Last Tango in Argentina

Now that I’ve been back home for a few weeks, it’s past time to wrap up the South American adventure in pictures. What did I accomplish with this solitary 24 day sojourn? Here’s the short list:

-I doubled my Spanish vocabulary which now rivals that of a clever Myna Bird.

-Confirmed that water really does swirl down the drain in the opposite direction south of the Equator.

-Discovered that Latins and Europeans work less than that we do. As a result most people walk around with less money and less stuff, but they have more family and friend time and less stress- a reasonable trade-off in my opinion.

-Gazed at a waterfall that makes Niagara look like the splash pad at Curtis Hixon Park and a desert mountains cape that could have been the setting of “The Martian”.

-Was reminded that I have a wonderful wife and a wonderful life here in Tampa Bay that makes coming home the best part of every trip.

Now the sights and sounds of Argentina. (Imagine the sounds)

 

Stared out the window for two hours looking at this go by.
Stared out the window for two hours looking at this go by.
And this.
And this.
Totally could have scaled those peeks, but the blood clot.. you know.
Totally could have scaled those peeks, but the blood clot.. you know.
Thermal springs that paint the rocks.
Thermal springs paint the rocks a crazy Trump orange.
This ski resort opens less frequently because of the liberal hoax of global warming.
This ski resort opens less frequently because of the liberal hoax of global warming.
2/3rds of the "Tres Amigos".
2/3rds of the “Tres Amigos”.
Easier to make friends with Germans and Aussies who speak your lingo. That's just science.
Easier to make friends with Germans and Aussies who speak your lingo. That’s just science.

 

Made some Argentine friends too. Senoras, bailamos!~
Made some Argentine friends too. Senoras, bailamos!
Iguazu Fall. s
Iguazu Falls.
Not a full double rainbow, but not bad.
Not a full double rainbow, but not bad.

 

Coati Mundis are the raccoons of the southern hemisphere.
Coati Mundis are the raccoons of the southern hemisphere.
The Butterflies. A film by Alfred Hitchcock.
The Butterflies. A film by Alfred Hitchcock.
When butterflies attack.
When butterflies attack. The horror.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ybor’s Sister City in South America

Like Ybor City in Tampa, the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires gets an unfairly bad rap. Guidebooks are quick to dismiss it as a dangerous tourist trap, which by the way, could describe Chicago.   The gritty waterside barrio is known for its colorfully painted buildings, tango tradition and art museums.  Sure,  tacky souvenir shops abound and the occasional tourist who’s forgotten they’re not in Wisconsin gets jacked, but it turned out to be one of the most pleasant excursions I’ve taken during this three-week trip.

A Walk in the Parque.

Visiting Buenos Aires reminds my that a city is only as good as its parks. This is a nice city.

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I’d bet there are more professional dog walkers per capita in Buenos Aires than in the Upper East Side of New York.  Portenos love their mutts but prefer to outsource the walking and the poop scooping and what not. 
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Lots of paid human trainers too.
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Since I’m not currently a credentialed journalist, I can stage pictures like this.

Tourist Trap

Many a visitor to Mendoza has stumbled into the drainage ditches that line miles of city streets- especially those who’ve been over-served the juice of the indigenous Malbec grape.  And it was the indigenous people who first dug those mini canals that funnel glacial runoff into what would otherwise be an arid high desert.  The vast tree canopy over Mendoza is possible only because of that irrigation.  Local orthopedic surgeons like ’em too.

Five Things to Remember When You Visit Argentina. (and you should visit Argentina.)

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Uno:  Don’t shake the hand of a person of the opposite sex unless you’re closing on a real estate deal.  One quick, but genuine kiss to the right cheek and you are Senor Rico Suave.

Dos: Remember that as a pedestrian, you hold the same status with drivers as a stray chicken.

Tres: Despite the Latin American stereotype, Argentinians, particularly in Buenos Aires moves right along quite nicely.  I kept showing up to stuff early expecting a cluster and was pleasantly disappointed.

Cuatro: Tip like a rock star. Yeah, yeah, tipping 10% or less is customary in other countries but you’re not from ‘other countries’. Not if you’re a friend of mine. Point is, unlike some Europeans who might think you’re a sucker for dropping 20% percent everywhere you go (I’m talking to you, Malta),  Argentinians are hurting financially. They’re  nice people who really appreciate a generous propino (which would be a great name for an erectile dysfunction drug).

Cinco: I can only think of four things. Sue me.

 

What Would Meryl Do?

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I arrived in Mendoza, Argentina’s prime wine region under gray skies. My weather luck may be running out as rain is forecast for much of this week. BUT,  tomorrow is going to be beautiful and I need to decide between exploring the Andes by car OR touring wineries by bike. My dilemma’s not as bad as Sophie’s Choice. It’s much harder.

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Well look who’s making friends!  I bought the very last ticket to a dinner show featuring live Brazilian music. Happily, I was seated at this table with three charming divorcees who spoke barely a lick of English. Best Spanish lesson I had all week. They think I’m a narcoleptic podiatrist from Florence, but we had some laughs.

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And finally today, an Argentine puzzler. Anyone know why one (and only one) windshield wiper is left in the up position on each of these three parked cars?  No, it’s not snowing. And yes, the word for ‘windshield wiper’ in Spanish is awesome…Limpiaparabrisas.