Monday, December 23, 2013

Northward Bound

Matthew and I landed in Buenos Aires on Saturday evening, quickly went to our AirBnb apartment, and then hurried off to dinner at a place called Chez Felix- a prix-fixe dinner in a private home. Very cool house and very tasty food. Here's Matthew with his eyes on the prize:

Our apartment was awesome as well- an outdoor spiral staircase (with a palm tree next to it) led upstairs to the bedroom and another spiral staircase led up to a rooftop balcony.

We were staying in a neighborhood called Palermo Hollywood (Sicilian Moviestars?), a trendy neighborhood full of decent coffee (Hallelujah!), Neapolitan Pizza, and boutique clothing stores. And cool graffiti: 

As we walked through the city we found some lovely parks (and wandering philosophers),

and eventually worked our way past the imitation Washington Monument, 

to the imitation White House, Casa Rosada: The Pink House.

We happened to show up the one day of the week that they give tours, so we got the chance to walk through the "Hall of Busts" and the President's office (the President doesn't actually live in the Casa anymore). Interesting fact: the current president is the wife of the previous about a power couple. Here's a lovely interior courtyard:

And of course, the Halls of Busts:

After Casa Rosada we cruised down a famous street in San Telmo, the bustling street-fair neighborhood nearby.

The next day we took in the city's cemetery,

took a ride on the heavily-graffitied (but awesome!) subway,

and had our fair share of a famous Argentinian delicacy: Fernet and Coke. The sweetness of coke cuts the bitterness of Fernet nicely. Unfortunately it takes a lot of Coke to cut Fernet- so much sugar!!!

Wednesday morning we woke up at 3:30 AM for our 7 AM flight from Buenos Aires across the Rio de la Plata to Montevideo, Uruguay. Unfortunately, the door from the alley our apartment was on our to the street was completely jammed, so by the time a locksmith sawed the door down, we had missed our flight. Since rebooking flights was so expensive we actually took the Buquebus (the ferry) from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay and then had a four-hour bus ride to Montevideo. It ended up being a good way to see a little bit of Uruguay outside of Montevideo. 

Montevideo was a very livable city. Some cool architecture, tasty meat, and a very brown ocean.

Montevideo probably won't be the most memorable part of the trip though (sorry Montevideo). 

The day after we arrived in Montevideo we woke up at 3:30 AM (again) and flew five hours to Lima, Peru where we had a sixteen hour layover. The plan was simple: ceviche and pisco sours. For ceviche, Matthew made a reservation at the world-famous Chez Wong, a lunch-only Ceviche place in the private residence of Javier Wong. The meal was simple: one course ceviche, one course sweet stir-fry, and one course savory stir-fry (although it was really all about the ceviche). Chef Wong walked in at 1:00 PM, dismantled a halibut caught that morning before our eyes, and four minutes later we had halibut and octopus ceviche. Wow.

We're also 95% certain that Anthony Bourdain was there as well (he pointed himself out in a photo on the wall). I managed to sneak this selfie over my shoulder:

Celebrity chef count: 2. We ended the meal with a photo with the man himself: Javier Wong Chong.

After lunch, we had pisco sours at Bar Ingles at the Lima Country Club (where the drink was supposedly invented) and then headed back to the airport for our return to Los Estados Unidos. 

What a trip - 23 exhilarating, exhausting days and lots of memories. It was the best kind of vacation: one that you're happy to return home at the end of. Special shout out to a solid traveling companion:

And I'm finally caught up on the blog! For now. More to come soon...

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