Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 19: Sunday, July 17, 2011

We woke up at noon to the talking of the family.  An hour later, another family came back over to hangout.  It was fairly chaotic since we didn’t really know any of them, but it is fairly normal for them to have a lot of family around.  We had lunch with Ruth’s family—her brother and his wife, sister and her husband with their kids, and her mother.  After lunch we decided to go downtown with Gisella to tour the Casa Rosada, which is the president’s house.  We have the White House.  They have the Pink House.  They give free tours on the weekends.  The Pink House (Casa Rosada) was very cool.  There was a lot of great Argentine artwork all over.  It was very busy and our tour seemed pretty rushed since it was closer to closing time.  It was a bit of an abridged version of the tour so we didn’t see everything, but what we did see was pretty great.  We saw the president’s office and several other very important meeting rooms and galleries.  Afterward, we all walked back up the Avenida de Mayo a few blocks, drinking maté along the way.  We hopped on the subway to the train station and took the train home.  For dinner we had mini-pizzas and leftover picadas from the birthday party.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 18: Saturday, July 16, 2011

We woke up and walked to the flower shop to get Ruth some flowers and a plant for her birthday.  Around noon, we went to the church and prepared for the party.  We helped set up food, drinks, chairs, etc.  We first ate picadas (little finger foods), which consisted of empanadas made by Horacio’s mother, a meat and cheese plate, bread, and tiny hot dogs.  It was good.  There was a lot of wine, because one of their friends owns a vineyard and they supplied all the wine for the party.  An hour later the main course was served, beef stroganoff with rice.  It was more like chili with rice.  Paul really liked it, but I didn’t as much.  Then Horacio’s band played.  They were really good.  People were dancing and clapping, it was very loud and overwhelming.  There was a bouncy blowup tent for kids to play in.  After the party was done, we all helped clean up and put things away.  Then some aunts, uncles, and cousins came back to the house with us to watch the Argentina vs Uruguay semi-final game.  Uruguay won in a shoot-out.  It was intense.  We had more stroganoff for dinner and went right to bed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 17: Friday, July 15, 2011

We hung around the house today because we went to Horacio’s concert with his 10-12 year-old students in Mercedes, which is an older colonial town in the province of Buenos Aires an hour from downtown. They had guest players come to help the little kids sound better.  They take everything serious here.  After the concert, we went to the cathedral of Mercedes, which was across the street from the concert.  It was a gorgeous old gothic cathedral.  There was a dude smoking inside, which was a little strange.  Then we went back home and picked up Ruth and the rest of the family.   We went to the church, where the party was going to be and helped set up the tables and chairs.  It was frustrating because they would tell us one thing and we’d do it and then they’d come back and change it and have us redo it.  There were a lot of people giving their input so things were constantly changing.  It didn’t help that I didn’t know the language either.  Then we got home at 9:30 and had really good empanadas and pizza.  Then we went right to bed.

Day 16: Thursday, July 14, 2011

We took a long walk around Castelar and ended up getting ice cream again at Cremolatti, the place we had gone before.  We both got the same exact thing because we liked it so much the first time.  When we got back home, Kristin went with Gisella to pick out table center pieces for Ruth’s 50th birthday party.  I stayed home and hung out with Horacio.  He showed me how he uses his home pro-tools recording as well as a couple of his finished recording projects.  He is currently working on a project to modernize the church hymnal by recording modern music versions of all the songs.  I also showed him some of the songs I had written and recorded.  We played cards with Gisella in the late afternoon and had steak milanesa and rice for dinner.  Very good.

Day 15: Wednesday, July 13, 2011

After breakfast we went to Morón with Horacio to go Boli-shopping.  Apparently Bolivians here have the inside scoop on getting good, name-brand clothes cheap.  There are several Bolivian-run shopping places where you can find Adidas sports clothes for a fraction of the price that you would pay elsewhere in the city.  We only ended up getting a gift for Liam, but I’m sure we’ll be back at some point since it’s pretty close.  We ate a quick lunch and went downtown to Recoleta again with Gisella and her friend to an art museum called Malba.  We took the train downtown and a coletivo, or city bus, to Recoleta.  The coletivos here are insanely busy.  We’ve ridden in them 4 times now and I have yet to actually get a seat on one.  Kristin and the other girls fortunately got seats on the ride back to the train station.  We took the train back to Castelar during rush hour, and the Vivares family had always told us how bad it was to take the train then.  Fortunately for us, we hopped on a train that only made one extra stop on the way home.  We all had seats, and it was our best train experience yet.

Day 14: Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We began the day pretty slowly.  We had burgers for lunch with Horacio and Gisella.  After lunch we went for a nice walk with Gisella and got ice cream.  It was actually hot today, so we could sit outside to eat it.  Kristin got peach and strawberry cream ice creams and I got dulce de leche with chocolate chips and chocolate with almonds.  Apparently Argentineans eat ice cream like it’s their job.  Gisella who is tiny ate a huge ice cream cone the same size as mine before I even got to the cone.  We took a different route home and stopped at a little, independent second hand clothes store.  Around 6 we had a little snack before we got ready to go to our second soccer game, Uruguay versus Mexico.  We left around 7:30 with Horacio, Milton, and Nicolás.  We got a closer parking spot, and it was a bit smoother and quicker getting to the stadium.  The game was very fun.  There were quite a few missed opportunities by Uruguay, but it was fun nonetheless to see all the players on Uruguay’s team, Forlan, Suarez, Lugano, Pereira, etc.  Uruguay won 1-0. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day in Recoleta

Today we had a lazy morning and we enjoyed breakfast with Gisella.  As we were eating, she asked what we were going to do for the day.  We wanted to go downtown to the center, and we asked if she wanted to join us.  She agreed!  Paul and I were so excited to have a local giving us a tour.  We took the train 45 min. to Once.  Then we hopped on a very full bus, like so full that the door could not close because my butt was in the way and hanging out the door.  After a few stops, we were able to move in the bus.  After riding that for 15 minutes, we got to Recoleta.  We went into an art gallary and to the cemetary.  The cemetary was very freaky.  The cemetary is filled with gaudy mausoleums that are all very creepy.  Each of these mausoleums would contain a whole family.  You could look inside these mausoleum where there would be either stacks of coffins or a staircase leading down to a chamber of caskets.  Only the rich could afford to be buried there, and families would have to basically pay a mortgage to have their "death houses" maintained.  You could tell which families had died out or were no longer paying off their mausoleum mortgages because some of the mausoleums had been overgrown or broken into without being fixed.  These were the creepiest.  There were many famous people like presidents, writers, generals, and other important people buried there (Eva Peron or "Evita" probably being the most well-known).  It was pretty awesome.  We found a park bench to sit on and Gisella and Paul enjoyed mate.  We were greeted by a Brazilian women who did a street preformance for was crazy!!  What an experience.  Then we came home and had dinner.  After dinner we watched the Argentina vs Costa Rica futbol game!  Argentina won and will very luckily be going on to the next round of the Copa America.  Another busy but great day.