We had the very great pleasure of hosting our daughter, her boyfriend and our son for one week over the holidays. Instead of spending the holiday on the boat as we had anticipated in the summer, we stayed at an elegant three bedroom apartment in downtown B.A. Built in 1903, the building had great “bones”. The landlords of Cuban ancestry, live in NYC where they are both professors. As he told me on the phone, about ten years ago they fell in love with B.A., purchased an apartment in the bustling center of town - they were Manhattanites, after all - and restored the space to it’s original splendour. And, although a bit tired, a characteristic of much of B.A., it was perfect for the family reunion.
|A courtyard with parilla in distance and beyond that a "galley" kitchen and bathroom. Not bad at all!|
|Streets are a touch dirty.|
ambled through San Telmo street market one afternoon,
|Em, Gid and Tom found Peter a guitarra in this market shop|
were saddened by watching the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo,
talked, laughed, went to the horseraces,
explored Cementerio de la Recoleta,
|Emily helping the man in black hold up a branch of a huge Ficca tree.|
and bought, prepared and ate huge quantities of food in house or at assorted restaurants. More on food later!
We decided to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home. Four of us walked to a special food shopping area and bought steak, salmon, chicken, a beautiful spinach pie, smoked salmon, eggs, wine, beer, champagne, fruits, vegetables etc. etc. at numerous specialty shops. I tried to ask the owner of the fish shop where we could buy fish hooks in the city. He gave me his hook out of a hat and suggested putting our picture on his wall of “huge fish” fishing photos when we caught one. We’ll see! My biggest to date is a sunfish from Danford Lake.
All this food was consumed over two days culminating with steak and salmon grilled on the in-house parilla. Canadian kettle barbeques are nothing to the Argentinian parilla. An open brick oven with a hanging grill that can lower or rise with a handle, a special light to watch the meat - remember, Argentinians eat at 10 p.m. - huge chunks of charcoal and a natural gas torch are all part of the mix. Luckily we were able to figure out how to use it with a Google search. The trick to the wonderful taste of Argentinian grilling is apparently “long and slow”. Steaks cook for two hours?? We managed 45 minutes and they were delicious, as was the rest.
At midnight on Christmas Eve, B.A. erupted with fireworks. The narrowness of the single-laned street we lived on did not stop our neighbours from enjoying the tradition. Children and men lit the rockets and crackers from the center of the road or from a balcony railing, setting the rocket in a wine bottle so it would shoot straight into the air instead of into a window. Slightly unnerving as we watched from our balcony! The crackers were not ordinary cherry bombs that I remember from childhood. They exploded with a flash and a chest-pounding bang. The neighbour seemed to have an unending supply. The occasional bang was still heard over the next 24 hours.
Most exciting, the five of us took a trip to see Milly. Peter and I have been twice since last post and she is just on the verge of being ready to splash. It was wonderful to see our own excitement reflected in our children’s faces. Both are sailors, both understand our desire to cruise and both hope to join us as much as possible. And we ardently hope so, too! Although unfortunate not to enjoy this holiday on the water, the next holiday was tangible. Our kids approved of the boat! and that made Peter and I very happy.
It was a busy, happy week. We are always sad to say good-bye but each child is returning to exciting times. Emily is very happy with her sweet boyfriend and works as senior editor for The Coveteur, travelling to interesting locations - Columbia next week - to do “shoots”. Tom is on the Canadian Sailing Team, campaigning in a laser for the 2016 Olympics. If you are interested in making a donation and being part of his support team, visit his website tomramshaw.com. :) And Peter and I are off to sail the world. Sad to be so distant but we are already looking forward to the next reunion….on Milly!!
Meanwhile, thank goodness for Skype/Facetime!