Wine Country

November 22nd, 2012 § Comments Off on Wine Country § permalink

We’re in the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s wine producing regions. I am not used to the sound of parrots in wine country!

Now we have to figure out how to get the wine we’ve purchased home. Wish we had one of these:

Glad I don’t depend on credit

April 30th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Thanks, Chase Bank, for noting my travel dates in Mexico and then:
a) declining dinner charges (for under 40 bucks)
b) freezing my account
c) locking me out of online account access
d) inability to reverse the online access restriction for 3-5 days after having made the expensive international call to clear things up

Is it because I’m in Mexico? I gave my travel dates at the beginning of the trip. The customer service agent says it’s not because I’m in Mexico, but because the charges were suspicious. Since when is a $40 charge at a hotel/restaurant in Mexico suspicious when you are reportedly traveling in that country?

Something about usage patterns was mentioned… I guess since I don’t use a credit card that often at home, the flags went up?

Why then, did a charge from my health insurance company for much much more than dinner get accepted? Because it’s an American company? Incidentally, hearing about this charge on the phone call with the customer service agent was not a nice way to find out that my insurance rate has gone up by a hundred dollars or something like that.

What’s the take away here? While I appreciate security, sometimes it can go too far. There should be a better way for Chase to contact me when I’m NOT HOME TO ANSWER THE PHONE before they go and pull the plug on me.

Seven steaks in 6 days

September 10th, 2009 § Comments Off on Seven steaks in 6 days § permalink

Ben has eaten more steak than I (the post title is his words), but we’re going to a parilla (steakhouse) for dinner tonight and I will try to catch up–dinner here starts at 9:30 / 10:00; some people sup at midnight! Nothing like eating 1/2 kilo of meat (the standard portion size) at, say, 10:30 before going to bed only a few hours later. Makes for weird dreams.

Besides beef steak I have had: lamb, lama, and goat. They love grilled meat here, as much as wine–it’s drunk with both lunch and dinner. How will I get used to salads for dinner at 7:30 when Im back home?!?

The Andes

September 9th, 2009 § Comments Off on The Andes § permalink

The view from our room at the Cavas Wine Lodge in Mendoza

Wine tasting all day!

September 9th, 2009 § Comments Off on Wine tasting all day! § permalink

Mendoza is famous for Malbec, but they also grow many others grapes. They say visiting wineries here is like Napa 30 years ago: not commercialized and a very personal experience. I wouldn’t know because I was only allowed to drink milk back then, but it was definitely a pleasant day. My tongue was purple at the end!

Dulce de Leche

September 9th, 2009 § Comments Off on Dulce de Leche § permalink

The national addiction (besides coffee, wine, and empanadas) is milk caramel. This was a snack on the airplane.

On to Mendoza

September 7th, 2009 § Comments Off on On to Mendoza § permalink

We’re flying to Mendoza today–it’s the wine region, famous for Malbec. Good bye Buenos Aires (and hopefully rain).

View this a.m. from hotel room:

Tango is dead

September 6th, 2009 § Comments Off on Tango is dead § permalink

Our driver last night said tango is for old people (like his father, who must be close to 80) and tourist shows…real tango is old fashioned and dead. We were looking for a milonga (the Argentine word for dance hall or dance event) to watch everyday people dance the tango, but only found a small one in a decrepit (but at one time grand) building that smelled like an old lady’s cat box…and it was full of white haired geezers like the driver promised.

We had seen an excellent tango show the night before–a professional operation compared to a broadway production in terms of quality…which made the pathetic turn out and quality of dancing (picture your grandma and grandpa trying to kick their feet up to their shoulders without it being the horrible result of a fall down stairs) at the milonga all the more sad.

People come here to live so they can learn the dance–there are travel books written about it, so I have to wonder…

Buenos Aires: is it really so dangerous?

September 6th, 2009 § Comments Off on Buenos Aires: is it really so dangerous? § permalink

Is it the 4-star hotel keeping its customers cacooned with the constant warnings, or is it really THAT likely one will be robbed while out and about? I want a plexi-glass travel suit like the pope-mobile if so! Since we never travel 4-star I wonder if this over protection is normal (ie commonly practiced whether or not it’s necessary)…I’ve been to some pretty rough places in comparison to Buenos Aires and have never experienced this sort of warnings…no like!

Morning view in the Retiro neighborhood (Buenos Aires)

September 6th, 2009 § Comments Off on Morning view in the Retiro neighborhood (Buenos Aires) § permalink