I told my guests not to worry about what time they get up. They told me they want to get "an early start." I tell them "This is Argentina. We don't start early here. Besides You are on vacation. Relax." I get up because I have to. I have Maximiliana. She needs to go out or I will have little surprises in the apartment. We take a morning paseo and greet the porteros in the morning.
At 10 I am drinking my coffee and having a peach when Dave gets up. He is surprised at himself. He goes right to the computer. I say good bye. I have physical therapy. I tell him I will be back by 11:30. I leave him with Maxie. She is thrilled. A new person to adore her.
When I get home Matt is up and ready to go. He is also surprised at how long he slept. I remind them of the time difference. Dave is proud that he made it three blocks down and ordered a cafe doble and medialunas. "Litte strange croissants" he called them.
They want to know what we are going to do. I tell them to put on walking shoes because we are going to walk. I tell Dave he ought to take his camera bag. He doesn't want to. OK. I am nervous. He has a very large camera. I don't want to scare them, but I tell them they are targets for pickpockets. I tell them about the motochorros (thieves on motorcycles) and various other forms of robos here.
First we head to the Botanical Gardens. I tell them all about the history of the gardens as we walk through. I love these gardens. Sometimes when you are deep inside, you can forget you are in the middle of the city. It is so peaceful and quiet. They too are amazed.
We walk down Sarmiento towards Libertador. Past the zoo. I am aware. I push them across streets. I realize now how much I have adapted to crossing streets here. I no longer think, I just go. I pull them with me or we will get killed. Or they will. How will I explain that to Jeff? Or worse Marylynn? Never mind their families.
I point out the American Embassy. "It is the only embassy that looks like a military installation." I tell them. They tell me stories of all the embassies that have been bombed. "How sad" I think to be that hated. Yet I know when I have said that to other guests they tell me it is because they are jealous. Living outside of the US has given me a different point of view.
Soon we are in front of the Monumento de los Espanoles. This is one of my most favorite monuments in the city. More than los Dos Congresos. Dave stops to take a picture. Next we cross into the park. I tell them that on Sundays the park is closed to traffic. You can rent rollerskates, bicycles. People walk and run. They compare it to Central Park. We go into the small museum and look around before we go into the Rosedal. The Rosedal is one of the most beautiful rose gardens I have ever been in. There are over 1200 species of roses.
I tell them we will walk over to the Evita museum. They are excited. They tell me all about Patty Lupone and her brother Robert. I give them a brief history of the museum and the house that it is housed in. Like many people they are mesmerized by the life of Evita.
After the museum they want to see the obelisk. I tell them we will take the subte to the obelisco and then walk to Tortoni from there. I feel very conspicuous. They cannot help looking like tourists, they are. Dave keeps running ahead. I call him my wayward child. I tell Matt he is the good child because he listens. Dave reminds me not to tell Marylynn.
When they see the obelisco they laugh. "It looks like the Washington Monument." "It celebrated the 400th birthday of Buenos Aires, they built it in 2 months." I tell them. I also tell then that we joke about it being an "homage to the Argentine man." to which my "amigas" usually laugh and go "mentira".
We take a pizza break. We go to Las Cuartetas. I love the pizza there. I ask them what they like on their pizza. Then I realize this is silly. American pizza and porteño pizza are completely different. They tell me they like onions. "You like onions? Great, you are going to experience fugazetta." I tell them. "This is a special pizza you can only have here. We will have it with pieces of faina." I explain it to them, but I realize it is best to wait until the pizza comes.
The fugazetta arrives and they are speechless. Dave tells me I need to bring Jeff and Marylynn here. "Yes, but they need to come here first." I tell him. At first the fugazetta and all the cheese and onions seems odd to them, but once they taste it with the faina, they love it. I am trying to give them as many local experiences as possible.
Weighted down with pizza we head to Tortoni. I tell them that there will be a line outside. My "Argentine" side is miffed. I remember when I could go to Tortoni, have a coffee with friends any time of day. Now I must wait in line even when there are tables available inside. Tortoni has become a big tourist attraction.
Sure enough there is a line. We join it. I am patient. I will pretend that this is Pago Facil and I am waiting to pay my phone bill. We talk about the culture here while we wait. I give them little bits of historical information. Soon an Argentine girl pushes to the front of the line and asks to be let in with her friends to "just look." She tells the young man at the door "I live here, I have no interest except for my friends to see the place." She does not let up. I decide if he is going to let her in, then I want to be let in with Matt and Dave too.
"Yo tambien." I say to the guy. He is shocked. I tell him the same, "I live here too and my friends are just visiting." She turns to me "Well you should have said something before." She is so sure she is going to get in. The guy looks at her and then says "We are not a museum. We are a coffee house." I laugh. She leaves. The young man looks at me. "I am very suprised, I thought you were Argentinian. Your friends no, but you yes. Where are you from?" Ahh I must get this at least 5 times a day. So I tell him I live here..blah, blah, blah.
The guys decide it was worth the wait for Tortoni. They like the ice cream. I tell them on a scale of 1 - 5 with 5 the best it is a 2.5. They cannot wait to try more ice cream. We leave to walk down Avenida de Mayo. More history lessons, a walk through the Hotel Castelar. I take them into the Library of Congress. We walk by the Congreso and down Entre Rios.
Back home we talk about what to do. They want to rest and I have a meeting. I tell them I will meet up with them later for dinner. "And ice cream." says Dave. "You can't forget the ice cream."