I realize Buenos Aires is an amazing destination in and of itself but since it was never a goal destination, anything we saw or did there was kind of a bonus. Especially since we were there on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I saw very little point in getting my hopes pinned on doing or seeing anything specific since we had no way of knowing what would be open or closed.
After over a year of planning and several threats of cancellation due to that uninvited interloper in my life - Cancer - I arrived in Buenos Aires with my two friends on Christmas Eve, 22 hours after I left my apartment. Granted, a significant portion of that time was spent in the Delta lounge in the Atlanta airport in the hopes of avoiding the travel debacle I experienced a few years ago on my way to Peru. But despite only grabbing a few hours of sleep, I was excited to get started on my long-anticipated and fought-for vacation.
So the cab driver had to be a little bit creative. After trying to maneuver a couple of bags this way and that he gave up on trying to fit even two in the back and instead shoved one of our seemingly ridiculous sized bags into his tiny little trunk and then added all of our hand baggage. He then stacked the two remaining bags on top of each other in the middle of the back seat so that they jutted up towards the front. John climbed into the front seat and Zaven and I squeezed into the back and peered over our luggage at one another, happy that we managed to fit in one cab.
We arrived at our hotel too early to check in but the desk clerk directed us to the small dining area for breakfast where we had the best yogurt-fruit-granola parfait ever. Seriously, it was amazing. We were all pretty tired but since we didn't have a room we decided to head out for some exploring. I spent a ridiculous amount of energy asking for directions to an ATM in my terrible Spanish but ultimately was successful enough to get us some money and a little tour of our area. An area that was quickly closing up since it was, after all, Christmas Eve. Although the sunshine and newness of the place made that fact seem a bit surreal.
By the time we returned to our hotel we were able to check into our room - a nice sized suite at the Miravida Soho, a small boutique style hotel in a restored old mansion. The boys shared the bedroom and I took the pull-out couch. We opened the windows and agreed to indulge in a little siesta to rest up before our scheduled dinner with my friend that evening. I think I slept for about an hour. I was tired but I really wanted to get out and explore the city, see new things, taste new tastes. But the boys were out.
I showered and puttered around in my half of the room until I ran out of things to do and when one of them stirred asked how long they planned on sleeping and what was our planning for the afternoon. I wanted to get over to Recoleta, the neighborhood where we were meeting my friend, a little early because according to the guidebook there was a lot more to see over there. They reluctantly got up and showered.
We decided to exchange Christmas gifts before heading out and pulled out some snacks for a little bed picnic and unwrapping. I gave the boys little crocheted penguin tree oranaments to hang off their backpacks (mine was already on my pack) and small leatherman tools. I also gave them chocolates which were opened and shared immediately. Zaven gave me the Bananagrams game and John gave me toe socks and a Hangman book. It all felt like such a cozy way to start a trip we were still anticipating despite the fact it had already started.
We left the hotel around 5 pm and took a taxi to the Recoleta market, which was surprisingly just closing. Our cab driver enjoyed playing tour guide on the drive over and encouraged me to practice my Spanish on him and praised my feeble attempts. John finally confessed to taking over six years of Spanish! This after I was the one stumbling around asking strangers for directions and struggling to follow their responses. I really need to take some Spanish courses.
|Ron and me after Christmas lunch|