Sushi club

As all you know we both love food and the most of our budget is spent on food. To find the best food we use the app Foursquare. Maybe one of the better apps for finding what you looking for (Yelp and TripAdvisor are way behind).

One of the best sushi we’ve had since Rio is this one on Sushi club. A little bit fancy and expensive for a lunch but still worth a visit (or in our case two or maybe three).  Hehehe.

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Salmon teriyaki.

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A mix sushi.

New hair

My hair had been a mess the last month but I hate to go to the hairdresser because I always panic. It has been a while since a real bad experience but it’s still on my mind and I do everything I can to avoid the hairdresser.

But inspired of Millie when she was here and the fact that my hair was in really bad condition I found a place. Maybe not the best place but they had time when I asked so I couldn’t change my mind. And then something happened in my mind: cut it all off. Okey, not all of it but shoulder-short? Said and done.

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Guess how skeptic I was when he started the shaver and cut the hair. The poor man who was cutting my hair tried to calm me but Jon said I looked very afraid.

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Finally finished. And happy. It’s very nice to have shorter hair – especially when you have forgotten your hairbrush somewhere in Argentina.

 

 

Detour to Santa Rosa

After celebrating new years eve in Mar del Plata we went to the bus station and sent my brother Tim on his way to Buenos Aires. When we went to buy our own bus tickets to Córdoba we were informed that they had sold out all for the day, but we could get the bus tomorrow. Not feeling like waiting another night in Mar del Plata we looked at the map and saw that Santa Rosa is close, and there was tickets to got there as well!

Our bus didnt leave until late in the evening, and got to Santa Rosa in the early morning. At first when we got there we bought tickets for the evening bus to Córdoba. Our second mission was to find storage for our bags in the small bus station that seemed to be the heart of this little city. After asking the lady who directed the traffic we were told that the toilet attendants were the ones offering this service here. The lady by the toilets followed us into a lockable room that already had another bag that wasnt ours, let us put our bags there and locked. She then went on to explain that she would get off her shift at 18:00, and then we would have to talk to the next person there who would be responsible for guarding the bags until our bus left. We understood the part that we had to be there for some reason at 18:00.

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As Santa Rosa is a small city there is not too many activities to do, and we also had the timing of being there on a Sunday. Sunday in South America means that everything is closed. We walked to the lake that is one of the attractions, went to the top floor of a play house and relaxed for a while, more or less sleeping as the bus ride didnt offer too much of that.

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After finding a place serving some croissants, bread and coke we decided to make this our breakfast. We then went on to see what was available to do, it turns out that Santa Rosa is a good base if you want to go out in the countryside of La Pampa, but otherwise the city is not that eventful. We found a great restaurant by the bus station called La Posta, for lunch I had their stone oven baked pizza, and for dinner both I and Linn had the Bife de Chorizo, which was rather great.

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The most time after realizing that there was not much to do was spent searching for a new charging cable for Linns phone, and watching Criminal Minds on the computer in the cafe at the bus stop.

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Then finally the time for the bus came, and all of a sudden the city that could have been named Sleepy Hollow was filled with life. It seems that a lot of bus changes take place here, and for this brief moment the city is probably upping its population with a good amount!

Tiene Cabalgatas?

After spending one night in Chascomús we amped up the search for some horseback riding as this was a thing we all agreed that we wanted to do. Before going there we had checked and saw that there were lots of different Estancias around.

Our first efforts were to call them on Skype and greet them with a friendly “Habla Ingles?”. The ones that answered quickly hung up, either because we were as rude as to ask them to speak English, or maybe because of the not-too-perfect sound quality that Skype offers. We finally had Cesar, the old man who yelled angrily at us the day before call and explain that there is a gentleman here who would like to speak to you in English. This resulted in me being told that no, there is no room for more guests to do horse riding today, and we will close tomorrow as it is Monday, and we only work Friday to Sunday. All different kinds of prejudice flew through my mind, “they are lazy! there is no other explanation!”.

As Cesar seemed bothered to have to get out of bed, where he seemed to spend most of his time, we went on to go to a remiseria which is like a taxi order office. The two girls there did speak a total of five English words, but were nice enough to take the time to help us. Belief in the south american people was restored.

When they understood that we had tried to call and speak English they had to take a pause in their efforts calling every estancia in a 30km radius to laugh for a few minutes. Apparently getting someone to speak English to you on the phone was the most ridiculous thing they could think about.

After spending 30 minutes with these two giggling girls who did all in their power to help the three lost tourists who only wanted to do some cabalgatas we had to give up. No estancias were open, responded to their telephone or had room for us. Our hope was diminishing.

That night our friendly host Martin was back at the hostel, and said that if we just talk to the guys in the remiseria around the other corner they knew a place. The next morning we went there and sure enough, they made some calls, and quoted us a price to take us there, we got in a car and 30 minutes later we were at Estancia La Alvareza.

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Here we can see my brother Tim enjoying a cup of Mate and getting ready for the long awaited horse riding!

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Here we can see two happy horse riders. The facial expressions are completely in line with the stubborn nature of the horses. To get these horses to go out on the small tour that was offered the guy who took care of them had to walk beside us with a stick, threatening the horses to make them not return as soon as possible to their lazy pastime of eating grass in the shadow.

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Being as stubborn as the horses we did get them to trot a little bit, this was later explained as their longing back from the riding session.

The morning after a good nights sleep Tim wanted to see if he could do some more horse riding, after convincing the owner of this he got put on the horse I had the day before, a very stubborn animal. Linn was put in charge of the stick and did get the horse to make two laps in the enclosed pasture before stopping in the position below. Here Tim and the horse fought for a while until it was concluded that the horse was the more stubborn one.

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New monetary politics in Argentina – No dolar blue?

As you read on previous posts the monetary politics in Argentina have been a bit strange, causing the blue rate to exist. Previous post explaining. This caused us to empty an ATM in Uruguay of US$2000 before re-entering Argentina. Hours after we had gotten the cash from the ATM I read online that the new president in Argentina Mauricio Macri had lifted most of the restraints on the currency. The blue rate was as good as gone, and the Argentine Peso was now floating like a regular currency.

A bit confused with the new situation we still had our dollars, and wondered what we were going to do with them. La Nacion, a newspaper that usually listed both the official and the blue rate, started to show dashes for the blue rate. Some other websites showed the blue rate at 13.70 and the official at 12.90.

This caused a lot of confusion, but the signs that there still should be a blue rate somewhere led us to visit the shop that promised the best rate the last time we were on the hunt. A small mens clothes store. And sure enough, we were able to get a rate of 13.60 peso per dollar. One problem we hadnt anticipated was how to fit the 272 notes this resulted in into Linns bag. I had to take her phone and wallet in my pockets and her bag was bulging with cash as we very carefully took the subway back to the apartment.

The conclusion to draw from this is that the blue dollar is still there, but not in the same way as before, and the gains from the hassle of carrying around lots of cash might not be worth it anymore.

Look how happy we are that we can use ATMs instead of carrying around almost a months expenses in cash!

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New year/Mar del Plata

The main question the last two weeks were “where to celebrate new year?”. We had some parameters to consider: beach vs city, the distance from Buenos Aires (Tim had a flight to catch on the 3rd of January) and the weather. After more or less endless discussion we decided on Mar del Plata.

Mar del Plata – on the one hand, a big tourist city (but a little cheaper than for example Punta del Este) on the other hand the water is blue and the city is big. Maybe we decided a little too late because most of the hostels were sold out. At the last moment we found one pretty close to the beach.

Still no plans for the big evening Jon talked to the owner of the family hostel. They were going to have a big dinner and watch fireworks at the beach. For a little amount of money for the food we were invited to join. A funny mix of people had a late dinner with lots of food.

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Around 2am the dinner was finished and we decided to go to a bar/club. The place we first went to was closed so we took a cab to the beach for a beach party. A little disappointed because the beach party was 8 clubs located close to the beach we paid too much and went in. After one or maybe two hours of dancing we hit the beach to see the sunrise.

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The first morning of 2016 and we were pretty happy with this view. And then we had only one mission left: find a cab home. And exactly as in Stockholm it was impossible. We walked all the way home in the morning and fell asleep around 8.30 am.

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1st of January: sleeping, McDonald’s and more sleeping. And feet that hurts. Happy 2016 everyone.

Chascomús

The last days in Buenos Aires were finished off with some food poisoning after which Linns friend Emilia flew home (not because of the food poisoning, she was scheduled to do so anyway). After this we wanted to find a place to experience more nature, and also go horseback riding.

After studying the map our choice landed on the small village of Chascomús, both because it was adjacent to a lake and because it was perfectly in the right direction towards our next planned stop at Mar del Plata for New years eve.

We arrived in the afternoon at the small bus and train station that serves the village, as it was only 2 kilometers from the station to the city centre we chose to walk. It was very hot and Linn was a bit unsure about how positive she felt about the walk. But we made it!

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Arriving to the city centre we placed Linn at a cafe and I along with my brother Tim started the search for a hostel. As no hostels had any online booking facilities we decided before going that we were going to find something as long as we got there. We asked in every hostel or hotel we found for the prices. This included a tidy place in the city center with prices a bit too high for our taste.

Our second finding was a hotel that when we entered met a lady who were so old she could barely walk by herself, upon trying to get a price list out of her she got up from her chair and started to slither using a walker. When she finally made it to the next room she got a cellphone and called someone. When someone answered she gave the phone to me, a Spanish voice answered my “Hablo Ingles?” with hanging up the call. After trying to leave without offending the old lady a younger guy comes along, he quickly finds us a price list which turns out to be in the expensive range as well.

After this encounter we agreed that we would find a place where the personnel is able to walk by themselves. The third place was also the one we chose in the end, Hostel Chascomús. Ironically enough the manger of the hostel was limp because he hurt his foot a few weeks before we arrived. So much for agreeing on walking personnel.

The manager, Martin, was very friendly and helpful, even though he was a bit limp for the time being. The hostel was also good to us, except two things. The first being the ever present problem of agreeing on a temperature on the AC, people from hot countries always seem to think “The colder the better” and we, being Swedish prefer at least 23 degrees. Our other incident was a bit more interesting.

We spent some time in the hostel lobby, watching TV, having a glass of water. My brother Tim got more and more comfortable in the sofa and was suddenly more or less lying down with his shoes and socks taken off and put in a small pile on the floor.

All of a sudden a big angry man jumps out from nowhere, shouting in Spanish. We didnt understand much of what he said, Martin tried to tell him that we do not speak spanish. He seemed most upset that Tim was lying down, that we had glasses of water on the table, and the main problem was that we were too comfortable. He finally took our glasses and walked away with them to the kitchen. It later turned out that he was the owner of the hostel. We are not sure why he got so angry, but it might be because he wanted the lobby to look presentable for potential guests.

The other things we did in Chascomús was search for a place to go horseback riding, and we did go kayaking on the lake. We didnt bring a camera on the kayak trip because it was very wet, but Linn took some great snaps of me and Tim watching the sunset.

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Food poisoning!

Whenever I eat I do not care much for the circumstances in which my food is prepared, I have eaten sweet cookies from a street vendor in some small village in India. Meat that was very well cooked because it was probably a bit too old to be served in Bangkok. On this trip we have eaten most anything we could get our hands on, some things good, some not as good, but never did we ever get sick.

Until now.

The four of us went to have some dinner after our great tango experience. Tim and Emilia wanted to try the local Parilla, and a restaurant we found had a rather cheap version of it. It was recommended for three, so Linn was the only one who decided to have some chorizo instead. A wise choice in retrospect.

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This is the only picture I have from the restaurant. I found it funny the lost part of onion made it look like a happy face. Now I just feel sick when I see it and it looks more like an evil grin.

The day after started with Emilia feeling a bit under the weather, and decided to stay in bed when we went to get some breakfast and see the Botanical garden. Tim had to take a taxi home after feeling a bit uneasy in the garden. By night it was my turn to cave in, by then I had held out many hours before the others went. After 24 hours we felt better, and after 48 we were good again. But there were moments where I questioned if I could go on.

The only one who was spared was Linn. Just writing about this now makes me uneasy, the annoying thing being that we could never have known that this place would poison us. It was probably some of all the different parts of meat on the grill that was bad before it was cooked, First in, First out in respect to food handling in a restaurant never looked as such an important thing before.

Tango at La Catedral

Another thing Buenos Aires is know for, and which it is recommended to not leave without experiencing is of course the Tango. Emilia who was traveling with us for two weeks found a place called La Catedral, an old grain silo built in the 1880s, in the middle of urban Buenos Aires.

This place is absolutely amazing, it has a feeling to it that reminds me of Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin, the main difference is that this is a dance hall. Apart from all the paintings that fill the walls there is also a huge sculpture of a hears suspended from the roof 12 meters above the bar.

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The large hall is lined with chairs and tables that are more or less beyond repair, but not for lack of trying, the furniture fits right in and is repaired here and there. The light is dim everywhere but on the dance floor in the middle.

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We spent two nights at La Catedral, the first night we checked out the place, had some drinks and watched Tango dancers of varying talent. Some just beginning to learn, some teaching and some just really good. The second night we arrived to take a tango course, the entry fee is usually €3, and with the course included it is €5. Well worth the money!

Before our course started (a lot later than advertised, we are in Argentina mind you!), we got the opportunity to watch a show including an amazing violinist with his band, and a sort of step dancer that did something in the middle between poi, step and percussion drumming. Very unique and very fun to watch!

Finally we had our elementary course of tango, we learned some basic steps, got to try them with a partner. The tip here is to bring a partner, so you dont end up as the poor guy who I removed with GIMP from the following picture. In the end we were also forced to show our steps in front of everyone else, even though Linn tried to oppose this we ended up doing some basic steps and getting an applause!

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La Recoleta Cemetary

One of the things that is often noted as a must do in Buenos Aires is to see the La Recoleta cemetary, where Evita Peron lies buried. When we got there we realized that it is not a regular graveyard with small to medium sized stones as markers for the graves, it is more or less ornamented mausoleums, the smaller the size of a cottage ranging to ones the size of a smaller house and the looks of a castle.

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Happy tourists ready to explore the cemetery. When walking around it feels very much like walking around in a village of small houses. Some graves are very well looked after and are cleaned and with fresh flowers, others are left to the elements and in different stages of decay.

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Like a row of miniature churches, very beautiful!

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The tomb of Evita Peron, the most popular feat of the cemetery, getting a picture like above was very hard because of all the people standing around with guides telling them the history of Evita. The tomb is always lavished with fresh flowers.