Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day 19

Day 19 January 22, 2008


This day began with bright sun streaming into our windows, we slept  until eight (what a luxury) and then upstairs to a great breakfast. The maid cleans our room while we have coffee so imagine my surprise when we returned and my camera was sitting on my nightstand!  Yesterday, we looked everywhere and can only figure it fell out of my pocket and was lost in the sumptuous layers of bedding and pile of pillows on our bed.  In order to save water, the hotel washes linens every 3 days. Today was laundry day and the camera reappeared. We are happy. Imagine, we were somehow sleeping with my lost camera under the pile.  I let out a shout of joy and Dale came in and took a photo of me and the miraculous lost and found camera.  And to think we accused a poor merchant of pick pocketing!


     We went to the pool for a couple of hours to read and Dale called the man from Mono Azul, the large fruit exporter, to schedule a meeting for tommorow.  The stock market is crashing worldwide and it is difficult for Dale not to watch, but he decided to just ignore it until the end of the day.  So we went for another long walk. We explored the Puerto Madero neighborhood that is Buenos Aires's port and trade gateway to Europe. The city outgrew the old port in 1910 and it was abandoned for almost a century. Currently the waterfront has been developed and looks much like San Francisco lined with a riverfront promenade and cute restaurants. There are dozens of skyscrapers and at least 20 cranes in the process of building more beautiful buildings.  Just across from our restaurant was the Microsoft, Sun, ABN Amro, IBM and dozens of similar corporate towers.

     While we dined at the Sorrento restaurant on salad, seafood and profiteroles, a cute little girl with her accordion came by our table. Now I am a sucker for street musicians. So we gave the little girl 2 pesos and she posed for a picture. She then squeezed the accordion back and forth making the worst music I have ever heard. Obviously, the accordion was her prop for begging. She could not play a note. I was expecting a child prodigy. Oh well, once again we had an excellent meal. Dale was especially happy to get his favorite dessert, profiteroles. 

     Then we walked to the dock and tried to book our tickets to Uruguay on the Buquebus.  This is a large ferry that carries over 1000 passengers and 200 cars at a very high speed.  It looks ultramodern and goes back and forth twice a day.  Each trip takes three hours.  It should have been a simple process to buy two tickets.  It was not.  First we went to the Tourist information office and no one spoke English but sent us to the inside office.  We took a number and waited in line.  No one called any numbers and a lot of people were just sitting at their desks, doing nothing.  Finally Dale just walked up to one of the desks and the young woman (who did not speak English) asked where we wanted to go.  We said to Montevideo on Jan 24 returning on Jan 27.  She took our passports and filled in the information on the computers.  But she would not take our credit card, he waved us over to the next room and said we had to stand in line and make a confirmed reservation there.  After waiting for over 20 minutes in that line, the young man (who spoke very little English) reentered the same information from the passports and waived us over to a fourth line to pay.  We were a little frustrated by the inefficiency, and waited only 10 minutes in the last line.  There he asked if we wanted Tourist class ($476 pesos) First Class ($526 pesos) for First Especial Class ($626 pesos).  Since he spoke no English, and I was too tired to ask him to explain the difference, I said "First Class."  He THEN said, "Oh, we only have First Especial Class for your return trip."  So I said, OK, then give us the First Especial Class.  He printed the tickets and in 48 hours we will be riding in First Especial Class.  Should be a pretty especial trip.  Ah, life is interesting.  And the stock market, after falling 500 points at the open ended down only 109.  And so it goes. At least life does have some profiteroles to go along with the BS. 






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