Broken Arm: Take 2

There is now another broken wrist in the family.

Today, almost three years after Mom broke her arm while hiking down from Refugio Piltriquitron in El Bolson, Argentina, we hiked up to Scout Lookout at Zion National Park in Utah. We arrived here yesterday after a long, icy drive through Oregon, Nevada, and Utah (fortunately, neither Dad nor I crashed the car, despite below-zero temperatures and 80 mph speed limits). This morning, after a high-calorie breakfast, I drove us into the park. 28 degrees Fahrenheit never seemed so warm.

We paid a visit to the visitors’ center-turned-shop before heading to the Court of Patriarchs. There, Ethan and I discovered the ease of letting ourselves slide down the icy hills while hanging onto the handrails. Mom did not enjoy this as much as we did.

We finalllllly found a parking spot at Zion Lodge. It was only a half-mile walk from the Grotto Trailhead, where we started hiking. Ethan had decided not to bring a backpack so I was stuck carrying his water bottle and his hat and gloves as he shed them.

Ethan and I were far ahead of the parents, but we stopped occasionally to let them catch up. The exposed switchbacks up the first mile or so were the hardest. After we entered a shady canyon, the going was easy until we reached eight switchbacks. At the top of those, we reached the infamous Walter’s Wiggles. Apparently these are really difficult, but they seemed very easy, not steep, and short. However, they were also very icy and snowy and we had to go slowly.

The infamous Walter's Wiggles. Now just imagine them snowy and icy

The infamous Walter’s Wiggles. Now just imagine them snowy and icy

Along the way, Ethan and I befriended siblings Ethan and Porsche. Ethan II advised Ethan I on ice hiking technique and the physics of friction. At the top of the Wiggles, we stopped at Scout Lookout while everyone else on the trail continued to Angel’s Landing. Because we didn’t have crampons or any other sort of shoe gear, we played it safe and did not go on.

Ethan and Eryn at Scout Lookout

Ethan and Eryn at Scout Lookout

Ethan and I started down the canyon ahead of Mom and Dad. To take on icy Walter’s Wiggles, we slid down on our feet with our hands behind us, in the form of a crab. This worked well, but Ethan abandoned this approach when some grown men were coming down behind us. In his pride, he continued on down a switchback and out of my sight. Then the two men behind me, who were going much faster than me, exclaimed, “Are you all right?? What happened?”

That was when I saw Ethan, who was grimacing and clutching his left wrist. After assuring him that nothing was broken based on his mobility, the men continued on. And so did we.

We carefully picked our way down to Zion Lodge. We peeked in there and then returned to our hotel, where Mom and Dad set about trying to find a clinic that worked with our insurance. Mom and Ethan finally left for a clinic 40 minutes away. There, they determined that his radius was in fact fractured all the way through, though they only had to put him in a brace because the bone is still aligned.

The worst part about all this is that Ethan will still be able to take notes in AP government as he is right-handed (though he won’t be able to play the piano, saxophone, or guitar).

Cast Off

Mom is relieved to announce that her cast is finally off.

It turned into a four-country trauma (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Morocco) but finally ended this morning at a clinic. After the cast was removed, her PT (Physical Torture) began. She now has to go the clinic three times a week for the next three weeks for PT.

We’re all glad that she can use her right arm– now she can wash dishes again!

South American Summary

After more-or-less three months in South America, we started to get the hang of Spanish and customs. We could go into a heladeria and order ‘dos bolas de chocolate y fresa,’ or go to the supermercado and buy huevos, leche, pizza, lechuga, choclo, chocolate, y pan. When Mr. Gooey in Arequipa told us a bunch of things about Arequipa and Peru in general (such as food, customs, etc.), we found that we already knew a lot of what he was saying.


We started off South America in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after a ridiculously long set of flights from Dubai, UAE. We spent two weeks there, idling in the sun and our apartment. We also enjoyed the new types of ice cream flavors: lemon mousse, raspberry, and chocolate Suizo. In El Bolsón, we devoured ice cream at the rate of kilogram a day in between bites of super-cheesy pizza. Ethan and I befriended Juan, Paz, and the rest of their family, and we spent the evening with them when Mom broke her arm.

After a night in Bariloche, chocolate heaven, we rode a bus for eight hours to Chile and arrived in Valdivia, home of the largest-ever earthquake, at ten p.m. that night. Dad and Ethan got some Chilean pesos in exchange for some American dollars at a Chinese restaurant, and we used those pesos to pay for a taxi to take us to our hostel. The highlight of our time in Valdivia was the fresh-foods market, where you could buy all sorts of wonderful things. Because we didn’t have an apartment or kitchen, we only bought raspberries and blueberries.

Two things stand out for Valparaiso: having to walk up and down our hill multiple times each day to get to and from our flat, and the really good ice cream whose name I can’t remember. It tasted like cinnamon, and it was really good with the cappuccino flavor that was mainly marshmallow fluff.

In San Pedro de Atacama, we went on multiple tours up into the surrounding Andes and Altiplano before heading down to Arica, where, after an insanely long bus ride, we celebrated Ethan’s 12th birthday with a cupcake and presents. The next day we went up to Putre. During our time there, we went on two tours with Barbara, the Alaskan woman, and went up to about 5,000 meters above sea level—the highest point on our trip while standing on the ground. We also got to see some really cute vizcachas, which are related to chinchillas.

Back in Arica, we went to a mummy museum and then arrived about an hour too early at the airport two days later. We landed abruptly on Arequipa’s runway late in the morning, and Mr. Gooey was waiting for us. That weekend was spent enjoying crepes from Crepissimo and touring Mr. Gooey’s workplace. On Monday, we flew to Cusco. When we first landed, I thought, This is an ugly city.

We didn’t stay in the “ugly city” long, though—soon we were on our way to Ollantaytambo. After a night there, we were off to Machu Picchu. Somehow we made it up and down Wayna Picchu, the picturesque mountain in the background of just about every Machu Picchu photo.

After a few nights in Cusco, we were off to the Amazon Basin with Reve (the English-speaking guide), Paltacha (the cook), and a ton of stuff. It was hot and humid and we didn’t see any tapirs, despite going to the tapir clay lick two nights in a row.

On our last night back in Cusco, disaster struck. It began with the shower drain gurgling but ended with the floor of our hostel covered in 2-6 inches of brown stuff from the sewers.

We slept in a different hotel.

The next day we caught a flight to Lima Bean. That was yesterday. Tonight will be very short: our taxi to the airport leaves at 2:05 in the morning.



American-Sniffing Dogs

We’re now in Chile!

Our Andesmar bus arrived in Valdivia two hours later than planned, so we skipped supper, had a few pieces of Bariloche chocolate, and headed straight to our hostel and bed.


Yesterday morning after breakfast we decided to spend our last Argentinean pesos on chocolate (yay!). After that we dropped Mom and Ethan off at the bus station. Dad and I returned the clunky Fiat at a car-wash place. We found a taxi and rode back to the bus station.

We had to wait an hour for our bus to arrive. We were in seats 4, 5, 7, and 8 on the bottom level, which was empty except for us and an older lady who spoke German and Spanish. On the bright side, Afrikaans is close to German, and my dad is pretty good at that language.

After a couple hours, we got to the Argentinean border. We got our passports stamped and our luggage sniffed, and we were through—sort of. There were kilometers of road between the two countries, meaning that I’ve now officially listened to One Direction in no country. We finally got to the other side, where we got our passports stamped and our luggage sniffed. My suitcase was pulled out, but once it became obvious that it was mine, everyone avoided eye contact. Coincidentally, the suitcases of the other three Americans on our bus were also pulled out.

We were eventually told to get back on the bus. We all found a box of carbs on our seat.

Hours later, we finally pulled into Valdivia. Thankfully, there was a Chinese restaurant that exchanged dollars into Chilean pesos. We piled into a taxi and rode off into the night.


Lazy Luna

Luna was, apparently, the third visitor to our cabaña this morning. According to Mary Lou, Paz and Juan came by around seven to say good-bye. (Ethan and I were still asleep at seven, and our parents didn’t notice them.) Fortunately, Mary Lou came by after breakfast to say her own good-byes and give us the email addresses for Paz and Juan. At some point during the conversation, Luna slunk out of our house. Dad thinks she’s pregnant—she really is a skinny kitty except for her belly.

Mary Lou told us that Paz’s family is from Buenos Aires Province, and her dad is a veterinarian. Of course, Mom then had to say how our cousin is in veterinary school and all that. The family had left early to go on a seven-hour hike. We did a shorter hike—it was about 200 meters, actually, to a creek up near a glacier in the mountains surrounding Lago Mascardi. We also saw the Black Glacier, which is really just a glacier covered in a layer of dirt. These were the first glaciers Ethan and I’ve seen that I can remember. Mom went on to tell us a story about blue ice, how when she and Dad were in Alaska, they went on a plane ride around a glacier, took lots of pictures, and then got home and discovered that the blue part doesn’t show up on film.

The road system in that section of Parque Nacional Lago Nahuel Huapi is somewhat confusing: at the end, eight kilometers are both ways. There is also a section at the beginning, about twenty kilometers, which is both ways. After a corner, it’s one way. Starting at four, you could drive back from the glaciers to the park entrance/exit. We left after a meal of sandwiches and salad.

When we drove into town, we found part of a hill on fire. It seems like fire has been an awful lot of places lately: melting down the ends of the bracelets Paz and I made, burning down a club in Brazil and killing 231 people, inviting rebellion in Catching Fire

We’re now comfortably installed in Villa Sofia, eating delicious chocolate ice cream from Rapa Nui.


–[untitled post]–

Today was definitely a down day. Mom and Dad only went to take the laundry to the service while I made breakfast and Ethan showered. After that I made more bracelets with Paz while Ethan and Juan Cruz worked on the bow, Luna (the cat) napped, Mom and Dad read, Lucas followed his mother and baby brother Jose around, and Mary Lou made lunch. I was invited to stay for the meal, and Ethan lurked long enough to join in. It was chicken, salad, carrot and corn, and pasta. For dessert we enjoyed homemade raspberry ice cream.

Paz and I went back to making bracelets while the grown-ups talked. After all the adults, Lucas, and Jose went away for the siesta, Ethan and Juan continued working on their bow and Paz and I decided to take a quick dip in the (very cold) pool.

The family eventually left for Lago Puelo. We’ll have supper at Pizza Uno, where three of us ate while Mom was at the clinic.


ABC: Azul, Beaches, Cookies

We hiked along Rio Azul again, but this time it was official. We walked for about twenty minutes threw on a road through a field of blackberries before hitting the actual trail that went along the river. Lots of people were swimming out from the rocks in the deeper, narrower sections. After about forty more minutes, we got to a nice grassy area with an adjoining beach.

“Let’s go to the bridge, then eat the cookies, then come here,” Dad said.

“No!” I protested. “Let’s go to the bridge, then come here, then eat the cookies.”

It was decided. We walked along the edge of a private campground to a gate, where a group of whitewater rafters entered the river.

“I want to do that!” I exclaimed. Of course, we don’t know what company that was, and searching the Internet seems futile.

Anyway, we continued on to the bridge that was “Maximum 1 Persona”. Ethan went first, followed by me, then Dad. Mom abstained because she was worried she’d lose her balance with one arm in a cast. The bridge had wooden slats as the floor with a couple of inches between each. Once on the other side, we had to wait because apparently we started a trend. After all the people had come over, a couple crossed back, followed by the three of us. We walked back to our cookie beach, but it was taken. Oh, well. We plopped down on a log overlooking the water anyway, munching on cookies and watching Ethan throw rocks.

By the time we got back to the car, it was six. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home for peas, pasta, tomato sauce, and a pair of blue underwear for Ethan. (He had been hoping for hot pink—he only chose any because it was brightly colored.) Juan, Paz, and the rest are all at Paz’s uncle’s house.


Azul y Helado

Today was more of a Down Day than yesterday. We didn’t leave until about three in the afternoon. Before then, I made breakfast and made more bracelets with Paz while Ethan played with Juan Cruz and Lucas. Felipe, Manuel, and their mom left this morning, but there was another little boy today. Inez was also there, and she threw her stuffed animal into a tree. She climbed in to get it down, with Paz and me braiding serenely below. Paz’s dad was trying to learn the name of the animal.

“How do you say… an animal that lives in the ocean and on land?”

I had seen the stuffed seal and offered the name. He shook his head. “No, it goes arr, arr. Arr, arr,” he demonstrated, hands clasped in front of him. “Seal,” I repeated. Ethan grabbed the stuffed animal, which was on the ground, and, pointing to it, announced, “Seal.”

Paz’s dad agreed, and that was solved. Eventually the family had lunch, and Ethan and I went back up to our cabaña. We eventually left, stopping first at the laundry to get our clean clothes and then at Mitski for ice cream. Ethan said that Super Sambayón was really good, with “chocolate and nuts and stuff”, so we ordered it along with Frambuesa a la Crema, Chocolate Mitski, and Banana Split. We drove to Rio Azul and walked a little ways before eating on a bench.

The Sambayón was awful. Ethan was gracious, however, and ate most of it. Banana Split had chunks of chocolate in it, and the banana part was good, too. Frambuesa a la Crema was just typical raspberry ice cream, but the Chocolate Mitski was wonderful. It had chunks of white chocolate and almonds in it—muy delicioso. We walked farther up Rio Azul and down to the rocky shore. As we threw stones and dipped our feet in the river’s chilly waters, we saw first a kayaker and then three rafts brave the (not very impressive) rapids. They got wet, by the way.


Rafting the Rapids

Well, because of my mother’s arm issue, we couldn’t do some things today, but we could do others. We woke up this morning at about 9-10 a.m. and did everything about breakfast that needed to be done. After that, Eryn and I played with the other kids and said goodbye to two of the rowdiest kids; Phillipe and Manuel. After they both had left with their mother in their car, Juan, his father, and his mother went out to get a new bicycle tire for someone’s bike. While they were gone, I observed Eryn and Paz making bracelets.

When Juan and family got back, he and I played some more before my parents decided that it was time to leave. We went out to a local ice cream shop and bought a kilo of ice cream ‘for the road.’ In all actuality, it wasn’t for the road, it was for the time when we got to the Rio Azul.

As we had gone that way before, it seemed that we got to the campground a lot sooner than last time. When we got down to the Rio, we went right on the path and up till there was a bench, where we ate the kilo of ice cream. From there, we walked a ways before sitting on a corner of the river next to some rapids. We waded and waited there, while throwing and skipping stones across the water and under hill and over hill. Eventually, we saw a little red kayak come down the river, and the rider steered her way through the rapids quickly and expertly. On the far bank, she pulled up and got out a camera to take pictures of what was to come.

What was to come was actually three large rubber rafts. They were filled on the sides with 6-12 paddlers each. Each of the three colorful crafts made it through the rapids fine, but the last one; a blue one, made it the best, going right through the middle without hitting either bank, like the other ones had. When it was over, I wanted to raft a river.

That’s all for now, Folks!

Sales and Sweet Dinosaurs

Because of Mom’s injury, today was sort of a down day. We slept in til ten, which seemed waaay to early, and Ethan and I had to make breakfast. Once that was over, I washed the dishes and we finally headed out.

Our first stop was the laundry place, where Mom and Ethan dropped off a basket of our clothes. Then came the bank, the clinic (for the x-rays), and the grocery store, where we bought breakfast foods and a scarf that is now Mom’s sling. We drove home and stayed there for about two hours as Dad dealt with the insurance company and I did schoolwork and made more bracelets like the ones that Paz, Mary Lou’s granddaughter, makes. We eventually left for Lago Puelo after a slight delay. On the way, we bought ice cream from Saurios Heladeria Artesenal, whose mascot is a swimming purple dinosaur. Dad and I chose the flavors—four in the kilo container. The woman who scooped our ice cream weighed the tub: 1.005 kilos.

The .005 extra is for the tub’s weight. It’s now become standard that they get really close in weight: at Sumo in BA, our ¾ kilo weighed .755 kilos, and in Bariloche, someone’s quarter-kilo tub weighed .250.

We eventually got to the beach of the choppy Lago Puelo, where we devoured the Black Jungle, Boysenberry, Semi-Bitter Chocolate, and Saurios Chocolate. It was delicious. Ethan went for a walk afterwards, and came running back to us: “They’re here!”

They, of course, means Juan, Paz, and co. Ethan changed into his swimsuit so he could go out on the raft with ten-year-old Juan, and I made bracelets with twelve-year-old Paz. Inez, who was with Paz when I first met her, and her family also came. All of Paz’s immediate family—mother, father, and three brothers, Juan, Lucas, and baby Jose—were there. Lucas went around with Paz’s bracelets and sold them for ten pesos apiece. During the time I was there, Paz earned eighty pesos. Ten of those pesos were brought in by a blue bracelet I made.


Lion of the Andes

I slept in (again) and then had my typical breakfast of cereal, egg, banana, and toast. After that we just did schoolwork and deleted pictures and napped until about 1:15, when Dad decided it was time to go on the hike up Cerro Piltriquitron.

It was a long and dusty hike up 350 meters, where we met an older couple from Colorado who had just gone to Antarctica by boat. They said it was beautiful, but the boat ride was very rough. In all the questions they asked about our trip, they never asked the Number One Question: What are you doing for school? They even asked a whopping total of seven questions before it turned into a normal conversation.

“You’re the first Americans we’ve seen in a week,” she said.

“Sorry to spoil the run for you,” my dad replied.

We continued on up, passing the garden of carved trees that we skipped. At the top we admired the view before Mom and Ethan each got Fantas, Dad and I chose water, and I ordered a pizza. Ethan was sent away from our bench, but when I was on my last piece of pizza, Mom and Dad tried to convince me to give Ethan a piece. “I’m not moving from this bench or advertising,” I said, thinking that if he wanted it, he would come get it.

But I had pity on him.

“Okay, who wants a piece of pizza?” I asked loudly. “I do, I do!” Ethan cried. He came and stood in front of me. “I do too,” Dad added.

“Okay, Ethan,” I announced clearly. “Do not touch this piece of pizza that is sitting, unguarded, on my lap. I am now admiring the view.” I turned my face towards the rocks, but apparently he had ignored me so I repeated myself. As I watched his reflection on Mom’s sunglasses, I saw him grab a piece. Once we were done eating, we befriended the bearded yellow cat that hid among the lupine. It was a sweet cat, and I got a picture of it yawning.

“I got a picture of it yawning!” I exclaimed. “It’s almost as good as a lion in Kruger!”

“Lion of the Andes,” Dad said. “That’ll be the title of my post tonight,” I decided.

We started down the hill. Dad, Ethan, and I went on ahead, talking about science subjects. We were starting in on pH levels when we heard a cry: “Help! Help!” We looked back up and saw Mom sitting in the dirt. Ethan and I raced back up the hill.

“I fell, and I think my wrist is broken. It’s swelling fast,” she choked out. Dad helped her up. Some people tried to help us, but they didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Spanish.

The walk down seemed to take a lot less time than it did going up. Mom held her wrist to her chest, and Ethan and I followed a ways behind. “Finally!” Ethan crowed. We were to the parking lot. Mom and Ethan went to the car while Dad and I went to the view. I took out my camera and—it wasn’t there. “Oh, no,” I whispered. Then, louder, “I lost my camera!”

The ride down to the pavement was excruciatingly long. Ethan and Dad tried to keep the mood light (failing for the most part). Finally we got to the pavement. After a wrong turn, we got to the hospital. We shuffled into the waiting room, Ethan and I leaning against a wall, Mom taking a chair, and Dad knocking on the doors and asking, “Ingles?”

Someone came and called them away. Dad kept us up-to-date by texting us on Mom’s phone. She needed a specialist since the ends of the bone, her radius, overlapped, so she was taken in ambulance there (so they wouldn’t have to remove the IV) while the three of us followed in a car. By then, the doctors had given her drugs, so she was fine. Dad, Ethan, and I had pizza and a salad at Pizza Uno before we returned. At that point, Dad found out that she would be out of surgery in 30-40 minutes as it was about to start, so he drove Ethan and me home, where we are now.

Mom and Dad eventually came home around midnight, Mom’s arm encased in plaster, after Ethan and I had spent two hours down with Paz, Juan, and the three little boys.


Dulces and Death Marches

We ate a whole kilogram of ice cream today.

The flavors were orange-chocolate, blackberry, and bitter chocolate. Dad and Ethan are about to set in on another half-kilo with raspberry and chocolate with dulce de leche. This was after we got home from a hike up to the top of Cerro Amigos, looking down from several viewpoints, a walk along the Rio Azul, and a trek to and from Cascada Escondida.

Oops… I just had two spoons’ worth of the new ice cream that we got from Los Lupulos, the restaurant where we had pizza and a salad of lettuce, carrot, beets, palm heart, boiled egg, and tomato. My pizza was, of course, drowned in vinegar. Once we were done eating, Mom and Ethan went off to play foosball while Dad and I talked about gravity, photons, and the bending of the universe. Mom returned to the table after another boy came to play foosball.

We walked back to our Fiat and then drove to the Cabañas. Juan, Paz, and the rest have returned from the lake, and the pool is halfway filled.



We finally, finally had waffles for the first time since Chiang Mai, Thailand. Frozen strawberries, chocolate ice cream, and whipped cream adorned mine as we ate above the Mitski chocolate shop in El Bolson. This was after we walked through the craft market and bought bread and pastries at the bakery.

A rectangular pool was put up here at Cerro Amigos, and Ethan played soccer with the owners’ grandkids. Mother also got us to do some schoolwork today, which we’d been avoiding for the past few days.

Dad commented on how odd it is to be in the chocolate capital of the Southern Hemisphere, and here we are, eating Swiss chocolate that we bought in Dubai.


Strays and Stamps

We drove alllllllllllllll the way from Bariloche to El Bolson today. It wasn’t that far, actually, only about 130 kilometers. It took a long time because we had several stops. First, we rode a ski chairlift up Cerro Campanario to the top, where we had a good view of Lago Nahuel Huapi Parque Nacional and San Carlos de Bariloche. Ethan bought some postcards but decided not to buy stamps at the moment because it cost forty pesos (about six dollars) for one postcard stamp. The postcards cost five pesos each.

Ethan and I tried to befriend the small cats. There was one at the bottom of the chairlift and one at the top. There were also lots of stray dogs, but there are those everywhere.

Our next stop was Lago Moreno, where Ethan went swimming and Mom and I went wading. I had meant to jump from rock to rock with my shoes on, but my left foot slipped and I decided to hop back to shore. Ethan got my sandals from the car.

We took the scenic loop, passing (apparently) one of the best hotels in the world. Then we drove to El Bolson. Part of the road was blocked off by police, so we took the straighter shortcut. As we drove through the Andes in our bright red Fiat Siena, we munched on cookies, crackers, and hard candies. We finally got to El Bolson, and after some difficulties managed to find our accommodations. There is an empty pool here and lots of thirsty mosquitoes.


Chocolate & Chow & Chocolate Chow

We are now in Bariloche!

After a 21-hour bus ride, 1,569 kilometers, and lots of carbs, we made it. We used the Via Bariloche bus service, and the food was, well, awful. Breakfast was toast, bread, two croissants, and a muffin. I only had the croissants and bread, along with a banana we’d brought. For supper, they served pasta, flan, dulce de leche, rice, some type of meat, and cheese. Since we’d had supper already—take-out from Habibi Cocina Arabe that took faaaar to long to get yesterday—we were full. Supper was an Arabic salad, vegetables, falafel, and rice.

As our lunch today, we had chocolate ice cream and truffles. Sounds delicious, right? It was!

We had to walk all the way down the hill again to pizza after seeing that the Afghan-restaurant-that-was-Argentinean-cuisine-not-Afghan was too expensive for our taste. First we stopped by a market, where I bought the hat of my dreams which I will use for skiing at Willamette Pass when we get home.

Speaking of which, it’s open and the slopes are beckoning with seven feet of snow at the top! I wish I could go, but at least I got to ski in Dubai.

Anyway, the pizza was really cheesy, as Argentinean pizza typically is, but the salad and jugo de naranja were good as usual.


Starbucks and Subte

Wafles Sur wasn’t open today either, so we settled for Starbucks. Ethan selected a grande Café Mocha with an Espresso Brownie, Mom decided on a Chocolate Crème, Dad chose a grande Mocha Frappuccino, and I ordered an alto Mocha Frappuccino with a Cheesecake de Frambuesa. We sat at the only four-chair table not taken in the upstairs half. Ethan and I reviewed our trip so far while Dad worked with the internet on the iPad and Mom sat there. The cheesecake and brownie were rather bland, but we all enjoyed our drinks except Ethan, who would have preferred a cooler drink.

Eventually Mom and I left for the Farmacity and Dad and Ethan went to Plaza Dorrego to find better wi-fi (which is offered by the city of Buenos Aires). After three blocks, we realized that we had forgotten money. So we trudged back. I was rather reluctant—there was a man who looked “mentally unstable” in army fatigues with a gun.

We lived, obviously, and Dad gave us two hundred Argentine pesos while Mom and Ethan watched the tango dancers—the first we’ve seen, actually. Once the dancers stopped, Mom and I went on our way. The walk to the pharmacy took about twenty minutes. We bought shampoo and other things we needed, and I convinced Mom to take the subte home. We were at the Bolivar station on Linea E. Mom bought the two tickets at five pesos (about one dollar) total, and we went down the stairs.

We got off at the second stop, Independencia, and walked to Linea C. The C train (heading to Constitucion, not Retiro) finally came and we went one stop to San Juan. As we walked along Humberto Primo towards our building, Mom said, “I wonder if they’ll be impressed with us going on the subte.”

I don’t think they were.

“Encouraged” is Dad’s word. “Surprised” is Ethan’s.


Pets, Pollo, and Perón

“I could name our cat Harry, or Harriet if it’s a girl,” I said. We were at the Origen Café (again) and I had finished my Pita Pollo. Dad was still eating his chicken, Mom had given up on her Vegetarian Wok, and Ethan had eaten half his Caprese Pizza. Ethan and I were talking about pets.

“What if you’re still not obsessed with them?” he asked, meaning One Direction. Dad looked over at Ethan. “Them? Harry has multiple personalities now? Harry and Shavy?” I groaned. Everyone else laughed, and Mom said, “That’s something you don’t need to put in your post, Eryn.”

“What if I want to?”

“I will!” Ethan announced.

“Harry will be insulted,” I protested.

“It would be great if he was reading our website, but he’s not,” Mom pointed out.

You don’t know that, I thought. “Wouldn’t it be really great if he saw it? He would find out about it because I posted it!” Ethan went on. “Eryn would have to give me all the credit!”

Well, I don’t think Ethan wrote about that, so it’ll be all my fault if Harry sees himself on our website.

We woke up this morning hungry and expectant for waffles but guess what? Wafles Sur was closed! So we’ll try tomorrow… and the next day… and the next. I do hope it opens.

After our great disappointment to our great expectations, we wandered over to the Independencia subte station where we rode to San Martin Plaza. We walked from there up Santa Fe Avenue to Avenida 9 de Julio, which, at twenty lanes, is the widest boulevard in the world. And the Argentineans even drive on the right (and correct) side of the road!

We continued up Santa Fe to Libertad, where we got some more pesos. Pictures and video clips from a train crash were being shown on the TV.

We walked to a subte station, going into two pet stores where I saw a chinchilla dust bath, a Yorkie puppy, and some ferrets. Once we got to the other end of our subte ride, we looked at the cats in the botanical garden before walking on to Museo Evita, which was mostly in Spanish. Despite that, I think we left knowing more about Eva Perón, who died of cancer at thirty-three.


Talk and TV

Line of Duty was the only TV that any of our family was able to watch. Dad and Ethan watched it—with Spanish subtitles—after supper. The internet is down, so you won’t be reading this until at least the fifteenth of January.

Today we woke up about an hour earlier than usual to have breakfast (egg, orange, cereal, toast, milk) before catching the subte from San Juan on Line C to Retiro, also on Line C. We walked for about fifteen minutes from there to where the Sturla ferries leave for Tigre. Dad bought the tickets for the ten o’clock departure and we sat in the chairs and waited until about 9:55, at which point we boarded the boat.

We sat in the back, on benches in the shade, with an English-speaking mother who looked way too old to be wearing short shorts and her daughters, an older Latin American couple, and some others. Right inside the door were the galley and the toilets, and after that were the rows of seats. The female narrator of our tour was defended her status very strongly: “I am not a porteña. That is what people think when I go overseas: they say, ‘Where are you from?’ I say, ‘Argentina.’ They say, ‘Oh, you are an arrogant porteña.’ When I travel in Argentine, people say, ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Buenos Aires.’ ‘Oh, you are an arrogant porteña.’ That is not true. I live in Buenos Aires province, not Buenos Aires city.”

We rode through the delta, munching on cookies and declining the offer of coffee. We saw the supermercado boat, and the taxi boats, and the boats with water-skiers behind them. After two hours (more or less), we arrived in Tigre. Ethan really wanted to go canoeing and to the amusement park, but instead we crossed the water and began the search for a restaurant. We finally stopped at Marie Lujan, where Dad ordered a Mediterranean salad, Mom chose a chicken Caesar salad, Ethan chose a Caprese salad, and I asked for a salad with cucumber, tomatoes, and, most importantly, lechuga.

At least I thought lettuce was pretty important. Apparently the cook didn’t, as I originally got a bowl with cucumber and tomato and nothing else in it. Dad originally received a salad with shrimp. Everything was straightened out, though, and I enjoyed my food and the slice of palm heart Dad gave to me. I especially liked the sauce for the bread. Delicioso.

To get home, we rode the tourist bus, two trains, and the subte. For supper we had pasta, fruit, cherry tomatoes, and ice cream (peach, Swiss chocolate, and Sumo chocolate) that Dad and I had gotten from Sumo while Mom and Ethan ogled the giant motorized skateboard.



Last of the Grocery Store Visits


I’m currently reading a book called Last of the Mohicans. I’ve been reading it since November. Since then, I’ve read about twenty other books. I’m 77% through Last of the Mohicans, though, so I’ll be sure to write when I finish.

Just today I finished books 99 through 101 on my Kindle. The ninety-ninth book I finished on my Kindle was about the Navajo code talkers in WWII. The hundredth book wasn’t really read on my Kindle—I read the paperback version a week ago. The 101st book was called My Louisiana Sky. That was part of my homework, which also included science.

We lounged around in the flat (again!) after visiting the Manzana de las Luces, which was not all it was said to be, the Florida Street market, and Café Tortoni. At Café Tortoni, Mom, Ethan, and Dad ordered juice and I selected a chocolate milk shake. Dad also got a biscuit. Café Tortoni occupies the spot formerly held by the Scottish Temple, or Templo Escocés.

On the way back home, we went shopping for eggs, vegetables, pasta, bread, and orange juice. We go grocery shopping basically every day.


French Fries in Italian Restaurants

We found another ice cream place! It’s called Sumo, and we got a quarter kilogram. Half is raspberry mousse and the other half is a really good chocolate flavor. That was after tasty supper of arroz con pollo, made by the Colombian woman who runs the restaurant next door. Thankfully some English-speaking Colombian tourists translated the verbal menu for us. Mom had thought that the restaurant was Italian because of the red and green decorations.

When we got our food, it was a pile of orange rice in the middle with a dob of ketchup on top and some yellowish brown things surrounding it.

“What’s this?” Ethan asked. “The chicken?” We all stared at him. Dad broke the silence. “Chicken? That’s a French fry.”

Today was a down day, so the only thing we did was go to the market in Plaza Dorrego. We all got fresh-squeezed orange juice, which will help Mom with her cold.

Anyway, I need to go. Everyone is watching old TV shows, like Hee Haw, without me.


Bon Appetit

Today’s menu several different courses and meals, starting with the breakfast and ending with the supper.

Appetizer of Breakfast

One boiled egg
Half of one orange

Entrée of Breakfast


Side of Breakfast

Toast with jam and butter

Appetizer of Lunch

To increase your appetite, the chef has prepared a lovely walk for you from your dining table to the nearest Ecological Reserve. The drinks course is fresh-squeezed orange juice, made right in front of you.

Entrée of Lunch

On your way back to the dining table, you are obliged to stop at the local Dylan ice cream shop, where you may select two of sixty different flavors. A favorite combination is Mousse de Naranja and Mousse de Chocolate.

Side of Lunch

You will need to rehydrate after your 5.6 kilometer walk, so you should be sure to drink plenty of water. Cherry tomatoes are also to be enjoyed.

Appetizer of Supper

This is a meal that needs no introduction.

Entrée of Supper

Pizza is to be served tonight—extra cheesy (not particularly good cheese) with olives, garlic, and tomatoes. The crust is very thick.

Side of Supper

Chocolate biscuits may be enjoyed around the dining table.

We hope you enjoyed your food today.


Sales and Starbucks


The crypt next door to Evita's in the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is for sale.

The crypt next door to Evita’s in the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is for sale.


In case you’re interested, there is space available next to the Duartes’ mausoleum, which includes the brother, two of three sisters, mother, and body of former First Lady Eva Peron. I’ve provided contact information above.

Walking between the granite walls reminded me of walking through a street in BsAs—all doors, doors, doors with hardly any windows. Everything comes right up to the sidewalk—no set-back entrances (except for our apartment building).

We got to the Recoleta Cemetery after a joy ride in an old subway car on Linea A, a quick bite of ice cream, a long walk to the Floralis Genérica, some refreshments at Starbucks, and a quick view of the old cloisters. It was my first time as a real customer at Starbucks—and I got a bottle of water. Mom got a sour Raspberry Smoothie, Ethan ordered a Chocolate Crème, and Dad selected a Mocha Frappuccino and a chocolate cookie. When our orders were served, Ethan’s drink tasted coffee-y and Dad’s tasted very sweet and chocolaty. Turns out they had botched the orders, which were written on the side of the cup. So Dad complained and the problem was solved. I liked the Chocolate Crème a lot.

Floralis Genérica is a huge metal flower that opens at eight in the morning and closes at sunset. If strong winds blow, it also closes. The flower stays open on four nights of the year: the nights of May 25, September 21, December 24, and December 31. After we had seen seven cats in the cemetery, we started the long journey home.

There are 40,000 taxis in the city of Buenos Aires. Sadly we didn’t use one to get home: we walked for twenty minutes, got on Line D, switched to Line C, and then walked out from underground and home. Well, Dad and Ethan went home. Mom and I went to the supermercado for milk, bread, and soup ingredients. When we came back I unlocked the door and heard a clanking sound. I thought I’d dropped something. Turns out it was the other pair of keys, which were stuck in the door. Dad and Ethan were nowhere to be found.

We found them. Ethan’s hair is shorter.

Also, before we left this morning I watched the new “Kiss You” music video! (Which is by One Direction, naturally.)


Holas & Helado

We returned to Plaza de Mayo today where we walked around Casa Rosada, famous for its pink color and Eva Peron’s balcony speech, and into the Museo del Bicentenario. There we walked from Argentina’s founding to Eva Peron’s death to a bloody headscarf from a Madre of Plaza de Mayo to current Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s election in 2007. On the opposite wall were paintings by various local artists.

Our next stop was the Metropolitan Cathedral. On our way back home, we saw a protest in the street. The street was blocked off by police motorbikes, and policemen in bulletproof vests were standing nearby, ready for action. We’ve seen plenty of policemen and police cars as we live close to a police station. That police station is near the helado shop Dylan, which is where we had our sweets course. I enjoyed a mix of chocolate mousse and banana split ice creams after our several-kilometer walk through the sun, during which Dad and I talked about graffiti and the dripping of the air conditioners on apartments.

Ethan and I had to do schoolwork once we got home. Dad took a nap while Mom did stuff on the computer. Mom and Ethan eventually went to the supermercado for milk, butter, and tomatoes. I chose a place for supper called La Covacha de Chicho on the street fifty feet away called Chacabuco. It was closed. Next we tried El Refuerzo, also on Chacabuco. It was a bar. We were going to try the place right next door to our flat but instead we chose a restaurant between the police station and Dylan. Dad and I had the chicken breast with “dissected” tomatoes (they were actually sundried—it was lost in the translation) and olives, Ethan had marinated chicken cubes with carrots, and Mom had an omelet.


What Doesn’t Make the Buses Beautiful

I do not want to ride the yellow tourist bus(es) ever again. Ever. I know it’s wonderful to be able to do it here in Argentina—an option most people don’t receive—but it’s not very enjoyable to sit on a sticky seat beneath the blistering sun in the oppressive heat of a summer day in Buenos Aires listening to the unvaried music and a nasal voice bore you with information about where you’re going and what you’re seeing.

There are twenty-six stops on the route. We stepped out at the last stop before the salida, or exit. It was wonderful to finally get rid of the spongy black headphones and feel the zephyr toy with our hair as we walked down the avenue to the same place where we got money yesterday. Mom, Ethan, and I sat in the same chairs as Dad got the pesos we needed. That was followed by a visit to the Libertad Café where I selected a scrumptious salad while the other three shared a Napolitana Pizza.

Our stroll to the omnibus station was 1.6 kilometers. Once there Dad got our tickets for our future ride to Bariloche, Argentina, and then we piled into a taxi for the drive home, which was four kilometers. Our sweets course for lunch was taken at Dylan, an ice cream shop with a whopping sixty flavors. I had chocolate and frambuesa, but my favorite part was when “What Makes You Beautiful” (by One Direction, of course!) played.


Death Marching in the City

We woke up late this morning so we didn’t get out of the flat until after 9:30, which didn’t go over particularly well. We walked to Plaza de Mayo, up to the Obelisk, and to the intersection of Santa Fe and Libertad streets. We got some cash there and then walked back through Plaza Libertad. Dad walked around the outside looking for chips for the phones while Mom, Ethan, and I walked diagonally through the middle.

We walked back home the way we came, passing Teatro Colón, Casa Rosada, and the Metropolitan Cathedral. We also stopped at Stop 0 on the tourist bus route to get more information. After more walking, we got home around three in the afternoon. We walked at least eight kilometers today—no small feat for someone wearing Toms.

Ethan and I did schoolwork (science, US history, and math) until supper, which consisted of ravioli and squash. I started reading See You at Harry’s, which, sadly, is not about Harry Styles.

“We’re going on a walk,” Ethan announced just as it started raining. We walked down to a bakery where we bought a Brownie Coronada, or crowned brownie. It was delicious.


Bright ‘n’ Early in BA

I got to sleep in this morning! It’s also nice to have a room of my own. Before you judge me, remember that I haven’t had a room to myself in about forty days. It’s also a nice room because the sheets are pink and the curtain has butterflies on it. All three bedrooms are upstairs and so are the two bathrooms. Ethan has a small bed with brown, red, and blue sheets, and Mom and Dad have an en-suite bathroom. There’s a bathroom between Ethan’s room and the little utility area, which is behind a locked door on a balcony beside my room. Only Ethan has a balcony in his bedroom.

Downstairs is the living area complete with a kitchen, balcony, half-bath, TV, dining area, couch, washing machine, and Argentina and Buenos Aires guidebooks. We are in the San Telmo neighborhood of BA. La Boca, Barracas, Constitucion, Monserrat, and Puerto Madero are its neighbors.

After we were finally done waking up and having breakfast and all that good stuff, it was about 1 pm. Dad worked on the getting working phones, Mom napped, Ethan read, and I added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided away. Dad finally got the phones working (a huge relief), and Sergio, the man who watches the apartment and lives in Number 13 (we’re in Number 2), fixed the hot water heater.

We walked down to Peru Street to the Origen Café for supper. We all had sandwiches and water. It was surprisingly easy to read the menu even if it was in Spanish. Words like “pan” and “ensalada” and “agua” are pretty easy to figure out.

Once supper was over, we walked down to Balcarce Street past Plaza Dorrego and back up to our flat. It’s good to be eating Tim-Tams from South Africa in the capital of Argentina.