Off we go!…Busy day getting ready for our return to Africa…Final Expenses two nights in Buenos Aires…And, a new video of Elephant Seals as well as more new Antarctica photos…

 Elephant Seals doing some serious power lounging in Grytviken, South Georgia, Antarctica.  Check this out for a bit of humor.

Yesterday was one busy day.  Not only did we have to open all the boxes we’d left behind to lighten our load for the cruise to Antarctica, we had to literally take out everything we own and repack it.

Thousands of Albatross nesting Steeple Jason Island in the Falkland Islands.

Then, we had to check the baggage weight limits for tomorrow’s flights, weigh the bags and move things around as needed.  As it turns out, we’ve made it all work but we will have to pay US $80 (ARS 1602) for our third extra bag.  Each of our two main bags is within the 51 pound (23 kg) limit, give or take one kilo or so.

An interesting small iceberg with glacial ice and snow.

Then, we scanned all of our receipts, tossing the paper, from the past 20 days since we left Buenos Aires for the cruise including our cruise bill, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.

A Humpback Whale, one of many we spotted in Neko Harbor.

From there, we paid our two-night Prodeo Hotel bill, in cash (trying to dispose of our remaining Argentine pesos), prepaid by credit card our taxi fare for today’s ride to the airport at US $50 (ARS $1001) using a credit card. 


This left us with enough cash to tip the waiter for tonight’s dinner (cash only for tips) at La Cabrera (we decided we needed to go one last time) and a balance of about US $14 (ARS) for the tip for the taxi driver and possibly a cup of coffee and tea at the airport.  Perfect.

It looks like the King Penguin on the left is nesting an egg.  Or, could it be the chick is tucked underneath the parent’s feathers?

Alessandro, our wonderful hotelier, printed all the paper documents we needed to have in our possession since we won’t have yet purchased a South Africa SIM card for our phones which included:
1.  Flight information
2.  Rental car contract and information
3.  Directions from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga airport to our holiday rental in Marloth Park. (It’s been four years since we were there and we needed a refresher.
4.  The address and instructions for getting into the property in Marloth Park when we arrive between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm.

Rockhopper Penguins are so adorable.

Gee…we don’t like having to carry “zee papers” with us but in this case without data access, it made sense to us.  We didn’t want to be fumbling around with our laptops or phones trying to find what we need.

During intermittent breaks from preparing yesterday’s post, I ran upstairs to our room, did a little more sorting, folding and packing.  When I returned Tom did the same.  By 2:00 pm, we both went upstairs and weighed the bags using our portable scale.  So far, so good.

We missed a better shot of this whale’s fluke.  But, when whale watching, one takes what they can get.

At that point I went online to attempt to prepay for the bags only to be given a notice see a pop-up announcing we can only check in at the counter at the airport nor could we prepay for our luggage (50% off to prepay) which again must be done at the counter. This has happened many times in the past. 

This is frustrating.  Why should we have to pay double when we were unable to pay for baggage online.  We’ll certainly take this up with the rep when we get to the airport if they attempt to charge us the higher rates.

This Caracara looks ready to find lunch.

Trying to stay positive we moved on to the next thing, putting together the expenses for this quick two-night stay in Palermo, Buenos Aires.  Here are the totals:

Expense

US Dollar

Argentine Pesos

Hotel – 2 nights

$ 140.00

2802

Taxi

$ 50.00

1001

Dining out- inc tips

$ 82.50

1651

Misc

$ –

Total

$ 272.50

5,454.00

Avg Daily Cost

$ 136.25

2,727.00

“Orcas, or killer whales, are the largest of the dolphins and one of the world’s most powerful predators. They feast on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, employing teeth that can be four inches long. They are known to grab seals right off the ice. They also eat fish, squid, and seabirds.”

This morning we were up, showered and dressed early after a good night’s sleep.  By 8:00 am we were situated in the hotel lobby for a light breakfast of hard boiled eggs, ham and cheese. 

After all the whale watching trips we’d done on tours these past years, to finally see plenty in Antarctica was a dream come true.

Who knows when I’ll get to eat again?  Airline food never works for me since the available options never fit my criteria.  Oh, well, I’ll be fine.  We’ll figure out something for dinner once we arrive in MP when we know we’ll be too tired to grocery shop.

We’ve received similar certificates on past cruises such as transiting the Panama Canal, etc.  We scan these rather than carry them with us.

We each received an Antarctica Explorer Certificate.
Sit tight, dear readers, we’re about to go for quite a ride, this time with more experience and an even greater passion for the world around us. Hop on board!


                  __________________________________________
Photos from one year ago today, February 10, 2017:

More than 400 pilot whales stranded themselves on a New Zealand beach on the evening of Thursday February 9.
Hundreds of pilot whales were stranded on the beach in New Zealand. at this time last year (Not our photo).  As we think about all the whales we saw in Antarctica this becomes all the more heart wrenching.  For more details, please click here.

Antarctica…Final photos, nearing the final wrapup…Our Killer Whales video…

 Killer Whales (orcas) in the Polar Circle.

It feels odd to be back in civilization after the 16 nights we spent at sea as our ship, Ponant Le Soleal scoured the territory on its way to the Polar Circle in the Antarctic to provide its 193 passengers with an exceptional experience.  And, exceptional, it was.

This is undoubtedly one of my favorite Chinstrap Penguin photos as she’s situated on the cool rocks in order to cool down on a warm day.


 
One of the Zodiac boats approaching the ship for us to board.


Now, back in Buenos Aires for the next 24 hours, we’re busily preparing to leave for Africa, I’m trying to shift gears from our previous penguin-minded adventures back to thinking in terms of giraffes, zebras, elephants, rhinos, lions and warthogs and more.


A face only a mother could love.

Transitioning from the vast amount of wildlife in Antarctica to Africa will be easier than it may have been had we’d been moving on to a less wildlife-rich country. 

Elephant seals lying in a ditch.

And yet, the memories will always linger on for this life-changing experience. Antarctica will remain in our hearts and minds forever. We could easily spend the next two to three months, sharing more of the thousands of photos we took during those 16 nights, 17 days.

A photogenic baby fur seal.

But, it’s time to move on to our next adventure and we do so with enthusiasm and joy for the opportunities of the past and for those upcoming in the future. Each and every leg of our year’s long journey leaves us with more knowledge, more understanding and more passion for this world, its people and its treasures that surround us.

A sea of penguins.
As a recap of our itinerary on the Antarctica cruise, please read below:
  • Ushuaia – New Island
  • New Island – Steeple Jason
  • Steeple Jason – Saunders the Neck
  • Saunders – Elsehul
  • Elsehul – Stromness
  • Stromness – Grytviken
  • Grytviken – Maiviken
  • Maiviken – Saint Andrews
  • Saint Andrews – Turret Point
  • Turret Point – Half Moon
  • Half Moon – Deception Island
  • Deception Island – Paradise Bay
  • Paradise Bay -Pleneau
  • Pleneau – Detaille Island
  • Detaille Island – Baie De Lallemand
  • Baie De Lallemand – Neko
  • Neko – Ushuaia
Total miles traveled:  3,695 nautical miles, 4,252 miles, 6,843 km
These types of caves are enticing.  Wouldn’t it be fun to peek inside?
We move forward to the next phase of our journey, eternally grateful for the experience, for the good fortune in weather along the way and for the wildlife who gave us more than we ever expected.
Fabulous Chef Tony made us some fabulous dishes while outdoors on the veranda.
Tomorrow morning, we’ll leave the Prodeo Hotel for the airport at 10:00 am.  It’s about a 45-minute ride to the airport getting us there in the required two-hour window for international flights.
Happy little chick!
We’ll do a short post tomorrow with a few more new Antarctica photos and another short post the following day February 11th to announce our arrival in South Africa.  From there we’ll return to our regular schedule of daily full-sized posts with Africa photos as we live among the wildlife in Marloth Park and of course, our wonderful friends.
Black-browed Albatross chick.

Penguins on an iceberg!
_____________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, February 9, 2017:

Sailboats moored in the bay in Dover, Tasmania.  For more details, please click here.

Final expenses for 31-nights in a hotel in Buenos Aires…We’re off to Ushuaia!…


Due to the poor signal in this crowded Wi-Fi cafe in Ushuaia, we’re unable to upload any photos.  As mentioned in earlier posts, we’ll continue to make every effort to maintain our usual style of posts.  Please excuse any typos and formatting issues.
 
 
Yesterday was quite a busy day and today won’t be much different. By the time you see this post, we’ll be at the airport getting ready to leave Buenos Aires to fly on a chartered plane to Ushuaia, Argentina, where we’ll board Ponant’s Le Soleal to begin our expedition to Antarctica.

We’ve been excited about this for a very long time.  The situation with my knee put a bit of a damper on our enthusiasm but now that I am on meds to hopefully alleviate the discomfort, we’ll be able to settle in on the cruise and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Getting out the door in the middle of the night wouldn’t be my preference.  For Tom, after 42.5 years on the railroad, he was used to getting up and out the door at all hours of the day and night.  But, now after retirement, even he cringed at the early hour.

Today, we wanted to share two important aspects of the 31-nights we spent in Palermo Soho Buenos Aires, Argentina; one, the reasonable expenses we incurred staying in the Prodeo Hotel, a fine boutique hotel and two, a short review of the hotel itself.

First, let’s start with the expenses we incurred in total for the 31-night stay in the Prodeo as shown beloW: (Due to a poor Wi-Fi signal, we’re experiencing formatting issues):





















































 Expense   US Dollar   Argentine Pesos 
 Hotel – 31 nights $                  2,480.00 47,076.69
Flight – Round trip- inc
in cruise
                  –               –
 Taxi   $                       65.31 1,239.75
 Groceries & Dining
out- inc tips 
 $                     987.87                     18.752.28
 Laundry  $                        56.00 1,063.02
 Tips for hotel staff   $                     158.05 3,000.19
 Pharmacy & Misc.   $                     477.52 7,157.48
 Total   $                  4,224.75 59,537.13
 Avg Daily Cost    $                     136.28 1,920.55


We’re thrilled to have spent this amount while staying in a hotel and dining out every night, the exception when we purchased groceries for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day when most restaurants were closed or only offered outrageous prices on fixed price meals, not suitable for our budget or, my dietary restrictions.


Compared to the cost for groceries, rental cars and vacation/holiday homes, this was surely a bargain.  And we imagine, that a traveler desiring a month in this fascinating country could even do better with proper planning and careful spending.

Would we return to Buenos Aires in the future?  Possibly, with our plans to return to South America in the distant future for some specific sites we’d like to visit such as Machu Picchu, the Galapagos and the Pantanal. 

A contributing factor to our enjoyment in the area has been the quaint and charming Prodeo Hotel, a contemporary boutique hotel, architecturally interesting in a fantastic location, staffed by some of the finest people in the land.  We generously tipped all of the staff members who made this stay memorable.

During this less-than-busy summer season in Buenos Aires, there were many days we were the only hotel guests.  However, whether it was a full house or we were the only guests, we were always treated with the utmost of kindness, generosity and attention.

As shown in the above expenses, we booked the hotel through a corporate rate at US $80 (ARS 1,532) a night, a reasonable rate for this busy city with many other hotels twice as much of more.  No doubt, our long stay helped us with pricing but the competitive nature of boutique hotels does allow for some special pricing from time to time.  It never hurts to ask.

Any issues while we were here?  The power went out four times when the city was having problems.  Our bathroom sink wouldn’t drain but with a few hours of bringing it to the attention of staff, it was repaired. 

Housekeeping was inconsistent at times but our room was always clean and well-kept.  The complimentary breakfast was repetitive, most of which we don’t eat (fruit, granola, cakes, bread, etc.) we appreciated the daily sliced ham, cheese and hard boiled eggs.  Tom enjoyed the coffee while I sipped on my turmeric tea concoction each morning. 

The atmosphere is pleasing, comfortable and inviting.  The bar has many types of beverages from fine wines to eclectic beer and serves some traditional Argentine empanada and other types of local food (none of which I could eat).  We never dined in the bar/dining room but enjoyed drinks from time to time.

The intimate hospitality by far surpasses that one may find in a large hotel and we’ve found we particularly have found smaller hotels tend to suit our needs.
We highly recommend Prodeo Hotel for you next visit to Palermo, Buenos Aires.

Moving right along, we’re currently sitting at a tiny table at a tiny little bar with Wi-Fo in Ushuaia.  We did fine getting up at 2:30 am and getting out the door in time for our 3:15 taxi to the airport.  Check in was a bit challenging and time consuming but, the flight on Aerolineas, an Argentine airline was seamless.

We both watched a free movie, Hacksaw Ridge, a stunning movie on our individual monitors during the flight while the 3.5 hours passed quickly. Once we collected our bags we were off to the bus with our Ponant group of passengers.

After a ride through the gorgeous town of Ushuaia, recognized as the most southerly city in the world or “the bottom of the world,” we headed to a local Accor Hotel for a magnificent buffet lunch with many foods I could have.

At our assigned table of English speaking passengers, we met two fun couples and had a taste of the lively conversation yet to come with our cruise mates, most of whom are serious world travelers.  Not, necessarily like us, but world traveled, none the less.

We’ll be back with more as Wi-Fi allows, hoping to be able to stay in touch with all of you!

Take care until then!

____________________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, January 23, 2017:

Andrew and Ian Smith, father, and son and innovative owners/managers of Willie Smith Organic Apple Cider and Apple Shed, including restaurant, cider shop and museum. (Not our photo).  For more photos of this popular landmark in Tasmania, please click here.

Hospital visit for the knee…Favorite photos from Buenos Aires…12 hour countdown until departure…What if we can’t post due to a poor signal?…

Our favorite graffiti art.

The Minnesota Vikings game last night was hard to watch.  They were brutally beaten leaving us fans sorely disappointed with but a tinge of hope for the future, as always.

By the time we got into bed last night, it was after midnight.  We both had a bad night’s sleep. As soon as I got into bed I noticed my leg was throbbing, more swollen and red.  I got up several times to ice it with no relief at all. I don’t think I slept for more than three hours and Tom didn’t do much better.

Fireworks on New Year’s Eve from our hotel rooftop.

This morning while preparing today’s post I told Tom the pain in my knee was worsening by the minutes, since last night.  With so little time remaining until our 3:15 am drive to the airport, I knew something had to be done.

We grabbed a taxi and headed to the large local private hospital recommended by our hotelier Alessandro, Santorio De Los Arcos, which was only a five-minute ride.  Within an hour I was seen by the doctor, examined and diagnosed with an infection.  

An adorable little e parrot sitting atop a bird bath.

No wonder my knee was red, hot and swollen, keeping me awake almost all night.  The entire bill for the emergency room visit and the prescription came to a grand total of US $62.68 (ARS $1,200)!  I wonder how much that would have cost in the US or other countries with outrageous medical costs.

The pharmacy is located next to the hospital.  Tom left me seated in a wheelchair in the lobby while he got the prescription for antibiotics filled.  Sure, I despise having to take antibiotics but I’d also despise having an infected leg situation escalate while in Antarctica. 

Carved-in-stone wall art.

I can’t express how grateful I am that we went to the hospital this morning.  Hopefully, the meds kick in soon and I’ll be on the mend and able to participate in.  When I fell the skin broke slightly.  When we returned to the hotel I washed it with hot soapy water and used hydrogen peroxide. 

Apparently, this wasn’t enough prevention to avoid an infection appearing three days later.  If we’d gone one or two days earlier the infection wouldn’t have been obvious and I wouldn’t have been given antibiotics.  Whew!  Safari luck!

More amazing wall art on the side of a building in Palermo.

Tonight, we’re hoping we’ll be tired enough to be able to fall asleep by 9:00 pm in order to awaken by 2:45 am to head out the door.  By this time tomorrow, we’ll have arrived in Ushuaia and at a local upscale hotel where we’ll have lunch and spend part of the day.

By 2:00 or 3:00 pm, we’ll be escorted to the pier in Ushuaia where we’ll board the ship and check in for the 5:00 pm sail away.  It won’t be until we’re onboard that we’ll be able to figure out the Wi-Fi situation and sign up for a plan, suitable for our needs. 

My favorite meal at La Cabrera where we dined five times during our 31-night stay in Buenos Aires. The small side cup is unsweetened buttery pumpkin mash.

There are many comments in the Ponant cruise documents that the Wi-Fi signal is not going to be good once we’re a distance from Ushuaia.  As for tomorrow’s post, we’re still hoping to have time to prepare it today and set it up for an automatic upload at the usual time tomorrow.  It will contain the final expenses for 31-night in at the Prodeo Hotel and a short review of the hotel.

Tom ordered this massive steak four our of five times at La Cabrera.

Please keep in mind, that we’ll be preparing a post daily for the 17-days we’ll be on the ship (actually, it’s 16-nights, but the cruise line refers to it as 17-days).  Certain days, perhaps three or four in a row or more, we won’t have a good enough signal to upload the posts. 


Once we receive a good signal, we’ll upload the posts for each of the days we’ve missed.  However, we’ll only be able to upload a few photos with each post, if at all.  Once the cruise ends, we’ll upload more of our photos and any remaining posts we’d yet to upload. 

Tom, at the botanical garden.

All in all, there will be 16 or 17 days of posts until we return to Buenos Aires on February 8th where we’ll stay for two more nights until departing for Africa.  During this period, we’ll make every attempt to get “caught up.”  If we don’t have enough time to do so, once we get settled in Marloth Park, we’ll finish the missing posts with photos.


This is a similar process as to when we were on safari in the Masai Mara and the Serengeti in Kenya in 2013.  We had an awful signal and couldn’t get most of our stories and photos uploaded until we were back in Diani Beach, Kenya.  But then, we posted a new story with photos each day, for many days.

After Tom’s excellent haircut at a little nearby barbershop.

Of course, we’ll be bombarded with new and exciting current events as they occur in Marloth Park during this period.  No worries, we’ll keep it all separated and easy to read.


Thanks to all of our readers who wrote to me offering prayers and warmest wishes for a fast recovery.  That means so much to both of us.  And, once again, we’re disappointed to be sharing another medical issue but, as we’ve always promised, we make every attempt to “tell it like it is.”

Me, at the botanical garden.

Please continue to check back each day for new posts and don’t be discouraged if an expected post isn’t available.  Please know, we are thinking of all of you and passionately taking Antarctica photos, excited to share it with all of you.

The mausoleum for the famous Duarte family including Evita (Duarte) Peron’s remains.

Hugs and best wishes to all of our friends/readers!  Stay well! We’ll “see” you again soon! (Hopefully, by tomorrow with the final expenses).
                    __________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 22, 2017:

I had to take all of our photos as we arrived in Hobart, Tasmania while the car was moving due to a lack of shoulder which is always challenging.  For more photos, please click here.

Working on it!…One and a half days and counting….Wrapping up payments due…Tonight’s the big football night!…

Mini-mart next door to a small apartment.

Over the past few days, after taking a bad stumble and injuring my knee on the uneven sidewalk in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires, as we began winding down our last few days until leaving for Ushuaia. 

The Argentine people love color especially on the exterior of their buildings.

Tom’s packing is almost completed and by tomorrow, we’ll be able to bring down the bags and boxes we’ll store at the hotel during our time away on the cruise.

I’ve been obsessively following the R-I-C-E protocol; rest, ice, compression and elevate which is recommended during the first 72 hours of an injury, switching to heat if needed and forgoing the ACE bandage. 

Hotel along the boulevard.

From the time we’ve made our way down to the hotel lobby in the past two mornings to work on the day’s post, until bedtime, I’ve faithfully iced my knee for 20 minutes once an hour, except for the few hours we were out to dinner last night at Rave Restaurant.

I was fine while walking, albeit gingerly, the three long blocks to the restaurant and back.  While there, sitting on a banquette, with no one else in the restaurant, I was able to elevate my leg during our leisurely dinner.  It’s definitely improving with this diligent protocol.

An apartment building with shops o ground level.

Last night, back at the hotel we moseyed down to the bar in order to lounge in the big comfy booth with more ice on my knee while we sipped on a wine for me and beer for Tom.  We’re trying to use the last vestiges of the beer and wine we have on hand.

Pigeons are everywhere here, on the street, standing on outdoor dining tables and chairs, hoping for a dropped crumbs or food residue on tables.

It seems that each night as we’ve dined in restaurants, I wasn’t able to finish my half bottle of Malbec.  We’d cork the bottle and bring it back to the hotel to drink at a later time.  Invariably, these partial bottles accumulated and I have more wine than I can drink. 

A restaurant served barbecue, referred to as Parrilla, in Argentina.

When we first arrived we purchased one bottle of wine from the mini-mart, a decent Malbec for US $6 (ARS 114) we’ve yet to open.  Tom purchased two-liter bottles of the local beer for US $5.90 (ARS 112). 

The big “E” stands for “entrada” which translates to entrance in English. 

Prices on alcohol both in markets and restaurants in Buenos Aires is very inexpensive.  One can order a good glass of red wine in a restaurant for around  US $3.95 (ARS 75) and a liter bottle of beer (with an ice bucket) for not much more.

Lion statue adorning entrance to a home.

After so many years as a non-drinker, it’s been enjoyable having a glass of wine with dinner every so often.  But, tonight, with the big Minnesota Viking game, we plan to drink only water with dinner since we’d like to have wine and beer during the game, attempting to put a dent in what we have left.  

Tattered cloth sign falling over the building.

Since the game doesn’t start here until 8:40 pm and, neither of us drinks more than a few glasses, we decided to wait to celebrate until we’re situated in the bar with Tom’s laptop fired up to the game.  We’re hopeful for a great outcome but as all Minnesota Viking fans so well know, we shall see how it goes.

Yesterday, we paid our hotel bill in full since we’re leaving very early Tuesday morning (3:15 am) and wanted to have this out of the way.  Also, as we prepare the final expenses for our 31-nights in Buenos Aires to be posted on Tuesday, the day we fly away, we wanted the total handled and out of the way.

It costs slightly over US $10 (ARS 190) for an ATM transaction of any amount.  Plus, there are machine limits of a maximum of US $158 (ARS 3,000).  During weekends, its not unusual to find the ATMs out of cash.

Also, two weeks prior to arriving in Marloth Park it’s necessary to pay the second half of the three month rental for the vacation home, a total of US $2,465.08 (ZAR 30,000, ARS 46,791).  We paid the 50% deposit a few weeks ago.

Realizing we may not have a sufficient Wi-Fi signal during the cruise to handle the transaction online, it made sense to pay it yesterday and have it out of the way and never have to give it a thought. 

The railroad tracks near our hotel.

Yesterday’s outlay was almost US $5,000 (ARS 94,908) but now our only big upcoming expenses for the next few months will be the car rental (which we’ll pay in full at the Mpumalanga/Nelspruit airport on February 11th when we pick up the car), groceries and dining out, Kruger Park entrance fees and fuel for the rental car.

There are several tree-lined streets such as this.

Of course, during those three months we’ll be booking other adventures in Africa as we make plans for traveling to other countries.  We’ll work with dear friend/property manager Louise to book other houses in South Africa (which we’re using as our “base”) as we go in and out over the one-year period on the continent.

Most streets in Palermo Soho are one way.

Well, folks, I must take a moment to address our Minnesota Vikings fans…our fingers are crossed, for them, for all of us.  We’ll be live online on Facebook during the game on my laptop.  Please stop by to comment, grumble or cheer.  We’ll be right there with you!

Enjoy the day!

__________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 21, 2017:

One year ago in the Huon Valley in Tasmania, Anne, our property owner, explained that the whirring helicopter blades dries the netting to save the cherries from spoiling after the rain.  Who knew?  For more details, please click here.

A most untimely mishap…Oh, good grief!…I’m injured!…Three days and counting…

Fancy chalk graffiti on the exterior of a cafe.

What can I say?  Regardless of where we may be in the world, we are subject to the risks of injury.  For all of you whether you’re in your home, backyard or out for a walk with the dog, no one is exempt from an occasional injury-inducing fall or stumble.

With my bad spine, a hereditary condition for which a low inflammation diet manages to keep the pain under control, my stability is not the best, even with considerable exercise and walking.  My spine is a fragile mess accounting for the reasons we don’t zip line, bungee jump, scuba dive and engage in similar types of activities.

Most often, we see pigeons walking on the ground or flying to crumbs left by humans, but seldom sitting in a tree.

However, it hasn’t kept us from living life to the fullest as we’ve traveled the world.  The only period of time I was unable to easily participate in some planned activities was when we were on the Mekong River cruise after I’d injured my spine in the pool in Bali, taking five months to heal.  We avoided the participate in all of the other tours.

Gosh, I don’t like to “whine” here but Tom suggested we continue to “tell it like it is” as we’ve done over and over again in this past over 2000 posts.  We try not to exclude realities of life that many can relate to as you read our daily journal.

Our reality, whether we like it or not, is that occasionally we’re sick or injured and sharing how we handle it is of the utmost importance to our readers, especially when we can’t jump into the car and run to “our doctor” (of which we have none) or a local urgent care center.  (Of course, we’d go to a hospital if we felt a situation was dangerous or life-threatening).

Tom doesn’t have a lollipop of cigarette in his mouth.  It’s an optical illusion based on something in the background.

We arrived in Buenos Aires on December 23rd.  We’ve walked more here than we’ve walked in any country during our last over five years of world travel, except perhaps in Paris and London (two weeks each) in 2014.   But, frequent walking in itself is no surefire means of preventing oneself from an obstacle-induced fall.

And, that’s what happened to me last night.  Wearing a different pair of shoes was my first mistake.  Each time we walked in Buenos Aires, I ‘ve worn a pair of ultra comfortable, good supporting, water shoes that I purchased in Minnesota during the family visit last summer.  I’ve never been so comfortable in a pair of shoes.

Last night, for a change of pace, I decided to wear a pair of white lace-up leather Keds. Big mistake.  The thin soles simply didn’t provide the degree of stability I needed to walk the uneven streets here in Palermo, wrought with broken tiles, potholes and massive inconsistent areas of uneven pavement. 

Not so busy corner in Recoleta where we walked on Monday.

My bad, I didn’t think of that when I wore the Keds last night for our walk to Diggs Restaurant (I guess we had Stefon Diggs, wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, on our minds).  I didn’t notice an issue with the shoes or I’d have been more careful.

Alas, I was looking around, instead of down at the pavement, and my foot hit a stone tile what was about 4″ higher than my last step and…boom!  I hit the ground, breaking the fall to my knees and elbows, particularly my left knee.  I was wearing jeans and the thick fabric prevented a break in the skin. But, oh…did it hurt. 

And, yes, my elbows and right wrist got dinged as well but nowhere near as bad as my left knee.  After composing myself with Tom lifting me off the ground, I was able to hobble along for the remainder of the few blocks to Diggs.  Immediately, I remember R-I-C-E;  rest, ice, compression and elevate.

Statue at Jardin Botanica:  Los Primeros Frios which translates to “first cold” in English.

Once we entered Diggs to find our favorite waiter ready to fuss over us, he brought me a plastic bag filled with ice, a bucket to hold it when taking a break from the icing, while I elevated my leg on the bench in the booth where we were seated. 

After dinner, which I struggled to eat, we slowly walked back the few blocks to the hotel since it made no sense to take a taxi for the short distance.  Plus, I wanted to see how I’d do walking. 

Once back in our room with a bucket of ice to make an ice pack using a ziplock bag, I raised my leg on pillows, covered with a few bath towels to keep the bed from getting wet while we proceeded to watch a few episodes of Shark Tank to get our minds off of it.

Hydrangeas.

Tom was (is) devastated and worried.  I was more concerned about him than I was my injury.  I can walk, albeit carefully, and the swelling is well under control with the rest, ice, compression, and elevation. 

Surprisingly, usually a side sleeper,  I slept well on my back with my leg elevated, after taking a Tylenol PM which helped with the discomfort and made me sleep through the night.  This morning, I found an Ace bandage in our medical supplies and wrapped the knee for the “compression” part of R-I-C-E finding it quite comforting.

Now, as we sit in the hotel lobby, I’m situated on a lounge-type chair with the knee wrapped and elevated. Once an hour, I unwrap the Ace bandage to do another 20-minute round of ice which I’ll continue throughout the day and night, rewrapping it in between icing it, all the while, keeping my leg elevated.

Peachy blooms.

I think it will be OK.  I have exactly five days to get better in order to be able to get off the ship in order to get on a Zodiak boat to the Falkland Islands (in Spanish, known as the Islas Malvinas).

In three days, we head to the airport around 3:15 am for the three and a half hour flight to Ushuaia.  Hopefully, by then I’ll have considerable improvement but will wear the Ace bandage while frequently getting up to move around.  Ice is only good for the first 48 to 72 hours, then heat is recommended.  We’ll see how it goes.

Sure, I’m frustrated and angry with myself for my clumsiness.  But, like all the trials and tribulations we all must bear from time to time, a positive attitude coupled with diligent care is all we can do.

Perfume-smelling flowers blooming from a tree.0

We still have a lot to do to prepare to leave although most of my packing is done.  Our hotel room is jammed with odds and ends to handle over these next few days.  Tom will pack today or tomorrow (he prefers to wait until the “end”) and we’ll weigh both of our bags to ensure we’re both within the baggage weight restrictions.

Tonight, we’ll walk to the closest of restaurants in the area, a burger joint that had a decent chicken Caesar salad for me with a burger and fries for Tom.  It will be fine.  It all will be just fine.

Have a safe and healthy day, week, month, and year!
                   __________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, January 20, 2017:

While at The Tench, the historical Penitentiary in Hobart, Tasmania we stopped by this courtroom located on the grounds.  The area was known as one of several penal colonies in Tasmania in the 1800’s.  For more photos of the Tench, please click here.

Getting it all together….The tasks are never-ending…Four days and counting…

Hummm…a waterfall next to an escalator at the Recoleta Mall.  Unusual.

It was quite a productive day.  After uploading yesterday’s post by noon our time, I was determined to go upstairs to our hotel room on the second floor, pull out my nearly empty suitcase and begin packing for the cruise.


We’re allowed 23 kg (50 pounds) of checked baggage on the early morning flight to Ushuaia on Tuesday.  Ponant Cruise Line had no issue with how much we bring aboard the ship but the airline does.  Apparently, we’re leaving Buenos Aires on a somewhat smallish plane designated for the approximate 200 cruise passengers.

Tom’s watch battery died a month ago.  There isn’t a single jewelry store nearby that replaces watch batteries.  We decided to walk the distance to this mall thinking there might be such a store here but there was only a Swatch store which only replaces Swatch-brand batteries. We left the mall since there was nothing else we needed to purchase.

We’re scheduled to arrive at the airport at 4:05 am which requires we’re up at 3:00 am for the 30-minute ride to the airport.  We don’t usually fly out in the middle of the night like this so the early wake-up time will be a bit challenging.  The usual hour-long ride in traffic to the airport will be considerably less at this hour.

The prior night, we’ll have given the hotel staff our bags and boxes to store while we’re away which we’ll collect when we return to Buenos Aires for two nights on February 8th, after the cruise has ended.

The University of Buenos Aires, The School of Law, located in Recoleta.

Yesterday, to alleviate thinking about this process, I decided to complete 90% of my packing.  Leaving Tom in the hotel lobby on his computer, I headed up to the room preferring to get the task done on my own. 

He offered to come up with me to assist but I knew sorting through clothes and other items would be best if left to my own resources. It would require going through every item in my wardrobe asking myself, “Shall I bring this or leave it behind?”  There was no way I wanted to be in a position of regretting leaving certain items behind that I could have used during the 17-day cruise.

There was no need for shorts and lightweight summer tops.  I made piles of “to bring” or “not to bring” and the process moved more quickly than I’d anticipated.  Within about an hour I had my bag packed assuming the weight would be fine. I have 2 kilos of space left which I’ll fill with toiletries I’m still using now.

A colorful exterior of an ethnic restaurant near a park in Recoleta.

I packed minimal underwear knowing I could handwash it nightly which I usually do anyway in an attempt to make them last longer.  I’d purchased one warmer maxi length sleep-type dress and I have one cooler nightshirt to wear when that’s at the laundry.

In checking online, the ship has laundry service and the “butlers” assigned to each room can do touch-up ironing as needed (all for a fee of course).  There is no way we’d be able to last so many days with the clothing we have on hand.

In going through the shipped box of our cold weather clothing, I sorted mine from Tom’s and packed all of those items.  We also had to consider what to wear on Tuesday when we get to Ushuaia where it’s cold and we’ll spend the morning and early afternoon until we board the ship in the afternoon.

Weathered old building in Recoleta.

The cruise line has arranged a luncheon for us at a local hotel where we’ll hang out as we wait.  This should be fun as we get an opportunity to meet other passengers.  Some may have purchased a tour and won’t be attending the luncheon or waiting at the hotel. 

After I finished packing Tom entered the room suggesting we take off on foot to purchase a few last minute items requiring a trip to a pharmacy and the shop where we’d previously purchased the unsweetened coconut cream for my daily turmeric tea drink. 

The traffic was light on this street in Recoleta as we wandered about looking for a jewelry store for a battery for Tom’s Movado watch.

We’d have to purchase enough of the coconut cream to last during the 17-day cruise,  leaving a few little packages behind for the two-day return to Buenos Aires and the first few mornings in South Africa before we’ll have gone grocery shopping in Komatipoort.

We found two more jewelry stores about 10 blocks from here and decided to walk there first to see if we could get a battery for Tom’s watch.  No luck.  Neither of the two stores handled watch battery replacement.

Apartments along the main boulevard in Recoleta.

By 3:00 pm, we were back at the hotel with the coconut cream and pharmacy items. We walked 7,000 steps on my FitBit and we’d yet to walk to dinner later in the evening.  As it turned out, by the end of the evening we almost hit the 10,000 step mark we attempt to achieve most days.

Tom stayed in the room while I went back down to the lobby to begin scanning the many receipts we’d accumulated while here.  I’d already entered all the items on the spreadsheet which I do daily, so the task didn’t take more than 30 minutes.  I’ll scan the new receipts from these next few days on our final day and be done for awhile.

A man crossing the road with what appeared to be three greyhounds.

I felt so accomplished when done with the day’s tasks. Now I can work on the final expenses for the 31 nights we stayed in this hotel to have them ready for the last day’s post, in order to share them with all of you. 

Last night, we decided to dine at our favorite restaurant in Palermo, La Cabrera during the 40% off happy hour.  Once again, we had a perfect meal and chatted with another English speaking couple from the US.  It was dark by the time we began the walk back to the hotel. 

The park surrounding La Recoleta Cemetery.  We could see the monuments behind the brick wall.

Not quite ready for bed, we carried my laptop to a booth in the hotel’s bar and watched a few shows.  By 11:00 pm, we were in bed but we both had a fitful night’s sleep, awakening for extended periods.  Its the way it is.  A short nap may be in order later today.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow as we wind down our time in Buenos Aires preparing for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of visiting Antarctica.  Happy day to all!

_________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 19, 2017:

The views of the Huon River in Tasmania was beautiful on the way to Huonville.  For more photos, please click here.

The countdown has begun…Five days until departure for Antarctica!…A landmark in Recoleta…Last photos of La Recoleta..

We took this photo from the taxi wishing we’d been able to see it at the park. This work of art is Floralis Generica is described as follows from this site:  “Floralis Genérica is a sculpture made of steel and aluminum located in Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, Avenida Figueroa Alcorta, Buenos Aires, a gift to the city by the Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano. Catalano once said that the flower “is a synthesis of all the flowers and, at the same time, a hope reborn every day at opening.” It was created in 2002. The sculpture was designed to move, closing its petals in the evening and opening them in the morning. The sculpture is located in the center of a park of four acres of wooded boundaries, surrounded by paths that get closer and provide different perspectives of the monument, and placed above a reflecting pool, which apart from fulfilling its aesthetic function, protects it. It represents a large flower made of stainless steel with aluminum skeleton and reinforced concrete, which looks at the sky, extending to its six petals. It weighs eighteen tons and is 23 meters high.”

With a mere five days remaining until we depart Buenos Aires to fly to Ushuaia, Argentina to board the cruise to Antarctica, we’re busy as we can be.  Not only are we wrapped up in preparing detailed posts each day, taking photos while walking through the neighborhood each day, but we’re now entrenched in the process of the upcoming confusing packing scenario.


On every other occasion, packing for our next adventure has been easy.  We simply pack everything we own.  It’s a no-brainer.  This time, we have to sort through all of our belongings trying to determine what we’ll need during the 17- day cruise days and what we can leave behind, storing the balance at the Prodeo Hotel.

Highrise in Recoleta.

Yesterday, I began the process of going through medical and other supplies contained in our third smaller checked bag which we’re leaving here.  Plus, we have the pill bag which contains all types of emergency meds and over the counter items we may or may not need.

Sure, we could leave behind aspirin, Tylenol, cough drops, decongestants, and sinus wash but what if we get sick and need these items, many of which may not be available on this smaller ship? 

Recoleta is a much larger neighborhood from Palermo and is home to many more modern office buildings and apartment complexes.

Instead, we’re packing some of these items since Tom caught a cold on the last cruise and used all of them.  Why pay exorbitant fees to see the doctor when in most cases, we can treat ourselves?  Plus, we’ve added items appropriate in the event of exacerbation of my gastrointestinal thing which does rear its ugly head from time to time.

Then, of course, a girl needs her cosmetic items which for me means one duplicate for every item in my little black cosmetic bag.  What if I lost or broke an item?  I don’t use creams, lotions, and potions, so to speak, other than an organic facial wash and eye makeup remover so there’s not much packing there.

A steeple in the park in Recoleta.

Add a razor with a new blade for each of us, our crystal deodorant, a small bag of my nail stuff, hair products and we’ve got it covered.  After spending an hour or more gathering the items we’ll need, that part of the packing is done.

Today, I’ll go through the box of cold-weather and water resistant clothing and start packing my suitcase.  Tomorrow, we’re having the final bag of laundry done (there are no laundromats in this area) and will add whatever we need from the laundry when its delivered on Saturday.

There are also many historical hotels and buildings in the area.

Yesterday, we printed 21 pages of documents and vouchers that Ponant requires in paper format and more copies of my food list, adding them to the litany of health certificates and other documents we already have ready to go in a large manila envelope. 

Another task I completed yesterday was setting up “bill pay” payments in our bank account due on February.  At the first of each month, we pay off all of our credit cards in full to make room for the next barrage of big payments towards vacation homes, cruises, rental cars, and other living expenses.

Tom is quite a history buff and is particularly fascinated with older structures.

If we were to experience a poor signal aboard the ship (which we expect), preventing us from getting into our accounts, the payments could be late, a risk we can’t ever take. Entering the payments in advance, sooner than we usually do at the end of the prior month, allows us to be entirely free in thinking about this during our adventure.

Also today, I’ll be working on sending the grandkids a little something for Valentine’s Day.  We’ll already be in South Africa by February 14th, arriving on the 11th.  However, some of the items we order require advance planning and a two or three-day window isn’t sufficient.

A broader perspective of Evita’s family (Duarte) mausoleum.

Once we’re done posting here today, we’re off to the health food store to purchase five bottles of unsweetened coconut cream for my morning turmeric tea drink.  I decided I’d given up enough things I like to eat and drink, that I wasn’t willing to forgo this healthful morning concoction during the cruise.

Also, since I’ve found I feel my best when I don’t eat breakfast, only the drink, there’s an amount of nutrition in this drink that can get me through the first Zodiac boat outings in the morning.  When we return midday for lunch, I’ll eat enough to hold me until the anticipated late dinners on the ship that we read are usually after 8:00 or 9:00 pm, typical European-style.  Ponant is a French cruise line.

Me, in front of an old structure at La Recoleta.

From what we heard from past Ponant travelers to whom we spoke on Skype while in Costa Rica, most passengers dress up for dinner each night.  We can accommodate this to a degree but I don’t have evening gowns and Tom doesn’t have a tuxedo or even a sports coat.  We can’t be carrying those items with us!

Having even one such set of clothing items would be ridiculous when we’d have to wear the same outfit over and over which in itself is preposterous.  Instead, we make due with what we have, Tom with two dress shirts and dark pants and me with a few dressy tops and pants. 

A mausoleum with statues on the top, commonly found at La Recoleta.

Occasionally, we may get a few looks here and there for our “casual chic” attire but we can’t get worked up over this.  With only 200 passengers on this upcoming cruise, in no time at all, they’ll discover why we don’t have dress-up clothing and never give us another glaring look.

Last night, we headed to Diggs (ironic name, Minnesota fans?) for dinner but they were closed when they’re usually open. This has been the case for many restaurants we’ve visited, inspiring us to always have a backup plan.

Another ornate mausoleum.

The past two nights, I’ve slept at least seven hours and feel better than I have in weeks.  Tom had a good night last night and is equally chipper, leaving us both prepared to tackle (no pun intended) the many tasks at hand.

Also, the better we feel, the more we have done, frees us up mentally for the upcoming Minnesota Vikings football game on Sunday night! We couldn’t be more excited about this event!

Happy day to all!

_________________________________________


 Photo from one year ago today, January 18, 2017:

Decorative item in Anne and Tom’s garden, owners of the vacation home in Huon Valley, Tasmania.  They suggested we take whatever we’d like at any time and we gladly did (in moderation of course).  For more photos, please click here.

Evita Peron’s burial site at La Recoleta Cemetery…A movie to remember…Comments for our 2000th post…

We could see we’d found Evita’s family crypt.

The first mausoleum most visitors rush to see upon their arrival at La Recoleta Cemetery is that of Evita Perón, first lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death from cancer in 1952.  We were no different than others and excitedly rushed to her site as soon as we discovered where it was located.

Here is information about Evita from this site:

Eva Perón
Eva Perón Retrato Oficial.jpg
First Lady of Argentina
In office
4 June 1946 – 26 July 1952
President Juan Perón
Preceded by Conrada Victoria Farrell
Succeeded by Mercedes Lonardi (1955)
President of the Eva Perón Foundation
In office
8 July 1948 – 26 July 1952
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Delia Parodi
Personal details
Born Eva María Duarte
7 May 1919
Los Toldos, Argentina
Died 26 July 1952 (aged 33)Buenos Aires, Argentina
Resting place La Recoleta Cemetery
Political party Justicialist Party
Peronist Feminist Party
Spouse(s) Juan Perón (1945–1952)
Signature

Eva María Duarte de Perón (7 May 1919 – 26 July 1952) was the wife of Argentine President Juan Perón (1895–1974) and First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. She is usually referred to as Eva Perón or Evita.

She was born in poverty in the rural village of Los Toldos, in the Pampas, as the youngest of five children. At 15 in 1934, she moved to the nation’s capital of Buenos Aires to pursue a career as a stage, radio, and film actress. She met Colonel Juan Perón there on 22 January 1944 during a charity event at the Luna Park Stadium to benefit the victims of an earthquake in San Juan, Argentina. The two were married the following year. Juan Perón was elected President of Argentina in 1946; during the next 6 years, Eva Perón became powerful within the pro-Peronist trade unions, primarily for speaking on behalf of labor rights. She also ran the Ministries of Labor and Health, founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation, championed women’s suffrage in Argentina, and founded and ran the nation’s first large-scale female political party, the Female Peronist Party.

In 1951, Eva Perón announced her candidacy for the Peronist nomination for the office of Vice President of Argentina, receiving great support from the Peronist political base, low-income and working-class Argentines who were referred to as descamisados or “shirtless ones”. However, opposition from the nation’s military and the bourgeoisie, coupled with her declining health, ultimately forced her to withdraw her candidacy.[1] In 1952, shortly before her death from cancer at 33, Eva Perón was given the title of “Spiritual Leader of the Nation” by the Argentine Congress.[2][3][4] She was given a state funeral upon her death, a prerogative generally reserved for heads of state.

Eva Perón has become a part of the international popular culture,[5][page needed] most famously as the subject of the musical Evita (1976).[6]Even today, Evita has never left the collective consciousness of Argentines.[3] Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the first elected female President of Argentina, and many other leaders attest that women of her generation owe a debt to Eva for “her example of passion and combativeness.”  

 






A few evenings prior to our visit to La Recoleta Cemetery, we downloaded and watched the popular movie about her life, Evita, starring Madonna.  The film, an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical portrayed the story of her life as the often beloved countrywoman, still revered by many Argentines to this day.

Some of these flowers, left at her site, were fresh while others were artificial.

There’s a lot of controversy about Eva Perón that continues to swirl around her memory but we won’t get into that here. You can read about the controversy over the movie, here at this link

Madonna embracing Antonio Banderas from behind, with the film name written in bold red color above the image.
Poster from the movie Evita in 1996.

Instead, we saw the representation of her life and death at La Recoleta Cemetery as she was entombed with other members of the Duarte family.  It was interesting to see but we’re aren’t into “celebrity” all that much. 

Our perception of “celebrity” is that “famous” people are just like us, they just happened to be in the right circumstances at the right time, with certain skills or opportunities that aided in propelling them into the limelight. 

Could this be the 50th year from when Evita was entombed at the Duarte family mausoleum?

And yet, in various countries, we’ve seen people lining the boulevards to get but a glimpse of a public figure of one type or another.  But, if seeing their beloved celebrity brings them joy, then its purpose is clearly defined.  I get excited to see a warthog.  I suppose that makes me no different.

The street was so narrow and it impossible to get a got shot of the entire mausoleum.  However, it wasn’t as large or as ostentatious as many others.

On the other hand, Tom, revels in the element of surprise and the unexpected, such as when we encountered, four years ago today, three dozen elephants walking along the road in Kruger National Park. See this link for photos and details. “Safari luck.”
As we wandered through row after row of ornate mausolea (yep, that’s the plural of mausoleum. Who knew?) we continually searched for the Duarte or Perón name, never knowing quite what to expect.


A commemorative plaque in honor of Evita added in the year 2000.

We’d failed to get a map of the facility when we entered figuring we could weave in and out of the rows upon rows of sites.  With no luck, we finally encountered an employee and in Spanish, I asked, “Dov’è Evita Peron?”  Immediately, he pointed us in the right direction. 

We weren’t too far away.  As we entered the long narrow “street” it was easy to see where her mausoleum was located with the crowd gathered at the site. We patiently and quietly waited our turn to take photos and read the inscriptions as shown in today’s photos.

Several commemorative plaques for Evita added over the years.

La Recoleta Cemetery is definitely worth visiting when in Buenos Aires.  There are numerous affordable tours available online at a number of sites and as tours offered on cruises that spend a night or two docked in Buenos Aires. 

As usual, we prefer to go at our own pace, avoiding crowded bus rides and tours. Some may say we’d learn more if we booked a tour but we always read volumes of information about the venue from many reliable sites both before and after visiting. This works well for us. 

Many have ornate doors and entrances.

Keeping our lives relatively stress free and uncomplicated is the gist of our world travels. If we can avoid strict time constraints, huge crowds, traffic and waiting for extended periods in long queues, we’re most content.


Some of the mausolea have granite or marble surfaces.
Speaking of our lives of world travel, yesterday we uploaded our 2000th post. I can’t recall doing 2000 of anything, other than having heartbeats, days or weeks of life, the number of steps taken on my Fitbit or number of meals consumed, etc.

Many of the mausolea were smaller and unassuming than others.

Two thousand posts? If someone told me seven years ago I had to write 2000 stories at a rate of one per day, including fairly decent photos, in order to be allowed to travel the world, I’d have said “Forget about it! It’s too much pressure! It would spoil the experience!”

This stone crypt was particularly interesting.


And yet, here we are, 2000 posts later and, each day, we are grateful for the opportunity to have shared yet another morsel of our lives on the move with each and every one of our worldwide readers.

In the center of town, La Recoleta Cemetery is a popular location for tourists to visit.

Many write to us expressing their gratitude for our daily stories, as we continue to be vulnerable and revealing as to the most intimate aspects of this humble life.  But, we are grateful for all of YOU for inspiring us and providing us with an added purpose that only enhances the quality of this life we lead. 

Health provided, there will be 2000 or more yet to come.

May all of you join in good health with us as you share each day of our journey at our side.

_________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 17, 2017:

View of the Huon River from the veranda of our vacation home in Geeveston, Tasmania.  For photos of the house please click here.

We tried…An authentic Argentine dinner with offal and others…Tom, the supertaster…

 
To us, these stuffed pig intestines, “Chinchulin” were the least desirable items on the platter.  See description below:

 “Chinchulin / Small Intestines As you’d expect, it looks gross and tastes…well, it’s pretty particular and hard to describe so you’re just gonna have to trust me and try them. They should be well cooked and crunchy but never chewy, that means you got a dud plate. Squeeze abundant amounts of fresh lemon juice on top.


Parrillada in Spanish translates to “barbecue.”  When we read online that Las Cabras is an authentic Argentine restaurant, especially popular with locals and known for their taste-tempting platters of meat, we thought we’d give it a try.


Located in the Palermo Hollywood district it was a direction we’d yet to walk except when we headed in that general direction to use an ATM located at a bank where we assumed fees would be less than other locations.  (We discovered this was not the case in Argentina.  Using an ATM results in a fee of US $10 (ARS 186) regardless of the amount of local cash received, more than we’ve paid anywhere in the world).

Tom’s smile was as big as usual when I explained what was on the menu.

Earlier in the day, we had no hesitancy to venture out on this longer walk than usual for dinner.  Also, there are a number of other restaurants in that area who’s menus we could check as we walked passed.


By late afternoon, it was raining hard but with a borrowed umbrella from the hotel, we decided to head out anyway.  We never hesitate to walk in the rain especially when we have access to an umbrella. 


After all, we stood for 90 minutes in the pouring rain in Versailles in August 2014 (see story and photos here) without umbrellas and were soaked through to our underwear.  We didn’t care as the rain ran down our faces.  The experience was exquisite, memorable for a lifetime.  No walk to dinner in Palermo to dine would get us that wet.  Off we went in the downpour.

The bread was dry without butter and this little pat was definitely margarine which we don’t eat.

You may ask, “Why not take a taxi?”  If a location we’re pursuing is within walking distance, we walk, rain or shine. (The exception to this may be when sightseeing when rain impedes the opportunity to take good photos)  It’s good to get out moving about after a big meal when the long walk back to the hotel would aid in digestion.


Unfortunately, no walk, no distance and no form of exercise could obliterate the heavy feeling in my gut after that meal or, for Tom…the taste in his mouth.  Years ago, with his picky taste buds, I discovered he may be a “supertaster” as described here:


“A supertaster is a person who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than average, with some studies showing an increased sensitivity to bitter tastes. It may be a cause of selective eating, but selective eaters are not necessarily supertasters, and vice versa. 


For additional details about supertasters, please click here.”

In most restaurants in Buenos Aires bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar are served at tables.  Balsamic vinegar has a high carb count of 17 grams per 100 gram due to high sugar content and may contain wheat.  Many olive oils used in mid-range (or less) restaurants aren’t pure, containing toxic canola and other vegetable oils we try to avoid.

Even in the rain, we enjoyed walking through the unfamiliar neighborhood of Palermo Hollywood, lined with apartment and office buildings and shops and restaurants although it was not quite as diverse and interesting as Serrano Plaza in Soho where we’ve dined most nights.


We easily found the restaurant only requiring a few turns, located several blocks from the Prodeo Hotel.  I took a few photos along the way but found it difficult, preferring not to get the camera wet when the wind was blowing the rain at us.

At first, when this huge platter arrived, we anticipated it would be divine.  Once we left off the offal, there were only a few items we cared to eat.  I took a taste of almost everything but I didn’t care for most of it.

Luckily, we arrived at an early enough hour there was no line.  We’d read that at prime times, there can be a long queue to get inside the restaurant.  Surprisingly, the restaurant was packed. The greeter suggested a table for two by the door but after looking around we spotted one enmeshed within the other tightly packed rickety tables and chairs. 


We’d rather have waited for a table than take the busy spot by the door.  We seated ourselves at the other location and waited for a server with menus for quite some time.  We’d read online that service could be slow so we stayed patient until a server arrived at our table with menus in hand, all of which was in Spanish. Why wouldn’t it be? I don’t recall menus in the US in other languages.


However, I can now read a menu in Spanish.  There may be a few words I don’t know but over these past three weeks of dining out nightly, I made a point of learning more Spanish.  I can’t speak fluently but I can use select words to get a message across.

After Tom became queasy after tasting some of the offal, he’d even lost his taste for the fries.

With the server too busy to wait while I got out enough words to ask about my dietary concerns, I threw caution to the wind and we ordered the “big meat” shared dish called “Parrillada” which simply translates to “barbecue” in English.


Surely, some of the meats wouldn’t be covered in sweet sauces and I’d find something that worked for me.  Tom could enjoy the rest…so I thought.  Silly me.


This time we ordered bottled water instead of beer and wine.  Based on the huge platter of food we were anticipating, I didn’t order salad or vegetables. Much to our disappointment, shortly before our Parrillada arrived, the servers put huge wooden platters in front of each of us.  I asked for “platos” for us instead of the wooden boards but she explained they don’t have “platos.”

The restaurant, Las Cabras, was busy at the early hour of 5:30 pm.

It’s not safe to eat on wooden boards.  Often, bacteria get inside the grooves and the boards become a breeding ground for horrific diseases.  Oddly, only a few days earlier, I’d read this article on Facebook on the dangers of eating on wooden planks or boards.  It may seem fun to eat on these but it’s not worth the risks.


We could have left at that point but we decided to “wing it,” hoping we’d dodge a bullet and be safe eating the meat on their wooden platters.  Next time, we’ll notice from online photos, if these boards are used instead of plates and we’ll avoid those restaurants. 


These wooden boards aren’t even safe to use in one’s home even with the utmost in care of the cleaning.  A seasoned wooden plank may be fine for cooking the meat or fish at a high temperature but not to be used as a plate.  Lesson learned.

The few pieces of beef ribs were fatty and chewy.

The sizzling platter of meats arrived at our table along with bread and fries for Tom.  Again, there was no “real” butter and a pat of greasy margarine was served.  Here’s another item we don’t eat…margarine…a hydrogenated, trans fat nightmare.  We’ve yet to see real butter offered in any restaurant, except perhaps at La Cabrera (not to be confused with today’s Las Cabras).


I sorted through the meat trying to decipher what Tom (supertaster) would like only to discover there were few items on the platter he’d be interested in eating.  At least half of the platter consisted of offal.  See description below this photo if you aren’t familiar with this term.

Many pigeons walked around the restaurant as we dined.  They didn’t bother us so we didn’t mind.  We’ve had a variety of birds dining with us in various countries.

“Offal /ˈɒfəl/, also called variety meats, pluck or organ meats, refers to the internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal. The word does not refer to a particular list of edible organs, which varies by culture and region, but includes most internal organs excluding muscle and bone.”


My taste buds aren’t picky and generally, I’ll try anything.  After checking the items I determined there were a few items I wouldn’t be able to eat, mainly some of the stuffed intestines which contained oatmeal or wheat as fillers.  Tom cringed and nearly gagged when he noticed the offal occupying a good portion of the platter. (See the main photo above).

We saw a number of other dishes served but most weren’t right for my way or eating, nor would Tom care for them.

There were more meats on the platter we didn’t care to eat including the following:


Mollejas / Sweetbreads or Thymus Glands Not for the squeamish, mollejas’ unique gusto comes down to them being glands and not muscle tissue. Soft and delicate in texture, resembling pork on the taste buds.”


I’ve ordered sweetbreads in gourmet restaurants to find them moist and delicious in most cases but those on last night’s platter seemed overcooked, dry and chewy.  No thanks.  I passed on them as well.

I cut the blood sausage in half for this photo.  We both tasted it.  I could tell it contained some type of grain but if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t have cared for it anyway.  You should have seen Tom’s face when he took a tiny taste!

“Morcilla / Blood Sausage You’re gonna love ‘em or hate ‘em. Similar to black-pudding in the UK, they are made up of pig’s blood and ground up pieces of pork or offal and a few extra spices to make them taste less like pig’s blood. A much softer sausage than the chorizo.”


So it went.  The traditional Argentine Parradilla was not for us. We asked a few of the hotel staff members when we returned from dinner if they cared for the offal and all said an emphatic “no!” Perhaps there were other items on the menu we may have enjoyed more.  


This was the first meal we’ve had in Argentina we found totally unappealing and now as we wind down our remaining days, we look forward to returning to some of our favorite restaurants, mainly La Cabrera, Brave and Diggs (BBQ).


Our total bill including tip was US $45.72 (ARS  850).  Tom mentioned, “This was the first time I’ve ordered the most expensive item on a menu and didn’t like it.”  So true…


Today’s a big football day.  Right now as I write, Tom is watching yesterday’s two NFL games and tonight after dinner at Rave, we’ll return to the hotel to watch the Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints game which starts at 6:40 pm. 
Go Vikings! Happy football day to all of our friends/readers in the USA and other countries!           
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Photo from one year ago today, January 14, 2017:

Could this scenery be more beautiful than it was for us during the six-weeks we spent in Penguin, Tasmania?  For more photos, please click here.