Tuesday, January 6, 2015

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Friday January 2, 2015

los trés
Here we are in Buenos Aires at the beginning of the New Year, and finally, really, on sabbatical. We arrived yesterday a.m., over an hour earlier than our publicized arrival time, and quickly sailed through customs, only to discover that, being New Year's Day and not quite 4 a.m., there weren't many taxi drivers on duty. The fellow behind the counter told us it would be a 30-40 minute wait for the next driver; I said to Jonathan as we settled in to wait, "That means it will be at least an hour." But, lo and behold, I wrong. It was only about 20 minutes, and our driver arrived and we were on our way. The problem with all this uncharacteristic promptness, even earliness, is that Shira was operating with the usual assumptions about Latin American timing, and we arrived at our apartment before her. Locked out with our suitcases and no way to reach her. The taxi driver tried calling her cell, no answer. A woman who lives on the 5th floor let us into the building, and invited us to come and wait in her apartment if we didn't find Shira waiting for us in ours. It's all part of the aventura, we told ourselves, I feeling very glad that I was experiencing this with Jonathan, and could therefore take it all in stride, rather than alone and panicking. Just as we were about to take her up on the offer, Shira showed up on her bicycle.
street scene

In  Parque Centenario, near our
first apartment
Thursday (Jan 1) was spent napping, walking back to Shira's apartment, going out to breakfast at a cafe on her street, and then leaving her to rest. We walked back to our place with groceries that Shira had purchased for us in advance because markets would be closed New Year's Day, and then strolled to Centenario Park about 10 blocks away, feeling blessed and lucky to be able to walk in the sunshine along the lake, enjoying the trees and fountains and statues and flowers and a few young musicians, and returned to our place for a shower, a quick Google-hangout with Ruhi, and a nap of our own. After we awoke, Jonathan got on-line to look for apartments for the next several weeks, while I got to work on sketching a new scribal scrap, feeling so lucky that I actually could take out my parchment and compass and rulers and pencils and be able to work on an art piece.

Shira has a new job as a waitress at a "puerta cerrada" restaurant, a place where one eats a single set menu, by advance reservation only: https://www.facebook.com/kenshococinaorganica 
Shira translating Maximo's
New Year brindis (toast) at Kensho
She was hired because they were in need of a bilingual waitress, as many of their patrons are ingles-hablantes, and she asked us in advance if we would like to eat there on our first night in Buenos Aires. It is a vegan, local, organic restaurant, owned by a couple Maximo and Claudia. We left our apartment at 8:50 pm (as the meal didn't start until 9:30  pm - dinner is late, by American standards, in Argentina - and 9:30 is actually a bit early here.) We had walking directions from an app "como llego BA" that Shira had directed us to. The restaurant was in a lovely space that had been a private residence, converted to this use, with the tub and shower still in the bathroom. The meal was spectacular, a luxurious array of scents and sabores, surprising combinations of flavors (such as fruit, vodka and cilantro! in the cocktail we were handed upon arrival), artfully arranged on each platter, which were presented course by course in a leisurely fashion so that the entire meal unfolded over several hours and didn't end until after 12:30 a.m. It ended with all the guests ushered together onto the patio, for a final passion-fruit champagne toast to the New Year, with various cookies and the most spectacular vegan chocolate ice-cream balls (made in a secret recipe with ground cashew and coconut). Jonathan and Maximo bonded over a shared love of bread and bread-baking, and discussed the possibility of meeting again to bake together. We also enjoyed the Canadian family from Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario, who happened to sit at the table next to ours. We left Kensho Concina Organica at 12:50 a.m., walked the deserted streets back to our apartment in about 40 minutes, and were in bed at 2 a.m. Did I mention how blessed and lucky we feel to be able to be doing this?

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