Carlos Paz

We spent the early part of the day packing and just sorting things out, ready to leave the place empty for ten days. By early afternoon we had everything ready more or less.
So we set out for Patio Almagro, to just sit relax and read a bit. Soon the sun was too strong and we had to seek shade. The shade did not last too long before we got bored, time to retreat for an Ice cream. For $30 ( about £2 ) we got a cone filled to a mountainous size and a choice of flavours.
Viv being boring just had chocolate, but I had rum and raisin and strawberry. The guy at the counter tried to talk to us in French, but we said “somos Ingles” Viv said ” do you think he was French” I said ” I doubt it, If he were he would have know that we were not” but his French did sound very good to me. (as if I am any sort of expert).
My attempts to call a taxi were absolutely fruitless. “Hola taxis Almagro” “quiero reserva una taxi por siete” “BRRRRRR”
And so it went every time. I think that they are so busy at this time that they do not want to risk going to somones house when they would be working anyway.
So at seven we went out onto the street to try and hail a cab. As we left we wished Sebastian “Feliz Año nuevo” and he waved us off. There was a taxi across the road, but we missed it. Then another switched off his light when he saw us, but within five minutes we had a taxi.
The journey to Retiro was hectic at this time of day. Most of the time we were just not moving. but the taxi meter was slowly edging up. It had reached $89 by the time we reached Retiro. I was not in the mood for the guy who came to help with the bag. “I can quite manage one bag, thank you” I suppose it was not his fault but he would be better helping some one who needed help and more likely to tip him.
We easily found the boleteria and getting our tickets was no problem at all. I think the expression on the guys face said “so you are the ones who have been causing all the trouble” or perhaps it was just my imagination.
Anyway things had gone so smoothly we were left with over an hour to kill. So while Viv sat on the stairs waiting I explored a bit.
Outside there were hundreds of people just milling about, many more thatn the large numbers inside. It was just chaos.
A little way along from us was a bank of seats each had their own TV screen . For a small fee you need never be away from the one eyed nursemaid.
Very soon we were ready to board the bus, and again we had to tip the guy who puts the cases on.
On the bus we were provided with a bible and a form to fill in. On the from all our details and on the back We should write a prayer we want said. As the bus left the station, instead of safety announcements we had a stream of prayers, that we thought would never end.
The TV was showing a video of a gospel concert, this was like no bus trip I had ever been on.
I suppose that to be fair we paid about £160, that is £40 each person each way. When you compare that to travelling in the UK it is very cheap, especially for a 12 hour journey. And we got a hot meal, prayers aside it was not all bad.
We even got breakfast in the morning before we stopped, so after a night passed in fully reclining seats with leg supports we were ready for the day ahead.
When we got off the bus I could see our case, but was not allowed to take it until I produced the ticket. Now where on earth did I put it. It was easier to find the case than the ticket, but we got there.
Hugs and greetings with Roger, who had not had breakfast. So we decamped to the bar for medialunas.
The drive to Carlos Paz was ok. We ribbed Roger about his driving but the real problem was the state of the roads, the speed humps and the drainage ditches that crossed them.
We spent the day settling in and sat around the pool. The water was a bit cold for swimming but I did go in just to cool down.
Later we walked into Carlos Paz and looked in the shops. While Roger enjoyed himself at the dentist. We returned to picada and beer, but by now we were so tired, we just needed our beds.
We slept the sleep of the innocent and awoke to find Roger had been up for hours. Having bought some avena in the local supermarket, I prepared the porridge.
We decided to again walk into Carlos Paz, but this time take the cameras. The views of the lake are quite stunning. We also managed to get some pictures of the local avian life. Woodpeckers on the ground, a heron in the water and various other birds. The one I really wanted to get though was the humming bird.
There is a problem with digital cameras, they are slow. Combine that with the fact that humming birds are very small, meaning I had the camera on full zoom, and they move very quickly. Well I was on a hiding to nothing.
It was a joy to watch them flit about, but I was never going to get that shot. Leave humming birds to the wildlife experts, I think.
There is a bridge over the last part of the river, just before it becomes a lake. The bridge has a gallery below the road that contains a sort of craft fair.
We walked through, not expecting to buy anything, but we had sample sweets thrust at us, samples of perfume you name it.
We carried on with the honey sweet still stuck in my teeth, when we saw an artist displaying pictures. The size was about perfect for our electric cabinet. The only problem was that they were all in portrait format. They were only $100 so it seemed an opportunity too good to miss.
We cogitated for ages, this poor girl was working very hard for her $100. In the end we went for something abstract that could hang either way.
We stopped for a while and had some yogurt in the town. Then we carried on to the other side of the river, but there was not much there.
On the way back we kept to the shade, as we were getting rather hot. Resting under a tree and having a read, we were joined by a big dog. He seemed to recognise dog lovers, but we could not give him a home. Still he followed us for a while, but gave up and went into the lake to cool.
Time for some ice cream. There was an Italian ice cream parlour and we kept the girls amused for a good ten minutes.
Firstly there was deciding the size of the ice cream, then the flavour. Viv only wanted a two scoop, but I wanted to try a few flavours so went for a three. While the first gild did Viv’s a second girl approached me. I tried to get her to do mine, but what she wanted was the money.
Meanwhile my three scooper ended up with only two flavours. I wanted to run down all the alcohol flavours. The Bailey’s was gorgeous, but the whiskey had some strange fruit in it. Still I enjoyed it and we had another rest in the shade.
Now it is back to Mirta’s to rest then shower and get ready for Noche Buena.
We were joined for the evening by friends of Mirta’s. Who, because of training, and the drink driving law did not join Los Borachos.
They do Christmas here at midnight and we spent the evening eating picadas and drinking. There were presents all around, we had finally managed to find something for Roger and Mirta in Schipol airport.
We finally turned in at just after two, I have no idea what time the guests left and our hosts went to bed.
Midnight Christmas confused Viv somewhat. In the morning she tried to give me some birthday presents we had from dance friends. “Not until tomorrow” I said.
Even Christmas day the supermarkets are open. We bought a few provisions. They also have a strange way of taking money in different parts of the supermarket. At the back of this one you can pay for bread, but not milk. Anyway the list of things I could pay for at the back meant my bill came to $11. Of course I did not have a one peso coin, but the girl rifled through my change and was happy to accept around 75 centivos.
Now at the front of the supermarket the bill came to $21 so when I now only had a $50 note I now had a pocket full of change again and their till was emptied of change. It never ceases to amaze me that they will be so cavalier with their change but then they weigh the lettuces where it often makes less than a centivo difference.
We spent the afternoon by the pool, swimming and eating torta Galesa and Pan Dulce. Mirta’s daughter arrived with her husband Charlie and grand daughter Luli.
Later we returned to the apartment and Mirta made empanadas. There was more exchanging of gifts and again there was much alcohol consumed.
The amount of Spanish I am being subjected to is colossal. Serves me right for complaining , I think Viv is not happy at being left out of the conversation so much. I don’t think she realises how much I am also missing.
The following day is my Birthday, and we start with opening presents we have from home. To my surprise I also have a gift from Roger and Mirta. They have bought me a picture , which will help personalise our Buenos Aires Apartment. My thanks to the Barnes’s for the ties.
For the day Roger is driving us out to Villa General Belgrano. During the war, the crew from the Graf Spey were interned here. After the war was over many stayed and the Village has a real German feel. (If somewhat touristy ).
It is very green, and we soon find out why. After we had lunch, the heavens opened. We got soaked trying to get to the post office. The office was closed for siesta, we thought so we had a wander exploring the village between downpours.
We met Roger again where we had lunch and after a coffee we set off back to the car, where Mirta was asleep.
As we reached the car the heavens opened again, I grabbed the door to get in, but my way was blocked by Mirta who had her seat fully reclined. My day seems to be characterised by constant soakings. Even though it is not cold I was starting to feel it, so we asked for the aircon to be turned off. This did not help Rogers driving as now the windscreen was constantly misting.
There followed a search for the local Coreo, now that siesta is over. Roger’s attempt to turn left into town was blocked by an altercation with a bus. Poor Roger was having trouble being the driver with three people giving directions. I thought it best to shut up and leave the two women at it, one who really did not know her way around and one who could only give directions in extremely long stories. I just sat in the back amused.
To her credit the Coreo was exactly where Viv had said, but it was not open. It seems that the 26th is a public holiday, so Vivs letter will still not go.
I managed one milonga here, I was very popular with the sparkly tie. The ladies seemed to like tango gales style.
A few more days and we will be in Cordoba and have internet, maybe then the daily blogs will resume.



Filed under Argentina

2 responses to “Carlos Paz

  1. tangobob

    I was ready to take the subte, but Viv quite rightly said that in that in such a busy time we would have had trouble getting the case on. It was ok though we had plenty of time. Thank you for the invite. Torta Galesa is a fruit cake, apparently used as wedding cake, but ours was genuine, cooked by a Welsh man.

  2. jantango

    The plaza adjacent to your apartment building is absolutely wonderful and a lovely addition to the neighborhood. I’m certain the kiddies love it.

    This is an official invitation for you and Viv to have ice cream at my local place Mocambo where Oscar (from Chile) makes the most incredibly delicious ice cream. Macayuyu isn’t found everywhere, but it’s new on the list at Mocambo. I usually get a 1/4 kilo cup for 40 pesos with three flavors.

    Rainy days and holidays are busy times for taxi agencies. It’s easier and faster to just wait at a street corner in the direction you want to travel. I took a bus to Retiro, but then my backpack on wheels was probably lighter than yours. You can get there taking the B subway and then the C line that goes to Retiro, but dealing with all those stairs is not worth it. You left when many were leaving the city to spend Noche Buena with family. Retiro is a zoo, especially at holiday time.

    I learned there is a new system whereby anyone can buy omnibus tickets at certain Locutorios. I found one in my neighborhood, called the agency who then faxed the ticket to the locutorio, and I paid for the ticket in cash. You can purchase tickets ONLINE via internet only with an Argentine bank credit card, which I don’t have. I avoided the trip to Retiro to buy the ticket a few days in advance. I wished I had known about this new system when a couple from Belgium wanted to purchase their omnibus tickets to Puerto Madryn.

    It sounds as though you and Viv were special guests on a church tour bus from your description. El Rosarino to Rosario, Santa Fe showed two American movies with Castellano subtitles which I ignored. I returned on Dec 26 during a thunderstorm most of the way to Buenos Aires.

    How about uploading some scenic photos of Cordoba? What is Torta Galesa? Sounds interesting to say the least.

    Tell Viv I have some writing paper she can use for letters to friends in Wales if she needs it.

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