Video Flashback to St. Moritz

About a month ago, I wrote a post (my very first, so go easy on me) about what we did in St. Moritz. Back then it was text only; however, since surfing in Costa Rica, Abe has been honing his go-pro skills and making awesome video montages.

He’s now gone back and edited the footage from our time in the greatest country on the planet (Venezuela, USA, Switzerland). This video really captures the fun we had – I hope you enjoy watching it! See the high res version here, or check out the low res below:

 

 

Buenos Aires: Café, Carne y Español

Hello from Buenos Aires!

We’ve been in BA for nearly 2 weeks now, and we’re really enjoying the city so far. We have lots of time to explore, so we’ve been visiting attractions and museums, checking out lively neighborhoods like Palermo and Puerto Madero, and sampling as many delicious restaurants as we can. We’ve been staying in an awesome apartment in Recoleta, which is well located and has made it possible for us to walk around a lot.

Casa Rosada{Visiting the Casa Rosada and Plaza de Mayo}

In fact, I’ve been walking to Havanna Café, a coffee chain comparable to Starbucks but with an Argentine twist, on a nearly daily basis. I’ve become quite obsessed. I love it so much that I took Abe on a 20-block detour to find another location when sadists closed the one by our apartment for renovations. I consistently order their deliciously addictive espresso with condensed milk, plus a chocolate alfajor to make sure the whole ordeal is sugary enough. The weird thing is that I could easily replicate this coffee at home just by buying condensed milk, but then I’d get fat. I’m better off having to walk the 20 blocks, and getting as many cups as I want while we’re in BA. Then, when we leave, I’ll have to end this caffeinated love affair and not look back.

Havanna Cafe{Havanna deliciousness}

Abe’s favorite part of BA has undoubtedly been the meat. Nothing else has come remotely close. We’ve tried to adhere to a ‘no more than 3 times a week’ meat policy. We’ve been pretty successful so far, so long as you don’t count all the meat empanadas that we’re eating on the non-steak days (those don’t count, right?) I’m usually not much of a meat fan, but it’s really good here. Plus, with the current exchange rate it costs 1/3 of what it does the US, and you can get great malbec to wash it down too. It just seems wrong not to take advantage.

I realize that so far I’ve reduced this city to its food and wine and coffee. Don’t judge me, we’ve done other things too.

For example, I’ve been taking Spanish classes. My teacher was amazed by my entrance evaluation test. Not because it was stellar, unfortunately. He discovered that I’m ‘unbalanced’, which wasn’t news to me. It turns out that I speak Spanish very well, but when I write I don’t conjugate correctly in the past tense. Or in the future. Or in the conditional. Or in the subjunctive. I just pull it together somewhat convincingly when I talk and mumble over the parts I’m unsure of. To be fair, that’s because I learned Spanish by listening to Venezuelans rather than taking classes. I’m really enjoying learning the theory though, and I’m happy to say that my Spanish is improving muy rapidamente.

Abe is doing something similar and taking French classes at the Alliance Francaise. It’s obviously not a typically Argentine thing to do, but it’ll be really helpful for him later in our trip when we spend time in Geneva. I have no basis for saying this as I haven’t met the others, but I’d like to point out that he’s way smarter and better looking than everyone else in his class.

Other than that, we’ve done some really fun things. We took a great cooking class and learned to make empanadas, flan, and dulce de leche. We saw a beautiful tango show, which to Abe’s peril had me practicing tango dance kicks between his legs for the rest of the evening (it’s art, ok? No one got hurt). We had a wine and empanada picnic in the Palermo Woods on Valentine’s day. And we did the usual suspects too, visiting the Recoleta Cemetary, MALBA, Casa Rosada, San Telmo, Puerto Madero, Teatro Colon, etc.

Overall, we’re loving it here. We have lots planned this week, including a River soccer game and a visit to El Caminito, and then we’ll be heading to Mendoza to drink some more wine on Saturday. Dale, un abrazo amigos!

Pot Cookies and Teachers’ Pets

We spent last week in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

It’s a beautiful town. The beaches are incredible and stretch on and on. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, juice bars and little shops to catch your attention. It’s also jam-packed with tourists unfortunately, but I expect that’s a natural side effect of its qualities. Oh, and the sunsets are amazing.

Sunset Tamarindo{a Tamarindo sunset}

I never mentioned this to you, but the last town we visited, Jacò, has many prostitutes. They’re not hard to find, even if you aren’t looking and are slightly oblivious. Even my naive sister would probably spot them. I tell you this not so you can plan a bachelor party there, but rather to provide context for Tamarindo – Jacò’s prevalent prostitutes are the equivalent of Tamarindo’s pot.

Which is how I nearly bought pot cookies.

I didn’t realize that pot was being sold left and right here. So when a friendly looking guy offered me hot cookies, I thought the chocolate chips would be nice and melty. I hesitated, but Abe kept walking without even considering them, so I took the credit and congratulated myself on my resolve to eat healthy.   Turns out he hadn’t said hot.  You probably guessed that already. Good thing Abe heard him right, or this story could have gotten way more inappropriate/hilariously interesting.

Pot cookies aside, we kept taking surfing lessons. We first had a crappy teacher who clearly had no desire to be teaching us. It was like: a wave for you, two waves for me, what a shame you couldn’t catch yours I caught mine just fine.

Surf Teacher By Himself

We changed teachers and were lucky to find Ariel at Neptuno Surf Shop [insert Little Mermaid joke here]. He was ridiculously talented,  took us to surf on incredible beaches like Playa Grande and Avellanas, and he embodied the Pura Vida lifestyle perfectly.

Come with me on a tangent of Costa Rican expressions. I already used the term Pura Vida in my last post and you might be familiar with it. It means something like “life is wonderful/enjoy it” – you can read more about it’s meaning here. Not only is it a term that Ticos (what costarricenses call themselves) use all the time, but it’s also an important part of the country’s culture.

Welcome back from the tangent! Now, here is where my frustrations began. I’m a pretty big nerd (hold on, that’s not the frustrating part). Teachers love me, and I love that they love me. So when my chill, long haired, incredibly skilled surf teacher didn’t even remotely like me… that perplexed me nearly as much as my surfing struggles.

It may be because I’m not good at surfing. I’m not a natural athlete (let’s not pretend you thought otherwise). Ariel said I needed to “become like water.” What does that even mean? He was disappointed when I didn’t get it, and you and I both know that disappointment is the worst.

But this story does have a happy ending (no thanks to Jacò’s prostitutes). I ended up learning to catch some waves by myself, and Abe got pretty great at surfing. I got a glorious farmer’s tan from my rash guard. And though I can’t say that Ariel learned to love me, he did like Abe well enough for the both of us.

Next stop: we went to La Fortuna to visit the Arenal Volcano and the La Fortuna Waterfall for the weekend.  But rather than tell you about these places, I’ll let you take a glimpse below.

Check out the video Abe made of our second week in Costa Rica. You can find a high res version here (click to open in a new tab, the video will be much higher quality) or view the low res version here:

 

Arenal Volcano{At the Arenal Volcano, some clouds unfortunately partially hiding the view}

We’ve now arrived in Buenos Aires – if you have any tips or want to meet up here, please let us know!