Showing posts from September, 2011

Iguazu Falls - Toucan Cereal

We had an excellent time at Iguazu Falls.  Sarah is working on a larger post with lots of pictures of our stay tuned.

I decided to do a quick post with the first of two videos I've been editing.

Some background.  After two days of seeing waterfalls, exotic birds, wild monkeys, and the largest rodent in the world (a.k.a giant freaking rat), I sat the kids down to get their perspective on the trip.

I want to point out one item that is needed before viewing this video.  We don't feed our kids junk food, never have.  I have been accused of being a little anal on such things as breakfast cereals and sugar content.  So...when the kids saw at breakfast there were 'Fruit Loops' (they had NO idea what this was really called, just that it looked 'cool' and they wanted some) - we decided to splurge.  I told them this was 'Toucan Cereal', and they could only have some if they saw a real Toucan in the wild.  As fate would have it...they saw 5 in one day.…

Feria De Mataderos

Sunday morning we had plans to meet some expat friends at their Subte stop, only to find out that the line we needed to ride was closed for the day.  Interestingly, this is not an uncommon occurrence around here. There are days when bank ATMs just decide to be closed.  That's it.  No sign that it's getting fixed, it's just closed.  And in order to put minutes on our local cell phones, we rely on kiosks resembling corner stores.  The day I was attempting to add minutes, I kept being turned away.  I thought it was due to my mispronunciation or wrong choice of verb tense, when really they just weren't recharging them that day - at all.  Hmm.  In the states, people would be irate!  Here, they just seem to go to plan B, which is what we had to do about the Subte.  Luckily our friends are old hats with the collectivos (city buses)!  So we set off to the nearest bus stop.  Only 1.20 a ride!  That's like $0.30!!

After a 45 minute bus ride outside the city, we were dropped o…

To Market, to Market...

The past couple weekends, we have ventured out to two of the areas most famous markets.  They both deserve their own posts, so I will do them separately.  The first visit was to San Telmo on a Sunday morning when we missed our train for church and didn't want to go all the way back home.  It ended up being a wonderful morning in San Telmo, the oldest barrio in Buenos Aires.  When we first arrived, vendors and artisans were setting up their booths and Tango dancers were setting out their portable dance floors and sound equipment.  Since shopping was not officially opened, we decided to stop at a nearby café and have a little pick me up!

It wasn't long before the market was bustling with shoppers and tourists.  The Tango dancers had quite a crowd, and Elizabeth found some antique, pink, sparkly clip-on earrings she just had to have!  This particular market is famous for its antiques, and they had quite the collections... phonographs,  seltzer bottles, silverware, toys, jewelry,…

Plaza De Mayo Trip

I am realizing that with so many things to see and do, it is hard to find time to write about all of it!  We have definitely not kept you all up to speed on all of our trips and treasures here in Buenos Aires.  I apologize, and fully intend to get you all updated with the next few posts.  These will contain mostly pictures with captions, and a few tidbits of background for each place.

One of our first trips via Subte (the subways here) was to Plaza De Mayo.  Translated May Square, it is where many very important institutional buildings are found.  Casa Rosada (pink house), Banco Nación (National Bank), and the Catedral Metropolitana are among the gorgeous buildings lining the square.  Within the square, we saw artists creating their own renditions of the scenery and locals selling small bags of corn for one peso to feed the pigeons.

There are pigeons everywhere in this city, and the kids have enjoyed chasing them and making them take flight on many occasions.  But today, we splurged,…

Bucket List - Argentina

Every year or two, Sarah and I review our personal bucket lists.  If you haven't seen the movie, you should.  It is essentially a list of items we want to do before we 'kick the bucket'.

We sat down yesterday to review our modified list for Argentina.   It isn't especially long.  However, we soon realized our time is running short.  We love Buenos Aires.  Our kids love Buenos Aires.  There is SO much to do, and frankly not much time.  I know, 3 months sounds like a lot of time.  We have been here over two weeks, and it seems like we just arrived.  Crazy how fast time is flying.
Learn to Tango

If you've had the pleasure of seeing me dance - or better yet - dancing with me - you'll know I need lessons.  Scary I know.  Tango is a big deal, and not very easy.  There are many options for tango classes.  We are still researching which one we will use.  Most likely we'll make this a couple's night out event and go with some of our expat friends.  

Normally I woul…

Our Newest Three Amigos!

Before we even came down here, I found a wonderful website called  It is a very helpful site that has a chat forum for expats who have moved or are moving to Buenos Aires.  When I finally got the guts up to post on the forum, it turned out to be a great way for me to ask all my questions and even meet some great families whose kids were anxious for American playmates.  I found babysitters, restaurant recommendations, packing tips, favorite neighborhoods, and much more.  It was the preverbal jackpot!

Some of the first people to respond to my post were other moms who could understand all my uncertainties about moving to another country.  It was such a welcoming group of women, and I could sense the camaraderie right away.  How reassuring it was for me to have connections in a place to which I hadn't even yet moved!  When I got here, we settled in for a day or so, and then were off to meet all my online amigos.

The first playdate was at a nearby park, very close to Rec…

Not Too Far from Home

It has been quite a learning experience since we arrived last week.  I am happy to report that we are a lot better at getting around and communicating than we were just 6 days ago.  Our family motto has been "One Step at a Time", and that has proven a great way to ease into the different culture and lifestyle.

The first day we were here, I ventured to the grocery store with the kids on my own...probably not the wisest decision in hindsight, but I was feeling brave.  After figuring out how to get INTO the store, I must've looked like a deer caught in the headlights as we perused the aisles for anything recognizable.  (remind me to tell you about the phrase "something familiar")  Anyway, it is a huge, 2-story store that I eventually realized had a "cart escalator".  Elizabeth informed me that IKEA also has these contraptions, but I hadn't been there, so I was a newbie.  Upstairs is the produce and the perishables.  I bagged a few carrots and apples (…

Fine Print

I've never been accused of not being thorough.  Especially when it comes to contractual matters and fine print.  That is until we moved to Argentina.

In my hunt for the 'perfect' apartment, I missed the fine print.  Unfortunately I didn't find out until yesterday.  Sarah was hurrying out for a play date with some friends, and I was home working on my Spanglish.  I decided I would do a load of laundry to earn some hubby points, and try out the new contraption in our laundry room.  Using my Spanish to English dictionary I was deciphering 'how' to operate what appeared to be an 'all in one' washer/dryer.  Not much different I thought than the one on our boat.

I successfully completed a washed load of laundry.  Check.  Now, the easy part, push some buttons and turn on the dryer.  After 15 mins of fiddling around with this device, I came to the sudden realization I had 'missed the fine print'.  There was NO dryer.  Nope.  Nadda.  Zippo.

The 'dry…


Paciencia.  Patience.  This pretty much sums up the key ingredient to building a boat in Argentina.

Having spent a fair amount of time with our boat on two different occasions over the past several weeks, I can happily say there is good progress.  I'll share some of my observations.

Logistical Headaches

Building a boat in Argentina is not for the impatient gringo.  It's complicated.  Importing stuff for our boat is painful at best.  Customs, 50% import duty, shipping costs, etc all add up.  If you don't bring it down with you via checked luggage - a.k.a. a mule, expect to pay mucho dinero for shipping and transport costs to Uruguay.  Neil and I are currently experiencing this headache for our life rafts, flares, etc, etc.  Ugly.

Antares also has similar challenges.  They have to have items 'typified' for customs to allow import without the taxes.  This is done because the components for our boats are for export and not subject to 50% duty.  This process is messy and…

Buenos Dias, Buenos Aires!

We have arrived!  After much preparation and anxiety, it turned out to be a wonderful trip.  Flights were on time, both kids slept through the night, and luggage all arrived unscathed.  Phew!  We are now sitting in our new apartment, enjoying the wi-fi and reminding ourselves that we're only an email or Skype call away.  Sigh.  Here's a little glimpse into our journey...

Michael decided to try on all his dress up clothes the morning we were getting ready to leave.  It was quite comforting having all those strong, protective super powers around us, as we knew it would be a long day.

We got the final carry ons loaded into the van, Nana came over to escort us there, donning some Starbucks green tea for me!  Thanks, Nana... more superpowers!
One stop at the bank, and we were headed for the airport.  As we drove, I think our back bumper left a trail of sparks!!  It was quite the load! The United ticket desk ladies were all wide-eyed and gasping as they saw us wheel in our luggage, a…