May 26th, 2019
This is the beginning of our fifth week in the city of Buenos Aires. The city has surprised us in many ways and we are glad to have this time. We had actually considered completely bypassing the city for a few reasons: (1) finding a place to camp in Tigger with services is not possible; (2) wild camping on a street is fine for a few days but after a bit you need water etc. and (3) there didn’t seem to be that much to interest us. As mentioned above, we were pleasantly surprised. We also save a lot of money not driving as Tigger is a thirsty critter and gas is not cheap here. The price in the city now is around 42 pesos a litre so around a dollar and we understand it gets pricier as we head north. But the driving we’ve been doing the past two months has been large distances, meaning lots of fill ups.
Sunday and Monday, we caught up on errands before Fran leaves on Tuesday night. Weather continues to be mostly sunny with temps in high teens C, low to mid 60’s F. At night it does drop and as the days are short (around ten hours long now), it takes a while to get warm and when it does, it doesn’t last long.
Tuesday Fran treated herself to a pedicure and Doug was nearly halfway through his goal to walk/run 100 miles in a week.
Fran caught an Uber that night and flew on AeroMexico to New York City via Mexico City
then on Delta points to Buffalo.
Fran arrived in Buffalo on the 29th at nearly midnight and crashed at an airport hotel before picking up our Honda Civic where we store it and our Amazon shopping. She did a bit of shopping and then got to Joshua’s home in Bolton, north of Toronto, late that afternoon and the grand kids arrived.
That weekend they spent swimming, several trips to the park with Frisbees, baseballs and kites, some shopping, some video games, lots play time, crafts and reading. The weather was cool with a bit of rain at night. Monday the 5th they took the kids to their T ball game and they spent the next few days with their mother.
Tuesday, Fran drove to Kingston to visit her mom and sister. They both took Mom out for a belated birthday dinner one night and Fran took her to Timmy’s for lunch one day.
On her final morning in Kingston, it was quite moving to watch the 75th anniversary of D-Day celebrations on CBC television:
She made it back to Joshua’s by late Thursday afternoon and spent another four days with them. This weekend they went bowling as well as lots of play, craft and reading times. Arya and Cyrus turn 6 later this month and Fran turns 60 next month so on Saturday afternoon a cake was purchased and we had a mini early birthday party making up all the puzzles they got for their birthday afterwards.
Monday the 10th, Fran was up early and drove back to Buffalo to drop off the car, pick up a few more Amazon parcels and took an Uber to the airport. She then flew from Buffalo to Buenos Aires with a long layover at JFK and a shorter one in Mexico City again but flights went smoothly and she had no issues at Customs (phew – you are allowed $500 in items and she probably had close to double that!!).
While Fran was away Doug spent much of his time reading and walking, completing many books, walking a marathon, running a half marathon and completing his 100 miles in a week.
He spent most of one day getting his Argentine visa extended (compared to half an hour at most border crossings – what a dysfunctional place) as our visas expire June 5th .Fran will get a new one on her return so he had to do it physically at an Immigration Office. He spent some time planning our route and getting Tigger ready. He had a cold pretty much the whole time Fran was gone so he didn’t get out as much as he usually would have. Just before Fran left he started a 16 hour fast regimen that we are both doing now.
Wednesday morning, after Fran had a good sleep we finished packing up the apartment, left the keys with the Super as the owner couldn’t make it over that morning. We drove in and out of rain just over 100 km / 60 mi to the small city of San Antonio de Areco. There was a wild camp spot near a tourist info office but there were a good deal of trees covering it. As our batteries had been turned off for six weeks, we had to get the solar panels charging (even without the sun) so being under trees was not a great idea. The lady in the office suggested a place on the other side of town and we parked there in an open space near a foot bridge into town.
We stayed here two nights and the weather continued with on and off rain. We visited the nearby gaucho museum as well as the small Cultural Museum and wandered the town a good bit. San Antonio de Areco is known for its huge gaucho festival in November so the town was pretty sleepy during our stay.
We did run into an Aussie who recommended a handmade chocolate shop and we checked it out and treated ourselves to a few chocolates and their alfajores.
What is an alfajore you ask? Alfajores are soft, delicate cookies from Argentina mostly which are made, surprisingly, with cornstarch. The cornstarch gives the dough a smooth, satiny texture that makes it a dream to work with and produces a tender, crumbly cookie. Creamy Dulce de Leche holds the cookies together in the middle (like the icing in an Oreo). They are generally covered in chocolate as well.
We used the free WiFi at the tourist office a few times as we were not parked that far away.
Friday morning we awoke to continuing grey skies and misty rain and drove less than 100 km 60 mi (we are trying to revert back to our driving only about 100 km a day again now that we are out of southern Argentina) to a municipal campground on the river in the small town of San Pedro with full services like electric, water, showers and WiFi (which was on and off) and we spent one night here.
SIDEBAR:. Many of you may have heard about a massive power outage in South America on Sunday (Father’s Day). We noted at one point before leaving San Pedro that morning, that the power had gone off in Tigger but just figured the breaker had gone. As we drove into Rosario later, we did comment on all the traffic lights being out but by the time we left about three hours later, they were working. For the most part, it did not affect us at all.
Saturday we made our way towards Rosario – large city that is known for its good weather; ha ha it’s been wet, foggy and rainy since Fran got back. After driving past the apartment building where Ché Guevara was born, we parked in the park by the river.
We walked the malecon along the Rio Paraná (the second longest river in South America at 4880 km / 3032 mi)
and then checked out the HUGE monument to the flag. Talk about national pride – this was WAY over the top:
The national flag of Argentina was designed by Manual Belgrano and adopted in 1812.
After a short walk in the area we saw a square with the cathedral/basilica on it:
We decided to take advantage of Sunday’s lighter traffic and drove out of the city and made it about half way to Córdoba which is our next destination. We stayed at a YPF station for the night before driving the rest of the way on Monday. We have a mechanic in our sights to install many of the parts that Fran brought back with her. We are hoping the sun will begin to shine us going forward as we are heading towards drier parts of Argentina and Fran’s not seen the sun since she got back!