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April 2001

A trip to Pinamar, Argentina
on the Atlantic Coast

Sunday April 1st - Ron wanted to go see a movie so went to see the 7:30 pm showing of "Hannibal" with Anthony Hopkins. YIKES!  What "Jaws" did for swimming in the ocean this movie will do for eating certain gourmet culinary ingredients for the next 5 years!

The movie theatre is in the Recoleta Cemetery touristy area and when we get out of the movie it's 10:30 pm on a Sunday night and there's a HUGE line to get into the movies.  We went outside and the piazza was packed with people having cafe's, dinner and walking around the plaza.

 These crazy Argentines, when do they sleep??

Monday April 2nd - We had our landlady come over to collect the rent and she comments on the beautiful tree that is in bloom outside our apartment.  We asked the name of the tree as we were curious what it was called and she wrote down "Palo Borracho" on a piece of paper for us.  After she left I looked it up in the dictionary and the direct translation is "pole drunk, intoxicated."  Hmmmm, never heard of a drunken tree before?  Wonder why it's called that!



 It's hard to see it, but this is a huge tree which burst into blooms that looked like orchids, it's not even fall
yet but all the energy appears to have gone into the blooms because the tree lost all it's leaves!
Spectacular but I miss the coverage the leaves gave us from our neighbors.

Thursday April 5th - At the gym there is a very personable guy called Sergio that we talk to a lot.  We were talking with him at the gym and he asked if we had set routines we follow when exercising.  I said that I didn't, I just used whatever machine was open.  He commented that we should talk to a physical trainer and get a proper routine since it's included in our gym membership.  I explained that we tried doing this already but none of the trainers speak English and our Spanish understanding isn't good enough to understand, "Keep your bent arm positioned as close to your head as possible, try to imagine you're trying to stick your elbow in your ear.  Then when you extend the triceps to the center of the shoulder blades, you should go no further then your tendons will allow!" Sorry!  I can understand, "Please close the door!" in Spanish, but explaining the intricacies of how body parts bend and function without hurting myself is beyond my Spanish vocabulary at the moment!  Sergio introduced us to Ignacio who is a new trainer and speaks English!  Great, we make an appointment for the following Tuesday.

Friday April 6th  - Went to get bus tickets for our trip to Pinamar that is coming up on the 19th.  We walked to the bus terminal and looked up the companies that go to Pinamar.  I remember when we went to Pinamar on our first trip to Argentina almost 3 years ago, it was confusing to figure out which bus company went where.  In the bus terminal there is a string of seemingly endless independent bus companies that go EVERYWHERE, each one at a counter that's only about 6 feet wide and then right next to it another bus company, to infinity it appears.  We checked the business glossary and it actually seemed to make sense.  I went up and asked the clerk my customary, "¿Habla ingles?", and she said, "No".  I had written out some questions in Spanish so that I would be prepared but I didn't need to refer to them, I was actually doing quite well asking questions and understanding her.  It's so nice that I'm finally starting to understand more and more. As we were walking home we passed by a favorite restaurant of ours that had previously moved to this new location which we haven't been to yet.  This was the small "cheeseburger, cheeseburger" place that has great bife de chorizo, but a very limited menu.  Every time you would ask for something on the menu, the waiter would say, "No, we don't have that!” till finally you asked for bife de chorizo and the waiter would say, "Good choice!"  I peer in the window and the new location still seems nice and cozy looking, just like the other place, I check the menu outside and the prices are still very reasonable, I think we'll come here for dinner tonight and check out the quality of the new location.

We saw Sergio again at the gym and he mentioned that there is a famous conductor in town performing "Mac Beth" at the Teatro Colon.  The Teatro Colon is the famous opera house here in Bs.As. which is said to be the largest in South America.  We've been inside for a tour but have yet to see a performance there, this sounded like a great reason to try the Teatro Colon.  We planned on going to the box office and see if we could get tickets.

Later that night we walked to the new location of “Da Mingo”, for dinner.  The menu seemed to have been more expanded but we don't see our favorite waiter from the old location.  I had to try the bife de chorizo but Ron tried their "cochinillo" which is roasted suckling pig.  My steak was nice but not as good as I remembered at the other location, maybe their parrilla grill isn't seasoned properly yet.  Ron's cochinillo was fantastic, lean tender meat with crackling, crunchy skin, true coronary blockage material, but you have to die of something don't you?  I'd much rather go a few years earlier then deprive myself of such delicacies for the rest of my life! We walked home in the nice cool evening.

Saturday April 7th - I was chatting with a friend on the internet who also likes to cook when I mentioned the "Salmon Wellington" we made with pâté, Brie cheese and Dijon mustard the other week.  He said that salmon doesn't go with pâté. What does he know?  I told him it tasted fantastic.  He mentioned some good recipe websites for me to try and since I wanted to try making the salmon Wellington again I went to look at the recipes for an "official Salmon Wellington" recipe.  I did see that Beef Wellington is the one that has pâté on it, Salmon Wellington has instead of pâté a fresh spinach and garlic mixture. Well, I thought mine tasted great but now I want to try this other version.  The recipe also called for a roasted pepper sauce which sounded great and seemed pretty easy (insert omen here).  I had never roasted peppers before, so I thought I could roast the peppers over the open gas flame on our stove.  I really needed a big two tang fork but desperate times cause for desperate measures.  The only thing on hand was a regular table fork.  It was quite exciting trying to roast the pepper over the open flame, gently twirling it, trying to keep it from falling off the fork, sputtering juices all over the place and in general, making a huge friggin mess.  But boy did those peppers smell good.  The recipe claimed the preparation time was 10 minutes. NOT!  It must have taken over 30 minutes just for the roasted pepper sauce. The sauce was very rich with whole cream and a roux of flour and butter to thicken it.  It tasted fantastic!  I'm really not sure which I liked the best, my own version with the pâté, or the spinach version.   

Sunday April 8th - We went to the Teatro Colon to get tickets for "Mac Beth" but it turned out the box office was closed till Tuesday, weird, you would think they would have Sunday performances.

We heard from our new friends John and Bill who went on the cruise to Antarctica.  Their reaction to the Antarctic cruise was "spectacular."  They were floored by the magnificence of icebergs, glaciers, snow-covered mountains, and idyllic bays and channels they floated through on the ship.  The wildlife didn't disappoint them either.  They saw lots of penguins, many seals, and even a few whales.  Since it was summer at the time of the cruise (they only travel to Antarctica in the summer months), they said the weather there was very agreeable: sunny, blue skies, no wind and temperatures in the 40's. They made six shore excursions from their boat during their three days there.  Excursions were on rubber rafts (Zodiacs) with flat wooden bottoms, a 40 hp motor, and seating for about 12.  Two of the trips were to the actual continent itself, the other four were to the offshore islands.  There were 120 other passengers on their ship, a crew of 60 and a dozen more people from the tour company, Marine Expeditions.  The ship's crew was Russian and so was the ship.  Their cruise had people from all over the world: Japan, Hong Kong, Holland, Israel, Australia.  Many were touring throughout So. America.  The passenger mix overall was just right in their opinion.  The tour company staff included naturalists, scientists and adventurers and they gave frequent lectures during their crossing of the Drake Passage.  The "Drake" was the worst experience they had.  The seas were rough both going and coming, with waves of 25 feet.  The boat was small at 4500 tons and had no stabilizers so they "rocked and rolled" a lot as a result.  They crossed about 600 miles of the Drake going, and 750 miles on the return.  Bill acclimatized well, but John did not.  And nothing helped him: wristbands, "The Patch" (scopamine) or Dramamine.  Sounds like something we would like to do while we’re down here!  We’re considering plans to go to Barlioche (Argentina’s version of an expensive Aspen ski resort area), Iguazu falls and Patagonia to see the penguins.  We've heard that travel agents here just don’t “get it” in regards to full packages, they’ll give you airfare, but “You wanted a hotel?  You didn’t say that!” “You wanted a car?  Well just go rent one when you get there darling!?!” “You couldn’t find a way to get to your hotel??  Well just ask a local for a lift, they are all sooooo friendly!”  We heard you have to do most of the planning yourself, we’ll see!

Tuesday April 10th - We met Ignacio, the personal trainer, at the gym to help us setup a routine.  He's a very nice guy, seemed very knowledgeable about fitness and sets us up with a 2 day rotation on exercises.  Towards the end of our workout we started talking and he told us about the economic life in Argentina at the moment.  He said he was talking with his father and his father said this is the worst he as ever seen the economy in his lifetime.  This is the 4th person we've heard make this same statement.  I'm not sure if people are just being dramatic, but it does seem like very difficult times right now. Ignacio said he is working 2 jobs and could afford to buy a new car, but he won't because he doesn't have job security, he could be laid off tomorrow.  The new Economy Minister, Domingo Cavallo, is trying to make some drastic changes to get the economy rolling, but one of the changes is that any transaction over $1,000 has to be done with a check.  I guess this is to curb corruption and be sure companies are paying taxes, but the banks charge a commission to cash a check, can you believe that?  You can't walk into your bank and deposit it without them charging you.  Absurd!  So you couldn't buy a car with cash if you wanted to, you have to pay by check and then they will tax you on the check and the purchase of the car and then charge you a commission to cash the check.  He feels this is just another way of the government stamping on the people.  As he explained this he made a stamping gesture that really made me believe this to be feeling of a lot of the young people there.  The Spain Embassy is very near our house and EVERY day there is a huge line to get into it.  I asked several people what the line is for; one person told me it is young people trying to get visas so they can go to Spain to find work, another person told me the young people are trying to get dual citizenship so that they can go to Spain if necessary to find work.  It seems like things are coming to some kind of head, something has to give.

Wednesday April 11th - Our Spanish teacher told us that the week before Easter is called "semana santa", week of the saint, and signs for "FELICES PASCUAS!" or Happy Passover are in all the store windows.  On the way to the gym the store windows are filled with chocolate Easter eggs.  One store has a huge chocolate egg about 10 inches long that is carved into the shape of a sailing ship.  Very impressive but it has a $90 price tag on it. Hah!

Thursday April 12th - We get a call from Crown Relocations, our stuff from the USA will arrive on the 19th, the day we’re set to go on a one week vacation to Pinamar!  What great timing!  Maria at Crown tells us it takes several days to unload the ship anyways so we'll deal with our things once we get back from our trip.  One of the great things about moving here was the freedom it seemed to have given us because we aren't encumbered with material possessions.  God only knows what's in those boxes that are about to arrive, I guess we thought we needed the stuff but I feel like we're about to become "re" encumbered.  I guess we'll just have to buy a villa somewhere to house it all, HELP!!!!  I feel a vicious cycle starting again!

Friday April 13th - Ron bought some sausage that looked like Kishka at the market.  Kishka is that polish blood sausage I love so much that I could only find in Hamtramick, Michigan.  One of the things I love to do with Kishka is to pan fry it in a skillet, like corned beef hash, then cook eggs on top of it.  We haven’t had eggs for a long time here because they just don’t do breakfast in Argentina so I thought this would be a good treat.  I started to break the sausage up into the frying pan and it had some VERY strange stuff in it!  I was scared to translate the ingredient list to try and figure out what was in the sausage, God only knows what was in there!  With the eggs cooked on top, the sausage turned out to be quite good, whatever was in it!

We walked to the gym but it was closed for Good Friday, almost everything else was closed also including the fish market.  Luckily the supermarket was open so for dinner Ron bought some frozen, boned fish fillets, they were very inexpensive but tasted very strong.  Fresh is definitely better! 

Saturday April 14th - We went out for dinner to a local neighborhood restaurant.  We had tried them for lunch and it was very good so I wanted to try them for dinner.  This place has great atmosphere and a real nice feeling to the dining room with big, heavy, wooden sashes on the windows with lots of old brass fittings.  Great architecture, as I sip the red wine and look around the dining room I'm feeling very comfortable, what a great place!  I love to people watch and animated conversations are going on everywhere with a wonderful sound of Argentinean Spanish.

The menu is entirely in Spanish but I wanted to try one of the house specials.  I'm about ready to just pick one, I like EVERYTHING, and sometimes I like to just blindly pick something and wonder what I've ordered.  However, I recognized that one special said lengua and I didn’t want to get a big tongue on my plate.  Damn, I also saw lenguado, I wondered if that was also tongue?  I decided to go with some parrilla chicken and it turned out to be heavenly.  A nice flan for dessert with 2 cafés and a nice walk home in the cool evening.  I LOVE not having a car!

Tuesday April 17th - Working out at the gym I get a craving for lasagna with crusty garlic bread, we stopped on the way back to our apartment at our favorite fresh pasta store to see if they had lasagna.  The man behind the counter knows Ron and started explaining things to Ron as if he's a native.  I caught one word every other sentence, Ron was nodding like he understood everything.  We also checked out the pasta store that we've bought really good cannelloni’s from.  We got back to the apartment so Ron could get some money and go back to get the lasagna.  When he came back he told me that our friend had fixed us up good with a big portion of fresh lasagna that could serve 8 people for $10.  He also bought a loaf of french bread so I could make garlic bread and when I looked at the receipt it was 25 cents.  25 cents???  For a loaf of french bread??  The paper bag with printed advertising it came in must have cost more then that!  We put the lasagna in the oven to heat and I made garlic bread with the fresh french bread, olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese.  I opened a bottle of cheap, good, Argentine red wine to breath.  This has got to be illegal!  We are having WAY too much fun!

Wednesday April 18thWe got ready for our trip to Pinamar.  I gathered the things I wanted to take and put them on the bed, Ron does the packing!

Thursday April 19th - We left our apartment 7:15 am to get a taxi to the bus station.  We walked to the corner with our bags so that we would be facing the right direction for traffic so the cabbie wouldn’t have to drive around the block (costing a whole extra 20 cents in fare).  Of course, he decided to go a different way so he drove right in front of our apartment, nullifying the whole reason for carrying our bags to the corner, oh well!  We arrived at the bus station and there was a homeless guy who opened the door for us and helped us with our bags.  Can’t knock a guy for trying so I give him 50 cents.

At the bus station our ticket said that the bus would arrive between platforms 63 and 75, they announced the buses but I couldn’t understand a single word.  We watched the different logos on the buses till we saw one from our company which pulled up right at 7:50 am and went up to talk to the driver.  It was our bus so we checked our bags on and the bus left right on time at 8:00 am.  Like most trips, we were up late packing the night before (or should I say Ron was up late packing) and getting everything ready so we both took a nap once the bus got on way.  I really wanted to stay awake to watch the city dissolve into countryside, but my eyes said something else.  I awoke two hours later and we were in the countryside; fertile, flat fields as far as you could see, lots of bife de lomo on the hoof walking about munching grass.  I had heard that the plains are so fertile that they don’t give any steroids or growth hormones to the beef. 

We arrived at Pinamar 4.5 hours later, they said it was going to take 8.  Hmmmm, nice surprise!  We took a taxi to our hotel but they said our room wouldn't be ready for a few hours but, “How would you like a free cafe' and orange juice?”  We enjoyed our cafe' and then went for a walk, it's been almost 3 years since we've been here and I wanted to go exploring.  The wind was really blowing hard and the road along the ocean is all sand so the sand was blowing at us like crazy.  We got into the little downtown area and it was closed up tight as a drum just like it was when we visited last time in the off season.  We walked around the town some more and then stopped to have a beer in an Irish pub, "The Liverpool" bar.  It started to rain a little so we decided to have another beer and order some sandwiches.  Luckily, Ron brought the deck of cards so what did we do, but started playing 500!  By the time I won Ron at cards the rain had stopped so we walked back to the hotel and checked in.

This is our hotel.

Pinamar Pictures 1 - 10

That night we decided to have dinner in the hotel restaurant.  We were the only ones there and we both ordered the nightly specials, fresh raviolis and parrilla chicken.  I asked the young kid who was waiting on us for a wine list but he just started talking about the wines.  Seeing my blank expression he brought over the 4 bottles of red wine that they had to offer to show them to us.  One was from a winery called Navarro that we really like, it was $17 but I figured it's our first night, we should splurge a little on a good bottle of wine.  The dinner was very good and another couple arrived to also have dinner, made us feel good that we weren't the only ones there keeping the chef from going home early.  The chef came out to say something to the waiter and I tipped my wine glass in her direction and told her dinner was fantastic!  She gave me a nice big grin before disappearing back into the kitchen.  I still felt in a "just arrived on vacation" kind of mood so I ordered a cognac with dessert, Ron had Tia Maria on ice.  The young kid heated the cognac in the snifter and brought it to us with the flan, fantastico!.  We had a nice café to top off the meal!

Friday April 20th - Ron asked the person at the front desk where a supermarket was and he gave us a nice map of the town.  We took a nice long walk till we finally arrived at the “Disco” supermarket.  We stocked up on coffee, cereal, media lunas for breakfast and of course some gin and Toro to have while playing cards.  Ron stuffed all the groceries in our backpacks and we headed back to the hotel feeling like pack mules. 

Pinamar Pictures 11-20


We were walking by a small store when a guy in a car called out to the girl sitting behind the counter of the store reading a magazine.  A dog had come up and pulled a bag of cat food off a lower shelf and tore it open and was eating it right there on the sidewalk.  From where she was sitting, this was all below her line of site so she didn't see the dog happily munching away.  When the man called out to her to alert her of the thief dog she came around to the front of the counter and scolded the dog who looked very puzzled and disappointed his bag of food was being taken away from him.  Ron said, "Stupid dog, doesn't he know when you steal food you should carry it away first where they can't see you eat it!"

Being Friday night, I wondered if more things would be open for weekend vacationers.  No such luck, it was just as quiet as it was during the week!  There were very few places open as we walked around town looking for a place to have dinner.  However, Ron and I will never starve!  We found a nice parrilla restaurant and enjoyed a bife de chorizo dinner, just can't get enough of that!  There was a table next to us with 4 old crusty geezers at it, their voices were graveled and loud and when the waitress came around there was always much chatter and conversation as they flirted with her.  These were probably local regulars and she chided and barbed right back at them.  With their old, graggly whiskey voices and her super fast reports, I could not understand a WORD!

Saturday April 21st - I was looking at the map of the town the hotel had given us and it looked like there was a whole other part of town we hadn't explored.  We took a long walk and it just turned out to be a residential area, on the map there was a HUGE boulevard and when we got there, it was a HUGE boulevard, there was just nothing there but grass and houses.  Nice walk though!  We walked back and by then we were in desperate need of a beer.  We stopped in a restaurant we had eaten in when we were here almost 3 years ago, the "Viejo Lobo" (Old wolf!).  We had a great lunch with a great view of the water, we even remembered our waiter from 3 years ago! 

Lunch at Viejo Lobo!

Pinamar Pictures 21-30


Ron told him we'd be back for dinner but the lunch was so huge we decided to skip dinner that night.

I started a book on Transcendental Mediation that I found at my step father’s house when I was there last January.  Ron looked at me suspiciously when I told him about the book, I assured him, “I don’t intend on becoming a “Moonie”, I just want to learn about other ways of looking at life and the meaning of our existence.”  He did not seem to be relieved.

Sunday April 22nd - Took another long week along the ocean and ended up in town.  We were strolling around looking for open stores when we heard some unique music playing.  Turned out the store had speakers outside so that you could hear the music and it sounded very nice so Ron went in to buy a copy.  Unfortunately, it was expensive at $22 but it gave us something to remember Pinamar by.  Advertising does work!

We stopped in a café that we had been in almost 3 years ago and ordered a beer.  We remembered when we were here before that we asked the waiter if he spoke English, and he said, “I am dangerous”, probably meaning that he was in trouble because he didn’t know that much English.  We both got a chuckle remembering that.

It started to rain so what's one to do but order another beer I guess!  Ron and I got into a great discussion on the existence of an afterlife, religion, the universe, life, atoms, molecules and the existence of matter and thought!  What was in that beer??

That night we walked to the "Viejo Lobo" for dinner.  There were people at only 2 other tables, but for a Sunday night in the off-season, I guess that's better then having no customers.  They have a nice big Ben Franklin stove in the middle of the restaurant and we sat close enough to it to feel its warmth.  I asked the waiter for suggestions for a fish and he suggested the lenguado which turned out to be a nice sole.  Ron had his with a caper sauce and I had mine just grilled.  We also ordered fried "calamaretas" or calamari, but it when it came the squids were really only about an inch long each.  They were REALLY good but I felt bad eating the little babies!

It was drizzling when we left the restaurant but the wind was nonexistent and with the cloud coverage it felt really warm, or maybe that was the wine and cafés we had!  By the time we got back to the hotel, probably a 20 minute walk we were a little wet.

Monday April 23rd - I wanted to sit in the sun a little bit to try and rejuvenate my tan from Cabo San Lucas in March.  The roof of the hotel is where the pool is along with nice glass windscreens to block the relentless coastal wind.  We sat on the roof to get some sun and read for a few hours.  You can tell winter is coming upon us, the sun was low in the sky but still felt warm when the wind stopped for a few seconds.

We walked into town to get some more groceries for breakfast and stopped to have a beer at a nice outdoor cafe'.  Thank goodness these places stay open, we were their only customers, don't know how they make enough money even to pay the electricity bill.

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Later we were in the hotel room playing 500 and I noticed the walls of the dining room had marks all over them.  This was a very nice hotel and I was kind of surprised the walls had these marks all over them and hadn’t been cleaned off.  I had the patio door open and as we were playing cards I started swatting mosquitoes.  I looked up and there were 10 mosquitoes on the ceiling.  Ron got a hand towel out and started swatting them and I suddenly realize why there are marks all over the walls.  We added our own set of marks!

We decided to have dinner at a German restaurant in town that we had eaten in 3 years previous.  We arrived at around 9:30 pm and we were the only ones in the restaurant.  I recognized the owner from our previous visit who seated us at a very nice table.  As I looked around the building was VERY handsome, lots of huge wood ceiling beams, antiques, perfect mood lightening, and the place is huge!  I can't believe she keeps the place open for only one guest, but I'm sure glad she did!  I looked at the extensive menu and wondered if they would have limited choices because of it being the off season.  I ordered roll mops for an appetizer, then fettuccini with mushrooms and Ron ordered a German plate of pork chops and sausages.  We also ordered a cheap red wine which turned out to be fantastic, have to remember the winery, Etchart!  My fettuccini had huge, thick homemade noodles and the mushrooms were so dark and had such a wonderful earthy flavor, it was fantastic!  Dinner was so good and such a nice place, we told the owner how much we enjoyed the dinner and she mentioned that they have another restaurant in town called “Gambas”.  With so little restaurants opened this time of year we told her we would be sure to try it, and if it was half as good as this place it would be a great meal.

Tuesday April 24th – Took another long walk on the beach, something so soothing about the ocean.  I noticed a restaurant that was facing the ocean had their website painted on the side of the building, www.caboblancopinamar.com.ar and I made a note to check it out when I got home.  Ron picked up a million sea shells along our walk, he’s been doing this his whole life and we have BOXES of shells at home to prove it.  He told me that when he was a kid he would go fishing with his brother and dad and they would get so made at him at the end of the day because the fish tackle box would be full of shells and rocks that Ron had collected.

Pinamar Pictures 31-40


We went to “Gambas” that night, as we were walking along the sky was very clear so we got a good view of all the stars.  Since we’re in the southern hemisphere, it’s strange to see all new constellations that I didn’t recognize.  As we approached the restaurant we saw two cars in the parking lot, I joked that they were probably the cook and the waitress!  When we entered we were the only ones in the restaurant and it looked like the two cars were the waitress’ and her boyfriends!  The meal was good, but not as good as the German restaurant the night before.

Wednesday April 25thOur last day to sit outside in the sun, read and generally just vegged out.  For our last dinner we went to Viejo Lobo for dinner and ordered the Paella.  The waiter pronounced the double “LL” with the Argentinean “JA” sound instead of the more common “YA” pronunciation found in other Spanish speaking countries.  It was a huge meal and we couldn’t finish it all but we still ordered cafés afterwards and Ron ordered a dessert.

Thursday April 26thTook the bus back home, pretty uneventful but the cats were glad to see us.  I looked up www.caboblancopinamar.com.ar and it sure didn’t look like that when we were there in the off season, maybe it looks like that in the middle of summer!  But it’s a fun site to get the feel for the place.  Ron called Maria at Crown Relocations to talk about our shipment from the USA.  She said that she would come over around 9 am the next morning to work out the details.  Wow, our stuff is finally arriving!  When we put that stuff on the back of that old jackass 6 months ago, I was sure it would die crossing the Andes, but here it was finally arriving!

Friday April 27thMaria showed up promptly at 9 am and immediately commented on the aroma of coffee as she entered our apartment.  I had told Ron to brew a fresh pot so we would have some when she got there.  Ron brought us the coffee and we sat to talk about how we were going to get our things delivered and Maria said she needed my passport to go to the customs office to sign for our things.  She then made a call to see when the moving guys could deliver our stuff.  Turned out next Tuesday was a holiday day so we decided on a Thursday delivery.  However, because of the neighborhood we live in and the way the buses run, deliveries have to be completed before 7am.  “BEFORE 7 AM IN THE MORNING??”, I asked!!  Guess we’ll have to set the alarm.

After we got the business out of the way, Maria noticed our "Palo Borracho" (direct translation “drunken tree”), the one outside our balcony with the huge blossoms on it.  I asked her if she knew why it was called that and she said it had to do with the shape of the trunk, ours is a very normal looking tree, but she said that most are very large around the lower trunk with an odd bulbous shape.  She kind of shrugged and said something about them looking funny, so they’re called drunk!  Hmmmmm!  She was telling us about some of her other customers who have a hard time transitioning to a new home in a foreign country and she said it was a pleasure to work with us because we’re enjoying things so much here, not like most Argentine’s she talks to who are pessimistic about the economy.  I’m sure I would be more depressed if I was looking for a job in the current situtation.  She also said we were her best customers because of our great attitude!  Wow!

Saturday April 28th – I went to Amazon.com to order a few things, I wanted to see how long it would take to get things delivered from the USA.  A regular stamped envelope takes 9 days under the best circumstances, other times it’s been weeks.  I love Amazon and quickly spent $150 on books, CDs and DVDs.  If you’ve never been to Amazon, DON’T GO!  Their website is the best and you’ll easily spend $200 in 30 seconds.  Amazon’s website reminded me it’s Mother’s day in a few days so I bought my mom an online gift certificate.  I did this once for my sister’s birthday and it was great because she could order what she wanted.

Monday April 30thAfter getting back from our Spanish class I told Claudio, our portero, that our things from California would be delivered on Thursday.  Since the delivery was going to be before 7 am, I didn’t know if he had to be there for security reasons because they would be using the service delivery elevator and the garage would be open.  Claudio said everything would be fine.  I just hoped he understood my Spanish!