I have two four goals I want to accomplish for travel.
1. Visit all 50 states
A few things about this. Airports do not count. I must leave the airport property for a visit to “count”. The visit doesn’t have to be long but I want to really see everything this diverse country has to offer. I really want to get into couchsurfing. I have no idea how it will work out, but the idea fascinates me. It could offer a great way to really get to know a city.
2. Explore Portland
There is so much to do and see here that I do not take advantage of. You can go on a multi-day hike and stay within city limits! Crazy. And there are plenty of brewires that are calling my name!
3. Explore the Outdoors
I’ll be honest, this list was only going to contain points 1 & 4. But 2 & 3 seem very important too. I really enjoy rock climbing and hiking and need to do more of it. The technical would point out that this point is superfluous and could fall under 1 & 4 but I like making it a focus. I really need to get my S.C.U.B.A training done and buy climbing gear.
4. Visit all 7 Continents
Three down, four to go. I have been to North and South America and Europe. I want to do this via fun trips and mission trips. There is a ever increasing likelihood that I will be going to Africa this spring and it would be quite fun to visit China with Ruth. That leaves the A’s.
I plan to bring you along for the ride. Please leave comments, ask questions, and even critique my writing (that part can be done via email if you prefer).
Well here goes nothing. I am still trying to figure out how to share my photos and how to spend more time shooting and editing them as well. Posting a few from the last month seemed liked a good start. … Continue reading →
Well I am not sure how this is going to go, but I am going to try and start blogging again. I have a few ideas. I am thinking I am going to try and focus on photography, travel and volunteering.
I may end up launching a separate more regular photo only blog. We will see what happens. I also need to finish all my argentina posts. Please bear with me as I may change the layout a couple of times.
Late start. Oops. Took care of some planning and blogging
I biked around the Porto madero area, part of the river, that runs though the city. Not a very wide river. Very nice area to bike through. Modern architecture lots of people.
Traffic is interesting, for all the rules they break (or better said, rules of safety) they are sticklers on lights. They won’t run a red one even there is no one around. Surprising.
Fun yet starting to feel like I’m am in a game of crazy taxi, city crazier than the port area.
Last thing I wanted was the bike to get stolen so asked the guard outside museum to watched my locked my bike and he would. Perfect.
Huge museum, very modern. Liked the art lots of Argentinean landscapes and portraits.
Really liked this piece. Reminded me off the last supper. Saw another person staring at it. Ended up talking to her about the piece and what she was doing in Buenos Aires. We ended up talking for about an hour. Heard about her experience studying abroad. I filled her on current events on the US and we talked about the similarities and differences between the two places. Also talked about the problems each faces. Interesting conversation.
Took off towards the ecological reserve. It’s located just outside of the city and is a wildlife area. Awesome to be in nature while looking back towards the city. I intentionally took the long route and did the whole thing. While near the river banks I ran into a familiar face, the guide from the bike tour yesterday. Great time in the reserve.
Headed for the rose gardens. Got a little lost/disoriented near train station. Insane amount of people and vehicles. Bikes, buses, cars, people, motos all converging on one spot. As I found my way I was looking forward to getting on the bike path. Found it.
Buenos Aires built a great system of bike lanes, they run in the main streets or on the sidewalks just off the street and are separated by physical barriers from motorized traffic (out of necessity). I quite enjoyed passing all the sites that I had walked by or seen from the bus in previous days.
Stopped briefly to capture a photo of this flower, it opens and closes with the sun.
Made it to the rose gardens but it was only an hour until the bike shop closed, so I only spent 15 minutes is the garden. Stunning gardens. Very dense. A tranquil spot in the middle of craziness.
With 45 minutes left I started to battle my way through the city. Now I truly was in a game of crazy taxi! Consulting my map I had a route picked. The map makes crossing 8 lanes of traffic much easier than it actually is. I followed the lead of other bikers and made it happen. After some brief street confusion I was back on my way. Soon I was intense center of the city and knew the way the grid worked. I ended up on a prediction and bike street and despite not having rot contested with busses and cars, it was slower. Cars move in generally one direction the people were all over the place, back to the normal street. I continued racing and made it ack at 6:59. Phew. Lost an argument about getting a 1 phr free because I could not find the card, still would not give me the discount even though she knew that’s how I found out about the place and knew which card I was talking about. O well. Great day riding a bike though the city. Really enjoyed how much ground you can cover. Quite fun
Went to dinner with two guys from the hostel. Always interesting to hear others travels stories. The place we went to was alright. Kinda touristic spot.
Next stop was an English bar. Locals and other travelers. Met some people who are tour guides, currently taking a break by taking a trip of their own. Comical to hear the stories of them leaving people behind when they are not ready to get on the bus and don’t pickup the phone.
Walked back to hostel and as usual was very ready to go to be…….
I was getting ready for the day, I decided on a bike ride. Seemed like a good way to explore the city and would give my feet some rest. I was about to leave when two English girls said they … Continue reading →
Slept in again. I enjoy this style of sight sighting. While my rapid and quick paced euro trip exceeded my expectations and then some, I did not relax much. I am relaxing in Buenos Aires and embracing each day. I open the guide book or ask for a recommendation and then go do it.
Today was time to meet up with Riley. I met Riley freshman year on my dorm hall. Very nice guy. I am envious of his ability to travel the world. Currently he is in Argentina studying for a year, volunteering and traveling. Jealous.
We met up at 11 and I gave him his presents. He proclaimed his thankfulness when he saw I had brought two 22′s of beer. fresh hopped. As a true NW guy he appreciates a good beer and while he has been trying the micro brews here, they do better with their wine.
Filled up my water bottle and headed out on an adventure. We took the subway to a bus and then walked towards the feria de Mataderos. We were outside of the tourist area of the city. It was interesting seeing the real living standards and what a neighborhood looked like. Mostly developed but some houses still coming together.
We arrived at the festival to the smell of cooking meet and heard live music playing. Locals were doing a traditional dance to the music. Great to have Riley as my tour guide for the day. We spent some time wandering the market and looking at local crafts. While I appreciate the hard work and good quality of what was on display i am not a big purchaser of such items. I do need a matte gourd though.
Hunger soon entered out mind so we went and got the local barbecue. A steak sandwich of sorts for only 18 pesos (4 US dollars). I chose to get a soda which cost 10 pesos, it amazes me how cheap the food is compared to drinks at times.
I am glad we found a place to sit and that it ended up being towards the entrance. We soon were treated to this.
Riley asked the man how he trained the dog to sit there and the man replied that it just started to sit there. While odd, it did look comfortable. The crazy part happened when the horse started moving and the dog stayed on, bareback. It appears he uses his nails to dig in a little bit and honestly just has good balance. As the little pony ride returned I was excited to see that the dog and made it the whole way.
When we headed back to the market Riley decided to get a belt. All morning I enjoyed listening to Riley interact with the various venders. He has excellent spanish but normally speaks slowly enough for me to understand and start to pick up new words. Watching the process of the belt being custom made intrigued me. The sizing then cutting the belt, changing the buckle, and punching the holes. After seeing how good it looked on him, I wanted one to. Went through the same process and go my very own leather belt. Really nice quality and a unique design. And it only cost me 110 pesos (26 dollars).
We moseyed our way to the entrance again to watch the gaucho horsemanship.
This setup consists of a soccer goal like post that has a string in the center of it that is used to hold a ring with a pin on it. The rider gallops towards the goal at full speed and then stands up and attempts to place a rod though the ring and retrieve the ring. Doing all of this while riding a horse. Sound crazy? It was. Check out the video to get a taste for it. But then come back, I’ll work on embedding them.
After watching several riders succeed and fail we moved on. Taking one last stroll though the main market we proceeded to attempt to catch a bus. Many passed but not the one Riley wanted. Glad I am not the only one who loses at bus lottery. Further up the road we found a stop that would have a bus that would work. As we got water of a store across the way I saw proof of how much Argentina loves it matte.
A self serve not water station. Brilliant. Still need to get a gourd.
The water we purchased was somewhere in between gas y sin gas. I want to know why outside of the EE.UU water with gas is so popular.
We boarded towards a bigger but less posh cemetery. For the record while intriguing, cemetery’s creep me out. Strolling past dead bodies, feet below the earth strikes me as odd.
I went to grab a sip of water and as I flipped up the value on my camelback water bottle I got attacked by a stream of water. I quickly flipped back down the value and turned to the now laughing Riley. We both instantly realized what had happened. Guesses? The water with a slight amount of gas got shaken up and well high school physics took over. (Tim you would have appreciated the resulting conversation about the path of least of resistance and why his water bottle did not have the same problem. ) I pointed the bottle out the window and let it spray. Quite a sight. (in hind sight I should have just undid the cap to let the excess pressure escape. )
After getting of the bus we realized that we exited too early. Oops. However there was a entrance near us. This was not the cemetery we were expecting, intrigued we started to look around. I soon realized most of the headstones were in English and had European sounding names. As I pointed this out to Riley, his history major took over. He gave me a quick lesson about how Argentina was the other destination when people left Europe for the US. There was and still is a significant Italian population and influence in Argentina. This helped to explain the Italianness of the local Spanish. Using ciao instead of adios, Biere or cervesa and more. There was also a influx of Germans and Brits. Intriguing.
As we moved down the road, another entrance. This time it was a clearly German cemetery. The German signs and order gave it away. I have never seen such a pristine cemetery.
Everything lined up, the headstones, trees, plots, gravel. Everything.
We kept walking and walking and found the entrance to our original destination by now we were both sick of dead people. I snapped a quick photo, noticed how it wasn’t as nice as Recoleta and headed towards a coffee shop Riley knew of. The whole time we had been walking we carried on a wide ranging and dynamic conversation. Covering everything from US politics, economic disparity in the US and Argentina, the problems with sunk cost, religion and everything in between.
Arriving at the coffee shop to the sight of a lowered metal gate disappointed both of us. O well. Onward. (lots of business still close here on Sunday’s).
Next stop Palermo for some sightseeing. Intended on catching a bus but it never came. So we kept walking, and walking and walking. Eventually we hit the point of no return where just made sense to walk the rest of the way. Thankfully it was a pretty walk. Saw the neighborhoods change as we entered the nicer areas. But the walk was very long. My foot stepped up the pain/annoyance level, I started to walk differently which makes my leg hurt. I need to do something about this blister.
Palermo had interesting shops. On Sunday’s they have a market of sorts and most of the nightclubs host clothing boutiques inside. Very fun way to shop. Great use of space.
Walked to the subway, walked back to the hostel. In total I walked between 7-10k. My bet is that much or further.
Shared one of the beers I brought for Riley as we planned the rest of my trip. Using the as a interactive map. Iguazu, san ignacio, Rosario, Uruguay, if time permits a town outside of BA and then spend the night with Riley before I fly home. I had him take my lenses so I would not have to carry them around. Since there was no point. We had a good conversation about traveling and roots and how it is nice to come home to people who care about you. So true.
Thanks to iMessage I received the news that I will be running the hood to coast either with a team from work. Yaya! Wait….should I be excited or scared. I am going with both.
Riley knew of a good place in San Telmo and we grabbed dinner there. Good food and got to here of some of his crazy travel stories. Having to coordinate a pickup truck to come and grab his injured friend after spending a night in a soccer field with their guide who carried and M-16 held my interest. Walked with Riley towards his bus stop and said ciao for now.
I woke up and was happy that I had slept in until 10:30. Different from my Europe trip, but I needed the rest. I had been woken up earlier when my roommates got ready for the day but I was able to fall right back asleep.
I looked at what I wanted to do for the day and decided my main goal was to explore the park area in Palmero. The jardin botanicas and japonasa sounded the most interesting. I also wanted to see the big cemetery in the middle of the city.
First I headed back towards the tourist area to see if there was a shop that sold my camera at a reasonable price. I found one the night before but it was $2000 us dollars. Only a $1,500 premium. I found the nikon shop hoping it would be cheaper but they did not even have it. And with that I was officially moving on.
I figured it made sense to get a quick lunch before I started my adventure for the day. I looked for a restaurant as I was looking for the right bus. I saw this one and knew it would be great.
Once I got inside I was the only American there. Perfect. I was great by who I think was the owner, as he was the most dressed up but still knew everything about the restaurant. I picked out a steak sandwich. Almost everyone drinking a beer with lunch and thought about it but said in reply to the question of which one I wanted “tengo auqa”. As I walked away from the the cooler I heard a local mocking my choice to only have water. Haha.
Once the sandwich was ready the chef showed me all the different spices or things I could add he warned me that the on chili like spread was quite hot. I tried a little bit and found it flavorful but a bit mild, so I used a generous amount. I took my first bite and it lived up to my expectations. I love finding a good hole in the wall place. I finished and paid. Despite a one dollar to 4.2 pesos things are not that cheap. My sandwich cost 5 US dollars. A deal but not a steal.
I headed on the search for my bus. On advice from Riley I bought the guia t which is a book that lists every bus route in the city. It breaks down the city into grids and tells you which buses serve that area. The problem I am having is that I don’t know where to go in that grid!! So I just start walking around playing a combination of batteship and the lottery. I see a bus coming read the number and hope it is one I won’t. The problem is like the lottery my number is not coming up often. After 10 minutes of searching for a stop that would take me to my destination I started asking locals for help. I was told, well I don’t know where that bus stops but the one I am waiting for will take you there. All of this was in Spanish and hampered by me forgetting the local word for bus, collectivos. Sure enough the bus got me within 3 blocks of where I wanted to be.
The gardens were alright. Not as lush as I expected. So I headed over to the Japanese gardens. Not what I was expecting at all. It was packed. People were dressed up. I was confused. Slowly I started putting things together. They don’t celebrate Halloween, it’s not tourists dressed up, they are holding fake weapons. It is an anime convention!!!! Surprise. I enjoyed walking around seeing all the different costumes and outfits there were some really crazy ones. I really enjoyed how tranquil the gardens are contrasted with the noise and activity of the city. A good timeout.
After spending sufficient time wandering and relaxing, And fighting through throngs of anime characters I headed out. Time for the cemetery. It is located in the center of the city and is often referred to as a mini city for the dead. Very crazy. Huge ornate mausoleums house the famous Argentinean dead. While slightly spooky I enjoyed walking around an appreciating the craftsmanship of the buildings. Again the juxtaposition of staring out and seeing the tall buildings of the city in the background and the houses of the dead in the foreground intrigued me. I crashed a tour group and listened to some explanations in Spanish.
I started my journey home. I hung out for a minute on a park/hill where local college students appeared to be gathering. Made for some good people watching. Again I struggled to find the right bus home and I walked further than I would have liked. Pretty sure I am going to have a blister on the bottom of my foot.
I stopped in at a local shop to buy a bottle of wine. I made a rookie mistake and helped the cashier make change and gave her one of my coins. Dang it. Coins here are the only way to pay for the bus and the shortage I read about is real. There is a constant game played between customers and merchants with each side trying to get as many coins as possible. I tried to get mine back but she was not having it. I faced this problem earlier in day and had to ask three shops for change before i got some. I spotted a bakery and a solution to my lack of “moneda”. I picked out a snack that cost 2.50. Forcing the shop to give me change. My plan worked but I needed more, so as I paid I asked for peso coins nicely. The cashier helped me out and I now had a snack and the money I needed to board the bus.
Finally I arrived back at the hostel after a long but good day. Really enjoyed exploring the city. I sat I the common area, drank some wine, chatted with fellow travelers and began to blog. I emailed Riley to coordinate our meeting up tomorrow and the saw I had one from Hannah wanting to go to dinner. Why not. So I met up with her and we began a search for empanadas.
As we walked through the plaza de mayo a concert blasted music our way. An interesting sound but I did not feel the need to stay and watch. With our backs to the plaza there was a loud bang and then more. We turned around to see a spectacular fireworks show. Perfect timing. Stayed and watched the 5 minute show that ended with an impressive grand finale. Really need as we had the presidential house as the back ground for the show. Surprise.
After passing on two restaurants Hannah asked for a recommendation. We soon entered a local shop and knew we were set. I ordered three, pollo,carne and jamon y queso. They were delicious.
We left in search of dessert, accidentally wandered into the main touristy area and then found a nice ice cream shop. Not as good as italian gelato but still tasty. Walked back to her hostel and then I walked home. My feet were killing me by this point.
Once I returned I wanted to go to bed but saw some of my hostel mates were hanging out and listening to music so I joined in. Got a world to tour of music as the french and Colombian girls went back and forth playing songs. I thought I should represent america well, so I put on teach me how to Dougie.
Then it was time for bed and once again I put my head on the pillow a…………
I am burying the bad in the middle. One to make your read it all and because that is the order in which my day went. As usual please excuse any typo’s. Part of me wants to not post this story but hey that would take away all the fun and honesty.
Off the plane and through customs. Very easy save the 150 dollar fee they impose. That being said it mirrors the charge that we place on their citizens with a visa. What goes around comes around, or so they say……
After exiting customs I took the advice of my hostel and my buddy Riley and got correct bus transfer to my hostel. Cheaper that a taxi and faster than the public bus.
Being up for 24 hours was taking its toll on me. As the bus left the airport I soon fell asleep. I would wake up and fall back asleep. Even thought the girl next to me looked perfectly nice I made sure to keep my brand new camera close between my legs. I honestly felt a little sick as we inched closer to the city center. After about a 30 minute nap I woke up and felt much better. The combo of a nap and a limon-lime soda worked well.
I started to chat with the girl/woman/person next to me. She is a flight attendant for TAM airlines and is from brazil. She gave me some advice and we soon arrived at the central station. From there I had a minibus transfer to my hostel.
Hostel is very nice. Small and friendly. I unpacked a bit and was given advice to take defensa into town and just walk around. I got my camera ready, put on sunscreen and started walking.
I felt as if If I had entered a city that took part of paris and blended it with NY. It reminded me of the musical in the heights. I was clearly in the barrio.
I started snapping photos and loved the results I was getting. Having the 35 mm prime lens really allowed me to have some fun. Especially with some fruit in a market. I realized I was hungry and started looking for the right cafe. I kept zig zagging down side streets trying to find something not 100% turisicto. One caught my eye and the menu was espanol y no americanos. Bueno. I spoke only Spanish to the waitress, however I think she over estimated my Spanish ability. I was unsure of what I ended up ordering but the words sounded good and it was what she pointed to after I asked her what her favorite was.
Turns out I order stuffed bell peppers. Amazing. Once again my new camera setup captured a crisp image. I could see the individual specks of rice and detail on the peppers. It tasted as good as it looked. The salsa on the side only made it better. I had fun people watching as I filled my stomach. I sat there a bit and then left.
I headed towards the plaza de mayo and snapped a few more pictures as I went. I thought about how much fun I am going to have learning how the most out of this camera.
As I entered the area near the square there was a big white building with lots of graffiti on it. The images perfectly stenciled intrigued me. I stopped to admire them. I then saw a solid building that I soon realized was a church.
The doors were wide open so I walked in. I wanted to start snapping photos right away but I held back. I walked towards a pew and knelt down to pray. As I prayed I thanked God for safe travels and for the ability to be able to travel. As I looked up I started thinking about how I wanted to take some photos of the church. I went to grab my camera and it was not there. WHAT?? I thought I must have put my bag on top of it. I lifted my bag and still no camera. I started to panic. I stood up and started looking for the thief. No one stood out. The people behind me appeared to have seen the whole thing but said nothing as it happened ( or they were part of the whole scheme they cursorily left at the same time I did). They said it was a tall blonde man. I ran out of the church and tried to find a man matching this description. No tall man existed. However, my eye did catch a man who started running as soon as I emerged from the church. I gave chase. As I reached the busy street the light changed and a wall of cars impeded my path. Ahhh. I was not willing to play frogger to maybe get my camera back. Still in a panic I approached a police officer and explained I has been robbed, he looked ready to jump into action, but I had no idea who we were looking for. As my panic level decreased, I became angry at myself and the thief and began to plan. Thoughts of stupidity, anger, frustration, stupidly,and insurance entered my mind. I asked the police officer where I could file a police report. Not because I expected any thing to happen but because I was/am pretty sure I need one to make a claim with my credit card company(everything should be covered). I ran back into the church and business was carrying on a usual. I looked around and nothing. I started my trek to the police station and warned a couple people walking in that there were thieves inside.
At the police station I began to explain what had happen. My Spanish was not good enough for them so they wait for an English speaking officer to be available. After he heard what had happened he let me know to wait. To make a LONG story short, after waiting 2.5 hours an officer helped me make my statement. It took literally 5 minutes. I could have done it in Spanish if I knew it was going to be that short. That would have cut 1.5 hours of my wait. While I was waiting there were several other people who were victims of petty crime. I felt bad for the local who had her cell phone stolen on her birthday. Yikes. Police report in hand I started my walk back my hostel to drop off stuff and head to dinner. Walking back I just kept kicking myself for being so dumb. I had not read as many warnings about petty crime in Buenos Aires as I had for Europe. But still I should have known better than to set my camera at side. O well. As I walked back I prayed that I could move on.
The hostel I am staying at has GREAT staff. Friendly and helpful with good recommendations for activities. The woman at the front could tell I was not happy and asked how my day went. She gave me a hug after I explained. I then told her I wanted a giant steak and glass of wine. She recommend a place five blocks away and off I went.
While the place did have an english menu, the grill in the front slowly cooking the meat drew me in. I ordered around 8:30pm and the restaurant was practically empty. Made me a little nervous about the place. My food came out and the restaurant started filling up. By 9:15 the place was packed. People were not kidding Argentina eats late.
I noticed there was another single traveler sitting across the restaurant. Since I had made it back to the hostel later than expected I missed any opportunity for a group outing. After finishing my meal and noticing that she didn’t have any join her I thought “what’s the worse that could happen” and headed over.
She was welcoming and we started it talking and sharing travel stories. Turns out Hannah was here for a month learning Spanish and volunteering to help teach English. Always fun making a new friend. We ordered dessert and continued chatting. She mentioned she was heading out to try and watch some tango. We left the restaurant and found our I intended location. While it was open there was no tango scheduled for that evening. We tried another one,and while it had tango,it has already started and was far too expensive. New strategy go grab a drink. We enjoyed exploring two different bars and then called it a night. I need to go to bed and she needed to call her family/bf. I walked her to her bus stop and then walked back to my hostel.
Once I got within a block of my hotel I was ready to pass out. Not only had I been traveling for 24 hours I had then had a very very full day, with a fun evening to cap it off. When I got in bed two people started snoring. I thought about ruffling through my stuff but decided I would do that if I could not fall asleep within five minutes. I put my head down, thanked God for save travels and was ready to go to sl………………….
My route to Buenos Aires takes me from PDX to LAX to IAH to EZE. 15 hours of flight time. Yikes. As I write this we are about to begin our descent down into Argentina. The 10 hour flight went faster than expected.
P.S. thanks to Kate for helping me pack and picking good YouTube videos. My mom for reminding me of things to bring and Dad for driving me to the airport.
A mostly uneventful travel day. I think the most exciting part so far was the drive to the airport. There was an accident on I-84 where a car managed to up have two of its wheels up on the guard rail. Everyone appeared to be ok. Thankfully it was going the other way on the freeway.
Flight to LAX went fast and smooth, after our brief mechanical delay. Things you don’t want to hear on a flight “uh ladies and gentlemen we just a over-voltage warning light, mechanic is on his way.” Touched down at LAX and then after I got my bag I walked right onto my next flight.
The flight bounced throughout the route to Houston. On approach we hit one patch of turbulence that felt like a roller coaster the way it made my stomach drop. Fun.
Very nice having a bigger pack but with the same amount of stuff. Makes getting things out of if much easier.
Big walk to make my connection and then had to retrace my steps to find decent food. Always love an airport for people watching. At the gate their was a woman freaking out as her boyfriend has gone for a smoke and the flight was getting ready to close. I felt bad as her face grew more and more concerned as time wore on. He strolled up as the line went to zero.
A little bit more about about my trip. I am spending two weeks in the country of Argentina. Starting in Buenos Aires for five days and then heading to Iguazo falls for 2ish days. And then wind my way back down towards Buenos Aires, stopping at some more towns and then just getting a feel for the place . I may dip into Uruguay for a day at beach. Then I catch my flight home from Buenos Aires. Should be a great trip.
While a 10 hour flight much nicer to be on a 767-400. Much more room than a 737. The entertainment system was a bit outdated though. Good thing I brought my own! Said a quick prayer before takeoff and here we go.
Reading Steve’s biography has been very interesting. Interesting to put together my knowledge of computer history with the way the industry developed.
The immigration forms for Argentina look interesting. Photocopied and asking me about what phone I am brining into the country.
I took off from PDX at 11am local time and will land at Buenos Aires 10am local time. Adjusted for a 4 hour time change my 19 hours of Air Travel will soon end.
As I sat on the LAX to IAH leg I thought about reading the guide to the city but then had a better idea. Just start walking. We will see what happens.
Time to put my tray table up, return my seat to its upright position and began my adventure.