Saturday, November 5, 2011

Exploring with friends


Saturday 5 November 2011
Thursday evening we had stayed up later than usual, Dan on his computer and me on mine, catching up on our journal for the blog.  Friday morning I woke up crying! But quickly I figured out why – while I had spent the previous evening journaling our adventures, I really wanted to tell all this to my mother – and I can’t. She died in a car accident 12 years ago.  She would have been fascinated to hear all about our travels – all the people and the customs and the fun little bits of information.  She would have enjoyed the adjustments I’m making as I shop for food and cook, all the other details that she always delighted in.
The rest of Friday was certainly better, as we had Thea join us for some homemade soup for lunch.  And Friday evening, we were invited by Sarah and Cindy to join them at Jorge & Irma Julca’s home on the campus of Semario Nazareno for a movie!   We rode the bus with Sarah to the Seminary, walked to Cindy’s apartment, then across campus to the home of the Seminary President!  We met his wife and daughters and several others who were getting together for snacks and conversation and watching the movie “Unknown” – what suspense!  It’s an excellent movie and, fortunately for us, it was in English with Spanish sub-titles.  Jorge even gave us a ride home well after midnight!
After sleeping in on Saturday and enjoying a leisurely breakfast (my first attempt at French toast here), Cindy called and asked if we’d like to go to Buenos Aires for the day!  I guess that was a silly question! We changed clothes in about 5 minutes and met Cindy outside our front door, ready for a day of sightseeing!  It’s probably a 45 minute drive and we came in through the port area of Buenos Aires.  The mouth of this fresh watter port is actually 60 kilometers wide (40 miles!) and is a very busy center of commerce.
First stop was Teatro Col√≥n, a very famous opera house with what is reported to be the most perfect acoustics in the world!  No microphones are needed! We were allowed to take only a few photos – what an awesome place!  We had an English-speaking guide, a personable young man who was very well-informed about this spectacular theater that’s over 100 years old and the product of 3 different architects!  It reminded me somewhat of the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St Louis, with all its grand details. We got to sit in the VIP and President’s boxes, enjoy the stained glass windows and mirrors and chandeliers, and examine the beautiful imported marble staircases… As we left, I was wishing we had tickets for a performance there! (You can read more about it, if you like, at  http://www.teatrocolon.org.ar/en/index.php?id=historia !)   

From there, we got back in Cindy’s car for the short distance to the Recoleta neighborhood – SO much to see and do here and we’ve only got the afternoon.  And we really needed some lunch! Sarah had a place in mind, so we walked a couple of blocks to Restaurante Puerto Montt (which turned out to be right next door to a tiny restaurant where Dan and I had shared a Argentine pizza 4 years ago when we were here with Extreme Nazarene Ministries!).  Dan and I decided to share a pineapple and ham pizza and, when it came, we were surprised to see that the pineapple rings on top had cherries in the middle – just like pineapple upside-down cake!  Eating out in Argentina is a process; it’s not fast!  The waiters take time to let you read the menu and decide, everything is cooked to order, and it takes some time to get them to bring you a bill! Anyway, it’s very enjoyable!
Right across the street is the huge cemetery where Eva Peron is buried (and lots of other people too, of course). We’d been there before, and, since Sarah and Cindy had lists of expected purchases (they needed to shop for gifts to take to the States, for Christmas and for Cindy’s home assignment tour), we walked past the walls and barred gates to the Craftsmen’s Fair!  It reminds me of a large art fair back home, with rows of tented stands selling jewelry, leather goods, pottery, carvings, hand-knitted items, clothing, toys – fascinating!  It’s easy to want one of everything!  I’ll have to get a leather purse before we go home.  Dan bought a hand-painted mug from an artist who enjoyed practicing his English with us. The rest of the green space in this huge park was also very well used that day, with people just enjoying the warm weather of Spring!  Here’s a website where you can see more of Recoleta! http://www.ohbuenosaires.com/english/buenosairesrecoleta.htm
As the afternoon dwindled, the air became cooler and a little windy.  As we left that area, we drove past a large sculpture called Floris Generica – it’s an enormous flower made of stainless steel and aluminum, each petal weighing about 4 tons!  Its petals actually move during the day, reacting to the daylight!  Maybe another day we can get to the National Museum of Beaux Arts…
 A day full of sights and fresh air wore us out – we slept well that night!

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