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February 2013 - Belly Dancing, Lightning and a View

February 2013 was a nice hot month with some crazy Electrical Storms (crazy to me) which I had incredible views of from my new rental apartment.  In addition, I found a month of intense Spanish class for almost free and tried many of the local restaurants on Fitz Roy Road which is a major restaurant / bar zone in Palermo Hollywood.  One night in particular we watched a Belly Dancer during our meal.  Enjoy the post.

At the beginning of February I moved in to a good size studio apartment in Palermo Hollywood with a pool and an amazing terrace!  Here's a video tour and a couple pictures.

Bedroom with walk out to terrace

Kitchen and living room,
enough for me.

Not huge, but a perfect roof top sitting pool to read
my Spanish homework and cool off from the hot days

The views I mentioned


Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window I just had to
take this photo of everyone in their shoebox

For those who have seen a lot of Electrical Storms my video may be a bit of a yawn, but for me and I'm guessing anyone who has only seen a bit of thunder and lightning this is a definite watch.  I kept waiting for the storm to end, but it just kept going.  Being my first experience I thought something major was going to happen.  After 4 hours of thunder and lightning, on and off rain, and the odd siren in the distance, that was it for the storm.  Visually and audibly incredible.

Catching a little lightning out of
what was a pitch black sky seconds

During another storm in the middle of the day we thought we would sit in the pool in the rain, which was a great plan until the lightning began!

Mac was braver than I for 1 second

Side Story: Moments around Palermo "Hollywood" which gained the name due to the fact that there are so many production companies and TV stations in the area.

Signs that a Film is being made.  Film trucks.

Camera set up across the street
reminded me of my first extra role
as a waiter on CBC's "Tom Stone"

Spanish Class.  When in a Spanish speaking country learn Spanish, right?  Unfortunately I just couldn't justify the $500 USD per month for lessons in a place where you can go out the door and speak Spanish to anyone.  Luckily through a friend Andrea I find a virtually free option attending classes as a guinea pig in a Spanish teacher training course which is a great way to experience many different ways of teaching at once.

Getting to Spanish at
International House
2 Hours / day for all of February.  I think it helped a lot.
Now I can understand most of the movies I have been
watching.  Sort of... (thanks for the photo Hernan)
Around the community some Tough jobs...

The real Bone Collector.  I didn't get a photo of the meat 
delivery guy, but that's even worse as he carries a side
a beef from the street to the back of the store, 150+ kg!

Getting tickets to a movie

Being a tree in B.A.

No Health and Safety here.  There's a guy
in this hole which is 2m deep x 2 L x 0.5 W

Being this guy's friend
as he talks to you while
rubbing his dogs balls!

Being a cop at yet another bus / pedestrian scene

Argentines doing comedy in English

A solo belly dance

Bringing an audience member up

Squeezing juice for your Highness

Having me as a Novio, thanks for breaky Mac

Other Stuff

Where's the meat?
$4.50 at Siga La Vaca
 which is supposed to
be a BIG beef restaurant
Upgrade 50 cents getting you
a nice chicken breast at
Siga La Vaca instead!

Security tags. Who knew
ham got stolen a lot?

January 2013 - BA Moments and Uruguay Beach Time

In January 2013 I settled back in to the latin lifestyle and tried to bring my Spanish back up to the low level I had left it.  As well, I wanted to get out of the hot city of Buenos Aires and get some beach time in.  Brazil is quite far and they don't speak spanish and Argentina has no good beaches, so it was off to Uruguay for 1 week near the end of the month.  The bonus of living in the southern hemisphere during January is lots of beach and pool weather, hell that's why I do it!

In Buenos Aires, some moments in my neighbourhood of Palermo.

With JP, Pascal, and Mac at the famous
La Cabrera for some BIG steaks (400grams)

A little tuna pie common
 in Argentina and NZ

That's a lot of pastries!

Finally changing my tires.  So happy to get
rid of that shitty Continental on the front!

Sorry to offend, but this
shop is on the street front
for everyone to see

This moto shop has such good prices
the line is always at least 30 people long!

Cdn bud Dave enjoying a seat
on a classic car that never moves

Ouch, I didn't see the accident, but apparently a moto got hit shutting down the street right out side my front door.  Fortunately the massive rain in the video didn't start until after the victim was moved from the scene.

Off to Uruguay for a weeks vacation on the beach.  Mac and I jumped on the bike that needed to get a new import permit for Argentina which meant leaving the country and returning.  So, why not kill multiple birds with one ride (Literally!  Mac took a bird right in the face!  Well, off her visor so no damage to her face, but it sure was a surprise).  In addition to the new import permit we got to the beach and saw a lot of Uruguay by bike.  In addition, addition this was Mac's first time visiting Uruguay which is amazing considering it's almost in throwing distance from Buenos Aires and I've been there 4 times already.

Since it was high season in Uruguay we thought we might try to get something for a week to save on the individual night gouge.  Tough to find a place online and to know how good or bad it would be so we ended up deciding to break the trip up into a couple nights in Montevideo (MVD), Aguas Dulces, and La Paloma.

Firstly though we had to make our way to Uruguay which is either a slightly expensive ferry ride from Buenos Aires to Colonia then a drive 200km to MVD OR a drive 250 km around the bay to Fray Bentos the first of the land borders between the two countries and then another 300 km to MVD.  Since the ferry was fully booked the choice was easy although the ride was not considering it was Mac's first time on moto for a distance longer than 50 km and I hadn't rode my bike this distance in over 6 months.  Tough day, but at least the weather was good and the border nice and smooth.  Road Rating: C3R7/8T2V5.

All Set.  Leaving Buenos Aires with new tires!
My new assistant photographer

Video crossing the bridge in to Uruguay at Fray Bentos (I can now check off all borders between Argentina and Uruguay).

Little motos that slowly climb hills

Old transportation from 1900 and 1950.  And 2008 if you
count my moto

MVD entering from the West

I had visited Montevideo (MVD) on my way to Puerto Iguaza last year, but had not experienced the "Old Town" which I expected would be nice like the rest of MVD I saw before.  Although the hostel, Pasada al Sur, we stayed at in Old Town was great, Old Town itself still needs a little crime cleaning up.  About half of it is very rough and the other half is touristy.  We were on the cusp and didn't find too much in the area at night.

Food court of Parrillas, total tourist spot

Looks good, but expensive!

A street in Old Town

Some Uruguayan antique in the park.
Pretty sure you can still get these models
in stores today!

Plaza Independencia with the
projects right behind it

Canadian Consulate

View from Pasada al Sur Hostel where we stay in old town MVD.  A fantastic hostel with big double rooms and great bathrooms for $50 USD.  Five neighbours decided to join together and turn it in to a hostel.  Great idea.

Note: Uruguay is a little more expensive than Argentina kind of like Canada to the USA do to the size of the economies with equal lifestyles more or less.  A nice politically safe sentence...

Tight, but very cool stairway up

Don't miss the ferry in the background

That's "The Cusp"

Shirtless mate drinking on the roof top

Parrilla for 2!

Parrillada "25 Perez" 1 block from the hostel

Recommend: Pasada al Sur Hostel, Parrilla at 25 Perez, Day tour to Old Town, staying in the beach areas, BanRED ATM give less money, but they work!
Don't Recommend: Using BROU ATM, Eating at the Parrilla food court close to the ferry terminal - EXPENSIVE!

After a couple days in MVD we made our way 300km up to Aguas Dulces which lies about 100km from the Brazilian border along the Atlantic coast.  Road Rating: C3R7T3V4/5. A nice little spot where the ocean is about as warm as you will get in Uruguay (24C).  Our accommodation was a little two storey cabin with a parrilla in the front.  Lovely oners Alicia and Frenando.  A nice couple days with a healthy 15 min walk to the beach.

On the road to Aguas Dulces

Mate hot water station.
These people have thermos
imprints under their arms
from mucho mate drinking

Sweet ride.

No parking, they can't mean me


Playing in the sand

Getting my vacation sun burn

Everything you need for $60 USD / night

Relaxing as I cook on a parrilla for my first time

Build your fire first, then spread the
coals.  Not quite like in Canada
where we mostly cook with gas.

For the second portion of our beach tour we stayed at La Paloma which is about 80km from Punta del Este and only half the cost (sure we would have liked to stay at PDE, but $120/night and $50 meals was something I wanted to avoid.).  La Paloma was not exactly what I expected, but still very popular and had everything you needed expect warm water!  Anything south of Aguas Dulces apparently is cold water.  A bonus was finding Hotel Cribe in La Paloma which doesn't look like much, but had everything we needed at $50/night including a great breakfast.  This was by far the best deal we found after looking at multiple places including a $30/night shed with no windows and a tiny communal bathroom.  Awful.  Even worse is I considered it for a night, yikes!

Coming in to La Paloma
La Paloma Lighthouse

Nice beach, but the water and wind
were a little too chilly for me

Hotel Cribe
Spacious and functional room

From La Paloma we made a day trip to Cabo Palonia the hippy commune.

Cabo Palonia is a National Park of Uruguay that was settled by hippies and grew in popularity over the years.  Talking to people who went in the 1980s apparently there was no electricity, but now a days they have scheduled 4 x 4 shuttles to the commune, umbrella rentals on the beach, electricity and Harley Davidson signs, WTF?  Don't get me wrong, it's still worth a visit for the nice beaches (cold water!), seal watching (hence the cold water!) and general atmosphere (I got the feeling you could find some magic potions there in the form of green or something similar).

A bit of a line up, but what else is new in Latin America

This could be fun

Taking the 4 x 4 shuttle in to the National Park of Cabo Palonia.

Cabo Palonia in the distance

A little walk around town

This place has electricity, what happened to the hippy commune?

No longer a hippy commune

Hippy cops?

Lighthouse looking over the seals

This little guy came in for a look

Totally wasted hippy
Mate hippies

Mate hippiettes
Lost soul hippy

Best seats on the 4 x 4

Photography hippy

What year did this hippy arrive?

Our last night in Uruguay we made our way back to MVD via the famous Punta del Este (mentioned above) to see what all the fuss was about.  Well, compared to all the other places in Uruguay I can see why PDE draws the rich and famous of Latin American with big beaches, shiny restaurants and beautiful harbours.

 Punta del Este beach area.  There's a lot of it.

No electricity in that massage tent

The famous fingers of Punta del Este

Some famous, over priced lunch
 sandwich, $16 USD ($5 in B.A.)

It must be a popular spot if Cruise Ships are visiting

The final stretch the next morning was from MVD 180 km to Colonia to catch the 13:30 high speed ferry back to BA.  Good trip.  Road Rating:  C2/3R7/8T2/3V5.

Love it!  Bikes don't pay!

Nice bridge in to MVD

MVD cross

Lots of insects in the face
In Colonia.  Mac has a mark on her
mask from a bird direct hit!!!

Landmark in Colonia a historic town/port
I was really surprised how fast these big ferries cruise, check out the waves in the video

Bike parking on the ferry at high
speed was no issue at all.

See February for another new apartment with a pool and views of electrical storms you don't want to miss...

Other Stuff

Love it!
Looks familiar, but it's from Brazil.  Who knew they
had cool bike colours like that!

Pizza BUM in BA
Parking elevator for cars

Nice bar code imprisonment shirt
"Holy shit, I can't see where we are going mom"

"Juan, do you want to help me
move on Friday?"