Day 3: Apple Store, Japanese Garden, Tango music

Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
Trip End Dec 26, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 3: Apple Store, Feria Internacional de Artesanias, Japanese Garden, Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso for dinner and Argentinian music; Buenos Aires
Art Suites, Friday, December 5th

At 8:30 AM, we answer a knock on our door and our continental breakfast has arrived!  The Art Suites may be an apartment, but it has several services associated with hotels such as breakfast, daily maid service, internet access and a friendly and helpful concierge.  All this in combination with the extra space of an apartment, small kitchen and a convenient location makes this a great choice for us!   Plus, I like the feeling of being in a residential area; when we walk out the door, we are where locals live. 

Right now, I am looking at the basket of assorted breads, hot coffee, juice, and jellies.  It seems that portenos like their sweets as the breads have a sugar glaze on them. We add to the table some of the goodies we purchased last night, the fresh bananas, cheese and yogurt.  Quite a spread!

Waking up this morning, Harvey & I felt a bit better after our hot showers.  Our barometers are probably a 4 with no physical condition problems, but not optimal energy, and a 3+ on emotional/spiritual barometer, feeling glimmers of curiosity coming back.  Our plan for the day:  Apple Store, Artisan Fair, back to the apartment for a rest, leave for Tango music at 8:30 P.M.

We have time before we need to leave for the Apple store that opens at 10 AM. I dig into my luggage and find my personal notes of intentions and touchstones for this trip that I wrote before leaving.  I read and revitalize my mind with two of my favorite quotes about travel:

"One's destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things." By Henry Miller
"There is only one journey.  Going inside yourself."  By Rainer Maria Rilke

I sink into a comfortable chair and refresh myself on our Touchstones; these are guideposts for our style of travel, a sort of philosophy of travel.   I share them here so that any reader who might find this approach to travel interesting may wish to use them as a springboard for developing their own touchstones.   This list evolves as a result of our travel experiences; here are our current touchstones:

ˇ    I don't have to see and do everything on the list!  Be flexible with the days.  If find something you like, stay with it and don't move on until you feel ready.  
ˇ    Focus on what we're doing at the moment. Live NOW.
ˇ    Be open - all senses and respond.
ˇ    Body and soul are on this trip!
ˇ    Be open to the unexpected, and don't sweat the small stuff.
ˇ    Let the experiences and the images find me.
ˇ    Follow intuition - don't succumb to over-planning and a tight, rigid schedule.  Keep your eyes and ears open.  If something looks or sounds interesting, follow your intuition and see what you find!  
ˇ    Stay rested and nurture our spirit.  Rest & relaxation are sacred. Make sure you balance the days so this is possible.
ˇ    Practice breathing and self reflection - find the emptiness between thoughts.
ˇ    Every state of mind, every choice and action and engenders consequences.
ˇ    Listen to the voice of possibilities, only observe the voice of limitation.
ˇ    Observe my thinking.

I refresh myself on these so they are in my mind today as the day's choices and experiences emerge.  These are my guiding themes or approaches when decisions are needed.  It is a challenge sometimes to turn these ideas into action, but I remind myself that life is a process!

While I am reading and reflecting, Harvey is playing his guitar.  He has gone Argentinian and is practicing a milonga by Cardoso!  We are both getting in the Argentinian mode!

It's now 10 AM and time to go to the Mac Store and get the power supply tested.  The building has a beautiful ornate exterior and a very modern high tech interior.  Very cool.  A young woman greets us and Harvey starts describing the problem in Spanish and she quickly responds in English.  She tests the power supply, looks up the laptop serial number in their computer, and says that they will give us a new one.  She tests the new one and we are on our way!  Simple.  Hurrah for Apple and their service in Argentina!  Just a note here - always keep a copy of your passport with you at all times.  We needed it to complete the paperwork here, but also at the Movistar store for the cell phone.  Since you never know when you'll need it, keep a copy with you at all times.

This afternoon, we are going to the Feria Internacional de Artesanias, held once a year in December at La Rural, across the street from Plaza Italia.  The fair offers for sale work of artisans from Argentina as well as other countries in the region.  There is metal work, leather, jewelry, fabrics and wool goods and things for home décor.  All sorts of things!  We find the Plaza Italia on our map and make our way in that direction. We are walking on a main street and see lots of people and shops.  One building catches our attention - it looks like an old church that is falling apart, but the door is open and we consider exploring.  Harvey urges us in and we find it is the University of Buenos Aires School of Engineering.  It has a museum of technology that has typewriters and slide rules! Harvey remembers his slide rule and we both remember that we learned to type and did all of our college papers on typewriters.

We continue on the main street and locating the street signs is sometimes a challenge.  As you will see in the photos, sometimes they are crystal clear, sometimes they are tiny or hidden, and sometimes non existent.  
When we have walked about one hour, we feel a little hungry and we think we are approaching the fair, so we stop in a small café.  Just think food, look around and you will find a place to eat!  No problem!  This is a charming place and we order the daily special.  It is a greek salad, chicken empanada and pizza, with two drinks and it totals 59 pesos.  The greek salad was interesting in that it had fresh tomato, red pepper and olives; you put the olive oil and vinegar on yourself.  It seems common that salads do not include lettuce.  We will need to ask about this.

After lunch we walk a short distance and look for the Plaza Italia, where it should be according to the map.  It turns out that we are at the Italian Embassy!  My mistake - I did not read the map correctly.  Oops!  It's a beautiful building, but it's not our destination.  Looking at the map, we now find the Plaza Italia and we need to continue on the main Hera street for awhile, which we do.  We pass several parks with lots of trees.  The streets have lots of shops and people. As it is a busy street, lots of buses and cars add to the noise. Harvey seems to be fine with this error and doesn't seem to be upset with me.  I am amused that I made such a silly error.  Well, we finally make it to La Rural after another 40 minutes or so of walking.  And when we walk up to the entrance, we are informed that the fair opens at 3 PM, in two more hours!  Now what to do?  We're both calm - if Harvey is frustrated, he's not showing it.  I thought I had checked the hours on the internet before leaving, but maybe I didn't; or maybe it's different on the opening day?  Who knows, anyway we need to decide what to do!

We look at the map and determine that we are in walking distance of the Japanese Garden.  We walk along a wide boulevard bordering on the zoo, and finally find the garden. This garden has the standard symbols of the Japanese garden, the water, boulders, bridge.  There is one section where the large boulders are placed in the lake and the vista is interesting.  Unlike the traditional Japanese garden, the noise of the local traffic is ever present. We wonder if there are pigeons in Japan; I will google that and find out.  We find a bench and rest our feet from all the walking we have done today.

When we return to the Feria, the guard recognizes us and welcomes us.  Portenos have been so friendly and nice to us!  We walk through and wonder what it is about all the knives that we see.  Does it have something to do with the Argentinian gaucho tradition?  We see lots of mate containers, silver, wood, wool clothing and products made by hand.  From a woman in Cordoba, we buy a talisman necklace of silver and turquoise.  We talk briefly with her and we wish each other "Buena suerte", as we are her first sale of the feria.  I walk past a booth that has wooden bowls with silver handles.  The woman is indigenous and she has a beautiful face and her calm energy just seems to transfer when we smile at each other as I look at her bowls.   Isn't it interesting how you can get impressions and feel energy from people?  We see a display of colored glass bowls and we stop to talk with the artist.  With our limited Spanish, we are struggling.  Another visitor to the feria, walks up and helps with the translation.  We would like to buy something but can't figure out how to ship it home.  And so we pass.

It is now about 4:30 PM and we take a taxi back to our apartment.  Sergio, the doorman, calls to confirm dinner and our show for tonight.  We discuss Christmas eve and he says that he will work on possibilities for us.  We so appreciate his help!

We are upstairs taking a rest now.  Harvey is setting up to recharge the cell phone. Oh boy, he says he can't find the cable!  He is almost sure that he has already charged it once, so we check all the bags.  No cable turns up.  So we visit Sergio and he gives us a map, marking the location of stores that might have the cable.  I'm calm and think we'll figure something out.  Harvey is concerned and annoyed with himself.  We check multiple stores and come to the conclusion that we need to check in the apartment again.  This time, Harvey looks in my headset case and there they are!  What a relief!  Lesson learned: on all important electronic equipment, carry two of everything, just in case it is misplaced or in case of malfunction! Before our next trip, we will purchase another set of cables for the cell phone.

Tonight we go to the Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso.  We arrive at 9 PM and sit down to order our dinner of steak, fries and salad and a full bottle of wine!  About 10 PM, the musicians start playing.  We look at each other and say we are so glad to be here.  The piano, bass, and bandolin are excellent tango/jazz musicians!  After this group is done, we are surprised to learn that there will be a second group!  This one is a guitar and bandolino, more classical tango. 

At our small table, we are joined by a woman who has been in Buenos Aires for three months, learning to dance tango.  Her friend joins her, and we learn they are both from Canada. She also is here to learn tango and Spanish.  She tells us a story about her returning to Canada with a change of planes in Miami. Even though she was in transit, she was questioned she thinks because of her Iranian background.  She was finger printed and she feels badly treated.  She feels the U.S. is like a police state similar to Iran.  We share with her our experience of working for clients in Canada and what it is like to get into Canada for that purpose.  Of course, there is no comparison.

When we return to our apartment at 1 AM, we ask the doorman to change our breakfast request to 9:30 AM!  We're getting to be more on a more Argentinian schedule!

Today's photos!
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