A Journal, with Pictures

Happenings

Xi’an

by on Jun.30, 2017, under Happenings

Xi’an is a mod­ern city  of eight mil­lion peo­ple includ­ing a mil­lion stu­dents attend­ing fifty uni­ver­si­ties. It is an agri­cul­ture cen­ter with both the Yel­low and Yangtze  rivers flow­ing through the area. It is most know for the Ter­ra­cot­ta War­riors, the 8,000 man army that Emper­or Qin had built to serve him in the after life. The Qin dynasty (259 BC) was piv­otal, as he was cred­it­ed with uni­fy­ing Chi­na into a sin­gle nation.  The Tomb and War­riors were dis­cov­ered in 1976 and now have become a major tourist attrac­tion in Chi­na. Xi’an was the place where the Silk Road began and today there remains a sig­nif­i­cant Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion. In addi­tion to the Ter­ra­cot­ta War­riors there is Shaanxi His­to­ry Muse­um, that fea­tures the Tang Dynasty murals. The city itself is inter­est­ing in that the four mile wall around the his­toric cen­tral city remains intact.

We had anoth­er cul­tur­al expe­ri­ence in Xi’an, learn­ing to make dumplings. We love Chi­nese dumpling, and now know that the Chi­nese should make the dumplings, but they are yum­my. We also toured one of the few City Walls to sur­vive the cul­tur­al revolution.

We toured the Mus­lim mar­ket and Mosque, a his­toric car­ry­over from the trade silk road trade route that ter­mi­nat­ed in Xi’an.

The Mosque is in the Mar­ket area and when we vis­it­ed there was a Mus­lim funer­al ser­vice in progress.

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Tibet

by on Jun.30, 2017, under Happenings

We vis­it­ed Lhasa in Tibet, which is at twelve thou­sand feet. Our hotel was the Shangri La in Old Lhasa. New Lhasa has been built by the Chi­nese since their occu­pa­tion. As with the rest of Chi­na, they have rebuilt the infra­struc­ture around old Tibet and in this case moved in a lot of Chi­nese. What Tibet is all about is Bud­dhism with  nine­ty per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion prac­tic­ing the faith, and they prac­tice it hard.  We main­ly vis­it­ed monas­ter­ies, the Dali Lama’s Palaces, with some time spent in the mar­ket. Our guide was intent on con­vert­ing us to Bud­dhism, but I flunked cat­e­chism so there was no hope. Our first vis­it was to was to the Jokhang Monastery then the Bark­hor Sera Monastery and final­ly the debat­ing gar­dens, where the monks debate phi­los­o­phy dai­ly. They seem to enjoy it. For me Tibet was most­ly about the inter­est­ing images of the pil­grims and monks.

Our lunch on the first day was served on the moun­tain­side over­look­ing New Lhasa.

Our sec­ond day was spent tour­ing the Sum­mer and Win­ter Palace of the Dali Lama (Cur­rent­ly exiled in India), so it’s for pil­grims and tourist. The Por­ta­la Palace (Win­ter Palace) sits on a hill over look­ing Old Lhasa, the sum­mer palace is in Old Lhasa. The Bud­dhist scrip­tures are are too volu­mi­nous to read, so the faith­ful spin prayer wheels to absorb the mean­ing. The Tem­ples and Palace are lit by Yak but­ter can­dles and there are con­tri­bu­tions of mon­ey at vir­tu­al­ly every stop made by the pil­grims. The sum­mer palace grounds are used for fam­i­ly pic­nics and we were amused to see one fam­i­ly car­ry­ing a case of Bud­weis­er beer of course made in Chi­na. The Chi­nese includ­ing the Tibetans are addict­ed to smart phones and we not­ed even the monks were head down com­mu­ni­cat­ing. The Chi­nese equiv­a­lent to Twit­ter or Face­book is called Wechat and has nine hun­dred mil­lion users.

 

On our last day in Tibet we vis­it­ed the Gan­den Monastery which was my penal­ty for flunk­ing the first two day of Bud­dhism. It is at four­teen thou­sand four hun­dred feet above sea lev­el and involved lots of hik­ing includ­ing a hike on a pil­grims trail (What am I doing this for?). On our way back we past through New Lhasa (very mod­ern) and then in old Lhasa vis­it­ed a typ­i­cal Tibetan mar­ket area.

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Chengdu

by on Jun.30, 2017, under Happenings

Cheng­du is a mod­ern city although it has been inhab­it­ed for over 4000 years. It is the cap­i­tal of Sichuan Province and is an area of agri­cul­tur­al abun­dance and wealth inhab­it­ed by 14.4 mil­lion. Cheng­du is famous for the Giant Pan­da Insti­tute, which we vis­it­ed while stay­ing at the  beau­ti­ful Tem­ple House Hotel. Our first stop was at a Tauist (also known as Dauism) Tem­ple on the way to the hotel. Dauism is a indige­nous reli­gion to Chi­na and we were treat­ed to an expla­na­tion by one of the Monks, who took us into his liv­ing quar­ters, equipped with com­put­er and TV as well as liqueur cab­i­net. Seemed like a sen­si­ble reli­gion to us.

The sec­ond day we vis­it­ed the famous Giant Pan­da Insti­tute. As our guide said if they weren’t cute they would be long ago extinct. They eat non-nutri­tious bam­boo which means they eat sev­en­teen hours a day. They are not so good at repro­duc­tion, one of the prob­lems being very bad eye sight.

 

 

Anoth­er is being fer­tile two to three days a year.  The  Pan­da Insti­tute has kept them from extinc­tion with 1800 world wide and 400 in cap­tiv­i­ty. To feed the Pan­da’s the Chines grow, cut and truck bam­boo from the high­lands every day. Each Pan­da con­sumes 40 to 80 pounds per day. They are cute.

While in Cheng­du we vis­it­ed the Sanx­ing­du Muse­um which exhibits the relics from a Bronze age civ­i­liza­tion dis­cov­ered near the city. Sanx­ing­du means three mounds, where in 1929 farm­ers dis­cov­ered arti­facts, and was redis­cov­ered in 1986 which led to the exca­va­tion.  This advanced cul­ture exist­ed around 12 Cen­tu­ry BC and the exhib­it dis­plays some remark­able pieces.

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Guilin

by on Jun.30, 2017, under Happenings

Guilin is famous for the beau­ti­ful lime­stone for­ma­tions that cre­ate the topog­ra­phy around the Banyan Tree Resort where we stay dur­ing our vis­it. We are actu­al­ly out­side of Guilin in the coun­try near the vil­lage of Yang­shou. Dur­ing our stay we vis­it a vil­lage and learn about Tofu mak­ing from a delight­ful Chi­nese woman, vis­it­ing homes and see­ing how the rur­al peo­ple of Chi­na live. Grand par­ents take care of work­ing chil­dren’s chil­dren, so we got to meet a real Chi­na doll. We saw fields being plowed with water buf­fa­lo and cot­tage indus­try of mat mak­ing. The homes were new, con­struct­ed by the own­ers, the peo­ple we met were very friend­ly and wel­com­ing. Despite Chi­na’s eco­nom­ic mir­a­cle 800 to 900 of the 1.35 bil­lion Chi­nese still are peasants.

We then enjoyed the incred­i­ble scenery sur­round­ing the Li Riv­er by raft­ing on a bam­boo raft.

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Hangzhou

by on Jun.30, 2017, under Happenings

Hangzhou was the cap­i­tal of Chi­na dur­ing the Song dynasty which was a time of explo­sive inno­va­tion in the sci­ences and arts. It retains this spe­cial feel­ing with the city sur­round­ing beau­ti­ful West Lake, where our hotel, the Four Sea­sons, was locat­ed. We start our first day learn­ing about taichi, from a mas­ter, we then take a pri­vate gon­do­la ride on the lake, while being ser­e­nad­ed by Guzheng (ancient Chines instru­ment)  play­er in anoth­er boat.

We toured a tea plan­ta­tion and learned about tea grow­ing and mak­ing. We toured the gar­dens of a wealthy Chines indus­tri­al­ist now a pub­lic tourist des­ti­na­tion. We vis­it­ed a Bud­dhist tem­ple and saw a lime­stone rock face dec­o­rat­ed with more than 3000 Bud­dhist effigies.

The Chi­nese have become the largest group of tourist on earth, both with Chi­na and abroad. In Chi­na they have shared bikes, mil­lions of  bikes that you pay a ini­tial fee ($15), then with your smart phone you locate the near­est bike, scan the code on the bike and use the bike and check out by smart phone and pay a small fee for use leav­ing the bike for the next user.

Final­ly, we were treat­ed to a pri­vate les­son on the “Five Dis­ci­plines”, tea, incense, flower arrange­ment, music and cal­lig­ra­phy, those things a Hangzhou gen­tle­men were expect­ed to excel in.

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Shanghai

by on Jun.30, 2017, under Happenings

We arrive in Shang­hai by high speed train to a ultra mod­ern ter­mi­nal and dri­ve into the city to the Penin­su­la Hotel, is right on the Bund part of the his­toric British con­ces­sion grant­ed after the sec­ond Opi­um war (1860). Shang­hai is a amaz­ing city of 25 mil­lion stretch­ing for 75 miles and was and is a very impor­tant port city. We are treat­ed to a trav­el­ing lec­ture tour of the his­toric colo­nial build­ings, start­ing with the British con­ces­sion then the tree lined streets of the for­mer French Con­ces­sion. As we have seen through­out Chi­na, the infra­struc­ture is mod­ern with free ways and ring roads, high ris­es, includ­ing the sec­ond tallest build­ing in the world (125 sto­ries), and of course high rise apart­ment hous­es and an ultra­mod­ern inter­na­tion­al air­port. We tour the his­toric area with a unique enclosed struc­ture of gat­ed entrances, to alleys lined with small court yards called the Lane dis­trict. This was the ear­ly gat­ed com­mu­ni­ty pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for the res­i­dents of each neigh­bor­hood.  We also see where the first orga­niz­ing meet­ing for the com­mu­nist took place in 1921 and exam­ples of how it pays to be in “the party”.

One of the reminders of the his­to­ry lead­ing to the com­mu­nist vic­to­ry is a mon­u­ment on the Bund in the spot where a sign read “no dogs or Chi­nese allowed” (in the British Con­ces­sion). and then the huge mon­u­ment to those lost in the “Long March”.

We attend a Acro­bat­ic Show one evening, which was mind blow­ing, the Urban Plan­ning Muse­um which dis­plays the 25 year plan for the city, the Shang­hai Muse­um which cov­ers a range of sub­jects from cos­tumes from the over 50 “minor­i­ty” groups, to his­tor­i­cal paint­ing, ceram­ics and bronze as well as impe­r­i­al fur­ni­ture. We also toured a ren­o­vat­ed high end shop­ping dis­trict that con­nects the Yu Gar­dens one of the best exam­ples of tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese gar­den design.

Shang­hai was a great last stop, blend­ing exam­ples of the great his­to­ry with the explo­sive mod­ern­iza­tion of Chi­na. We arrived by Bul­let Train, had great tours, High Tea at the Penin­su­la Hotel, saw the sites day and night includ­ing the fab­u­lous Pudong Sky­line and bustling Huang­pu Riv­er right from our hotel room, and of course one last incred­i­ble Chi­nese din­ner with our new adopt­ed grand daugh­ter, Lotus Qi,  who made our three weeks in Chi­na effort­less and a won­der­ful experience.

 

 

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February Florida Visit

by on Feb.05, 2017, under Happenings

Joyce and I made a Feb­ru­ary swing to vis­it fam­i­ly and friends to Flori­da. We stopped in Fort Laud­erdale Wednes­day to see Jen­nifer, Mike and Alexan­dra for an after­noon and evening. Life con­tin­ues at warp speed there with Alexan­dra grow­ing up fast. We then flew to Sara­so­ta on Thurs­day to vis­it some of our for­mer NCR col­leagues and friends. Elton and Gordy White host­ed us for lunch and we stayed in the beau­ti­ful apart­ment over­look­ing the bay. We were joined for cock­tails, by Chuck and Car­ol Exley, Joe and Nora Stephan, Rex and Pat Fleet. We had a great time catch­ing up and every­one is age­ing grace­ful­ly and most of all haven’t lost their sense of humor. We then had a great din­ner at the Field Club, con­tin­u­ing the frivolity.

On Fri­day we flew to Naples to vis­it Rich and Lin­da Miller. They are doing fine as full time Flori­da res­i­dence and we again enjoyed catch­ing up. Rich and Lin­da treat­ed us roy­al­ly, at their great club Grey Oaks. We then flew back to Hilton Head on Sat­ur­day, a quick but very enjoy­able trip, remind­ing us of how lucky we have been to have met and works with such great people.

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South America 2016 — first stop Mendoza, Argentina

by on Feb.10, 2016, under Happenings

This is a buck­et list trip that Joyce and I have been think­ing about for sev­er­al years. Its been 35 years since I have been to Argenti­na and Brazil. Joyce as not been to two of my favorite coun­tries in Latin Amer­i­ca so this is it. Tony Huff­man our friend orga­nizes a incred­i­ble trip for us, we don’t have to lift a fin­ger, just a glass, a fork, a cam­era and a pen to write the check. We leave Thurs­day Jan­u­ary 21 from Savan­nah through Atlanta to San­ti­a­go, Chile then on to Men­doza, Argenti­na. Our first stop is the Cavas Wine Lodge, a vine­yard and first class hotel. We are met by our host/guide Agosti­na Aste­giano and our dri­ver for the one hour dri­ve to our lodge. Then we are checked in to our Casita which is in the Vine­yard itself. We have lunch and then relax before the cook­ing class that we have signed up for. Leo the resort chef turns out to be delight­ful and we have great fun cook­ing empanadas  and a Argen­tine vegetable/chicken dish over an open fire. Its fun and of course we taste wine then enjoy our din­ner, before crash­ing. Our casita is great, the view of the Andes is stun­ning and we get a full nights sleep.

Time for the cook­ing class, we are tired but its so much fun we for­get about it and it means an ear­ly by Argen­tine stan­dards dinner.

The next day after break­fast its off to do some wine tour­ing. Our objec­tive is to learn about Argen­tine wines par­tic­u­lar­ly their vari­etal Mal­bec. We are in the Lujan de Cuyo Val­ley region and start by vis­it­ing a win­ery (Bode­ga) start­ed by an Amer­i­can with an Argen­tine part­ner, the Paul Hobbs win­ery. We then vis­it  and do tast­ing at the Bode­ga Casarena.

After the win­ery vis­its we fin­ish the tast­ing with lunch at Osa­dia de Crear at the the Dominio Del Pla­ta Win­ery. The wines are impres­sive and the lunch is over the top both in terms of the qual­i­ty of the wine and food.

We have din­ner at the lodge, which is of course is very good, with Chef Leo prepar­ing some­thing spe­cial for us.

Sat­ur­day after break­fast we are out again to explore the Men­doza wine coun­try. We start with, what turns out to be our favorite win­ery Bode­ga Bene­gas, which is owned by one of Argenti­na’s old­est wine fam­i­lies. In fact we like one of their wines so well we arrange to have a case shipped to the US. These bot­tles will not be cheap, so only our best friends will ever get a wiff of this ambrosia. The win­ery itself is inter­est­ing in that the found­ing father kept old wine mak­ing tools as well as a col­lec­tion of Gou­cho pon­chos and dec­o­rat­ed the win­ery with his col­lec­tion. The wine was superb par­tic­u­lar­ly their FBL 2010 Blend.

We vis­it Bode­ga Mali­pal and fin­ish with anoth­er great lunch at Vistal­bas. Mali­pal is a mod­ern win­ery and if closed your eyes you would be in Napa Val­ley. It turns out that Agosti­na our guide is not only a won­der­ful per­son she is a wine mak­er her­self as is her hus­band to be. She is a delight to be with and a foun­tain of knowl­edge about Argen­tine wines. We then have a tast­ing lunch Bode­ga Vistalba.

Its time to relax and enjoy Cavas Wine Lodge, who’s own­er is an artist so its not a sur­prise to find a very arty cow in the vine­yard. The grapes are get­ting ripe and we can image that being their dur­ing the crush would be incred­i­ble. We enjoy one last great meal at the Lodge and then in the morn­ing we are off to Bariloche.

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Bariloche

by on Feb.10, 2016, under Happenings

 

On Sun­day Jan­u­ary 24 we leave Men­doza, fly to Buenos Aires and on to Bar­iloche air­port arriv­ing late after­noon. We are met by Alex Out­e­r­i­al our guide for the next few days and dri­ven through the town of Bar­iloche and past lake Nahuel Huapi to our home for the next cou­ple of day, Hotel Llao Llao. Our suite is spec­tac­u­lar look­ing out at Lake Moreno and Mount Tranador. We learn our hotel is con­sid­ered the nicest in Argenti­na, built in 1939 and recent­ly com­plete­ly ren­o­vat­ed and expand­ed. We dine at a quaint Ital­ian restau­rant, Il Gab­biano on the big lake, and the meal and wine are excellent.

The next morn­ing after a great break­fast at the hotel we are off on a hik­ing adven­ture. It turns out the Alex is a world class trekker and moun­tain guide, as well as very knowl­edge­able about Patag­o­nia. We dri­ve around the moun­tain behind our hotel to a lodge on anoth­er lake. Our objec­tive is to hike up the moun­tain to a water­fall with a view of the lake and lodge. It is a mod­er­ate­ly steep trail but we han­dle it and are reward­ed with great scenery.

After our trek we have a great lunch at the lodge over­look­ing the lake. We return to our hotel and relax before a din­ner at a restau­rant called But­ter­fly on Lake Nahuel Haupi. We have a great view and the sev­en course tast­ing menu with wine pair­ing fits right in with our new style. The next day we leave for a boat excur­sion on the lake. We will cruise from the west­ern in and can see the Chilean bor­der in the dis­tance and end up on Vic­to­ria Island. The whole area includ­ing Bar­iloche is in Nahuel Haupi Nation­al Park, once a pri­vate land hold­ing of Per­i­to Moreno an ear­ly explor­er of the area. He donat­ed 26 square miles in 1906 to cre­ate the park. He was respon­si­ble for import­ing exot­ic species of trees from all over the world to Vic­to­ria Island. After our cruise we hike around a bay and are sur­prised to find giant sequoias from our home state of Cal­i­for­nia as well as many oth­er inter­est­ing species.

We set out on our trek, which is a very easy walk around the island, that includes struc­tures that no longer are used as well as a school for area chil­dren that’s not in ses­sion. We see an amaz­ing array of dif­fer­ent trees and woods with beau­ti­ful views from the island.

 

We end our hike in a small bay that has an aban­doned tour boat on the beach where our boat has docked and it turns out that our first mate in fact is a accom­plished chef and has set up a gourmet pic­nic lunch on the beach. This is a very mem­o­rable lunch of course with wine and mul­ti­ple cours­es and to top it off out of the woods comes a young musi­cian who was below deck dur­ing our cruise play­ing first a local flute then a local gui­tar to ser­e­nade us. An incred­i­ble expe­ri­ence, one we will not forget.

 

After lunch we cruise back across the lake and return to our hotel. That evening we invite Alex to join us for din­ner at a restau­rant named Cas­sis. This is a tast­ing menu of native Patag­on­ian cui­sine influ­enced by the Ger­man, Aus­tri­an and Ital­ians who immi­grat­ed to the region. Anoth­er great din­ner, with fine Argen­tine wine and we enjoy the com­pa­ny of our new friend Alex. Tomor­row morn­ing we are off to Buenos Aires so this will be our farewell din­ner. Bar­iloche and Patag­o­nia will go down as one of the high­lights of our trip, how­ev­er it turns out there were no low-lights.

 

 

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Buenos Aires

by on Feb.10, 2016, under Happenings

Jan­u­ary 27, at 3:00 PM we arrive at the down­town air­port and are picked up by our escort after a looong wait for our bags. The natives are rest­less and guess what a demon­stra­tion almost breaks out over the delay. It must be Buenos Aires where demon­stra­tions have changed the course of the coun­tries his­to­ry. Being an admit­ted Argen­tine his­to­ry junkie, this is meca for me. Our first stop is the Teatro Colon (Colum­bus The­ater), where we meet a won­der­ful enthu­si­as­tic guide who tells us the his­to­ry of this amaz­ing build­ing. Con­struc­tion start­ed in 1889 and is South Amer­i­c­as most pres­ti­gious per­form­ing arts venue, which has been com­plete­ly ren­o­vat­ed to its for­mer glo­ry. As Argenti­na became rich, it was deter­mined that the coun­try must have a Opera House as grand as any in Europe, so five fam­i­lies went togeth­er and built it at their per­son­al expense. The acoustics are per­fect and the great­est per­form­ers in the world have per­formed there from Caru­so to Pavaroti. After the tour we checked into our hotel Pala­cio Duhau, anoth­er very nice hotel and room. We then walked to and dined at the incred­i­ble Fer­vor, which is a tra­di­tion­al Argen­tine steak house. A great steak and bot­tle of Cabernet/Malbec  from a win­ery we dis­cov­ered in Men­doza, perfect.

Thurs­day we begin the day with a vis­it to the his­toric Plaza de Mayo, anchored by the pres­i­den­tial palace know as the Casa Rosa­da (Pink House). The square in front of the palace, is sur­round­ed by oth­er impor­tant and his­toric build­ings, includ­ing the city hall, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan cathe­dral, the Argen­tine IRS and the Nation­al Bank. This is the place of many his­toric demon­stra­tions includ­ing the one that freed Juan Per­on, who would lat­er become pres­i­dent. Of course there are two mini-demon­stra­tions going on when we vis­it, one for pen­sions for the Faulk­lin Island war for those who nev­er left Argenti­na and for the wel­fare recip­i­ents who were get­ting paid off by a now imprison cor­rupt social admin­is­tra­tor Eva Per­on wannabe. It is Argenti­na after all and any­thing is pos­si­ble, just demonstrate.

We vis­it the Cathe­dral that looks more like a court house on the out­side. Inside is the tomb of the Gen­er­al Jose San Mar­tin who lib­er­at­ed Argenti­na from Spain in 1816. They had ruled since 1580, so many of the things that plague Argenti­na were implant­ed dur­ing the Span­ish rule, includ­ing the estab­lished landown­ers and cor­rup­tion. We then stop by the Argen­tine Leg­is­la­ture, for a pho­to, but based on recent his­to­ry, with the Per­o­nist par­ty Pres­i­dent who was called the “Empress” being recent­ly defeat­ed it does­n’t sound like they have had much to do there late­ly, its been main­ly gov­ern­ment by pres­i­den­tial decree. Since its warm our great guide Maria sug­gests an ice cof­fee which the Argen­tine’s do very well.

We then trav­el through the San Tel­mo dis­trict, the birth­place of Tan­go. This is a very his­toric area, one of Buenos Aires old­est dis­tricts that was aban­doned dur­ing a yel­low fever epi­dem­ic and now is a major tourist attrac­tion. We then pre­ced­ed to explore the near by La Boca (the mouth) dis­trict the orig­i­nal port at the mouth of the riv­er. The area was set­tled by immi­grants who paint­ed their shanties with bright ship paint and the col­or scheme persists.

That evening we dine at an incred­i­ble restau­rant called Chi­la, with authen­tic Argen­tine cui­sine. We then take in a great Tan­go show at Fae­na Hotel. Both the restau­rant and hotel are in a new area devel­oped from the sec­ond port that fell into dis­re­pair now has been rede­vel­oped to be “the” new place in Buenos Aires.

Time for a after din­ner drink on the ter­race at the hotel, the smoke from the next table has a very sweet smell, could it be, guess so. Time to get some sleep anoth­er full day of tour­ing tomor­row. Fri­day we tour the city’s north­ern area start­ing with the area around our hotel and then dri­ving to the bohemi­an-chic-neigh­bor­hood of Paler­mo. The for­mer grandeur of BA is appar­ent, with some pri­vate­ly owned man­sions still main­tained and oth­ers turned into com­mer­cial struc­tures. The old part of our hotel is a for­mer pri­vate man­sion and next door is a man­sion still main­tained by one of the old fam­i­lies. We then trav­el to a area with a old favorite morn­ing gath­er­ing place with a gigan­tic Ficus tree with inter­est­ing sup­ports for the limbs next the restaurant.

We then walk to one of the most inter­est­ing places in Buenos Aires, the old ceme­tery next to a old Span­ish Church. The rich and famous are entombed there in unique and some­time elab­o­rate tombs with in some cas­es under­ground cham­bers. For exam­ple, one famous indi­vid­ual want­ed to be buried in the Andes so his tomb is made from rocks brought from the moun­tains. The most famous tomb is that of Eva Per­on, final­ly placed in her fam­i­lies vault, since she had fall­en into dis­fa­vor with suc­ceed­ing regimes her body was removed from the orig­i­nal bur­ial place and hid­den out of the country.

We then fin­ish our tour of the north­ern area pass­ing the Hipo­dro­mo Argenti­na de Paler­mo, the first race track estab­lished in 1876. Stop and see the huge piece of art in the form of a flower, next to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Engi­neer­ing and then our final stop is at the Eva Per­on Muse­um. Her sto­ry is a fas­ci­nat­ing, mar­ry­ing the Pres­i­dent and becom­ing a nation­al fig­ure as the Dior clad first lady and sup­posed cham­pi­on of the poor. Her body was hid­den in Milan Italy by the oppo­si­tion par­ty and lat­er returned to Argenti­na in a hostage swap that was botched. Her dam­aged body was final­ly interned in the fam­i­ly tomb and she still is a sym­bol of the Per­o­nist party.

One of the biggest eth­nic ori­gins in Argenti­na is Ital­ian so we dine at a well known Ital­ian restau­rant on our last night then turn in ear­ly by Argen­tine stan­dards since we have an ear­ly flight to Iguas­su falls in the morn­ing. Buenos Aires is a beau­ti­ful city, with the worlds widest boule­vard and a def­i­nite old Euro­pean feel, with traces of its glo­ry days along side new mod­ern devel­op­ment that with a new more con­ser­v­a­tive gov­ern­ment seems to have giv­en the peo­ple renewed optimism.

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