Buenos Aires - Finally! (Melissa)

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Today we flew from Dulles to Buenos Aires by way of Houston. We were very excited a few weeks ago to enroll in the Global Entry system, which allows you to go through customs on your return trips to the United States without having to stand in interminable lines full of irritated, not-so-fresh passengers from your flight back. An unexpected perk of the Global Entry program is that it automatically enrolls you in TSA Precheck, a program that lets you skip the regular security line at airports in the USA to go through a special line where you don't have to remove your plastic bag of liquids from your carry-on luggage and you don't have to take off your shoes. I for one was very excited about the TSA Precheck line, until we got to Dulles and realized that most people in the DC area are enrolled in TSA Precheck due to security clearances. The line for TSA Precheck was likely longer than the regular security line.

The flight itself was fine. We sat in Economy Plus, and I slept most of the time. Rich watched a couple of movies and slept. As a result, we were fairly refreshed when we arrived in the early morning in Buenos Aires. It was about 40 degrees when we left DC, and we were expecting 80-90 degree weather in Buenos Aires. It seemed very hot. After we checked into the hotel and went through the regular hotel shenanigans (we upgraded for a reduced price because our room had a balcony in what appeared to be a shaft in the hotel's innards), we decided to go for a walk in La Recoleta Cemetery. It was really neat--crowded streets filled with various styles of mausoleums, each in a different architectural style. It was also a bit spooky. Although we were wearing our summer clothes, I was feeling really overheated at the cemetery, with the sun bouncing off of all the marble around us and no breeze. Rich took pity on me and we headed over to the famous restaurant across the street, La Biela, to have a drink and snack under the giant (mangrove?) tree that is at least a city block wide. It was really hot--I mean, every part of my body that was touching something, including my own clothing, was rebelling. I checked my phone--103 degrees. Yikes.

The heat did not back off the in the evening, and the sun did not set until 10:30 that night. We had heard that Buenos Aires operates like big European cities with respect to dinner times, and having been burned before in Spain, we didn't head out to find our evening meal until 8:30 p.m. on Christmas day. Being an idiot, I wore heels during a heat wave. We walked to a restaurant that Rich had read about, Cumana, but he also wanted to check out a cool bar first. We walked for what felt like miles (and what, in fact, was probably at least a mile) to find that the cool bar was closed (not entirely surprisingly for Christmas day). Cumana was open, though, so we went in and chatted with the waiter in a combination of our terrible 5th grade Spanish and his much better English. We asked what the specialties of the house were, and he said casseroles. So, obviously, we got a casserole. In 103 degree heat. And an empanada. And a salad, because I learned my lesson about not having vegetables when we visited Germany. It was absolutely delicious, but I felt like a bloated corpse after the meal. Thank God for Argentinian wine. We stumbled back the hotel and slept very well.

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