Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Here's to the year of the ox......

We rented bikes again last weekend and talked three new friends into going.... Skiara from the Philippines, Betsy from Panama, and Andrew from Florida.











We went twice as far as the first time, making it all the way to downtown, Recoleta barrio.












After dropping off the bikes we hiked back to the small China town in our barrio, Belgrano...just in time for street treats and Chinese New Year celebration. Note the apartment in the upper right hand corner... we dream of something similar for our next move...









Skiara asked this guy to pose with her.... his whole group had this ninja thing going ....












Just so you know that life is not totally idyllic down here, here is where we spent most of Monday... at the Immigration office,.... STILL working on our visa....



Saturday, January 24, 2009

reconnecting to our youth continued....



"And she rode off into the sunset"......

OK, I will admit it.... when i saw this very smooth guy ride up to our favorite corner restaurant with his rock and roll coming out of great on-cycle speakers, i shamelessly begged him for a photo... (and he foolishly didn't ask me to go for a ride.)....









No, this was not a rock and roll concert...the stage and seating are in the middle of one of the biggest downtown streets.... (that's why there was a traffic light right above our heads.... truly amazing... again, big screens on the sides so we could see detail of the dancers.... a lot of technical difficulties to staging a major symphonic and dance event in the middle of a huge street. the stage is elevated, the seating is at street level, the orchestra and choruses are really amplified - there were about 6,000 seats in an enclosed area and at least another 6,000 standing outside. i had doubts concerning the amplification and jumbotron screens flanking the stage, but both proved to be positive elements. This was a showcase for the very renowned Argentine, Inaki, who is returning to Buenos Aires after a long stint in Europe and Russia so, the chorography was designed around him. Too much so for the work of Orff, but a showcase is what it was. Again, the governmental support for the arts made this huge undertaking - admission free -a great spectacle. the solo vocalists were particularly grand. what a pity they stayed in the pit. i need to see someone who can sing like that. eschew my negativity, this was a not to be missed performance and I'm really glad we arrived two hours early to secure seating.













Right before the performance, it started raining ...and a few minutes later the salesmen that had been wandering around selling pop and cheap binoculars appeared with stacks of pink raincoats for 3 bucks each....so did they have a car parked around the corner full of items to fit any audience need? i don't know...








While Dave has been off at Spanish class 5 afternoons a week, I have been hanging out in the neighborhood, people watching, practicing Spanish in a more casual way....on the table is the painting i have been working on sans frame... makes it very portable...














The owner of our grocery store and his baby... a really nice family and nice little store right on our block. Ali the basic stuff including fresh fruit and veggies, and a limited meat market. we generally walk a little further for meat and fish or a larger selection of produce, but this absolutely adequate, and right around the corner. doesn't matter where in bs. as. you live, i doubt you're more than a block away from all your general shopping.




Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday in the Park

Could it be that this 60+, chubby, ex-9to5-sit-at-her-desk-for-ten-years finally rode a bike for two hours? Yes, it's true and here are the pictures to prove it! After finding bike lanes that I thought I could navigate and survive (no taxis or buses), I tracked down a couple of bike stores, read adds on the Argentine equivalent of Craig's List (Segundo Mano), but I just wasn't ready to take the plunge and buy one. One, "acquiring" another possession, and one that could not fit into one of my 3 suitcases went against my goal of simplifying; and two, for all I knew, after one ride, I would have to lay in bed with ice packs and pain pills for the whole of the next day. Then Dave spied a big purple garage full of bicycles to rent right near our entrance to the park. So this Sunday,we took off! ...and its a good thing cars arent allowed in the park on Sundays because I immediately forgot how the brakes worked and crossed in front of two pedestrians and ran into a tree. Thankfully, after about half an hour of riding , I seemed to have remembered the skills last used when I was a teenager.





It was truly idyllic to ride through all the park land that I had been seeing from a bus or taxi window for two months now. We made it to the big Palermo Park and followed the sounds of cheering, announcements on loud speakers,...then found the final ceremonies of the Dakar Rally. I am not a big race fan, but this 15 day race across Argentina and Chile had caught my attention, seeing all the different landscape those speed happy guys went through. You can maybe make out the big screen that everyone is looking at...City events have these so that people in the back can see what's going on on the stage...


As we road away from the stage, we followed the temporary white fences and got to see the different driving teams up closer as they drove into the park...










I had been looking forward to riding a bike, but Dave had been looking forward to testing out this barbecue stand he had been noting from our bus route to downtown. The charcoal grilled steak sandwich with chemmychurri sauce was just as rico as he hoped it would be.










There I am in the back middle of this picture, ready to pedal home with sauce all down my white shirt...... A great day and no ice needed!


Up on the roof........

videoHey, I did it! My first movie! Thankyou's to friend Mike for inspiring me, who jumped the hoops to figure out making movies with a digital camera, then getting tin the dang thing transfered from camera to blog site.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Big things/little things.. pics by Jamye, words by Dave


We have been continuing to think about our discovery of the big park along the river and the great MEAT meal we had there... have even checked out used bicycles cause the park made riding seem not so fraught with danger. So we went back... This is the start of the parkland nearest our place, about a half to three quarter mile wide and five, six miles long running all the way to the commercial downtown zone. A person can bike all the way, with the exception of waiting to cross five or six major roads. Some major intersections have long shallow grade pedestrian and bicycle overpasses... takes maybe thirty minutes of peaceful riding from our semi peaceful, semi suburban zone to the full throttle commercial crowd, faster than bus or subway... lots of informal pickup soccer, lots of commercial dog walkers, plenty of huge marble or bronze commemorative sculpture - commemorating wars and war heroes, of course, and some that are sculptures for their own sake. Lakes, jogger stretching stations, steak and sausage sandwich joints - just a fine place - also the only 100% public golf course is there... not a great course, but imminently playable.




Across a major road from the parkland, still within eight blocks of home, exists a string of six,eight restaurants. all spendy, but not too bad and all really good. pictured, is one where a whole roast lamb could be yours, or a portion for the milder appetite. this fire ring is under cover, but basically on the side walk...maybe 100 seats outdoors and 300 in airconditioned luxury. This ring, with lambs, long strips of short ribs, plus roasts of beef is called asado. big lumps, pictured, of serious hardwood making their own coals... and the most exquisite aromas. Inside the building is the parrilla..... real wood for coals but more conventional seeming barbecue system, excepting it's hugeosity. There upon happen honker steaks, chorizo, blood sausage, tripe, sweetbreads, long slabs of tenderloin and a real parrilla order is some of everything.... so, if four of us order parrilla for four, a steel pan on legs, full of coals with a stainless tray atop with "some of everything", probably eight pounds worth, which is why many people spend four hours at dinner. even at famous places 15 - 20 bucks apiece, including vino will cover it.

Most people find decorative graffiti a good thing. this guy, "artejarte" has quite a few pieces in our zone. the barrio is a little too upscale for political comments or offensive remarks about visiting football teams.... actually our local major league club, 'river", is derisively referred to as "los millionaires".... seeing some of the mansions in the serious zones, it's no wonder.






Now we have made it to smack down town....
Those tall ass buildings in the back are all brand new apartments, mostly purchased and are about50% international business folk, with expense accounts etc. The historic ship is simply tourist attraction, so this picture is mostly for our pirate friend Mick. It's the frigate General Sarmiento. I'd have taken a more comprehensive shot,but that's where we were standing. This zone is Puerto Madera, and it's just across the controlled canals, dikes, from the main commercial part of downtown.... maybe 50 buldings like the 4 or 5 shown. This Puerto Madera area is all only 10 or 15 years old... big business has too much money, ya know?



And so we end the day up on our own roof...here's the home parrila, on our terrace. on the fire are acouple two inch thick slabs of tenderloin from the chinese meat market up the street. Sorry about the gloating, but I think the meat bill was, like, four bucks for both. The bags of charcoal are real wood shapes of various sizes, no regular briquets for this kid. this was probably 11 pm, down to tolerable 65. Life is good, see you in my dreams write soon,dave

Friday, January 9, 2009

fancy food and dancing...maybe serious stuff next week?

OK..... this was the best meal yet... We went for a walk in a new direction from our house, and about 6 blocks away found a huge park that borders the river.... kids and dogs and families and soccer games and inline skaters.... picnics and kissing couples.... along the river there were hotdog carts and fancy restaurants. On the way home we found this fancy restaurant with a wonderful smell. We had a dinner waiting at home, but decided to eat here after seeing the two fire pits (one with lambs halved out on stakes and one with giant hunks of cow on spits). I usually eat half or less of a dinner out but this time i ate it ALL. You can see that they serve the meat on metal plates with glowing charcoal underneath it so the meat keeps on sizzling. I have never eaten so much meat in my life in one setting but i couldn't stop!















So with all that energy from straight protein right off the range, we went to the Belgrano Melonga community dance again... At first everyone was standing around frustrated due to the guy who brings the tape player and tapes being sick.... but a couple who had driven hooked up their car tape player to the speakers and the dance was able to go. I might try to film a short movie of the dancing, because stills just don't let you see all the amazing moves young and old folks make....







The outdoor dance gazebo here at Belgrano park is one of the oldest left in Buenos Aires and tango dancers come from all over each weekend for the Melongas..


This little girl would sing and dance around the restaurant, but whenever she saw me watching and smiling from an outside table, she would run and hide. Finally her grandfather came over to the table next to us and was able to get her to pose for a photo.





Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sundry pics from Jamye



Can you tell what this picture is?


I took it while sitting at a tiny table in a "hip" restaurant.
This plastic maniquin girl was right at my elbow...dave had to stare at her butt while he ate his meal.... very strange....

















Here we are eating again.... this time in a small place we stumbled onto a few blocks from our house....these little snacks were truly delightful. the center square is made up of thin layers of sweetpotato brushed with cream and a cheese, browned on top.......










I have added to my portable puppet stage... puppets include: the giant goddess woman overseeing the stage, the old talking man with cane, the young sprightly guy with blue hair, the tiny finger puppet doggy at the old man's feet, and finger puppet bird sitting in the green bush. If you could read the sign on the tiny easel at bottom left, it says (in spanish and english) " help wanted, these puppets need a story."... so please email me with any ideas of puppet tales.....












New Year's eve back at Hostel Sol with many folks down from Brazil.....














This is the owner of the store on the corner of our block. Outside he has fruits and vegetables stacked up, along with an informal bicycle repair business. Inside, his friend has a butcher case, eggs and other stuff.