June 2010

Buenos Aires

In June Chris and Melissa traveled for a week while Everett stayed with Gabby and Grandaddy.  This is by far the longest we have ever been away from him.  Before this trip both of us had been away for a night once or twice, and Chris has been on business trips for a few days here and there, but for this trip both of us were gone for about eight days, and Chris won’t see Everett for about two weeks because of back to back conferences.  At the beginning of this trip, Melissa drove to Cincinnati to drop E off, then flew to Atlanta and then to Buenos Aires.  Chris flew from Milwaukee to Atlanta so that he and Melissa could be on the same flight to Argentina.  Chris’ flight into Atlanta was an hour late and he had only a 50 minute layover, but fortunately the connecting flight was two or three hours late so it worked out fine.  On the plane we overheard a conversation between an Argentine man and an American woman, during which he was saying emphatically that it is “Cold, cold, cold!” in Buenos Aires right now.  Needless to say, this was not our experience.  The temperature was in the mid 60’s during the day and just a bit cooler at night.  The locals were wearing winter parkas, hats, gloves and scarves; even the dogs were dressed in sweaters.  We have read that regardless of temperature Argentinians rarely wear shorts, except when exercising, and don’t show their feet, except perhaps when wearing tango shoes.  During our stay Melissa and I each tried dressing comfortably but never did so again in public because the locals looked gravely concerned by our lack of winter gear.  Fortunately, we eventually figured out how to turn the heat off in our apartment, but even this was not as straightforward as it sounds (we turned off each radiator, only to discover that the radiators must be on or no hot water will be available for the shower).  Otherwise our apartment in Recoletta was fantastic.  From the history of Argentina we get the impression that tourism is relatively new here, perhaps in the last ten years or so.  The city is gritty and edgy.  The neighborhood where we are staying is not touristy at all, and is apparently one of the nicer areas in Buenos.  One good sign: the nearby restaurants did not have English menus, nor did the wait staff speak it, which enhanced our culinary adventures as we tried to identify the meats on our plates.  With regard to restaurants: we heard a lot about how great the steak is when we came, and after trying several types at several restaurants we can report that it really is that good.

Portenos are late night people.  We used to be as well before having Everett, but these days we are accustomed to going to bed a bit earlier and rising when E awakens.  So it took us a couple days to adjust to the dining schedule: few restaurants open before 8pm, and most locals don’t arrive for dinner until 9 or 10pm.  We also heard that most clubs don’t open until midnight, most people arrive after 2am, and getting home before 4am is embarrassingly early.  We would love to hear a description of their typical work hours.

Chris was in Buenos Aires for a conference.  On most days Melissa explored the city alone and we met up in the evenings.  The ache that we felt from not seeing Everett everyday subsided a bit after a while, though we still talked about him constantly. A few highlights of the trip: seeing Argentina win two world cup games, and getting a chance to join the crowd at a giant screen in a downtown park; dinner and tango show; seeing La Recoleta.

One thing I have never understood while traveling in Europe is the scarcity of drinking water and bathrooms.  Argentina seems to have the same problem.  These two things probably go together, but it does make you wonder if the inhabitants are chronically dehydrated.  Maybe their metabolism has adjusted, or maybe we just don’t understand the system for how to find water and where to get rid of it: drinking fountains are almost unheard of; only bottled water seems to be available at restaurants (no tap water) and it costs about the same as the wine, most of which is quite good, so maybe you learn to live without it?  Lastly, a note to self for future travel to Buenos Aires: the checkin process at Ezeiza airport is extraordinary, unlike anything I have ever seen.  It took us two hours to get from the airport entrance to our gate, and we were one of the first to arrive for checkin.  This length of time was partly because the Delta gate agents took a loooong break between each passenger for a heartwarming chat with their coworkers, and partly because of the number of steps necessary to get to the gate.  But you really have to arrive three hours early here.

Buenos Aires was a place that I liked but did not love as I have with other international destinations.  Maybe the city just isn’t its normal self in the middle of winter, or maybe I need to get used to South America.  However, it was quite an experience for us to be away from E for that long and everyone involved seemed to enjoy it, which we are thankful for in many ways.

No comments


Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Everett turned two years old on June 7th. In the weeks leading up to his birthday we started talking to him about age, that he was then one year old but on his birthday he would be two years old. This eventually sunk in because on his birthday he started patting his chest and saying “I’m two years old now.” For his birthday celebration we planned a party at Jacobus Park on the morning of June 5th. Photos from the party and from our own family celebration on his actual birthday are here. The party was a success in many ways, and made us realize how many friends we have made since moving to Milwaukee. It also made us realize what a bonding experience children can create among parents. Including setup, party and cleaning we were at the park for about 4 hours and Everett wanted to spend about three of those in the swing.

Later that day we gave him a farm set as a gift, the kind that Melissa and I both used to have as kids. It comes with several animals, a tractor and a barn that makes a mooing noise when you open the door. After a few minutes of playing with it Everett picked up an animal and said “This pig needs a helmet”.  We weren’t exactly sure what he was talking about until he crashed the trailer containing the pig into the tractor, and the pig went flying across the room. This is the first time we have ever observed this type of behavior, though not exactly sure what to call it.  Is this “boy” behavior?  We don’t know if such descriptions are accurate or helpful, but it’s probably not something he learned from us.

No comments
Powered by WordPress
Natural World RapidWeaver theme by ThemeFlood