Published: April 15th 2012April 14th 2012
Close by our apartment is the delightful square of San Martin - seemingly we are always rushing in the opposite direction. Yesterday we took the time to relax in the square, look at the massively spreading trees (I would appreciate it if someone could tell us what type they are) and view the statues.
Last night my life was transformed when, ping, oops, b*ggar... I had a single pair of glasses in two pieces. You really appreciate your vulnerability in a foreign country when something goes wrong. After a sleepless night and throwing a small hissy fit I set out early (by BA standards 10.30am) to sort another pair. My mood had not been enhanced by my inability to make a collect call to the insurance company, then ringing on my cell phone and hearing the joyous words "your call is important to us please hold the line" after about 20 of these the curses became audible! a further 10 and I was running out of adjectives! I gave NZI three calls, they were not able to return any - but I have a claim form!
Our adventures took a new turn as glasses became the mission for the
day. The nice gent in a Florida Street glasses shop clearly had no training (he put the 'in' into competent) but did show me many frames and pointed me to an 'Optica' to get a prescription. At the optica we were rescued by a nice gent who stepped up to practise his English and encouraged the receptionist to find us an English speaking 'Optometrista'. A 2:30 appointment and a new prescription by 3:00. He recommended a dispensary in Recoleta. At the dispensary it was like stepping back in time, the assistant had a white coat and brought you trays of gasses to try while you waited at the desk. He was assisted by the receptionist who spoke English quite well. By 4:30 I had ordered a pair glasses, paid a deposit and will collect the glasses when we return to BA. My spirits were noticeably lifted. When I considered Eileen's cell phone saga this was a comparative breeze.
We were now in Recoleta which had been on the list to visit, so we ambled about. We happened upon the cemetery (mausoleum) just before it closed. We visited Eva Peron's tomb. I was surprised that many of the tombs had
glass fronts and you could see inside, where there are racks of ornate coffins. Apparently they also go down as much as 27 feet. Sculptures, ornate plaques, paintings, and stained glass windows added interest to the experience.
A walk in the park found us looking at the new statute. When you look through it you see Barrack Obama set against the work hope. From the past you see failed movements and leaders. It seems an odd juxtaposition to have something so pro American in Latin America (see photos below).
After a lovely dinner whipped up by Eileen, we headed out to Eileen's favourite cafe(Los Remelinos in Suipacha) for dessert. A banana pancake flambéed in rum at our table with ice cream followed by a short black. Once again delicimo!!
When I reflect back on the week in many ways the difficulties have been the highlights because they have brought us face to face with the Argentine culture, and it's people. These will be the memories that will stick. Glossing around the tourist sites is fun but less earthy and real than fronting issues and solving problems.
There are more photos below