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Published: April 26th 2008
Well.....it's been a while yet again, but here a final Buenos Aires update before I leave on my trip to Brazil and Peru before FINALLY returning HOME to the good ol' US of A!!! (can you tell I'm excited?) Don't get me wrong I have loved every minute of it, and wouldn't regret it for the world, but all good things come to an end, and when that end is near and you are expecting it.....you just can't wait for it to finally happen, especially if that end involves seeing your friends and family that you haven't seen in 4 months!!! So anyways, enough of that.
My parents came down for their Spring Break at the end of March, beginning of April. We had booked them an apartment for the week only 2 blocks from my residencia instead of a hotel which would have been 10+ blocks or a whole "barrio" away. Let's just say it was their first time out of the country, let alone their first time in a country where they speak a foreign language so it was good that they were close by and could just walk down the street if they needed me or needed
me to translate something into Spanish, not that they did. But they arrived safe and sound on a Sunday, and after signing the contract for the apartment, we went to the market at San Telmo for souvenir shopping. Grabbed a bite to eat at a restaurant called "La Divina Comedia" or The Divine Comedy" which had an excellent Caesar salad and fresh made sandwiches. After lunch we finished souvenir shopping in San Telmo and went on to the art fair in La Boca, although it was basically over by the time we got there. Then we took a 30 peso/30min taxi ride home instead of the 1peso/30min bus ride because my Dad thought it would be quicker. Of course Mom being the shy/timid driver in the group was scared to death every time we got into a taxi and claimed they all drive like crazed maniacs with death wishes (although I'll admit some of them do, but not ALL). Anyways, later that night we went to a tango show at a restaurant called "El Balcon" or the Balcony on the famous Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo and my Dad tried to get some of that famous Argentine BEEF. But there
was only one problem.....my parents picked (or maybe the farmer did) the one week when the farmers in the country decided to go on strike and cause a enormous nationwide shortage of beef, eggs, milk, and vegetables!!!! But we had some good chicken and the tango was not only superb but also ended up being free! (only had to pay for the dinner)
Then on Monday we woke up bright and early (I didn't give them to much down time or relaxing vacation......oops! oh well, they got to see almost the whole city of Buenos Aires in a matter of 5 days!) and I showed them my room and the residencia. Then we went to the Recoleta Cemetery to see Evita's grave and all the other ornate graves of famous people buried there. Then I had class so they went to the park next to my school with the metal flower that opens in the morning and closes at night and had some time to relax - Dad of course taking a nap and Mom reading a book. Afterwards I showed them my school and then we went to the famous MALBA art museum. Later that night we went
out to dinner with my roommate Santi to the same nice restaurant that I first went out to when I got down here: Campobravo. My Dad was finally able to get his steak although they were out of the first one he ordered and the second one wasn't good quality, but the on the third try they had the staple bife de lomo or sirloin steak. Mom got the salmon and liked it as well.
Then on Tuesday we did a park tour (guided by me, got a little lost on the way, but eventually found it) to the rose garden, the Japanese garden and didn't make it to the botanical garden before lunch, but my parents went afterwards while I was in class and relaxed some more. We had chicken salad pita sandwiches for lunch at a place called Tonno right near the residencia and their apartment which has become a favorite of mine. Then later that night after relaxing some more after I got out of class we went to dinner at Plaza Armenia near our house at a place called Two Brothers with the friends that I've made down here who in my program from CofC:
Gabby, Tracey, and Jessica and of course my roommate Santi again.
Then on Wednesday we were in Colonia, Uruguay all day. My Dad woke me up at 7:50am after the bus we were supposed to catch at 7:45am had left to go to the ferry already. Although I didn't have time to shower or even brush my teeth, even though someone would have had to take a taxi anyway since there wasn't enough room on the bus for all the parents and students, we got a taxi and got to the ferry station just after the bus dropped every one else off. Colonia, Uruguay really is a colonial port city with old cobble stone streets and even a city wall and gate. It was a nice relaxing day, especially since I didn't have to plan anything since Ruben our program coordinator had planned the activities for that day, so I was along for the ride as well. We took the slow ferry across, and after arriving went to eat lunch at a salad bar type restaurant, took a tour of the city, and then had free time for the rest of the day until we got on the fast
Jardin Japones 1
Japanese Garden 1
boat back to Argentina. My parents made acquaintances with Kiersten's Mom and Aunts who were also in town for the week and later that night we all went to dinner together at a little Italian place near the ferry station.
We spent Thursday morning walking through the ecological reserve in Puerto Madero which used to be the old port for the city and has now been revitalized into upscale lofts and restaurants. Then I had class again that afternoon and we just took it easy until dinner time. Finally on Friday we went shopping again on Florida street and the big mall after visiting the Falkland Islands War Memorial in Plaza San Martin. Then after having a late ice cream, my parents went back to the airport that evening to catch their flight back to the States. All in all I think they had a good time despite being dragged around for a week.
After going to class almost two week later, we had our final school sponsored excursion to Puerto Iguazu to see the famous Iguazu Waterfalls or "cataratas" in Spanish. After a 24 hr bus ride that was only supposed to be 18hrs having detoured 300km
Jardin Japones 2
Japanese Garden 2
out of the way due to the highway being closed due to so many wrecks and traffic piled up from the smoke that had blanketed the entire northern region of Argentina since the farmers were burning their fields in protest/we haven't had rain so neighboring fields caught fire too, we finally arrived. We went for dinner that night at an outdoor patio style restaurant where i had not only one but TWO (they give you two to begin with as if one is not enough) filet mignons wrapped in bacon with homemade steak fries! It was absolutely delicious! On Saturday we went to the national park and walked all the board walks to see the waterfalls. And as if that wasn't close enough, even though we got misted standing close to the big "Garanta del Diablo" (Throat of the Devil) waterfall, we took a boat tour that drove under the San Martin waterfalls which aren't as big as the Diablo ones but still got us soaking wet! It was so much fun, even though Mariano (who is the owner of the residecia who planned this trip and went with us) didn't tell us to bring a change of clothes since
Padres en Jardin Japones
Parents crossing small stream in Japanese Garden
we would be getting wet! On Sunday we took an excursion to the jungle and went rappelling and on a 400m zip line through the jungle! It was amazing! Then surprisingly the bus ride back home took only 16hrs arriving back in BA two hours early, since the smoke had cleared! P.S. My camera dropped out of my pocket in the bus on Saturdays excursion to the waterfalls so I don't have my own pictures, but will be getting them from Gabby who I commissioned to take pictures for me that day, and putting them up shortly, and luckily my camera was still on the bus when we returned from the falls so I was able to take pictures of Sundays excursion to the jungle.
Starting that Monday (this week) was my last week of classes finishing today! I also took my first final today and have three more to go on Mon, Tues, and Wed of next week, and then I'm done.....basically. I will FINALLY be starting my Special Assignment Abroad or internship class tomorrow, going only 4 times for 4 hours each time and going to a different one than I was supposed to go to
in the first place. We (including two others from my group) were supposed to do human rights but now we are joining 6 others in our group at the Reading Foundation. But hey, I can't complain as long as I get the credit for the class at this point I will be a happy camper. Although it would have been a great experience to volunteer at the HIV/AIDS clinic all semester long, which was one of the options in the beginning or was supposed to be anyways, which is my area of interest being the only health related one. So classes will be over by the end of next week, and then I have about 5 days before leaving for my two-week trip to Brazil and Peru before returning home on the 27th of May!
Trip Preparations: I decided to travel to Brazil instead of Chile because the landscape and cities are similar to those of Argentina. In Brazil they speak Portugese and have a completely different terrain than Argentina do. Also Rio de Janeiro and the Cristo Redentor statue are much more famous than anything in Chile. I bought tickets online at a site called cheap-o-air.com thinking that
the tickets would be cheaper than if I bought them at the airline office. Which they would have been except for the fact that cheap-o-air can't issue an electronic ticket but instead had to send me paper tickets which they can't mail outside of the US so I had to get my parents to overnight them to me for an amount of money that in the end makes the tickets the same or more price if I had bought them directly from the airline down here. Also apparently you have to have a certain amount of money in your bank account to enter Brazil ($1000USD), since I had to show proof via bank statements that I was going to be able to spend money and feed their tourism industry revenue along with about 5 other photocopies of documents that are required for the $100USD visa required for US citizens to enter Brazil. But hey, I'm finally going and thats all that really matters. I'll be in Brazil for about 10 days, first in Florianopolis for 3 days or Ihla de Santa Catarina which is the island right off the coast of Florianopolis which is supposed to be absolutely beautiful, and
then I'll be busing up to Rio and spending 5 days there. (2 days for traveling/flights) Then I'll be flying to Peru to visit the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu and the famous islands of Lake Titicaca. Then finally flying back to Buenos Aires and flying home on the 27th of May!
This will be my last blog in Buenos Aires. :-( I will write one or two more about my trip to Brazil and Peru before I leave, but after that....no more. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and "traveling along with me" despite the long-windedness, incorrect grammar and spelling, and rambling, as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Thanks for your support and hopefully it will always be here for us to look back on. Amor y Paz. Caleb
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