STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF A DOMINEY FAMILY VACATION

Trip Start Feb 22, 2007
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Trip End Aug 22, 2007


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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

SARA SAYS...

First of all, some Brunetti family news.  Congrats to my sister Katherine, who just got engaged!  She and John will tie the knot on Dec 22.  I've always called her my "little" sister, since she is two years younger... but now she has a house and a fiance, while my stuff is in a storage unit and I'm living out of a backpack.  At least one of the Brunetti girls is mature. 

The same definitely can't be said for the Dominey boys.  When Steve says you need the maturity of an 8-year-old to enjoy their humour, I think he's overreaching.  Spending three weeks dealing with the Steve-Scott combo is enough to drive anyone insane.  If someone calls me "Berutti" again anytime soon, they better be prepared to get punched in the nose.

Note to Joyce:  You don't have to take Steve's trash-blogging lying down.  You are entitled to a rebuttal, which I promise to post with Steve's entry.  You gave birth to that boy, he shouldn't be telling the world that you're gassy.  

Whoops, that almost sounds like I´m saying you´re gassy. No, no, no, Steve´s mom is not gassy. And for the record... yes, it's true that on my first day in Buenos Aires, a bird shat on my head.  But isn't that supposed to be good luck?? At least I was the one eating a steak and Steve was eating pasta, not vice versa as he claims in his blog. 

What was better with Joyce & Scott, and what was not

(+) = POSITIVE
(-) = NEGTIVE

(+) Our overall quality of life improved with Joyce's arrival. Our hotels had stars (even if it was just one) and our overnight buses had seats that turned into beds and the bus attendent served champagne.  If I had money, I'd open a bus company like that in Canada and drive Greyhound out of business.     


(-) Our increased travel budget had nothing to do with Scott, aka"Master Freeloader".  I think he even managed to get me to pay for him at some points along the way.  He's so sly that you don't even notice.  According to Scott, whose wisdom was passed on as I tried to contribute some pesos to the bill that Joyce was once again paying, "The trick is to never contribute any cash, even a small amount, so that after a few times, no one will even expect you to pay.  You should put that money away, Bertuzzi."  (That's Scott's own take on Berutti) 

(+)  The return of my iPod. Those of you still mourning the theft of my iPod by nasty Ecuadorian thieves will be happy to hear that Joyce brought me an new iPod, filled with my own music.  Thanks Dad, I've got a nice leather wallet here with your name on it.  Happy Father's Day.

(-) The loss of another iPod.  The return of my iPod is offset by the loss of Scott's, in a daring theft already outlined in Steve's entry, a theft that still makes me shake my head in disbelief.  At least they didn't get my backpack with my new iPod in it.... it would have only lasted a week!  (Just kidding Dad, this one's hidden in my bra as you suggested)

(-) Scott's credit and bank cards were also stolen, eliminating any possible way of buying, or contributing, or paying for anything during his entire trip.  If it weren't for his outrage after the theft, I would have thought he arranged it.  

(-) Argentinian bank machines.  We found only two bank machines in all of Argentina that would dispense more than AR$350 (about US$133).  This meant you had to do several transactions to get sufficient cash, leading to more banking fees.  Steve refused to take out money at these machines, claiming he was going to wait until he found one that gave larger amounts.  Of course, this meant Joyce and I had to take out money, and Steve had none for most of the trip.  Obviously someone was listening to Scott, resulting in another clever ploy to get mom to pick up the tab.      

(+) The red meat.  Argentina has the best food in South America by far.  You should see these "bife de chorizos"... a new york strip steak, usually more than a few inches thick, no bbq sauce needed.  It makes the steaks at Remark Farms look like minute steak.  The best part is that the biggest one we've ever had here was only $10.  I would say the steak is the best thing about Argentina, period. 

Joyce:  "Don't you guys ever get sick of eating at restaurants?"
When they're serving rice and beans, most definitely.
When they're serving nice juicy steaks, a resounding no.

(-) Too much red meat.  In Canada, I don't think Steve or Scott has even come across a piece of steak that they can't polish off.  In Argentina, the only way that I finished a piece of steak was to split it with Joyce, while the boys made it their mission to eat each and every piece of steak left on their plates.  This led to a condition that Steve called the "meat shakes"...  a condition that can only be described by picturing a piece of bloody steak on a fork, then a shaky hand lifting the fork to their mouth.  Total meat overload.      

(-) Since Joyce left, we've had to downgrade from big steaks to the "menu del dia", the cheap food that all the Argentinians are eating for lunch.  Goodbye, Mrs. Moneybags  

(+) Luckily for us, the menu del dia is often "mini" bife de chorizos.  These "mini" bifes are still larger than any steak you would get in Canada.  Our steak dinner yesterday was $3 each.

(+) More red wine for me.  Joyce's arrival meant that I had a partner in crime for drinking loads and loads of wine.  This included good quality bottles purchased at wine stores for a few bucks, a series of tastings at a specialty wine tasting store and a spectacular day touring four of the best bodegas in Mendoza.  Joyce drinks white wine, which meant I got to drink all of her untouched reds.  As you can see, I take after my dad... my face turns red after too many drinks.  Mendoza is wine heaven.     




Side note:  Go to the wine store immediately and buy a Malbec from Mendoza, they are fantastic.  My favourites were the Obra Prima Malbec (http://www.familiacassone.com.ar/) and the Ruca Malen Malbec (http://www.bodegarucamalen.com).  I shudder to think how much these wines cost in Canada, if they are even available.  I thought about shipping some to Washington, but the cost of shipping was too high especially considering they would probably already be gone by the time I visit.  (Sorry, Julie, but you know it's true!)     

(+) Bikes and wine.  Last thing about wine, I promise.  Whatever genius came up with renting bikes near the bodegas must not be a cheap drunk.  That takes some skill!  By our third vineyard, we were definitely drinking and driving.  But it was the only way to get Steve and Scott to the bodegas.











(+) Better planning.  Those who know me, know that I like to plan things.  I've been letting things work themselves out during this trip, but with only 3 weeks in Argentina, we had to be on our game.  I think it worked out well, even our pickstop in Parque Ibera.  I may have been the only one to enjoy it, mostly due to our Lodge there... great food, great rooms, great view, totally off the tourist path.  Plus, more alligators!  http://www.ibera.posadadelalaguna.com 

(-) I really like the name Brunetti.  I really hate the name Berutti.  I know what you're thinking, don't let them know that it bothers you.  It didn't at first, the first day, the second day, the first week.  By the second week, and them using it constantly, it started to bother me.  In the third week, when they added the theme song sung to the tune of La Bamba, it pushed me over the edge.  Steve says the name has legs and he's going to keep using it, but he won't have anything between his legs if he keeps this up.

(+) A companion in adventure:  We enjoyed already-Sara-approved activities such as rafting (very cold water, leaky boots) and riding horses (this time, an even more beautiful landscape of the Andes Mountains).  Steve told me he would get me a ring if I got his mom to go skydiving, but I respect people's limits.  And Joyce and I shared the same passion for another adventure - shopping.  Oh, leather, leather and more leather.  And thanks to Joyce for taking it all home with her so my backpack is once again ready for more shopping action.

(+)  An ally for relaxing:  Skydiving.  Paragliding. Trekking.  Rappelling.  Horseback riding.  Sure, I can do some of it, but do I want to do that everyday?  No.  Steve and Scott did.  Some days Joyce and I joined, others we didn't (i.e. wine tour day).  One day, we convinced them that they really needed to see "Alta Montana" near Chile, even if it meant a bus tour.  We were rewarded with one of the most scenic days yet.  











Iguaza Falls 
(+)  What, you actually want to hear about what we did for 3 weeks?  Iguaza Falls was an amazing site, especially from below in our speedboat.  It was worth the overnight bus there, wasn't it Joyce?  Definitely one of the highlights of South America for me.










(+) I saw a toucan, just as we were about to leave the park.  The coolest bird ever!
(+) Seeing 3 countries at once.  On a boat tour in Iguazu, Joyce and I were able to see Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, all at one time.  












Buenos Aires
(-) The Obelisk.  Buenos Aires' landmark looks like a miniature Washington Monument.  The city loses points for originality and execution.
(+) The neighbourhoods of the city.  La Boca and San Telmo.  Recoleta Cemetery.  Tango at Cafe Tortoni.  A futbol match.  Really, book your ticket to Argentina now!  Street shopping, colourful buildings, tango, wine and cafes. In La Boca, while Joyce and I were busy buying art and taking photos of the neighbourhood, Steve and Scott were taking photos of themselves as women.  Ah, what cultured boys they are.













(-) "Boys will be boys" aka the Steve-Scott combo:  With one brother egging the other on, and vice versa, you end up with things like the naked butt photo, the bidet video and the gay-brothers-in-wetsuits photo shoot.  Ok, I may have taken those photos and even laughed at the bare butt photo.  But now I'm worried that this questionable content will hurt our chances of being a TravelPod favourite blog, since I thought we were a shoo-in.  Thanks, Steve, thanks a lot. I hope everyone you know makes the bare-butt picture the desktop for their computer.

(+) Someone his own size:  It was nice to see Steve pick on someone his own size, and deal with the consequences.  At least Scott was good for something.

Happy birthday, Joyce.  Hope you had a good vacation in Argentina, in spite of the fact that both of your boys are still boys, not to mention mooches. 

Oh, and thanks for the wine tour, the hotels, the steaks and so on.  It´s difficult to go back to paying your own way again, after you've adopted the Scott Dominey philosophing of mooching.  Now I really am part of the family.

After this week's spanish lessons, onwards to Brazil.  It's been so cold here, I can't wait to get back to the beach.  Hello, Copacabana!


STEVE SAYS....


I like this ¨Sara Says¨--¨Steve Says¨ thing we have going here, it allows me to freely intrude on Sara´s blog anytime I like. And it sort of has an 80´s television type feel doesn´t it? You know, when stars on the same network made cameos on each others shows. 

Since I never got laid, one of my favourite memories from University was when a bunch of us caught Jessica Fletcher (a.k.a. Angela Lansbury of Murder She Wrote fame) making a cameo on Magnum P.I.

Did I just say that? Of course I´m kidding, a TV show being one of my greatest University moments. Ha...c´mon, it´s not even in my Top 5.

But, to the reason I´m here. Sara deviously hid the video of her trying to mount a horse until after my blog was posted. Which leaves me with no other choice. Not only do I now have to show it to the world, I must provide a running commentary to the soundless masterpiece.

(Before camera´s rolling)

Sara: ¨Don´t shoot a video of this you asshole, get that camera out of here!¨

(Camera starts rolling---running commentary)
   

Sara places her left foot in the stirrup, pauses for a moment, then tries to use the saddle to pull herself up....Oh, I´m sorry, not this time.  She then takes the time to turn around. Watch her lips. ¨I said put that away, Scott, you´re such a little shit.¨

Another guy comes into the picture. Let´s see what pointers he can give our gal. First,  he drags her away from her ranting, then in a sweeping motion with his right hand, seems to tell her, ¨You see, what you want to do is get on top of the horse.¨

Sara replies, ¨Ok, got it,¨ to this vital piece of information, and.....she´s struggling, this doesn´t look good...she´s not going to make it. Then, in a last ditch attempt, the guy heroically pushes her butt atop the giant beast (horse).   

Video closes with Sara flipping off the camera.

the end


I must´ve seen that video at least 20 times by now. I can´t get enough.

However, while in Argentina, I also found the time to watch the NBA Finals, recently won by Argentina´s own Manu Ginobili and his San Antonio Spurs.  Here´s an example of a typical Argentinian basketball telecast for you sports fans:

 Telecast begins. Commentators introduce themselves. One of them happens to be Sebastian Ginobli, Manu´s older brother. I´m sure this won´t affect his playcalling.

Game starts. Manu hits a three. Announcers go absolutely crazy, ¨Jee-no-blee.. Triple..Ar-hen-tina!¨

Commercial Break. Oh, Ginobili´s in an ad, some government sponsored message. Next commercials starts. Oh, it´s Ginobili again. He´s got his shirt off and is dribbling like a mad man. Gatorade: The Thirst Quencher. Next ad begins. What do you know, it´s Ginobili reading the local sports section. It´s on newstands now. He was shilling absolutely everything! I´m telling you, when you´re in your local supermarket, just keep an eye out for Ginobili Brand Tampons. ¨Just because Manu gets into the flow, doesn´t mean you have to.¨

We´re back from break. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan take over the game for a solid quarter. Parker makes an amazing lay-up. Can we see the replay before the break? Nope, it´s a replay of the Ginobili three-pointer from 10 minutes ago. Fade into commercial. 

After the Spurs won in four games, I was half expecting the Argentinian station to arrange a separate MVP presentation where the spanish commissioner Pablo Stern would hand the hardware to Manu.

Okay, cameo over, I´m off to Brazil.    


SARA SAYS...

We've got a real double-standard going on here.  I work day and night uploading pictures while Steve spends his time writing his blog.  The only thing I'm allowed to do on his blog is the layout of the photos that I've uploaded.  When I finally get to spend some time writing my entry, he's got to butt into that, too.  I guess 2 blog entries this time just wasn't enough for him. 

For example, here's a snippet of an actual conversation we had last night....

Sara (writing in her journal):  You know what you didn't write about in your blog?
Steve:  What?  And why are you telling me now, I already sent out the email.
Sara:  I was just writing about your mom and brother's last day here.
Remember that homeless guy we saw taking a crap by the Congress buildings?
Steve:  Oh yeah....
Sara:  I thought that would be your kind of material, with the poop and all.
Steve:  How could I forget that?!  That IS my kind of material.  I
wonder if the internet cafe is still open.  I could add it now.
Sara:  But it's 1am!  I need to get up tomorrow morning for my spanish
lessons.  You're going to leave me now?
Steve:  Stop the presses!  Stop the presses!!! (goes running out the door)


And in my own defense, the first time I tried to get on the horse, the guy told me to stop because the strap wasn't low enough.  I did get up the second time, with a helping hand.  You should be allowed to get on from the other side, with your right knee (my good one).  But otherwise the running commentary is pretty accurate.  Scott is a little shit.

Ok, now we're really finished. 


 
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Comments

bmalloy
bmalloy on

oh dear
an honest confession--i haven't been faithfully reading your blog, but as soon as your note from argentina showed up, i read with avid interest.

and of course, i'm more than just a little envious. your trip to argentina has exceeded, in variety and adventure it seems, my own recent excursions to that lovely country. but i'm so excited for you!

are you in spanish lessons? when do you leave? is winter terribly cold there?

If you get a chance to eat a restaurant called, 'Cumana', i highly recommend it. (just ask someone in a hotel where it is...recoleta somewhere.) There empanadas and little soup/stew things from northern Argentina.

today, as it happens, is my birthday, and i'll be celebrating by heading to the one 'genuine' argentine restaurant in the d.c. metro area...and after reading your blog, it's definitely going to be a bife de chorizo.

staples
staples on

!!!!
ANOTHER TRIUMPH

bigdaddysean
bigdaddysean on

Hilarious as Usual
Nice to have something to read again. But how could you talk about Magnum and then not post a picture of Steve as Magnum. Come to think of it, I think there was even a poop story that night. Glad to see you guys are having an awesome time.

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