Yesterday we went to Cordoba, with a rather long "to do" list.
It involved some shopping.
And some price comparison.
Getting lost was not on the list.
And yet we did it anyway.
You'd think that after five years we'd sorta have a better handle on where things are in the neighboring big city.
Warning: Do not, I repeat DO NOT, rely on the free map phone app from NavFree when in Argentina.
I think whoever programmed this country for NavFree is a sick, demented individual who likes to send people on wild goose chases and takes joy in their misadventures.
Thankfully we are (kinda) still laughing about the two-hour journey through parts of the city we've never been (and hope to never go again). I mean, seriously, you could drive around the perimeter of the city several times in two hours, but we couldn't get out of one puny pie-sliced portion of it?
We managed to knock off most (but not all) of the items on the "to do" list, but were absolutely done in by the time we made it home. Like practically crawling-into-the-house done in. We'd forgotten how exhausting a day in the big city can be... And that's without getting lost. I think it might be a while before I want to go back.
We were both really tempted to give up entirely on the list at about 5 p.m., but pushed on for purely selfish reasons. Because there was one item that was not optional: buy coffee beans. I will economize in a lot of areas, but coffee beans is not one of them. Waking up to a really good cup of coffee is an indulgence we have become quite accustomed to, and would rather not do without. The best beans I've found in Argentina cannot be bought in our city, but thankfully can be purchased in Cordoba. So you'd better believe we made the extra effort and drove across town again in order to buy those beans.
We've been shopping around for mattresses, for the house in Sta Rosa. To say we've experienced sticker shock would be an understatement. Prices were high before, but inflation has pushed them up to what we consider the ridiculous. We've been to three stores in Carlos Paz and to a store as well as a mattress factory in Cordoba. In the end we're buying locally. While the factory gave us a pretty good price, it wasn't that much lower than one of the stores here in town. We pay a little more here, but avoid the cost of transporting the mattresses from Cordoba, as well as the hassle (which in our opinion is worth something too).
Prices, in general, have gone up 30-50% in the past six months. I find that staggering. How does the average Argentine get by?! Even with a fairly decent exchange rate on our dollars, we're still paying more for things than we did six months ago. It's a little scary to contemplate inflation continuing at this rate.
I've mentioned my love for doing laundry before. Today I'm in my element, cranking out load after load. The only thing is, it's so windy I can't dry our shirts on the line like I usually do. I've come up with a strategy to avoid having to iron (something I hate worse than cleaning toilets), that includes popping them into the dryer for 10 minutes, putting them on hangers and then clipping the hangers on the line (prevents all those little pinch marks you typically get from the clothespins). But with the wind whipping around at over 20 mph, that strategy won't fly. Well, actually it causes the shirts to fly -- right off the line and onto the ground -- so instead I'm hanging them on the shower rod in the bathroom after their 10-minute stint in the dryer. But everything else is going on the line, and it's kinda fun to look out the kitchen window and watch things go sideways in the wind.
I'm making zapallitos rellenos for lunch, but not really following the Argentine recipe. Instead of filling them with ham, eggs, scooped out squash, onions, bread crumbs and milk, I'm doing more of a stuffed pepper-type filling with rice, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Julio and Magdalena stopped by, and this is more along the lines of what she might do as a vegetarian. They were on their way to the vegetable store to pick up supplies so one of their granddaughters could make lunch. I hear homemade french fries is on the menu. Yum!
Have you ever had tennis elbow? I did once about 15-20 years ago and now I have it again. It's been six weeks and it's not getting any better. Do you think it could be because I'm still using that arm like normal? But the pain level is getting to where I might need to re-think that strategy.
I spent a fun 20 minutes wrapping Christmas presents this morning. One of our co-workers has small children and while we were in the states I picked up a few toys to give them for Christmas. We don't do much at Christmas now that we're empty nesters AND 6000 miles from family. But I did want to make sure and have something for the little ones.
I'm also planning to pull out the Christmas tree and all the trimmings and take them to Sta Rosa this year. The men are having a retreat there in early December and I thought it would be fun to decorate beforehand so they could enjoy it. And it will be nice to have it all decorated when we go out later that month for a few days. In spite of not doing much in the way of gifts, I do love to decorate for the holidays!
Lunch is almost ready, and the final load is ready to hang on the line. So this meandering must come to an end.