Don't Cry for Me, Argentina - Buenos Aires Day 5
April 21st, 2014
Don't cry for me Argentina
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild days
My mad existence
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance
Have I said too much?
There's nothing more I can think of to say to you.
But all you have to do is look at me to know
That every word is true
(come on...you knew this one was coming)
(come on...you knew this one was coming)
Adele is sick. She caught a cold sometime last night. Hopefully not because we sat outside for dinner. Cause I'd like to not be responsible for this ("Let's eat outside!! We haven't been able to do this for SO LONG!!"). She's very quiet today in order to save her throat from killing her.
This is our curse. And is increasingly becoming our curse. Truth is, we aren't getting any younger. So burning hard and bright for a short amount of time is unhelpful on our bodies. It's something I'm now very concerned about as my trip to Europe with Elias is quickly coming up. If I feel like I do now for an entire week, we are going to have problems. Then again, we have walked over 50,000 steps in two days (thanks, Fitbit!!). We are probably not going to do this in Europe. Or we won't do this every day. We can't do this every day. We would drop dead on Day 6.
So the morning is just taking some time. Our flight home isn't until 10pm, so we were able to linger a bit more. When someone is sick, you linger as long as you need to. All bets are off on the day. But we did have some rules for the day. The cab was to pick us up at 6p. Normally they pick up three hours ahead of the flight, but traffic can be...iffy. We decided for four hours prior. We knew it would take 30 minutes to walk from the train to the hotel. We also knew we wanted to stop at the wine store 15 minutes from the hotel. No matter what we decided to do for the day, we had a hard stop at 4p. Wherever we were, we immediately found the nearest subway stop and made our way back. It was a plan. We checked out of the hotel and left our bags there for the day.
Our big stop for the day was to walk in the shoes of Eva Peron. Or at least see "the balcony". Luckily, the Plaza de Mayo is the last stop on our subway line. We started there. Plazas in South America tend to be meeting places. And this one was no exception. But this plaza is also known for many political protests. Luckily, none were happening while we were there. At this point, the plaza is mostly a tourist attraction. Though, you never know...
On the other side of the plaza is the Casa Rosada. The "Pink House" is the executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina. You can tour the inside of the building on Saturday and Sunday, but we were there on a Monday. So we could only see the outside. The balcony is the main focus for many of the tourists. Presidents often made speeches from the balcony. And for those of us who only know (knew) Buenos Aires from Evita, this is where she sings "Don't Cry for Me Argentina."
We actually didn't linger too much. The decision was to walk down to the obelisk again. But we were sidetracked when we saw a pharmacy. Adele has very much learned about pharmacies in other countries in the last several years, since she keeps getting sick on trips. This time, she navigated as well as possible. All of the drugs - including aspirin, were behind a counter. Everything was tightly controlled. Which sucks if you just need a container of Aleve.
Sometimes you like a place enough you can go back for seconds. We did that for lunch today. La Cholita was an epic find on Saturday. And Adele remembered they had ribs. So a starter of chorizo and a meal of ribs is no big deal, right?? Right. And here's the deal...Argentinians (as I've noticed in my three days here) are unapologetic meat eaters. A slab of something cooked comes to their table and they don't look ashamed like we would. Their eyes light up and they dig in with gusto. We look at the food and say something along the lines of "Oh my god, look at that!!" Then we remark about how big the whatever is and how it is so much food. This is not the way to play it here. Dig in with gusto. No regrets. Weigh yourself when you get home. Several days after you get home. Please. I'm no idiot.
We did start with the chorizo. And we got two of them, because we have no self control. And because, when in Buenos Aires. Ribs followed next. While we did think two chorizos may have been overkill, the ribs were a really good portion for the two of us. It was our last meal in Buenos Aires. We made it a good one.
The decision was made to pack it in a little early. We just didn't have much more in us. And the idea of just going back to the hotel to wait for the cab was easy. No ore thinking. But we did have to make a stop at the wine store.
We actually had stopped at the wine shop on the way out of our neighborhood this morning. Just to get a sense of what was what. So we knew some of the bottles we wanted to grab. Adele elbowed both the workers and me in order to get a bottle of the Malbec/Cabernet we had with dinner on our first night. I told her she had to invite me over when she opens it. My guess is she won't. Dang it.
The hope was they could ship the bottles. We each ended up with three bottles. I also picked up two glasses (goblets??) because...well, because I liked them. Turns out they don't ship. But the workers wrapped them up tight. I seriously pray I don't open my bag to find a bottle of broken wine...
And in other news, wine is heavy. It was heavy when lugging back to the hotel. It was heavy adding it to my suitcase. And it was heavy as I tried lifting my suitcase....anywhere. Suddenly I was concerned about making the weight limit for the plane. But it wasn't my concern anymore. Our cabbie was here and ready to take us to the airport.
Knowing our original cabbie issue, we were very concerned about the issue happening again. When the woman at the hotel said it was a flat $290 fee (remember, Pesos), Adele and I looked at each other and realized we really did get taken for a ride (literally) on our way in. Neither of us lingered about it though. Life lesson - figure out pricing before you go on a trip. You're in a better place to negotiate or stand up for yourself.
As we walked around, I remarked on day one that none of the streets had stop signs. There were occasional stop lights, but no signs. There was nothing more fascinating than to be in a car where the driver has no inhibitions. It was almost like a ballet, watching the cars turn and merge and change lanes and get to where they're going. If there is anything I can recommend in Buenos Aires, my recommendation is don't jaywalk. Cars will not stop for you. Cars will run you over. Pay. Attention.
We made it to the airport in 45 minutes. Dude was fast. And we figured out what we needed to do.
When we bought the wine this afternoon, the store gave me the receipt and the VAT refund. I normally don't do the VAT refund thing. I'm not really sure why, but until I went to Iceland, I had neve received a refund. The wine purchase wasn't that much, really. But it ended up giving me back $22 USD. I'll wait in line for $22. Now waiting in line, you can go about this a few different ways. We dropped off our luggage with the American Airlines people, because holy hell these bags were heavy (19 kg = nearly 42 lbs). Then, we walked to the VAT line downstairs (this is in Terminal A) and got in line. You may end up with a person who asks to see the items purchased...we think. We didn't have the items with us, but we got through. Once you get a stamp downstairs, you go upstairs and get in a small line where they give you a check or refund your credit card. Done.
In EZE, there are a few areas outside of the gates for dining. We didn't care. Adele was on a downward spiral of feeling sick again. We just needed to get to the gate. And the lines were sneaky. Very sneaky. Line #1 was to check the ticket with your passport. Line #2 was a longer line to put your carryons (and your body) through a scanner. Line #3 was a (possibly) even longer line to go through immigration (hello, new stamp!!). Give yourself time. Especially for a later flight. There are a lot of later flights. Everyone is going through these lines.
We actually think this was the exact same plane from the other day. And we think we sat in the exact same row. Just this time Adele took the window to try and sleep easier. I don't know if it helped for her, but I know I slept pretty well. We left Buenos Aires at 10p. It was all sleeping. The flight lasted 10 hours (or a little more). I think I slept 5-6 hours total. I'm calling this a win. And we still had one leg to go...