Friday November 1st, 2002 – Rafael had called and said he still didn’t have all the money, but he would soon. Big surprise! We went out to dinner with Jeff and Maureen who had previously lived in Buenos Aires but were returning home to England. We told them of our apartment purchase and they were very concerned about everything for us and hoped that we weren’t getting in over our heads with buying an apartment in this crazy country.
Saturday November 2nd, 2002 – Went to the gay pride festival held in front of the Casa Rosada. It was a very nice, although small, festival. Coming from the San Francisco area, the gay pride parade there lasts for HOURS, here it was just 3 floats. A band was setup playing music and there were lots of people there with their kids, a very nice mix of families and couples.
Of course there were some outrageous drag queens and the visiting media were focusing on their crazy costumes and flaming antics, but that’s the press, don’t show anyone normal, that’s too boring for the nightly news.
We strolled around and looked at some of the booths petitioning for civil marriage rights, adoption and community services, picked up our free Tshirts advertising some kind of condom and then took the bus home.
Monday November 4th, 2002 – Visited the new apartment again with different architects, we were still interviewing some architects that friends were highly recommending. Still happy with the purchase.
Friday November 8th, 2002 – Worked out at the gymnasium with my friend Alberto in the morning, it was pouring rain and I got drenched walking to the gym even with an umbrella. On my way home I walked along Belgrano street looking at furniture for the new apartment. Belgrano is a place where a lot of furniture stores are congregated and although a lot of it was not very good quality, some of it was quite nice.
That evening I told Ron I wanted to try a new place for dinner, I had spotted this place before just walking around our neighborhood, it’s called Teatriz and is furnished like a “Theater” with big curtains, crazy leopard and checkerboard patterned white and black chairs, a mock stage, etc. We arrived at 9:00 pm and they hadn’t even opened the doors yet. We had a really wonderful meal and when we were leaving around 11:45pm the place was almost filled.
Saturday November 9th, 2002 – I took Ron to Belgrano street looking at furniture for the new apartment. As we walked along Ron would say, “Wow, look at that!”, and I’d say, “Oh God, are you nuts?” Then I would see something and point it out and Ron would say, “Not in a MILLION years!” After a few hours of walking around Ron said, “This is going to be harder then I thought furnishing the new apartment!”
Tuesday November 12th, 2002 – At that Halloween party I had met the owner of a moving company called “Transpack” and I had given him my business card. He had called me and said that they wanted to redesign their corporate website and would I be interested? I said, “SURE!” and went over for an interview. We had a good meeting and Cliff gave me the go ahead to start working on some ideas. He got up to a white board and started drawing some diagrams for different businesses he was involved in and wanted to design web pages for, I got a few cold flashes thinking about my days at corporate Xerox and the endless sea of white boards, meetings and brainstorming sessions.
Wednesday November 13th, 2002 – Before Ron left Adobe he purchased every product they had including the tutorials, I did some PhotoShop tutorials to prepare for some work I wanted to do with the Transpack website.
Monday November 18th, 2002 – Met with Cliff at Transpack and gave them the first draft of the updated website.
Wednesday November 20th, 2002 – Started off as a rainy day which Olga always says is good luck. She said it’s good luck to get married on a rainy day, so I tried to stay optimistic as today we were to get the keys to the apartment! We all met again at the currency exchange house, the owner, his 3 sons who were actually on the deed as the owners of the apartment, the escribana and a legal interpreter to translate the deed into English. Although only the Spanish deed is legal in a court of law, they said when you aren’t fluent in Spanish, you need to also have a legal interpreter translate to be sure you know what you’re signing. The escribana read through the document in Spanish, checking passports and identification of all the concerned parties. She explained that all payments had been made current for taxes, utilities, etc. We all signed the papers, the owner made some kind of signal behind us again, and the money was instantly transferred to his account. The second the money exchanged hands, we appeared to get the “bums” rush and everyone said their congratulations and took off in a flash. There was almost a vacuum created as they all fled the room. We exchanged hugs and kisses with Olga, it appeared we had finally “done” it and bought an apartment.
Ron and I stopped by a favorite neighborhood restaurant, “Damingos”, on the way home to have lunch. We ordered a big juicy steak, papa fritas, ensalada mixta and a bottle of good cheap red wine. We clinked to our good fortune and our new apartment, can’t believe we finally did it!
Friday November 22nd, 2002 – Went to see some apartments that our architect friend Pablo had remodeled. His assistant Cynthia was showing us how they remodeled the kitchen and bathroom and talked about varies designs they had considered for the apartment. We want to choose the architect soon so that we can get started on the remodel as soon as possible.
Met our friends Felipe, Ricardo, Ari and Ignacio at the apartment and toasted with champagne. Everyone agreed that the apartment location and views were incredible but that it did need to be remodeled. Afterwards we went to a local restaurant called Rigolletos for dinner. We sat down and the waiter came over as Felipe and Ricardo started asking about specials and things that were good that night. Everything was very rapid Spanish and I couldn’t understand a word. Ron and I picked something from the specials written on a board on the wall as everyone rapid fired their orders at the waiter. I could never work in a restaurant in Argentina, I don’t think I will ever become fluent enough to understand things in a crowded, noisy restaurant.
Saturday November 23rd, 2002 – Ron and I went to see some apartment with Diego, the architect of our friend Russell, for him to show us his work.
Went to the apartment with Dee and Fernando to show them the place and have another excuse to drink champagne.
Showing my friend Alberto the view
They drove us to Dee’s apartment afterwards and prepared us dinner. The previous time we ate out I had asked Fernando the difference in some pastas. There is a pasta here that just looks like a HUGE ravioli, I asked Fernando what they are called and he said Sorrentinos, and said they are filled with ham and ricotta cheese. I asked what’s the difference between those and raviolis and he said Sorrentinos are only filled with ham and ricotta, no other filling. Since I had asked about them, Fernando knew of a local pasta store that made good Sorrentinos so he made us them for dinner. VERY tasty!
Tuesday, November 26th, 2002 – Ron and I debated all the different architects we interviewed and decided on the team of Alberto and Ricardo. It was a very difficult decision but we listed all the pros and cons of each of the 5 architects we interviewed and picked them. We were happy to finally make a decision and get the process started.
Thursday November 28th, 2002 – Thanksgiving. Ron considered getting a turkey to roast, but summer is starting and the thought of turning the oven on for 5 hours did NOT seem appealing. We ordered sushi instead! Kind of reminded me of my Uncle Eddie, this time of year is crab season in California and he would always buy a bunch of cracked crabs, some sour dough bread and some cheap Californian Chardonnay, cover the dining room table with old newspapers, plop it all down in the center of the table and have a crab feast for Thanksgiving. Fantastic!
Friday November 29th, 2002 – Our 90 day tourists visas were about to expire so we needed to get out of the country and get our passports stamped. We have heard about a town in Uruguay called “Colonia” which is about the closest city across the river. Ron got some tickets for the Buquebus ferry and we were off. The town is called “Colonia” because it is a colonial town that was founded by Portuguese and part of the town has been preserved as a historical landmark. The town is filled with beautiful low colonial buildings and cobblestone streets. Everyone told us a day is sufficient to see the town and they were right, it is very small but quite lovely.
We tried to get some money out of an ATM but was having problems, good thing we brought a few hundred pesos with us. We stopped for lunch in a nice restaurant and the waiter came over and verbally told us some specials, one of which was ñoquies, the delicious potato dumplings that my friend Alberto makes so well. We ordered those and a couple of cold beers. The lunch was very nice, although the ñoquies were not as good as Albertos, and then I asked for the bill.
When it arrived the ñoquies lunch ended up costing us $30 pesos each and the beers where $12 a piece. I almost had a heart attack. I knew that after the Argentine devaluation that Uruguay was now slightly more expensive, but $30 pesos for ñoquies?? Usually ñoquies are extremely inexpensive, in fact they have them in the restaurants on the 29th of every month, because by the end of the month no one has any money waiting for their paycheck on the 1st, so they buy ñoquies because they’re filling and cheap.
Saturday November 30th, 2002 – Took a nice walk along the river coast, summer is definitely here as it was very hot.
Having breakfast in our hotel
A very nice little dining room
We stopped to have lunch at a restaurant that a friend recommended and a wedding was going on across the plaza. We still weren’t able to get money out of the ATM so we didn’t have much money for lunch and ordered a cheap special of a big bottle of beer and some onion rings. It was fun to drink our beer and eat our onion rings while we saw the church fill up and then empty out after the quick ceremony. Poor bastards! If only they knew what they were in for, they’d go running and screaming from the alter before completing their vows! ;o)