Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This is one of the oldest, and most photographed parts of Buenos Aires. Immigrants who came here painted their houses bright colors with paint left over after painting their fishing boats. It is now very touristy, and outside of the tourist areas, a little dangerous, and very run down.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 12:32 PM
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Buenos Aires gave us a good send-off. It was cold and rainy before we left and on the day we left (getting to the airport at 3:00 a.m. to find we were way too early). Apparently it rained for several days and then got very cold. We were lifted up out of the rain and into a tropical paradise.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 8:32 PM
Here is a view of our hotel, the Colonna Park Hotel, which sat on a cliff between Joao Fernandes and Joao Fernandihno. It had a nice pool, sauna, clean rooms, but best of all were the views and the fact that we had Joao Fernandihno almost to ourselves (with all of the other people from our hotel). Some rooms smelled musty but I came prepared with lavendar and orange aromatherapy spray.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 8:27 PM
This is Ferradura beach, named because it is shaped like a big horseshoe. I liked it, but it was hard to get to (we had to take a combi and then walk in the sun for about 30 minutes). We parked under umbrellas, Hernan went kayaking, we had a caipirhna, ate, and just relaxed. It was beautiful, and was a beautiful sunny day. This guy is one of the vendors (the beach was not overrun by them and they were very un-aggressive). He was selling corn, and I loved his little cart, which he decorated by hanging ears of corn that had the husks cut into decorations. We didn't try his corn, but later had some at Tartaruga. It seemed to be a common snack on the beaches of Buzios and was just served with butter (I prefer Mexican style with chili and lime).
Posted by Rick Kappra at 8:18 PM
This is Joao Fernandihno, a little beach right next to our hotel. It was my favorite beach. While it got crowded for its size, it's location kept it from getting too crowded. We had to go down an incredibly long flight of stairs (which we had to climb back up again) to get there, and other folks who were not at our hotel either had to come down a steep hill or by water taxi. It felt isolated, intimate, and was really beautiful. I loved being able to look down on it when it was empty.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 8:13 PM
A room with a view. One of my pre-requisites for our hotel was that we had a room with an ocean view. If I was going to pay for a hotel, I wanted a view. That is how we ended up at the Colonna Park, where all of the rooms have ocean views. But for some reason we were first put in a room overlooking Joao Fernandes, which was nice but, Joao Fernandihno, was even nicer. We requested to change our room and our new view was just perfect!
Posted by Rick Kappra at 8:09 PM
Danger number 1 - caipirihna's on the beach. These were terribly addictive, and the most we ever had were two, but we could have gotten totally wasted with these. They are made from a liquer called cachaca or something along those lines, lime juice, and sugar. They were kind of like a mojito without the mint, very smooth going down and refreshing.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 8:06 PM
Here is Hernan doing his second favorite activity (after smoking). His three-hour siestas made me very irritable, as I was unable to watch TV. Eventually, I'd stomp around, rattle food packages, and do things to wake him up, but he was impossible to get out of bed.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 8:02 PM
Tartaruga or Tortoise beach. I thought there were tortoises here, and thus the name. I'm not really sure about it, though it was explained to me several times. I wasn't crazy about it. The water was cold (it was a cold day), and there were no bathrooms. We sat at the chairs of a guy who offered us half-price caipirihnas but he came by every two minutes like he was obsessive-compulsive and gave us the thumbs up and said, "tutto bem?", everything alright? He then would proceed to tell us what we could eat. It got so irritating, we finally left.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 7:56 PM
This is at Pinguim, a little restaurant outside of Joao Fernandes on the way to the center. We passed it often and had a coupon for it and every time we passed it some guy gave us a menu. I really wanted to try feijouda, which is a typical Brazilian dish, and Pinguim had feijouda completa, which I envisioned as this feast with all kinds of yummy things.
We got rice, breaded and fried bananas, and a big cast iron pot bubbling with a stew of black beans, chorizo and various parts of a big. It was not the most appetizing thing I have ever had. Personally, I prefer a nice black bean soup and would prefer not to have pieces of pig skin and possibly snouts and hooves. We hardly made a dent in it but it was VERY filling, what we did eat. The feijouda completa for 2 could have fed a whole family.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 7:50 PM
This was by far my favorite restaurant in Buzios. Hernan laughed at me that I wanted to return here again and again, but for me, after a few bad choices, I preferred to go with a safe bet. It was located right on Joao Fernandes beach, which could be a totally chaotic scene at times with lots of people sitting on the small patch of sand and vendors and people bouncing balls around and kids screaming, etc. But this restaurant which was really just a shack right on the beach, felt like an escape and the food was great. We had shrimp provencal twice, and the last day had this seafood stew. The waiter was great and they had a bottle of oil with dried chili peppers that they soaked for a month as a seasoning. I liked that from inside the restaurant you could see right out to all of the activity on the beach and yet be isolated from it. Even though it was a shack that had no doors, there were windows that made it feel like a seafood restaurant. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. I am going to try to make the shrimp we had there.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 7:42 PM
This is dos Ossos beach (I think). It is down in the touristy center of Buzios. It's not the nicest beach, by far, and I wouldn't hang out on this beach or swim in the ocean here, but it is nice to have this bustling center with shops and restaurants overlooking this lovely piece of ocean with the colorfully painted fishing boats.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 7:38 PM
This is Rua das Pedras (rock street?) - a lovely part of the "center" of Buzios - actuallyt the tourist center. This is where all of the cruisers come when their cruise ship lets them out for the day. The street is paved with large stones (thus the name), closed to traffic in the evening, and lined with shops and restaurants. It is fun to walk around at night, even though most of the stuff (other than the food) didn't appeal to me.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 7:34 PM
Brigitte Bardot is the one who put Buzios on the map. Before that, it was a sleeping little collection of fishing villages. After she visited there with her Brazilian boyfriend, followed by the paparazzi, the place took off. I'm sure there were other factors involved. Here is a statue of Brigitte sitting in downtown Buzios looking at the water. Thousands of people take their pictures with her and you can see where the metal is shiny in places where she has contact with live humans. Her lap, where people sit, her shoulders where they put their arms around her, her lips where I guess they kiss, and her breasts, where thousands of young men thought they were being funny and original. I wonder what Brigitte thinks about all of this.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 7:28 PM
Killing time in the airport. Hernan started smoking again after quitting for several weeks. There was this weird smoking room at the Rio Airport with an old, very ashen looking man who looked like he should have been on one of those warning photos on cigarette packs. I didn't go into the "room".
Posted by Rick Kappra at 7:21 PM
Monday, November 24, 2008
Avenida de Mayo is one of my favorite streets in Buenos Aires. It is a grand avenue that runs 13 blocks, from the Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada, to the Congress. Planned and designed during the period when Argentina began its rise as the "European Capital of South America". Colonial buildings were razed (with one exception - the Cabildo) and in their place, grand structures of neoclassical, art deco or art nouveau design. Many of them are hotels.
Now, Avenida de Mayo seems forgotten except for protestors who often block it off to traffic as they make their way from the Congress to Plaza de Mayo, or perhaps in the other direction, and tourists, who often stand in line for hours to get into Cafe Tortoni, a classic old cafe where the likes of Borges and friends used to sit over a cup of coffee.
I'd like to see Avenida de Mayo one day made a UN World Heritage Site so that it can be protected and cared for.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 8:21 AM
Stencil graffiti. While I really like it, I think the Avenida de Mayo should be spared. Unfortunately, this is the route most protests take, as it runs from the Congresso to the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace). Hopefully, one day, the Avenida de Mayo will get the respect it deserves.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 8:17 AM
Monday, November 17, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
This is my local fruit and vegetable market. Actually there is another right across from my apartment building that no one ever seems to shop at. The guy who works there looks very lonely.
This one seems to be run by Bolivians or Peruvians. They are not your typical portenos. There are usually long lines of people waiting to be served. For me it is a little stressful since many names of fruit and vegetables are different in Argentine Spanish and I don't know how to say quantities, such as "a handful", or "just a few". I often end up getting more than I want, since I resort to kilos or half kilos.
Posted by Rick Kappra at 11:19 PM