May 22, 2009

Our Last Three Days in Buenos Aires

Press HERE to view a slide show of
the Mataderos Fair

Mataderos Fair
Feria de Mataderos
Betty at a Puppet Stand
At a Puppet Stand
Guille, Joaquina, Fermin and Javie
Javier Burgos Family
The Man Who Loved China: Joseph Needham and the Making of a Masterpiece The Man Who Loved China: Joseph Needham and the Making of a Masterpiece
Simon Winchester

My review

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As a man who loves China, I found Winchester's book on Joseph Needham fascinating. Biographies of academics are rarely very interesting to me, but Needham was a very interesting man. The book does Needham justice as the man who discovered more about the history of science and invention in China than anyone before. I highly recommend this book.

A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 (P.S.) A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906
Simon Winchester

My review

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Winchester has a way of making mundane science into a very interesting story. He does it again in this book, which looks at geology on the north American plate. The focus of the book is the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, but there is so much more. I liked this book a lot.

View all my reviews.

Last Sunday we went to our favorite fair in Buenos Aires, Ferie de Mataderos. It is one of the best craft fairs in Buenos Aires. Every kind of thing is available. Some of the goods available are homemade foods - jams, breads, cheese, sausages, honey, etc., knives, leather-goods, clothing, hats, shoes, and lots more. There is comfort food from the rural areas that you can get from food stands or restaurants. I love the locro, a kind of soup, and Argentine tamales, which are not much like the Mexican version, and - of course - I love the grilled meats. We went with Javier, Gille and their kids. We had a wonderful lunch. And we bought a few souvenirs. Another wonderful aspect of the fair is the music and dancing. There is band platform where Argentine folk music can be heard all day. While the music is made, a hundred or more people will dance the Argentine folk dances. Truly, there is nothing else that even comes close to this fair in all of Buenos Aires. It was late afternoon before we got home. I took a lot of photos at the fair. Be sure to take a look at the slide show of these photos.

On Monday, two of our best Argentine friends came by. We talked and talked with Laura and later Pablo. We ate a pizza and a few empanadas. I have really grown to love empanadas. I promise that I will learn how to make them.

Tuesday we packed and bought some wine to bring home. Just before 6:00 our landlord came over to get the keys and return our deposit. Then we took a taxi to Javier's home. We said good-bye to our best friends in Argentina. Later Javier gave us a ride to the airport. We boarded our plane, which departed about 10:00 pm. The flights home were long and very wearisome. We landed about twelve hours later in Houston. Our routing to the mid-west was not the best, because we had one more stop in Newark before flying home. Birgitta picked us up at the airport about 22 hours after we took off from Buenos Aires. We were tired, but oh so glad to be with back in the USA.

On Wednesday, I got to drive again for the first time in four months. Only problem was the brake rotors had a layer rust that made the brakes shutter violently. It took more than two days of driving to wear the rust off. Otherwise everything else is returning to normal.

I will try to write a bit more than usual this summer.

Posted by bill at 05:34 PM | Comments (2)

May 17, 2009

Fire and Rain and Two More Nights

It has been a crazy twelve days. We were lucky to be in our apartment when water came pouring down from the ceiling above the refrigerator. It was like raining in our apartment. We quickly got a waste paper basket under the largest stream. A maintenance man told me that someone's water heater broke in one of the apartments above. If we had not been home, the refrigerator would have been ruined.

Bagpipers and Scottish Dancers

China Cruel at the National Library

Departing Fire Truck
BA Fire Truck

Then there was the fire. We were unlucky the other morning when an apartment, four floors below, caught fire. We had just finished breakfast when I smelled smoke. I figured it was coming from the window, but we checked the hall to see smoke. We grabbed a couple of things and walked out in the hall to find it filled with smoke. Too much smoke to walk down the stairs, the fire must be below. Back in the apartment we trod. It was too dangerous to descend. We checked our balconies and I could see the fire in the front of the building and several floors below. We closed the all the doors and went out on the balcony on the other side of our apartment. We could hear the fire engines approaching. We hoped that they would quickly put the fire out. Fearful as we waited, we were happy when they eventually let us know the fire was out. The only damage to us was an hour waiting on a cool balcony and the lingering odor of chemical smoke in the hall.

A week ago on Saturday, we visited the British Embassy. There was a church like fete in progress, raising money for charity. We went with Pablo and Nick Dragone. They bought books. Betty and I shared a choripan (sausage sandwich) and drank beers, while playing cards. The big show at the fete was the bagpipers and Scottish dancers. At the end of it, Betty headed home and I went out with Nick and Pablo. I had a good time talking with them and their friends.

Corner of Cuenca and Jonte
Cuenca and Jonte

We took some time to visit Ville del Parque, the neighborhood that we lived in on our last visit to Buenoes Aires in 2005. Some things had changed, an old business had closed and another had opened. Still the neighborhood was much the same. We even visited our house on Cuenca. The folks living there were kind enough to let us look in. Not one wall had been repainted. It all seemed so much the same. The big difference was all the adults living in the house. There were at least four and maybe six in residence.

Yesterday, we went to a show at the National Library. We heard two musical groups playing Tango music. The first was an all-women group called China Cruel with my friend Viviana Scarlassa singing. The other was a group of four guitarists. A wonderful show. A dance lesson followed with Tate and Mariana. We only stayed a bit for that, since it was for beginners.

Well, we will only be in Buenos Aires two more nights. We are very excited to be going back. We can hardly wait to see our family.

Posted by bill at 10:07 AM | Comments (4)

May 09, 2009

Friends and La Boca

Folkloric Dance Show in La Boca

Betty and I continue trying to learn the Tango. We continue to go to La Viruta two days a week. We also do lessons at a local recreation center a couple of more days each week. The rec center lessons have been more valuable lately.

Press HERE to view a slide show of
April and May in Buenos Aires.

Bill and Pablo
Bill and Daniel
Daniel Grimberg
Bill and Daniel

Saturdays I try to hang out with my friends Pablo and Daniel. A couple of weeks ago Pablo and I went to the Buenos Aires Book Fair, which fills a large convention center. Last week I joined Pablo and Daniel in a group of poetry readers. Not that I am a great poetry lover, but my friends are - so I am expanding my horizons.

Besides dancing, we try to get out on Sundays. Last Sunday we visited La Boca. Hundreds of folks show up to check out the local artists, maybe visit a museum, eat a steak and watch a show with live music. Mostly there have been Tango shows, but last week they had folkloric dancers too. Check out the video to see a bit of it.

We have found some new friends, Carlos and Gayle Baberis. Like Betty and I they are from the USA. They are thinking about retiring to Buenos Aires, so they picked our brains on our experiences in 2005. It was really fun to meet them.

We have less than ten more days to drink in Buenos Aires. We will try to make the most of it. We are also really missing our family, especially the grandkids. We are really looking forward to being with them again.

Posted by bill at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)