Happy New Year to all!…Tomorrow’s big reveal of future plans and “year in review” photos……

A colorfully painted wall on a narrow street in the Serrano Plaza area.

Tomorrow and on future January firsts, we will post “our year in review” with photos.  We haven’t been consistent in posting this feature but plan to do so in future years. Please check back tomorrow to see our year in review. 

Colorful painting on walls in Argentina is a popular cultural activity.

Last year, while in Penguin Tasmania, New Year’s Eve was on December 30th due to the International Dateline.  Subsequently, the photo below from one year ago, listed as the “one year ago” photo was posted on December 30th.  We apologize for the confusion.

Most likely, we won’t be on the other side of the International Dateline again until a much later date in the future, not necessarily in the next few years.  Also, tomorrow, we plan to post our upcoming plans for the future.  Please check back to see!

Everywhere we walk, we encounter wall painting of this type.  Very entertaining!

Yesterday, we took a taxi to the other end of Palermo to Jumbo, a large supermarket, where we purchased food and drinks for tonight’s New Year’s celebration with our new friends and past cruise-mate, Margaret and Con. Again tomorrow we’ll repeat the same meal, based on the lack of availability of opened restaurants over this holiday.

The “Jumbo” supermarket is located in a mall.

As always, it was fun to visit a huge supermarket in another country.  The types of foods vary along with the prices.  Unfortunately, we were so busy trying to find the items, including drinks, on our shopping list for the four for of us for tonight’s and tomorrow’s celebrations, we were too distracted to take photos once inside the market. 

It was a huge market although not as well laid out as some markets in throughout the world.  We managed to find most of the items on our list but couldn’t find all of the ingredients to make my special turmeric tea which I’ve been having each morning instead of coffee. 

We wandered around the mall where the Jumbo market is located.

Drinking the tea has become quite a treat for me and each morning, instead of eating (not hungry), I consume a mug of the healthy tea which includes cinnamon, turmeric powder, pepper (pepper increases the bio-availability of the turmeric), unsweetened organic cocoa powder, powdered ginger and unsweetened organic coconut cream along with your preferred sweetener. 

A deli located in the mall.

We were only able to find a few of these ingredients at the market. It made no sense to buy some of the ingredients, never knowing if we’d ever find the balance.  At that point, I decided I’d give up the tea and wait until we arrive in South Africa where I’m certain we’ll find everything needed.

After we returned to our room and rearranged the tiny refrigerator, we managed to fit everything except the roasted chickens we’d purchased.  The hotel staff offered to store them for us and reheat them in their microwave each of the next two evenings.

Tom checked out the McDonald’s but didn’t order a thing.  Good.

Fortunately, in this wonderful boutique hotel, we’ll be allowed to use our own food for this particular occasion when no restaurants are open.  We’ll dine in one of the large booths in the bar.  As typical in boutique hotels, the small restaurant has nothing on the menu that I can eat nor anything Tom likes.

We took the cart up the steep escalator in the mall.  We’d seen a similar set-up in Bali, Indonesia and Fairlight, Australia.

This plan works well for the four of us.  Tonight, we plan to get together with Margaret and Con at 8:30 pm to dine, a little late for us but, fine if we all plan to stay up for the midnight fireworks.

The seafood display was filled with many types of fish and shellfish.

Yesterday afternoon, after putting everything away, we moseyed back to the lobby to continue working on future planning in order to fine-tune some of our objectives over the next few years.  This end-of-the-year objective provides us with peace of mind and joyful anticipation of what is yet to come.

These salmon kabobs looked great, priced at US $2.09 (ARS 39.99) per 100 grams which would be US $20.87 (ARS 399.90) for one kilo (2.2 pounds).

By 5:30 pm, we headed out the door to once again to return to the Serrano Plaza area to find a spot for dinner and further explore this exciting area we’ve visited over the past few nights. 

Once we discovered this trendy area, it’s been hard to stay away from the lively streets, colorful graffiti painted on walls, with dozens of restaurants and shops all of which possess a typical Argentinian feel.

The exterior of Bulls BBQ Smoke House.

After wandering the streets for a while we spotted a  lone diner sitting at an outdoor table with a plate of barbecue ribs that looked great. We couldn’t resist checking it out further.  Once inside the restaurant, we noticed that Bulls BBQ Smoke House not only offered exquisite barbecue ribs and other meats but also a smoked chicken breast Caesar salad.   Perfect!

Meat cooking on the wood-fired stove at Bulls BBQ Smoke House.

We ordered and paid for our food and bottled water (cash only) at the counter and found a table in the back of the restaurant.  The owner was delightful, paying special attention to my dietary needs and Tom’s upcoming plate of beef ribs, fries, pickles, and coleslaw.  See photo below.

Tom, waiting for dinner to be served last night.

The meal was exceptional as was the reasonable cost at US $25.57, (ARS $490).  We hope to return at least one more time before departing Buenos Aires in 23 days.  I devoured Tom’s coleslaw, along with my salad and, he ate everything on his plate, leaving him feeling stuffed.

The restaurant is small but friendly with the freshest of well-prepared food.

After dinner, we decided to walk off our meal, meandering further through the area.  By coincidence, we stumbled across an upscale gourmet “spices and oils” shop noticing they had unsweetened coconut cream but none of my other tea ingredients. 

Tom’s monstrous meal.  I ordered the guacamole for my salad and ate all of his sugar-free coleslaw.

The lovely shopkeeper who spoke some English suggested we walk back to the direction from which we came to find a health food store that may have the remaining ingredients we’d need. 

By adding the guacamole and coleslaw I had plenty to eat.

After a two block walk, we found the health food store.  Alas, they had everything I needed!  All of the remaining organic ingredients were available in bulk and the friendly two shopkeepers engaged with us in chatty broken English while weighing the items we needed, wishing us a heartfelt “Feliz Ano Nuevo” as we headed out the door.

Once back on the street we headed back to the upscale spices and oils stop which luckily was still open so we could purchase the remaining coconut cream from her.  After all, she was kind enough to point us in the right direction of the health food store which we appreciated and, we decided to give her the business.

The shelves of the gourmet spices and oils shop are neatly lined with cooking treasures.

Luckily, we had the small cooler bag with us as Tom carried the heavy package as we walked back to the hotel.  By the time we returned to our room it was 8:30 pm. 

We hunkered down for the evening to watch two shows on my laptop; season two of “Top of the Lake” (exceptional); and season one of Damnation” (good but not great).

What a pretty display!

Tomorrow, New Year’s Day, we’ll be back with our “year in review” photos, plus photos from our New Year’s Eve celebration and our new loosely planned itinerary for the next few years.

May each and every one of our dear readers/friends have a safe and fulfilling New Year’s Eve and year to come.  You mean the world to us!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 31, 2016:

Due to the International Dateline, we posted the “year in review” photos on December 30th.   From that date’s post, we included this photo of our visit to the Monkey Temple in Bali in May wearing the required sarongs.  For more of last year’s photos, please click here.

Exploring Palermo on foot…New discoveries…Winging it!…Making plans for New Year’s Eve…

Painting on the wall outside a sushi restaurant.

Dining is a bit challenging here in Buenos Aires.  As we mentioned in earlier posts, most restaurants don’t open until later in the evening, long after we’d prefer to dine.

This is where we dined last night, San Serrano Deli & Drinks.

As a result, each evening we’ve taken off on foot in search of a new restaurant to try, hoping after a few weeks we’ll settle in with a week’s worth of favorites, to which we’ll return for memorable meals. 

Guest started filtering inside when it was hot outdoors, although many patrons dined at tables near the busy street.

The most difficult part of the challenge is my way of eating.  If that wasn’t an issue, it would be fairly easy.  Thus far, all I’ve eaten has been one form or another of a Caesar salad with chicken which has been fine with me.

We stretched our necks to read this menu on the wall.  After a while, a server brought us menus.

Last night was no exception.  But, this time, we wandered further away from our hotel to find another spectacular trendy neighborhood that sent us reeling with delight.  It was the most charming area we’d seen to date. 

Tom passed on beer and opted for bottled water.  Tap water isn’t served in any restaurants since it may not be safe to drink.

After looking at a number of potential spots for dinner, we decided on a busy deli and bakery.  The fact the restaurant was busy was a good indicator the food may be good since we’ve seen others opened at the early hour of 6:00 pm with few patrons.

Tom’s burger with ham, eggs, cheese and beef plus, fried potatoes.

Although service was slow based on the activity, we were fine, especially when we were handed the menus that included English descriptions.  However, based on my dietary restrictions, the server asked an English speaking server to assist to ensure the modifications I required.  It all worked out wel

My grilled chicken salad with grilled tomatoes.

As for tomorrow’s upcoming New Year’s Eve, we’ve met a lovely couple from the UK who are staying at this hotel and who was also on the recent cruise with us. As it turns out, the hotel is not planning a party so we’re planning our own party. Margaret and Con are planning to dine with us in the hotel and enjoy some food, wine, and champagne.

Gated property.

Today, as soon as we upload the post, we’re taking a taxi to a big supermarket where we’ll purchase wine, champagne, liquor for Tom, and food we’ll share with our new friends on New Year’s Eve and hopefully again on New Year’s Day.  What a perfect plan for what may have proved to have been another meat and cheese holiday.

Lingerie shop.  There are many of these in Argentina.

Eating all that meat and cheese on Christmas Eve and day didn’t agree with me so at least today at the market we’ll be able to purchase some vegetables, salad and a variety of foods suitable for the special event.

Sullivan’s Irish Pub, on a corner in the neighborhood we discovered.

The hotel will allow us to dine with our own food and drinks in the otherwise quiet dining area.  It should be a good night especially when we hit it off so well with Margaret and Con.

Historic building we see each time we head down Gorriti road.

That’s it for today, folks.  We hope your plans for the New Year include exactly what you’d prefer, whether a quiet evening at home or a festive celebration of the upcoming New Year.  May it be a safe and satisfying holiday!

Decorated tree in the neighborhood.

Have a lovely day!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 30, 2016:

This ÿear in review photo” was posted on this date a year ago.  Tomorrow, we’ll do the same, posting favorite photos of us throughout the year.  In this photo taken in 2016, we were on the Mekong River Cruise and tour in July, stopping at the Kampong Cham temple in Cambodia. For more photos from last year’s recap, please click here.

Wow! An outstanding evening in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires…What an exciting deal!…Wine lovers, take note…

Monogrammed cloth napkins and plates were awaiting us as we were seated at La Cabrera last night.

When searching online for possible restaurants in the area, over and over again La Cabrera popped up in our searches.  This was one of the few restaurants open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, offering pricey fixed price menus at a cost of US $104.25 per person (ARS 2,000, with a recent exchange rate drop since our mention in a prior post).

Tom ordered a local beer while I had a Malbec.  Wine lovers; see our notes below notes below.

With an added tip based on La Cabrera’s purported good service, we could easily have spent US $300 (ARS 5,756) for each of the two holiday nights, especially with added cocktails since Tom wouldn’t have been interested in the included wine offerings. 

Based on our perception of the high cost of dining at La Cabrera, we didn’t give it much thought although we passed it and it’s second restaurant located on the same block, many times during our walks through the busy district.

These side dishes are complimentary at La Cabrera. 

Yesterday, while checking the menu on their website hoping to discover their regular (non-holiday) prices (which weren’t posted online), I stumbled across this ad below:

The La Cabrera ad states, in Spanish in small print above the word “Happy,”  that happy hour is daily between 6:30 and 8:00 pm.   Getting there by 6:15 pm is a must or one may not get in for this excellent benefit.

Before dinner, we decided to find a local pharmacy to purchase some over-the-counter items for the upcoming Antarctica cruise, also buying enough for the first few months in Africa as well.  We were impressed with the “caged” pharmacist’s ability to find everything on our list in the tiny space.

Roasted garlic in the finest of olive oil.

As it turned out the Farmacia which closes at 8:00 pm, was within a block or two of the restaurant and we decided to head there first before walking to the restaurant.
 
When we arrived at La Cabrera at 6:15 we discovered a queue of a dozen people waiting outside to take advantage of the “happy hour” pricing as well.  We found our spot in line and waited along with the others as several more diners arrived during the waiting period.  By 6:40 pm, they started letting us “bargain hunters” enter the restaurant to quickly be seated in a relatively tight space.

A woman sitting alone next to us ordered this huge steak and devoured the entire thing.

No more than five minutes after we were seated, they started turning people away.  Most locals take a two-hour siesta between 2:00 and 4:00 pm and they usually don’t dine until 9:00 or 10:00 pm or later, a little too late for us. Such an early seating is unusual in Buenos Aires.

As early birds awakening by 6:00 am at the latest each day, we’re usually sound asleep by midnight.  Going to bed on a full stomach is something we aren’t interested in doing, nor do we like to wait that late to dine, usually our only meal of the day. The “happy hour” concept works especially well for us. 

This was my entree, a Caesar salad with grilled chicken (no croutones) to which I requested avocado.  They added one and a half small avos and to my surprise, I consumed the entire dish.  It also included a lemon mayonnaise dressing (not bottled) on the side.

As we’ve walked the restaurant-lined streets of the Palermo Soho district over this past six days, we’ve noted dozens of restaurants where we’ll never be able to dine when they don’t open until 9:00 or 10:00 pm.  However, we’ve been able to find enough restaurants to suits our needs that open by 6:00 or 7:00 pm.

After last night’s stupendous experience, not only in regard to the good food and service but, also the highly cultural event, we certainly look forward to returning to La Cabrera several more times during the “happy hour” period.  As a footnote, this restaurant is certainly worth visiting in the later hours at full price for those who prefer to dine later in the evening when the pace may be more relaxed.

To reach my required 60 grams of protein each day, I added this egg and red pepper dish, cooked to perfection.  This alone would have been a big enough meal for me with its four eggs.  Good grief.  I ate the whole thing as we took our time and dined at a leisurely pace.

We’d heard prices are high in Buenos Aires and in most cases they are.  As a result, we budgeted US $100 (ARS 1,886) per day for meals while staying in a hotel for over 30 nights.

Last night’s meal, including wine, beer, and generous tip totaled US $46.23 (ARS 871.70) after the 40% discount.  Wow!  Subsequently, we’re averaging only US $34 (ARS 641) per day, keeping in mind that we only eat dinner out.  This amount includes the food we’d purchased at the mini-mart for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when we weren’t willing to spend the above mentioned high prices for the fixed priced menus on those two holiday nights.

Tom ordered the barbecue ribs which was the equivalent of an entire slab with these three sauces.  He ate all the juicy tender meat and left the sauces.  He’s not a “sauce” kind of guy although he can be quite saucy at times!.

Tom eats a light breakfast of coffee, hard boiled eggs, ham, and cheese (pastries, fruit, and juice are available for others) in the excellent Prodeo Hotel which is included in our nightly rate.

The food at La Cabrera was over-the-top fresh, hot, delicious and beautifully presented on sizzling platters.  Both of us couldn’t have enjoyed the experience more and look forward to a repeat performance in the near future.  Next time, I won’t order so much food since I’m still stuffed this morning.

This wasn’t a full-sized bottle of Malbec but contained two large glasses.  I had one glass and the waiter provided the cork so we could take the balance back to the hotel with us!  See the notes below on Argentinian Malbec as compared to French.
“Learn the Difference: Argentinian Malbec vs. French Malbec (from this site)
Blog » Wine Tips & Tricks » Learn the Difference: Argentinian Malbec vs. French Malbec

France is the place of origin of Malbec, but Argentina is now home to nearly 70% of the Malbec vineyards of the world. Thus, your very first taste of Malbec could have been from Mendoza, Argentina. There is a dramatic difference in taste between the two regions and this is because Malbec really shows how terroir affects the wine.

An instant definition of ‘terroir’

Terroir encompasses all the regional factors that define the taste of a wine grape including sun, soil, the slant of a hillside, proximity to a body of water, climate, weather, and altitude. Terroir happens before a winemaker even touches the grapes. Any winemaker worth his/her salt will tell you: great wine is made in the vineyard, not in the cellar. Read more about Terroir.”

We won’t do another comprehensive post on this particular restaurant when we return during our remaining 25 nights in Buenos Aires. However, we will share some details of other restaurants we’ll visit along the way.  After the New Year holiday ends, we’ll begin sightseeing. We’re looking forward to sharing those details with all of YOU.

After we finished our meal, the waiter dropped off this “lollipop tree” encouraging
Tom to take some with him.  He did.

Have a delicious day, dear friends!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 29, 2016:


The prior day while on a walk in Penguin, Tasmania, we spotted this White Faced Heron.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Bookings for South Africa…The “adventure” and it’s “paperwork” never ends…

Orange.....more than just a colour!
The entrance to our new vacation/holiday home we’ll be renting in Marloth Park beginning on February 11th, aptly named “Orange…More Than Just a Colour.”  For the link to this listing, please click here.

Yesterday, much to our delight, we wrapped up the first 89-day vacation/holiday rental for Marloth Park.  Louise had promised she’d find us a great property that would work for our budget and yet meet our criteria.

This property she chose for us, more than met our criteria.  It’s a virtual dream house in the South African bush, possessing all the features that make living in the rugged terrain all the more comfortable and experiential.

In Africa, many houses have a name, especially in the Conservancy of Marloth Park and the house on which we paid a 50% deposit yesterday is peculiarly and perhaps aptly called, “Orange…More Than Just a Colour.”

Fully equipped self catering kitchen
We’re looking forward to cooking again in this modern kitchen after an 80-day hiatus.

The exterior orange based color certainly prompted the house’s name but there is nothing gaudy or outlandish in its appearance or design.  It is pure bliss by our standards and we gratefully thank Louise, our friend and property manager for Marloth Park for making this happen for us.

Not only did she make this outstanding property affordable for us she locked up our time slot from February 11, 2018, to May 11, 2018, a total of 89 days.  Once we arrive, we’ll work with Louise to wrap up this or other properties we’ll rent during our one year stay in Africa.

We’ll travel in and out of the country to satisfy the immigration requirements of a maximum of 90 days while we visit many other countries on the continent to fulfill our goals of expanding our African horizons.

Outside pool under roof
Most of the pools in Marloth are plunge pools, intended for cooling off, as opposed the swimming laps.

Of course, we’ll share many more photos of this spectacular property located in our dream location, during our lengthy upcoming stay along with photos of our daily “visitors.”

Our inspiration to return to Marloth Park was precipitated by two aspects.  One, was the bush setting with wild animals walking around the house and two, the amazing friends we made while there in 2013/2014, all of whom we’ll see when we’re there and have stayed in contact with during the four years since we left.

Today, here in Palermo Soho area of Buenos Aires, once again we’ll take off on foot and walk the streets of this fascinating area.  Once the holidays end, we’ll do a bit of sightseeing.

Tomorrow, we’ll share most of our dining experiences over these past few days and more photos of life and culture in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


 Have a blissful day.

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Photo from one year ago today, December 28, 2016:

On a walk across the street in Penguin, Tasmania which is lined with a wide variety of blooming flowers, we spotted this unusual plant.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Bookings for South Africa…The “adventure” and it’s “paperwork” never ends…

We find these colorfully painted building interesting and befitting the somewhat flamboyant nature of Buenos Aires.

Where do we begin and end? This outrageous lifestyle only knows an end when we “can’t do it anymore.”  Surely, someday this will come.  But, for now, we keep planning and booking one adventure after another.

I used the word “adventure” based on our perception of what adventure may be.  To many, adventure connotes white water rafting, mountains climbing, bungee jumping and other physically related risk-taking events.

There are many designer-type furniture shops in the area.

For us, an adventure may be defined as follows from the dictionary:

adventure
ədˈvɛntʃə/
noun
  1. 1.
    an unusual and exciting or daring experience.

    “her recent adventures in Italy”

    synonyms: exploitescapadedeedfeattrialexperienceincidentoccurrence
    eventhappeningepisodeaffair;

We focus more on the above stated, “an unusual and exciting” experience and less on the “daring.”  Well, not totally.  Couldn’t “daring” be described as selling everything we owned, leaving our family and friends, to travel the world for years to come; homeless, without a car, with no storage anywhere, no apartment/condo to return to, to repack and take care of things?  I guess so. 

Perhaps, for us, all of it is an adventure.  We’ve never considered we must put our physical beings in harm’s way in order for our lives to qualify as an adventure. 

Colorfully painted buildings are a common trend in Buenos Aires.

Along that path is the future planning for what we consider the ultimate adventure…re-visiting Africa (we were there four years ago) which will transpire in a mere 46 days (with the cruise to Antarctica in between in only 27 days.)  Good grief!  Could it get more exciting for us in this short period of time?

Finally, yesterday, after checking prices for a few months, we booked our flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Nelspruit, Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga,   South Africa, a location other “adventurers” fly to in order to embark on their own personal journey on an insatiable quest for adventure.

Another colorfully painted building.

The cost for the one-way economy flight for two was shocking.  We’ve never paid this high a fare for a one-way flight.

Here are the details:

Price summary
Traveler 1: Adult $1,754.66 Flight $1,301.00 Taxes & Fees $453.66
Traveler 2: Adult              $1,754.66 Flight $1,301.00 Taxes & Fees $453.66
Expedia Booking Fee $14.00
Total US $3,523.3
(ARS 64,934)
All prices are quoted in USD.

705 points
for this trip



Travel time:           16 hours total (3 flights)
Depart:                  12:50 PM, February 10, 2018
Arrive in Nelspruit:    9:50 AM, February 11, 2018
Layovers:       2 hours in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
                     1 hour 40 minutes in Johannesburg, South Africa

Airlines:         GOL Linhas Aereas S.A
                          South African Airways (last two flights)

We flinched paying this high a fare for coach but, we made up for it a little when we were able to rent a car at the Nelspruit Airport for a total of 89 days for only US $1,750 (ARS 32,252) including all taxes, fees, and insurance which averages at US $583 (ARS 10,745) per month.

We plan to stay in Africa for up to 13 months and will share more details as we book further into the future, much of which will be outside of South Africa.  But, we’ll continue to return to Marloth Park after satisfying visa requirements for a maximum of 90 days as required in most African countries.

There isn’t an abundance of flowers blooming at this time in the Palermo area.

Today, we’re finalizing the details of our vacation/holiday rental with our dear property manager friends, Louise and Danie Thiart who can be reached at this site.  We’re so appreciative of their friendship and assistance in finding us more outstanding accommodations in Marloth Park.

Tomorrow, we share details of what will be our new home beginning on February 11, 2018.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 27, 2016:

This was the view from our holiday home from an elevated road in Penguin, Tasmania.  For more details, please click here.

A visit to a local outdoor market in Palermo…Feria de Plaza Serrano…Culture galore…

The Feria de Plaza Serrano outdoor market is open weekends and holidays from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.

The area of Palermo couldn’t have been a better choice for us during this extended stay in Buenos Aires.  It’s safe to walk the streets day and night as long as one exercises a mindful watch and scrutinous eye for possible pickpockets and uneven pavement.

Tourists and locals visit the market.

There’s a lot to see and do.  Once the holidays are over, we’ll begin making a plan for sightseeing venues, that will be less busy once the holidays have ended.  In the interim, we content to walk the many streets surrounding our hotel offering a wide and expansive perspective of Argentinian culture.

Little English is spoken here and our choppy Spanish has served us well thus far.  Thank goodness we spent the 113 days in Atenas, Costa Rica where learning some Spanish words was vital to our existence. 

Many of the kiosks are offering locally handmade goods.

By no means are we adept at speaking Spanish but we are able to get a message across to some extent and will learn more during this month-long stay in Argentina. 

I’ve considered an online Spanish language course but hesitate when I realize how much time I spend online as it is.  I can’t picture myself sitting at my laptop an hour more each day. 

The displays were pretty and appealing.

Besides, my brain doesn’t seem to relish the thought of even more learning when each and every day consists of researching and educating ourselves in our travels.  We must save time for relaxation and of course, pleasure.

Speaking of pleasure, yesterday, Christmas Day proved to be a very good day after all.  We spent the entire day in the hotel lobby until it was time to mosey on up to our room for another “cheesy and meaty” dinner in the bathtub room.  By this point, we took the peculiar meal and location in our stride.  How quickly we adapt!

Only about four long blocks from our hotel, we’ll return to try the various restaurants.

After uploading the day’s post, Tom watched the remainder of the four Vikings football games he missed watching while on the cruise when he was unable to stream with the ship’s slow Wi-Fi signal. 

He used his earbuds listening to the games on his laptop while I busily and most happily spoke to family members on Skype while he occasionally interjected Christmas greetings and expressions of love.  We spoke to my three grandchildren; Maisie, Miles, and Madighan; son Greg and his dear wife, Camille. 

After a lengthy chat, I spoke to son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, and sister Julie in Los Angeles, California.  A few days earlier I’d spoken to my other sister Susan to wish Merry Christmas, as well.

There’s Tom on the right carrying the yellow Costco bag.

Once I was off Skype Tom spoke to son TJ and family and;  daughter Tammy and grandson Vincent while I interjected love and warm wishes when he was done.  It was a perfect day and we were left reeling with warm fuzzies over spending the afternoon speaking with everyone.

By 6:00 pm we were back in our hotel room preparing our plates for the final peculiar dinner.  After dinner, we spent time responding to many email messages from our readers, family and friends and holiday wishes on Facebook.  

There’s plenty of dining establishments in the “feria.”

By 7:30, we were ready to hunker down for the night and get lost in mindless drivel…watching one of our favorite shows, season four of “Peaky Blinders.” Tonight, we’ll finish the season and find something else to entertain us over the next several nights, after returning from dinner.

Tonight, we’ll head out and find a restaurant for dinner and hopefully come up with a plan for New Year’s Eve in the process.  There are endless options in the neighborhood for that holiday as opposed to few options for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

We visited the outdoor market on Christmas Eve in the late afternoon so it may not have been as busy as it is on a typical weekend day.

Finding a place for dinner on New Year’s Day may be tricky but we’ll figure it out this week. Toward the end of the week, we plan to head to a large market nearby to purchase a few items for my turmeric tea, now a favorite morning beverage along with a possible backup meal for New Year’s day. 

That’s it, folks.  We want to thank all of our readers for staying with us and continuing to read our daily posts.  We’re often astounded by the number of readers who visit us each day, often well into the thousands.  Go figure.  Your participation is truly a gift we unwrap and savor each and every day.  Thank you with all of our hearts.

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Photo from one year ago today, December 26, 2017:

One year ago in Penguin, Tasmania, this was our favorite photo of the day, a huge Billy Goat with quite the beard and defined facial markings.  For more details, please click here.

We have to laugh…Our weirdest Christmas ever…Perils of world travel…

Here was our Christmas Eve dinner last night which we’ll repeat again tonight, Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas to all of our readers, family, and friends!  May your lives be blessed with good health, contentment, and fulfillment of all your dreams. 

OK, let’s get into the details of this peculiar Christmas, like none other we’ve experienced since the onset of our travels. When we arrived in Buenos Aires on December 23rd, we knew we were taking a risk in not making reservations at one of the few open Christmas-Eve or Christmas Day restaurants.

With the average cost of US $111 (ARS $2,000) per person for dinner plus beverages and tips we’d have been looking at spending US $300 (ARS 5,360) for Christmas Eve and again for Christmas Day.  The thought of spending this much for two meals simply didn’t appeal to us, especially when many items on the pre-planned menus didn’t comply with my way of eating.

Luckily, we purchased enough for both nights not knowing it would have to be a “repeat.

When we arrived on the 23rd, we walked the neighborhood stopping at many restaurants asking if they’d be open on either evening.  Also, our hotelier Alessandro had spent considerable time researching before we arrived.  The only restaurants open were those in this price range.

However, during our long walk, we stumbled upon “Rave” which claimed they’d be open Christmas Eve from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am.  We were thrilled and decided we’d head there around 6:00 pm for an early dinner.

As for Christmas Day, we were out of luck and yesterday morning we headed to a local mini-mart to purchase deli meats, canned tuna, and cheese, just in case.  Good thing we’d purchase those items or we’d have been without a bite to eat last night and today.

Yesterday, we showered and dressed for Christmas Eve dinner at “Rave,” making the five block walk only to be told, they’d decided to close after all.  No dining out for us.  We headed back to the hotel to start preparing our meager fatty meal of tuna with mayo, deli meat, braunschweiger, ham and a variety of cheeses. 

This is the restaurant where we’d hoped to dine on Christmas Eve but closed when business was slow.

Oddly, the only place to eat was in the tiny room in our hotel room with the bathtub which included a table and chairs for two, facing the street.  We’d never eaten in a room with a bathtub.  Oh, well.  We looked at one another laughing out loud.  It was a small price to pay for the many otherwise amazing days in our lives of world travel.

We had Christmas Eve dinner and will have Christmas Day dinner in this little bathtub room.

We’ll always remember this Christmas as special for its unique experience, along with the endless unique experiences we’ve encountered along the way. This is the sixth Christmas since we left Minnesota on Halloween, 2012. Here’s the rundown on where and how we’ve spent the past Christmases:

2012 – Family get-together at a vacation rental in Henderson, Nevada with three of Tom’s sisters and two brothers-in-law; my cousin Phyllis and her two adult daughters; my sister Julie; eldest son Richard; Tom’s nephew John and his daughter.  We had a fabulous celebration! (In those days, we didn’t take many photos).  See the link here.

We made five giant Poppy Seed Strudels, rolling the dough with a tall bottle of water.  For the recipe, please click here.

2013 – We were in Marloth Park, South Africa for Christmas and went to Jabula Lodge for Christmas dinner, the day we met and dined with new friends Piet and Hettie whom we’ll soon see once again.  On our way out the door on Christmas Day we encountered this kudu.  Tom said he ordered this for me for my Christmas gift.  I couldn’t have been more thrilled!

Our Christmas visitor on Christmas Day, 2013. The kudu’s neck will enlarge during the mating season.  From the looks of our visitor, the mating season was imminent.  Look at the muscles on this big guy, males can weigh as much or more than 700 pounds, 318 kg.  This one was smaller than many we’ve seen weighing perhaps in the 500 pounds, 227 kg range.  Kudus can easily scale a 5 foot, 1.5-meter wall.  Soon, we’ll see more of these.  For more details, please click here.

2014 – Our family of 12 came to visit us in Pahoa, Big Island, Hawaii for the holiday season.  It was during this period that the lava from Mount Kilauea was flowing toward the town. What an unbelievable experience it was for us and our kids and grandchildren to see lava.

We spent Christmas Day at the beach with the family.  It was great day although cloudy and rainy.  For more details, please click here.

2015 – We were in Pacific Harbor, Fiji and went out to a buffet dinner at the five star Pearl Resort.  After eating this octopus, I began having issues with my gastrointestinal system which only recently began to resolve. 

Yum, I said at the time, baby octopus.  Those heads were a bit tricky to chew.  I ate four of these, less one head.  Now as I look at this, it sickens my stomach.  Never again!  For more details of that Christmas Day, please click here.

2016 – Last year at Christmas we were in Penguin, Tasmania.  The adorable small town had decorated many of its Penguin statues as shown in the photo below.  Although we spent the day alone, we made a fabulous dinner and walked the streets of the town enjoying the scenery and decorations. 

Penguin’s mascot, this giant penguin, is decorated for Christmas.  On Christmas Day we walked through the charming town enjoying the scenery.  For more details, please click here.

At the moment, Christmas morning, we are seated in the lounge/lobby area of our boutique hotel.  The meat and cheese breakfast didn’t appeal to me so I stuck with my mug of tea while Tom ate a few hard boiled eggs, meat and cheese, and coffee.


Adding to the peculiarity of our Christmas, was the fact that we were the only guests in the hotel last night.  I mean only guests…not one other guest was staying here!  How odd is that?  Its another first for us!

Surely today, we’ll head out for another walk to take photos and enjoy the sunny day in Palermo, Buenos Aires.  Later today, we’ll call and speak to family members on Skype.

May all of you have a stupendous day!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 24, 2016 (due to the International Dateline it was one day earlier):

Our Christmas Day meal.  The filet mignon was tender as it could be, the prawns sweet and delicious and the plate of bacon and sautéed mushrooms, salad and green beans were added treats.  For more details, please click here.


Merry Christmas to all of our worldwide readers…Settling in for 31-nights in Buenos Aires…Not as easy as it may seem…

Happy 65th birthday to my darling husband, lover,  travel companion and forever friend who has made this special and unique life of world travel possible.  

Now that the cruise has ended, we won’t be posting photos from “Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising.”  Instead, over the remaining 31-nights, while we’re staying in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires at the Prodeo Hotel, we’ll be posting photos and stories of our day-to-day lives while living in a boutique hotel in this lovely neighborhood, known for its charm and eclectic persona.

We sat at the banquette in the lovely restaurant in Palermo, Lo De Jesus.  It was only ranked #322 of 4,422 restaurant reviews in Buenos Aires on the TripAdvisor site.

At a corporate rate of US $2,560, (ARS 45,878) for this extended stay, we didn’t expect luxury accommodations.  When we were situated in our spacious room, at the impeccable Prodeo Hotel, we needed a few adjustments and made a list for our hotelier Alessandro, hoping he would be helpful in resolving the few concerns which included:

  • Is there ice for our beverages?
  • Is the water safe to drink?
  • How to use the safe?  Directions were unclear.
  • How to use the free phone in room (local calls only)?
  • Can we get another luggage rack since there are no drawers or ample storage space in the room allowing us to unpack?
  • Can we have more hangers for the small closet behind a drape? 
  • There’s no small refrigerator in the room.  Is it possible to get one?
  • One screw to the toilet seat is missing making the seat slide around.  Can this be fixed?
  • Where we’d dine for Tom’s birthday, walking distance from the hotel?
  • Where is there an ATM at a bank?  Fees are generally less at a bank ATM than at a local machine.
    The restaurant’s decor is understated and pleasant.

After we took a much needed short nap and uploaded yesterday’s post, we headed out on foot for an ATM.  We weren’t surprised to discover that each time we’ll use an ATM, the fees will be US $10, (ARS 179) for each transaction, charged by the local machine, more than we’ve paid anywhere in the world.

Many restaurants, from what we’ve seen thus far, also offer a wide array of Argentinian wines for sale.

We won’t need much cash here since most restaurants accept credit cards.  We’ll only need cash for taxis and local mini-marts.  It’s a pricey area so we’ll see how it goes.

Tom couldn’t resist the delicious bread.

Over the next few hours, Alessandro handled each and every one of concerns with the greatest of ease and generosity.  We now have a small refrigerator in our room: ice is available at the hotel’s bar upon request (no charge); we now can use the safe and phone; we received many more wooden hangers; the toilet seat is repaired; we enjoyed Tom’s birthday dinner at fine local restaurant (see photos below); we got cash from the ATM and all is good.

Two complimentary glasses of dry champagne were presented at our table.  

All we need is another dozen or so hangers which Alessandro will provide for us when he arrives later today and, we’ll be set.  Tom has yet to unpack but somehow we’ll manage to find a spot for everything when there are no drawers and few shelves in the room.

A big sturdy knife was placed on Tom’s table setting for his Argentine steak.

With all of our requests handled, we now feel at ease and confident we’ll enjoy our time in Buenos Aires.  Dining out may be somewhat of a challenge for my way of eating when most meals center around doughy type dishes such as empanadas, tortillas, pasta, bread and sweets. But as always, we’ll figure it out, one meal at a time.

My main dish was a Provolone cheese baked with bacon, onions and red peppers, which was delightful.

This morning’s included breakfast was good with hard boiled eggs, meats and cheeses.  I hadn’t had breakfast once on the cruise, but this morning I had a small bite of ham and cheese to hold me until dinner.  We found a nearby restaurant that will be open tonight for dinner and later today, we’ll figure out what we’ll do on Christmas Day.

I added two fried eggs to my meal to round out my protein requirements of 60 grams per day.

Most days, while on the ship I had a salad midday but won’t be doing that now as I work my way back to eating one meal a day which seems to suit me best.    Unfortunately, I must always be considering what foods will be suitable for my way of eating. 

Tom’s Argentine steak as a little fatty for him but the flavor of the meat was otherwise excellent.

In the realm of things, it’s insignificant.  After all, it was changing my diet that made it possible for us to travel the world.  As a result, I never feel deprived or “sorry” for myself unable to eat the gorgeous bread, pasta, and desserts offered here and in every city in the world.  It’s a small price to pay for this glorious life.

Many buildings in the city have colorful and unique exteriors.

Speaking of “glorious lives” may we wish each and every one of our worldwide readers, family, and friends, a joyous holiday season filled with love, happiness, and merriment.

This is where we’ll be dining tonight, Christmas Eve, one of the few restaurants open tonight.

Throughout the year we never hesitate to feel grateful for this blissful life we lead.  Now with the holiday season upon us, we have the further opportunity to reflect on our good fortune of health and well-being which without, this life wouldn’t be possible.

Another colorful building exterior.

May those of you who celebrate this time of year, experience the utmost of good health and well-being as you make your way through this special holiday season and New Year.

Entrance gate to an apartment in Palermoa.
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Photo from one year ago today, December 24, 2016:

Finally, we were able to take a photo in the early evening of a fast moving train decorated with Christmas light. We’d hope for a nighttime train for a better shot.  However, each time we heard a train coming in the dark, we quickly ran outside with the camera only to find that particular train wasn’t decorated.  We’re content with this shot.  For more photos of Christmas in Penguin, Tasmania, please click here.

Cruise to South America comes to an end – Final expenses and favorite photos…Tom’s 65th birthday…

Manta, Ecuador.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Torre De Las Couminicaciones or Antel Tower is a 157 tall meter building
on the shore of the bay in Montevideo, Uruguay.


We apologize for today’s late posting.  Disembarking the ship and getting settled in the hotel in Buenos Aires kept us busy all morning.  Tom is currently taking a short nap while I tackle today’s story.  Here we go!

Here’s our final expenses for the 30-night cruise to South America:

Expense US Dollar Notes
Cruise Fare  $                  8,388.32
Airfare   $                     246.42  Costa Rica to Miami 
Hotel in Miami  $                        18.46  Used credits Hotels.com 
Taxi   $                     130.00
Cabin Credit  $                   (550.00)
Wi-Fi  $                     430.00  inc. on second leg 
Gratuities  $                     405.00  inc. on second leg 
Tours & Restaurant  $                    351.86  inc dining  Miami & Cayman  
Additional Gratuities  $                     255.00
Cruise Bill for Purchases  $                     678.13  inc. camera 
Total  $                10,353.19
Avg Daily Cost – 31 days  $                     333.97  inc. one night in hotel in FL 

Feeling festive on the final night of the 30-night cruise, we stayed up way too late.  From the Cáptain’s Club happy hour party from 5:00 t0 7:00 pm, to the delightful dinner table of eight at the Trellis Restaurant to the fun chatting with our favorite bartender Kadak (from Bali) to visiting with more new friends in the Constellation Bar for the final “silent disco” the evening couldn’t have been more varied and fun.

Panama Canal.

At midnight we fell into bed exhausted. Hours earlier our packed and tagged bags had been taken from outside our cabin door to be stored overnight for morning pickup after the shuttle bus ride at 7:30 am to the port building.

Pisco, Peru.

We were up and about by 6:00 am, a little worn for the wear but anxious to get on our way to the Prodeo Hotel in the popular Palermo district of Buenos Aires.  It proved to be the quickest and most efficient debarkation we’ve had to date after 21 cruises in the past five years.

Arica, Chile.

Then, of course, today is Tom’s 65th birthday which with little merriment on the agenda, we reached the boutique hotel by 8:30 after a 30-minute taxi ride through the busy city.  Luckily, it was Saturday and the traffic was considerably lighter than we heard it could be.

Where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet in Cape Horn, the end of the world.

Buenos Aires is a city of over 12,000,000 people with some of the most harrowing and dangerous traffic in the world. As a result, we plan to do most of our sightseeing on the weekends, when it’s not quite as wild.

The Chilean Fiords.

In an attempt to keep costs to a minimum and to avoid staying in a less-than-desirable neighborhood, we chose this small hotel in the popular and more upscale Palermo district where we should be able to walk or take a short taxi ride for most of our needs.

Glaciers in the Straits of Magellan.

The hotelier has booked a dinner reservation for Tom’s birthday tonight at 6:00 pm not the later seatings at 10:00 or 11:00 pm, we’ve heard so much about as typical in Buenos Aires.  As tired as we are, an early evening will be in order.

Huge statue in Puerto Montt, Chile.

As I finally write here now sitting in our somewhat stylish room, we’re in a quandary about a few things.  The water isn’t potable so we’ll have to go out and purchase bottled water.

The Chilean Fiords.

There’s a virtual laundry list of items we’ll need to be a little more at ease but we’ll report back on these tomorrow once we have a chance to speak to the person in charge, Alessandro, whom we’ll meet with as soon as I upload this post. 

Lizard eating vegetation at the park in Manta, Ecuador.

Tom watched the first of five Minnesota Vikings games he missed while on the cruise, while I unpacked as best as I could with no available drawers and little closet space. We have a few ideas we’ll run by Alessandro hoping for a viable solution.

Sun setting while at sea.

We loved the cruise; the wonderful friends we made; the ports of call and the many days at sea.  Sure, there’s always a few areas one could complain about but we seldom care to spend time whinging about what is wrong when so much is right, the same of which is true here at this affordable hotel.

Us with new friends, Lisa and Barry whom we’ll see again in June.

We’ll be back tomorrow with Buenos Aires photos, our dinner out tonight for Tom’s birthday and more.

Barry, Lisa, Me and Tom at dinner in the private wine room at Tuscan Grill specialty restaurant.

Thanks to all of our dear readers for staying with us during the lengthy cruise including the quiet seas days when we had less to share.  We appreciate each and every one of you.

Typical street with historic buildings in Montevideo, Uruguay,

And, happy birthday to the man of my dreams, who provides me with a life of joyful splendor and perpetual playful anticipation,  I love you with all of my heart.

Produce stand in Montevideo, Uruguay.
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Photo from one year ago today, December 23, 2016:


Mersey Beach bluff in Tasmania, where we dined for Tom’s birthday.  For more details, please click here.

Day 30…Cruise to South America…One day to disembarkation…About us….Final Montevideo photos…

Many of the streets in Montevideo, Uruguay reminded us of other historical cities we’ve visited.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising

Viewing shipwrecks from our veranda in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The cruise is fast coming to an end.  Today, we pack and leave our bags outside our cabin door by 10:00 pm. Tonight’s the last “silent disco” and we’ll dance the night away with all the new friends we’ve made along the way.

Montevideo, Uruguay is a charming historic town filled with historical buildings.

It’s the first time I didn’t feel a little nostalgic as a cruise comes to an end. This time, both of us are ready to begin the New Year with many adventures awaiting us, and of course, the celebration of a milestone in Tom’s life, his 65th birthday tomorrow.

Vendors line the streets offering their handmade crafts for sale.

I wish there was a way I could arrange festivities to celebrate his birthday but based on disembarkation tomorrow, preparing the final expenses and post for the cruise and getting settled into our hotel in the Palermo district in Buenos Aires while attempting to find a restaurant for his birthday dinner, our day will be full.

We walked to a large open market area where dozens of vendors were presenting their goods.

No doubt, the day, like every other will be spent in the celebration and happiness we feel in being together, grateful for this life we lead and the good health and means that enable us to continue on.  How did we get so lucky?

There’s no room in the luggage for hats but at US $7, it was tempting.

Perhaps, it was less about “luck” and more about years of hard work and diligent planning that has made this life financially possible.  The rest is about the emotional part, for which we both have contributed in our ability to love and nurture one another, exercise patience and tolerance with our circumstances and with each other. 

Quaint seating area in an outdoor cafe.

Long ago, we both agreed that whining and complaining would be highly destructive in maintaining our commitment to continuing on. As a result, in even the most trying situations, neither of us complains. 

Each of the city streets has a unique appearance with the many historical buildings.

Are we stuffing our feelings?  Not at all.  Through the process of controlling our reactions to difficult situations, we’ve learned to think about solutions to problems rather than complain about them.  Over time, this behavior has become a part of who we are, making life easier and ultimately, happier.

A tall dark green door.

This process doesn’t make us exempt from having challenges or from worrying from time to time.  But, it does provide us with the tools to maximize every single day to its fullest, even when at times it feels like a struggle, especially during times of illness or injury.

A fruit and vegetable market on the side of the street.

I often think of times, like last summer when we were in Minnesota visiting family and I’d booked our flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas for the wrong dates.  We ended up losing the entire fare of US $719.  There was nothing we could do. 

We continued our walk well beyond the areas where all the passengers were shopping.

I was frustrated with myself for making this error but Tom was loving and supportive, knowing I had simply made an error and berating me for doing so held no purpose or value.  We both had to shrug it off as “one of those things.” 

Soon, there was hardly a tourist to be found.

In no way, as hard as we may strive for accuracy, are we exempt from making occasional errors.  We’ve both learned to accept responsibility, fess up, and carry on. 

It’s the combination of these factors we hesitantly share, hoping not to seem braggadocio, preachy or pompous, as we explain how we make this life work for us.

We reached the opposite side of the waterfront and stumbled upon this smokestack.

Last night, during the “full moon party” in the Martini Bar, we had an exceptionally good time, hanging out with new friends, rocking to and fro to the music.  It couldn’t have been more fun.  By midnight, we were back in our cabin, ready for a good night’s sleep which we both achieved.

As we made our way back to the ship, we could see it at a distance.

Today, we’re docked in Buenos Aires for a final overnight stay on the ship.  Many passengers are permanently getting off the ship but our hotel reservations don’t begin until tomorrow night and we feel comfortable staying on board on the final night.  We won’t be getting off the ship today since we’ll have an entire month to explore Buenos Aires at our leisure.

A turret atop another historical building.

Have a safe and pleasant day and weekend, as the holiday season brings many festivities and celebrations for those who partake.

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Photo from one year ago today, December 22, 2016:

Driving through the countryside a few days earlier, Tom spotted this highly venomous Tiger snake crossing the road.  Quickly turning around, as it raced off into vegetation, we were able to get this photo.  For information on these venomous snakes, please click here where it’s stated, “Most Australians know of tiger snakes and are aware of their fearsome reputation, though few people will ever encounter one.”  Leave it to us to encounter one after only 20 days in Tasmania!  For more details, please click here.