A Meteorological Inconvenience

Trip Start Jan 23, 2007
Trip End Feb 23, 2008

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

..........And they arrived, After little planning, lots of cleaning, and a hefty load of anxiety on Dan's side, Mom Dad, Harvey Nancy, Mr. and Mrs. Leffring (or however you personally address them) arrived!..... We don't think they knew what they were in for, but we had a lot of fun!

The arrival was long awaited as Sarah edged herself over the airport balcony peering into customs.... (it was adorable). The ride in was smooth (and sadly enough something that would become all too familiar), the move in was flawless, and within 30 minutes Mom, Nancy, Mrs. Leffring, was shopping in a crap fair and the touring had begun.

Saturday was spent walking around San Telmo, their new Barrio for the next 10.... wait 12 days...Taking the trip over to see our apartment (ask them for opinions...I'm just leaving it at that), and making the stroll into Down Town (Micro Centro) BsAs.

Immediately Mom, Nancy, Mrs. Leffring, was introduced to Cafe con Leche and Dad, Harvey, Mr. Leffring had a Warstiner... we ate Argentina pizza (Jamon y Olives) and prepared to watch free tango dancing, but the dancers Cd play was broke... so we had to settle for live classical guitar in Plaza Dorrego (not an awful way to start!)

~side note... as we toured around Micro Centro, Sarah and I got to show off where we work at Citibank... in desperate need of a pit stop the security guard of the bank let us in to use their bath rooms... inside a bank, off hours, randomly! sometimes I love this country!

Saturday was an early night...

Sunday started off quick ( I think everyone rolled out of bed around 11:30!), and we headed out to Recoleta... little did I know that pattern was going to form at this moment that would push me to see notches in my belt I never used before...and in many ways I thank you for that!

Lunch was at our favorite micro-brewery Buellers- Sarah and I introduced Mom Dad, Harvey Nancy, Mr.&Mrs. Leffring to the oh so famous Sala GOLF!... I think some packets may have been smuggled home for everyone's tasting...if not just mix mayonnaise and ketchup and lap it up with some papas fritas (french fries).

The day lead us back into the cemetery Recoleta, and the largest crap fair inside Capital Federal, and by 5 pm it was time for our "Marienda" or tea time.

A local custom that is very British in its origin, is to stop everything you are doing at around 5pm and go somewhere with friend and have a coffee and eat pastries... you have a little sobremesa or table talk and if you are truly argentine 2 to 3 hours later you leave... Besides media lunas (a delicious little half moon shaped pastry) and us, I think this little coffee time will be missed the most by Mom Dad, Harvey Nancy, Mr & Mrs. Leffring.

Later that evening Sarah and I ran into something we were afraid of... The Porteno eating Schedule v. the Harvey, Dad, Mr. Leffring, eating schedule

the first night Portenos won... We made it to El Des Nievel promptly at 9 after some patient stalling and procrastinating. (the 5 blocks in a cab story is also funny but...please refer all questions about cabs to Mrs. Leffring, she can tell you better stories than I)

This was the first of a couple of parrillas that we would eat at, and by far the best one I know.

4 filets
2 french fries
1 salad
2 provaletas
1 bottle of wine
2 beers
2 Cokes

120 pesos = U$S 40... I love it

For me blogging ends here until the following weekend.... though I had a blast all week long, I was working while Sarah was touring so she will continue from here on out until I come back in on Friday...

I have to say thank you to the Leffrings for everything, I hope you had a lot of fun, you made Sarah so happy and you generosity is unbelievable... I had a lot of fun, Mr. L, Harvey... I left the Argentine fight song at the bottom of the page so that in 2 hours when Argentine is dominating Brasil and I'm running around with my cape, you can sing the songs along with the county!
Mrs. L, Nancy, thank you so much for everything... I'm working on smuggling some media lunas or at least their recipe back home for you!

so now Sarah

Thanks to Dan I was able to spend the week with my parents. Dan so kindly took my hours and finally saw how crazy my schedule actually is.... anyways. The week flew by so fast with touring and eating and visiting. My parents enjoyed dinners much more with Dan for the translation than with I at lunch but such is life and they survived!!!

On Monday Dan was able to join us for the afternoon. We went to Puerto Madero had some Pasta and Pizza for lunch... the next step was to rent bikes and tour the Ecological Reserve but Dan and I didn't do our homework. 1) You can only rent bikes on the weekends and on holidays and 2) the ecological reserve is closed on Mondays so we were off to a great start!!! We ended up at the Hilton Hotel for our 5 o'clock cafe after walking around Puerto Madero. Then after our coffee we went on the Navel Boat from the 1890's and early 1900's. There was a picture of the crew with President Taft and his wife... The best part of the Navel Ship was the "translations" from Spanish to English. At every staircase there was poster advising you to be careful and in English it read... "Get going slowly and carefully down and up the stairs", "thank you for your commendation (in stead of cooperation)", and many others that are escaping my mind right now but I am sure my Father remembers more!!!!

Tuesday was spent at the Palermo Zoo and Parks until it got cloudy and cold. At the zoo we saw the baby white tigers!!! They we chasing each other and playing like little cubs do... My Dad's allergies were affected by ALL the cats that roam the parks here in BsAs so we had our 5 o'clock cafe a little earlier but today is when my Mom's "thefting/lifitng" ideas began. My Mom is in love with the little glass of water they serve you with your coffee and the little spoons they give you to stir your coffee that she wanted to take a few home and I promise Mom I will snag some for you!!! Tuesday was also my Mother's first experience with a true Buenos Aires cab driver. At one point her eyes were closed and her hands were covering her eyes. Needless to say Argentines do not obey "lane usage" and brake a little too late.... The next time my Mother gets into a cab will be quiet some time. Tuesday night my Mom and I stayed home while Dad and Dan went to the bar to watch Argentina play against Columbia in the Copa America. My Father just loved interacting with the Argentines and learning Chants and celebrating in their victory with them!!!

Wednesday consisted of going to Plaza San Martin and where we saw the Memorial to the Malvianas (Falkland) Islands. We then went into the Marriot just to be nosey... but the rest of the day was a bust. We went to an area that was recommended for leather but we found nothing. We were rather disappointed and we went to a small plaza to walk around and have our coffee and warm up!! Wednesday night although was a FANTASTIC night. We went to El Vejo Almacen for a Tango Show. Dinner was at 8 PM and the show was from 10 - 12 PM. The dinner was great and the show was even better. To watch these dancers's foot work and their costumes was just amazing. There were lifts, flips, dips, and more that just happened so fast you were in awe of their ability. Had some great artists play Folk Music, talented Tango musicians and singers... it was great entertainment and definitely something Dan and I wouldn't have done on our own so THANK YOU to Mom and Dad for our Birthday Dinners!!!!

Thursday morning my parents came to class with me and had coffee and medialunas with one of my students!!! My student just talked to him about his family, about his job, and Argentina. My parents really enjoyed listening to him talk and they got an Argentine History lesson out of the deal. Afterwards we took them to our institute to meet other teachers and the office staff... they had another coffee and then we went to Galeria Pacifico... their version of Woodfield with beautiful paintings and architecture on the ceilings!! After lunch we went to the congress building and took a tour of the Senate side. The connection between the senate and house was closed on Thursday. It was a dark building and very old. The best part of the tour though was my Mother's response afterwards. We are not even 5 steps out of the building and she says, "You think for a national building they could dust!!!" My Dad and I couldn't' stop laughing ... Our 5 o'clock cafe was at Cafe Tortoni... a very famous and old cafe which is known for their "dense" Chocolate. It's melted chocolate (dark chocolate almost) which you can add as little or as much milk to as you want and make the best HOT CHOCOLATE you'll ever have!!! Thursday night was game #2 that Dad and Dan went too.... although there weren't as many fans at this bar they still had a good time!!!!

Friday I can't remember what we did during the day... sorry. Maybe it will come to me by the time we are finished or most likely after we publish the blog. Friday night we went to Pena del Colorado in hopes of seeing a band play but they were booked so we had to eat in the back but the atmosphere and food was just as good!!! We went to bed early because Saturday was going to be a big day of shopping!!!

On Saturday we went to Tigre. We woke up early because we had an hour train ride there and on the way we stopped in Acacasso for breakfast... well an Argentine breakfast. Dad got an omelet and Dan, Mom, and I got Argentine Pancakes!!! Dan got a pancake with cream and dulce de leche (their version of Carmel), Mom got a pancake with cream (real cream) and strawberries, and I got ice cream, strawberries, and chocolate syrup!!! It was a great breakfast! Until Saturday we had GREAT weather... high 50s and sunny, but on Saturday when we go to the outdoor market it's cloud and low 50s and slightly rainy. But the rain and cold didn't hold my Mom back from shopping!!! Saturday night we were all exhausted after the day and went out for a "light" dinner. But the dinner didn't like my Father so much and he got "food poisoning" and was up all night. I felt SO bad but now he is feeling better.

So on Sunday it was even colder and winder than Saturday and we didn't do much. My Mom, Dan, and I went to the fair and did some shopping for around an hour and then came home warmed up, checked in on Dad and then went back out. Sunday night we got some home cooking from my Mommy. We made chicken and potatoes but still it was nice to have taste of home!!!

Monday morning we woke up to another cloudy and cold day!!! Mom and Dad packed their bags and we went out for lunch. During lunch my father said it looks like it's snowing and Dan and I both responded with no it's sleet... it NEVER snows in Buenos Aires. Well by the end of lunch it was snowing and it didn't stop till Tuesday morning. Monday also so happened to be the day of my parents departure. It was so cold outside we spent the day on the couch under blankets watching TV waiting for the Remise (fancy taxi) to come and pick us up to take us to the airport. The best part of the drive to the airport was watching all the argentine's pulled over on the shoulder and out playing in the snow. For some this is the first time they've ever seen snow. It's a once a century event our students tell us. 89 years was the last time Buenos Aires saw snow accumulate on the ground!!!

Now the true adventure of the trip begins... by 6 PM my parents were checked and we were saying goodbye at the gate, tears were shed and lots of hugs and kisses. By 8 PM Dan and I were back at our apartment moving back in when we got a call from my father saying Delta just cancelled their flight (they were flying Continental...) and the chaos begun. Around 9:20ish we new via the internet their flight was cancelled but they had not made the announcement at the airport. But Dan and I called our friend Carlos who drove us back out to the airport to pick up my parents and they came back home for what they thought would be just one night. Tuesday morning my Dad called his assistant and asked her to confirm their flights and well we found out that they WERE NOT on Tuesday nights flight but she booked them for Wednesday.

Regardless of the fact that they were not on Tuesday's flight we had to go to the airport and get their luggage. We were at the airport for 5 hours waiting in lines.... Listening to people to go off in Spanish, English, German and who knows what other languages were spoken that night by passengers. But Continental called this a meteorological inconvenience (hence our blog title) and this was not their responsibility. Some passengers are still here in BsAs and are getting out early this week. Absolute insanity. But luckily my parents got home only 2 days later and are settled back in and feeling better!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Mom and Dad for coming down and visiting us and seeing where we live and what were doing. We hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did. It was so good to see you!!! Thank you for everything! We love you.

Now we're getting back into our routine... apartment hunting for a new place to live and getting ready for the arrival of Bree in 2 weeks and then our trip to Ireland in 3 weeks!!!

REMINDER: Mark your CALENDARS we're home Saturday and Sunday August 18th and 19th!!!!

Dan's side note.... Portenos often call themselves "Chantas" which is a nice way of saying they are probably lying to you and at the same time they probably have no idea what they are talking about! This Phenomenon was experienced by the 4 of us this week in many different ways... directions, taxis, airports... but most of all Snow... everyone says it doesn't snow in Buenos Aires... expect Monday... when a Millimeter of snow grounded all the planes in the country!

Sunday night we suffered a defeat to Brazil in the Copa America and Dan is still very affected by this loss at this moment. But we still included Argentina's chant to show our support and faith that one day they might win a title!!!!

Vamos vamos Argentina
Vamos vamos a ganar
Que esta barra quilombera
No te deja no te deja de alentar

Go go Argentina
We're going to win
This damn group of fans
Won't quit supporting you
(OK, that's my translation)

This Sunday we are moving to a new apartment. We will send everyone new pictures and contact information after the move... but stay posted!!!
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