We arrived in the fascinating tango city of Buenos Aires, Argentina (yellow) on December 21, 2005. It ended the end of February after staying for 3 weeks on a beautiful beach in Uruguay (small grey). The European influence is obvious in appearance, attitudes and architecture. Their affectionate nature is demonstrated in greetings with hugs and kisses. You can always tell who is the “Argentine” or “Uruguayan” when you see individuals with their mate' (tea) sipped through a spoon-like straw and a thermos of hot water for continual refills. It is a shared drink with intimate friends.
Some highlights of our trip…… Christmas and New Year's Eve was spent quietly alone. However, we did find our own "Ball" on the wharf of Buenos Aires. Even though BA is a "party town", we were NOT among them. We missed being with our family over the holidays, so Mindy's arrival for 2 weeks in January, 2006, was a special treat.
We enjoyed being entertained by street tango dancers who dance for tips. We attended two professional tango shows performed by young, energetic and sensual dancers. No, we did not do any tango dancing! We did, however, tour the famous Theater Colon. For $1 we saw their philharmonic in the standing-room, nose-bleed section. Yes, it was worth it.
No visit to Argentina is complete without visiting Recoleta Cemetery and of course, Evita Peron’s gravesite and museum. The famous cemetery not only houses the elite dead, but is home to hundreds of stray cats. Mindy could not resist petting one who looked like Snickers.
Another must see is the famous Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil. The largest and most spectacular in the world. We took the adventure boat ride. Mindy enjoyed getting soaking wet. To get to the Falls, we took a fully serviced sleeper bus for our 16 hour ride from Buenos Aires.
One of our tours in the area of the FALLS was a river boat ride to the edge of Paraguay where children came to give a greeting and perform a little dance for us. A proud people who are striving to maintain their culture. We were not allowed to leave the boat.
We also visited a Guarni village near the Falls. At one time these nomadic people enjoyed a healthy lifestyle and long lives. Our guide demonstrated the skills and techniques for survival. The government has taken the land and is helping them preserve their fading culture.
Another highlight was to visit the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Buenos Aires. We were impressed with young Bryon Butler who showed us their ministry and shared about their goal to start a new outreach to young professionals Byron took us to the CMA publishing house, the Bible college and seminary, and neighborhood where they plan to launch the new program.
A frequent sight on the streets of BA were the professional dog-walkers leading as many as 15 dogs. Of course, that meant we had to be constantly on our guard where we walked! No laughing matter!
To complete our Argentina experience, we spent a day at an estancia (horse ranch). Then Mindy left for home after a whirlwind two week stay! The two of us left immediately for a couple weeks stay in one of the most beautiful places in Argentina.
After a 19 hour ride in a sleeper bus, we arrived in San Carlos Bariloche (little Switzerland) in Western Argentina near the Chile border. It is surrounded by snow covered mountains. The air is crisp and clean. The days are hot, the evenings and mornings cool. Our cabin is at the base of a ski resort, about a half hour outside of town and is owned by a member of the CMA church in BA.
We took two ski lifts to get to the top and then a hike up further to view snow covered Mt. Tronador which is part of the Andes Mountain range that borders Argentina and Chile. Our guide pulled a fast one on all of us. He took our group up one way, and led us back another. In order to get down, we had to slide down the snow on our butts. Too steep to walk down. It was a pretty funny sight. Lots of laughs from everyone and very wet bottoms! But the view from the top was worth it!
Our last three weeks were spent in Punta del Este, Uruguay in a condo with a beautiful view! We enjoyed the beach, sunny days, cool evenings, but most of all, we enjoyed the people we met. The condo staff showered us with flowers for our 44th wedding anniversary! People like our next door neighbors, Richard and Anni from England, Raul at the restaurant, Rudy from Germany, two young businesswomen from BA, Flavia and Gigi, Mr. Lamm and numerous clerks and waiters made our stay in Uruguay unforgettable!
Now we are back home with wonderful memories. So, what's next? The Rescue Mission convention in Seattle in May. Can we go that far and NOT visit Alaska?
Did someone hear Dave say something................?