Argentina 2009 – Day 5

Gary and I got to sleep in, but Mom had to be back downstairs to work on the conference again. Thank goodness it wasn’t that busy. Gary and I headed downstairs around 10:00 to see what needed to be done. There was not much to do other than prepare for the end of the conference. We had a few things that we needed to accomplish today: Go shopping along Av. Florida, go to the Alvear Palace Hotel, get tickets for the ferry to Uruguay, and purchase our plane tickets to Iguazu.

It was raining off and on so we lingered around the hotel for a bit. It was also Gary’s birthday so we waited for them to bring a cake so we could sing Happy Birthday. We also managed to score some free food from the conference lunch. With food in our bellies, we set out to do our walking tour first. First up, a revisit to Casa Rosada so I could take my Eva Peron pose photo, then we walked up to Avenue Florida, a pedestrian shopping street. It seems all good cities have at least one!

It was the typical mix of high traffic area shops. Part Harijuku, part Powell Street. We did poke into an electronics store where I discovered the latest MacBooks were priced at 7999 Argentine Pesos for the low end (approx. US$2100) and the high end 15″ was priced at 10,599 Pesos (US$2800)!! Besides that, there were the usual iPods and HDTVs galore. One thing we did notice was an old Harrod’s storefront that had been long closed. After awhile, we finally reached the Alvear Palace Hotel.

The street that it is on is full of super expensive boutiques and nice homes and embassies. Certainly one of the nicer parts of Buenos Aires. The Hotel itself is very glamorous and way out of my price range, but the reason I wanted to see it is because this is where Walt Disney and his animators lived for several weeks in the early 1940s on his Good Neighbor tour of South America. Fittingly, it was Walt Disney’s Birthday on the day I visited. After taking some photos, we headed over to the Hard Rock so Gary could see if they had anything new since last year. There was nothing special, but I did get to see the Recoleta market that is outside the cemetery that Gary had mentioned. Since time was getting short, we hired a taxi to take us back to our hotel. Thankfully, my high school Spanish of “Vamanos a Hilton en Puerto Madero” managed to get the point across to the driver.

We made it back in about 10 minutes – fast compared to the time it took to walk there. Back at the hotel, Mom had made our arrangements to Iguazu Falls. We are supposed to fly out on Monday and she made the plane reservations. When we went to the American Desk in the hotel to purchase them, we discovered she got quoted the Argentina citizen rate that was US$100 less than we had seen the price online. After what seemed like forever, we got our tickets purchased. We headed back up to continue the wrap up of the conference, and finally figured out how we were going to get our ferry tickets. Gary and I went down to the terminal, and after a few attempts and some Blackberry Messenger-ing, we purchased our 5 tickets. Again, high school Spanish ruled the day, especially after we had to switch to different ticket sellers.

Walking back to the hotel, we spotted a good place to eat dinner that featured a huge grill where all the meats and large baked potatoes were cooked. When we made it back, Mom and Shirley decided to try the El Faro restaurant in the hotel. It was good, but it was very Top Chef proportions and heck the menu even had a Ceviche. After dinner, we all headed to bed. I got to stay in a room that was vacated at the last minute by someone from the conference. It was nice having my own room for a night, but not so good was that it was in the smoking section of the hotel. Now time for slumber as I get ready for Uruguay tomorrow!