Thursday, April 30, 2009


This is going to be a long blog. So go to the bathroom first or go to the frig and get a beer. Relax. It's going to take awhile to read this one. I titled it “Rambling on the Rambla” because I will give a detailed view of what we do in the first couple of days at a place. The “Rambla” is the wide promenade that is on the coastline here in Montevideo, Uruguay. People of all kinds just “rambla” along it. Here goes.

I'm journaling at the kitchen table of our apartment at the Palacio Salvo, a beautiful Belle Epoch designed building. The Palacio Salvo is the famous building you almost always see in postcards of Montevideo, or Uruguay for that matter. We are staying here simply because I love the architecture of this place. She is however like the aging starlet in “Sunset Boulevard”. She might still be the focal point of Montevideo, but she needs a good cleaning. The bottom parts of the building are darker than the top due to the fumes of the ever present diesel buses crisscrossing the center of the city. We are on the 4th floor and I'm staring across the street at a 1960's thirteen story tower which in someways looks abandoned. It has mismatched drapes, some broken glass and other reminders of a building “going down”. It's not that look everywhere here but Montevideo is a bit tattered. A blog I read on this city said it's a bit of Boston (historic) and Lisbon (seedy and decaying).

Our apartment here was a bit disappointing. I thought from Eduardo's e-mails that this place was huge. I was expecting huge. It's merely average in size. The kitchen is large which is unusual for us. Speaking of the kitchen. It has a newer stove which is hooked up to a liquid gas “can”. Not a tank like on our gas grills, but a flimsy steel tank. Never in Cincinnati. They would lock us up if we tried this. There is a small family room nook with a loveseat and chair, TV, DVD (can't get it to work so we use the laptop) and CD player. It is nice especially since I can read after lisa goes to bed in our bedroom without bothering her (see later why this didn't work out in this “rambla”). The biggest negative is the noise. 1926 building = 1926 windows (wood with single panes) which don't keep the sound out. We are on the edge of the building which is adjacent to Avenida 18 de Julio, the busiest street in Montevideo. On our first night I slept for maybe four hours and lisa didn't sleep at all. The second night we moved the mattress into the hallway and closed the doors surrounding it. Not exactly super quiet but with a sleeping pill we made it through without ear plugs.

Oh, and our internet (ALMOST ALWAYS A MAJOR ISSUE) was non-existent when we got here. Eduardo, who is taking care of it for the other Eduardo (the owner), said he would be here at eight o'clock in the morning to install it with his son. He was also to give us a phone to use. 8:00 – no Eduardo....10:00 – no Eduardo....1:00 – no Eduardo and son. As we have given up on him and are ready to leave, the doorbell rings. In walk Eduardo and his son Fernando. I immediately start humming “Fernando” by Abba. I can't get my keyboard to turn the b's around in Abba, sorry. Instead of a wireless modum hook up as we expected, we are handed a Claro Internet stick. We have never used one of these before. After setting it to Uruguay vs. Argentina, it worked fine. Fernando turns out is an accomplished non-classical (rock) violinist. He just finished a recording session at the Teatro Solis, MonteV's world famous opera house.

We also thought we had laundry facilities (washer at least). Nada. Some of our clothes were still wet from the boat ride and shower at Iguazu Falls. So, we tried to lay them out all over the apartment. They, within a day, started to smell of mildew and river water. No problem, just bring them to a laundry and they will wash them. Another nada. Not open for wash and dry on Saturday. So lisa and I “handwash” an entire load of clothes in an attempt to save them. Now I know what washing would be like in the 1890s. Enough of the clothes, let's go play.

We walked to the Mercado del Puerto, a tourist area near the port. Inside the mercado were meat restaurants and the smell was WOW! We just had lunch at the apartment so we passed on it. It was a tourist area so we need to look for Siena and Avocet's Uruguayan dolls. We hung around the area a bit and headed back as it was getting to be late in the afternoon. We were told on the way over by a stranger to not be in this area after dark. Oh poopies!!! As we walked back we ended up on streets where we were the only people around. A bit creepy. I'm sure this was caused by being ripped off in Buenos Aires. Others have said Montevideo is much safer than BA. We could look like marks.

This morning I got up and took a shower. Too hot at the beginning but cooling off quick. Not unlike a lot of places around the world. Our showers at home are not perfect but OK. While showering, lisa went to the bakery to get pastries. It is Sunday morning so she got special sweet pastries: medialunas, some with sugar on the outside, some with dulce de leche inside. Very nice. I am journaling right now with the windows open. It's 9:45 AM and the strong South American sun is shining in. I hear horns, truck brakes from the street five stories below. It doesn't seem polluted here, but it must be with the large number of diesel buses. Montevideo has about 1.3MM people but has never had a subway or light rail. As I look out I must watch out for the pigeon poop on the windowsill. The poop adds to the seediness of MonteV. It's nice being up high where I can watch people milling about carrying on their daily activities.

Yesterday we went to a huge Sunday market named "Feria de Tristan Naranje". Regular stuff like clothes, books (new and used...all in espanol), bolts, bike parts, plus souvenirs like mate cups, paintings, sculptures, etc. Nice market. We would have enjoyed it more had Siena and Avocet found their Uruguayan dolls. Blocks upon blocks of stalls and no tipical dolls de Uruguay! Go figure. On the way home, we stopped at Don Rocco, a traditional Uruguayan parillada (meat restaurant). Our definition in the States of a “meat market” is definitely different than here. We sat down and looked at the menu. In espanol, of course (and without subtitles). Our carne choices were asado, vacio, lomo and entrecote. None of this meant anything. I asked our waiter if we could see what was being grilled. lisa and I went over to the grill, at least ten feet wide with all different cuts of meat being prepared. Entrecote: the cook picked up a piece of lean steak about two inches thick and weighing almost a kilo. GREAT BY ME!!! lisa tended toward the rib type looking meat so she ordered the asado. I liked mine. lisa was so-so on both saying they had little flavor. It will be interesting to test the flavors of beef at home vs. South American beef. Argentinian beef was great (to me...not to lisa). Oh, the girls had pure de manzana and pure de papas (warm applesauce and mashed potatoes).

We headed home and walked the almost twenty short blocks back along Avenida 18 de Julio. Nice old buildings next to crummy looking 1970's monstrosities. The parks were filled to a point as were the sidewalk cafes. Nice walk back but we are all tired.

It's time to go to bed. lisa and I move the mattress back into the hall again. As the mattress slides down it just about breaks the table that is built into the wall. Seeing the table separate from the wall is like watching my $500 security deposit go down the toilet. So we end up rearranging our living room and sliding the mattress in there. Not as good a night's sleep as before in the hall, but okay. I lose my late night reading “nest” but anything's better than trying to sleep with ear plugs.

OK, it's over. Thank you for seeing our day to day life as we merge from one place to another. Hopefully it gave you a better understanding of some of the “stuff” we have enjoyed and also have to put up with. Our first two days in Montevideo. Not really exciting. Not terrifically cool but okay. Follow the blog to see how it progresses. Now you can go pee. And I hope your beer is still cool.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


We surveyed the four participants of the One World One Trip Team for their Top Ten (Plus Two) of Argentina and the results are in:

12 Our Palermo Neighborhood in Buenos Aires
11. Tango Show
10. Walrus Bookshop (English Language Books)
9. San Martin Plaza and the International Buddy Bears
8. Hippodromo (Buenos Aires' Horse Track)
7. La Juvenil Pasta Shop
6. Recoleta Cementary
7. Artesanal Market
4. Spanish Classes with Paz
3. Our Palermo Apartment
2. Parque de la Costa and Tigre


1.Cataratas del Iguazu and Parque Nacional Iguazu

A special mention goes to our visit with friends Charlotte & Erwan from Paris who it was great to see and spend time with. You made our stay in Buenos Aires that much more enjoyable.

Another special mention goes to Paz who went above and beyond the role of being our Spanish Teacher to that of being our friend. We greatly enjoyed our time with you and with Francisco. You added a lot to our Argentinean experience. A nosotros nos gusta Paz.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gargantua Del Diablo Theatre

One World - One Trip Pictures Presents, a Marty Greenwell production: Gargantua Del Diablo - An Awesome Force!

Cataratas del Iguazu

In other countries, we have taken what we call “vacations” away from the place we were staying. They were not anything big, just overnights. Since we were in Argentina, we decided to take a “vacation” to Cataratas Del Iguazu, known to the rest of the world as Iguazu Falls. This was planned before we started the trip – it's on the trip shirt!!

We took a plane to Iguazu Falls. It wasn't a long flight, but since it was raining under us, it was very rocky and made us all sick (except for dad)! Please note the key word raining!! RAINING!!! On our trip to Iguazu Falls!! NO! We had images of ourselves being miserable on our tour of the falls the next day, but fortunately by then the weather cleared. On our first day we went to a lookout over the two rivers where you could see Brazil and Paraguay!!

I don't like tour groups. I don't like being in them, and I don't like being around them. That's why, I didn't like it when we had to take a tour to Iguazu. Thank God we didn't have to listen to lectures like some tour groups do!! It turned out to be surprisingly good! Our guides, Veronica and Vivi were also very nice.

The first place we went was the Gargantua Del Diablo (also known as The Devil's Throat). It was soooooooooooooooooooooooo cool!!!!!!!!!! There was so much water coming down and with lots of pressure! The Devil's Throat is almost five hundred feet wide and about over two hundred fifty feet deep. And this is at a time when they're having a drought! I was stupefied!

Around the falls, there are these little creatures called Coatis. They are so adorable!! They are relatives of the raccoon and look a lot like them.

There were also thousands of butterflies around the falls! They had gorgeous designs and colours, and most of them would land on us! Occasionally, we'd see a whole cloud of them, or a bunch perched on the ground.

At the end of our tour, before we went back to the bus, we could go on a boat ride and go under the falls! We signed up for it. It was so cool! We put all of our stuff in these plastic bags so it wouldn't get wet,and donned our life jackets. We got to go under the falls (three times!!!) on the Brazilian side, and the Argentinean side, even though it felt the same! We all got so soaked, and the pressure was so much! It was very fun!

Iguazu was very cool and I hope someday I will get to go to the other big falls of the world!

Friday, April 24, 2009


We have met some really nice people in the past 10 ½ months. Some have come to us via connections from home. Some from meeting them at guest houses or hotels. The person I am about to tell you about came to us through our quest to learn Espanol.

I requested via TripAdvisor any leads for a Spanish teacher in Buenos Aires. I got a private message that said Paz Iguacel would be a good fit. The message was from her husband, Francisco. Good job, Francisco. I e-mailed Paz and almost immediately got a long response describing her abilities and a picture of her hanging out a window in a Paris flat. A very chic way to start.

We met her shortly after we arrived in Buenos Aires and hit it off immediately. She was intent on us learning as much as we could in the ten sessions that we agreed upon. She made the classes interesting not just for lisa and I, but for the girls as well. We played games such as being in a restaurant where we were the patrons and she was the waiter and we had to ask questions and place our order in Espanol. At our second class, she brought mate, the Argentine national obsession – kinda like a tea – and showed us how to prepare it and drink it. Another morning it was all of us in the kitchen preparing Argentine panqueques from an espanol recipe. Yummy. We went out another day and visited Puerto Modero, an upscale area down by the Rio de la Plata. Fun.

After the first class, I mentioned we were planning on going to the Hippodromo to watch the horse races one day while we were here. She turned it around and invited us all as the guests of she and Francisco. She grew up in a thoroughbred horse racing family so she definitely knew her way around the track. We had a great time and Siena won 16 pesos, I'm sure because of the good advice Paz gave on “how to bet in Espanol”. We had dinner out afterwards and shared our lives on the road and their recent two plus years in Sweden and Switzerland.

Paz, we enjoyed getting to know you. Mucho Gusto. You helped us when we needed assistance and made our stay here in Buenos Aires very enjoyable. Thanks for being the terrific and fun person you are.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


After having spent two weeks in this capital city, here are some miscellaneous thoughts:

1. Contrary to what you might think about South American cities, BA is not cheap. Other than transportation, flowers and beef (see #8), prices are pretty close to those back home in the US.

2. BA had a large Italian immigration back at the turn of the 20th Century. Therefore, there are as many pizza restaurants and pasta shops as there are in Rome - maybe even more.

3. Subway vendors and some street vendors have an interesting way of selling things. They walk around and hand out the product they are selling to potential customers. Five minutes later, they walk around again and hopefully collect the money for the product that they just handed out . If you don't want the product, you just hand it back.

4. Here in BA they have crosswalks that cars are suppose to stop at in order to let pedestrians cross - don't count on it.

5. People here drive on the right side of the road. But their subway system was built by the British so the trains run on the left side of the track.

6. Argentina, especially central and southern Argentina, had no real indigenous population before the explorers got here. That is the reason why BA looks like Europe and why the people look European.

7. While there is plenty of chocolate available here in BA, if you're used to fine quality chocolate, forget eating anything chocolate. Go for anything that is made with Dulce de Leche; when in Rome...

8. Argentina is known for their cattle. If you want to eat cheap, eat beef. Vegetarians will go hungry (and broke) in this town.

9. This is a late city. People shop late, eat late and go out for entertainment late. If you're a morning person, forget it. On the other hand, the subway stops running by 10:30 PM - go figure.

10. Here in Argentina, they have a female president and the Presidental Palace is pink. If Hillary Clinton had been elected, do you think the White House would become a Pink House?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Parque De La Costa - Awesome!!

In Holland, we went to Linnaeushof, a giant playground. In Italy, there was the Parque De Pinocho, a park themed with the character Pinnochio. In Hong Kong, there was Ocean Park, a park themed with the ocean. Now, here in Argentina, there is Parque De La Costa.

Parque De La Costa isn't actually in Buenos Aires. It's in Tigre. Tigre is a restorty looking city fifty minutes outside of BA. The only reason we went there was for Parque De La Costa, but there's probably some huge tennis court in some Sheraton. Even though it's resorty, Tigre is very pretty. It's also very clean!

Parque De La Costa is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The had really cool rides. When we got into the park, we went straight to the bumper cars, and after that, Avocet and I headed for those cars that turn around and around.

I really like the swings that swing high up and around!

Mom and dad didn't go on many rides with us, but we all got soaked on the log flume! My favorite ride was the Vigla, a short but fast paced roller coaster! I had a great time!

After we finished with Parque De La Costa, we walked along the Rio De Plate, and then took the train back home!

Monday, April 20, 2009


As a Jew, there is a certain sense of obligation to Never Forget what was done to the Jewish people during World War II. This obligation is two fold: Not only that the Jewish people never forget, but also that the rest of the world never forget. In this way, the people who died in the Holocaust are remembered and the hope that the atrocity of genocide never be repeated. We seem to be doing OK on the first count, but on the second count...well, Planet Earth does seem to be for slow learners.

It is with this sense of obligation, as well as curiosity, that I ventured out to the Museo del Holocausto. I wanted to honor those who died but also, I was curious to see how a county, who allowed so many Nazi war criminals to emigrate after World War II, handled the topic of the Holocaust.

It was a small museum and to someone who is familiar with the history of pre-World War II Europe and the events of the Holocaust, there was nothing enlilghtening to offer. But to those who may not know, or who know little, it was a pretty accurate accounting of what happened. It wasn't graphic (which allows people of all ages to more easily go) but I also didn't find it terribly emotional either. Mostly it felt like history, just the facts. They didn't try to hide the fact that Argentina accepted post war some of the worst of the Nazi war criminals: Joseph Mengele, Adolf Eichmann, Eduard Roschmann, Walter Kutschmann and Klaus Barbie just to name a few. They also gave no explanation, excuses or appologies for that fact either. Again, just the facts. It left me feeling a little chilled.

Fake Passport of Adolf Eichmann

It's not an award winning museum by any stretch of the imagination but it is Buenos Aires' attempt to help the world to Never Forget.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Home - a place to reside where you feel completely comfortable, with all you need and your friends close by.

That's all I want. I miss home!!! When we first heard that we were going around the world, it was a little exciting. It was too far away to think about the fact that no friends, dolls, stuffed animals or "stuff" would be seen for a year. As we drew closer to leaving, friends started to get email addresses to communicate with us while we were on the road. It made it seem closer. Then finally, here. Everywhere. We move around, so no time to REALLY get settled in. When we accumulate a nice group of animals and dolls, we ship them off. Our stuff is... clothes. And a laptop, two animals each, books, not enough STUFF to... make it feel like home. Now as it is only 46 days until we get home, we find ourselves missing it more than ever. We play on Webkinz here, and we miss our Webkinz. We play with our current group of dolls and animals, and we miss our dolls at home. We play with Seelia, Siena's seal and when she starts getting upset about not seeing her New Zealand fur seal mate Walley, we miss our animals and dolls from the trip. But most of all, we miss our friends. How I long to play with my friends, even if we spend all of our time deciding what to do.

One of the highlights of our trip was going to see Amy and Andrea. We knew that before we left. It gave Siena and I something to look forward to, instead of just crumpling on the couch everyday, moaning of missing home. Now in Buenos Aires, with a perfect feather couch to sink into, that's all we want to do. Amy and Andrea have sadly been left behind and now, we have no motivation except home. It all comes down to that. I MISS HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dolls of the World

I love dolls. Not only do I think they are pretty, but I like to play with them. When people go on trips, they may have something that they collect from each place they go. Often stamps, or something small. But for this odyssey, I decided to get dolls from every country that we visit, and so far, I have been succesful. Each doll is in traditional dress and has a traditional name. Listed below are the names of my dolls from each country and a short description of them.

Holland: Name: Anke, description: porcelain, blonde hair, blue eyes
Poland: Name: Malgorlata (pronuonced Mao - gor - jata), description: porcelain, brown hair, brown eyes
Croatia: Name: Petra, description: porcelain, brown hair, brown eyes
Slovenia: Katcia (C pronounced as CH), description: porcelain, blonde hair, blue eyes
Italy: Name: Tiziana, description: porcelain, Venetian jester hat, brown eyes
Tanzania: Name: Asante, description: wood, no painted hair or eye colour
India: Name: Shina, description: cloth covered, shawl covered head, brown eyes
India doll II: Name: Shiva, description: wood and cloth, shawl covered head, brown eyes
Thailand: Name: Miss Magnolia, description: cloth covered, brown eyes, black hair
Laos: Name: Noy, description: cloth covered, brown eyes, black hair
China: Name: Meili, description: porcelain, black hair, brown eyes
Australia: Name: Cara, description: cloth, multi-coloured hair, green eyes
New Zealand: Name: Kia and her baby sister Ora, description: plastic, black hair, brown eyes
Tahiti: Name: Papeetee, description: plastic, black hair, brown eyes
Chile: Name: Estrella (pronounced Es-trey-a) and baby siblings Luna and Sol, description: cloth covered, black hair, black eyes
Argentina: Name: Rosaria (prounounced Ro-sadia), description: bendable material (unknown), brown hair, brown eyes

So far, prior to Tahiti, all of my dolls have been shipped home. I miss them very much and I can't wait to see them again and introduce them to my other dolls that I got further on the trip and that I had before I left. I miss you dolls!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


They were first spotted at the Mut Mee Guesthouse in Nong Khai, Thailand. There was a quick sighting of them in Tahiti. And now, once again, they have been spotted - in Buenos Aires, Argentina, nuestro amigos Charlotte and Erwan. From the beautiful city of Paris, Charlotte and Erwan are also spending a year traveling around the world. When in Thailand, we compared our itineraries, and were amazed at how many overlaps we had for the rest of our trip(s). The only problem was, often we were arriving as they were leaving or vice versa. I don't mean that we would miss each other by a day or two here or there, I mean we had 3 or 4 cities where we were literally arriving/leaving on the same exact day. We knew from this coincidence that someday we would meet up again.

And here we are in Buenos Aires with 6 days overlapping! We had Charlotte and Erwan over to dinner at our apartment and shared good food, wine and conversation. Not wanting the night to end too early, we had a sleepover - a first for us during this year. We spent the next day exploring this beautiful city together. After an afternoon drink, we parted ways with plans to get together one more time before they left.

Dinner went so well the first time that we decided we would do it again (we're all foodies). Only this time we followed it up with an Argentinian Tango Show. The show was great fun and we all agreed that this was something to watch and not something to try at home!

One of the joys of traveling is meeting new people and sharing time and stories with them. When your travels involve many destinations, it's not often that you have the rare privledge of meeting up with the same people. When you do, there is a certain connection and history that you share with them that is very special. Thank you Charlotte and Erwan for your friendship over the miles. We hope to see you in Paris some day, if not sooner.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


We were on the subway heading back from the artisan market near the Recoleta Cemetario when we noticed a person acting weird. He was three feet away, acting like he was getting out of the subway car...on the wrong side. He dropped some coins and scurried to look for them. In an instant, he was out of the subway car, on the correct side. Weird. I didn't realize how weird until we started out the next morning. I asked lisa “Have you seen my wallet”? We looked all over and realized that the “strange guy” on the subway was just a diversion and someone else had stuck their hand in my pocket and extracted my wallet. There was the initial shock. There was the anger. There was this feeling of “how stupid can you be”....carrying all your credit cards when you seldom use them...or having my ATM card with me all the time, even though we don't need money...or..just something else that I could have prevented. I was in a daze for a couple of hours. My steadfast mate lisa, always thinking, called Nathan, my brother-in-law on Skype and he then dialed the credit card companies which allowed lisa to talk to them to cancel the cards. When I returned with a fresh supply of Argentinian pesos, compliments of lisa's account (and her ATM card), I finished the calls with the help of Nathan. THANKS NATHAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everything is now OK. Credit cards cancelled. ATM card cancelled. lisa had all the numbers we needed to call in case this sort of thing happened written down in a separate book. I lost about $60-80 US and the morning we spent cancelling all the cards could have been spent doing something else. And I lost the nice wallet I bought from the Bangkok wallet guy for $5.75. Damn!

Now I really need to get it out, to journal about this, even if it's in a blog. I was ripped off AGAIN in the subway today. I had maybe 400 pesos on me (estimate about $110.00 US) in large bills in one pocket and all my small stuff in another pocket. The train was extremely crowded with people squeezing in to get on the subway. I'm holding on to Siena with one hand and grasping (protecting) my backpack with the other. I didn't have a handhold so I was held up by the other people around me. Someone raises my outer right pocket and lifts the money. I didn't feel it happen. Apparently you seldom do.

When I discover the loss, I am stunned. How could this happen again? Deep in my subconscious I knew the rip off of my wallet earlier was a once in a lifetime occurrence, not something that is going to happen again three days later. I feel victimized by just being a tourist. I feel that people here are out to rip you off. Who can I trust? This has caused me to want to get on the subway and yell “HERE I AM. AN AMERICAN. A TOURIST. COME GET ME. COME TAKE MY MONEY. Would people just think I am crazy? Or would they in some small way be embarrassed for how “unsafe” their city, country and perhaps their continent is? On the other hand, New York isn't safe. Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati isn't safe. So why should a very busy, crowded part of a South American city of fifteen million people be safe? I don't know. It just should.

I'm naïve. Even after ten months plus on the road, I still am. I'm still a little kid from Morganfield in Western Kentucky where you say HI to everyone and don't lock your houses (even on vacation). Must I be callous and non trusting or am I the fool? A fool for not wearing the money belt. A fool for just not knowing better. OK Marty, enough moaning. Grow up!! I must find a way to protect myself, my family and my possessions. This isn't Oz, it's a crime possible ( I almost said crime ridden but that's a big overstatement) city. Was it only in America in 1965 when people would return a wallet with the money still in it? Maybe. Will this have a lasting impact on me? Probably not. I'll wear the money belt for awhile, at least until we get to Florida. I'll be extra vigilant, but probably only till we get home. I don't want to be paranoid. I want to trust my fellow man, whether they are white, black, red, American, Chinese, Indian and yes, Argentinian.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Who would think of spending a beautiful sunny day walking around a cemetery? Well, visitors to Buenos Aires, that's who. Here there is the world class Recoletta Cemetario (who rates cemeteries, anyway???). Instead of rows of tombstones like Arlington National Cemetery, here you have crypts that are architecturally designed to give their owners, dead though they are, a beautiful place to rest out eternity.

The crowning jewel of this place is the mausoleum of the family Duarte. Inside this crypt rests the remains of one Ave Maria Eva Duarte de Peron, popularly known as "Evita". The normal cemetery "streets" are populated by a scattering of tourists but around grave #114, it is packed. It is a Kodak photo op site. People don't linger, cry or pray, they simply "ready, aim and fire" their digital cameras. We weren't immune, we did the same. No one sang "Don't cry for me, Argentina".

The place is one of mixed reverence for the dead. It's not creepy. Young people bring their dates here but no one is making out on benches, a first in BA. Looking at how one mausoleum is nicer than the next makes you wonder if this was just another way wealthy "Portenos" (Buenos Aires' residents) came to one-up their now dead neighbors. Not all of this is one-upsmanship as some graves have gone into disrepair. These are usually ones where no relatives or friends remain alive and therefore no one is there to take care of the site. These places also have their special beauty, and now "utility". Some "dead" sites are used as maintenance closets for shovels, rakes and brooms. You're on the top of the world one day, a broom closet the next.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I just got my hair cut. People do it all the time so what's the big deal? I get mine cut every six weeks, so over the past 10 months, I have had my hair cut all over the world: Krakow, Lucca, Mcleodganj, Luang Prabang, Hong Kong, Christchurch and now Buenos Aires. Some were better than others, some cheaper than others. So what makes this hair cut blog worthy?

Well, it probably is the best haircut of the trip and while it wasn't the cheapest (India wins that one at $1.00 US), it wasn't the most expensive either. What makes this haircut significant is that it is the last! Not my last haircut ever, but probably the last haircut outside of the US and certainly my last during this round the world adventure.

We're starting to hit that point. The point where you start saying "This is our last train ride," "These are the last people we will be meeting up with," or "This is my last haircut." While all good things must come to an end and we are looking forward to coming home soon, there is definitely a sadness that comes with the "lasts." It was really hard to believe that we were going to be making this trip, and now, it's hard to believe that it is all going to come to an end.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Heading East from Chile, we should hit Argentina. But as I walk down the streets here in Buenos Aires, I swear that we missed South America and are back in Europe . The Avenues are wide (especially Avenida 9th of Julio, the widest street in the world with 20 lanes), the buildings are old with beautiful architecture, and the shops cosmopolitan. The restaurants and cafes are chic and sophisticated and I swear there are more pizza places here than in Rome. In fact, this city feels a lot like Rome to me, not at all what you think of when you think of South America. Even the people look European. Buenos Aires does have a LOT of European influence, especially Italian, and since this will pretty much be our only stop in Argentina, we will have no comparison of the capital city versus other places in the country.

Since we have just arrived, we haven't done much other than settle in so far. We have seen some of the major buildings/structures of the city: The Casa Rosada, The Congress, The Cathedral, Plaza 25th of Mayo and the Obolisco de la Republica. We have tried the famous Argentinean beef (I think it's good, Marty thinks it's great)and also Yerbe Mate (I like the ritual, I don't like the drink). I have also managed to find the best homemade pasta store in town (doesn't take me long to "settle in").

Big cities haven't been our thing, so it will be interesting to see what happens here. It's not that we haven't been to big cities (Rome, Bangkok, Hong Kong...aren't exactly what you call small) it's just that our stays in them have typically been short. We will be here in Buenos Aires for more than two weeks - the longest stay for any of our large cities.

Here we have an incredibly spacious apartment that is very comfortable and we have Paz, our resident Spanish teacher, who will be giving us Spanish lessons for two hours each day. She's smart, she's funny, and she's sure that she can have us all fluent in Spanish in just two weeks (just kidding).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


We surveyed the four participants of the One World One Trip Team for their Top Ten (Plus Two) of Chile and the results are in:

12. Avocet & Siena going to school with Amy
11. City of Chillan
10. Rapa Nui Cultural Show
9. Chillan Markets (International Market & Artesian Market)
8. Our full day Rapa Nui Tour with Marie
7. Luz's Birthday Party
6. Moai
5. Rano Kau (Volcano on Rapa Nui)
4. Rano Raraku (Volcano from which the Moai are carved)
3. Te'ora, Sharon & Michigan
2. Horseback Riding with Ritoque


1. Our visit with Amy, Andrea, Luz and Dave*

*Special Note: We typically don't rank the visits we have had with people since we view them as unique and special and not in competition with the sights that we see in those areas. We have made an exception in this case as our sole reason for spending 10 days in Chillan was to visit with our friends. This is the only visit of this type on our entire itinerary.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Best Horse Back Ride Ever!

On our third day here in Valparaiso, in the afternoon after Spanish class, we waited outside for a ride to pick us up to take us to Ritoque Expediciones. Ritoque Expediciones is an adventure company just outside the city of Con Con. It was recommended by our landlady so we decided to try it. Hey! We have been wanting to go horse trekking here in Chile ever since we hit Easter Island. In fact, we were going to go horse back riding in Easter Island, but then we read in a book that the horses were not well taken care of, so we waited 'till the mainland of Chile. We had no idea of how incredible our horse back riding was going to be!

~ Siena

We knew we would be riding over dunes, through marsh, and on the beach, but that did nothing to prepare us for the amazing scenery. Since we had an afternoon ride, the sun was shining on the dunes, creating a golden glow emitting from them. The sky was perfectly blue, great for pictures? Not. When the sun is shining at you, it makes the picture dark. Less pictures, better memories. Several times we crossed a river, once it was up to the horse's chest!!! We were glad for the leather chaps we wore, the blackberry bushes are not merciful. The surf was rather rough, our horses wouldn't go in. We galloped down the 2 mile stretch of the beach, boy were our horses fast!!! The horses were extremely cooperative and calm. Oh, which brings me to another point, we didn't have to walk in a perfectly strait line!!! We could gallop, walk, and trot, all while being right next to each other. It was the best horseback ride ever!


Avocet (in pink fleecy) rides on Trapeal

Siena (in purple fleecy) rides on Aguacero

Friday, April 3, 2009


The Rough Guide to Chile 2004 edition says “Valparaiso isn't really about museums and sights but about losing yourself in labyrinthine street and magnificent panoramas. They are right. We have a week here and at the very beginning I knew it would be a stretch filling up every day with activities. And we have had “problems” with these one week stays: they can wear you out if you do too much. So maybe this is the place to be. So, first for the panoramas. I am writing this blog post from the balcony of our apartment in Cerro Alegre. More about Cerro Alegre in un momento. I look left and have a vista of old houses, in all colors, stacked on a hill that semi circles the bay. Pretty now at 6:30 PM but wait till it gets dark. Thousands of lights twinkle on this side and all sides of our vista. Beautiful. In the early morning it is different but equally as beautiful. Straight ahead in my view is the port where massive container ships load and unload their goods. Thousands of containers sit on the dock, due to be placed on trucks for delivery to other Chilean cities. Beautiful in a organized, efficient way of thinking.

The neighborhood of Cerro Alegre is bohemian with something you wouldn't think would be special: graffiti. Everywhere. But here it resembles more art than vandalism. People don't cover it up. Who knows, they might have paid to have it painted. Old houses, pretty flowering plants and just enough grime to make it feel really different. No large markets here either, but small mini-markets where you can buy the basics. Most of the shop keepers know no English so they have difficulty (some have fun) dealing with our crude attempts at Spanish. Speaking of Spanish....

We have had three days of Spanish classes which are starting to have some impact. Pamela,, our professora espanol has built on what Luz Fuentes started down in Chillan. We can do the basics. Sometimes we actually say the right words. My brain has a way of getting language VERY wrong. I went to say Thank You (muchas gracias) to some ladies who let me use their phone and I blurted out “Buenos Noches” (Good Night). Duh, duh, duh. Well, maybe our ten days of training in Buenos Aires will help.

We visited the Pablo Neruda house called “La Sebastiana” our first day. I have never read any of his “stuff” up to now (due to it being poetry) but after a glance at a book of his, I might be able to get into it. His house was like his work: eclectic. A bird hanging from the ceiling in the dining room; a carousel horse in the living room; cool art work everywhere. Neat house. Av and Si even liked it.

We get around by walking and when we need to get down to the “city” (flatland), we take the ascensor. Built between 1883 and 1916, these funiculars or elevators are small cages that are pulled up and down the steep hills of Valparaiso. They are a landmark here and one of the reasons Valparaiso was named a UNESCO World Heritage City. This method of moving people is not just used by the tourists, but by the locals as well.

This isn't a real exciting place. But a place to just sit down, drink your cerveza, eat an empanada and chill.