Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Lakes Region, Patagonia is like Oregon on steroids....

You can probably tell that I messed with the color a bit on these pics, but I couldn't help myself... these views were so beautiful I had to play for a while with each one of them....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Last night party in Buenos Aires, First night in Bahia Blanca

We reserved a table for ten at a great Armenian and Middle Eastern restaurant on Balcarce 600 block (if you can remember the name, please put in comments, as the ambience, food, service and prices cant be beat!).  The Congolese Embassy was having a party downstairs for the comming of age of the Embassador's daughter, so our group got an upper bird's eye view.

One thing I love about Latin culture is how children are included in events... even late night ones... you see kids with their parents out on the town late at all hours, and they get to run around too... Our friend Daniel's kids soon  had joined in with all the kids from the Congo party, jabbering away in a great mix of languages, playing all over the restaurant..


The bus ride to Bariloche in Patagonia is 20 hours, so we decided to break it up and went  to Bahia Blanca, the southernmost town in Buenos Aires province, for the first night.  Bahia Blanca is an old port town of 300,000, with lots of suburbs of one or two story single houses. 

No, all the houses are not like this... in fact, most in town are quite modern.  But on the outskirts, as in most of the world, living is rougher.

5 years ago, i would see the cardboard collectors with their horses and carts in Buenos Aires, but not now.  

Our 100 year old hotel turned into hostel was right near the train station.   At one time, trains went all over Argentina.  But, like the US, the powers that be opted for more road for autos and shut down many of the lines.   There is talk of a new line from Buenos aires to the Andes area.  We can only hope...

Bahia Blanca is preety damn quiet... this was the only street art I could find...

But we did find the theater that was our reason for picking Bahia Blanca as our first stop.  During one of our many trips to the Immigration office, we met an Argentine couple that were on their way to Bahia Blanca.  They were both dancers, and the man had just accepted the post of  Director of Ballet del Sur with this great old theater as their home.

Notice the three floors of individual boxes

We didn't get to see the professional dance company the night we were in town... Instead we got to see all the dance school's classes' end of the year preformances...

A reminder that I greatly welcome comments and corrections, questions, whatever from you the viewer..I installed a viewer counter about a month ago just to see if anyone was still looking, and so far 700 views are recorded....I am so curious, where are you all from? 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

No more city life for us...

No more nights out on the town for us!  Our one bag each is packed with hiking boots and polar fleece underwear.  We plan to get as far south as we can in 40 days. One would think that we will make it all the way to Antarctica , but I once took 90 days to make it from Seattle to Los Angeles,   We will see where our feet take us.  I managed to squeeze in a laptop in my bag and plan to keep up postings every Sunday, if there are internet connections.   If there aren't, here's to 2010!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Great Jazz, Contemplative Art, and, maybe, a Terrorist Hangout?

So, when Dave and I showed up at the terrace of Central Cultural Recoleta to chip away at stone sculpture, we found a huge stage, and great jazz music going on!   The Jazz Festival lasts 5 days, has musicians from all over, and most all the venues are free!   The hard part has been deciding what to go to, with at least 4 different locations each night....

That first night, at Central Cultural Recoleta terrace, we got to see Fats  Fernandez on trumpet with Paublo Raposo on piano.  They had knocked our socks off several years ago at Club Lounge on Reconquista.  We then raced back to San Telmo and La Trastienda Club to see a performance of a commissioned program by composer Fernando Torres Noneto, Tributo a Astor Piazzolla, and a free concert with the tab picked up by the city and corporate sponsers.   The Buenos Aires city government is taking a lot of heat lately, but my hat is off to them for all the support they give to artists and culture (opps... down here Culture is with a capital C).  We went back to La Trastienda Saturday night for a late night (yes!  I stayed awake past midnight!) jam session of changing preformers from many of the groups that was the best yet... the festival goes on through Tuesday night.... try to catch some of it!
Earlier this week, I went to see the In the Time of Art exhibit in the newly renovated PROA academy in La Boca.   Pieces from  the 16th century were along side contemporary work, grouped by themes, "allowing for reflections on the major concepts afflicting man: power, quotidian, body, mind, life,death, love, and hate."  

For me, the strongest juxtaposition  was in the "Body" section, with a potrait of a dying anoerxic teen next to a 16th century representation of voluptuous beauty.

And low and behold, in the mind section, I found another strange hanging sculpture by a Brazilian artist that I had appreciated in the past... maybe you can tell that she uses panty hose filled with different spices and grains....

After a late night at La Trastienda, we found this FANTASTIC Armenian and Middle Eastern restaurant three blocks from our house... and yes, thats a small orchestra playing in the back!  The prices were low too... the only disconcerting thing were all these huge guys in black suits and sunglasses, standing around the pereferie with their hands behind their backs... I figured it was maybe a rehab place for ex-terrorists to give them something to do while they were in hiding in Argentina?  (remember, it was very late at night for me).