Countryside near Buenos Aires
First exciting glimpse at dawn
Awake at 4:15 a.m., taxi at 5:00 a.m., through security by 6:15 a.m., depart at 7:28 a.m. (except for de-icing, taxiing, etc.). Just enough time in San Francisco to find my way to the international terminal, wait 20 minutes to check-in (many people with very large suitcases), wait 20 minutes for security, grab a cup of tea to go, discover that the gate was down stairs (not where I was waiting), and wait for boarding. An hour or so into the flight, ate lunch and fell into a profound sleep for about an hour. Watched Lincoln
because my seat-mate marvelled at its availability. More marvelous was the long stretch of Mexican land fully lit by afternoon sun below us. After dark, another nap and some reading.
In Lima, just enough time to find the gate (downstairs again) and a few minutes to look at Peruvian souvenirs. The gate announcer spoke faster than anyone I had ever encountered. His Spanish was unintelligible to me, and even in English I had to hear it twice before I understood. We officially departed at 1:40 a.m. but spent until almost 2:20 on the ground. Another deep nap had me missing the meal.
Descending to Buenos Aires
Remember this is fall - March!
Hungry, I asked for it and received it – an entirely cheese/milk based meal that left me eating only the bread and butter. More naps, feeling increasingly stiff and constrained.
Suddenly, green green Argentinian fields were lit by the dawn, and we landed! The airport lands were so green they seemed to be the countryside.
Wait for luggage – mine didn’t come. I reported this, and a friendly, charming young man, fluent in English, prepared a US$50 voucher (260 Argentinian pesos) for incidentals and filled in the report to find my suitcase. No one in customs took my declaration!? Through the exit, immediately saw the Road Scholar
sign, to my great relief. Also relieved were the two people attached to the sign, who were wondering where I was. Another charming young man, Martin, left my carry-on bag with Wanda, his colleague, and walked me the full length of the airport to collect my funds from LAN (airline), and back again. Martin suggested I have a coffee to while away the 40 minute wait for the other participants. I thought a coffee would indeed perk me up. Espresso style coffee – fabulous! The sinful chocolate cake helped too: covered by chocolate ganache, two layers of biscuit/cake, with a thick later of caramel.
Back at the meeting place, more tour
participants were gathering and in time we made our way to a bus. Sixteen participants in all, about eight on this bus. Martin gave us a preview and noted that because we were here on the weekend, traffic was light – very light indeed.
After lunch at the hotel (salad and quiche with great dark Malbec
red wine), I asked for a 4:30 p.m. wake-up call and took a much desired nap. At 5:00 our orientation was an expansion of what Martin had told us in the bus.
Following the hour in the stuffy meeting room, I joined Lee for a short walk in the fading dusk. We watched our feet for the pitfalls in the broken sidewalks, and lifted our eyes to the beautiful buildings from the early 1900s, complete with embellishments and ornate doors. In spite of the rain beginning to fall, we walked about eight blocks. The streets are narrow and with only a few dozen people about – too early for partygoers.
Dinner at the hotel was convivial over many glasses of white Torrontes
wine with salad (dressed by each diner with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt), hake
and vegetables (great use of celery), followed by fruit salad.
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