March 21, 2005

Visitors Aplenty

We have had six visitors in the past three weeks. Press HERE to see a slideshow of photos covering this and three other entries.

We have been hanging out at our home in Buenos Aires. Life has been interesting. I even went to a Toastmaster's meeting. It was fun! I haven't lost the touch. I was selected as best Tabletopics speaker and best evaluator.

For the past two weeks we have had visitors. First Bill Currin, a former coworker of Betty's, brought us a package from Birgitta. He was here to work for a week on constructing a church school in the north of Argentina. We had a nice talk with him, but did not get a chance to see him again. It was great to pumpkin pie filling, more books for Betty, an old flyswatter, and few other things that we cannot find here.

Second, my cousin, Steve Busch, came the next day on March 5th and then Betty's brother John and his friend Matt Richardson arrived on the 16th. We have been busy showing them how to get around the city and taking them to several of the sites. Seems like they all love our Vonage phone, making calls to the states with a frequency and length that seems unnatural to me. But, hey, I have done most of my travel where calling home cost a lot of money. They have been great at getting out on their own and exploring the city.

River Plate Stadium Scoreboard
Players on the Field

Steve came first. We took him to the auction that Betty and I like to go to. He got a decent bed for $50, so that he could get off the futon in the living room and use the second floor bedroom. After taking the train downtown with him I let him go, while I headed over to the national customs office to talk about my problem of not being able to use my car in Chile. While they recognize that there seems to be a problem with the law, they were totally unhelpful in fixing it. Evidently, the law makes no exceptions for insane mistakes. Since I was talking to the customs legal department, I suggested that they talk to the parliament committee that oversees their department. Guess what, there is no contact between the two. This is totally nuts. When a department finds that there is a problem in the law, they need to be able to bring it forward so that it can be repaired. This is not the case in Argentina.

Steve had been going with us to the English club. We discovered that a few of the club members were going to big game between River Plate and Racing. So we got tickets the next day and went to the game a week ago Sunday. We arrived too late to get a seat. Evidently, they oversell the stadium. Still we saw most of the game. It was a good game, too. With about five minutes left, we decided to head home as we were both tired of standing. We were thwarted in our attempt to leave the stadium. No the gates were not locked, but they just as well might have been. Instead, police blocked our way. I asked for them to show me where the exits were. Once again I got all bent out of shape over truly insane behavior. The police would not budge. They had there orders. Essentially, we and 8000 other people were falsely imprisoned for 45 minutes. You might ask why and we did just that. The police will say nothing but Argentines say that people have been killed in tussles after games. Other than me, none of the 8000 fans on our side of the field were crazy. These were ordinary, peaceable people. When finally we were released, no one went nuts, there were no fights. But what was there was a force of hundreds of police in full riot gear and dozens on horses. So, their solution to a few crazies that come once in a while to a game is to imprison and delay thousands. The sledge hammer kills the flea, great! Later when I discussed the problem with some Argentines, they readily accepted the solution. This bothers me almost as much as the police action. There is something about being held in a South American stadium that gives me the willies. I would have thought that Argentines would have felt the same, given their experiences in the 70's. But here it was accepted.

Steve, Betty, John and Matt

John was delayed coming to BA by about 8 hours. Matt came in midday and had planned to hang at the airport until John got in. So when we found out about the delay, we drove out to find Matt and bring him home, although we did not know what he looked like. We had just about exhausted our search, when we found him. He is great to have around. He is quite the intellect and a huge amount of fun to talk to. I cannot say I agree with his every idea, but he immediately added a great spark to the household. John's new arrival time was a little after midnight. So, we arrived about one in the AM and there he was. It was a late night but it was great to have a houseful of guests.

I had Steve show them how to get downtown on the train, while Betty and I bought a cheap (low cost) mattress. Then we cleaned out the quincho and moved the futon and mattress out to it. John and Matt like the space and the quiet. The three of them walked all over the downtown area, even catching the mothers of the disappeared. On Friday just John and Matt headed out. I guess they walked for hours. I tried to get them to use taxis more, but it must be against John's religion. They came back totally exhausted.

Bill, Mdrula and Chandra

While they were off traipsing around, Betty and I met with still more visitors. My sister Gay Lynn's son-in-law is Sanj. Chandra and Mrudula Patel have been best friends of his family. One of their sons was Sanj's best man. In any case, Chandra and Mrudula had been visiting the south of Chile and Argentina for nearly a month. Friday was their last day here and they called us. So, we went to their hotel and spent the entire afternoon just chatting with them. It was wonderful. They are so interesting and well traveled we enjoyed spending hours talking and talking with them. I won't say much about them other than they are retired and have been living about 20 miles from London for maybe 40years. We hope to visit them someday

John, Matt, Steve and I first went to the English club on Friday night. Then we headed over to the Tango social club on Armenia Street that I love so much. John and Matt took the first lesson and had a pretty good time. By the look on Matt's face, I would say all the exercise of the day was getting to him by the end of the lesson. They invited a couple of women to the table and we chatted and had a good time. I am sure the night was just starting for most of the Argentines, but still we headed home about one in the morning.

Boca Dancers

Artist Booth in Boca

Saturday we all went to La Boca. The look and feel of the little tourist area is one of the best in BA. We stopped and had the parrilla for five. The food was great and cheap. With beer and salads it still cost less than $22 for all of us. While they visited the art museum, Betty and I window shopped and drank beer. In the evening we watched a movie on DVD. The Incredibles was a pretty incredible movie.

Yesterday, it was raining like crazy. I suggested that they go to a number of museums. Like me, they really enjoyed MALBA. I guess they also went to San Telmo. While they were off seeing the city, Betty and I went to a movie, Open Water. I think that we both hated the movie. In the evening, we got bunch of cooked meet from a takeout parrilla. The food was great. After diner, we talked until mid night.

We have enjoyed all of our guests. John and Matt will be here until the first week in April and Steve will be heading back near the end of April. So, there will be more stories on this crew.

Posted by bill at 03:21 PM | Comments (2)