I genuinely felt world love last night (New Years)! We raced home to Palermo after barely catching our flight from Iguazu Falls with clocks and shops ticking to close... unable to secure plans for dinner or New Years Eve celebrations, we were "selling" our family party to our kids with a poker game. To the rescue came the little restaurant across the street from our hostel-like schweaty house, as we affectionately call our semi-awful but OK airbnb. We had dropped in to D'accordo on our first night for a drink across the street and they were so nice and lovely to us at 1 a.m. in the morning, that we'd waved to them each time we passed in our comings and goings. Last night, they rearranged tables to make room for our party of 5 and we rang in the New Year with locals counting down and hugs all around (sounds cheesy, I know, but wait, gets better). A woman named Carmen, the matriarch at the table adjacent to ours, filled my husband's glass with her bottle of delicious Malbec when his emptied at the countdown 4-3-2... and we hugged and gave wishes to strangers of all ages. Mostly, the tables were filled with families, but a few sat solo. I was so moved by this relatively common restaurant that wasn't very fancy, but transformed everyone's New Years Eve into one that I will never forget. The graciousness and abundance that filled the restaurant and our hearts that night is surely a good omen for 2016.
So to back up, it hasn't all been roses and peaches and this is the face I most identify with, hmmm... pretty scary? funny, ridiculous, like 'Am I really doing this?"
We are back-packing, essentially, with three kids and that in itself is an art. We forgot to prep them and some of us are slightly less than organized... it's really hard to find clean underwear these days, for everybody. I'd be lying to omit that I stepped out on the stoop in the sweltering heat with a glass of cold chardonnay to debate verbally if this vacation was really the best idea in the world - and that was at the end of Day 1. One thing for certain, next time I will definitely ensure us an air-conditioned unit as was recommended when traveling in South America mid-summer. Duh.
Alas, a good sleep and never mind, I've already come full circle! I may never come home! I am loving the intimacy of such travel with my family and yes, I feel totally blessed. Here are the highlights.
Day 1: Fuimos al parque. We went to Parque 3 de Febrero and rented a carriage bike to huff on. I thought it was odd that there were so few people out until I realized that we were the only morons to be out in the heat of the day, at the height of summertime temps, sweating out every Christmas indulgence. From there we sought refuge in MALBA - amazing space where we figuratively met our new favorite artist of mechanization, Julio le Parc. Wow! I’m in love. Recoleta cemetery is a site to be missed by nobody, though Cecilia kept saying that she was creeped out, In some morbid way, it was truly a beautiful homage to the deceased. I would have liked to witness the interaction between the living and some of these decorated tombs as I saw traces of humanity left for both to enjoy.
Day 2: We hit the microcentro to see La Casa Rosada, San Telmo, La Boca, and a failed attempt to experience tango. It was another hot day, and our stamina was being pushed… San Telmo might be my favorite new area. Oh, and 10 pm dinners are my new favorite family dining hour – it is so much more saucy out!
Day 3: Flew to Iguazu to see the Falls and felt my heart a flutter between the butterflies, jungle, catwalks, waterfalls, and jungle… yep, I love the jungle, double time. It feeds you, heals you, gives you energy. And the butterflies were outrageously beautiful and abundant. We took a safari ride, hiked, and made a pact to come back together to see the views from the Brazilian side. The waterfalls stopped my heart. Or my gut. But they were like nothing I’ve ever seen, and I felt as though I’d been given this huge gift that made me feel like I’d had a few glasses of champagne… all giggly and warm.
Day 4: We got lost en route to the taxi to take us to the airport. Lost in the jungle. Ha! My kids just kept saying, “This will be a really great small moment story to write about in school”. We fear that all of their stories will center thematically around our inadequate parenting. Sigh, it was New Years Eve.
By the skin of our teeth or the width of a mosquito’s wing, we made it back to Buenos Aires for the countdown that would grace us for the next 48 hours with love for the magic of travel and the kindness of strangers. May I pay it all forward someday.
Day 5: In our haze, we explored Puerto Madero. So interesting – the remnants of the night before were everywhere. Kind of crazy to see such a beautiful place littered with so much trash: bottles upon bottles upon bottles. It’s the beautiful, new, and monied area of the city and cleaned spic and span Jan. 2, but left for a hangover on Jan 1. Loved the modern Puente de la Mujer and stylish Faena hotel where we dropped in for a bite. I couldn’t quite leave without noting every single detail of décor. #stunning! Jetsetter central = great people watching.
Day 6: We hopped the BuqueBus ferry to Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO world heritage site in Uruguay. Holy guacamole, lines and customs and immigration, oh my! But cobblestone and history, beauty and beaches, balderdash, and a handmade leather jacket souvenir for the mama – YES. This was a great all day excursion, but have I told you about my kids? Lordy, backpacking is a process. They are hikers, thank God, but we were definitely pushing the limit. We were to get up tomorrow @ 6, so we tried hard to have everyone in bed by midnight.
7 am, next day: The hipsters were just leaving the clubs as we rode in the taxi’s the next morn… They were out and looking good, dancing outside of their cars at all of the red stoplights, continuing the party… yes, I do wonder why I didn’t spend time here in my twenties.