30 November 2014

On Our Way!

At least for the next 6-8 weeks, we are like Portenos, those who live in Buenos Aires.  We arrived yesterday with the main events happening at the beginning and end of our 24 hours of travel.

After weeks of moving and downsizing, purchasing and bureaucratic form completion, visiting and farewells to family and friends, we finished with several days in full on “work mode”.  On the day of take off we were ready to depart. Our 5 duffel bags, 3 bins, 2 carry-ons and 1 enormous suitcase were packed with contents catalogued.  Our many documents were secure.  And our apartment was cleaned and ready for family ….almost.  Still being proud of house and not wanting any visitor to step on a dirty bath mat, I threw the large mat in the washing machine at the 11th hour.  Of course, the driver of the large SUV who was taking us to the airport arrived early.  And, of course, the washing machine stalled full of white suds and door locked.  After some fumbling, the minutes ticking, the door was opened and the soaking mat was rushed down the hall, suds flying, to be thrown down the garbage chute.  A not so auspicious start.

The rest of the journey went according to plan and schedule.  Once again we got all our luggage through security at both ends and through Argentinian customs with hardly a nod from the officials.  The smiling drivers of the two taxis ordered were waiting patiently.  The storage locker staff were welcoming and helpful.  And then off to the AirBNB apartment…1 hour early.

A woman, who must have been the superintendent of the building, ushered us and our bags - now down to three enormous suitcases and carry-ons - through the locked front door.  After much facial expression, gestures and very broken Spanish, she understood who we were looking for and called the landlord of the apartment.  He said he would be 15 minutes.  Forty-five minutes later a flustered and embarrassed young man arrived to reluctantly admit that he had given us the address of the wrong apartment.  

The average taxi in B.A. is not large, certainly not large enough for our bags. And so we trundled through the busy streets hauling our bags which very luckily were on wheels.  Our heavy carry-ons containing books and electronics were on our backs.  I was reminded of the same experience in Venice with two young children, squeaky wheels on bags and cobblestone alleyways.  This time no kids, sadly. No squeaky wheels, happily. And no cobblestones, luckily. 

After a short sit down, Peter and I headed out for dinner to toast the beginning of our grand adventure.  It had already started 24 hours earlier.

BTW, I am now worried that instead of stepping on a dirty bath mat, our family will now slip on a wet tile floor.  First visitors, please bring your own mat and donate it to the cause.


15 November 2014

First Visit to Milly

Well, it is very real now!  After spending the summer reading, studying, making notes, discussing, planning, buying, storing, sorting etc. etc., we have made our second trip to Argentina.  On our first, 18 months ago, Milly was but plans (and downpayments) on paper.  But now, Milly is a 3-d reality.  Splash is scheduled for the end of November, 2 months away.  

This trip to B.A. was spent on “business”.  We successfully, without being slapped with tarrifs, sailed - by foot - through customs with 3 duffel bags, 6 bins, 2 large suitcases and one enormous cardboard box….at 2 a.m. The hour may have been to our benefit although everyone was smiling. Our boat and play gear is now safely stowed in a locker in deepest, darkest B.A.  We saw our beautiful Milly, took many pictures, grinned and, mentally at least, jumped up and down with excitement.  We enjoyed several hours with Santiago and Memo going over plans and our workorder and being chauffeured to key chandleries.  It is exponentially simpler to buy with the aid of Santiago’s translations and negotiating skills then our own hand signals and exaggerated facial expressions.  We have gained a great and wondrous appreciation of the skill, toil and  workmanship that goes into each and every, essentially handmade, Antares 44i.  We have learned about the complexity of the Argentinian system for businesses and know now to buy immediately when we see something we need.  We have explored the local chandleries and made lists and more lists.  We have visited the yacht club where we will eventually find Milly and we have spent time at the public marina where we may dock if we choose to stay here for a length of time.  We have spent many hours gazing at the cafe au lait river water, watching the current, assessing the tide, and noting the wind.  We have checked out prices and availability of provisioning items at three of the local supermercados.  We have practised our meagre Spanish, and been dismayed when unable to understand a word of the rapido response.  We have spent hours over dinners in characterful eateries discussing our next moves.  We have biked on cobblestones, broken sidewalks, smooth pavement and through peddle-deep flood waters post hail storm.  And we have enjoyed every minute.

We go home to downsize to a smaller condo, close the cottage, buy a few more items better done in Canada, and study more…if there is time.  We will spend as much time as possible with family and friends and then, with difficulty, say good-bye.  It will be a very busy 8 weeks until we return on our ONE-WAY TICKET. 

September, 2014