Tuesday, February 5, 2019

South America 2019: Trip Notes # 6

South America 2019: Trip Notes # 6

Our last day in Buenos Ares was to be relaxing with very little planned. After a leisurely breakfast, we decided to do a "tourist thing" and grabbed a taxi for a quick look at the historical Cafe Tortoni (Opened in 1858).

After a photo-op, it was back in a taxi to crosstown to tour the modern art museum. On the way, the taxi driver stopped and suggested that we take some pictures of a "metal flower" that is "solar sensitive" - it opens and closes depending on the angle and amount of sun. Quite a sight to see.  It reminded us of the Milwaukee museum roof that opens and closes.

There were interesting art pieces in the museum by Latin America artists - items that we would not normally see at home or even at the New York Metropolitan Art Museum. 

Modern Building

                                       Very Interesting Wall Piece 
Fun art: 

Modern art has many aspects - always different...

Diego Rivera is not so modern - still wonderful to view. 

Wooden bench is actually quite comfortable

We saw some great pieces - some of which were done by an artist that we saw in Sao Paulo: Caval Canti

Everyone knows "Frida Kahlo" 

Lots of political art - Struggle for bread and work 

Love, not politics

After the museum, we strolled to a nearby (of all places) a beautifully manicured Japanese park.

We never saw this before - thinning out lily pads

Having Fun Doing Selfies

We met a young man in the park who explained to us that (after WWII) to make amends for the war, the Japanese government built this garden. The Japanese ambassador's office maintains the facility. The young man's English was perfect as was one of the hotel's receptionist. They both learned English playing video games.

The young man in the garden was so nice to us that Jerry gave him one of the PMI Frisbees. The young man was totally embarrassed - he had nothing to give us in return. (Not a problem). About 20 minutes later, he found us and mentioned that he wanted to give us something in return. He remembered he had in a pocket his business flier. (He trains dogs). He gave us his flier as a "Thank you."

By the way, English in Buenos Ares seems to be mandatory starting with the 4th grade. Secondary levels (and above) offer other options. This academic and realistic approach to the international world is so different from how the Brazilian public school systems approaches its curriculum.

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By now, we were hungry. Next stop (near our hotel) was a small (six seats) gourmet (primarily takeout) restaurant owned and operated by a husband and wife team. It specializes in organic vegetable dishes. Delish! Between our Spanish and their limited English, we learned quite a bit about their struggle to make ends meet, no vacation (other than a weekend from time-to-time) and the poor Argentina economy.

The food was so good that we decided to buy other dishes for our dinner and eat in our hotel room. Nearby was a market where we bought some local beer and (of course) a bottle of Malbec.
Malbec Anyone?
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It is these small (and seemingly insignificant) encounters (young man in the garden and the restaurant owners) that add so much to our trips. This is why we like to try and stay away from tours, be on our own and stay in neighborhoods (rather than large hotels).

Our final stop for the day was at a homemade ice cream and candy pallor - Rapanui. This ice cream is thick, creamy and super-delish.

Jerry was always looking for manhole covers. Foreign countries tend to have manholes with interesting designs. He couldn't find anything unique in Sao Paulo and was about to give up in Buenos Ares. As we were heading back to the hotel, he found a cover for an underground telecom/electrical box. Good Enough - Eureka!

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Logistics to the port (and our ship) would seem to be quite easy. We could order a taxi from the hotel, pay a premium and wait 10-15 minutes. Or, Jerry could stand in the street and hail a cab. Within a minute, our taxi arrived. The first piece of luggage was put in the trunk. All was well until the taxi driver indicated that his taxi was too small.

Jerry hailed another cab. This car was slightly larger calling for one piece of luggage going into the trunk, another large piece in the passenger seat next to the driver and for each one of us hold a wheelie, backpack and other items on or lap. It was a very tight squeeze - off we went. UNTIL...there was a large "POP!" The taxi's motor blew. In the middle of the street, we unloaded everything. Jerry stood in the street - hailed another cab.

Jerry attempted to "negotiate" (in Spanish) the taxi fare to the port. The taxi driver complained about the traffic. The driver indicated that he had to "detour" (lots of traffic) in order to get us to the port in time and that he would have to charge more - a flat fee rather than using the meter. Jerry "glared" a bit. The taxi driver would not budge with his fee. Jerry ultimately agreed and off we went to the port - for $5!

On to Uruguay!

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