Saturday, January 24, 2009

This will be only a verbal blog entry with no pictures, as I don’t have much time and I am going to the internet place in the terminal and hope that it works today. We are in Buenos Aires, and we leave today at 5:30, so I would hate to miss the ship! We arrived about 11 AM yesterday and spent some time in the downtown shopping area, the rather upscale Recoleta area, and the Evita Museum. There was a big fiasco with trying to change money without a passport (because they keep them on the ship), and this ate up a bunch of our time. Today we went with Joe & Carla and started out on the Metro. There are about 5 subway lines which are cheap and easy to use, as well as safe. We tried 4 of the lines because they each have different types of cars (some are ancient) and different decorative tiles in the stations. Then we took a taxi to an old port area called La Boca, which used to be where the Italian immigrants lived. It has been renovated and the buildings are painted so many bright colors, and there is lots of life on the streets. Today there was an outdoor market. Of course, we stopped at an outdoor café and tried a local beer called Quilmes. It was good. I also had a dulce de leche ice ceam – practically the national flavor. That also was good. We had some trouble catching a taxi back to the ship because they all wanted a set price of $10 and refused to use their meters. We walked a few blocks and finally got a taxi back and the price was about $6, using the meter. We hate it when tourists are exploited and we refuse to perpetuate it.
Of course, coming into the port yesterday brought back many memories of 2001 when we stayed in a nearby park here in our VW camper van and arranged to have it shipped back to the USA. Then we drove it to this port and put it in a container and moved to a hotel and arranged a flight to La Paz, Bolivia. While waiting to fly out, we had several days of enjoyable exploring of Buenos Aires, which seems very European in many ways. Because of our time here then, we didn’t feel a lot of pressure to rush around this time to see everything.
Before we arrived here, we had a day in Montevideo, Uruguay. What a delightful little colonial town that was! They have made it very easy to see because they supply everyone with good maps and a nice walking tour, and have tourist police on every corner ready to protect and assist. We walked around and took tons of pictures, visited a Gaucho museum in a wonderful old mansion, Joe got a haircut for $4, we had a tour of the renovated theater called Teatro Solis, and tried a local beer with some pizza. Later we wish we had waited and eaten at the Mercado not too far from the terminal because it reminded us a lot of the mercados in Mexico and Central America and the food was always good and usually cheap there. There are beautiful parks and fabulous buildings and the people were friendly and happy to have us there.
Today the terminal here in Buenos Aires is totally impacted with people because 2 cruise ships came in and emptied out and now they are filling them back up again and it is CHAOS. In a few minutes I have to go over there to the internet place to try to send this. Once we leave here today, we will have 5 days of cruising before we arrive in Ushuaia, so don’t expect to hear from us until then. We will be recovering from 3 straight port days and hopefully having some restful sea days. Elaine has been sick with the respiratory crap that has been affecting about 75% of the people on the ship, but she is getting better now after buying some antibiotics in Uruguay. Surprisingly, you can buy them there with no problem but here in Argentina you have to have a prescription. I am planning to remain 100% healthy this whole trip.
If you have e-mailed us and we haven’t answered it is because we don’t have time but we will catch up once we get back to CA. Please forgive us. Adios Amigos until Ushuaia.

1 comment:

CaliforniaGrammy said...

What an awesome trip this has been, eh? And you're not even halfway through methinks! Way to go by walking and snubbing the "no-meter" taxi drivers. Can't wait to see those pictures—I'm sure you are taking lots of them.