Happy New Year to all!...Tomorrow's big reveal of future plans and "year in review" photos......


A colorfully painted wall on a narrow street in the Serrano Plaza area.
Tomorrow and on future January firsts, we will post "our year in review" with photos.  We haven't been consistent in posting this feature but plan to do so in future years. Please check back tomorrow to see our year in review. 
Colorful painting on walls in Argentina is a popular cultural activity.
Last year, while in Penguin Tasmania, New Year's Eve was on December 30th due to the International Dateline.  Subsequently, the photo below from one year ago, listed as the "one year ago" photo was posted on December 30th.  We apologize for the confusion.

Most likely, we won't be on the other side of the International Dateline again until a much later date in the future, not necessarily in the next few years.  Also, tomorrow, we plan to post our upcoming plans for the future.  Please check back to see!
Everywhere we walk, we encounter wall painting of this type.  Very entertaining!
Yesterday, we took a taxi to the other end of Palermo to Jumbo, a large supermarket, where we purchased food and drinks for tonight's New Year's celebration with our new friends and past cruise-mate, Margaret and Con. Again tomorrow we'll repeat the same meal, based on the lack of availability of opened restaurants over this holiday.
The "Jumbo" supermarket is located in a mall.
As always, it was fun to visit a huge supermarket in another country.  The types of foods vary along with the prices.  Unfortunately, we were so busy trying to find the items, including drinks, on our shopping list for the four for of us for tonight's and tomorrow's celebrations, we were too distracted to take photos once inside the market. 

It was a huge market although not as well laid out as some markets in throughout the world.  We managed to find most of the items on our list but couldn't find all of the ingredients to make my special turmeric tea which I've been having each morning instead of coffee. 
We wandered around the mall where the Jumbo market is located.
Drinking the tea has become quite a treat for me and each morning, instead of eating (not hungry), I consume a mug of the healthy tea which includes cinnamon, turmeric powder, pepper (pepper increases the bio-availability of the turmeric), unsweetened organic cocoa powder, powdered ginger and unsweetened organic coconut cream along with your preferred sweetener. 
A deli located in the mall.
We were only able to find a few of these ingredients at the market. It made no sense to buy some of the ingredients, never knowing if we'd ever find the balance.  At that point, I decided I'd give up the tea and wait until we arrive in South Africa where I'm certain we'll find everything needed.

After we returned to our room and rearranged the tiny refrigerator, we managed to fit everything except the roasted chickens we'd purchased.  The hotel staff offered to store them for us and reheat them in their microwave each of the next two evenings.
Tom checked out the McDonald's but didn't order a thing.  Good.
Fortunately, in this wonderful boutique hotel, we'll be allowed to use our own food for this particular occasion when no restaurants are open.  We'll dine in one of the large booths in the bar.  As typical in boutique hotels, the small restaurant has nothing on the menu that I can eat nor anything Tom likes.
We took the cart up the steep escalator in the mall.  We'd seen a similar set-up in Bali, Indonesia and Fairlight, Australia.
This plan works well for the four of us.  Tonight, we plan to get together with Margaret and Con at 8:30 pm to dine, a little late for us but, fine if we all plan to stay up for the midnight fireworks.
The seafood display was filled with many types of fish and shellfish.
Yesterday afternoon, after putting everything away, we moseyed back to the lobby to continue working on future planning in order to fine-tune some of our objectives over the next few years.  This end-of-the-year objective provides us with peace of mind and joyful anticipation of what is yet to come.
These salmon kabobs looked great, priced at US $2.09 (ARS 39.99) per 100 grams which would be US $20.87 (ARS 399.90) for one kilo (2.2 pounds).
By 5:30 pm, we headed out the door to once again to return to the Serrano Plaza area to find a spot for dinner and further explore this exciting area we've visited over the past few nights. 

Once we discovered this trendy area, it's been hard to stay away from the lively streets, colorful graffiti painted on walls, with dozens of restaurants and shops all of which possess a typical Argentinian feel.
The exterior of Bulls BBQ Smoke House.
After wandering the streets for a while we spotted a  lone diner sitting at an outdoor table with a plate of barbecue ribs that looked great. We couldn't resist checking it out further.  Once inside the restaurant, we noticed that Bulls BBQ Smoke House not only offered exquisite barbecue ribs and other meats but also a smoked chicken breast Caesar salad.   Perfect!
Meat cooking on the wood-fired stove at Bulls BBQ Smoke House.
We ordered and paid for our food and bottled water (cash only) at the counter and found a table in the back of the restaurant.  The owner was delightful, paying special attention to my dietary needs and Tom's upcoming plate of beef ribs, fries, pickles, and coleslaw.  See photo below.
Tom, waiting for dinner to be served last night.
The meal was exceptional as was the reasonable cost at US $25.57, (ARS $490).  We hope to return at least one more time before departing Buenos Aires in 23 days.  I devoured Tom's coleslaw, along with my salad and, he ate everything on his plate, leaving him feeling stuffed.
The restaurant is small but friendly with the freshest of well-prepared food.
After dinner, we decided to walk off our meal, meandering further through the area.  By coincidence, we stumbled across an upscale gourmet "spices and oils" shop noticing they had unsweetened coconut cream but none of my other tea ingredients. 
Tom's monstrous meal.  I ordered the guacamole for my salad and ate all of his sugar-free coleslaw.
The lovely shopkeeper who spoke some English suggested we walk back to the direction from which we came to find a health food store that may have the remaining ingredients we'd need. 
By adding the guacamole and coleslaw I had plenty to eat.
After a two block walk, we found the health food store.  Alas, they had everything I needed!  All of the remaining organic ingredients were available in bulk and the friendly two shopkeepers engaged with us in chatty broken English while weighing the items we needed, wishing us a heartfelt "Feliz Ano Nuevo" as we headed out the door.

Once back on the street we headed back to the upscale spices and oils stop which luckily was still open so we could purchase the remaining coconut cream from her.  After all, she was kind enough to point us in the right direction of the health food store which we appreciated and, we decided to give her the business.
The shelves of the gourmet spices and oils shop are neatly lined with cooking treasures.
Luckily, we had the small cooler bag with us as Tom carried the heavy package as we walked back to the hotel.  By the time we returned to our room it was 8:30 pm. 

We hunkered down for the evening to watch two shows on my laptop; season two of "Top of the Lake" (exceptional); and season one of Damnation" (good but not great).
What a pretty display!
Tomorrow, New Year's Day, we'll be back with our "year in review" photos, plus photos from our New Year's Eve celebration and our new loosely planned itinerary for the next few years.

May each and every one of our dear readers/friends have a safe and fulfilling New Year's Eve and year to come.  You mean the world to us!
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Photo from one year ago today, December 31, 2016:
Due to the International Dateline, we posted the "year in review" photos on December 30th.   From that date's post, we included this photo of our visit to the Monkey Temple in Bali in May wearing the required sarongs.  For more of last year's photos, please click here.



Exploring Palermo on foot...New discoveries...Winging it!...Making plans for New Year's Eve...


Painting on the wall outside a sushi restaurant.
Dining is a bit challenging here in Buenos Aires.  As we mentioned in earlier posts, most restaurants don't open until later in the evening, long after we'd prefer to dine.
This is where we dined last night, San Serrano Deli & Drinks.
As a result, each evening we've taken off on foot in search of a new restaurant to try, hoping after a few weeks we'll settle in with a week's worth of favorites, to which we'll return for memorable meals. 
Guest started filtering inside when it was hot outdoors, although many patrons dined at tables near the busy street.
The most difficult part of the challenge is my way of eating.  If that wasn't an issue, it would be fairly easy.  Thus far, all I've eaten has been one form or another of a Caesar salad with chicken which has been fine with me.
We stretched our necks to read this menu on the wall.  After a while, a server brought us menus.
Last night was no exception.  But, this time, we wandered further away from our hotel to find another spectacular trendy neighborhood that sent us reeling with delight.  It was the most charming area we'd seen to date. 

Tom passed on beer and opted for bottled water.  Tap water isn't served in any restaurants since it may not be safe to drink.
After looking at a number of potential spots for dinner, we decided on a busy deli and bakery.  The fact the restaurant was busy was a good indicator the food may be good since we've seen others opened at the early hour of 6:00 pm with few patrons.

Tom's burger with ham, eggs, cheese and beef plus, fried potatoes.
Although service was slow based on the activity, we were fine, especially when we were handed the menus that included English descriptions.  However, based on my dietary restrictions, the server asked an English speaking server to assist to ensure the modifications I required.  It all worked out wel
My grilled chicken salad with grilled tomatoes.
As for tomorrow's upcoming New Year's Eve, we've met a lovely couple from the UK who are staying at this hotel and who was also on the recent cruise with us. As it turns out, the hotel is not planning a party so we're planning our own party. Margaret and Con are planning to dine with us in the hotel and enjoy some food, wine, and champagne.

Gated property.
Today, as soon as we upload the post, we're taking a taxi to a big supermarket where we'll purchase wine, champagne, liquor for Tom, and food we'll share with our new friends on New Year's Eve and hopefully again on New Year's Day.  What a perfect plan for what may have proved to have been another meat and cheese holiday.
Lingerie shop.  There are many of these in Argentina.
Eating all that meat and cheese on Christmas Eve and day didn't agree with me so at least today at the market we'll be able to purchase some vegetables, salad and a variety of foods suitable for the special event.

Sullivan's Irish Pub, on a corner in the neighborhood we discovered.
The hotel will allow us to dine with our own food and drinks in the otherwise quiet dining area.  It should be a good night especially when we hit it off so well with Margaret and Con.

Historic building we see each time we head down Gorriti road.
That's it for today, folks.  We hope your plans for the New Year include exactly what you'd prefer, whether a quiet evening at home or a festive celebration of the upcoming New Year.  May it be a safe and satisfying holiday!

Decorated tree in the neighborhood.
Have a lovely day!
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Photo from one year ago today, December 30, 2016:
This ÿear in review photo" was posted on this date a year ago.  Tomorrow, we'll do the same, posting favorite photos of us throughout the year.  In this photo taken in 2016, we were on the Mekong River Cruise and tour in July, stopping at the Kampong Cham temple in Cambodia. For more photos from last year's recap, please click here.

Wow! An outstanding evening in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires...What an exciting deal!...Wine lovers, take note...


Monogrammed cloth napkins and plates were awaiting us as we were seated at La Cabrera last night.
When searching online for possible restaurants in the area, over and over again La Cabrera popped up in our searches.  This was one of the few restaurants open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, offering pricey fixed price menus at a cost of US $104.25 per person (ARS 2,000, with a recent exchange rate drop since our mention in a prior post).
Tom ordered a local beer while I had a Malbec.  Wine lovers; see our notes below notes below.
With an added tip based on La Cabrera's purported good service, we could easily have spent US $300 (ARS 5,756) for each of the two holiday nights, especially with added cocktails since Tom wouldn't have been interested in the included wine offerings. 

Based on our perception of the high cost of dining at La Cabrera, we didn't give it much thought although we passed it and it's second restaurant located on the same block, many times during our walks through the busy district.
These side dishes are complimentary at La Cabrera. 
Yesterday, while checking the menu on their website hoping to discover their regular (non-holiday) prices (which weren't posted online), I stumbled across this ad below:
The La Cabrera ad states, in Spanish in small print above the word "Happy,"  that happy hour is daily between 6:30 and 8:00 pm.   Getting there by 6:15 pm is a must or one may not get in for this excellent benefit.
Before dinner, we decided to find a local pharmacy to purchase some over-the-counter items for the upcoming Antarctica cruise, also buying enough for the first few months in Africa as well.  We were impressed with the "caged" pharmacist's ability to find everything on our list in the tiny space.

Roasted garlic in the finest of olive oil.
As it turned out the Farmacia which closes at 8:00 pm, was within a block or two of the restaurant and we decided to head there first before walking to the restaurant.
 
When we arrived at La Cabrera at 6:15 we discovered a queue of a dozen people waiting outside to take advantage of the "happy hour" pricing as well.  We found our spot in line and waited along with the others as several more diners arrived during the waiting period.  By 6:40 pm, they started letting us "bargain hunters" enter the restaurant to quickly be seated in a relatively tight space.
A woman sitting alone next to us ordered this huge steak and devoured the entire thing.
No more than five minutes after we were seated, they started turning people away.  Most locals take a two-hour siesta between 2:00 and 4:00 pm and they usually don't dine until 9:00 or 10:00 pm or later, a little too late for us. Such an early seating is unusual in Buenos Aires.

As early birds awakening by 6:00 am at the latest each day, we're usually sound asleep by midnight.  Going to bed on a full stomach is something we aren't interested in doing, nor do we like to wait that late to dine, usually our only meal of the day. The "happy hour" concept works especially well for us. 
This was my entree, a Caesar salad with grilled chicken (no croutones) to which I requested avocado.  They added one and a half small avos and to my surprise, I consumed the entire dish.  It also included a lemon mayonnaise dressing (not bottled) on the side.
As we've walked the restaurant-lined streets of the Palermo Soho district over this past six days, we've noted dozens of restaurants where we'll never be able to dine when they don't open until 9:00 or 10:00 pm.  However, we've been able to find enough restaurants to suits our needs that open by 6:00 or 7:00 pm.

After last night's stupendous experience, not only in regard to the good food and service but, also the highly cultural event, we certainly look forward to returning to La Cabrera several more times during the "happy hour" period.  As a footnote, this restaurant is certainly worth visiting in the later hours at full price for those who prefer to dine later in the evening when the pace may be more relaxed.
To reach my required 60 grams of protein each day, I added this egg and red pepper dish, cooked to perfection.  This alone would have been a big enough meal for me with its four eggs.  Good grief.  I ate the whole thing as we took our time and dined at a leisurely pace.
We'd heard prices are high in Buenos Aires and in most cases they are.  As a result, we budgeted US $100 (ARS 1,886) per day for meals while staying in a hotel for over 30 nights.

Last night's meal, including wine, beer, and generous tip totaled US $46.23 (ARS 871.70) after the 40% discount.  Wow!  Subsequently, we're averaging only US $34 (ARS 641) per day, keeping in mind that we only eat dinner out.  This amount includes the food we'd purchased at the mini-mart for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when we weren't willing to spend the above mentioned high prices for the fixed priced menus on those two holiday nights.
Tom ordered the barbecue ribs which was the equivalent of an entire slab with these three sauces.  He ate all the juicy tender meat and left the sauces.  He's not a "sauce" kind of guy although he can be quite saucy at times!.
Tom eats a light breakfast of coffee, hard boiled eggs, ham, and cheese (pastries, fruit, and juice are available for others) in the excellent Prodeo Hotel which is included in our nightly rate.

The food at La Cabrera was over-the-top fresh, hot, delicious and beautifully presented on sizzling platters.  Both of us couldn't have enjoyed the experience more and look forward to a repeat performance in the near future.  Next time, I won't order so much food since I'm still stuffed this morning.
This wasn't a full-sized bottle of Malbec but contained two large glasses.  I had one glass and the waiter provided the cork so we could take the balance back to the hotel with us!  See the notes below on Argentinian Malbec as compared to French.
"Learn the Difference: Argentinian Malbec vs. French Malbec (from this site)
Blog » Wine Tips & Tricks » Learn the Difference: Argentinian Malbec vs. French Malbec
France is the place of origin of Malbec, but Argentina is now home to nearly 70% of the Malbec vineyards of the world. Thus, your very first taste of Malbec could have been from Mendoza, Argentina. There is a dramatic difference in taste between the two regions and this is because Malbec really shows how terroir affects the wine.

An instant definition of ‘terroir’

Terroir encompasses all the regional factors that define the taste of a wine grape including sun, soil, the slant of a hillside, proximity to a body of water, climate, weather, and altitude. Terroir happens before a winemaker even touches the grapes. Any winemaker worth his/her salt will tell you: great wine is made in the vineyard, not in the cellar. Read more about Terroir."
We won't do another comprehensive post on this particular restaurant when we return during our remaining 25 nights in Buenos Aires. However, we will share some details of other restaurants we'll visit along the way.  After the New Year holiday ends, we'll begin sightseeing. We're looking forward to sharing those details with all of YOU.
After we finished our meal, the waiter dropped off this "lollipop tree" encouraging
Tom to take some with him.  He did.
Have a delicious day, dear friends!
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Photo from one year ago today, December 29, 2016:

The prior day while on a walk in Penguin, Tasmania, we spotted this White Faced Heron.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 2...Bookings for South Africa...The "adventure" and it's "paperwork" never ends...

Orange.....more than just a colour!
The entrance to our new vacation/holiday home we'll be renting in Marloth Park beginning on February 11th, aptly named "Orange...More Than Just a Colour."  For the link to this listing, please click here.
Yesterday, much to our delight, we wrapped up the first 89-day vacation/holiday rental for Marloth Park.  Louise had promised she'd find us a great property that would work for our budget and yet meet our criteria.

This property she chose for us, more than met our criteria.  It's a virtual dream house in the South African bush, possessing all the features that make living in the rugged terrain all the more comfortable and experiential.

In Africa, many houses have a name, especially in the Conservancy of Marloth Park and the house on which we paid a 50% deposit yesterday is peculiarly and perhaps aptly called, "Orange...More Than Just a Colour."
Fully equipped self catering kitchen
We're looking forward to cooking again in this modern kitchen after an 80-day hiatus.
The exterior orange based color certainly prompted the house's name but there is nothing gaudy or outlandish in its appearance or design.  It is pure bliss by our standards and we gratefully thank Louise, our friend and property manager for Marloth Park for making this happen for us.

Not only did she make this outstanding property affordable for us she locked up our time slot from February 11, 2018, to May 11, 2018, a total of 89 days.  Once we arrive, we'll work with Louise to wrap up this or other properties we'll rent during our one year stay in Africa.

We'll travel in and out of the country to satisfy the immigration requirements of a maximum of 90 days while we visit many other countries on the continent to fulfill our goals of expanding our African horizons.
Outside pool under roof
Most of the pools in Marloth are plunge pools, intended for cooling off, as opposed the swimming laps.
Of course, we'll share many more photos of this spectacular property located in our dream location, during our lengthy upcoming stay along with photos of our daily "visitors."

Our inspiration to return to Marloth Park was precipitated by two aspects.  One, was the bush setting with wild animals walking around the house and two, the amazing friends we made while there in 2013/2014, all of whom we'll see when we're there and have stayed in contact with during the four years since we left.

Today, here in Palermo Soho area of Buenos Aires, once again we'll take off on foot and walk the streets of this fascinating area.  Once the holidays end, we'll do a bit of sightseeing.

Tomorrow, we'll share most of our dining experiences over these past few days and more photos of life and culture in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 Have a blissful day.
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Photo from one year ago today, December 28, 2016:
On a walk across the street in Penguin, Tasmania which is lined with a wide variety of blooming flowers, we spotted this unusual plant.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 1...Bookings for South Africa...The "adventure" and it's "paperwork" never ends...


We find these colorfully painted building interesting and befitting the somewhat flamboyant nature of Buenos Aires.
Where do we begin and end? This outrageous lifestyle only knows an end when we "can't do it anymore."  Surely, someday this will come.  But, for now, we keep planning and booking one adventure after another.

I used the word "adventure" based on our perception of what adventure may be.  To many, adventure connotes white water rafting, mountains climbing, bungee jumping and other physically related risk-taking events.
There are many designer-type furniture shops in the area.
For us, an adventure may be defined as follows from the dictionary:
adventure
ədˈvɛntʃə/
noun
  1. 1.
    an unusual and exciting or daring experience.

    "her recent adventures in Italy"

    synonyms:exploitescapadedeedfeattrialexperienceincidentoccurrence
    eventhappeningepisodeaffair;
We focus more on the above stated, "an unusual and exciting" experience and less on the "daring."  Well, not totally.  Couldn't "daring" be described as selling everything we owned, leaving our family and friends, to travel the world for years to come; homeless, without a car, with no storage anywhere, no apartment/condo to return to, to repack and take care of things?  I guess so. 

Perhaps, for us, all of it is an adventure.  We've never considered we must put our physical beings in harm's way in order for our lives to qualify as an adventure. 
Colorfully painted buildings are a common trend in Buenos Aires.
Along that path is the future planning for what we consider the ultimate adventure...re-visiting Africa (we were there four years ago) which will transpire in a mere 46 days (with the cruise to Antarctica in between in only 27 days.)  Good grief!  Could it get more exciting for us in this short period of time?

Finally, yesterday, after checking prices for a few months, we booked our flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Nelspruit, Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga,   South Africa, a location other "adventurers" fly to in order to embark on their own personal journey on an insatiable quest for adventure.
Another colorfully painted building.
The cost for the one-way economy flight for two was shocking.  We've never paid this high a fare for a one-way flight.

Here are the details:

Price summary
Traveler 1: Adult $1,754.66 Flight $1,301.00 Taxes & Fees $453.66
Traveler 2: Adult              $1,754.66 Flight $1,301.00 Taxes & Fees $453.66
Expedia Booking Fee $14.00
Total US $3,523.3
(ARS 64,934)
All prices are quoted in USD.


705 points
for this trip


Travel time:           16 hours total (3 flights)
Depart:                  12:50 PM, February 10, 2018
Arrive in Nelspruit:    9:50 AM, February 11, 2018
Layovers:       2 hours in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
                     1 hour 40 minutes in Johannesburg, South Africa

Airlines:         GOL Linhas Aereas S.A
                          South African Airways (last two flights)

We flinched paying this high a fare for coach but, we made up for it a little when we were able to rent a car at the Nelspruit Airport for a total of 89 days for only US $1,750 (ARS 32,252) including all taxes, fees, and insurance which averages at US $583 (ARS 10,745) per month.

We plan to stay in Africa for up to 13 months and will share more details as we book further into the future, much of which will be outside of South Africa.  But, we'll continue to return to Marloth Park after satisfying visa requirements for a maximum of 90 days as required in most African countries.

There isn't an abundance of flowers blooming at this time in the Palermo area.
Today, we're finalizing the details of our vacation/holiday rental with our dear property manager friends, Louise and Danie Thiart who can be reached at this site.  We're so appreciative of their friendship and assistance in finding us more outstanding accommodations in Marloth Park.

Tomorrow, we share details of what will be our new home beginning on February 11, 2018.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 27, 2016:
This was the view from our holiday home from an elevated road in Penguin, Tasmania.  For more details, please click here.