Monthly Archives: April 2013

Can You Spot the Problem?

no helmets

I pointed out already safety things that are not in place.

Perhaps it’s the pier with no guardrails in Uruguay, or the fact that this family is split on two motos and their children are not buckled up and also not wearing helmets.

Is the US too safety focused or are other places not enough? Here, with children wearing no helmets, I’m going with the former. Especially, once the light changed, they took off like lightning.

Thoughts? Would love to hear.


Exploring Cordoba Day Two

After breakfast I headed out. Cordoba is a big university town. There are a lot of churches and museums. Because it was Sunday, my options were limited.

I decided to hit a modern art museum. It was fairly small so did not take much time. I went into the wrong museum first but it was more classical art and while it looked nice in the lobby, it wasn’t what I had in mind. This is what I had in mind.

art gallery2art gallery

art gallery3 art gallery4

art gallery 5art gallery6

The structure below was the entrance to the museum. It was just sort of ‘there’ yet I still went to the wrong building.

art gallery7

The art museum did not take much time at all. One of the other places on my short list was the Paseo del Buen Pastor. It piqued my interest. It was a women’s jail – and most of the women were held for political reasons.

I basically circled the area several times because it didn’t even look like a jail. There were exhibits and cafes and a waterfall surrounding the facility and it was easy to miss — if you thought you were looking for an old run down jail.

waterfall  jail cordoba ana maria

These tiles were in the cement all around the jail. They each had quotes and I thought this was a nice one. This is the translation as I figured.

Translation: One word, one extended hand, a hug, advice, always someone who has to fight.

Since these women were detained for political movements, I thought this summed it up perfectly.


Desayuno = Breakfast

Holy heck. This was the spread that awaited at my hotel breakfast the next morning.

breakfast1

The hotel catered to English speakers, but this was ridiculous. If you couldn’t figure it out (bread and toast) by what it was, then you had no business eating it.

Isn’t part of the fun of traveling not knowing what you might be eating? Or saying? 

Even so, this stuff wasn’t too difficult to figure out. I found this so humorous, I had to take photos.


Making a Plan: Cordoba to Mendoza

The staff at the hotel were so helpful. The bartender clearly was great, and the front desk manager on duty helped me figure out my plan for the next day.

The bus was another doozy — ten hours. In order to get to Mendoza before the sun went down, I’d need a bus that left around sunrise. A few glasses of wine in, this was no longer an option.

I could take a night bus the following night, but that would mean no Super Bowl (and let’s be clear, it wasn’t so much for the Super Bowl but for the camaraderie that accompanies it). Plus, I was planning to be in Mendoza for a few days so it would have been nice to meet some other travelers early in my stay.

But, my new bff at the front desk told me, that I could also take a flight. We looked at the price and if I took the one at 5.40pm, I figured it was actually only $30 more than the bus. I didn’t want to cut my day short in Cordoba by leaving too early so this was perfect.

The guy at the desk did tell me there was a recent crash on this airline. I had a slight buzz, I was spoiled by my luxury environs, the speed with which I could get to Mendoza was desirable, flying sounded grand and so I decided to hope for the best.

We outlined a few things I could do in the morning and early afternoon before my flight, I said thanked him for his help, said good night (because I couldn’t wait to choose a pillow!) and I went back to my room to book it.


And then … The Pool

I returned from my shopping and sightseeing adventure, put on my bathing suit, grabbed a book and I spent the rest of the day here. Delightful.

pool area 1

Truth be told it was a little lonely. Here I am in this gorgeous hotel in a pretty city and I was all alone. This was truly the first time I was alone. There wasn’t a single soul upstairs with me. At least in a hostel I would have had an easier time making friends. But I chose to spoil myself with a good night’s sleep and properly flushing toilets. But it was gorgeous.

The rain came early evening and signaled that my pool time was over. I went back to my room, and found this. Look carefully.

pillow menu

Yes, it’s a pillow menu. The other side actually had a little map laying out the pillows and identifying which pillow on my bed was which. I hadn’t even eaten dinner yet I couldn’t wait to go to bed! I showered and got ready for dinner.

I walked over to the small bar and had a glass of wine and chatted with the bartender. The hotel had a few guests but they were older and all going out for dinner — they were dressed much nicer than my nicest (and newest addition to my wardrobe).

I figured since my room was just down the hall, I could splurge and have two, or even three glasses of wine.

There wasn’t so much a restaurant as a few tables scattered outside the very small bar. I was the only customer at the bar, and in the restaurant, so I figured I would grab my laptop (since there was WiFi!), catch up on what was going on in the world, and figure out my plan for the following day.


Heads Up! Oh, Yes, Another One.

I was walking on the sidewalk, minding my own business when I stepped into the street and saw what looked like a head. Yes, another head.

a head

I did a double take because I couldn’t believe it. I looked around and saw a carnicero (butcher) nearby. I had to assume it rolled away from the garbage?

another view

Another head.

I had to take the photos myself this time. I was totally grossed out but had to document it. Two countries and two heads.


First Comes Shopping then Comes Sightseeing

The streets cleared out. So I took a different route back to the hotel and this is what I saw along the way.

Not sure what this was but I loved the stone work and the rounded wood doors.

beautiful stone building

This entire stand was selling fake flowers. They looked so real even standing next to them.

these were fake flowers

I popped into a mall — this didn’t have the same closing time as the center of town but I wasn’t in a shopping mood. It was a huge mall, and just like the one in Uruguay, advertising was everywhere!

mall

No visit is complete without a stop at the local supermarket. I love browsing and seeing the brands and the logos I am familiar with, with their local name. I also like seeing the popular products and you can learn a lot about a country’s cultures and likes from browsing the markets.

Here, there was quite the selection of boxed wine, and Cepita, the South American equivalent of Minute Maid.

Note: When I was there, the exchange rate was approximately 4 Argentine Pesos to 1 US Dollar. That 6.49 you see for a box of wine is actually $1.62 USD.

wine  juice


Spring is Coming | Design Your Own Shirt

You may recall a canvas print giveaway I ran a few months ago, courtesy of Printcopia. I am a fan of this company and I now own two canvas prints because I loved the first one so much!

Printcopia has a sister company called Dress United which is a custom t-shirt site where you can design shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts however you please.

I created a t-shirt for my sister that included two photographs and writing in a few colors and fonts. The colors were gorgeous, the service was great and the shipping speedy!

The team at Dress United would like to offer a discount to my readers! Get 30% off at dressunited.com. Use the code BLOG30OFF4U at checkout!

Disclosure: This post is written on behalf of Dress United who provided me with complimentary product. The opinions expressed herein and photos used in this post are solely my own.


First up, Shopping!

After I dropped my bags and decided what could use a visit at the laundromat, I stopped at the front desk and asked them about a lavanderia (laundromat) since I wasn’t about to pay hotel prices. They offered to take my things there. I told them I was happy to take the walk if they told me where I needed to go. they wouldn’t hear of it and promised to return everything to me by the morning.

This timing was important since I would be leaving Cordoba the next afternoon and would need my clothes.

Sidebar: I would be heading to Mendoza. No plans were made but I figured I would have the evening to sort that out.

Now was the time to take in my amazing (and luxurious) surroundings, and then explore Cordoba.

My day would consist of shopping, sightseeing and swimming! Because the shops would close in the early afternoon and remain closed for the rest of the weekend, I decided to hold off on my pool time until after shopping and sightseeing!

First up, shopping!

I took my directions and headed to the main shopping street. It wasn’t a far walk and I knew when I had arrived. It seemed like everyone (and their mother, literally) was outside on the main shopping street.

lots of people

I had a mission. I needed to buy a nice outfit. The word nice was very flexible at this point, but I wanted to purchase a skirt that would ‘dress me up’ a little bit. Fear not, my shoes were hiking shoes, or flip-flops so fancy I was not looking for. Since it was Saturday, I had only a few hours before the shops closed for the rest of the weekend.

I knew I was looking for a vestir (dress) or falda (skirt).

I popped in and out of a few shops. I was always asked what I was looking for and I’d be shown to a rack and left alone. In one shop, the owner asked and I replied. As it had happened in other shops, she walked away and I figured that was that.

Just a few seconds later, she brought (or maybe dragged) her daughter (probably 12 or 13 years old) over and encouraged her to speak to me. At first the young girl was shy and probably didn’t understand what her mom was doing. Neither did I.

To humor the mom, and what I realized were her friends who either worked at the shop, or were hanging out, I tried to engage the girl in conversation — in Spanish. Once she realized my native language was English, she couldn’t stop talking. She seemed to want to practice her English and I was more than happy to oblige. It seemed like everyone knew everyone and I felt like we were being watched by half the store.

Knowing that I unintentionally isolated myself in a hotel instead of a hostel, I was likely to be on my own for the evening. I welcomed the conversation, and the shopping help.

After she asked what I was looking for, her first question was: Why didn’t you pack a skirt?

I then had to explain that I was backpacking. The only problem was, I didn’t know the word for backpack and she didn’t know what backpack was.

So came in, the always fun and amusing, charades. I made the motion of putting a backpack on and looking lost. She quickly got it.

There, in that shop, was the first time I heard the word that described me — mochilera. A backpacker.

I taught my new friend a new word, backpack, and she taught me my new word, mochilera.

We pulled a few things off the racks and she stood outside the dressing room — which was a curtain in the middle of the store. It seemed that business was at a standstill because they wanted us to continue our conversation. Each time I pulled the curtain, someone had an opinion. It was like being a contestant on a reality show. Since our vocabulary was limited it was either a smile and a head nod, or a shake of the head which meant no. My new teenager friend was translating for me the other side comments but I got the gist and divided the clothes into maybe or no racks.

It came down to two skirts, and we, or maybe the rest of the store, decided on a pretty purple and black skirt. I bought it and said goodbye and thank you to (essentially) half the shop. I felt like a local walking down the main street with my purchase. Though it seemed on that Saturday everyone had bags and bags of things!

As I was warned at the hotel, the shops began to shut down and roll down their gates minutes before I was warned they would. I saw the streets go from crowded to just a couple of stragglers, including me. See this picture on the left? The gates came down before I left this little outdoor mall and I had to duck through that little hole before they closed them up.

closing up empty street