Note: I wrote all of this a month ago and am just now noticing my casual shifting between tenses. I'm too lazy to change it, so just feel more relaxed about the grammar in anything that you send to me.
December 5. Friday. We slept in then took a city tour on a bus. It gave us a nice overview of the city, at least the nice part. We drove through Recoleta, Palermo and Boca, where the futboll (soccer) stadium was located. Boca was an early harbor area of Buenos Aires and many of the building are made from left parts and paint from ships. Many are corregated metal painted bright colors. We were dropped off at a big, beautiful shopping mall in a nice part of town, then we had to find our way home. We walked a bit, found a McDonald’s to get a bit to hold us over until supper (and a bathroom) then walked some more. One of the streets , Florida Street, was a pedestrian only street paved with colorful small tiles. Street performers tangoed, did mime, drew pictures, etc. It was an interesting walk. We finally found a taxi and arrived back at the Garden for a short time, then walked to the restaurant. It was located across from a merry-go-round in a public park. Afterwards we sat in the park and enjoyed the evening.
December 6 Saturday: This was a very, very big day. By now we were getting good...well at least proficient ...at hailing a taxi. We rode to the Recoleta cemetery which was amazing. We were expecting some fancy headstones, but the whole place was full of walking avenues with ornate crypts lining each side. It was like a small city with fancy tall houses just large enough to house the remains of the rich and famous, including Evita Peron.
Next we ate at a large al fresco (outside) restaurant nearby. We headed out on foot for the National Museum of Fine Arts, but we ended up at the wrong museum (modern art...OK) and the bathrooms were not working. We continued to the next large building only to find that it was the law school so we got smart and asked someone, who luckily spoke English and told us what we were looking for was just across the street.
The National Museum of Fine Arts was very, very well worth the hunt. We saw original paintings and sculptures of Rodin (about 10 including “the Kiss”), Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Tolous LaTrec, Reubens, and more I can’t even remember. A large hand made tapestry was very impressive. At it was all free.
We ended the afternoon taking a taxi to the zoo and spent several hours wandering around before hurrying back to our room to get ready for a tango show....eating at nine and the show at 10:45. The restaurant was built specially for the show with a stage in the center and three tiers of tables on three sides. We were seated to the side of the small stage with our head just above the dancers' foot level and we sometimes felt the breeze as they kicked their feet between us. The dancers and musicians....violin, piano, concertina and bass fiddle...were very good and we really enjoyed the evening.
(At this point I have been home for two weeks and am looking back, trying to recollect everything we did. We like to write down our memories of our trips and put them in our picture albums.)
December 7. Sunday. We usually try to go to church (not LDS, but Christian) on board ship when we travel, but since we are on land, we don’t really know where we are let alone where the church is. Even if we had the address, we wouldn’t be able to understand anything that was said. So that is my excuse. We check out of our Bed and Breakfast today by noon because another couple is coming. We can’t board the ship until about 1 p.m. so we take a taxi to a famous antique flea market a couple of miles away and browse through the booths. Along with the booths, there are antique shops all along both sides of the street leading to the park. We bought a few trinkets, then head back to pick up our luggage and make our way to the ship. Our hostess arranged for the same private driver who picked us up to take us back. He gave me a hug when he dropped us off.
This ship is the Radiance of the Sea, a large Royal Carribean ship capable of holding 2500+ passengers but we learn that our voyage only has 1500 on. Later, we notice that many of our fellow passengers are Jewish (probably because all the Christians, but us, are home getting ready for Christmas) and about 2/3 of the passengers are non-English speaking. It makes for a very interesting voyage. It was always a pleasant surprise to step into an elevator and hear English spoken.
The cultural mixture was quite different than we find back home on a Utah farm. We really did enjoy the variety.
We learned after a few days aboard ship that about 35 people have been left behind by the ship in Buenos Aires, Argentina because they didn’t have Brazilian visas. On the last cruise, the ship had allowed the passengers to come aboard anyway, and had later been heavily fined by the Brazilian government. Somewhere in all the literature we received were the instructions to get the Visas or risk not being able to sail. Unfortunately, it wasn’t written in bold red letters and some people missed it.
We board the ship at Buenos Aires Argentina and overnight cruise to Montevideo, Uruguay, just across the bay a very, very short distance away.