Thursday, July 30, 2009

made me giggle

the other day in the gym i was watching cnn and they were doing a piece about president sarkozy's health scare when he fainted while jogging.

they then had a screen with "past world leader health scares" which included jimmy carter passing out at a race, george bush senior's episode in japan, something about bill clinton passing out and then ended with george w. bush "choking on a pretzel".

oh georgie...god knows i, with the rest of the world, don't miss you but at least you were always good for a laugh.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


i'm missing a post and some pics...i need to do one about mine and rho's week in buenos aires because we did and saw a lot. but the Wife and i are staying in b.a. this weekend so i figure i will kill two birds and a hour or so of photo editing with one stone.

we are really looking forward to a weekend spent in location. we've not had one since february so i think it is well deserved!

and i love this city so i'm glad the Wife will get to see some of it during daylight hours.

Colonia Del Sacramento

Since we put Rho back on a plane just a day after her 10 hour flight down here we chose to have a more low-key weekend before putting her back on a plane for another 10 hours home.

We decided to add another stamp to her passport and headed to Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay. From Buenos Aires it is actually just across the Rio del la Plata. Although this happens to be the widest river in the world, it is only an hour ride on the fast ferry.

The old town of Colonia was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is filled with cobblestone stone streets and ridiculously quaint old buildings.

We took a tour on Saturday afternoon, had a very late lunch and did some shopping. Sunday was pretty much a repeat except without the tour. It was a very relaxing weekend where we pretty much just walked around, ate good food and drank the local brew. By the way if you see Mastra in the US you need to purchase it immediately and save me some!

After Rhonda and I toured all over Buenos Aires during the week it was a welcome respite from the hustle bustle of the city.

El Calafate

We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to start Rho’s Argentinean adventure. Our flight out on Friday was only an hour late which for Aerolineas Airlines is incredible.

The beauty of Patagonia is obvious before your plane even touches down. As you descend you can’t help but be mesmerized by the color of the lakes and streams. The water is this slightly eerie ethereal blue and almost seems to glow.

After a slow ride from the airport with our amusing driver we arrived just outside of El Calafate at Las Dunas Inn. Our hotel was beyond charming and just steps from Largo Argentina (the country’s largest lake) so the views were beautiful.
We headed into El Calfate for a traditional barbeque dinner (aka-meat, meat, more meat and malbec) and had a nightcap in the lounge before heading to bed for our early morning out to see the glacier.

I don’t think one can see a glacier and not be blown away by the sheer awesomeness that is our planet. Almost otherworldly, the Perito Merino Glacier just outside El Calafate was by far Mother Nature at her finest.

We did a boat ride in front of the glacier and then walked around the maze of viewing platforms to get a different perspective. The glacier itself is 25% larger than the city of Buenos Aires. It is just astounding...

We were unable to see a lot of the other glaciers due to the season. I would love, love, love to come back in the summer one day so anyone who wants to plan a trip I’m game!

We were all pretty exhausted after the three million stairs we had to climb on our way back from the glacier and the two hour ride back to El Calafate so we had an early dinner and headed to bed.

It was one of those weekends that we just couldn’t deny how incredibly blessed our life really is and we were so glad Rhonda was there to share it with us.

btw-be warned that the crud is still on my camera...not the lens but somewhere so photos stink from this weekend and the next. i have got to find a camera shop.

Monday, July 27, 2009


having a friend in town for 11 days will put you there. so much to write about, so many photos to edit...hopefully i'll get caught up this week.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mexican anyone??

Saturday, August 29th
6pm - drinks, dinner, more drinks
El Azteca on Ponce de Leon

We'll be there, will you????????

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Thanks to the swine flu the wife got a surprise 4 day weekend. Thursday was actually a holiday but in an effort to disinfect offices and help cut down on cases some local governments were shutting their doors on Friday. As did the sponsor so we quickly changed our flight and headed to Mendoza a day early. BTW- LAN airlines you are the best, no change fees?!? Love it!

Although technically our second weekend in Argentina it was our first weekend traveling. It is always interesting to see how difficult it is to travel in a country. How expensive is the taxi to the airport, how far away is the airport, how difficult is the airport to get through, how do they board the planes, how do they announce flights, what is security like, can we take liquids…there are a lot of little things that once your used to aren’t a big deal but figuring them out in the first place can be a pain.

So far Buenos Aires gets the award for easiest domestic travel. The airport is 15 minutes from our hotel, a mere 6 USD cab ride. It is modern, easy to navigate, small and painless. And we can take liquids!! They even give announcements in English although we didn’t find that to be the case in the Mendoza airport for our return flight. Note to self- practice numeros!

So after an easy, breezy journey we landed in Mendoza on Thursday afternoon. Our hotel was located on one of the cities many plazas, had a cute lobby, restaurant, an extremely helpful staff and after upgrading to an executive room we were more than pleased. Our standard room was about the size of a broom closet and although we’re used to small rooms we decided the whopping $8 USD a night was worth the extra space.

We had a leisurely and late lunch at a restaurant a block or so from the hotel and enjoyed a very nice local malbec. We bummed around for a bit and eventually went back to the hotel to book our tours for the weekend.

We chose to do a high mountain tour on Friday. It was a full-day, 12 hour tour driving up into the Andes almost to the Chilean border. We were one of the first pickups on Friday morning and as we gathered the rest of our group it became quite obvious we’d be the only non-Spanish speakers in the group. After about 15 minutes of speaking our guide did lean over and tell us that although the majority of the tour would be Spanish she’d give us the high points in English. She was actually pretty good about it but it was funny how long she would speak to the others and then give us about two sentences.

With or without English the Andes were stunning. I’m so used to the vegetation of mountains giving them their color but here it was the mountains themselves. Everywhere you looked you saw countless shades of greens, yellows, reds, oranges, browns, grays…it made for a tremendously scenic drive...

Along the way we stopped at a small ski village or what I would call a bunny slope on the side of the road, had lunch at the last town before the Chile border, and stopped to see the Incan Bridge, a natural rock formation over the Mendoza River...

Unbeknownst to us the tallest mountain in the Americas is actually located here so we got to cross that off the list without even expecting it! Aconcagua Mountain…

We were pretty wiped after our day but did find the energy to go have an amazing steak dinner at a little parilla near the hotel. 10oz fillets for under $8 USD…can’t beat it!

Saturday we spent the early part of the day shopping and exploring Mendoza’s many plazas. My favorite was definitely Plaza Espana which was filled with beautiful mosaic tiles.

After lunch we headed out for our winery tour. We visited one medium size winery, an olive oil distillery and a small artisan winery. Again we were the one and only English speakers but our guide was very nice and said he enjoyed practicing his English with us. We even got our own guide at the last winery and she was a hoot. She kinda reminded me of Charo but in slow motion.

The wine was of course wonderful and we even bought some to cart back with us to Buenos Aires. I seriously contemplated buying a vat of the incredible olive oil but the Wife said no…thank God.

We had a quiet dinner on Saturday night and spent Sunday morning walking around and sitting at the Plaza de Indepencia writing post cards and enjoying the sunshine.
It was a lovely weekend. Although we did do a lot of touristy things we also had time to relax and enjoy the city itself.

Rho gets here tomorrow morning! We’ll be taking the city by storm but first this weekend we’re headed to El Calafate to see the glaciers! Sooo excited!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Schedule is out!!!

We're headed to the Philippines!!!

We're ready for some hot weather after chasing the cold around all year...sand between our toes, drinks on the beach, beautiful sunsets and some Asian travel- cannot wait!

We also can't wait to finally use all the summer clothes we've been hauling all over the world ;)

I know it might not stick out as some great travel destination to most people but look at this...

I think we're going to be very, very happy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

begin the begin

well, we've reached argentina and thus far it seems like it is going to be a great round.

without anywhere convenient or even feasible to stop on our way from south africa to argentina we spent the weekend getting our bearings and struggling with jetlag. not sure why a measly 5 hours did us in so badly but it was far worse than flying from the u.s. to india for both of us.

first and foremost let me say it feels great to be back in a real city. one where things stay open past 5pm and people are actually out and about. i'm looking forward to a lot of nights not eating in a hotel lounge and actually getting to know the place i'm living.

of course it is strange to find ourselves again in a country where english doesn't prevail. it not only doesn't prevail but isn't spoken much outside the hotel and tourist attractions. this is however, a great motivator for my spanish lessons and i hope to start classes this week or next.

fortunately, the jetlag didn't kill the entire weekend. we did explore a little and even caught a tango show with soraya and marco who had stopped for the weekend on their way to brazil. this will be my first round without another spouse and i'm going to miss soraya dearly the next 8 weeks.

luckily i won't be too lonely though since we've got our 3rd set of visitors this year coming in just over a week. we couldn't be more excited to see rho and holly and can't wait for them to arrive! i just pray i don't fail them as a tour guide...maybe i should get one of those sticks with something colorful on the end to make sure we don't get separated...of course after 11 days with me they may want to be ;)

we're off to the wine country in mendoza this weekend. mmmmm, malbecs here we come!!

wrappin it up...

When most of us think of Africa our minds tend to wander to the National Geographic scenes with lions and elephants milling about, masked inhabitants with spears and drums and villages made up of tiny thatched roof huts. Or for the more cynical of us, we think of the news stories of bloody civil wars, corruption, AIDS and mind-boggling poverty.

Before arriving I think I was somewhere in the middle. I knew I was on my way to South Africa so although I expected the lions and elephants I also knew I’d be staying in a modern city, albeit a city that although struggles with an extremely high crime rate.

Living in Johannesburg for 8 weeks left me with more questions than answers I’m afraid. Due to the crime we didn’t see much of the city…in fact we saw next to nothing. Because of this I feel inept to comment on the city itself. We stayed in a northern suburb and outside of a couple museums and a few malls and restaurants I didn’t experience enough to even get a “feel” for the place. The only thing I did feel was a sadness that people had to live their lives completely within daylight hours. Just like everything in Johannesburg, I felt the culture and vibe of the city was guarded and hidden behind a ten foot wall.

The weekends, thankfully told much different stories. Our 3 safari trips left me in amazement of South Africa’s wildlife. It seems that they are doing a great deal to protect and expand the parks. I hope they continue to do so because it would be nothing short of a travesty to lose any part of this incredible national treasure.

Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape we visited gave us a completely different view of South Africa. In Cape Town we saw a big city that embraced the outdoors and refused to be kept inside. Not only did they have a nightlife but it was fun and vibrant and had something for everyone.

The Western Cape showed us a more charming if not more glamorous side of South African life. All along some of the most beautiful coastline I’ve ever seen we found award winning wineries, five star restaurants as well as quaint little farms and sleepy fishing villages.

South Africa is a changing country...a 16 year old democracy with many deep wounds left to heal but, the land itself...what has always been there, through the darkest days and is still there now as the light is just beginning to shine is what really makes it so special.

We didn’t even put a dent in the amount of sights South Africa had to offer…but the things we did see we’ll never, ever forget…