Step #5 Add funky black swirls and dots inside the wings.
#6 Add white stars, dots and other high lighting magic.
We are home! Thanks to Gina Newsum for running the store so well while we were gone, and to those who placed orders over the holidays. We are so grateful!! Thank you everyone for supporting JestPaint! Oh oh, news news, we will be getting a shipment of Tag split cakes and their super red in a couple of weeks!
Argentina! One month was a perfect amount of time to see a lot of different places, meet tons of Santi’s family and friends, and get home in time to see Oceana before she grew an extra foot. Not having to work for a whole month was very surreal, and felt almost illegal at times.
We flew to Buenos Aires to stay with Santi’s Dad and Step-Mom first. My favorite part of the capital city was the enormous parks that were everywhere amidst the huge modern buildings and super old beautiful mansions, churches and governmental offices. The fresh air inside the parks was a super relief to the smog in the city, and the trees there are monstrous yet beautiful beasts!
Also, Buenos Aires is huge on Dogs! Dog walkers and dog parks and homeless dogs were all there to entertain me. I never saw a person handle 20 dogs at once using a belt with leashes. In Argentina it is illegal to kill dogs, even at shelters, so homeless dogs rule the streets, sleeping in doorways, under cars, at bus stops, in the outdoor restaurant patios, inside college buildings, every where you look there is a sweet shaggy dog just napping anywhere to get away from the sun. No one seems to mind them at all. I took a lot of pictures! People feed the dogs, in Cordoba the Police put out food for the dogs every night at the station next to our apartment.
I saw my immaturity take over when I found humor in the fact that they do not have a White House…but a Pink House. And it seemed a little more entertaining since the current president is a woman. The Pink House was prepared for protests and riots which are pretty common in the city.
While we were in Cordoba we watched in disbelief as riots broke out in the streets of Buenos Aires, people destroying store fronts, starting fires, and throwing concrete at cops.
Well, luckily we weren’t there when all of that was going down, instead we witnessed a Musical protest where an orchestra blocked a street to perform and make a political point. To see as much of BA as possible, we took a city bus tour around for two days, on the top level for good camera shots and sun burning possibilities, and jumping off to visit hot spots like El Caminito, a SUPER colorful area with Tango dancers and local artists selling their work in the cute little walking mall.
The capital city has a zoo right down town with all the exotic animals you could dream of. I wish the animal cages were huger and more natural, but I was happy to see a lot of animals roaming free around the zoo, and it wasn’t just squirrels folks! Check out these little native critters.
I witnessed intense interactions between two groups of neighboring baboons in neighboring pens. The only thing that stopped me for watching them all day was the extreme heat melting my brain. (I always wanted a pet monkey…so during this trip I was on the pursuit to any monkey sightings I could take advantage of!)
In Buenos Aires, we stayed just outside of town in their version of suberbs…which are similar to streets lined with mini mansions all sharing the same walls, like a strip mansion instead of a strip mall. Every one was behind a barred fortress, with bars over the windows too, but they put so much detail into creating totally unique exterior designs, I could have walked through the neighborhoods for weeks admiring each mini mansion and tiny yard behind the bars.
Santi’s dad’s house was such a nice get away
from my pretty untidy life. I felt like I was in a spa the whole time I was there, so fresh and clean, natural wood and white walls and high ceilings and a rooftop jacuzzi….oooh I miss that place!
And the food!! Let’s not even start with the amazing quality of the meat (not factory farmed), the empanadas (yummy stuffed pastries for less than $1 each), the facturas (breakfast pastries), the ice cream (endless flavors and super cheap)!!!
When we arrived in Cordoba City…the capital city of the state of Cordoba, I found out that Santi’s mother literally lived RIGHT down town. This is the 2nd largest city in Argentina…1.3 million people. We were in the middle of it from morning till well….really late!
(This is the treatment you get when you complete your last exam ever in college…attacked in the streets with flour, eggs, paint, wine…anything…and they cut your clothes off too! The streets were a mess with rotten eggs for the last week of school.)
People eat dinner after 9pm in Argentina, so we would make late night runs out to restaurants to eat when I was just settling down to go to sleep. I got used to it after awhile, but I still was always a little shocked to find out that we were meeting family for dinner at 10pm, and that when we left at 12pm tons of restaurants were still open. It was summer there, and it seemed like no one ever wanted to go to sleep, even the little kids were up all night running around the town with their parents and playing in the dark on play grounds. I wished I grew up there!
Sooo….we lived on the third floor in an apartment a block a way from San Martin Plaza. Click here to see a sky view of the Plaza. A lot of Santi’s family lived and worked down town, and I was always surprised when I found out who had just been living three blocks away, and I had no idea until we rounded a corner and Santi informed me who we were going to visit. One Sunday night after Christmas we went walking around and I noticed people dancing in the Plaza center. Santi’s mom told me that Sunday Nights is Tango Night, anyone can come down to dance. Tango Night…Omg what fantasy world was I living in!!??
OK the break downs! I’ve spoken Spanish at varying degrees during my life. Since I convinced my parents to let a migrant worker live at our house to work and go to high school, I have always had that Latin spice in me. I have such of love of the culture, and so many connections with the people, that it took awhile to realize that though I knew Spanish, it was Mexican Spanish, and now I had to learn a lot to understand and speak correctly in Argentina. So, there were about three instances where I broke down because of the language barrier, from not understandings Santi’s families jokes, when they looked at me laughing expecting me to laugh also, and I would just stare like I had no idea a joke even occurred, or when I was submersed by a huge group of Santi’s friends who had a whole lot of catching up to do, and I understood about every 20th word as they chatted around a table eating yummy pizza (super layer of cheese!) and drinking Fernet and Coke. Or when I had to choose a dessert, but had the hardest time reading the menu and got skipped by the waiter.
TEARS TeArs tears would run down my face and then I would have to apologize for my crying fest. It was really really embarrassing. Santi and I figured out how to keep me in the know so I wouldn’t cry during the whole trip. I love my hubby.
OK FOLKS, after a hot Christmas and New Years of fireworks, family and fantastic food we embarked on a crazy road trip.
Ooops! I can’t forget our wedding! I am soooooo happy that we decided to get married down their. Since we were both raised Catholic, it only seemed natural to get married in the Catholic Church. (Our Grandmas are soo happy!) So we got married at a Church that used to be a vacation place for the clergy, up in the hills around Cordoba, it looked like a small mission. THE PARTY WAS FANTASTIC TOO!! MOre coming soon on all this!
My new mom and sisters!
The destination was Cataratas de Iguazu…meaning Water Falls of Big Water. Two car loads of family wanted to go on this trip, which was exciting but also a bit tricky for navigation decisions. I LOVED staring out the windows seeing the landscape change from short trees and fields to lush wild jungle!
It wasn’t easy getting to our destination do the the fact of hearing over and over from gas station attendants “NO HAY NAFTA” which means…there’s no gas. NO GAS?? What…where was the gas?? For some reason…for some strike…80% of the gas stations had NO gas. We had to drive all over into little towns off of the high way in search of Gas before we ran out. Each time we found gas we got to wait for around an hour in line, eating icecream and empanadas in the parking lots. So..well… this little drag to our originally 14 hour long car trip meant we got to stay at a super awesome garden hotel in a little city…and head to the water falls the next day!
Wowie zowie…I would love to be back at the waterfalls! Iguazu River has 275 falls in a 1.7mile range!! Every where you look as you walk along bridges is a waterfall. It was like being in heaven, even though there were a lot of tourists, they were all enchanted and almost seemed invisible.
The entertainment at Iguazu is provided by packs of funky animals called Coati (Co-A-Ti)
These crazy little bandits are soo adorable but you have to watch out or they will steal your belongings in search for food, and if you have food out in the open they will fist fight you for it! I am serious here, Santi’s step-mom warned me, but I didn’t believe that they were capable of such naughtiness, but then we witnessed three robberies of bags and and the theft of our Grandmas expensive sandwich right off of her table…I knew that they couldn’t be trusted. BUT THEY ARE STILL SOO WEIRD AND CUTE. I think they look like a hybrid of an aardvark, ring tailed lemur, raccoon, pig, and woodchuck…or something.
AND THE MONKEYS!!! Real wild little capuchin monkeys were lurking in the Jungle at Iguazu National Park. On two occasions I got to stop and watch them swing from the trees and vines and play monkey games! A couple even came out of the trees to stare at us, even a mother with a baby on her back. I think she was using her kid to break our hearts and win some food from the tourists. When I was 7 I went to a zoo where a monkey was loose and he jumped on my back…this was my second best monkey experience.
The main feature at Iguazu falls is The Devils Throat, a huge 180 degree fall that is 82ft high. The mist can blow you away, it is just incredible, and they made a bridge so that we could walk over the river and right up to the fall. There was rain falling from the sky and mist shooting up at our faces, all I could think about was Forest Gump walking through a river in Vietnam in the rain. Rain coming from every direction! The sound of the falls is so intense, and seeing that the water never stops…it just keeps going and going is boggling.
We took a speed boat ride under the falls, an ecological boat ride to check out crocodiles and crazy birds. CRAZY BIRDS? Well yes, there were these crazy large black birds with long tails that would call each other from a distance, then fly into a group of four, put their heads together and tails out and then kind of bark or murmur at each other. I am trying to find out what their name is. The tour guide was explaining their behavior when we saw one, and then suddenly it all happened and it was so cool.