Trip Start Sep 01, 2007
Trip End Sep 10, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

well, we arrived late in the afternoon to buenas aires by plane.   the topography is extremely flat and so the sprawl of the city is really apparent.   the sky scrapers reach all over the city.     we decided to stay in the part of town close to the business we needed to take care of.   nice enough area.  one can certainly tell that people live other lives here, not just for tourists.   it is both welcome, as we are left to ourselves, but also not as easy as the other towns.   

my cold finally got to the stage where i needed some attention, so we went looking for a doctor. this proves to be difficult.   the doctors donīt keep outpatient offices here like in ecuador.   so we have to walk to the nearest hospital.   this is a public health hospital.   but we donīt really understand the system.   you have to go to the cashier, pay for your visit, get a ticket and then return to the clinic.   then you line up in seats waiting for the clinic to open after lunch.  then you go inside and make another line.   all of which donīt matter on the ticket number......very strange.    anyway, as it turns out i have a fever.    though i can hear myself wheezing, and have a wet cough, the doctor says my lungs are clear.    she takes an xray anyway but never looks at my throat which is fiery red and painful.   
whatever.   i knew it wouldnīt be like the doctor jason saw in ecuador who was very good.
she gives me antibiotics and we go on our way.

we go to american airlines only to find a huge fiasco with our ticket.   we had been canceled off the flight to sao paulo, to aukland and to sydney.  nothing for australia showed up.   the lady took care of it all and called the other companies to be sure.    then we went to the Brazilian consulate. we were too late in the day.   but the next day we discovered the game that is called getting a visa.   you look on the website for the requirements and bring them.  but these are not enough.  they also want all these other things that you surely cannot go and get and bring back to the office in the 3 hours a day that they are open.   besides all this, then it takes 3 business days to complete.    (3 according to them, but 5 by my count).   it is now friday.  they canīt have a visa until next thursday.   that blows our whole itinerary.    since time is short anyway, we decide to change our tickets completely and drop the Brazil portion.  

in the meantime, we contacted my godparents cousins living here in buenas aires.   torina and eduardo have triplet girls my age.    i last saw them when we were 22.  they came to america and i came home from college to take them around san francisco a bit.     they are more than excited to do the same for us.    fortunately, we have had 3 months of solid spanish practice.   to our surprise, there is actual conversation going on. it was great.  the only thing is that argentines eat dinner at 9pm and then stay up late into the evenings.  how they do this and function, i am not sure.   we are bushed trying to keep awake with them.   on sunday, they took us all over town to each of the pretty neighborhoods that are so famous here.    sundays are show case days.  there are many streets blocked off for the tourists and street vendors.   young people  dance the tango in the streets beautifully for the sake of photographs.   la boca, san telmo, puerto moreno are just some of the places we went.     

we also tried yerba mate.  this is an herbal tea customarily consumed in the afternoon in large groups of people talking and laughing.   it is further personalized by using a gourd and special straw.  the gourd is supposed to retain the heat and flavor (much like a sake box) and each is carved and lined with a silver ring around the lip.   the straw is made of silver as well and has a perforated bottom much like a tea ball.    so one fills the gourd with yerba mate and then adds hot water.   the straw then keeps you from sucking up the leaves and you just get tea.   people carry these gourds all over the place and you see them with thermoses (full of hot water for the tea) sitting around in the afternoon.     one of the triplets, valeria, enjoys this custom.    so we tried it.   now i enjoy a nice cup of tea in the afternoon.  i like to think of myself as adventurous with tea flavors.  however, the phrase "steeped horse poop" from lonely planet is really not that far off.   that it is an acquired taste is an understatement.   it is very bitter, even with sugar, and i can{t imagine this ever becoming a habit of mine.   then i find out that it has a natural stimulant in it and i understand why so many people seem to be addicted to it.   i think i will stick to regular black tea for now.  

today we are resting again and tomorrow we head to chile, and hopefully some camping.  
we have to justify carrying all this stuff around some time.
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ygrantmartens on

hi,you two.Best to stay healthy the whole time.We had a whole bag of medicines with us with instructions so maybe next time you get to a good place A general box of goodies would be a good thing.
your box has arrived at home here in Blenheim ok.Now that you have a new time scale do you know when you will be here?Christabelle is going to Australia on the 2nd od january to see some friends.school starts in february.Christabelle willbe going at the end of Feb to Auckland.She will train to be an occupational therapist. Good travelling!cheers from down under,Yvonne,Neville,Genevieve,Christabelle,william

ygrantmartens on

Hi you two.Allthe best for good healtha and happy travelling.We are looking forward to seeing you.When do you know now?You are always welcome.Christabelle is going to Australia for a holiday to see friends on teh 2nd of January.away for a rew weeks we think-she hasn't booked back)She will commence training to be an occupational therapist in FebruaryCheers from,yvonne,neville,genevieve,wiliam and christBELLE

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