So here we are in Buenos Aires having travelled the 5,136 miles from our temporary home base in San Antonio, Texas on January 5th. Going to the southern hemisphere is an easy trip since it demands less jetlag implications on the body. We are now within 2-4 hours of our stateside children and grands’ clocks. I feel more connected since the timelag is the same from Colorado.
We got to see them all during the Christmas season. They have had their own life experiences in the 9 months we’ve been gone as have all of you. We look forward to getting back and hearing your stories of 2015-2016. Facetime is a wonder and we wouldn’t be doing this trip without the availability of being in touch. So here’s someone who is mightily grateful for technology.
Flying took about 9 hours, and a 35-minute cab brought us to our home in Buenos Aires. The apartment is located in a district called Recoleta–very convenient to all the sights and amenities. We’ve been happy with our choice; we feel connected and safe. Buenos Aires is a city of 15 million+ people. It is a capital with a turbulent history and one third of the Argentinian population lives here. There is an energy and vista that is not unlike other European capitals. In fact Buenos Aires is referred to as South America’s Paris.
Historically, the indigenous population was decimated when the Spaniards arrived in the mid-16th century. Less than 5% of the native Argentinians survived the onslaught of flu and smallpox. Spanish Argentina changed hands under Napoleonic rule, then again under Spain until independence was declared in 1816. Since then the turmoil of dictatorial rule with military intervention has continued to the present day. Argentinians just voted for the newest President who set up a stabilization of the peso. It’s a good thing for visiting Americans.
Argentina is about 5 times the size of California so there is a lot we won’t see on this trip. Choosing to be urban dwellers for the 4 weeks we are here means we’re skipping the ski area, the Andes and the central pampas. We won’t be visiting farming and cattle raising stations. We get to see the results of the agriculture and ranching that created Buenos Aires’ heyday in the late 19th and early 20th century when BA was the major port for exporting wheat and beef. It has to be enough this trip.
While in Texas we got to edit our suitcases as we return to a humid subtropical climate. Most days are in the mid-80s to mid-90s but humid. Still good enough to hang out the laundry, which was today’s task. Lest you think this travel stuff is all fun and games. I still cook although grocery shopping is a major intellectual challenge. We’ve had a few giggles when opening a can and discovering something completely different. I still wash the floor (daily) with a “lysoform panos multiuso” which I scoot around the floor under the broom—my version of swiffering. I dust and clean bathrooms but haven’t found an iron in this apartment. Pity! We’ve managed the bus routes and subways. We’ve taken a taxi once, yesterday, when we got on a number 152 bus with a destination in Recoleta (our home district) and tried to use our subway/bus card and were told no! Just NO! And no explanation we could understand. I can’t tell you how often in those moments an Argentinian angel has appeared to bail us out of our linguistic foxhole. But they weren’t on the bus yesterday. So we took a taxi across town which cost us $4 versus the 35 cent bus ride. Pity!
It is a challenge living in another culture. Sometimes there are feelings of hostility—usually prefaced by my thinking that “THEY” should have better subway signs, THEY should post the bus routes, THEY should have an English interpreter at every museum… THEY, THEY, THEY and then I’m reminded of my India days and the Gandhi quote “Be the change…
For the past days every morning about 10 AM we hear a broadcasted message as a vehicle goes thru the neighborhood. We couldn’t figure out what was going on. Another coup erupting? Paul Revere announcing the “British are coming” or a Monty Python “bring out your dead” could all be possibilities. What was going on—John finally went out to investigate and found a truck driving slowly with a cabinet and sink combo in the back. He surmises that the driver is a recycler that is happy to carry away your big trash. So much we don’t know. But we’re willing to learn.
The latest in photos follows: View from our apartment. 2 bedroom at 2163 Austria Avenida apartment shots. Grocery shopping. Recoleta neighborhood. European architecture around town. Public announcement truck. Sometime humor translates. Blessings to all!