Buenos Aires and Beyond for a Beginner

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May 4th, 2013, 02:15 PM
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Buenos Aires and Beyond for a Beginner

A little help goes a long way. For those of you long familiar with AVRooster on these various forums you will be pleased to know 1) yes he does exist and 2) yes he's charming and funny in person and 3) he will take you on some clandestine adventures that you may not necessarily be prepared for when you first arrive in order to make sure your peso supply is, let's say, adequate. Much more than adequate. I have renamed him, to his delight, the Argentinian National Treasure. He and I have been in touch for quite a while prior to my arrival and he has been a wealth of information not only about pesos but to ensure that I got good guides for horseback riding- a top priority for me, and for the Salta area. Something I admire about AVRooster is his support for women entrepreneurs who are supporting their families, and since I work with women entrepreneurs in America we are muy sympatico on this.

My interest in BsAs is not the same as most others- the restaurants, night life, wine andtheatre scene are not enticing. I am intrigued by its movements. The way you end up inches from a bumper on the street, because you, like everyone else, are four feet from the curb, well out into traffic, pushing your luck to hurry across the street. The way someone passes you on the sidewalk, gulping a supersized Coca Cola, right into oncoming traffic because you and five other people aren't going fast enough, and he is willing to risk his life to get ahead by several seconds. The way cars on the freeway ride the bumpers of those in front of them, and weave in and out of traffic seconds away from certain death. This is a people constantly on the move, gogogogogogogogogo. I was intrigued by the patrician women on the streets in the fine neighborhoods, walking slowly, every silver hair in place, perfect makeup, if you held their eyes and smiled eventually they smiled back and when they did, it was a blessing, and you knew it.

It fascinated me to talk to the Dutch woman who opened a calbagatas operation close to town to offer riding lessons to first time and experienced riders. She and her Argentinian partner take great pride in developing a first time rider's ability to canter in just one day. My day consisted of fixing old bad habits: heels DOWN back STRAIGHT knees IN hands STILL over and over. Having come to Argentina to ride as much as possible, this first stop in skills improvement was as much a lesson in humility as it was the joy of being on a horse. Miriam's drill sergeant demeanor was just what the doctor ordered. She corrected my old Western habits and made me a better rider in just three hours- so I booked Calbagats Al Par again before I head to Dos Hermanos Estancia at the end of the month. Highly recommended for beginners and serious riders alike. AvRooster is a supporter of Dos Hermanos, highly recommended.

This afternoon after returning from riding I was writing in my hotel's kitchen when I heard a great noise start up in the general direction of my room. Curious, I walked down the hallway, and sure enough, That was the source. At first, I thought it might be a futbol game on in my neighbor's room. But this was a roar of the first order. I opened my door and the noise washed over me. Quickly I ran to the window-down on the street was an ocean of people, a swirling mass of people gathered around the intersection. Drummers were pounding and people were laughing and dancing in the middle of the street. It was thunderous- and wonderful. I watched, took a few photos and went back to my table where I watched my yogurt carton march across the wood. The trombones started up, and the party got fully underway,

As an early night person, and one who doesn't drink, there are times that I just stay up and watch the revelry. This is a city that is just finishing its coffee when I am eating dinner. I love that Buenos Aires has its own rhythms and that a huge building on a main avenue has two massive portraits of Eva Peron. No matter where you look there is breathtaking architecture. And if you happen to be a fan of the empanada, you are in heaven. Alas, I am a fruit eater. I have settled into a diet of apples, bananas, oranges and yogurt, and omelets.

But I am here for the scenery, the horses and the adventures. AVRooster provided some sage advice on where to spend time - having scheduled nearly a week in Bariloche in about mid-May he pointed out that this might not allow the skydiving, paragliding and riding that I was planned. Over the weeks he proved correct, as each concession called to cancel the reservation. Bariloche is cold and rainy, and folks have left town for warmer climates. I followed his advice and shifted the time to warmer Mendoza where it's much more likely to have those adventures and enjoy the fall weather.

So for those of you who are planning a trip- whether it's to BsAs or the rest of the country, you may do much of your research on line, through the guide books and other sources as I did. But frankly, if you are smart, run your plans by AVRooster, because when it comes to the twists and turns that only an insider would know, that's where the Argentinian National Treasure can make the most difference between awesome and just all right on your vacation.
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May 4th, 2013, 04:22 PM
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Welcome to the Fodor's Argentina forum, jhubbel!

Could you tell forum members about the hilarious sign on the door of the place where we went to change your dollars into pesos?

Probably even more ROTFLMAO for a "porteño" was the fact that you pulled out your passport to carry out a black market exchange operation!

LOL!!!!

Have a great time in our country.
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May 5th, 2013, 06:52 AM
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Great start to your TR! Looking forward to reading more.
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May 6th, 2013, 03:30 PM
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Well I'm far too long into the country to remember the sign on the door, but I do have more to report. A little advice for those of you flying to Igazu. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT take the time to use the facilities before stepping out to find a taxi or a bus. By the time you've completed this activity they will all have been commandeered. Gone. PHHHHT. Like a lizard off a hot rock like they say in Australia. I had to wait some time before a lone taxi showed up and as soon as his passengers disgorged, I nearly tackled him. He then drove to town and drove past my hostel twice before (bless him)stopping and asking for directions.

Some thoughts about Iguazu. As such a popular site, it is typically overwhelmed with tourists. It is almost always stifingly hot. I landed on a day when it was relatively chilly and the tourists largely stayed home, which meant far fewer crowds and a lovely atmosphere. Fair warning, though, the food at the park is very expensive and if you don't like bready foods and fried foods, you must bring your own.It's a long day, and I recommend the Jungle Tour Gran Aventura. There is some misinformation about whether this tour includes San Martin Island. I was told there that it was offered by another company so not included, but at my hostel that was hotly denied. So I have no idea. The Gran Aventura offers most of the park, and while there is a little toy train that carries you from one place to another I preferred to make the perfectly reasonable twenty minute walk. You see more of the woods and more wildlife that way.
One black mark on this tour is the arrestingly annoying trip from the central area to the staging area where we all have to ride in a truck with a guide who has a microphone. I do not know what it is with people with microphones that they think that they have to turn them up to full volume. We were a small group, it was an appalling noise, and despite my attempt to block my ears, my head hurt. Anything live in the forest heard us coming eighty hectares away. It's called noise pollution. Highly offensive and utterly and completely unnecessary. I use mikes professionally and it always astounds me that unprofessional people feel that louder is better. If you go on this tour all I can advise is to get ear plugs, you'll need them.

The actual dousing that you get in the falls is somewhat anticlimatic, especially after you've hung your noggin over the Devil's Throat and been stunned by the sheer power of the waters. Anyone who has ever been caught in an undertow can attest the water's pull. But you have never,not even at Niagra, seen anything like this. The whole park is just one waterfall after another. The tour promises a dousing at the Devil's Throat but what you really get, and you're quite glad of it, is a light spray job at some waterfalls that are withing sight of this great set of falls. Then you swing around a corner and he dunks you again. Recommended: a Goretex hat, zip off pants, a second pair of socks.They give you waterproof bags, grab two you will need them both.One is for your shoes, they will get soaked otherwise. It can get bloody cold after that dousing especially if you go late in the afternoon so be sure to pack a light jacket in a bag, yes even if it is hot, do not miscalculate how chilly those drops can get with the wind chill factor and the shade. Hypothermia can strike even in the tropics.
Last but not least, when you first arrive it's very tempting to try to pet the coati, which are very similar to our raccoon. There are signs all over the park of a badly mangled hand of someone who tried to feed one. These are wild and dangerous animals and this isn't Disney Land. The monkeys and coati are bold and aggressive because people have foolishly fed them despite the signs and they will hurt you badly. This is not a laughing matter. As I walked up to the cafeteria past a young American woman who was cooing and approaching a coati I did my best to explain to her, and she was very annoyed with me. Fine. Get bitten. But for those of you who read this, take photos and keep your distance.
Oh and one more thingometimes you're not always told that when you buy that Gran Aventura for 350 pesos it does not include park entrance fee 170 pesos and another sixty for the bus ride. I suspect they have to do this to so many people every day that it just gets overlooked at times. Perfectly understandable.


Whatever you do don't miss it. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site. As the Argentinian National Treasure said, two days, I've planned three because I want do to a horseback ride to the Guarani villages. You do NOT miss this place even though it is indeed overrun with tourists. You will make the trip easier for yourself if you do the things I suggested- and ladies kindly do NOT plan to have pretty hair and makeup when you're done and wear hiking shoes or sneakers. Lots of walking here.

One note, you cannot do the dunking if you have back or heart problems, are pregnant or under twelve. Safety reasons. And mind, there are a lot of steps, but you can choose not to go on those trails. If all you did was ride the train out to see the Devil's Throat, it would still be worth it. Put it on the itinerary and get the t-shirt.
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May 6th, 2013, 03:42 PM
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I agree that Iguazu is not to be missed, but there is no need at all to take a tour. I had a great time on both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides without taking a tour, (I used the local buses to get to and from the parks) and therefore without having to keep up with or listen to a guide. All the assorted activities can be booked within the park.
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May 6th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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Hi, JHubbel!

Great reporting, so far!

Since your memory fails, the place where we went to sell your dollars had a sign on the door which indicated "dollars are NOT sold here". LOL!!!

Salta and Angie are next, after the riding to the Guaraní villages, right?

Should we expect day-to-day reporting? Great! This is going to be a long thread!
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May 7th, 2013, 06:00 AM
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also agree IF is fantastic, but you definitely do not need to take a tour. Easily done on your own.

And agree, AV is a wonderful person and great resource for anyone going to ARG.

Looking forward to reading more.
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May 7th, 2013, 06:04 AM
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A great, and very different TR from a new member. Looking forward to reading more.
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May 7th, 2013, 03:54 PM
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Agreed, all, reminds me of going to various parks in South Africa and learning the rounds and then doing them myself. Great lessons. A good note to the wise, about the Calbagatas. First, they don't take reservations. There's a reason for this. Someone would have to stay awake. I'm not making this up. I walked the 2km to the spot across from Hotel Cataratas, it was a lovely day. The stables were open, and very quiet. It looked like a going concern. I cried out halloo one, two, three, four times. Nothing. I walked the line of open stables, and kept it up. Halloo, halloo. Eventually a very sleepy young man stumbled out of the tumbled-down trailer and greeted me. No English. What I needed to communicate was easy, horses set up, but money first. $300 pesos for two hours to visit the village.

Si, I had experience. No, I don't need to stand on a two foot piece of lumber to get on. Gracias.

The day was ridiculously beautiful, skies clear, temperature about 70, light breezes, the clay wet and too dangerous for cantering. So we trotted and walked to the Guarani area. Now visit is a relative term. We walked through one family area where they were around a fire, but nothing was exchanged. Then we looked at their skinny horses, turned around and walked through again. This is extreme poverty, people with very little. My guide didn't offer up anything about them in Spanish or anything else. We rode further to another village are where we dismounted. Ah, I thought, I get to see a village, perhaps speak to someone, see the houses, perhaps a bit more, learn about the history of the Jesuits, a bit more.
Well not exactly. Visit to the village is shorthand for take the tourist to the outside edge, show the handcrafts and shame them into buying something at an exorbitant price. That's what happens. You're not allowed into the village, you don't get to see people other than the woman who wants to sell you necklaces, and that's your visit. I paid the woman more than she asked for the necklace I will not wear but will display, and that's fine by me. It's going to a good cause. But I'd have been much more interested in learning more about the people, history, see some of the village members, the kids, their livelihood. None of this was available. The Guarani have a significant place in the history of the area- and having done some research I was genuinely interested in just a touch more from my guide. As far as access, there could well be many considerations about who can visit and why, and for how long, driven by all kinds of issues ranging from respect for their privacy to religious reasons. I have no idea. But it would have been nice to know.

The ride back was lively as both horses knew that fresh feed was in store, and so they high stepped it back. The horses were good to ride, but if you plan to do this "tour", keep what I said in mind and keep your expectations very very reasonable for this concession. The people were nice, I spoke with them for an additional hour. But I know nothing more from them about the Guarani, which had been my hope. Better to do it on the web and in a library. And sometimes, this is just the best way to do it, come fully prepared.

I have to say here that having spent time in Costa Rica earlier this year I might be a little spoiled, due to the rich lessons I learned at the hands of nearly every guide I walked, rode or hiked with. This varies country to country, and the experiences are going to vary widely.

Given the magnificent weather here at this time of year I'd be tempted to say give this a try in May, but you do pay for it elsewhere, such as south of Bariloche. And yes, AV, you're right, I do recall the sign.

Quick tip, for those of you who aren't seasoned travelers, something that AV will most certainly remind you of and that we all should take care of when walking the streets. Theft, and increasingly aggressive theft, is on the rise, and that includes electronic ID theft. People have devices that can copy your credit card's private information just by standing close to you. To that end I have a suggestion. PacSafe has a great little shoulder bag which packs a surprising amount of gear. It has tough wire mesh so knives cannot shear it open. The strap cannot be cut because it is steel reinforced. It has several pockets, of which one is specifically designed for ID protection for your cards and passport. It also has two places to put water or drinks which snap more tightly for things like sunglasses. It sits right across your front where it should lie, with the tightening buckle across your middle back where it doesn't scrape or annoy you. This keeps fast moving cyclists or motorcyclists from tearing it off your arm. Wear it over one shoulder. I got mine from REI for $79. and tax. I wanted to break it in a few days before I recommended it and I really can now. The other item I use as a carryon which has been hugely useful is a TENBA bag. It's originally intended for cameras, but I threw out all the compartment pieces. It has been my trusty carry on for everything electronic, all travel paperwork, backup copies of everything important, extra pairs of glasses and sunglasses, all the cords and precious plugs needed at the airport and hostels, your Rx supply, guidebooks, the Kindle- you get the idea. Heavy? A little, yes. Priceless? You betcha. It cost around $120- and I have rarely made a better buy. The many pockets, zippered compartments, stowaway areas and goodies that come with the bag including its own raincover make this one of my best international travel investments. This is the bag you put in the guarded locker, the safe, when you go out, and take the other steel reinforced one for safety. Two great investments for about $200.

My reply to yestravel: you comment made me laugh out loud for the simple reason that the word "tour" is used euphemistically in so many areas for that very reason. There were times in Costa Rica I got the distinct impression that everyone who owned more than five acres offered a "tour" for $40 US, including a zip line from his house to the local phone pole. You're absolutely right. Having done IF, I didn't need any help but I do admit the dousing was kinda silly fun. The ecological "tour" down the river was an utter waste but we did see a sleeping croc, which is likely there every single day. They don't move much unless they're hungry-much boredom then extreme chaos. We missed that part.

And yes AV,I am off to Salta tomorrow and Angie, and hopefully a laundry where the sock supply needs refreshing. I am most eager to meet the famous Ms.Giena and see Punamarca, the city of Salta and all its charms, and of course the lovely valleys and towns along the way. Ah- the final news-the extra 4km I walked today uncovered a heretofore hidden fruiteria, and they had a wonderful supply of bright yellow, hefty, ripe pineapples, to which my apple weary palette says Bravo! Too bad my bag can't take two for carry on!
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May 7th, 2013, 04:14 PM
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A hidden frutería! Some find!

Great report! Keep it coming, jhubbel!

Betcha the people over at the "other place" will be green with envy! LOL!!!

Maybe you can post over there just an abridged report?

Believe or not, I still have friends over there. Few, but good.

The "commercial" posting by their "experts" is really hard to believe, but apparently no one cares. So...
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May 8th, 2013, 04:18 AM
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Correcting myself: above I meant "by ONE of their experts".
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May 8th, 2013, 06:26 AM
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So a reminder for anyone who travels, those without a sense of humor might as well stay home.

I live out of a backpack, and so when one has been assisted by AVRooster and has a great wad of pesos, that means that as he says Cash is King, and you have to go to great lengths to protect and hide the darn stuff. So I have padlocks on the backpack and ingenious hiding places.

Last night I was prepping the backpack in the dark of the dorm for today's midday departure when I opened up my lingerie bag only to find 10,000 precious pesos missing. Someone had apparently cracked the simple code of my padlock and found one of my hiding places and lifted a third of my travel funds- the rest were still there, better hidden. It was 10:30 at night and I was bereft. The hostel sent me down the police station, and I took my big carryon with me, with all my official materials, good thing I did.

At the station, no one spoke English. I took out my translation book and was able to explain myself. One of the men there tried to give me some instructions but could not. His partner took my book and I showed him the Spanish to English part. It took him nearly ten minutes- mind you it's alphabetical- to find the word for "wait." These guys are all in black riot gear, scary boots, intimidating, and the man can't find a word in his own language. I'm sorry, I did find it amusing.

Ten minutes later eight guys arrive bearing multiple pizzas. They file past me into a back room with a big window which has a curtain. There's talk, and I can hear my case being discussed. At one point somebody pulls the curtain open a bit and we eyeball each other. Back the curtain goes. More time goes by. More laughter. More waiting.

The pizza consumed, the guy who pulled the short straw comes striding out and he gestures for me to follow him to the official office. He doesn't speak English either. The guys on the other side are laughing and shouting at him. We sit down and he fires instructions at me in Spanish that I can't possibly comprehend. I hand him the book, he finds the right words much faster, the rest is easy- what he needs is self explanatory.
We start having a little fun, and when he asks me Occupado I show him my book. That actually surprises him because I look a lot better on the book than I do sitting in front of him at 11:30 at night. Even my passport picture is an improvement. But we get through the process, at the end of which he proudly hands me a big piece of paper which has a tiny paragraph noting that I had 10,000 pesos stolen from me. I sign. Then he and his fellow policemen light up, jump in a truck and take off.

I head back to the hostel, still frustrated. So much money. What do I do? How can I pace myself with much less?
I lie in my dorm bed and think.And think. And think.
Then suddenly I have this very clear picture of opening the lingerie bag, the bandana that held the pesos, moving the pesos to a new secret hiding spot inside the fast drying towel, inside another bag, inside another bag, inside my riding helmet, inside another bag, inside my backpack, so that no one could possibly find it.

Especially me.

I giggled myself to sleep.
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May 8th, 2013, 06:46 AM
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Wow, glad the story had a happy ending! Congratulations on dealing with the cops.

But you're right - sense of humor, willingness to go with the flow, and ability to come up with Plan B ( or C...) at short notice all significantly improve a teip.
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May 8th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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jhubbel: Did you call the cops to confess you took up their most highly valuable time for no reason at all and actually "giggled yourself to sleep" over it??? LOL!!!

Perhaps the next time you change your money's hiding place you should post about it, so all your loyal readers here can remind you? ROTFLMAO!

This looks like it's going to be one of the greatest threads of all time! Congratulations, jhubbel!
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May 9th, 2013, 05:37 AM
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What a great story jhubbel! I thought I was alone in being OCD about hiding stuff! Reminds me of a time in New Zealand when my cellphone went missing from the room safe in one of the few decent hotels we satyed in on our travels. After searching the entire room three time over, i called hotel security ready to complain like hell that someone had stolen my phone. The guy just asked me for my number , called it and sure enough, the phone in my jacket pocket rang merrilly away!!

Really looking forward to your report on Salta. Give my regards to Angie. We are hoping to catch up with her later this year
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May 9th, 2013, 05:06 PM
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A note to AVRooster about the cops, while I will nod to your point, trust me, the distinct impression was that it was a VERY SLOW NIGHT and if anything, my entry into the station interrupted their dinner which was more important. That was fine by me. Nothing happened while I was there. The teasing my cop got was the entertainment of the hour from eleven to midnight. What we all ended up with was a good story. And I got a fine lesson in outsmarting myself with hiding places. I'm too proud to call it a senior moment, by golly, because I can recall pulling boneheaded stunts like that thirty and forty years ago. Even my friend Meg, who is 93, doesn't have senior moments. What she calls them is.......is.....um.....
wait, it's right on the tip of my tongue.....

The pineapple I found day before last made its leaky way all the way to Salta, where I landed late last night and walked right by a very confused Angie who called out my name and no, I wasn't expecting her so no, I didn't hear her so no, I didn't take advantage of her kind availability to drive me to the hostel. She did get there right as my taxi did and meet me as I got out and good thing she did because she hauled me back just as I was about walk in front of a hurtling motorcycle. Considering drivers in Salta I am grateful for Angie's swift paws. She saw me safely inside and we made arrangements the next morning. I stumbled into the warm kitchen and sat down with two Parisians and two Swiss, and ate the whole pineapple, which may be my last, given the state of the markets in Cafayate where I am now. I'm back to apples, yogurt and oranges, but now green bananas.

Angie had arranged to pick me up at 9:30-I woke up at 8:30 and of course all the showers were busy and all the chairs at breakfast were filled so I grabbed coffee, waited my turn and she was there early.

When you put two garrulous and opinionated women with many stories in a car for many hours you're going to either have a great deal of fun or World War III, and we've had a great deal of fun. Angie and I have found many similarities in our lives, we both lost older brothers a few months ago and are both entrepreneurs. It's been fun to hear about the area and then dig for opinions, hear more about the area and then get more opinions, whether it's about the US government or about how to properly introduce a gringo to Salta, or much of anything else.

In the meantime I harangued her to pull over every time I saw an artistic shot, hiked into a canyon for a better view, wandered off and got thorned by one of the bushes for my trouble (plenty of blood) and in general had a terrific time in the magnificent weather. What struck me were some of the similarities to Arizona and Utah, some of the colorings and cactus to even what I grew up with in Florida, and the evidence of the vast power of the upheavals of the land masses millions of years prior to make the striations in the formations.

A lone horse on the river made a perfect subject for a study of another cliff, an angle here, an angle there, and pretty soon the camera's battery was done. Here's a piece of advice for anyone who uses a Panasonic Lumix like I do: the one I have is sturdy for people who drop things (my hand is up) and people who lose things in the water (my hand is up again). It has a bright yellow floatable handle you can buy extra for when you drop it off the boat (done that) but the one thing I HATE is that the batteries simply don't last. There is no way you can take this camera on a trip and be able to recharge en route, especially on an adventure, so you must buy extra batteries, and you can only buy them online. You can get them cheaper- around $22-26 apiece as opposed to Panasonic's ridiculously high prices. I sucked it in and bought six and already went through three today. I swear by the little one I have but for this detractor. You can recharge in any hotel, but for long trips out on horseback, extra batteries.

As we came into Cafayate we drove by a charming little hotel which apparently had my name on it for about $80 pesos, as Angie went in and did some bargaining for a cash only price during low season. Bless her- so minutes later we're pulling my gear around. Lucky me, three women were in the laundry and a few minutes later Angie has organized for me to get my laundry done, which means I am stripping down seconds later because I took some slides down the rocks which produced some brightly colored and not very clean results on my zipoff pants.

Angie and I arrange for the next day's events because I need to do some serious exercising around town, so I pack up some essentials and start walking. Poor timing indeed. My intention was to find El Mercado. Found it. Closed until six. Rats. So were a lot of places, but not the artesanos. A walk around the central square presented the usual suspects- the ever present t-shirts, key holders, mate cups and a great many other items that didn't call out. But hand made buttons? That comes home, and for all you ladies out there who HATE those cheap white nasty things that come with most clothing, or the inexpensive choices that come with even the best jackets, this is how you make them pop. This is what designers do, and how they find ideas. They travel.
Then I pulled out my camera - and oh futz- the bright yellow handle has torn off. Emergenica! I have no string. Now the focus is to find someone who can fix this because I have to keep this floating handle on the camera.

I wander off here and there, into this shop and that, until I find one small shop that sells.....elves. Yes, elves. Almas Viajeras, on Guemes Street. Alejandro asked me if I spoke Spanish and I said a little, but when I showed him what I needed he quickly took my camera, my handle and went to work. The shop was full of elves with the elf maker hard at work behind the counter. But it was also full of jewelry and the braided friendship bracelets we see all over S.A., one of which I bought in Iguazu yesterday from a young woman's stand.

In no time at all Alejandro had fixed my camera and handed it over, refusing payment. However, I insisted on some sort of payback, and since I'm not in the market for elves, I did promise him that I would write this up. I can tell you that I found better bracelets in his shop than everywhere else I'd been and more fun jewelry, and better craftsmanship, so it's with pleasure that I recommend Almas Viajeros not only for his courtesy but also for his goods. Muchas gracias.

Angie did get me to a restaurant today where I tried the minestrone soup. I don't recommend it. Her salmon salad looked better. I also got a fruit plate. I can say that the pineapple was canned but the fruit was cold. Apples, pears and a plum. I did follow Angie's sage advice, there is an all natural ice cream place a hop skip and jump down the main Ruta 40 from here and I did go in to order a scoop of mango, and yes, she's right, it's to die for. But once is enough.

The hotel I am in is called El Criollo, and I am spoiled by a big bathroom and a double bed with a single bed, rather than my usual dorm, which means I am spread out all over the place and so are my electronics, yogurt, oranges and juice drinks. But no bananas. I will wake up to more yogurt and juice and oranges for breakfast (do I see a pattern here?) and will look for the big very overweight sweet natured Golden who padded by me last night with a large piece of bread which was probably one of the reasons she is so rotund. But sweet. After to started to pet her tonight she assumed the position with her tongue stuck out- she basketball flopped on the tiles and rolled on her back and showed me her tummy, about as clear a set of instructions, no English translation required, as I have received on this trip. I was happy to comply.
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May 9th, 2013, 05:28 PM
  #17
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Join Date: May 2013
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By the way, Angie had a sign with my name on it. In big fat letters. It is a testament to the fact that humans do not see what they do not expect to see, and anyone who is familiar with the the guy in the gorilla suit in the basketball game can attest to this study. I'm the perfect example of same. And my apologies to Angie for putting her out. She was being most kind.
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May 9th, 2013, 05:30 PM
  #18
 
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Fabulous TR! Love the elves...

I traveled with a Lumix (FZ5), but I only ever had two batteries for it. Do you turn it off between photo ops?
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May 9th, 2013, 05:50 PM
  #19
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A note to crellston about your New Zealand story: I simply refuse to admit how people have done this for me. Had I done that inside my own house one time I'd have saved myself a hundred bucks and a nightmare problem with Verizon's replacement refurbished phone. Enuf about that. It's usually someone about 1/5 my age who does this and that makes it worse. It's the obviousness of the gesture that makes me cringe that I just don't automatically do it although I'm getting better.

I spent about a year total in lovely NZ back in the early halcyon days when the Kiwi dollar was worth 40 cents to ours, ah, the memories. Well, not any more. I have memories of waking up on a floating inflatable sleeping mat in the middle of a massive rainstorm inside my tent somewhere on South Island when my water proof one man Marmot tent clearly wasn't prepared for THAT kind of water. And an incredibly bright sunny day at the post office for the rainiest spot on South Island just before I did one of the routes. It took me a year to lose the eighty pounds I gained eating New Zealand ice cream, cheese, butter, cream, milk, biscuits, chocolate......yum.

Hence the fruit, vegetables, chicken, yogurt, eggs.....
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May 10th, 2013, 03:35 AM
  #20
 
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jhubbel: you surely realized that my "most highly valuable time" about the cops was ironic!

Angie usually waits for her customers at the airport and you walked past her even though she called out your name and had a sign with your name in "big fat letters"???? LOL!!

Your two "opinionated women" is quite an understatement! LOL!

You bargained for a discount for cash payment in a "charming little hotel" that cost only about 8 bucks a night? Shame on you!

Well, I guess it's my fault, since I advised you to bargain for cash payment discounts everywhere....

Does Hotel "El Criollo" have a website? I Googled it, to no avail.

A suggestion: why don't you cancel Bariloche altogether and bus it down to Mendoza from Salta?

Well, I already said in an earlier post that this was shaping up to be one of the "greatest threads of all time" and this is confirmed every time you post again.

And we still have weeks of your travel stories ahead!!!

Great! Keep up the good work!
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