Friday, October 31, 2008

Montevideo, Uruguay

On Wednesday and Thursday (days 5 and 6) I took the ferry to Uruguay. Here's my breakfast at the ferry terminal - two medialunas and cafe con leche. I love medialunas. Just the right amount of sweetness (i.e., not too sweet).

The last time I was in Argentina I went to Colonia and spent about 6 hours there. This time I took the high-speed ferry to Colonia (50 minutes) then spent 2.5 hours on a bus to Montevideo. It was a good way to see the countryside.

I guess Uruguay must be pulling in good tourist dollars because I saw a lot of road and building construction. Colonia is getting a new immigration terminal where the ferries arrive (sorely needed) and a divided highway outside the city. Considering the number of buses that travel these roads, I'm glad to see such infrastructure improvements.

Montevideo is the largest city in Uruguay. It's not very big ....kind of like a mini-Buenos Aires with pretty tree-lined streets in the residential neighborhoods. They have a nice walkway (Ramblas) on the Rio Plata, which is where my hotel was located. This is a view of the walkway from the hotel. And me on the Ramblas at sunset.

I love the buildings in Montevideo. Lots of art deco. Great character.
I spent the day just walking around the old city and enjoying the beautiful day and architecture.
Like most South American cities, horse drawn carts are not unique.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 3 and 4 - Buenos Aires

Day 3 in Buenos Aires had me downtown buying ferry tickets to Uruguay.

The ferry terminal is in Puerto Madero. This is a fairly new area that screams tourists. There are lots and lots of restaurants and a few pricey stores in the brick buildings (there are several).
It's quite picturesque and full of business people enjoying a lovely spring day along with the tourists walking about and snapping photos.

I ended up sitting outside and dining on a lovely lunch of beef carpaccio while frantically trying to access my hotmail account with the free wi-fi. I needed to find my passport number in order to make a ferry reservation. It's not like I haven't been to Uruguay before on the ferry....I knew better but it slipped my mind! All was not lost...dining al fresco meant that I would get a sunburn on my shoulders. Yet again, I forgot that the sun can be brutal down here.

I spent a part of day 4 at the office. I was only going to have lunch with a friend, but stopped by to meet some people. I'm forever networking!
Obviously labor is inexpensive here because I saw 4 guys carrying small billboards on the side street next to the office. There were two on each side of the street. When the light turned red, one or two would stand in the middle of the crosswalk and raise their sign for drivers to see. And when they weren't standing in the middle of the road, they just hung out on the side chatting. What a job!
I did more shopping after spending some time at the office by hitting Calle Florida, a pedistrian mall many blocks long. I ended up with a great leather jacket for half-off because I paid in cash. The entire store obviously has a problem with cash I helped improve their cash situation! :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 2 in Buenos Aires

OK Ginger...I'll play hand model and post a photo is for you. My jewelry finds from today (2 rings and the bracelet which is a fork) and yesterday (the circle ring). The bracelet is a fork (note the tines) with a lapiz or some sort of stone. I had a tough time trying to decide which one to buy. They were all incredibly creative.

I've been buying jewelry primarily at the many fairs in the city. Today's purchases came from the fair in Belgrano. It's a small fair, but the artisans are quite good and it's not very crowded with people.

Lucas and I walked for miles today. Luckily the weather was perfect...not too sunny and not too cool. Belgrano has some pretty tree-lined streets, but since it's early spring some of the trees have yet to return to life. But the barren trees still make for a pretty cool photo.

Avenida Juramento is a major cobblestone lined streets. What I really liked about it is that the cobblestones are in a semi-circular pattern.

After eating a perfectly grilled piece of beef for lunch, we headed back to Palermo and stopped at Freddo's for an helado. The dulce de leche helado is amazing. So was the chocolate with almonds. And I'm not even a chocolate lover, but I do love my ice cream!

We got back around 4:30 and I headed back out to go looking for the shop with the blue boots. I never made it there! I stopped at a bunch of clothing boutiques of up-and-coming designers. There were also a bunch of storefronts that had many, many designers together. One was clearly a bar that they turned into a designer clearinghouse. I noticed later in the evening that it was a bar with tables in it. I guess they make more money renting space to designers during the day than as a bar. It was a madhouse everywhere I went. Although the effects of the U.S. recession is starting to be felt here, you wouldn't know it by the number of people shopping and buying.

I didn't bring a whole lot of clothes with me so I picked up a lot of great items at reasonable prices. At this rate, I may not need to do laundry!

Tomorrow I've decided I'll head downtown, visit Puerto Madera and look into my options for traveling to Montevideo later in the week. All of the boats depart from Puerto Madera and reservations are needed. The shopping spree will most likely continue tomorrow. I remember walking down a pedestrian street full of stores the last time I was here. Let's see if I can find it!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 1 in Buenos Aires

Well, after a long overnight flight I made it into Buenos Aires (otherwise known as BsAs). I got to the hotel around 11:30 am, had a coffee, took a shower and had lunch with my friend Jim.

The hotel looks fabulous and is doing great. Amazing what this place looks like considering 10 months ago it was still a lot of unfinished plaster walls. This is a very small, 6 room hotel in Palermo SoHo. Jim has some great people working for him. All are very friendly and speak great English and they all think I need to convince Jim to take a vacation day and go to Uruguay with me.

He finally got smart and outsourced the restaurant so that's one less thing to worry about. It's incredible that he's still dealing with some construction issues with this place. The A/C is his biggest headache. Today's issue with the A/C was that it wasn't blowing air ( was for a few minutes), but sucking in the air instead. After a few tries of turning the system on and off, we said screw it and went to lunch.

He's ready to call it quits. The city is getting more and more dangerous. He was been robbed at gunpoint at the hotel a couple of months ago and he was telling me that a number of guests have been robbed while out touring. So that's my goal for this not get robbed. It was not like this 10 months ago. It's a pity that the crime rate has increased. There's talk that it's a way to show displeasure with the government so that they would get booted out. But we're unsure if anything would really be better with a replacement government.

The rest of the day was spent shopping the many, many boutiques in the neighborhood. I'm pleased that I never got lost, although I did get turned around a couple of times. Not bad considering I don't have a map. There are lots of brand new designer shops (i.e., not yet discovered) and fairs in Palermo. I picked up a silver ring, a necklace, wallet, and silver bookmarks today. I'm debating whether or not to buy a pair of blue ankle boots. They're comfortable and unusual. I certainly don't have a pair. I wish I took a photo so that my friends could counsel me on the purchase!

For dinner, Jim and his business consultant, Thomas (he's Polish), went out for a bite to eat. It's still pretty inexpensive to eat here. The wines are wonderful, of course. My favorite white is a Torrontes. I need to pick up a few bottles to take home with me. I almost forgot that licuados are perfect for a warm day (think fruit smoothie). I figured that I have all week to drink them.

Tomorrow, my friend Lucas is taking me out to Belgrano to walk around, eat an asado and top it off with a helado (ice cream). It's supposed to be a beautiful area so I expect to post a photo.

So that's pretty much my first day. Sorry to be boring tonight, but I think I'm doing pretty well on 4 hours of sleep!

Chao from BsAs!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


After a 10 month absence, I get the pleasure of returning to Argentina for 2 weeks. One week of vacation in Buenos Aires and one week of work in Colon. Since this will be my second time in BsAs, I hope to escape for a couple of days to Montevideo, Uruguay to check out the big city. Too bad it's springtime because I could use a beach right now and Uruguay has some great spots (oh yeah, and the guys are much better looking than the Argentineans).

The blog will be revived sometime on or after Saturday, October 25. I have no plans for Saturday, but I already have a friend taking me on a tour to Belgrano on Sunday. I'm looking forward to the steaks, wine, seeing friends and sharing all of this fun with blog fans. Chao!