Mar 22, 2008

Argentina: Tango, Wine, Ruth and Rosie

We love traveling. The feeling of placing everything you own on your back and heading to a different new and exciting place every few days is certainly a thrill. We taste new food, drink strange beer, see odd animals, talk to foreign people, and spend our days worrying about where to go next or which hotel to sleep in. However, Amanda and I also love our families, our country, our familiar surroundings, our friends, our belongings, our jobs, our TV shows, our Targets and Best Buys. These are gone when we travel. Sure, every now and then we can catch a TV show in English, or scarf down a cone from McDonalds. We talk on the phone to our families and email our friends. We listen to our ipod and get excited when we meet other Americans. Yet, no matter how many things we can find that remind us of home, nothing is better than a visit from our mom.

Guess who was waiting for us in Buenos Aires with a beautiful hotel room and a bag of Chocolates? That’s right Amanda’s mom Ruth and her aunt Rosie.

It was great to see them and we had some amazing adventures in the past week. We strolled through the massive avenues of beautiful Buenos Aires taking in the smell of diesel buses and general commotion of this ever –so-European city. We saw the grave of Evita sitting among the wealthiest tombs we have ever witnessed in the Cemetario de la Recoleta. It was “Keeping up With Jones’: After-Life Edition” as every monument was grander than its neighbor. Marble buildings rose in spires 60 feet high with elaborate busts, statues, and manicured landscapes guarding the wealthy families contained within. It was a fascinating way to spend a few hours roaming through the maze of this wealthy, yet very quiet city of tombs.

We added a country to our list – Uruguay. It was a 1 hr ferry ride so- why not? For obvious reasons I spent the day looking for a shirt that just read “Uruguay” but had no luck.

As Buenos Aires is the birthplace of Tango, we stopped into the famous Tortoni Café for a late night Tango show. That is one sexy dance.

On our 5th day we rented the smallest car ever made with 4 doors and a trunk and drove for 14 hrs straight to Mendoza on the opposite end of the country. Go ahead, look at a map. It was fairly uneventful aside from the massive demonstrations blocking the highway every 100 km or so. Oh and we also got lost on a dirt road for an hour while trying to avoid a demonstration, almost got stuck, and thought we might die. Other than that, the girls, Amanda, and I kept up good conversation and the 14 hours flew by! Not really but we did make it to Mendoza.

Being the lover of wine that she is, Ruth wanted to come to Mendoza as it is the wine capital of Argentina, known around the world for its Malbec red wines (they are excellent if you haven’t tried one). We took the Chevy for a wine tour stopping at about 4 vineyards and having a delightful lunch in a lawn under the shade of a massive tree. Because we were feeling so at home with Ruth and Rosie providing excellent company, we decided to have a taste of home by dining at an excellent Mexican restaurant. Believe it or not, good Mexican food is extremely hard to find in South America.

We took a road trip to the mountains yesterday and had young goat for lunch, a very hairy meat.

We’ve really loved visiting with Ruth and Rosie the past few days. The conversations have ranged from “what kind of meat are we eating” to “when are we going to finally get married”. It was excellent indeed to have a slice of home delivered to our doorstep in Buenos Aires.

Thanks for visiting Ruth and Rosie, and thanks for the wonderful food and hotels.

Now that they are gone its back to the budget and back to dorm rooms. We have a car, a tent, and 18 days left in Argentina before we head to Southeast Asia. Home is great but right now the open road is even better.

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