Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We have Internet, we are home safe!

Boy - it's been awhile. Well, we made it home with little drama and our phone line was all messed up so no DSL so no Internet. I can't post at work and keep my job so I had to wait until we got our phone all fixed. So - now I can post some vaca photos but it may take me a couple of posts - I took over 200 photos! Promise - I'll try to hit the high spots.

This is Stone Mountain - our surprise first day of vacation in Atlanta. It was not a bad side trip but I would never go to this place in the summer - it would be crowded as hell.

This is a bad photo of the very cool walking trail up one side of the mountain. It is all granite and very cool, actually very hot in the sun. I wish we would have known about this so we could have walked the whole thing - but alas South America was calling our name.

We arrived in Chile about 8:00AM ( flew overnight) and after about 2 hours getting through immigration, we had to get off the plane and get our first Oh My God They May Have Swine Flu test, we went to the passport line, waited for 20 minutes only to be sent back to the Pay Us $120 to enter Chile line. Hubby paid for us and we were back to the passport line. We got to our hotel took a about a 2 hour nap (nothing gets moving until around 11:00) and headed down to the Central Market on our own. We booked a half day city tour for later but wanted to see what we could see first. This was a big open sea food market with restaurants inside. It was very smelly but clean in a stinky fish market kind of way.

This fountain is outside the market and in the area of the pick- pocket dudes. We didn't notice them the first couple of times we were down there but I am certain they noticed us. Still, the whole pedestrian walkway was very cool and I didn't flash my camera around too much here.

This photo is the top of the Metropolitan Church in the Plaza De Armes - an open square filled with artists, cafes and a great place to people watch. We did duck in the door way of the church - it was beautiful for a church. And because my photo of it isn't that great - I found this one to the right for you.

The area was really fun and we enjoyed a few pisco sours sitting at an outdoor cafe. The photo below is the post office, I loved the architecture of the old buildings up against the very modern, glass office building. This square was really beautiful and is probably where I fell in love with Santiago.

That's it for tonight - I got started posting late and we are starting the gym at 5:30AM thing again since we ate and drank our way through South America....but I'll share more over the weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It´s been great .....

We are heading for home today. The vacation has been great but I miss my cats, my bed and the good Ol´USA. Really , though the vaca has been great fun. I´ll post photos when I get home. here´s to hopefully no more drama from Santiago although we are going to the place we were stalked by pickpockets later today. I will give them my big, tough don´t mess with me stare and safely secure my cash and see how it goes....

Friday, May 15, 2009

How do we leave the end of the world?

Now that we are here, we can´t seem to leave. They cancelled our flight for today so we will spend another night at the end of the world and go to Buenas Aries in the AM...sigh.... But since nothing really starts getting going until 8 or 9 at night, we figure we are only missing half a day, actually night in BA. But, that´s how it goes sometimes with travel so we are going to go out and have a big, bar bq lunch - lots of meat, walk around for awhile, nap this afternoon and go shopping and to the Dublin Irish pub in town for our last night. I can´t seem to figure out the whole download the pictures from my camera to the computer thing since all instructions are in Spanish so I´ll save the photos of our trip for when we return. It is beautiful here and there are worse places to be stuck, India comes to mind....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We Made it to the End of the World and did you know there are TWO airports in Buenas Aries?

Well - we made it but not for nothing, it was probably the most S-T-R-E-S-S-F-U-L-L part of the trip. We got up early (4:30AM) made it to the Santiago airport with about an hour to spare. I was the first customer at Starbuck´s and all was right with the world. When we got off the plane - we had to go through the "Oh My God You Are Americans we must screen you for swine flu" screening. Which we have hit every time we got off a plane internationally as they don´t have the flu in SA yet. Usually a bunch of masked and gowned people meet you at a designated door - you give them a form stating you have no symptoms of the swine flu, they figure you are American and are freaked anyway, they scan your body temp and once they have completed that for your entire flight - they turn you lose to customs. For some reason, they would not let us (the entire flight) off the bus for like 20 minutes. Finally we got out of that, customs we walked right through and went to double check our flight ( already had the boarding passes, Thank God) and that, dear friends, is when we found out we had to take a taxi to the other airport - 40 minutes away and we had about an hour to get to our gate. This is when all that getting up at 5:30 to go to the gym thing paid off. We ran to an ATM to get Argentina pesos to pay the taxi, then ran to the taxi stand and waited... and waited...Finally this old man pulls up in a cab that had seen better days with a broken windshield and as we told him we needed to get to the airport pronto - he moved at a snails pace and I knew it would not be good. As he was poking down the road, cleaning his nails, the car miraculously broke down on a major highway. He told us it would be about 15 minutes for another car to arrive. So after swearing a bit, I told the Universe that I was going to go with the flow and if we were meant to get to Ushaia - we would and I totally gave it up. After about 5 seconds of zen , we jumped out of the cab (now parked on the shoulder of a 4 lane major highway) and flagged down another cab. The driver was cool , we were happy again until we looked down at his dash as he was pulling off the side of the road and noticed he had no gas. "It´s OK" he said, "we are staying on the highway it´s faster." He weaved around two big semi trucks from the shoulder and we made it to the airport on fumes. We ran to check our bags - no issues, ran thru security fast and easy since you don´t have to take your shoes off and made it to our gate 10 minutes before they boarded the plane. I need a beer so bad but nothing opens before 8 so I will try to just chill - our B&B is nice, it is cold and rainy and we are here. Yep - life is good!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hola - a real quick update

Because we have been having more fun than I have time to write about. My most favorite things about the vaca so far

1. The exchange rate because 1,000 pesos to $1US is crazy. This trip so far has been cheap.

2. The vino - it is that good. We went on a winery tour and bought a bottle of special reserve red, a bottle of champagne and a nice wine opener for $9US - crazy.

3. The people - so nice and friendly except for the gang of pickpocket dudes who were hunting us like those poor antelope on the Animal Channel. It was weird - that will be a post all by itself.

4. The food - has been fabulous and worthy of an entire post. Remind me to tell you about the mussles dish we had tonight.

5. Everything else - this has been a kick ass vacation.

Now I must pack´- tomarrow we leave for Ushia and out flight leaves here early, we gotta be up at 4:30am - YIKES!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hold the Pisco Sour - I think I'll have sweet tea

Our first drama didn't take long to happen. We were checking in at Bradley Airport in Hartford and imagine our surprise to find that indeed we were flying to Atlanta on May 6 but we were not leaving for Santiago until May 7th! Turns out that Hubby just paid attention to the time changes (3 of them) for our flight since he made the reservation but did not pay attention to the date. So - here we are in Atlanta looking for something to do today. I have a dear friend who lives down here but she has sort of put a hold on all friendships she enjoyed from our previous company (don't know why) so I am respecting that but it would have been nice to meet up with her since we are here the whole dang day. Anywho - we rented a car, are thinking we'll head up to Stone Mountain and also go to the Atlanta Farmer's Market for some good, artery clogging southern food and sweet tea.

The lesson learned here was - two people should always review travel plans which we will now do. I thought Hubby had this all figured out sonce he has been working on these plans for almost a year. But it's no big deal - we are just going to roll with it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Head South HB and It's Cocktail Time Because I'm on Vacation!

Today is the big day - we are off to Santiago Chile, then Ushuaia, Argentina and ending our two week tour in Buenas Aries. We just finished packing and only started packing about an hour ago - one bag each for two weeks. It isn't as hard as I thought. But I must admit I packed an empty bag that I can fill with vaca stuff for the trip home.

In Santiago it will be cool but not cold, snowing in Ushuaia and warm again in Buenas Aries. I will try to post a couple of times from the road if I can. The house sitter/kitty sitter is all set, plenty of food & booze in the house for them and I think we are ready to hit the road. We may try to hash in Santiago and are going to take our time and do what we want everywhere.
This will be one of the first drinks I try! They say it was invented in Peru but I have read every South American country has their version of the drink - sounds nummy!

Pisco Sour

1/4 cup (2 oz.) pisco
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon pasteurized egg whites
In a blender, whirl 3 ice cubes, pisco, sugar, fresh lime juice, and egg whites. Whirl until smooth (you'll no longer hear the ice cracking against the side of the blender) and serve straight up in a martini glass with a dash of aromatic bitters and a wedge of lime.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Fill-ins and It's Cocktail Time!

TGIF is all I have to say this week. It seems like I have been running around and not getting caught up - maybe that pre-vacation panic? Anyhow - the town of East Haddam is swine flu free - at least the school is good and dis-infected. Whatever.... we go!
1. The first rule of working in an office and getting along is sometimes keeping your mouth shut.
2. I don't care that much for clams except in chowder.
3. When I think of carnivals I think of cotton candy.
4. Daffodils are my favorite spring flower.
5. Things on my desk include many types of post it notes - I love them.
6. Latin music makes me wanna dance, but I'm not very good.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting help finishing knitting a pair of socks I have been working on for 5 years, tomorrow my plans include hashing and Sunday, I want to sleep in and cook dinner for our house sitters/cat babysitters

And now for happy hour - since champagne is one of my most favorite things to drink - we'll be trying this tonight.

Red Cicada

1 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Pomegranate Juice
Combine Vodka and Juice in a shaker with ice, mix well. Strain into a chilled wine or cocktail glass and top with champagne.
Garnish with blueberry stuffed red raspberry.