Caskets, Steaks, and Wine

November 10, 2007 0 Comments A+ a-

These are the kind of keys used in much of Buenos Aires--one opens our apartment building door, the other the front door of the apartment, and the third is to the safe deposit box in the apartment. We love these llaves so much, we stopped in a llave shop and in very broken Spanish, spoke with the owner, trying to explain that they were different than the keys in Los Estados Unidos. He understood and immediately pulled out a box of llave mistakes, and gave us both a hand full! I will hang mine on my work suitcase, sort of like bag charms that one sees in Europe.

We went for a bite to eat in our neighborhood--and I just wanted one of those little personal sized pizzas--and looking at the menu, choosing what I wanted, I chose jamon y acuitenas verde or, ham and green olives. This is how it was served! The green olives were whole and had the pits in them! I thought this was an anomaly, until we were in the mini-mercado (7-11 store) and saw frozen pizzas the exact same way!

On Friday, we hired a driver, Oscar, and a tour guide, Catalina or "Kate" as she asked us to call her. They took us all over the city--looking at each neighborhood--each having its' own distinct personality.

Kate was not a very good tour guide. She would point out a monument and tell us, "This is a very important monument for the people of Buenos Aires." We would say, something like, "why is it important?" She didn't know, apparently, and would answer us with "Yes, it is a very important monument, park, building, street....." whatever! It seems that everything in Buenos Aires is very important to the people...but our tour guide did not know why!

Our driver, Oscar, was very nice, and we were able to speak with him a bit. My Spanish is broken--I get my tenses mixed up--but I have been trying and having a lot of fun talking with people. They seem eager to use their English, and I am just as eager to use my Spanish. I have had a modicum of success and am pretty happy about it!!

Oscar, our driver.

Shelby outside the Cemetario Recoleta, where Eva Peron, and other important people from Buenos Aires, are buried.

Walking in this cemetary was like nothing I have ever seen before! Here is the description on Wikipedia:

"The cemetery contains many elaborate marble mausoleums, decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles. The entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks, with wide tree-lined main walkways branching into sidewalks filled with mausoleums.

While many of the mausoleums are in fine shape and well-maintained, others have fallen into disrepair. Several can be found with broken glass, littered with rubbish, and on occasion you might find a mausoleum being used as a janitorial supply closet, with cleaning and maintenance products stored on top of coffins.

Each mausoleum bears the family name etched into the facade; brass or bronze plaques are added to the front for particular family members. La Recoleta is one of those cemeteries where the tradition of engraving a death date but no birth date has been maintained.

One interesting and unique aspect of La Recoleta is a colony of feral cats that resides within the gates. Although they can be spotted anytime, they tend to gather in groups of dozens near closing-time, when some locals feed them."

The little buildings--mausoleums--look like tiny houses built right next to each other--and in most, you can look in and see the caskets--some look like altars, others look like an afterthought--or not thought of at all.

This mausoleum has a glass "front door" and curtains hanging there.

I could reach in and touch this casket if I wanted to. (Key words: "IF I wanted to...")

These were behind glass, so--in much better shape....

One of the feral cats--so sweet, he wanted me to pet him and kept meowing and talking to me.

This one, I have named "Butch" because he was so mean!

La Boca--known for its' colorful streets!

We came back home to our apartment, and walked down to Matilda's to have a cocktail before dinner. At 7:30, we went to Anastasia's, a neighborhood restaurant for some lomo de bifesteak. We were the first to arrive, as they had just opened. Shelby kept looking for a menu in English--unless you are in the tourist area, I don't think we'll find any! Anyway, she studied and studied and we ordered wine while she studied. We both decided on the filet mignon--but they were out. Another waiter came by to help with the Spanish-English, and suggested the ojo de beef, which translates literally to the eye of the beef (cow.) Hoping not to get eyeballs on our plate (Hey! You never know!) we implored the waiter to explain the "ojo." It is the eye of the steak--like "ribeye!" Who knew!

(You know if we didn't ask, there would have been two eyeballs rolling around on our plates!!)

As it happened, it turned out to be a amazingly tasty and tender cut of beef--muy delicioso!

Dinner, which was a steak, salad, bread and two bottles of wine cost 105 pesos or roughly $31 for two..and it is no problemo to take your unfinished wine home with you!

I picked up some flowers for the apartment on the way home from dinner--these six Gerbera daisies for 15 pesos--about $5 USD.