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 cannot upload any photos.  As mentioned in earlier posts, we’ll continue to make every effort to maintain our usual style of posts.  Would you 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. Still, 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 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.

This was surely a bargain compared to the cost for groceries, rental cars, and vacation/holiday homes. 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 most OK 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 whole house or the only guests, we were always treated with the utmost 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 or more. No doubt, our extended 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 after a few hours of bringing it to staff’s attention, 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 what one may find in a large hotel, and we’ve discovered we mainly have found smaller hotels tend to suit our needs. We highly recommend Prodeo Hotel for your next visit to Palermo, Buenos Aires.

Small did OK 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 Aerolineas, an Argentine airline, was seamless. Moving right along, we’re currently sitting at a tiny table at a tiny little bar with Wi-Fo in Ushuaia.

We both watched a free movie, Hacksaw Ridge, a stunning film 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, nonetheless.

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.

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 lousy 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. 

The 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 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 to lounge in the big comfy booth with more ice on my knee while we sipped on 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 bought two-liter bottles of the local beer for US $5.90 (ARS 112). 

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

Prices on alcohol both in markets and restaurants in Buenos Aires are 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 the 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 signs 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, we wanted the total handled and out of the way the day we fly away.

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, it’s not unusual to find the ATMs out of cash.

Also, two weeks before 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 spent 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). Still, now our only significant 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 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 dry 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 lousy 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 why we don’t zip line, bungee jump, scuba dive, and engage in similar activities.

We often 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 time I was unable to participate in some planned activities quickly 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 participating 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, significantly 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 or 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 couple 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 rough 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 that 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.


Tom was (is) devastated and worried. I was more concerned about him than I was about 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’d 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 to be able to get off the ship 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 wear the Ace bandage while frequently getting up to move around.  Ice is only suitable 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 are 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 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 1800s. For more photos of the Tench, please click here.

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

Hmmm…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 Tuesday’s early morning flight to Ushuaia.  Ponant Cruise Line had no issue with how much we bring aboard the ship, but the airline does. We’re leaving Buenos Aires on a somewhat small plane designated for approximately 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 only a Swatch store places 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 that the early wake-up time will be challenging. The usual hour-long ride in traffic to the airport will be considerably less at this hour.

The previous 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.

The ship has laundry service in checking online, 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 our cold-weather clothing shipped box, 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 ten 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 like yet to walk to dinner later in the evening. As it turned out, we almost hit the 10,000 step mark we attempt to achieve most days by the end of the evening.

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 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 a while.

A man is 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 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 is 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. It’s 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 were 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, provide different perspectives of the monument, and be placed above a reflecting pool, which, apart from fulfilling its aesthetic function, protects it. It represents a large flower made of stainless steel with an 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. It’s a no-brainer. We simply pack everything we own. This time, we have to sort through all of our belongings 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 going through medical and other supplies contained in our third smaller checked bag, which we’re leaving here. Plus, we have the pill bag containing 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 for exacerbating my gastrointestinal thing, which does rear its ugly head from time to time.

Then, of course, a girl needs her cosmetic items, which 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 it’s 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. I added 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 in February. At the first of each month, we pay off all of our credit cards in total to make room for the next barrage of significant 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 costs 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 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.

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 do 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 always to 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).

Also, the better we feel, the more we have done, which 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:

A 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.

Tolerance and patience in the big city…

We haven’t seen it in a newsstand like this in a long time.

It’s not always sunshine and roses, although it may seem so for our occasional readers. We don’t always feel like sightseeing, traveling in taxis through all-day-long-rush-hour traffic.

Wherever we are at any given time, it is where we live. Do you feel like sightseeing in your town on hot and humid days when you know a 10-minute drive can turn into 45 minutes in near-stopped traffic?

Interesting buildings on Santa Fe St. in Palermo Soho.

The only time I recall we ever went sightseeing in our old lives in Minnesota was when visitors came to town and stayed with us, having a confident expectation of seeing the world-renowned Mall of America, the Como Zoo, or the popular Minnehaha Falls. 

Public transportation is readily available in Buenos Aires by bus and underground.

Here in Buenos Aires, we find ourselves with little interest in visiting the popular tourist attractions, waiting in long queues, or bumping into people who don’t care to cooperate in the sharing of making space on the sidewalk as we attempt to pass.

There’s a bit of pushing and shoving, which we’d rather avoid. Although most service staff in hotels, shops, and restaurants are ultra friendly and helpful, we’ve found the passing locals on the streets on a mission uninterested in idle chatter with us or certain courtesies one may find in some other parts of the world.

It took us over an hour to walk back to the neighborhood of the Prodeo Hotel.

Then again, we’ve observed only a handful of tourists in the Palermo area and certainly few in our age range. In essence, we don’t necessarily fit into this fast-paced Buenos Aires lifestyle. That’s our reality, not theirs. 

Flower vendor on the street.  The rose bouquets are ARS 120, priced at only US $6.46.

We’ve never favored big cities, primarily for these reasons. “Too much of everything” prevails; people walking while texting or talking on a phone or to a companion while bumping into passersby; horns honking; loud talking and yelling in public venues; a sense of disorder and commotion, we’d prefer to avoid.

Are we nothing but “fuddy-duddies” set in our ways?  Perhaps, yes. But, place us in the bush, waiting for an hour for a herd of elephants to clear the road, making loud noises and sharing “their lifestyle and demeanor” upon us, we’re in heaven. 

Government building.

I suppose it’s all relative. We’re all entitled to like what we like and scoff at what may not be so appealing.  Does that make us intolerant? If we’re annoyed by someone talking during the movie at a theater, make us intolerant? Are we intolerant if we’re agitated during standstill traffic on the freeway when we’re in a rush to get somewhere?

Interesting architecture.

Not necessarily. Even our dogs or cats may become impatient with us when we don’t fill their food bowl quickly enough or hand them the treat their anticipating. It’s all part of the “human and animal” condition. Impatience.  Intolerance.

No one is so “nice” they’re not impacted by the annoyances of daily life, especially in a big city. Otherwise, one might question their link to reality. Through this past over five years of world travel, we’ve found ourselves exercising a greater degree of patience and tolerance than we may have in our old lives.

Most of the historical buildings are apartments.

We never want to be the “ugly America” so much despised in certain parts of the world. There was a movie, a book, and an adult animated series with this nomenclature.  

We make a special effort to avoid complaining, whinging, or objecting negatively in situations we find uncomfortable, trying, or annoying. Even Tom, who on travel days can be “overly grumpy,” has the desire and ability to contain his frustration on such occasions.

Clown painting on the left and Statue of Liberty on the right.

Overall, we prefer to avoid situations that cause us undue stress. Isn’t that one of the reasons we left our old lives behind to find joy and contentment in the exploration and adventure of an entirely new life, in new places, befitting our objectives of nature, wildlife, and culture?

Also, there are many more modern buildings in the city.

You may say, “Isn’t culture found in big cities?” And you’d be right to a degree. But we’ve found the hustle and bustle in big cities with traffic, noise, and crowded sidewalks more about modern-day life than the essential culture of a people who, through history and generations, made their lives work without all of the modern distractions.

And so, our days and nights dwindle to our next adventure, Antarctica, where the biggest distractions will be wildlife, beauty, and nature mixed in with wild seas, inclement weather, and getting soaked on Zodiac boat rides. We can easily handle all of that!

Photo from one year ago today, January 13, 2017:

A  rainbow over the ocean in Penguin, Tasmania. Looking carefully, Tom spotted a second lighter rainbow to the far left, difficult to see in this photo. Be well. For photo photos, as we wound down our time in Penguin, please click here.

It’s a wonderful life but differences prevail…

Saturnalia, a Sculptural group by Italian artist Ernesto Biondi at the botanical garden.

Of course, we appreciate every day of this outrageous life of world travel and, we are reveling in our 31 nights in Buenos Aires, where culture abounds in vast and fascinating ways. 

Last night at dinner at an outdoor restaurant that had mediocre food, we couldn’t help but notice how this area of Serrano Plaza reminds us of Uptown in Minneapolis, and yet is more compact with narrower streets and at least 10 times the size…not that we’ve been to Uptown lately.

Cactus garden.

As we sat in rickety chairs at a wobbly table for four that barely fit the two of us, we giggled over the irony of our lives.  What are we doing in Palermo Soho Buenos Aires? How far removed is this from our old lives of only six years ago, when it was around January 2012 we decided to travel the world?

A bowl of peanuts in the shell was delivered to our table shortly before the Spanish-only menus arrived, and we each gasped in sheer delight over the tiny bowl of nuts.  What a treat! Somehow, we always manage to figure out everything on the menu.

I believe this is a Nopales cactus.

As I readjusted my wobbly chair, we looked at one another and smiled. We didn’t mind the rickety furniture and the tiny bowl of nuts. We were happy to be dining outdoors in this big city in this peculiar little spot with the most rudimentary accouterments. 

The fork and knife are plastic, and the paper napkins are flimsy. The salt (“sal” in Spanish) is in little packets in the rectangular holder along with tiny packets of ketchup, salsa, and mayonnaise. 

The information building is on the grounds of the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden.

Since I can’t get sour cream in many of the restaurants, I use mayonnaise on my salads, opening multiple little packets for enough to give my frequently ordered salads a bit of moisture…a cup of arugula, a bit of dry deli chicken, a few tomato slices and a few chunks of cheese, consists of my dinner most nights.

Most other items on the menu would contaminate foods I can’t have; grains, starches, and sugar.  I don’t mind. After all, it’s just food, and I’m certainly not withering away, nor am I tired of this meager fare. 

However, I am looking forward to cooking again when we arrive in South Africa, which will be in about a month.  And, without a doubt, we’ll have exceptional meals aboard the Antarctica cruise beginning in a mere 12 days, a French cruise line offering gourmet meals for the most discriminating of diners. Surely, they’ll whip up divine and suitable meals for me.

There are numerous statues of nudes at Jardin Botanica in Buenos Aires.

Thinking back to spending afternoons in the refreshing pool in Costa Rica, it seems so long ago, and yet we left only 50 days ago. There’s a pool in this hotel, but it’s partially indoors. We don’t care for indoor pools. 

Instead, we’re content with our walks in the neighborhood often during the day and again in the early evening when we search for the next new restaurant to try. We’ve only done two repeats, Diggs and Rave, where we may go yet again.  

Interesting tree trunk.

The food at Diggs is excellent along with the service, although served in plastic baskets, on paper plates, and with plastic forks. Last time, the server brought me a flat plastic plate, and I was thrilled to be able to dump my salad on the plate from the smallish paper bowl.

Rave has real plates, flatware, and linen napkins but charges all types of service fees and a fee for the tiny bowl of dry bread without butter (Tom eats it anyway), and yet, a glass of decent Malbec is only US $2.95 (ARS 55). Go figure. 

A tree with leaves changing color after red berries had fallen to the ground.

We’re not complaining. We love all these cultural differences, finding them charming and enriching and, we thought some of our readers might find these morsels interesting. 

Today, after uploading today’s post and chatting with my dear friend Chere on Skype in about an hour, we’re off for a walk and to visit the mini-mart for a few items. Once we return, we’ll continue our research for upcoming travel bookings until it’s time to make the walk to discover where we’ll dine again tonight. It’s all good.

We hope you have an interesting and enriching day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 11, 2017:

While at Gnomon Pig Farm in Penguin, we laughed to see the white band on the newly born piglets, just like their mom. There were several breeds of pigs at the farm. For more details, please click here.

Part 1…Challenges along the way…Comments on new cruise bookings…Lost a loved one…

La Panera Rosa, deli market, is similar to Panera in the US. “Bebidas con alcohol,” translates to
drinks with alcohol.”  Tom had a beer while I had a glass of red wine. 

We apologize for today’s late posting and other day’s late postings since we arrived in Buenos Aires. Today, as it turned out, I spent most of the morning trying to purchase a Visa gift card for our granddaughter Maisie’s upcoming birthday but could not do so.

The deli was packed with patrons, and the only available table for us was in a highly trafficked area by the front door. Yesterday’s temps were well into the 90’s, and it was hot where we were seated.

There is some block preventing online purchases of Visa gift cards in Argentina, perhaps a result of fraud. We’ve experienced this a few times in our travels, even while using our VPN, Hotspot Shield. It still picks up that we’re in this country.

Complimentary bread is served with a pink-colored, beet flavored “butter,” which is, in fact, fake margarine.  Tom passed on it, asking for real butter he didn’t receive instead of getting some gummy concoction.

With no other alternative, I’ve asked our daughter-in-law Camille if I can send her a Bill-Pay check which she’ll cash, placing the money into the online card we’ll send Maisie. The challenges of traveling the world can easily present these types of issues. However, there’s always a workaround.

Instead of butter, he was served this margarine which he didn’t use.  We’ve yet to see real butter since we arrived in Buenos Aires, except at La Cabrera, a high-end restaurant.

Today, we planned to mention new cruises we’ve listed in our recent upcoming 852-day itinerary in this post.  None of these particular cruises have been described in prior posts yet were all a driving force in determining our lengthy itinerary. Tomorrow, we’ll post the cost and itinerary for a few of these cruises.

Tom ordered a barbecue pork sandwich which came with three onion rings.

One of these cruises listed in the itinerary embarks from Southampton, England, on October 24, 2019, with a port of call in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 31, 2019 (the seventh anniversary of our world travel). We’d hoped we’d be able to visit beloved Uncle Bernie, my father’s brother, in the 100th year of his life.

In September 2014, we purposely selected a cruise from Harwich, England, which ended in Boston to see Uncle Bernie and my dear cousin Phyllis. Sadly, a few days ago, Uncle Bernie, 98 years old, passed away, and our hearts are broken. We won’t get to see him one more time. 

I ordered gluten, sugar, and starch-free salad.  When it arrived, it was topped with these breadsticks. I sent it back, explaining I needed an entirely new salad due to the contamination from the flour.  We saw some appealing plates being served. Had we ordered differently, we may have had an altogether different experience.

Of course, when we left after a three-day visit, we were realistic in understanding we may never see him again. My father passed away in a tragic work accident in 1960 (see the story here), and Uncle Bernie was his last remaining brother. Our dream of one more visit with him was dashed when he passed away on January 2nd.  

We’ve decided to keep the cruise booking with Boston as a port of call, hoping we’ll see cousin Phyllis for a few hours when we’re in port that day. That cruise ends in Fort Lauderdale on November 8, 2019, at which point we’ll fly to Nevada for a few weeks stay to visit my son Richard and renew our driver’s licenses; visit my sister Julie in California and also visit Tom’s sisters and their husbands in Arizona. 

Decorated shelves in the restaurant.

Our upcoming itinerary will keep us very busy over the next two years. It will be a busy few weeks until we depart for South America for more sites we’d like to see. Now, as we busily work on bookings for these upcoming dates, we’re comfortable and content to do so while here in Buenos Aires.

Tomorrow, weather providing (it’s raining today), we plan to head out sightseeing after uploading the day’s post. After so much sightseeing on the recent 30-night cruise, we’ve been content to stay in the hotel lobby during the days and head out on foot each night to peruse the lovely Palermo area and find a new spot for dinner. 

A refrigerated case was filled with yummy-looking desserts.

So far, we haven’t dined at the same restaurant twice.  We’ll begin returning to favorites in a week or sooner as the time quickly winds down until the Antarctica cruise. 

Today’s photos include a restaurant we visited last night with a few disappointing results, which may have been an entirely different experience during a less busy time and in ordering additional menu items.

A tower of pancakes for dessert for other patrons, not us.

Have a blissful day, rain or shine!

Photo from one year ago today, January 5, 2017:

Tasmanian Devils aren’t as ugly we’d expected, except when showing their teeth when threatened. The photos we took of the rescued animals, the intent of Wing’s Wildlife Park, left them little reason to feel threatened in the spacious habitat in which they comfortably live among other animals. For more details, please click here.

Part 1…Our year in review…Photos of us…Happy New Year to all!…Photos from last night’s celebration in Buenos Aires…

Us, last night on New Year’s Eve 2017.

There are a few things we’d like to mention as we begin today’s post. One, we aren’t able to post the entire year’s photos of us in review due to Wi-Fi issues with so many people online in the hotel right now. 

Our second concern is that yesterday we’d promised to post our new itinerary for the future but, for those same reasons and the need for us to pin down a few more ideas on this topic, which we’ll do today and tomorrow, we won’t be posting it until January 3rd. Sorry about that!

Margaret and Con, our new friends from the UK, joined us for dinner in the dining room at the wonderful Prodeo Hotel in Palermo, Buenos Aires. See more New Year’s Eve photos below.

Also, in our year in review photos, we did not include photos of our family during the six-week Minnesota visit. To see those photos, please visit our archives on the right side of the main page under the Amazon link, where it reads “Previous Posts.” There were so many photos it wasn’t easy to pick and choose. The dates to search are from the end of May 2017 to July 6, 2017.

Cute, boys and their cars!  Tom and a 1962 Ford Galaxy 500 in Franklin, Tasmania.

Tom and I had grocery shopped yesterday to purchase food and drinks for the evening’s activities which we were sharing with Margaret and Con in the hotel’s dining room (with the owner’s permission) since the items on their menu didn’t comply with my way of eating.

Since it would be a long night until midnight to welcome the New Year, we decided to meet in the hotel’s dining room at 8:30 pm with the food and drinks that Tom and I set up shortly before Margaret and Con arrived.

We were happy to have photos of Bob, our dear friend, and the landlord in Fairlight, Australia, in 2017. Sydney is in the background.

We’d planned on meats, cheeses, nuts, bread, and crackers (for them) as appetizers, followed up by roasted chicken and salad later on. We never got to the roasted chicken and salad after eating so many appetizers. 

Christina, a new friend we made aboard the ship, hung out with us on silent disco night while her fiance slept. 

Tonight, we meet again, this time at 7:00 pm, eat the balance of our food and hang out for more delightful conversation. The time to midnight flew quickly, and before we knew it, Linda and Bill stopped by our table to invite the four of us to join their group of friends on the rooftop for the fireworks display.

Tom was standing by the king on the giant hand-carved chess set at Butchart Gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Of course, the four of us were thrilled by the invitations as we made our way up to Michael’s penthouse apartment on the fourth level. Michael is a full-time resident of Argentina and conducts his business from here.  The family is from New Jersey in the USA, with homes in multiple locations.

My friend Chere with me when we had our Minnesota Readers Get-together. Chere and
I have stayed in very close touch during these years of travel.

The display was breathtaking during the 40 minutes we spent on the rooftop. I haven’t taken many fireworks photos, so I was challenged a bit with the settings in the dark, which I’d failed to do in advance with such short notice. As a result, I didn’t get many great photos.

Our waiter took this photo of us on our 26th anniversary of the day we met in Minnesota at this exact location, now a different restaurant.

After the display, the four of us returned to our table in the dining room to finish our many bottles of red wine.  When I occasionally consume red wine (local Malbec is popular here), I usually don’t have more than one glass. 

Colorful fireworks display in Buenos Aires on New Year’s Eve.

Last night, while caught up in the flurry of the fun activity over the evening, I actually drank three glasses.  Ouch. I’m sure feeling it today. I suppose it’s a typical red wine hangover. I guzzled down my mug of turmeric tea following by copious glasses of bottled water.

Big splash of light.

An hour ago, I headed up to our room to eat a few slices of cheddar cheese we have in our tiny fridge. Later today, a nap will be in order. We never got to bed until 2:00 am, reminiscent of many nights on the most recent cruise when we were having “too much fun.”

Fireworks were on display in many areas of the city, and we were in a perfect spot for viewing them, along with Margaret, Con, Linda, Bill, and their and Michael’s friends.

Tonight, I’ll drink water instead of wine, and hopefully, we’ll get to bed a little earlier. One thing I’ve always known about a hangover, nothing like a good night’s sleep to cure it. This doesn’t mean I won’t have a single glass of Malbec while out to dinner over these next three weeks until we fly to Ushuaia.

Linda and Bill, owners of the hotel, invited us up to son Michael’s penthouse to watch the fireworks at midnight. What a spectacular view and display!

So…how was your New Year’s Eve? We’d love to hear from you, either by email or posting on the “comments” section at the end of the post.  We wish the very best to every one of our worldwide readers and again thank all of you for making 2017 very special. Love and hugs always!

Photo from one year ago today, January 1, 2017:

The photo we posted last New Year’s Day of a local deli we frequented in Penguin, Tasmania. For more photos, please click here.