Other Pages of Interest

Monday, June 28, 2010

Holy Delinquent Blogging

OMG, I've been the worst blogger ever this past week!  And oh, what a week it has been.  We have had so many exciting events happen this week, I almost don't know where to begin.  For those of you that read this blog to gather information about Buenos Aires, this post will leave you empty - this will be solely an update on what has been going on in the world of Jon and Dawn...
Chris enjoying his time in Tigre

First and foremost, my brother Chris has been here all week in a semi-surprise, last minute vacation.  He bought his ticket two weeks ago and arrived last Tuesday, and we've been on the go ever since.  I will write more about our little adventures while he has been here, but it's worth mentioning that even with the last minute nature of his plane ticket, he got the best price out of anyone that has come so far.  Plane ticket prices go way down during the "winter" since it's so "cold" here and apparently no one wants to visit.  I think Chris would agree that our high-50s, low-60s sunny "winter" days are preferable to the insane 100-degree days that he's been missing in Virginia.  Word to the wise, June is a great time to visit! 

Newly engaged, hooray!
Speaking of brothers, exciting news, Jon's younger brother Dan and his girlfriend Lian are engaged!  This happened late last week and we could not be happier.  Dan gathered both of their families (Jon and I were there in spirit) in San Fransisco and after he proposed brought Lian to a restaurant where the families were waiting.  The poor girl must have been in shock for days.  Then they made the brilliant move and left for a week long vacation in Italy, so hopefully they have had some time to relax and absorb their new status while enjoying a wonderful vacation.  Congratulations Dan and Lian!

More than he bargained for...
In soccer news, Argentina has successfully advanced to the next round of the World Cup, while our poor home country got run over by Ghana.  The US put up a good fight, but we'll have to shift our alliance to Argentina for the remainder of the Cup.  With Brazil winning today, there is now talk of a Argentina vs Brazil final, which would be just insanity here.  World Cup fever is only getting stronger, and it's contagious.  We met friends to watch the last game at a bar in Palermo and we could barely get a taxi to take us, the streets were bare, the markets were closed and the restaurants and bars were slammed.  Luckily our friends got there early and secured a table for us right in front of one of the TVs.  It was great to watch the game with such a spirited crowd, especially with my brother along.  Chris got more than he could handle at the bar when, during halftime, he ordered the fish and chips and received a plate of whole fried sardines and calamari.  Priceless. 

On the home front, Jon and I have booked our next trip within Argentina, we're headed to Mendoza with our friends Shankar and Fernanda.  While America has the 4th of July off, we have to wait until the 9th of July to celebrate Argentinean independence day, so we are taking advantage of that holiday weekend to go on vacation and tour some wine bodegas.  Mendoza is home to the delicious Malbec that has become so popular in the US, and we are planning on tasting our way through the best of them.  I'll post details on this trip along with recommendations of our friends, and our take on Mendoza after our trip (which is the second weekend of July).  We are looking forward to adding another Argentina destination to our list and Shankar and Fernanda will be great fun to travel with. 

The last bit of news is that it's my dad's birthday!  Happy Birthday Dad!  I wish we were able to celebrate with you in person. 

That is our news update, and hopefully the end to my bloging hiatus.  Nos vemos pronto!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


It would be difficult to complete a week (a little more than a week, I know) on Buenos Aires museum postings without mentioning the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, better known as the MALBA.  This is Buenos Aires claim-to-fame museum, and probably the most known museum in Argentina. 

Location: Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415
Phone: (54-11) 4808-6500
Hours: Thurs - Mon 12:00pm - 8:00pm, Wednesday 12:00pm - 9:00pm, closed Tues.
Admission: Adults $18 pesos; students & seniors $9 pesos.  Discounts on Wednesdays, Adults $6 pesos, seniors $3 pesos, students free.

The MALBA opened in 2001, so it is still relatively new to the scene.  The building is very modern, open and airy with lots of glass and extremely high ceilings.  There are a number of traveling exhibits that make their way to the MALBA, we decided to visit during the Andy Warhol exhibit this past February.  We both enjoyed the museum, and there are plenty of beautiful and mysterious pieces to be seen.  I have been thinking about writing this post for awhile but it was always postponed because I am in the minority of people that do not particularly love the MALBA.  I can't blame this on the museum, it is mostly because it is a modern art museum and on the whole, I am not a lover of modern art.  What I do love about the MALBA is that they offer lectures, classes, movies and a book of the month discussion in the auditorium through their malba.literature program.  My friend Christina turned me on to this program and I am forever grateful - Thanks Christina!  These classes are great for me because they help grow my art knowledge and allow me to practice my Spanish at the same time. 

If you're coming to Bs.As., you really need to see the MALBA.  It is a great museum in a wonderful location and you can spend all day there, or just a hour or so to see the exhibits.  Now that I've been there, I'll be waiting at the Volta across the street while our visitors check out the art.

Friday, June 18, 2010

El Zanjon

El Zanjon is a historic home that found new life when local historian Jorge Eckstein bought the property and began renovations in 1985. The original plan for Eckstein was to renovate the building and turn the space into a part restaurant, part art gallery for his artist wife. As they began renovations on the crumbling building, they realized that there were more layers, literally, than originally thought to the building. Above ground, the house is a beautiful 1830s, Spanish-style mansion complete with an open air-cistern and a lookout tower. After the wealthy family abandoned this house, most probably in the 1870s due to the yellow fever outbreak in San Telmo, the space became a communal home for immigrants and squatters for over 100 years. When Eckstein began the renovations, the home was filled with over 100 years of trash and debris. 139 truckloads of debris later, it was realized that the mansion was actually build upon another full living space that dated back to the 16th century and had been built on top of the original river's path through San Telmo. Since this time, the river has been rerouted (the smell and the rodents were not a great part of this area...moving the river helped) but the tunnels build to contain the river for hygiene reasons remain. This museum is a beautiful restoration of the original house and displays many artifacts found during the renovation, items that represent daily life in many different time periods.

El Zanjon
Location: Defensa 755, San Telmo
Phone: (54-11) 4361-3002
Hours: It is best call first for availability prior to visit. Spanish tours every hour Mon - Fri 11:00am - 4:00pm; every 30 minutes Sun 1:00pm - 6:00pm. English tours available, again, call first. Visitation to museum only available through a tour, open admission not available.
Admission: $30 pesos for hour tour, $15 pesos for 30 minute tour

This museum also offers a venue for private parties and events. Contact eventos@elzanjon.com.ar for information.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mini-Messi and World Cup Fever

Pausing from my Museum Week posts, I am inclined to write a about a little event that you may have heard of called The World Cup.

La Copa Mundial has taken Argentina by storm.

Thank you Married & Mobile for this amazing pic
Soccer/Futbol is the complete focus of the country until July 11 (or until Argentina loses). The Saturday of their first game, Buenos Aires was a ghost town. Shops were closed, traffic was non-existent. There are a number of places set up in the city for people to watch the games for free, as posted on this amazing blog: My Buenos Aires Travel Guide, we are surely planning on joining the crowds at Plaza San Martin for at least one of the games (possibly when my brother Chris is in town next week, Hooray!). The Argentinean team started off strong by winning their first match against Nigeria 1-0. This resulted in a huge, hilarious, blow-up Maradona head to be paraded around the center of the city known here as the Obelisco, known to us as the miniature Washington Monument). Diego Maradona is currently the coach of the Argentine national team, but is more famous for his "Hand of God" goal during the 1986 World Cup games, his highly publicized issues with drugs and weight, and his most recent venture, a reality TV show star. I would like to send a personal shout out to Coach Maradona, thank you for providing constant entertainment during the game, I look forward to more hilarity in the games to come.

Don't worry, we are also following the US team's progress, and were quite satisfied with the 1-1 draw with England in their first game, even if the goal was a partial fluke, we'll take it!

Mini-Messi-Caden cheering from afar
Tomorrow morning, 8:30 Bs.As. time marks the second game for team Argentina, this time against South Korea. We will be cheering for our adopted team, so much so that we have already begun recruiting our friend's children for the 2030 World Cup. Those colors really bring out his baby blues!

The World Cup has been easy to get interested in, even for this non-soccer-loving girl. I can trace it back to the traumatic experience I had with soccer back in the day when my family lived in Atlanta. I was in third grade, and EVERYONE played soccer, so my parents signed me up. Somehow I ended up as the only girl on an all boy-extremely competitive, semi-ghetto team of thugs that hated me. This was compounded by the fact that I was terrible. The season came to a climax when, during a game, a boy on my team (if I remember right, he had a gold front tooth - as an 8-year-old) deliberately kicked the ball as hard as he could into my belly. This is the only time in my life that I've had the wind knocked out of me. I still harbor hard feelings towards this kid, Bubba or Beau or Trent or some other ridiculous southern boy's name.
Jonathan Brandis, my childhood crush.

At the end of the season my mom, being a good team mom, arranged for a team party where everyone received a trophy and had a special trophy made for me that was a girl, instead of a boy, kicking a soccer ball. This raised some sort of controversy among the team and the parents - redic. Needless to say, I've hated soccer ever since. Not even hunky heartthrob Jonathan Brandis (may he rest in peace) and his role in the girl-soccer movie Ladybugs could change my mind, and at that time, if anyone could make me like soccer, Jonathan Brandis could.

Not that I've totally turned around, but now that we're in Argentina, I do enjoy the World Cup.

I'm loving the blue and white stripes worn by every man, woman, child and dog in this city and I'm even, dare I say, liking the whole vuvuzelo debate. It's funny to walk down the street and hear that crazy humming of the vuvuzelos - you know there is a TV close by with the game on. And who doesn't love the infamous "Goooooooolllllllllllllllllll!" cry whenever someone scores!? It's a country full of soccer/futbol-loving-passion. Vamos Argentina!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Museo Fortabat

Lornie and I staying out of the rain
More correctly named Coleccion de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, this museum is a lesser known spot that just recently opened in October 2008 and is such a hidden find (or just too new) that it only shows up in 1 of my 4 tour books. Kudos to the thorough writers at Eyewitness Travel.

Coleccion de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat
Location: Olga Cossenttini 141, Puerto Madero
Phone: (54-11) 4310-6600
Hours: 12:00pm - 9:00pm Tues - Sun, Closed Mon
Admission: $15 pesos for adults, $8 pesos for kids under 12, seniors, students and educators

We stumbled upon this museum during one of the many days of rain we had during Jon's parent's visit. The approx. 65,000 square foot building is impressive enough to warrant the entry fee, it is incredibly modern and almost exclusively steel and glass. A unique design detail is the retractable aluminium roof made of individual shields that change with the location of the sun, similar to a robotic sunflower. The building has four floors of art exhibits divided into themed rooms, each room larger than the last. There are also these crazy state-of-the-art escalators throughout the museum that accelerate when you step onto them, quite fancy.

According to the ever-trusted Wikipedia, Ms. Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat is worth over US$2 billion and therefore, Argentina's wealthiest woman. I have no doubts that this is true, considering that this entire museum is merely a sampling of her private art collection. She has an unbelievable art collection including a portrait of herself done by Andy Warhol, one of my favorites - the painting pictured to the right "Bouquet de Printemps" by Marc Chagall and an assortment of Argentine artists and international artists alike. The second floor is dedicated to objects in her collection, carvings and sculptures, some of which date back to over 2,000 BC. This museum will appeal to almost everyone considering that the collection is so diverse, many styles and eras are represented, and for the individuals that don't particularly like museums or art, the building is enough to keep you interested.

There are guided tours everyday (except Sunday and Monday when they're closed) at 3:00 and 5:00pm. English tours can be arranged in advance for groups by calling the museum or emailing visitas@coleccionforabat.org.ar. They also have fancy-shmancy iPhone audio tour that allows you to explore the museum at your own pace and touch the thumbnail icon of selected pieces when you are ready for the explanation. I cannot remember if there is an additional cost for the tour - and the website does not list a price - so this may be included in the admission price. There is also a restaurant adjacent to the museum, La Coleccion, that offers decent food at reasonable prices (for that area of town) and a great view of the port.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes

One of the museum's many exhibitions
The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is difficult to miss considering that it is located on one of the busiest streets in Buenos Aires and is almost directly adjacent to the Flor de Metal, one of the most recognized sights in the city.  That, and the building is red.  

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Location: Av. Del Libertador 1473, Recoleta 
Phone: (54-11) 4803-8814/4803-0802/4803-4691
Hours: 12:30pm - 8:30pm Tues - Fri, 9:30am - 8:30pm Sat, Sun & Holidays, Closed Mon
Admission: Free! 

This museum opened its doors on Christmas day, 1895 in the building that is currently the Galerias Pacifico mall on Florida Street.  The collection lived through a couple of location changes until it settled into its current location, previously a major waterworks building, in 1932.  The museum is quite large with something like 35 exhibition rooms that are organized by era, artist origin and style.  According to Eyewitness Travel, there are over 12,000 pieces in the museum's collection, although only 700 can be displayed at one time.  The museum has two floors, although the second floor has been under construction each time I have been there (as of April 2010).  

Two Dancers in Red and Yellow, 1898
Edgar Degas
There is an impressive collection of Argentine artwork from artists like Antonio Segui, Leon Ferrari, Xul Solar and Fernando Fader.  The highlight of my visits were the number of big name European artists they had displayed - Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Renoir, Degas, Picasso, etc, etc.  Not only is the collection of big name artists larger than I would have thought, but the pieces are completely accessible to visitors.  No velvet rope, no Plexiglas shields, just a little tape line on the floor requesting that you stand at least 4 inches away from the artwork.  There is even a pleasant female voice that kindly requests that you "Stand behind the yellow tape" should you forget and get too close. 

The Museo de Bellas Artes offers $35 peso audio tours in English and Spanish, the complete tour is 80 minutes long.  I love that it is so easy to walk in and out of this museum, with free admission it is a great place to go to pass time. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Xul Solar Museum

As I was reflecting on my previous blog posts, I noticed that there is a severe discrepancy between the number of posts I've done involving restaurants (23) and the number of posts I've done involving museums (1). I have some catching up to do; consider this Museum Week!

The most recent museum I have been to is...
Xul Solar Museum
Location: Laprida 1212, Barrio Norte
Phone: (54-11) 4821-5378
Hours: 12:00pm - 7:30pm Tues - Fri, 12:00pm - 7:00pm Sat, Closed Sun & Mon
Admission: $10 pesos

Xul Solar (1887 - 1963) was born Oscar Agustín Alejandro Schulz Solari changing his name to Xul Solar somewhere around 1916. This name is believed to be an ode to his artistic themes of light (Xul backwards is the latin word for light, lux) and energy (lux + solar = solar energy) and is thought to be Argentina's greatest abstract Expressionist. The museum was established in 1993 and the museum building was renovated and modernly designed to reflect Xul's work. The work displayed in the museum was selected by Xul to display to the private club of intellectuals he established in 1939. Xul was most known for his avant-guard style watercolor paintings, the colorful shapes and images depicting religious and astrological symbols. However, Xul Solar was a studied man in many disciplines; music, architecture, language, astrology and religion. In addition to his intriguing paintings Xul is known to have invented two different spoken languages, invented new musical instruments and created new games including tarot cards.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:00pm and Saturdays at 3:30pm there is a standing tour 50 minute tour that is included in the admission price. The tour is in Spanish, which is a great way to practice for those learning the language, and the tour guides also speak English, so you can catch up on anything missed in between points on the tour. This museum is one of the lesser known spots in Buenos Aires, but certainly worth the trip if you are spending an extended period of time in the city.

Friday, June 11, 2010

La Cabrara

Cabrera 5099, Palermo Viejo - To round out our week of new restaurants (almost, we're headed to a new place tonight too - it's been a spoiling kind of week :) ) we finally decided to try La Cabrera. This place has been recommended to us by multiple people, but we could never get our act together early enough to make reservations...until our anniversary this past Monday. I made reservations on Sunday at the original La Cabrera location, they have separate location called La Cabrera Norte (both of which are located on the same street, only a block or two apart), most certainly due to the fact that they are incredibly busy. This place could be summed up in one word: MEAT. La Cabrera is known for it's amazing meat, although most places in Bs.As. are known for the great meat so this is not any sort of revelation, but they went about it in a slightly different manner. The menu is a double-sided over-sized sheet of paper with one full side dedicated to meat. Every kind of meat you can think of, from the gross - Small Intestines, to the intriguing - Long American Ribs and Kobe beef (though significantly more expensive than the alternative, clearly), to the delicious - the rib eyes, tenderloins and other known cuts that we are accustomed to. We both planned on ordering a tenderloin (lomo) but each of us wanted a different "style" of steak, we were were going to order two. The waiter told us that the menu items were "para compartir", a phrase we had heard before (since we Americans eat like 5 times the food that people in other countries consume, we are often told that we are ordering too much food, which is both embarrassing and amusing) so we replied that we were really hungry and 2 orders would be fine. Thank goodness he stopped us - the steaks we were ordering were 800 ounces (~28 ounces). O.M.G. It's impossible to tell from the one horrible picture I took (at the top of this post), but we basically got four 6-8 ounce filets plus lots of side dishes when we ordered A menu item (pictured much more elegantly from this picture on the right that I stole from Google images). The table next to us was a group of 3 Australian guys that also insisted on ordering their own dishes, although they did not head the waiter's warning when they were advised to share. I thought they were going to fall off their chairs when three - count them, THREE - 800-900 gram rib eyes came to their table. Holy Meat Overdose.

La Cabrera round-up: This place exceeded our expectations in terms of food quality and serving efficiency. Our waiter was friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient. We loved the number of side items and sauces that we received with each course; bread, appetizer and main dish. Other than the steak, the bread and proveletto appetizer that we ordered were nothing special. The main attraction was the meat, and it was unbelievable. This is a great place for visitors (we most certainly will take our families here over Christmas) and for the shock value of these ginormous cuts of meat. If you're looking for an authentic Argentinean parilla, this may not be the right place to go. La Cabrera is definitely tailored to tourists, expect to hear lots of English (and French and German etc) spoken by the clientele, which can distract from the authenticity, even if the food is amazing. Last note - prices are insanely low for the amount/quality of food you receive, after an appetizer, a glass of wine, 2 soft drinks and the steak, we had a bill of less than US$45.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Last weekend marked some big milestones for Jon and I, I turned "almost-thirty" (29) on Saturday and we celebrated our second wedding anniversary on Monday (that celebratory restaurant post is still in progress). Both events were reasons to celebrate, therefore, reasons to try new restaurants. We took a recommendation from our friend Federico, a great source of recommendations, and tried a new restaurant for my birthday, a place called Tegui (Costa Rica 5852, Palermo Hollywood). Our evening started with the craziest cab driver of all time; he talked to himself the whole ride, honked furiously at cars in front of us that had no chance of moving, and eventually threw out his transmission and we had to exit the cab. Don't worry, he still charged us for the ride. We found another, non-crazy taxi and arrived at the graffiti-covered wall pictured to the left. Luckily, Federico knew how camouflaged the door was, so he sent us a photo in advance because if we didn't know what the front door looked like, we wouldn't have felt comfortable ringing the doorbell. Yep. The restaurant has a doorbell. This door opens to a whole other world on the inside.

The restaurant decoration is a mix of ultra modern glass and renovated apartment building. We opted to sit on the small patio, which was comfortable even in late fall since it's heated and covered. The downside to sitting on the patio is that the chairs are semi-patio furniture style, and not nearly as comfortable as the padded chairs situated at the indoor tables.

As we walked to our table, the hostess politely asked if we would prefer English menus, and we happily accepted them. The menu had an interesting setup, it was priced by the number of courses you chose, either 1, 2 or 3 regular sized courses or 6 mini-courses consisting of 2 items from each section of the menu. The catch with the 6-course menu is that the courses are chef's choice, and although everything we ate was wonderful, there were a few ingredients that we were not interested in sampling, so we went with the 3-course menu. What we didn't realize was that the menu was supplemented with all sorts of other goodies that came as part of the dinner. The first item we were served was a small cone filled with whipped goat cheese and some other deliciousness. Next, we received our appetizers, I had the cheese souffle (pictured on the right) and Jon had the corn pudding. Both items were on the sweet side, the corn pudding came with a caramelized top, a la creme brulée-style, but they were both delicious.

Peter Cottontail, on my plate
In addition to the items we ordered we also received a plate of mini-pancakes accompanied by two delicious spreads, and the delightful item served in a shot glass (pictured on the left). Our meals were great as well, I actually ordered the rabbit (which I've never done before) served with a goat cheese spread, pureed carrots and orange slices, and it was really good (even though I thought about the fact that I was eating a rabbit the whole time). Jon had the veal tenderloin which was, of course, delicious. Our meals ended with two decadent desserts, both of the chocolate variety, and both quite good. The only tarnish to our perfect meal was the fact that it took us two requests and 40 (yes, FORTY) minutes to receive our check at the end of the meal.

Tegui round-up: Probably the most chic restaurant we've been to in Buenos Aires. The food was interesting, delicious and different than any other dining experience we've had in the city. The service was great (minus the absence of our bill at the end of the meal) and we felt comfortable to ask questions and take advantage of recommendations. Great place to go for an occasion, such as celebrating 29 years on Earth, but a little on the expensive side for a frequent trip.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Posadas 1053, Recoleta - After going to a movie Friday night (see Sex in the City if you are looking to feel totally inferior about your sense of style and inability to walk around a city in stiletto heels...), we were in a quick fix to find a restaurant that was good, close, casual and new (to us). There is an area called Recova near the Four Seasons Hotel that has a cluster of restaurants that we've never tried. The closest Sushi Club location is there, so generally when we head that way we are drawn to have sushi, so we really haven't spent much time checking out the other places around. We weren't dressed for anything fancy, so we peeked at the menus and in the windows and decided on Sorrento. Sorrento is an Italian restaurant with white tablecloths and an extensive menu. It was pretty crowded, although there were still a few tables available (at 10:45pm) so we sat right down. The inside of the restaurant has a pleasant ambiance, but I have to note the hilarious and tacky Coca-Cola sign above their bar - it seemed out of character for the place.

Considering the vicinity to the Four Seasons, we requested an English menu and they were happy to comply (which was nice considering the attitude we sometimes get with this request). Their wine list was on par, nothing great, but everyone in the restaurant was drinking wine so it must have been sufficient. Here is a pet peeve of mine that occurred, again, at Sorrento - the serving staff handed us our menus and then didn't return for an eternity. No one asked for a drink order, came by to see if we were ready or anything of the sort - they wait until our menus have been closed on the corner of the table for at least 10 minutes before returning to take our laundry list of an order. This could easily be a culture difference, but a difference that I immensely dislike. Either way, after putting in our order, the server returned with a lame basket of bread (it was hard, dry and powdery) and a greenish spread that tasted like pure mayonnaise.

The meal turned around when we received our Bruchetta Mixto appetizer. The order came with six small toasts, two of each type of topping. The eggplant bruchetta was so good, I ate it before I remembered to take a picture. It was a beautifully marinated blend of eggplant, green and red peppers and my favorite of the three types. The bruchettas shown are fresh tomato and garlic (lots and lots of garlic) and some sort of cream cheese with a small pepper on top. The only criticism of this dish was that the toasts were drenched in olive oil, almost to the point that they fell apart when you picked them up. Don't be deterred though, this dish was delightful.

For dinner, Jon ordered the Lomo (beef filet) with peppercorn sauce and mini-potatoes and I had a homemade spaghetti dish with tomato sauce, capers and black olives. The steak was perfectly cooked, the potatoes were tender. Though it was delicious, we couldn't help but comment on how similar this dish was to the Lomo that Jon orders at most other restaurant meals. The fresh past in my meal was delicious, but the flavor makeup was not my favorite. The tomato sauce was on the sweet side, then mixed with the salty black olives and capers made for a bizarre combo. The portions were enormous though, I was able to take 3/4 of my meal home. I should note that the server was much more attentive and pleasant at this point in the meal, he truly seemed delighted to wrap my leftovers up once I asked him in Spanish. It was already pretty late, and we were in for another dinner out on Saturday (for my birthday! More to come on that...) so we skipped dessert.

Sorrento round-up: Good not great, but a nice alternative to our regular dinner spots. The prices were slightly cheaper than we would pay at Sottovoce, although the food was not quite the same caliber.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Megagym, Megatlon

When I returned from the US I received this delightful welcome from our cleaning lady:

"Hola Dawn! You look so much better with this extra weight you have from your vacation!"

Wow. Time to hit the gym.

I look like something like this at Megatlon
Good thing we have Megatlon. We had a pretty good thing going with Gold's Gym in Virginia great classes, great teachers, good equipment, close to home and a cool cardio-cinema. We were hoping to find a new good thing, so much so that finding a gym was our #2 priority - after we found an apartment. There are plenty of gyms in the city to choose from, basically one on every corner. After asking around, we got a few good recommendations for Megatlon, which is easily the largest gym chain in the city. There are multiple locations in the city, so chances are that there is a location near you. I was sold on joining as soon as I took the tour. We are closest to the Barrio Norte location, from the outside it's not much to look at, but the inside of the gym has much more space that you would think. There are 7 floors in this location including a large pool, locker rooms with full shower capacities, multiple floors of cardio equipment and a full level of fitness rooms. There is also a full schedule of classes that take place at all times of the week. The downside to this location is that with the exception of the fitness rooms, none of the floors are air conditioned.

There are 4 membership levels, Plan Red VIP, Plan VIP Plus, Plan Platino & Plan Platino Plus. Each additional level of membership gives you access to more of the gym's locations and therefore, is more expensive. We are VIP Plus members which gives us access to all locations except Villa Crespo, Congreso, Devoto y All Boys. Honestly, we have never gone to any other locations, so this is no consolation - but this is the lowest plan that includes our location, so we didn't have a whole lot of choice. Our plan charges $125 pesos (~US$32) per month which is automatically deducted from our debit card each month.

Words of warning for anyone signing up for a gym:
  • All gyms require a medical assessment before granting your membership. Generally they have medical staff in-house - just don't be nervous (like I was) when they put you in a small room with a Spanish-speaking man and he asks you to remove your shirt. Ladies, remember to wear a sports bra the day you go to sign up.
  • The hours are different that you can expect in the US. Our location's hours are: 7:30 - 11:00pm M-F, 8:00 - 10:00pm Sat and 10:00 - 6:00pm Sun. If you're a before-work-workout kinda person, take note.
  • There are random, without warning, days/times when the gym is inexplicably closed. This is actually pretty normal for Bs.As., but good to be aware of.
  • The cardio machines are all set to stop for a "recuperation time" after 25 minutes of continuous use. You are able to stay on the machine and start it again, but this is super annoying during any type of long distance training.
We both think Megatlon is great, I've been to a few of their classes and the instructors are good too. It's probably the closest thing to a "Gold's: Argentina", so we are happy with this choice.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Primero de Junio

June 1, 2010 brings with it two important events:

1) My youngest brother, Robbie, has a very important birthday, his 21st - Happy Birthday!!!! This is awesome because we can finally go out and grab a drink together. This is not quite as awesome because it means that my youngest brother is 21 and I am way older than 21.

2) Argentina's ban on imported goods is supposed to begin today. Although, there is new hope on the importing foreign goods front. If you remember from my Argentine import ban post, on May 6 Guillermo Moreno, the Domestic Trade Secretary, announced that as of June 1, 2010 Argentina would cease to import all foods that have an Argentine alternative. The examples included Brazilian sweetcorn, Russian vodka, French cheese and Swiss chocolate, according to the Buenos Aires Herald. Consider Argentina an importer/exporter that has decided to focus on the exporting. While I was disappointed to hear that my beloved Philly Cream Cheese and French Brie were a short lived luxury, what I didn't anticipate was the backlash that the effected countries may have on this decision. The European Commission along with Brazil has now voiced their strong objections to the decision - to the point of threatening to reciprocate actions if the decision is enacted. It would seem that moving forward with the import ban would be like shooting the Argentine export business in the foot. An interesting turn of events, and one the will hopefully keep my familiar products on the shelves. We shall see what happens, my only prediction is that things will probably not progress very quickly, they hardly ever do when these decisions are involved.