Friday, December 23, 2011

July 4th Birthday at Christmas in Airport

The best birthday in an airport I could ask for

Yes, my birthday is July 4th which makes me more patriotic than most, more proud to be an American than most and always cry during the national anthem or America The Beautiful. Imagine my surprise and my pride when departing from Midway airport in Chicago en route to NYC to spend the holidays with THE son:-) when I heard applause across the airport.

I was in line at a restaurant paying for a bottle of water when I turned to see what celebrity might be passing. Instead, I saw masses of people on the outer edges of the concourse part, like Moses parting the Red Sea (OK, it is Hanukah:-) so that groups of soldiers returning from Iraq could revel in the applause afforded to them by ordinary citizens. I felt like I just got the best holiday gift to be able to participate in that applause. OK, that's it, can't write anymore, crying again.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Last in Argentina:-(

Last Day in Argentina

We had a full day planned and actually got to do most of it. After our leisurely breakfast in the garden, we hit the ground running. Took a taxi to Plaza de Mayo, the center of Buenos Aires and immediately stopped at Cafe Tortoni, the oldest cafe in BA for some tea and scones (which puts my Brit pal, Chris into hog heaven:-)

Walked the city streets till we got to the government buildings, pink, I might add and took the photos de rigeur. It is one crowded bustling city. We walked and walked, been averaging 10 miles a day so feeling very righteous about the "fab" food as Chris would say that we have been indulging in. Hopefully it all balances out, pun intended.

From there we to walked to the Colon de Teatro, the famous opera house. We had wanted to cram in a ballet that was playing this week but you just can't do it all. There is so much to do here, we'll just have to come back:-) Then lunchtime, ah lunchtime. We were referred to Tomo 1 and we walked and walked and still couldn't find. When you are standing on a street holding a map, you don't have to ask anyone, they come over to you. The Argentinians are just the warmest, friendliest people ever. Finally, success and much to our surprise and delight, it was a beautiful, first class dining experience, white tablecloths and all. Great food, great service, great ambience and a perfect way to end our last lunch together.

Time for another taxi so the hotel next door called us a radio taxi. There are two types, the radio kind (safer) and the general kind (we never took). Apparently, there is much crime that thankfully we never saw. Pickpockets in the squares, cab drivers that take you the long way or the wrong way. Counterfeit money in exchange for your money and locks on every store door as you have to ring to get in or else security guards inside.

We wanted to go to Caminitos where the buildings are very colorful and tango dancers in the street but alas, alack, no time so we headed straight to the Faena Hotel and Spa for, you guessed it, a massage to end our trip with. Well...we were left breathless by this GORGEOUS hotel in all areas. It is one of the Leading Hotels of the world, 5 1/2 stars and up there with the best I have ever been to. We walked the hotel areas and each one more magnificent then the next, the pool, the restaurant, etc. Rooms start at $600 per night US. Got to the spa with a fitness center that put most US health clubs to shame. The spa was one of the most beautiful and classy I have ever been to (Sam says, I use infinite superlatives a lot, she is right:-) but truly it was and I have been to many spas. Took a sauna, then the relaxation room till called to massage. Here I go again, that was the BEST massage I ever had. She gets on the table and uses her knees, elbows, it was strong and just what I needed after two weeks of dancing and walking.

We were going to try to get to Caminitos on the way back but the city traffic was horrendous and we wanted to get our new coats as Chris is leaving early tomorrow. We got there just in time altho' mine had to be refitted. My leather jacket was custom made overnight at the leather factory...simply amazing. Now exhausted, we cancel our plans to dine at Casa Cruz and opt to eat at our hotel for the last time and it has a wonderful restaurant. It was a gorgeous night, weather wise so we ate outdoors which we had never done at night. It was perfect, again, white tablecloths, overhanging lights, gardenia bushes all around us, music playing, no one out there and a perfect ending to a perfect two week vacation with my Wales gal pal and travel buddy extraordinaire, Chris Leach, affectionately called Leachee Nut.

I leave tonight so the next blog will be back on US soil. Thanks for reading and keeping up with our trip, it's been fun to be able to journal this way as opposed to the "old days".

The trip was mucho bueno:-)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Shoes,shoes,shoes...we are in shoe heaven and you know how I love shoes. OK, I was a shopping day, starting with our typical non Argentinian breakfast and it was oh so cold today. Cold in that people were wearing winter jackets, a fluke of a day, the wind was so strong, I thought I was in Chicago.

The goal of the day was "leather". Armed and dangerous, I had gathered a list of the best places to visit. I do a lot of research before I go on my international trips as to restaurants, shops, hotels, etc. I enjoy the planning, the tips from friends and strangers that I gather all year. At first we were disappointed but then, but then, but then...the last store was IT! A fur coat and leather jacket for us both. No guilt, we both worked our butts off this year. On the way back, we found so many great stores, I did all my holiday shopping here.

We had some "tourist" things planned but shopping got the best of us so we will cram it all in tomorrow. We took a lunch break at our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Clunys then back to the mall to exchange more money, the only place to do it. Back in time for our last private tango lesson, just can't seem to fit it all in. Goes back to that first week again which was all lost time, oh well, we'll just have to come back:-) I reiterate, the Argentine tango is the most difficult, most beautiful, most sensual dance I have ever tried to master...and I will. Got great new tango shoes to go home with to continue with lesson and milonga's (where they dance the tango) and practica's (where they practice the tango).

We were exhausted, we walked 10 miles today (wear my pedometer so I know). Went back to Clunys for dinner then treated ourselves to our last Freddo (oh the ice cream is as magnificent and the shoes, shopping, weather, people...

And to all a good night!

Hasta la Vista (sounds very arnold doesn't it?)