Hasta Luego

Tuesday, 26 June 2012 07:33 by jlf004

It's hard to believe that it's been over a month since John and I have been back to the United States! We've both started our internships; John has an actuarial internship in Richmond, VA, and I'm interning with the Church of the Brethren in Illinois. Even though we've been back for a while now, Argentina is still on our minds. We regret that we never wrote full posts about our trips to see a Boca Jouniors' fútbol game, the mothers at Plaza de Mayo, and the Christina Kirchner rally. The time commitment of our internships prevents us from writing a lot about these experiences. However, we hope you enjoy these pictures:

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Boca Jouniors' Fútbol Game

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Mothers at Plaza de Mayo

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Christina Kirchner Rally

Thanks for reading!
Jamie and John

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Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Friday, 18 May 2012 05:13 by jtm003

One of the trips organized by the program was a day trip across the river to Uruguay. We got up really early and took a high-speed boat trip acros el Río de la Plata and landed in Colonia, Uruguay. Colonia is an interesting town because it was founded by the Portuguese, but the Spanish took over the town less than a year later. It's fascinating because the difference between Spanish and Portuguese city planning can be seen clearly in this town. The Portuguese built their streets to follow the terrain, but the Spanish preferred a stricter grid system. Also, the Portuguese and Spanish designed the drainage of their streets differently. We started off the day with a tour of the old part of town so it was fun to learn about the town and explore the 17th century streets.

After the tour we had a fantastic lunch. The rest of the day was free so most of us went to the beach. This was our first opportunity to swim in the river that we had been living next two for the past two months. This wasn't as important to Jamie, but I love swimming and I love rivers so I was excited. The water was very shallow and did not get deep quickly. You had to go out very far in order to get to chest height. I had a great time swimming. We also spent a lot of time on the beach playing cards. We were loving being on the beach so much we didn't leave until it was dark and almost time to go home. We had a very relaxing day at the beach.

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Hasta luego,
John y Jamie

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Recoleta Fair and Mate

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 07:19 by jlf004

We're back in the United States! John and I have been very busy during the past month, and we've been having a great time. Now that we're back home (and don't have anymore homework!), we're looking forward to finishing off some last blog posts that we weren't able to write earlier.

There are probably 1,000,000 things to do in Buenos Aires. We had a blast going to a couple tango shows, enjoyed exploring many of the city's museums, and loved walking around the city and seeing all of the unique architecture. However, weekend after weekend, John and I kept finding ourselves back at the artisan fair in our neighborhood. The "Recoleta Fair" is always mentioned in the tour books and websites. When we first went, we enjoyed walking to all of the stalls and seeing what the different artists make. They set up their stands along the sidewalks of the park that is located beside the famous Recoleta Cemetery (where Eva Peron and Sarmiento are buried), and as you walk along, it's pretty obvious why it's such an awesome place for tourists to go.

Since this weekend fair takes place so close to where our homestays were, John and I found ourselves going there for Saturday and/or Sunday dinners. The food stands there sold, among other delicious foods, choripán (a delicious sausage sandwich), which quickly became one of our favorite Argentine foods; we ate it more times than I can remember. Also, in the middle of the fair there's a large, grassy area where multiple musicians and other performers set up to share their talent. People sit and lay all over this lawn to enjoy the good weather and the music. As we kept going back, we realized that the majority of the people who sit in the grassy area are also locals. How did we figure this out? We noticed that almost everyone in that area was drinking "mate." Now in case you didn't already know, mate is a tea-like drink that is extremely popular in Argentina. One of the neat aspects of mate is that it is traditionally a very social drink. Once we got our own mate supplies, we were able to enjoy drinking mate with our friends in the park as well.

Basically, the Recoleta Fair is amazing. It's got wonderful stalls, talented musicians, and lots of grass to relax on (a treasure in the city!). I hope you enjoy these pictures from our favorite weekend hang-out spot.

Thanks for reading! - Jamie and John

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So much to do!

Monday, 23 April 2012 20:41 by jtm003

Hey everyone. We're sorry that we've been falling behind on the blog posts recently. We only have two weeks left before we return to the States, and we're trying to fit a lot into that time. Our only access to (free) Internet is at our school during the day, but we want to be able to enjoy the city during those times instead of being stuck in the computer lab. We'll update our posts once we get home with things we've done and things we plan on doing in the next two weeks. Here are some things we hope to share with you when we have more time:

Colonia, Uruguay
Boca Juniors soccer game
Tango!

Thank you for reading so far, and we hope you enjoy these posts once they're completed.

Que tengan un buen día,
John y Jamie

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Puerto Petunia

Thursday, 12 April 2012 02:33 by jtm003

It's been a while since we've written anything here. Sorry. We'll have to work hard to catch up on everything we've done. First: Puerto Petunia (Our favorite restaurant in the world).

We found this restaurant on the beach behind our campground during on our spring break trip. We tried it out the our second night there and loved it so much we went back our last night. First of all, the food was incredibly delicious. Both meals we ate were among our favorite meals ever. We had beef and vegetable canelones (which is stuffed pasta similar to manicotti), chicken and mushroom risotto, and speatzle with goulash. We loved our food so much. Amazingly, it was all prepared by one guy. The kitchen actually had a large opening that made it exposed to the rest of the resturant. You can see it in our picture. The picture also shows the rest of the staff. That's another reason why we loved this restaurant: the staff was great. It was a very small restaurant so there was one waitress and one chef, though our second night there the chef had a helper. The waitress was really great. She was very friendly and a little quirky. She made us feel very welcome at the restaurant. The locals there were also very welcoming to us. In addition to awesome food and awesome people, Puerto Petunia had an awesome location. It was right on the beach, raised above the sand. The area was 13 km outside of Bariloche so we could see the lights of the city across the lake. The area was beautiful. Finally, the second night we were there we were finishing up our meal when a band came in and started setting up in the corner. It was a very intimate setting, and the band was just a couple of local guys who wanted to get together and jam. They also seemed to know everyone in the restaurant. It was a really great experience. We fell in love with this restaurant, and we definitely hope to make it a part of future trips to Argentina.

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Hasta luego,
John y Jamie

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Bariloche

Wednesday, 28 March 2012 01:12 by jtm003

After our trips to see the penguins/rainbow flowers we hopped on a bus heading west to Bariloche. Bariloche is often referred to as the “Switzerland of the Andes” for its beautiful mountain scenery. The town is located on Lake Nahuel Huapi and surrounded by mountains. This town is definitely set up for outdoorsy tourism. There are camping/hiking supply stores everywhere and a lot of people were walking around town with their big backpacks. It was definitely a place where you could be close to nature. We enjoyed exploring the town, which included seeing the cathedral, taking pictures by the lake, and eating some fantastic ice cream. The ice cream was beyond incredible. Apparently it is made of sheep or goat milk to make it more creamy and smooth. It's a small chain mostly located in the area around Bariloche, but we learned that there is a location in Buenos Aires. That is dangerous news.

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One of the days in Bariloche we decided to go on a bike ride. There is a bike rental place a few miles outside of town that is located right along a popular bike route. The ride is 15 miles through the mountains surrounding Lake Perito Moreno. It was a really fun ride, but the uphills were intense. Jamie has a lot more experience in biking, but it was pretty hard for me since it was my first long(ish) bike ride. Jamie taught me a good deal about shifting gears efficiently and other biking tips. Although it was hard at times, the trip was beautiful. We earned incredible panoramic views after several of the difficult uphills. We also stopped along the way to sit by the lake a bit. It was a beautiful day, and we had a lot of fun.

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Another day we hiked to the top of nearby Cerro Otto. The beginning was a bit tricky because we couldn’t exactly find the path to start. We were told to follow the road out of town until we found it, but it wasn’t as easy to find as we were expecting. Eventually we found what appeared to be a path to the top of the peak, so we decided to follow it. After a little bit we realized that we were probably on a mountain biking path. It was very steep and the soil was very loose. That initial part of the climb was fairly difficult. Luckily, the mountain bike path eventually led us to the correct path which we followed the rest of the way up. The view from the peak was very impressive. We could see Lake Nahuel Huapi and all of the surrounding mountains.

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John y Jamie

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Rainbow Flower Trash

Friday, 23 March 2012 00:13 by jlf004

I love rainbows…a lot. Seriously, forever I’ve loved rainbows. I could write a whole blog post about how awesome rainbows are, but this post is supposed to be about the recycled park that John and I went to during our Spring Break. Here´s the story (from A to Z): John and I were already planning on going to see the penguins, and we were looking at what other things we could do in that area. Our guidebook mentioned “Parque El Desafío.” The story behind this place is that a grandpa started building a park out of trash for his grandkids, and he worked on it so much that it became the largest “recycled park” in the world…whatever that means. We thought it sounded awesome, so we took the bus from the town we were staying in (Trelew) to the neighboring town (Gaiman). After about 30 minutes of searching, we found it. It was closed! Apparently, the gentleman passed away a couple years ago, and the park has been closed since. No worries! I honestly spent almost an hour enjoying the entrance to the park. He had taken pop cans and bottles and made them into flowers (just so you know, flowers are also one of my favorite things). He had painted them, and then put them up in rainbow(!) order. I know it sounds like a silly thing to look at/take pictures of for an hour, but I thought it was absolutely beautiful. Needless to say, I loved it…and John did too. So, we hope you enjoy these pictures:

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That's it for now!
Jamie y John

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Penguins!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 02:28 by jtm003

My favorite part of Spring break was the penguins. That was an incredible day. We were staying in a town called Trelew which is about an hour and a half away from the penguin colony. On the way there our guide provided interesting details about the penguins and the surrounding region. We were outrageously excited once we got there. The penguin colony at Punta Tombo covers an enormous area so we parked near the outskirts of it and followed a path leading to the more populous areas. The first penguin we saw was hiding behind a bush next to the path. It was quite the thrill to finally see a real penguin in its natural habitat. We realized later that a lot of the penguins were hiding in bushes by the path. Our guide informed us that we came at an interesting time. Almost all of the young penguins had already left the colony to spend a few months at sea, but the adults stayed behind a few more weeks to moult. During this time the penguins don’t eat for about two weeks. So, naturally, they wanted to find a good place to hide and stay mostly still. Fortunately, there were other areas where the penguins were more in the open and we could get closer to them. It was interesting to see penguins that still had their old, brownish feathers, penguins with their new, shiny feathers, and penguins still in the process of moulting. We spent about two hours walking through the colony taking pictures and having fun. The joy and excitement of being with the penguins was overwhelming.

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We'll continue posting about our spring break this week. Check back for more updates.

Chau,
John and Jamie

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Spring Break

Tuesday, 20 March 2012 01:40 by jtm003

Jamie and I arrived back in Buenos Aires last night after spending 10 days in Patagonia. After uploading all of our pictures to facebook, we don't have enough time today to write a whole post. However, we wanted to whet your appetites for what we hope to post about in the next week:

-Penguins in Punta Tombo
-Recycled Park in Gaiman
-Hiking and Biking in Bariloche
-Puerto Petunia: In our opinion, the best restaurant in the WHOLE WORLD

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We're looking forward to blogging more in the next few days!
John and Jamie

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Spring Break is Almost Here!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012 20:15 by jlf004

John and I have had midterms and finals this week, so we're sorry that we won't be able to post any of our recent adventures. Also, we'll be leaving for Spring Break tomorrow and will not be able to post till we return. The good news is that we'll have lots of pictures and experiences to share about when we return...You can look forward to hearing about us seeing penguins in Punta Tombo and exploring the Andes around Bariloche!

On to more adventures,
Jamie and John

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