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My husband and I , with our dog, Tate, moved to Buenos Aires, 8 years ago. Life has never been the same since ~ Back in the USA ... life is still not the same !
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Alan Cohen
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

Friday, April 30, 2010

El Libro





The Buenos Aires Book Fair opened. 


It is one of the 5 largest book fairs in the world.
We decided to walk to Palermo from our apt and take a look at some books. Most of which are most likely unreadable by us , our Español is not that good yet, but it would be fun to see the place... or so we thought.


The walk was wonderful, until the last mile or so ... we stopped at a cafe and had coffee and medialunas and enjoyed the perfect weather ... cool, sunny, dry, perfecto.
Then we walked past the parks and Zoo and finally, there it was .. La Rural.
There are conventions, horse and cattle shows and wonderful shows where you can shop for things made only in Argentina .. I like those. Fresh foods and tasty things from all over the country, wonderful hand made clothes and other items, cheeses, breads, leather goods, you name it.
But today was just books .. and about a million people waiting to get in.
I lost count of how many Tour buses there were , sitting empty, waiting .. school buses ... taxis.


We stood there a few minutes, tired, hot and late in the afternoon and decided to get into that taxi sitting there and come home.


We will probably try again before it closes. 
We will not walk there.          


                        
What were we thinking ??











Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's All Happening At The Zoo








The Buenos Aires Zoological Park is pretty nice! 
They seem to have done their best to provide adequate 
room and comfort for the creatures living there. 
Some look happier than others but that might just be me, 
I have become less of a fan of zoos,  
although I realize that they are at least alive and safe here. 
But we won't get into the politics and ethics of zoos here.


We spent a very nice afternoon, hanging out with 
the Elephants and Rhinos and Bears.
The Monkeys looked a bit too bored 
and the Polar Bear was napping in the shade,
but everyone else looks busy ...






The old buildings that house the animals are wonderful, 
at least from the outside.




Birds and small creatures walked around loose. 
You could feed them special zoo food but I didn't buy any.
I had this mental picture of being mobbed by hungry mongooses 
or something that looks half rabbit and half deer.




They seem to be thriving at the zoo, there were many baby animals with the adults.






There was a Flamingo Island and a Rain Forest and an Aviary. 
Condors and Llamas and Mandrills and 
Lions and (white) Tigers and Bears.






It was definitely worth visiting and next time I will be sure the battery is not dead in my camera.
Thanks ever so much !! to my husband, the man who saves the day ... He took all of these photos.



Mas fotos !

Black and white goats..  


A Beautiful Lady Statue ( yes, I named it)



Peacocks looking for the Men's Room




I hope he is bored and not depressed .




Another statue of a Happy Man
( notice he is drinking)





A face only a Mama Llama could love





A Dromedary Camel .. 2 humps.. cool ...




I will stop now ... or at least for a while ...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nothing, absolutely nothing

We ran errands today, otherwise, we did nothing.

Not counting walks with Pup.

And some laundry.

And some errands and a quick trip  to buy more coffee.

Not counting the fit I threw when I found more wet spots on the laundry room ceiling.
The same ceiling that was leaking water at a rapid rate when we moved in , which  was supposedly from a pipe that was fixed ( arriba) .. so where is this water coming from?
I don't know but I want that plumber here and Pronto !

Then there was the fit when the Administrator said that she did not read my email because she cannot read English.
Except I wrote to her in Español .. meaning she never opened the email when she saw my name? What about the word agua that was in the subject line?  Wasn't that at least a Clue?

I did make a very good pasta dinner though.
It was nice to just make a nice mess in the kitchen and cook what we like and sit in the kitchen and enjoy a nice dinner at home.
My Pasta dinner
I used fresh tomatoes and greek olives and no bacon. Otherwise, it was exactly the same ..

Tomorrow we are going to the Zoo.

Then I will have something to talk about... other than my lousy Spanish and the loser administrator and my pipes.

I will also tell you about the nice plumber, who when trying to explain something to me ( something plumber-ish), he will put his finger up, ( uno momento) and whip out the iPhone and call someone, speak to them a million words a second, then hand the phone to me.

I say Hola ... and a man starts explaining to me ( in English)  what the plumber is trying to tell me   is wrong with the pipes.
And what he wants or needs to do to fix them.
Then I hand the phone back to the plumber, he chats a minute then hangs up.

Then he says, that is my friend, he lives in Connecticut.

Tell me you have a plumber who will call the US/Another Country  to get someone to speak English/Whatever language ,  when they don't know the right word ...
I sort of  don't care if he is a good plumber or not ..

So we will go to the Zoo and I will take photos and a fun time will be had by all.

All except one Pup who will be dramatically sad and despondent when he realizes that we are not taking him with us.
Is there a face sadder than a dogs when they realize that you are going Bye Bye but they aren't??


Maybe if I come home smelling like an elephant or a monkey, he will be 1- glad he stayed home 2-devastated that he didn't get to go too ...
I will be sure to keep a good distance from those animals.. only feeding the birds or small gekkos or whatever it is that they allow to wander the zoo free.
What can it be? what kind of animal is safe and ok to walk around loose in a zoo? besides a duck.

The Japanese Gardens has ducks. And Koi.
The Koi look big enough to drag you under and drown you and the ducks might gang up and eat you alive but what kind of animal can the Zoo have walking around loose?

I have to go just to find that out.

If it is a little mouse or rabbit-y sort of creature, I will be sooo disappointed.

It might be fun to see some slobbering and drooling great creature that lumbers around like a bear but loves humans.. at least it would make for a good Blog post.

So, that was my day of Nothing.

        This is the guard cat in the Japanese Gardens. He makes sure Nothing Funny goes on.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hello Goodbye

My sister -in- law and nephew have flown home. 
Or they are flying home at this point. 
It is a long trip, about 10 - 11 hours. And not in Business Class. 
Which adds about 5 hours to the flight, in pain and mental anguish time.
We had a great visit, even with Immigrations butting in and getting me up at 5 am and making me dopey with exhaustion by dinner time.  


I felt bad for our nephew that we didn't go out as much later at night, but the sight of his aunt- in- law sleeping on the table in a club or at a bar would not have enhanced his visit, in my humble opinion.
So we walked and shopped and ate and drank and saw the sights and visited and my husband and I both feel fulfilled by the treat of seeing them. 
Especially since it was a sort of surprise visit ! 
An email saying I thought I would come visit and bring mom ... wow... how many people, living in another country, feeling homesick from time to time, especially missing the family, get to hear that ? 
We owe him a huge thanks and since we have always loved him, it was a real treat to get to see him here.

Pup is wondering why we are home with him now, isn't there somewhere we need to go ? 
How come Mama is lying on the bed ( that she allowed me to get up on with my toy ) , whispering things in my ear? 
Why don't they stick to a schedule and stop confusing me ??


Tomorrow we go back to the old schedule. 
Fall is here, trees are changing faster now, leaves are falling in the parks, nights are cool and crisp. 
Time to get out the cozy sweaters and take long walks after dinner, I love this time of year. 
I will start cooking now, soups and casseroles and things like chicken with tomatoes and gnocchi .. 
I am going to see if I can learn some Argentine dishes , I know how to make empanadas, but I am thinking of things like Calabasas puree. 
Maybe something for dessert, although the desserts here are not spectacular, I might blend a touch of French dessert making with the Argentine way. 
You know, a dash of cognac and some chocolate can't hurt ..

Tonight's dessert was OK .. Crepes with Nutella. Nothing wrong with that .

So I am thinking, we never got to the Zoo and while my sis in law said, I have seen plenty of Zoo's .. I think I might visit ours, take a lot of photos and send them to her. 
Take her with us in a sense.
Like that idea ? I do . I will, of course, share them here too.

Let's just hope, that since there are many zoo animals walking around loose, you won't see a photo of one of the elephants, with something sticking out from under his foot, something with blonde hair.

I also have to do some filling in of spaces in the Winter Wardrobe. 
I have magazines with the European fashions.. they sell that sort of thing here.. Fashion here is based on the European shows so we get all the latest in trendy trends here. 

I have to go do some Fashion studies and figure out what I Need and Must Have .. Boots.. needless to say.
Did I tell you I got a new bag  ? Large,  black leather .. strap that can be worn across the body, 2 pockets on the outside, my sis -in- law called it a Saddle bag .. she is right, a very fashionable saddle bag ..
And if I wear my jodhpurs and riding boots and walk down the street .. a horse will come running after me, expecting me to hop on ! 
Pup would be thrilled.

I hope their flight is comfortable.
I hope they email as soon as they land.
I hope they come back soon.
I hope they know how much this meant to us.




**PS**


Nephew emailed .. they landed this morning..Safe and sound.
I imagine they are napping a bit today.
We miss them..


Having to say Good Bye

Today the family goes back home to NY.
It will be very quiet around here .. we will miss them.
We missed them when we left NY and   we missed them when we left the US and now we will miss them again when they leave us .
This is the   part of living in South America that I find difficult...

< well, that and the fact that I no longer have my little black sports car that took us to cities and states far and wide, was just the right size for people and a Poodle and it never complained and always looked good.
That last part is something that I try to emulate, but I never manage to do it as well as our car did ... yes, I named the car too . 
Having a car meant that we could say goodbye then come back and say hello ... much easier than now.>

Last night we went to one of our favorite Parrillas, Hermanns.
It is located in Palermo across the street from the Botanical Gardens and the place is just great.
The waiters   never write anything down, they bring it to the table pretty quickly , piping hot and delicious and always so much more than you expected !

Where do they find fish that big down here ?? I ordered Merluza and it came to the table on 2 plates !! ( was I mistaken, does Merluza mean whale?)

There was soup with an egg in it that you stir around and it thickens the broth and it is heavy with the flavor of garlic and tomato and good things.
There was herring in cream sauce and ravioli and steak con mushrooms and chicken provencal ..
I waddled out of there a couple of hours later and was happy that we caught a mini-cab back to Recoleta, I have a feeling we might not have fit in a traditional taxi last night.

Of course, no night out is complete unless Someone gets their ice cream so a stop at Freddo was made.
It was cold last night. I didn't have ice cream but everyone else did and I am glad that their last dinner here was good and topped off with some good Helado.
If nothing else does the trick, they will want to come back for more ice cream!

I enjoyed having company and of course, it was even better being family.
It was fun to show people around Our hometown.
I got a great kick out of being able to translate ... I think a few taxi drivers got a kick out of that too ( they have such a good sense of humor, these people here - how can you not love them )

And now it is back to just the three of us.
Pup will get more walks again. He will sit on the sofa with us and watch television.
But he  loves them too and  he will miss the family.

So today we will spend some time being sure that the memories are locked in tight and say good bye til next time.

This is the part of traveling that I really don't like .... Having to say Good Bye.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday in San Telmo

 Sunday is the best day and the worst day to visit San Telmo. Everyone is there on Sunday. They close some streets, the sidewalks barely allow 2 people to walk side by side so the place feels mobbed, even when it is not very crowded, but today it was really crowded.


The weather is good. Autumn in Buenos Aires.. it hardly gets better than this ( weather-wise) .. cool nights so you sleep like a bebe ... sunshine, bright blue skies and dry and cool but not too cool days. 


The sort of weather that enables a person to walk much farther than they planned ... until the dog looks pathetic and you reluctantly turn back . 
The sort of day that you sit way too long on a park bench and admire the simple things... sky , tiny birds and bright green parrots all pecking away on the ground together, flowers still blooming in trees .. 


Although those flowers are starting to get on my nerves... they fall on the ground and rot .. you are jabbering away to your husband about this and that and step on a dead rotting flower and you get the same result as if you stepped on an oil slick or ice ... 
Thank goodness he was right there, I grabbed him before I slid into 1- a split that would cripple me for weeks , 2- I fell and would have to hide in the apartment for years in case someone saw me fall.


No, I am not perfect, but I like people to think I am ... Perfect People do not slip on a flower and fall on their bum in the middle of a park ... according to me.


My sweet Pup feels the need to sniff every blade of grass and I am content to stand here and daydream, watching the feria across the street and the young   boys doing their imitation of Michael Jackson dancing to his music while they video each other with their phones. How cute is that ?


Then there is the usual fighting off the dogs so they will stop trying to get too up close and personal with Pup.


So we were in San Telmo, Pup was relaxing at home and my sister in law was ready to do some shopping . She is so funny, our nephew says she has radar, she can be a mile away and suddenly turns and zooms in on one little shop or feria stand and finds the perfect Amethyst Ring or Handbag or Necklace.
The woman is going home totally decked out in new jewelry and carrying a new bag , who knows what else  , she has 3 more days !


We took the taxi to San Telmo and I regretted being there the minute we arrived. 
Masses of people.
It was just too difficult to get around with worrying about sis in law falling on the cobblestones.. 
I don't like big crowds anymore. 
I want to shop at my own pace and I don't want someone to give me a sales pitch in English. 
I am not a tourist, I want to say, nose in the air ... I am a Permanent Resident.. 
( no, I am not getting over this good news so quickly, you might have to hear about it a few more times)


So we took a back street and admired the architecture, the bougainvillea climbing over walls, mysterious huge gates with beautiful iron work and flowers growing and wondering what is behind that gate ... 
Little cats in windows and dogs everywhere .. 






We wandered into an arcade, all I heard was English but then there was the music. 
Flamenco. 
I zoomed straight towards that sound and found this tiny shop with incense burning and bought a CD that is  this amazing music from Argentina. We have not listened to all of it yet but so far it is great.
There was a man and a lady doing Tango in the street, they would take a person from the crowd and dance, everyone watched, everyone clapped, very jolly and the music was good.  




Speaking of music, there were musicians in the street, in front of a church. They had a piano, accordians, violins, I could have stayed there all day listening .. the music here is so great ..








Then we found a cafe and had lunch. 
Couscous salad with cherry tomatoes and mango and arugula, grilled tuna , a "club sandwich" made with panceta, fried egg, melted cheese and sliced roast chicken.  


Finally we decided that we had done enough walking on cobblestones and grabbed a taxi home. 
I think my sister in law headed straight to the feria, we took the dog to the park.


I am cooking tonight.
Pasta with Smoked Salmon in Creamy Tomato Sauce , ( I don't use cream cheese and I have adapted the recipe to our taste)  with Avocado and Tomato Salad and Ice Cream Bon Bons for dessert. 


Think they will like it ? 


Tomorrow, I am not sure what we are doing, time is flying, they will be leaving soon and life will return to the usual .. it has been so nice to have them here. 




















Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday

Today we went to Puerto Madero. We wandered, took photos and had a great lunch.
It is cool and very fall like, we sat outside and enjoyed the fresh crisp air and really good food at a place called Country Market. Yep.. in English .. but it was delicious and they have a lot of Stuff that I have to go back and buy... house stuff, then there are shops with scarves and handbags and shoes that need me to visit also.


Here are some photos. If I am able to, I will post more tonight, about the day and the evening and more photos. Or I will be unable to move from too much fresh air, food and drink and will fall into bed as soon as I walk in the door. 
So here are a few photos for now, just in case.
                                                                                                                                    The Ship is a Museum 


 The Womens Bridge 
All the streets  have womens names.







































Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday




Friday in Buenos Aires is much like any other day for us. 
It's Friday .. time to enjoy the weekend.





We walked through the parks, went to a different neighborhood, 
stopped at a cafe and froze
( Pup was with us and the temps have dropped) ...  
Had Bloody Marys. 
Walked some more. 
Went to another cafe. 
Sat in the sun, warmed up, 
had cafe con leche ... walked some more..


Exhaustion hit, I faded fast .. the family is dining together 
without me tonight. 
I am hopeful I will wake tomorrow .... late ... 
and have energy again.


We are going to Puerto Madero.
A couple of things I know for sure.... 
we will walk a lot.
A few photos will be taken. 
We will stop and eat and drink.
We are so predictable !
Maybe we will do something different, 
like wait until after our visit
tomorrow night with the cousins and 
go walking...


After Midnight....









You might not hear from me tomorrow .. but I will tell you all about it Sunday .. or Monday









Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate

After mistakenly thinking we had to do one more Red Tape chore and getting up at 5 am one more time, taxi to the wrong place, then to another wrong place, back to the place we were in yesterday and being told that we should wait until we get a letter in 3 months then come back, all for a stamp in our passport.. we went home.. as Permanent Residents.

Time to start the Celebration...

We spent the day in Palermo Soho today.
The weather is perfect, sunny and cool. Dry and perfect weather for walking miles, looking in windows, people watching, stopping, shopping and eating.

We had lunch in Meridiano 58 which is where Buenos Aires  is on the Meridian line ( or something)... the food is great and best of all, the seats are these big banquets with lots of big pillows and you sit by the big window and munch, sip, talk, people watch, listen to music and then sit back and think to yourself... We Did It.

We moved here, we live here and now it is Official.. we are permanent residents of Buenos Aires Argentina.
Who would have imagined that 4 years ago, when we were living in Portland, Oregon and wishing we could find a house and wishing it would stop raining and wishing things were more lively ... that we would read some articles in magazines and end up visiting here and then 5 months later we would move here.

Are we crazy or what ??

Pup says 'or what' ... I think we might have been crazy in some ways but as in all things that we  do, things just seem to work out fine.

We love our apartment, we love our neighbors who seem to really like us .. and we enjoy every day here.

Today I noticed I spoke to a lot more people in Español .. it just was easy .. tomorrow I might not remember anything but today it worked.

We took the family to a restaurant tonight that we really like and it was better than ever.
Rabas and Malbec and Pasta and of course, Flan with Dulce de Leche.
I told the waiter we were Permanent, he acted like it really meant something to him, shook our hands, congratulated us .. Muy Bien !

Tomorrow we will continue to celebrate.
No idea what we are doing, I am just looking forward to that big bed and sleeping in tomorrow.

Tomorrow night I am hoping we will go to a Classical Music concert, I am sure my sister in law will like that..

So tonight was a very good, first nights celebration of a 3 year quest to be residents of this wonderful city.
Muy Bien ~
 
 



A little music for your Thursday .. mi gusto

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don't Cry For Me ~~~





Another day of waking at 5 am to get ready and down to the Immigration Hell for the hopefully last time .... Ever ! 
My husband got up at 5 am, I got up at 6 am, we were there at 7 am and they didn't open until 7:30 am .. 
But we were there First ! We got in line for our numbers, we were # 1 and # 2 .. Of course, we both just went by # 1.

We sat around and waited for the people who work there to arrive, watched them straggle in, watched them say hello, kiss ,   and sip a coffee, kiss, shuffle a paper or two and finally sit down, share some laughs with the person next to 
you and call a number. We were there before she even saw us move. We handed her the papers, the one little thing she wanted yesterday and then she shuffled them, looked at them ( as if she had not thoroughly examined them 
yesterday) and said , Marriage certificate?

Nowhere does it say we need to bring a marriage certificate. They already have it. 
 The translated, certified, copy that got us in the country in the first place. The proof that although we have the same last name, 
we really are not brother and sister..

So the life-saving young lady that works there and came to our rescue last year and again today, had a talk with the 
little miss who was enjoying making our lives miserable and things were "pushed " along and after about  
3-4 hours, we were told that We Are Permanent ..... 
BUT ... in 3 months we will get a letter and will have to come down and they will see about the marriage certificate.
We also think that the way things go here, that letter may never arrive and they might forget all 
about it, like they did the first one we gave them.

Tomorrow we get up at daybreak one more time ... to go to a different Level of Immigration Hell and then we are free, free, free at last ... at least free of Immigrations and getting up at 5 am to do something that is Not Fun.
One should only get up at 5 am if it is to have Fun. And it had better be pretty damned fun Fun.

After getting home, having some much needed coffee and taking a shower to remove the I feel dirty feeling that hung over me .. we called the relatives and decided to go to the Eva Peron Museum and have lunch
at the Museum Cafe.

I love this museum. I don't know that much about Eva Peron but I do know that they did a wonderful job on  the 
Museum.It  is a beautiful old mansion in Palermo.




You walk in and see the Cadillac they rode in .. then you start your walk through the mansion. 
You go around a corner in the lobby and you walk into a dark room with beautiful Tango music playing and you see a film in a room of mirrors, the funeral cortege and the thousands of people in the streets, 
on balconies, as far as you can see, people and flowers.
It was some funeral, let me tell you.
Then as you leave this room, you walk through the rooms where you see her life, her parents and sister, her dresses thatshe wore when she was an actress, the radio she listened to, books that she wrote and then you go upstairs and see Eva Peron , the First Lady. 

Her dresses are amazing and beautiful and anyone who has any interest in Vintage clothing would just about kill to 
get one of those hand made dresses or those shoes ! Oh my dear, those shoes.
Those were the days of hats and she had some great ones. 





Music follows you throughout the museum and the place is so pleasant, I always dawdle. My sister in law finally said, Let's go, I have had enough of Evita. 
So we went to lunch in the Museum cafe. 
I toasted us with a glass, well, two glasses of Sidre ( cider - sweet, bubbly, better than champagne) and I had a Brie and onion crepe, my sister in law had one with apples and dulce de leche inside and ice cream on top  and the boys had pasta  and rabas ( calamari) provencal... especially good if you like having the taste of garlic in your mouth for the rest of the day no matter what you do.

Then we walked.  
We were going to just take a stroll. We walked past the Zoo. From the street, it is just a beautiful park, with a huge 
aviary in there, an old wonderful looking building that has towers and houses elephants and who 
knows what  else was in there?
We have to go back and see. I guess I am ready to see what is happening at the zoo.
We wandered and meandered as usual, something that is so easy to do here ... and finally my sister in law said,  after about 15 blocks  that she was tired and would take a taxi.
We came on home where a certain Pup was delighted to see that we really did come back and after feeding him, we went back out.


I am now delirious with tiredness and have no idea what I have written.

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Expat blogger

living in Argentina