old gay bar anywhere in the world.

4. Food. My goodness Argentines don't like spice or variety and apart from beef, serve cheese in huge volumes with almost everything. In the three days I've been in Rio I've probably enjoyed more variety in my meals than the whole time I've been in Argentina.

3. Langauge. This is a really obvious one, and I have to confess I'm purposefully trying not to learn any Portuguese - I'm worried any new linguistic knowledge will dislodge the fairly new Spanish I've learnt. As it is, more people here speak English than in BsAs. Also the Portuguese is hilarious to listen to, really sing song and nasal. I love it.

2. Attitudes.…

A few small changes

The more alert will have noticed some changes to the blog. I'm busy rebuilding with a different theme. I want to be able to publish my pics larger (although of course you can click on them to get full size). I just like the idea of the blog being more photo heavy.

I'm not satisfied with this template but will give it some more attention when I get back to BsAs and cen perfect it.

Daily Pic 34 : Brazillian Bums

Ipanema

The sun came out! We woke up this morning to dazzling blue skies and glorious sun. We went straight to Ipanema and spent the day chilling out, watching the world go by. Predictably Sunday is a big beach day so it was really busy with plenty to see. We rented our little deck chairs and brollie from a man called Lucas and he kept bringing us water and other refreshments. I drank a coconut while Vlad, David and Chris went for a swim. Such a pleasant way yo spend the day.

Last night we went out. We went for dinner locally and had "local" food... all very tasty indeed. Shredded beef and pumpkin for Chris and I, Vlad had a steak and David a kind of mixed grill thing. Then we decided to venture out of Ipanema... we're so sad. We got a cab to Lapa which is a big buzzing party area near Centro. As soon as we arrived I kind of knew it wasn't my scene. It was very loud, all the clubs blaring out loud music, people everywhere.. hectic. The cab driver even warned us to be careful …

That's a pity

Not really but this did catch my eye. Apparently it is now illegal to offer boob jobs as raffle prizes in Buenos Aires... The Argentine Post

Rio day two

The laziest day ever... slept late and sat on the beach. Strolled around, looking at shops. Fun.

Last night was fun, we had cocktails in Ipanema and then enjoyed very garlicky chicken sitting at a table on the pavement, it was delicious. After dinner we went out for a few drinkie poos.

Daily Pic 33 : A little bit o' Rio

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