A Travellerspoint blog

It was the worst of food and it was the best of food...

musings in a jasmine scented evening

rain 27 °C

Now sitting in the hotel La Sorgente next to the pool surrounded by a tropical night, scented with jasimine I am refelcting on the day ... or days, and a confession while writing this blog, I am sipping on a Gin and Tonic, with lime, which is the most conducive drink I know that when mixed with a tropical evening makes one ponder... and ponder.. so if this blog entry introspective so be it..
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So going to the title of this blog, it is a story of how I got here and the experiences along the way. ..
So contextually I do want to experience Argentina in both place and socially.
With that social experience I do want to just experience as best as I can. So I made a decision to catch buses when I could.
Coming to Iguazu is one of those social experiences.. a bus trip. I could not get the extra fancy bus but got an express with er.... first class seats.. which are called cama suite. These are seats that reclince... in my case to about 45 degrees with a foot rest... the really good ones go flat.. but were fully booked.
The buses here are super elegant.. double decker affairs that are normally mercede benz buses and go like... whatever you want to say.. but FAST... so it´s first class downstairs and second upstairs..wow!!! doesn´t that sound snobby.
Well got on the bus at 7 pm... after a day of wondering around BA.. and it unexpectantly rained.. guess the forecasters are as bad here as ... well EVERYWHERE else... so had to go back to the hotel where they were holding my luggage.. got changed and gratefully was able to use a spare bathroom, with shower to freshen up.. then went to my favourite tea shop ( www. teaconnection.ar.com ) I absolutley LOVE their tea.. had tea.. then had a salad with avocado, tomato, onion, brown rice, grated carrot and self serve olive oil and vinegar.. it was to DIE for after all the meat I had been eating. ..
So blah blah blah.. went to the station and directly to my departure point.. oopssss!!! forgot to say stopped in at a cafe and had a litre of beer... dont´worry this is the same as the USA variety... one liter.. NO PROBLEM... and got on the bus.. now you think that is nothing..the bus station is three stories high.. with a double row of ticket counters that take 15 minutes to walk by.. NO KIDDING.. the name? Retiro station.
Anyway tired from the day we left.. took us an hour and a half to get out of the city.. ( 18 million people)... then stopped inthe middle of nowhere.. where some dude dropped off boxes of food... which they served.
I AM NOT going to go on and on.. but it was the worst slop EVER.. NO exaggeration. ... for me totall inedible... wont describe it but to say.. something about slices of ham... some kind of disgusting cold potato and pea salad thing.. and hot turkey and mashed potatoe..the salad thing.. and I kid you not tasted like vomit....
YEAH!!!!! went to sleep... screw that... woke up in the middle of the night.. somewhere.. peered out the curtained window and saw the most incredible evening sky ever... bright bright.. with orion´s belt as clear as could be..
Tired I went back to sleep.... woke up again and looked out to see.. the most intense lighting storm ever.... forks of lightining from one horizon to the other...
So after a restless number of hours.. I woke up in daylight.. with the MORONS who run the bus putting on a Van Diesel ( VIN diesel here...) .. with a song called bang bang.. highlighted with machine guns... am I allowed to swear here... well it was the worst FUC***G wake up call ever... groggily I put in ear plugs and a eye mask and fitfully slept off the morning.. thankfully I think they may have tried to seve something called breakfast.. but I was asleep.
SO arrived at my destination at 1:30pm .. starving and CAFFEINELESS... if you know me.. you know.... 3 to 4 cups of coffee to get me going FIRST THING... so.. off the bus in the pouring tropical rain.. I almost ran to the nearest resto which was a parilla ( BBQ restaurant) and had a double espresso and a steak and egg sandwich... it tasted like HEAVEN and really it was soo sooo good.. best sandwich ever.. made with sirloin steak, bbq´d on charcoal.
Taxi to the hotel.. and WHAT a surprise.. nice people and wonderful room.
To clear my head which may have been sinus plugging after mountain passes or worse... caffeine withdrawal... I had another double espresso and went for a walk to the border with Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.
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Supper here was and let me say this.. HEAVEN.. for $30 canadian dollars I have a HUGE fillet mignon, with pepper sauce... cream and brandy and mixed salad and a half bottle to trapiche malbec... it was TO DIE FOR.. best meal in Argentina yet. This hotel is run by Italians.. and mama cooked.. and .... well I am in love with the food here.. but more expensive than other places.
Tomorrow up early... having breakfast here.. included.. then a bus to the falls... where I get atour through the ¨"jungle" and a boat tour through the falls.. and I hear, into the falling water.
Will update after the tour... anyway.. what a great day once I was here.. walked ALONE.. NOONE.. and after BA it was so great to have so few people around.
hasta manana

Posted by Suraza 17:27 Comments (0)

Some Highlights over the past few days.

sunny 26 °C

Well I have had some highlights over the past few days.. BUT MY Legs are killing me... my feet want to run away and I am on the endless cycle of stopping in coffee shops to use the washroom.. and doing so by buying coffee, which in turn.. yeah! YOU get the idea... its´the P cycle....
I spend an hour in La Boca. This is the mouth literally and it is the mouth of the river or Delta. The river of course is so polluted nothing lives in it.. the stench is foul.
However it is part of the birth of Tango and a famous area is called Caminito, which is named after a Tango song.
The area itself it lively and beautiful.
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This photos shows some of the painted up houses around the tourist part of the area. I went to an area away from here.. and it was rough .... not an area to be around at night.. but there were loads of shops, cafe´s of course and every touristy thing you can imagine.... fun walkaround though.

On sunday I went for a walk not expecting much and that is when you see the most interesting things. I had planned NOT to walk much.. but that didn´t work at all in my favour.. I was wondering around the area close to the recoleta Cemetary when I came accross a sign for a place called Thays Garden. Thay was the landscape architech who redisigned BA at the turn of last century. So I walk into this place.. no charge and it is full of butterflies..... I say down and enjoyed it for some time... lovely surprise.
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Isn´t always those unexpected surprises that one has on a vacation that seem so great..

Anyway with the slow computers here I have not been able to edit much of the photos...so some may not be that great a quality.. enjoy them nevertheless... hope you can see the black butterfly.

I did though have a chuckle.. because the Recoleta Cemetary is so close I have been going there for a while.. I took a different route though.. and right next door to the cemetary is the Hard Rock cafe.. so was thining to myself.. all these thousands of rich people embalmbed and next door. WHAT happends if they get it right and at the next coming.. they come to life... what are they going to do? Go next door and buy a t-shirt, saying they made it to the Buenos Aires Hard Rock Cafe...

On sunday went to San Telmo antique fair. What a rush... they close of half of the area and there are venders everywhere. Saw a guy on stilts, a reggae band.. there was every imaginable artisan thing for sale including and I kid you not.. but miniture wood stoves about 6 inches high with a stack of wood.. the wood is incense and you burn it.. and smoke comesout the chimney.
THAT IS something NOT on my list.

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What is on my list if a yerba mate drinking vessel. More on that ina later blog with photos... after I get one and drink out of it. People carry hot water in flasks and then sit down in a park and drink mate.
The last surprise of the day was being able to tour the Pink Palace. This is the official residence of the President of Argentina. The cab driver asked me ( and I am proud of this as I could understand him and could reply...) if the USA has the White House and the Argentine Republic has the Pink House what does Canada Have_?.. . To which I replied ¨" solo casa rugular"... LOL.... can´t see Harper in a pink house.. can you?
Anyway it was great to the the inside.. OMG what a lot of gold and stuff.. mind you the joint has been around for a few hundred years.

OK I have been uploading photos and writing for 2 hours.. off to catch the bus to Iguazu Falls http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Iguaz%C3%BA The bus leaves at 19:00 and I get there are lunch tomorrow. I have the cama suite.. a single seat and it reclines into a bed.. also service on the bus with food and wine.. SHOULD be an interesting experience.

hasta luego.
ciao

Posted by Suraza 10:35 Comments (0)

antiquities abound

22 °C

Yesterday I took a bus tour, run by the City, and it was only 25 pesos, about 9 CAD. Anyway I have always been told to take the initial city bus tour and really that is my advice to all it is worth it and you get a much better feel for a city.
The place is full of european antiquity. Buildings that the pope stays in when he is in town, parks designed by famous landscape architects and so much more.

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This city lays claim to the widest street in the world. It is 140 metres wide and they demolished houses and buildings to build it in about 1930.
However I am sure they can lay claim to the most statues in a city, or maybe the most statues defaced with grafitti in the world. These guys live political comment, maybe from the years of military dictatorship. On the tour I learnt how important cafe life is for these people. Many famous politicians and poets got famous through coffee shops.
Coffee shops are everywhere and I have my favourite near my hotel. It is however a tea shop with the best tasting lapsang I have ever had.
So a question for you out there, and I thought about this in my newly acquired local ( www.bullerpub.com ). I thought about this over a few beers last night. When one travels it is wonderful to have so many surprizes and unexpected meals and-or experiences. BUT isn´t is nice to know that once in a while you can have something you know will be just right. I am NOT talking about McDonalds here.. or the mcdonaldization of the world, just something you now will be just right for you. What do you think?. I also realized last night when you travel it is often easier to remember the bad experiences than the good ones.. think I´ll try to NOT do that.
It is an amazingly beautiful day out there.
So in my last blog I spoke about how obsessed the portenos are about food. Well I went to a buffte restaurant locally, called Grants ( who knows what an anglo name like that is doing here...) and it was great. For about $11 I got a great meal. The seafood and salad part was huge.... so loaded up on veggies. THen it was the turn for fish. Went to a station and there was a cook who cooked amazing fresh cod for me. There were about 5 different fishes.. then went to the grill station. A huge cavernous room with real charcoal and great slabs of meat, of all varieties. I ordered sirloin... called bife de chorizo here.. and got it medium it was VERY yummy. I topped the meal off with a freshly made crepe with kiwi fruit. I was full enough to miss the cheeses, cold meats and row upon row of desserts.
To day I can´t say I have had a bad meal nor can I say I have had one that is spectacular .
mmmm
Anyway in an earlier blog I spoke about traffic suggestions. I have a new one.. it´s called an ambulance ( Same here..). If you are driving it seems and an ambulance comes up behind you with green lights flashing like crazy and siren blaring it is merely a suggestion that something might have to be done OR NOT.... OMG... saw an ambulance for about 3 minutes behind vehicles who were NOT moving for nothing.. so unlike Canada. By the way they walk like that here too... no on absolutely no one makes way ... makes for an interesting walk for a Canadian.
Funny the difficulty here is getting the bill to pay.. the rest is great.. very attentive.. quick.. but NO bill. I talk more about this in a later blog. I am off to an antiques market, held every Sunday. Looking forward to it in an old part of town. I will have to catch the subte, or underground rail.
MORE to come.
ciao

Posted by Suraza 06:30 Comments (0)

Telling relationships with porteños... how they kiss

SO I said that I would talk about the buffet restaurant I went to but... seeing as my last blog was er.... somewhat well "insightful" about the relationship women here have with mirrors.. I thought I would continue.. if you think I am exaggerating.. I AM NOT!!!! Yesterday I saw a homeless woman on the street... surrounded by garbage bags and the detritus of being homeless... staring into a compact mirror sorta adjusting her hair.. bright red hair she had too, which leads me to the next thought... this country hardly looks hispanic. I have seen more blonde, blue eyed people. Sadly I found out why today on my tour... one of the early leaders of this country decided to decimate the native population and slaughtered thousands. Sadly sounds like one of those awful euphamisms; ethnic cleansing.
Anyway so men and women hug.. now I think I have the scoop on gauging the relationship, based on hours of observing while sitting in restaurants. If you know someone briefly it´s one kiss on one cheek, preferably an air kiss. Even if you just meet someone .. through an intermediary, it´s one kiss.. If yo know them well it´s both cheeks and if you are an extravert and know them really really well it´s both cheeks and a very loud kiss.
Yeah so men an women eh! Well readers out there this is a very gay and lesbian friendly town. BA was the first jurisdiction in latin America to recognize same sex partnerships.
So gays from all over the world are here, together with locals. Through hours of observation I can report to you the differences between these two groups too...
Easy to spot are the local couples. These are of course two men. They walk further apart than two hetro men would ... and almost always one of them has a sweater draped over their shoulders. Yeah isn´t that strange .... straight men here kiss and hug.. the gays kinda keep apart, unless I am missing something.
And to tell the difference between the local gay couples and the visitors? easy two men and not one of them has a sweater draped over their shoulders... yeah just a joke... there is not difference, although there are a lot of very campy English ( as in british) folks here.
Well I´ll end of by describing food here... if you read my last blog about the mall ( and the enticing mirrors) you will follow this.
The mall itself was huge and full of top end stores... but half of it was food.. there is food available everywhere... you cannont and I mean CANNOT go more than two steps before you come accross a restuaurant, coffe shop or a small grocery store... IT¨S all about food.
Anyway the mall is half food court.. but here is the funny thing one half is local looking and sounding stalls the other is.. yes you can guess it.. burger king, macdonalds, subway and the like.. seems like these folks have a taste for it all.
Well tomorrow mornings blog will be about food and travel and the buffet restaurant.
For all of your tecnies .. tonight I ate at www.bullerpub.com which has become my local.
hasta luego
terrence

Posted by Suraza 19:20 Comments (0)

Drenched and the Honeymoon is over... but the women!!!!!

It´s been a few days hasn´t it? Well lets see on Friday I had it all planned. Was going to take a bike tour and it sounded so great; four hours on a bicycle going through some of the less accessible parts of the city.
So I got up early to be at the park for the 10 am start only to be dumbfounded by a drizzle of rain. So there I am standing with others, and as we are standing in the Plaza St. Martin the drizzle gets heavier and the tour guide tells us that the owner had checked the weather and it was going to start raining heavier.. and as he said that the showers turned to actual rain... yeah! here is the clincher.. on Thursday I took a coat as the weather called for showers and it was boiling and my pack weighed wayyyyyy to much for the day. So on the day the forecast didn´t show rain; it rains..
Not to be fooled I went to the touristica and she advised of a bus tour for only 25 pesos (CAD$8) great.. off I go to the office and the fellow there tells me that although the bus schdule says there is a bus every half hour, with the rain it could be anything up to an hour.. bang goes that idea.
Anyway near the Plaza St. Martin there is an avinida Florida, a great long walking mall, full of shops, tons of leather goods. I strolled along there and got pimped by leather salesman, sickened by a tiny girl, maybe 6 years old holding a 1 year old and going around begging, felt so awful, something straight out of Slumdog Millionaire.
So to you readers out there can I ask what you would do? My dillema is does one support that or not and give? Let me know by commenting onthis blog I would love to know.
Anyway I am finding that travelling alone gives one a huge amount of licence. NO one notices me. So after escaping the street by entering a mall, a very upscale mall I was so fascinated. The people here are fascinating ... truly.
Now let me digress a little and address the part of my blog about women. The women here are beautiful. Really!!! don´t snort and give me that just like a guy thing.. they are. Not looking but the work at it and WORK hard at it. NOTHING is left to chance. So back to the mall. As I was wondering around I notice a lot of mirrors and this one particular siñorita walked by and I swear when she saw herself it was almost like the mirros shouted at her.. your hair needs touching up.. in fact STOP and look at yourself too. Yeah the women here.. they don´t walk they catwalk. All of them have cameras and they take photos of each other.. well really I think it is more of a photo shoot than a snapshot.
My hotel is in a upper scale area and there are a lot of couples here with let´s see aging men well dressed with young women who well catwalk and have the look of someone expecting the papparazzi to jump out of the shadows.
So what is this talk from me of a honeymoon end? Well after my soaker of a day I took a different route home and was SHOCKED... the sidewalk was littered with dog shit bombs.. everywhere.. squished and out there.. stinkiing to high heaven... sadly I found they are not the greatest dog keepers.
But the number of dogs in this city is enourmous. Parks are filled with dog areas and there are dog walkers all over the place with about 8 to 10 dogs each.
SO those are just ramblings my next post will highlight my visit to a buffet restaurant, porteños style and to a tango show in a 150 year old cafe.
I also promise to have pictures on my blog soon. Well as soon as I learn how to say it in spanish...

Posted by Suraza 16:00 Comments (0)

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