Sunday, May 25, 2014

It Takes Two To Tango ....reflecting on Argentina by Beth

I think we all fell in love with Argentina and its culture.  Our time in Buenos Aires was very special.  We enjoyed being in one place for a while where we could live among the locals.  Some of our favorite things were just riding bikes through the city and relaxing in its many beautiful parks.  We also enjoyed the soccer game  (which the boys blogged about) and the delicious food.  We embraced the gaucho lifestyle by spending a day on a working horse ranch.  And of course the polo experience was wonderful.  I should mention here that polo is extremely popular in Argentina.  Argentina produces the best polo players and polo horses in the world.  It is watched by the masses and it is not expensive at all to go to a match.  However, a string of polo ponies ( and yes, each player does need a string of horses to play) is quite costly, the price of one decent polo horse starts at $10,000....multiply that times 10.  So, as much as we all enjoyed our polo's safe to say that our children will NOT be learning to play polo when we get back!  We will remain spectators with fond memories of our one and only family polo match!

But even with all these wonderful Argentine experiences could we possibly visit this country and not learn to Tango?!!  
And so here we are at our tango lesson:

my personal favorite

It's important to practice our newly learned tango skills, lest we forget.

Wiley's Gaucho Blog

When we were in Salta we went horseback riding with Argentinian cowboys called gauchos.  They gave us horses and we got on and rode away.  Whenever someone else's horse ran, my horse ran.  We rode through a little town.  Every house had a dog and the dogs would come running out and bark at us.  Our guide would then chase them away.  We also got to gallop really fast.  It hurt because you would go up and down very hard.

After the ride we went back to the ranch and ate lunch.  We had corn, sausage and really good steak.  The gauchos also taught Mac how to throw his bolos.

me learning to gallop

Our guide could ride standing up in the saddle

Mac's Desert and Salt Flat Blog

When we were in Salta, Argentina we decided to go on a bus ride to the salt flats. We got up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning to go.  On the bus I was pushed against the window by this old lady.  It was easy for me to sleep because it was 5:00 in the morning and I had the window.  After I fell asleep, my head drifted off on to the lady's shoulder and as soon as my head touched her shoulder I woke up and started apologizing.

On the way we stopped to take pictures and use the bathroom.  The whole ride there was going through the desert which was really cool.  In the desert we saw wild llamas and donkeys.  There were also 20 foot high cacti that had 6 inch spikes on them.  I pulled one off and kept it.

Before the ride my dad bought coco leaves which are supposed to help you with the altitude.  For most of the trip we were more than 12,000 feet above sea level.

We also went to see salt flats in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.   There was salt on the ground as far as you could see.  There was a house made of salt bricks and there were huge salt mounds that we climbed on.  At the salt flats we took a toy dinosaur and a toy zebra and made funny pictures with

Levi's Amazing Iguazu Waterfall Blog

In Argentina we went to a waterfall called Iguazu Falls.  It is one of the biggest waterfalls on Earth.  It was really cool to see.  First we took a bus to the National Park on the Argentina side of the falls.  Brazil is on the other side of the falls.  We then took a small train to see the Devil's Throat.  This is the biggest waterfall in the park.  There are between 150 and 300 different waterfalls depending on the amount of water.  We went on a boardwalk across the river to the edge of the Devil's Throat.  We could look over the edge of the falls.  We could not see the bottom because there was too much mist.  It was loud and I got a little bit wet.

On the way to the falls we saw a family of coatis.  Coatis are like raccoons with long striped tails.  The are bigger and have long pointy noses.  They climb on you and try and get your food out of your pocket.

Next we went to look at another part of the falls.  This section had many different waterfalls.  There are paths so you can see the falls from down below and up top.  All the mist made a long rainbow.  

We met a friend named Tomas.  He was a really cool kid.  He only spoke Spanish but we were able to communicate with Spanish we learned at school and by using hand signals.

If you go to Argentina, definitely go see the Iguazu Waterfalls!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Polo Blog by Wiley

I am in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  We got to play polo.  When we got to the polo field there were lots of horses.  They gave us helmets and then gave us horses.  They taught us how to ride.  It was hard to control them because sometimes they will not listen to you.  You control the horse with these straps.  If you pull left, they go left,  pull right and they go right, if you pull back a little they stop and if you pull back a lot they go backwards.  After that, they gave us big, long, heavy mallets.  We went out into the field and played a match.  Every time I tried to hit the ball my horse stopped right in front of the ball and I could not hit it.

We also got to see a real polo match.  First they started with the Argentinian pledge of allegiance.  Then some army guys jumped out of a helicopter and para-glided  down on the field.  Then the match began.  The players hit the ball really hard and far.  There were two big poles on each end of the field.  If you hit the ball in between the poles it makes a goal.  We did not stay very long so we did not see the whole game.  

Buenos Aires by Lane

After spending 40 days traveling across India and Nepal, we needed some down time to relax and decompress.  We have heard so many wonderful things about Buenos Aires, Argentina, so we rented a house in the Palermo neighborhood for two weeks.  What an amazing city!  We have enjoyed wandering the streets and riding bikes all over.  Argentina is known for its wine, steak and Tango.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from our stay.

Beth is becoming an artist with our camera and she took these shots out of the windows in our house. The leaves are changing because it is Fall here and the temperature is perfect!

This is our house.

The streets here are tree lined and beautiful.

Very dog friendly!

Great street art!


Mac got bolos.

Who could have guessed?

Our hosts and landlords came over and treated us to a traditional Argentinian asado (cookout).  It started with a trip to the butcher and ended with a feast. Thanks Alfonso, Lilian and Filipe!

Teatro Colon.  Amazing Opera House!

Ricoleta Cemetery.  Beautiful crypts!  Final resting place of many Presidents and Eva Peron.