Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Puerto Iguazu, AR
(posting by Andy)

Hello to all from Iguazu falls Argentina.

Last night we went to a real Tango show and it was really, really cool. It made dancing with the stars look like crap...these people live for the dance and it's very sexy and romantic. The setting was a red velvet room with red velvet drapes and they make it smoky to give you the feel of the old, tango days. Not that we would know but the hotel told us that it was the real thing and the room had people from all over the world to see the show. There was a five piece band that played while the dancers did their thing and a male and female performer sang. It reminded me of my godfather who played the accordion because the band had two of them. We highly suggest it if you are ever in Argentina. The tickets were about $100 a person, but worth it.

We have now taken 5 airplanes to get the the remote center of the jungles of Argentina/Brazil. In short, it's hot, humid, and the mosquito's are loving our blood. Igauzu falls is one of the greatest wonders of the world, the falls, on the Argentina/Brazil border, are 10 miles upstream from the confluence of the Rio igauzu and the Rio alto parana. The Rio igauzu which rises in the Brazilian hills receives the waters of some 30 rivers as it crosses the plateau. Above the main falls, the river sown with wooded islets, opens out to a width of 2.5 miles.....if you have ever been to Niagara Falls, it's small compared to where we are. In the morning we are getting picked up by a tour bus and it will take us to where we can see Toucans (birds), Parrots and other wildlife that we only see in zoo's in America. We have traveled from the big city of Argentina and the jungle is much different. This town is small and pretty much dead and very poor. If it was not for these falls, I do not think many people would come here. We are far....very far in the depths of nothing but forest. The real thing folks, the jungle! One day we will go to the falls from the Argentina side and the next day we go from the Brazil side. I imagine the photos will be amazing and I will keep you posted as we go along. For now we are safe, and we are no longer in a fancy hotel but in a small hotel with no luxuries that we have been accustomed to. Our high heel pumps have been put away and the flip flops are on and chugin along.

Rhett is doing better and taking his medication. The doctor put him on a special diet until his tummy gets better.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

B.A. update
(posting by Andy)

I just wanted to quickly update everyone regarding Rhett's health status. The doctor said that he has a common bacteria in his tummy called gastro enteritis. It is common around these parts and it can get passed around when around a bunch of people which we always are. One of the employees at the hotel said she had is a few days he is o.k.

He picked up some over the counter drugs and should be fine in a couple of days. It's actually good news because when traveling so far and with so many diseases around the world, this one is not big deal. A bit painful but easy to overcome.
Buenos Aires
(posting by Andy)

Today was a bit somber but a trip well done. We visited the grave site of Eva Peron otherwise known as Evita. The name of the cemetery is called Recoleta and she placed with her husband Juan Peron in a black marble mausoleum that had simple details but very tasteful. For those of you who do not know who she was, and have never seen the movie staring "Madonna", she was the wife of Juan Peron ( President) who worked hard for the people, especially the poor. There were many people waiting to see her from all over the world and flowers upon flowers are placed on her site daily....very beautiful. She made a big impact to the people here...and she probably still does today.

At first the cemetery although beautiful, seemed a bit eerie because of all the big stone mausoleums. Hardly anyone is buried in the ground here...mostly in mausoleums or in stone walls. The people buried in them don't skip on the details of there last resting place...we have photos. Some of the mausoleums had photos of the dead on them, strangely most were made with glass where you can actually see the coffins that have been in them for 10, 50, and 100 years or more. Some had been buried there longer than America is old. We peeked in some of these Moslem's and the look of the wood coffin showed their age....some of the coffins had been exposed to the sun and air so long that vegetation is growing out from them. I suppose like in the case of my experience with Italy and their cemeteries, for those who did not have the money to be buried in one of these enormously detailed mausoleums, they are placed in stone walls with little photos of themselves or saints on them as well as there name. Not as scary as you would think...just the way things are done here. It's actually interesting.

We are now waiting for a doctor to visit Rhett in our hotel, unfortunately he is still not up to par and we need to get more details on his stomach situation...I/we will keep you posted on the doctors evaluation. Do not worry, he is fine, but from time to time, his tummy really hurts and we just need the details prior to our departure to Brazil. His work friend who lives here will make sure the doctor understands the problems Rhett is having and make sure we understand the medication we need to's always nice to have a trust able translator when so far away from home.

More to come, we have you all in our hearts and that is why we share our travels with you.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Buenos Aires
(posting by Andy) - photo of our hotel to the right

Hello everyone from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Well we have two more days until we are out of here and wanted to update you on our experiences up to date...... Yesterday we toured the town and had a nice breakfast in street's easy just hunging out and watching people. The weather here is killer and the people are sexy as hell so people watching is fine by us. I can not figure it out why most people all look like stars and models?

Only about 5% of the people here have a good job, for the most part they sell stuff on the street or just have a job to get by. People are not recognized or labled by their jobs so just having a job is good enough. "live for life, not for work"

In the afternoon, we hung out at a place called Fieria Hippie, it's a place where a great deal of artist sell their stuff on the tell you the thruth, it's all really nice and the prices are really doable too. You ladies would love it because everyone sell jewelery...silver and stones......for men it's leather stuff for the most part. The people who sell it are true artists so maybe that is why they look like hippie's....I guess that is where the name came from. People here are very poor but very cool and don't complain for the most part. They all are nice when you visit their shop and never pressure us to buy from them. It's not like Mexico where you barter for the better price and they all presurre you to BUY, BUY, BUY. (for those of you who have experienced that). Here you just pay what they ask because we know how little they are paid. Besides, the prices are good and we just feel guilty asking. When I say poor, I mean they really make no money but unlike us cranky Americans so worried about making money and having big stuff, they are laid back, and just want to live and love....sound corney but these people are lovers of life. Remember, they are the creators of the Tango. After all, I guess when you never have all the material stuff we have, you never really want or know what your missing.

Interior design is big here....we had lunch and later hung out where most designers sell stuff like art, furniture, and other things for the home. I saw a lamp that I could not that we have this big box in our hotel room, I need to figure out how to get it home in ONE piece...wish us luck. Italian food and people are big and all over in Argentina so we have had Italian food a couple of times and its really good.

Later that evening, we hung out with some of Rhett's work buddies who live here. They took us to an area of town called Soho Parlermo (not in Italy), shopped and went to a cafe/bar to hang out they way the local townies hang out....really laid back. People meet in bars to just talk and hang, not to get fucked or catch a buzz, even though it can be easy for us gringos to do. It's just how it is .....and how they like it. After that she took us to a place called Palermo Hollywood where the local stars and celebreties hang out....we lucked out and actually had dinner about 20 feet from the mayor of Buenos Aires! Sounds fancy but she said it is common to see him around and that he is actually a wierd guy....we also had a chance to meet this famous singer when we were in Mendoza but we have no clue who he was...but we knew they something was up with all the cameras and how the locals reacted around him.

That was it for that night....guys, we do alot during the day and night, and knowing people here makes it fun and even longer because the conversations are great and the night goes on until late.

Today was more of a hiking and chill day and the views were once again, awesome. We took a train to a town called Tigre were a bunch of islands are surrounded by water. The closes example I can say is like Venice, Italy. No gandela's, just waterbusses. We took one of these waterbuses to a couple of places...we had lunch on the water and then went hiking along a canal surrounded by little home that people rent and live in during the summer. The people there are more like beach people with guitars in hand, totally laid back, with long hair, great bodies, and killer tans...

(photo of El Gato Blanco on the water in Tigre)...

It's now about 7 p.m. and we are totally tired and decided to hang out in our hotel tonight to chill and watch a movie. Oh, did I forget to mention that we are living in a real palace (not a royal palace but more of a mansion with a bang and olson sterio system which for those of you who do not know it, it's one of the best you can staying home will be a treat.

Sorry so long. Gatta service is here and my live lobster is ready to be boiled in front of us...... that kind of service we get, but kidding on the lobster folks. Don't know what we are going to eat just yet.

We are still here for a couple more will get back with you later. Our next stop is Rio (Brazil) and we herd that things are really dangerous right now but the hotel at Hyatt will make sure we are fine and safe.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Buenos Aires, Argentina
(posting by Andy)

Hola again from Buenos Aires, Argentina!

We are now safely in Buenos Aires. Have not wandered around yet because our flight got in late last night. Once again, our room is fitted for a King, or in our case, a QUEEN. Literally we are staying on a palace that was converted to a Park Hyatt last July. The room goes for about ONE THOUSAND a night but as all of you know, we get the five figure is good.

Argentina is known for the Tango, Empanada's (little pockets of pastries filled with meat and other various things) and the late night dinner. Here is what confuses the heck out of me.....people here eat dinner late (after 10:00 p.m) every night, they smoke cigs like they are going out of style, and eat well but for the most part, are all skinny and healthy. Cancer is not a common way of death's old age. Isn't that strange? So for those of you who are on a diet, not smoking any longer, and not eating after 7 p.m. Go's o.k.

Today's adventure consist of hitting the town and going to a hippie fair which consists of vendors selling hand crafted goods and walking along a wonderful park. We will share of adventure with you through photos.

The sad news is...that Rhett unfortunately is still feeling ill. Not as bad as a few days ago but the tummy thing is still a problem. We are trying to figure out what the heck he has. He has no diarrhea but his tummy hurts....he thinks now that he may have some type of ulcer....but not sure of anything. Say a little prayer for him to get better.

Friday, January 26, 2007

(posting by Andy)
Picture to the right is the drive up to the Andes

Holy Cow is all I can say.

Imagine this......rafting through the Andes mountains (so high that it's hot as hell where you are standing but you can clearly see the snow top mountains) and cruzing at levels 3 and 4. For those of you who have not rafted....very fast and high energy throughout the ride....very cool. It took about 1 hour to get there by bus, we road tripped with about 10 people from all around the world and most could speak some form of English.

Unfortunately, Rhett did not go on the ride because he became ill. We still do not know what he caught but the bug went to his stomach. He was suited up, ready to go, and then rushed to the local hospital for some stomach medicine. do not worry please, he is doing better and I am so glad that he stop ed himself from going would have been the terrible if he actually got on the ride because it was very rapid and he would have craped his paints. Literally. I think it was the local water that he must have drank? We still do not know but things like this are common when traveling far.....

Last night we met a friend that some of you named Dave already know. A very nice guy who owns his own wine vineyard and invited us to his property today for horse riding and a BBQ but we had to decline. We need rest at the pool (especially Rhett with his tummy), since we have been going non stop for two days and we have only completed one week out of four. Today we are going to check out the city and hang out locally near our wonderful hotel. That is it for now, tons of kick butt photos to share.

Some of you were curious on how much we won at the casino ( one million pesos!) Well we are not rich, and will not tell you until we see you. Mr. Scott Hirko (Rhett's brother) won the booby prize and guessed correctly!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mendoza, Argentina
(posting by Andy)

We are now in Mendoza,Argentina in the wine country. Our room would make Oprah proud. We are living good as most of you would have figured. Sometimes when I look around the room which is bigger than most apartments here I can not help but feel guilty, yes I have photos too. Today we are going on a bike ride through the vinyards and going to enjoy some of the famous wine that Mendoza is known for and later, a thai massage.

Rhett cutting down Malbec grapes in the vineyard of Familio Zuccardi, Mendoza

We have only been gone about a week and knowing that we have another 3 weeks blows my mind because of all that we have done thus far. They say that after Mendoza the rest of the trip gets a bit dangerous.....we are always careful when we walk around. Once we get to Brazil we are limited on what we can do and must always be accompanied by a taxi or can only stay in the Hotel. We totaly look like Americans...there is not way around it. Everytime someone talks to us, they assume we are without even talking to us.

About anyone? The bar here holds over 2500 types of wines...they are serious about the stuff and the prices vary. Also, they are big on art and much that you become numb to it. Tomorrow we are going rafting and then going to fly through the air by haning on to a rope as it carries you from one side of a hill to another....they say it's awsome and the view will blow us away.

That is it for now...we will keep you posted as we go along.

Caio (this is their bye too)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Vina Del Mar, Chile.
(posting by Andy)
The last couple of days have been spectacular. When we first arived in Vina del Mar we didn't think much of it since it was late afternoon, but the next days the scenery was something we can only say- wait until you see our photos....amazing! We spent most of our time walking up and down the streets of Valparaiso and the weather was fantastic. It reminds Andy of Parlermo, Italy with all of the people living up high in the mountains. We also celebrated our 3rd aniversary by having a wonderful dinner at the casino and then....yes, we won $962,000 pesos...if you can not figure it out, we will share with you when we see you...and yes, we got a wonderful aniversary gift from Chile!

The hills of Valpariaso, Chile. Notice the funicular on the right - there are too many to count in the city going up and down the hills!

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Beautiful weather... sunny and mid80s. Had one too many glasses of wine last night, so Andy and I took it easy today and spent time by the pool. We also went to an area of artisans, really nice old area of tiny winding pathways with artisans selling paintings, wall hangings and jewelry. Plus an awesome empanada stand in the center of it all. Also a lot of pet stores, strangely - tons of cats, guinea pigs, macaws and birds of all types, chickens, peacocks, dogs, fish. Tons of pets!

Rhett in front of graffitti in the colorful BellaVista district of Santiago

Tomorrow off to ViƱa del Mar and Valparaiso...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Lesson: do not travel on business the week after New Years. You will suffer the fate I did; huge lines at customs, baggage claim and for taxis along with everyone coming home from the Christmas/New Years holiday.

What should have taken only 45 minutes from airport door to hotel door took at least an hour and a half. Ugh.

All for a short trip; I'm gone tomorrow night to Philadelphia!

Take note: Park Hyatt Toronto still fantastic. Room service was great, employees greeted me as I walked down the halls and at the front desk with a smile and enthusiasm. Such a great hotel!