Archive for January, 2024

All’s well

Sunday, January 28th, 2024
Flavie living her best life!

This week was pretty calm! Lea and I had lunch last Sunday at Birken – nice to sit outside. Work was busy as usual, as I was covering for American Citizen Services and the section in general.

Today my book club met at Roldan – always nice to sit outside there and watch the horseback riding lessons going on! It was a beautiful day with a great breeze to counter the heat of the summer. We discussed this month’s book, “Cloud Cuckoo Land.” I also started Ambassador Yovanvitch’s “Lessons from the Edge.”

John and I enjoyed “The Holdovers” and also dipped into “True Detectives” and “Criminal Record.

Yesterday John and I had a yummy seafood lunch at La Pescadorita in Palermo, and stopped for dessert at Invernadero. I had a good convo with Pam and Ann today on a video chat – love catching up!

Details, details

Sunday, January 21st, 2024

I love so much of the architecture in Buenos Aires – when you stop to look, you can see all kinds of lovely details. Sadly, many buildings are in disrepair. I saw these two features over doors last week as I was leaving lunch with Lea in Palermo.

Monday was a U.S. holiday and I thoroughly enjoyed the extra day off! I had a video chat with Ann and Pam on Sunday, and continued that on the holiday with an additional chat with Pam, Karen in Brazil, and David. Nice to catch up with folks!

In addition to our boss being out, Lea also is on vacation this week, so I did some work in the American Citizen Services unit to help out. I always enjoy that.

There’s a definite summer vibe to the office – lots of folks take summer hours, meaning they work more during the week and leave early on Friday. John’s been doing that, but I prefer the shorter days and quiet Friday afternoons. This week, the Marines did a fundraising lunch and were grilling and selling choripan – delicious! (Chorizo sausage link on a bun with chimicurri). John and I sat outside with some other folks to enjoy ours.

John and I watched “Children of the Flower Moon” this week – it’s long so it took us several days to get through it. We started the new season of “True Detective” with Jodi Foster, and watched an episode of “Suits” (an old show we never have watched before) and “Poker Face.”

Yesterday John treated me to a delish lunch at El Refuerzo in San Telmo after my hair appointment – it was really good and kind of off the beaten path – I liked that they had a more creative menu than many restaurants in town. We’ll definitely be back!

Roasted Camembert with veggies, pesto, and basil
Burrita cheese with pesto, prosciutto, and homemade pickles
Strip steak with typical criollo salsa over amazing roasted potatoes in iron skillet

Do we have to go back to work?

Sunday, January 14th, 2024
Artist Tony Valiente

John treated me to an excellent lunch at La Cabrera yesterday, then bought me this fabulous piece by Tony Valiente at the Mercado de Pulgares (flea market). I’ve enjoyed meeting Tony over the last year or so, but hadn’t stopped by to visit him in a while; I’m glad to add this crazy piece to our art collection. Folks like Tony are one of a kind – he reminds me of the people Mark Sloan wrote about it “Self-Made Worlds.”

With Tony

Work this week was busy as we both tried to catch up after being out of the office. I’m the acting Consul General while my boss is out, as well as my normal duties. John and I had lunch with our friend Jenae one day to talk about our respective trips to Antarctica over the holidays – she also had a great trip. She had a penguin jump into their Zodiac boat!

Thursday night I met Lea, Katherine, and Bhavna at a wine bar – we had fun just catching up and chatting. The wine bar was interesting – it was self-serve: you put your table’s plastic card into the wine fridge’s slot, select the amount of wine, and it automatically dispenses, not unlike a Coke machine. I laughed so hard and wish I had a video of it!

This morning I had a great video chat with my friend Stacie in Paris – we worked together in DC, then she was in the country next to me while we were in Africa. She’s working hard to prepare for the Summer Olympics in France – I do not envy her, as it’s a Herculean effort to protect the huge number of US citizens who will travel there for the games.

Last Sunday I met Lea for good seafood at La Mar, then read Ruth Rathblott’s “Singlehandedly.” We met Ruth on our cruise and really enjoyed meeting her. I enjoyed her book with its thoughtful take on disabilities and how we all hide something.

John and I watched an excellent movie last night with Peter Dinklage, Marisa Tomei, and Anne Hathaway – really fun and charming.

Happy new year!

Sunday, January 7th, 2024

What a memorable New Year’s! We had dinner with a fun group of folks on NY Eve, but skipped the dance party in favor of sleep. We were out early the next day to visit the aptly named Penguin Island in the South Shetland Islands where we saw the darling chinstrap penguins. The ship moved to Admiralty Bay in the afternoon and we did more Zodiac touring.

The next day we landed on President’s Head where we saw lots of elephant seals. The afternoon took us to Deception Island – named because it is not really an island but a volcano top. We pulled into Whalers’ Bay and wandered around there looking at the old station, and of course, penguins — plus a bonus leopard seal taking it easy on the beach. That evening as we were sailing, a few of us were lucky enough to see a few pilot whales! (And yes, a naturalist was with me to verify the identification!)

On January 3, we landed on Danco Island. Instead of hiking up the icy hill to see the penguin colony, John and I jumped in a Zodiac and took a tour of the beautiful bay instead. We went on to Neko Harbor in the afternoon. The footing in the snow and ice felt better to me and with two ski poles, we made our way up the hill to see the penguins against the blue backdrop of a glacier – stunning! In route, we came across of large pod of orcas, those gorgeous black and white “killer whales” (actually dolphins).

On the fourth, we started across the Drake Passage – there was a bit of swell, but luckily John and I never experienced any seasickness. The next day, the water was almost still. When we pulled into the Beagle Channel, I saw lots of dolphins!

Map of our route

Throughout the week we attended lectures and had fun with our fellow passengers. Alas we didn’t win trivia night, but had fun trying!

Amanda, Elsie, Anthony, John, Jim, Lawrence
Dinner: our fun waiter,Sue (from Arkansas), John, Paul, Debbie, Ruth, me, Yaron, Gaby

Sadly we disembarked on the morning of the sixth. Our tour bus took us on a tour around the small town of Ushuaia, then we toured a fascinating old prison that was turned into a museum.

The old prison museum

We thoroughly enjoyed the trip! We really enjoyed our fellow passengers, the crew, and the A&K naturalists. I spent a lot of time with binoculars in hand, either in the observation lounge or bundled up outside – I couldn’t bear the thought of missing a sighting of wildlife and it paid off — I was the only person on board who saw the three rarely sighted marine mammals: hourglass dolphins, beaker whales, and pilot whales! This was really an amazing experience!

In my happy place!