Saturday, November 14, 2015

Buenos Aires: Two Short Visits

So here is my blog on the two short day-and-a-half stops in Buenos Aires.  I've written way too much, so if please skip a lot of the writing if you don't have time or patience for it and look at the photos and pictures around the photos!  Enjoy that!

We are off on the next adventure of this trip.  We flew from Easter Island to Santiago on another Boeing 787 Dreamliner, arriving at our hotel after 10 p.m. and then leaving early the next morning for the airport.

We arrived in Buenos Aires after flight of 1.5 hr from Santiago.  Argentina does not require a visa for travelers from the US but it does require a $160 "reciprocity fee" payable in advance (as well as fingerprinting on arrival and departure).   I had a bit of a blip on arrival because I had Nava's reciprocity fee receipt with me and not my own but luckily it was cleared up and I later got my own copy with the help of guide Lu.

The Argentinian peso is officially pegged at about 9.5 pesos to the US dollar, but unofficially it is over 15 pesos to the dollar.  The economy here is in terrible shape, in part because of an unsuccessful attempt in about the year 2000 to replace the peso with the dollar as the official unit of money (as Ecuador did).  When I went to university in the late 1960s and majored in Latin American Studies, Argentina had the 8th largest economy in the world.  Now it is something like 60th.    The average salary is about 7,000 pesos a month.  At the official rate, that is about US$800 but at the blue rate it is under US$500.  The middle class is being squeezed heavily.  Imports are heavily taxed.  For example, taxes double the rate of new cars.  Speaking of cars, most people drive stick shifts, and there were a lot of older cars on the streets.  Women do not automatically learn to drive.  Our guide learned to drive after separating from her husband.

Several of us headed out to work in the area and went to the local Galerias Pacifico mall, about two blocks away.

  The mall was declared a National Historic Monument in 1989 because of the architecture and the striking murals.
Part of the interior of the mall, looking upwards
A cafe with fountain in the middle in the area under the murals
 The amazing thing about the place were the ceiling and wall murals.  We just looked up and opened our mouths and eyes in awe.

The building started in the late 19th century as the Argentine Bon Marche with the latest trends of the fashion world.  After a financial crisis, part was sold to the Buenos Aires of Pacifico railway.  In 1945 the building was renovated, separating the commercial part  from the railway administration and added murals to the  the central dome of this mall,  painted by 4 Argentinian mural painters and one from Spain, Antonio Berni, Juan Carlos Castagnino, Manuel Colmeiro, Lino Enea Spilimbergo and Demetrio Urruchua.
The center bottom mural above by Spilimbergo  is entitled "The domain of natural forces."
The mural in the left center position is entitled "Fraternity,: representing the relationship between different races and sexes.
The mural above was done by Juan Carlos Castagnino (1908--1972).  It shows a group of emotions and ideas related to vitality, joy, movement, generosity, and happiness and focuses on the home as the beginning of any social and political harmony.

Later four more modernistic murals were added by a new generation of Argentine artists.   Below are two of them.

We settled into our hotel, the Amerian Park, which is nicely centrally located.  We gathered at 4 to meet the three new members of our group and then had a tango lesson, which was lots of fun!

Haia dancing with the instructor

Nava dancing with the instructor

Joe and Pam, always a delight
We then went out for dinner at "La Posada de 1820," a restaurant with a revolving floor.  It is known as a steak place--and Argentina has historically been famous for its steak.  First we were served empanadas, a national dish,  filled with beef for most  and vegetarian for 3 of us.
The cook is preparing the steak which will be cooked on the grill behind him
I had fish--but most of the rest had steak
After walking back to our hotel, I was delighted to fall into bed and quickly go to sleep.

At 8:30 after a lovely buffet breakfast, we headed out for a tour of main points of the city.

The bay where Buenos Aires is now located was first founded by Europeans in 1536 as the City of the Holy Trinity.  Explorers were looking for gold and silver as was found in Peru and Mexico.  They named the huge local river Rio de la Plata (River of Silver), but it really was a misnomer as there was no silver or gold found, and people did not stay.

In 1580, Pedro Menoza returned to the area and it was the beginning of B. A. becoming a key port and the entry to a very fertile agricultural region.

The residents of B. A. are called "portenyos" because of the role of the city as a port.

The Teatro Colon opera house is considered the 3rd best  in the world after Vienna and Italy by National Geographic and has amazing acoustics.  It is in the  renaissance style and seated 3,000 but now only 2,000 usually are seated. The Colon took 20 years to build and opened in 1908. Renovations were made from 2006 to 2010.  You can read about it in Wikipedia but the article really does not due is justice.

 People must line up before 9:30 a.m. to get a ticket for a tour that day.  Sometimes they are handed out very quickly and unfortunately the visit was not included on our tour.  One person skipped our morning city tour as she had been there before and got a ticket, paid the 180 pesos and really enjoyed the one hour tour.  Another couple did the same thing on our last day in town, and a third couple stayed in BA one more day and managed to go on the tour.  All said that the building and all the art work were magnificent.

Argentina gained its independence from Spain in 1816 and Av. 9 de Julio is named for the date.  In 1810, Spain lost a war with England and also lost its ships so was no longer able to supply its colonies.  The British tried to take over Argentina, but they were pushed back by women pouring boiling oil on them from homes and roofs.  We saw an obelisk that was built in 1936, 400 years after the original founding of the city.  Looking out from the Plaza, you can see the obelisk at the end of this street.

We saw the buildings in the main plaza, including the original government building called the Casa Rosada.  It was pink because bull's blood was added to the sand to make the walls.  Of course such a practice is no longer used!
The folded gates, installed in 2001,  in front of the Casa Rosada are used  for large crowd control during  demonstrations.

Main plazas in cities in South America usually have a big church or cathedral in the square.  The cathedral of Buenos Aires was built nine times because of poor construction.  The last time it was built was in 1820, and the neoclassic form was in style, so that is why there are 12 columns in front, representing the 12 apostles.

 The inside, however, is baroque.

I don't usually go into churches (especially in South America where my memory of the Cathedral in Quito filled with gold with homeless sitting outside)--but went into this one for two reasons:
1)  To see where General Jose de San Martin, the "liberator" of Chile, Peru, and Argentina is buried
2)  The see a special section dedicated to the Jewish community.

San Martin died in France in 1850 but asked that he be buried in the center of Buenos Aires. Because of political issues, his remains were not brought to B.  A. until 1880.  Since he was "suspected" of being a free mason , through a compromise, he was buried in a mausoleum off the right wing of the church.  
The section to the right with the red roof is where San Martin is buried
San Martin is a national hero in Peru, Chile, and Argentina for his role in helping those three countries become independent from Spain.

In the third chapel on the left side of the church, which I think is dedicated to the Cardinal, there is a special section on the left dedicated to the Buenos Aires Jewish community.  On the wall is a special section with fragments of Jewish books that survived the Holocaust and bombings of Jewish buildings in Buenos Aires.

Talmud rescued from the ashes of the Jewish Community Center on 633 Pasteur in Buenos Aires in 1994
Book of Samuel rescued from 910 Arroyo St, the Israeli Embassy  bombed in 1992 in Buenos Aires

Prayer book rescued from the Jewish ghetto of Vilna
From Slichot book rescued from the synagogue of the Warsaw ghetto
 Also, there is a letter from the Cardinal to the Jewish community expressing solidarity with it and sorry, especially for the bombing of the city's Jewish Community Center in 1994, killing 85 and wounding 200.
In memory of those killed and burnt during the Shoah and the deaths in bombings of Jewish buildings in Buenos Aires.  Tribute signed by Cardenal Antonio Quarracino and those from the Internaional Raoul Wallenberg Association, April 14, 1997
Letter From Cardinal Expressing Solidarity And Sorrow
An interreligious gathering in memory of the victims of 1994
On the 20th anniversary of the attack on the JCC in Buenos Aires, we gather to pray, united by the pain, brothers for the memory of the massacre, and animated for hope.

There are about 330,000 Jews in Argentina today, most in the greater Buenos Aires area.  It is the second largest Jewish community in the Americas after the U.S.
You can read more about the Jewish community of Argentina in Wikipedia.

We then learned more about the main square, especially two parts:
1)  The area where mothers and grandmothers have gathered every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. since the 1970s, wanting to know more about their "disappeared" children and grandchildren.

2)  The protest by veterans of the Malvinas/Falkland Islands war in 1983.

The mother of the Plaza de Mayo is an organization of Argentine mothers whose children "disappeared" during the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983, which began after Salvador Allende was overthrown by the military.  Starting in 1977, mothers and grandmothers have gathered every Thursday at 3:30, in order to publicize the disappearance of their children during the "dirty war" and human rights abuses of that time.  They all wear white scarves and the scarf symbol is now painted in the area in front of the May 1811 pyramid in the center of the plaza.

 There is no military draft  in Argentina, so the army is totally made up of volunteers  As a result, it used to be way for the poor to advance socially like Peron and even some of these generals that overthrew Allende in 1976.
Pyramid of May 1811
Picture of scarf in plaza bricks
You can read about these courageous woman in detail at:
It is definitely worth the read.

We heard one story from a guide that told of her uncle studying in an apartment with 5 of his university colleagues.  He rushed home to get his papers to be permitted to be out and studying.  When he got back to the apartment, he found his friends murdered.  It was clear that military had targeted them for studying together.  People who had anything that would be considered subversive could not get rid of such things easily.  If they burned things, the smoke would be noticed, so most buried them in their yards, when possible.

The Mothers of the Plaza all had children (mostly young adults) who were kidnapped, tortured often in concentration camps (one which was located under a main intersection), and murdered by the military for their political beliefs or being acquaintances of people with questionable beliefs, or often for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Many people, especially at first, were unaware that such things were happening.)  A bit later, we drove over the intersection where concentration  camp was below it.  Painted there was "verdad justicia  memoria," truth, justice, and memory.  Our guide said that it was just lip service, and people feel not enough has been done to bring those involved in the atrocities, especially those up the chain of command, to justice.

Many women were pregnant.  They were kept alive until the children were born, then killed, and the children were given to military families to adopt.  That also happened to young children who disappeared with their children.  Over 110 of these children (now adults) have found out their true parentage.  Anyone in doubt of his/her origin can go to any hospital in the country for a free DNA test.  I cannot imagine the psychological conflicts of such a person--to realize that his parents' murderers raised him.

The military admits to  9,000 still unaccounted for but the mothers of the plaza say that there are closer to 30,000.  Since young Jews were often involved in politics, 10% of those missing were Jewish, while they  represented less than 2% of the population.

And on to the second point about this plaza:  In  April, 1982 war broke out between Argentina and England over the Malvinas/Falkland Islands which are less than 200 kilometers off the coast of Argentina.

The country was is the middle of a severe economic downturn and there was growing unrest among the population, so the military  took over the Malvinas most likely in order to divert attention from those problems and raise national patriotism.  Argentina had a valid claim to the islands, and if they had not invaded, they may very likely had won control over them in international courts.
Signs above saying, "Of the lies and abandonment of the military," "The hypocracy of the political leaders," "Of the political-military pack of Menem and -alsa," etc.

The results of the war were devastating to Argentina.
But to return to the point, Argentinian Veterans of this war are protesting a number of things:
1)  They want equal pensions for all those in the war, whether they fought on the islands, were just on ships off the island, or were waiting on bases.
2)  They want the islands back.  Oil has been discovered off the coast of the islands.  The British have hired (an American) firm to research and extract the oil.  It is one reason that the British are less interested in returning the islands.
3)  I think they also wanted more recognition for their efforts and also more health and other social benefits.

A veteran under a sign of "Falkland Island, Islas Malvinas"
Sign above says:, These 16 crosses represent the soldiers that died defending tha Maritime area of Patagonia; starting when the Argentinian air fore attacked the British flotilla in 1982,  649 have died for the Malvinas."

The British also want a base in the Pacific Ocean and access to Antartica and fresh water in the ice there.

One good thing as a result of this war is that although the war was lost, the military lost even more popularity.  In 1983 the generals ran in the election and lost, so democracy returned to the country.

Carlos Menem was elected president in 1989 and he was quite controversial.  When he took office, there was hyperinflation and recession.  He reduced the inflation but the recession worsened.  He sold a number of public companies including the telephone and airlines company, and a company that explored and produced gas and oil.  The debt was lowered and foreign creditors benefitted.  Menem tried to copy Ecuador and peg the peso th the dollar.  In order to do so, the IMF insisted that Argentina have a dollar reserve, so more companies were sold.  Unfortunately, the reserved could not be maintained, and there were huge devaluations of the peso (once 4 times overhight), so people lost their savings, could not take money from the banks for two years--just small amounts weekly.  As a result, nowadays people rarely use banks (hiding money in their homes) and often change extra pesos to dollars at the blue rate.  Nestor Kirschner became president in 2003 and his wife succeeded him after he had served the term-limiting two terms.  His wife Cristina succeeded him for two terms, and the economic situation has worsened.

Buenos Aires has the oldest subway system in Latin America, first begun around 1913 and is the second  oldest in the Americas after Boston.  Until 2001, wooden were used until replace with modern ones in 2011.  It is not as clean or efficient as Santiago's metrol.

We drove around a variety of neighborhoods.  in 1871, a yellow fever epidemic swept Buenos Aires.  The people of the old aristocratic neighborhood of Santelmo were hit hard, and many people fled their homes, even in mid-meal.  For over 70 years, no one lived in their homes, and then bohemians moved in, taking antiques from these home and establishing a flea market focusing on these objects.  After Chelsea in England, our guide said it was the most interesting flea market in the world.  Two from our group visited it on our last day in the country and said that they noticed a lot of fake Chinese antiques, which were hard to detect.  
A fascinating statue in the middle of a boulevard we drove down
Although Catholicism is the dominant religion, many are not religious.  However, "futbol" (soccer) is like a religion to the masses.  We drove through the neighborhood of La Boca where two popular teams started, Boca Jr. and La Plata.  Soccer was brought to Argentina by the British, so you often see English words like "junior" in the names of the teams.  Boca Jr. has a simple stadium which seats 45,000, and is often filled to capacity by wildly excited fans.  (I did buy a T-shirt of the Boca Junior team for my oldest grandson...which will probably be passe down to my three other grandsons!)

After passing the stadium, we came to a Bohemian, artsy, and not tourist area of Caminito in La Boca neighborhood.  It was named for a poem.  The author of the poem is remembered in a bust and the poem is on the wall.

 We got there earlier than most tourist buses, so it was not very crowded. This was an area near the original port where many immigrants had settled.  It is very colorful.

People used materials available for building materials, and corrugated metal from shipping boxes was good protection for the outside of homes.

There were lots of memorials to volunteer firefighters.
A third grade class on a field trip to the area
hearing about the volunteer firefighters of history
 Above:  a mural dedicated in 2014 by the Athletic club Boca Juniors in honor of the Volunteer Firefighters of the Boca neighborhood.

Other murals in the area included:
Waiting for the boats to come into the port

People of the area

In honor of the tango which started nearby

Remembering the sailors at the nearby port
Buenos Aires eventually outgrew this port and in the late 1880s a second port was built.  There were two bids, and the one by a person with connections was chosen.   The design, however, was bad and sediment and silt  from rivers upstream made it difficult to navigate and it had to be continually dredged.  So the original port as reopened and primarily used until the new one was restructured in 1990s.

The statues below were above one of the tourist shops.  Our guide challenged us to find out (by asking in Spanish) who these three people were.  I guessed Maradona (a big soccer star in the 1990s) and Evita Peron, but had to find out from others that the man on the right was Carlos Gardel, the singer who popularized tango music. 

Then, there was lots of art for sale and my favorite kind of art:  tree art.

Our bus took us by abandoned areas where squatters live.  These places are called "villa miseria."  After 5 years of squatting, Argentinians have the right to the land.  They hook lines to area power lines, have no sewage, but get food donated, often by candidates running for office.  In some areas, 4 generations have lived here in such circumstances since the 1950s.  Close to 15% of the populartion live in such places.  

We then drove by the neighborhood  (#47) of Puerto Madero.  It was a storage and business area where the "new" port had been built and then fell into disuse.  It has been refurbished  since 1991 and is a very expensive area with over 200 restaurants.
An area of restaurants and businesses
 The streets are now named for important women in Argentinian history.

We drove by the large law school and found out that 200,000 new law students enter the university.  There are no admission requirements, and tuition to higher education is free in Argentina.  However, they do need to pass exams to graduate. Since tuition is free, many students stay on extra years.  Youth come from other countries, establish residency in one year and attend university for free. Many Argentinians feel that this system needs to be changed.

We drove by a clock donated by England that was originally called Big Ben, but after the war of the Malvinas, the name was changed.

Another fascinating site was a garden on the wall of a building:

One of the most popular works of art in town is a flower sculpture, donated by a former student in 2002.  It is made of twenty tons of stainless steel and opens at daylight and closes at sunset.  

We drove by the site where the Presidential palace was bombed and destroyed with President Peron in it.  The place has been turned into a park with a statue where the palace had been.
We then drove to the Recoleta neighborhood and the famous Recoleta cemetery, which is now a national cemetery.  Many go there to see where Evita Peron was buried.  Maria Eva Duarte de Peron was the second wife of Argentine President Juan Peron and served as first lady of the country from 1946 until her death from cancer in 1952 at the age of 32.  She was and continues to be a very popular figure although she was very controversial also.  She did help establish women's rights in the country, so women got national ID cards, better access to health and the right to use hospitals, and the right to vote.

Below is a statue of Evita, erected on the site where she died. The building was torn down and theis small park established.

Recoleta cemetery began in 1882.  It is on 27 acres, almost all of families with small mausoleums above ground.  Most cemeteries in Argentina are this way.
Entrance to the Recoleta Cemetery
The main "street" in the cemetery

One of the "streets" off of the main street
 The memorial and grave for a young girl.  She was in poor health and thought dead, while waiting for her grave to close, she woke up, walked during the night to find out where she was, and when she realized she was in the cemetery, had a heart attack and died.  She was then reburied.  Since then there have been strict rules in place about the quickness of burying.  Many pass by her grave.
Several masoleums remember faithful pets like the one below to Sabu, the loyal friend of Liliana.
The Duarte mausoleum where Evita is enterred
 It is fascinating that she was buried here as her mother was the mistress of Duarte and when he died, her mother, Evita and her siblings were cast out of where they had been living.

Evita's plaque
 Below is a narrow passage, typical of one that some secret Jews used to pray so they could not be seen.
Niches where individuals can be buried
 Below is the mausoleum of a rich family.  A menorah was added to it because the children of the deceased felt it was important to highlight their Jewish heritage. Most Jews, however, are buried in the Jewish cemetery.

Considered one of the most beautiful statues in the cemetery.
We saw and amazing Banyan tree with supports to hold up some of the branches.  This specimen was over 400 years old and was actually a bush and not a tree!!!

We were on our own for the afternoon, and after finding out that no tickets were available for the Opera House, four of us walked to the synagogue nearby which has by its side the Jewis Museum of Buenos Aires which catalogs the history of Jews in Argentina.

  We were not allowed to take pictures in the museum.  We had a young man as guide for part of the museum and he was definitely naive when he said that there is no anti-Semitism in Argentina.

This museum was established in 1967.  There were only about 100 Jews in Buenos Aires in 1813, mostly Sephardic.  Now about 70% of the Jews in Argentina are Ashkenazic.    In 1862 this synagogue was founded,  as the Israel Congregation of Buenos Aires, by Luis Brie and Joseph French who worked to gather a minyan.  The name was later changed to The Israeli Congregation of the Republic.  In 1875 and Sephardic group started a synagogue and another by Moroccans and Turks in 1897 began the the Latina Israeli synagogue.
You can find out more about the synagogue at its website, which is mostly in Spanish.

Argentina has been a land of immigrants, with 6,600,000 coming from 1857 to 1940, and whatever natives existed were quickly wiped out. Jews also were among the immigrants.

Baron Hirsch worked with the Argentine government to bring Ukrainian Jews there to escape progroms.  The Argentine government agreed, as long as they went to the countryside.  150 Ukraine  Jews arrived ship  in the late 1880s and many more came in the 1890s.
Some became famous as Jewish gauchos.
Alberto Gerchunoff was born in the Russian empire but at age 6 in 1889 he moved to Moisesville.  His father was murdered by a gaucho 2 years later.    He lived in the Pampas for his youth, eventually moving to Buenos Aires to work as a journalist. He also wrote a number of books including The Jewish Gauchos of the Pampas (which was later made into a movie).

 Ten families started Moisesville in 1890 though now none live there as the youth eventually moved to the cities.  A wave of Jewish immigrants also came to urban Argentina, fleeing the Holocaust.
 You can read about them at a variety of websites including:

There were two times historically of strong anti-Semitism in Argentina.  The first was is the ultra nationalistic era of the 1930s.   The chief of police was killed by a Jewish anarchist which led to attacks on Jews.  The second was during the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983 when many Jews disappeared or jailed.
Jews are active in national affairs where two ministers in the government are Jewish and several members of the congress are Jewish including a rabbi.  The Catholic church is friendly to Jews and there is a "good relationship" with Muslims, according to our guide.
There is a 45% rate of intermarriage in the country.  Our guide said that there were 83 synagogues, 50 of which were not orthodox, but when I went online, I found there were a lot less.  Rabbi Marshall Meyer came to Argentina in 1958 and the Conservative movement blossomed during his time there until 1984.  He also established the Latin American Seminary, which became the center of Conservative Judaism in Latin American and has trained dozens of Spanish-speaking rabbis.    He fought of human rights, especially during the dictatorship of the generals, and after the elections in 1983, was named to a commission on the "desaparecidos" by the newly elected president of the country.  Meyer studied with Abraham Joshua Heschel who was his role model.

When I was in Peru in 1969, I used the Conservative machzor that Rabbi Meyer had translated into Spanish.  

The synagogue was built in 1932, based on the style of a synagogue in Paris. .  It holds 800 worshipers.  It had an organ from the start so never was Orthodox.
Entry to the sanctuary

The Sanctuary
Close up of stain glassed window above the pulpit
When Nestor Kirschner was president, he broke off relations with Irans because of their involvement in the bombing of the JCC in 1994.  When his wife Cristina became President, she renewed relations, supposedly to find out more details of the involvement and the bombing.
President husband broke off relations with Iran because of bombing. She renewed to find out more details.

 The front door to the synagogue.  The gate in front of the synagogue was probably added in the 1990s after the bombings at the Israeli Embassy and the JCC.  On the gate are symbols for the 12 tribes of Israel.
That night we divided into three groups and went to different homes for dinner.  Jimmy, Haia, Les, Nava and I went to the home of Teresa.  Actually, we went to her sister's home as her home had been without power for almost a week.

On October 31, our group flew back to Buenos Aires after our amazing experiences in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.  It was a 5+ hour trip as we stopped in Calafate on the way back, and by the time we got to the hotel, we did not have a lot of time to do things.  I did managed to find Calafate liquor and tea, which I purchases and brought home with me.  The liquor is yummy!

We took the bus to Puerto Madero, the fancy upscale area by the second port, and had dinner at the Cabana Villegas Restaurant.  Before the meal, on behalf of our group "Hiking Penguins," Tracy presented Lu with a penguin medal.  It was hilarious.
Below Lu's son is wearing the famous penguin ear muffs!
On the way to the restaurant, we saw this sailing ship with tall buildings of B.A. in the background.
After dinner, we took a walk and saw the ship all lit up with a small group singing opera on the front of the ship.  It was the Frigate "President Sarmiento," constructed in 1897 and served as a training ship for sailors until 1938.  In 1962 it became a ship museum, has tours, often hosts musicians, and has a cafe. 

In the area there were older cranes and other construction equipment lit up on display to show the shipping history of the area.  

  There was also a pedestrian bridge called the "Women's Bridge" which we walked across that opened sideways to let vessels through.  It was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and is similar to a bridge in Seville, Spain.
 We saw a number of teenage girls dressed up as the one below and found out that they were celebrating their 15th birthday.  After photos, their parents would throw a huge party for them, and in this area of town, it was quite expensive. Some families choose to take big trips instead.
Lots of people were out strolling, but we ate dinner relatively early at 7 p.m.  Most people in Buenos Aires probably do not head to restaurants until about 9.

a photo of a lit up building on the way back to the hotel
A number of people in our group went to a Tango show which showed the history of tango, from when it began at the ports with men, the singers that made tango so amazing, when women (prostitutes) joined, the decline of tango when rock and roll became popular and its resurrection in the 1990s.  

The next day we went on a short cruise on the Parana River Delta.  The 21,000 square kilometers of the delta where a number of rivers including the bigger Parana, Uruguay,  and Guaza flow together to make the  Rio de la Plata.  Especially the Parana River brings lots of sediment which over time made the islands. The Parana is the second longest river in South America, flowing through Brazil, Paragruay and Argentina for over 3,000 miles.  The Delta has three sections but we just saw a small part of it.

 Roads are replaced by rivers and may remind some of SE Asia except for nice houses along it.  The houses get water from rain and also from bottles of water they bring in.  Weekenders leave the big bottles at the place we caught our boat and fill them up when they return.

The only way to get to the homes (and a few rentals, parks, and restaurants) is by boat.  The recycling boat comes to pick up recycling, and a boat comes with basic food stuffs.  We also saw another "store" on the shore too.  Garbage is picked up by boat too, with people leaving closed bags of garbage for the Monday pick up.  Some weekenders leave it out on Sunday and sometimes animals trash the bags--tis a problem.

Recycling boat
Local Store
The Ceibo is the national tree of Argentina.  It's red flowers are just beginning to come out.  There is a legend about the flower that it is colored from the blood of a lover, not permitted to marry, and who was burned.  
Our tour boat
A very fancy house.  Notice the retaining wall by the river to prevent erosion
All homes have them.
A simpler home with reeds growing in the water
Father and daughter waving to us
 Built as a casiono originally, then rebuilt as a hotel in 1969, now the building below is a fine arts museum.  It is the most beautiful building in the Tigre Delta.

 Commercial ships are serviced/repaired on the Delta at a lower cost than elsewhere.
 An abandoned house that finally has fallen into the river.
 An example of a house on stilts to keep from being flooded.
 An abandoned boat

A woman waiting for the local taxi/bus boat

Not a lot of animals are on the islands but there are a lot of birds.  And some people fish here.

Erosion where there are no retaining walls.
 Wood flowing down river gets "stuck" by a house.
 Although this is a beautiful place to live or come for vacations/the weekend, it can be difficult to live here because of water issues and upkeep.  So we saw a number of places for sale.  The "name" of this place is "Four Winds."  Another was called "Utopia."
A nice house below.  The water in this part of the delta is pretty high now.
 For those who do not want to buy but do want to visit, cabins are for rent at this spot.
 Nice sign saying, "plant trees, don't cut them down."  Trees have been planted as a business for harvesting.
 A remodeled earlier house, under glass for preservation.
 A nice way to travel.

Before heading to the airport at 5 p.m. a number of us headed to the Sunday Recoleta handicrafts market near the big cemetery.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  


There were probably at least 60 stands, maybe closer to 100 there, with all kinds of different crafts. Here are photos of some of the items:

Stands from the back at the outer edge.
Pottery maker happy to have her photo taken
Cloth wall hangings of tango and more
Bracelets for about $10 each--ones of the right on sale
Cute little animals of ceramics and also Xmas nativity scenes in background
Amazing paintings on metal or wood--cannot remember
Old standby--fruit holder
Containers for making mate tea and straw to drink it with
Statue of past president with bird perching on it
and boy below, texting?
Musicians made with silverware
Woman whom I bought earrings from
Trees of life (not living but "eternal")
Some adorable paper towel holders and gadget holders
Music instruments made by artist
T Shirt I bought for grandson that says "Water is more precious than gold"
Leather belts for under $10 each
Maker of  leather belts adjusting one for Nava
Fantasy characters
Nava with artist that made the shawl she just bought
Other shawls that same artist made
Beautiful tree we saw on walk to restaurant
 El Sanjuanito is famous for home style Argentinian food, including empanadas, pastas filled with meats or cheese or vegetables.
List of empanadas:  filled with soft shredded beef, spicy shredded beef,
chicken, ham and cheese, cheese and onion, corn, veetables, Napolitan
style, Roquefort and tomatoes
 Cute placemat below

Cathy eating an empanada
Locro--filled with everything including beef tendons, etc.  No, I did not taste it.
We got back to the hotel in time to repack and say our good byes.  It was the end to a wonderful trip.