Been there, done that
(August 9 - September 4, 1998)

We finished up our South American trip on Friday, a week early.  Everyone was ready to go home.  This has been quite an adventure for us first timers to South America.  There was certainly some excitement that we don't usually get on these trips.  We are content with just being able to do some good sightseeing.  This trip started for me with a call from my manager who knew I didn't care to go to South America.  She asked me to consider making the trip because she was really in a bind from a skills standpoint.  She also joked that I was "limiting my experience" by not going to South America.  It was hard to say no given that she has always treated me OK and went to bat to take me back onto this audit team.  So this was a loyalty thing.  Payback time.  If you have read the notes I have sent out during this trip, you can probably tell that I got more than I bargained for and I have certainly 'broadened my experience'.  ;-)

To be sure, there were some good memories, funny memories, exciting/scary memories, such as:

1.  the mustard people of Buenos Aires, which caused, and is still causing, my colleague lots of grief due to stolen credit cards, license, etc.  It will be months before all that settles down.  It was a bit disconcerting when, a week later, he got hit again, this time with Diane and I along.  We started joking with the other three team members that it was their turn to walk with Merle the next time we go touring.  ;-)  It was humorous to see these lowlife thieves turn on a dime and head the other way when I pointed my video camera at them.

2.  then there was the bus #93 night.  That one was amusing from the get-go because I think we didn't feel threatened given there were six of us.  I'm sure we'll all remember that one for a long time.

3.  it will be hard to forget the taxi drivers, all of which were very aggressive, but very competent, drivers.  This must be a common phenomenon because they drove almost the same way in Caracas.  What was funny was one my colleagues, Carol, who would bury her head after a driver did something a bit scary and she would mumble in jest "I'm not going to look anymore".  Made us all laugh every time she did that.

4.  I know I'll miss the great beef and red wine in Buenos Aires, although we do have that in the USA, too.  What we'll miss is Las Nazarenas and Fernando, our regular waiter.  We there no less than six times.  It may be harder to find the medialunas we had every morning for breakfast in the hotel lounge and the empanadas that were served to us automatically as a starter in many restaurants at the dinner meals.

5.  and then there was the LEGUI, a 'licor fino' that they would give to us after we paid our dinner bill.  A couple of nights they brought a bottle of champagne for our table and gave that to us - gratis.  Nice touch.  The legui was so good that I'm bringing two bottles home with me.

6.  the trip to Montevideo on our first weekend in South America was pretty forgettable, but the fast ferry was nice. 

7.  the day trip to the estancia La Cinacina was a great day and the video of the horse racing and games came out great.

8.  the stay in Caracas was pretty boring and that is why we are glad to have ended early.  The weather is like living in paradise, but the crime and fear factor put a real damper on our stay.  The hotel was a marvelous way to have to spend being hotel bound, but cabin fever was starting to set in.

9.  the thing I will remember most about Caracas is the Tamanaco Hotel and the views of the mountains and the view of the city from up on the mountains.

As I look back on this trip to South America, I wouldn't say that I wish I had never had to make it.  Having Diane with me for the first four weeks in Buenos Aires made it better than if I was there without her.  For me, it wasn't as enjoyable as all of the other trips around the world we have taken since 1993.  But it did offer some excitement and memories and I guess it did broaden my experience with world travel.  It just isn't someplace for which I would use frequent flyer miles or hotel points to spend a vacation, although I might consider returning as part of a tour.  I guess my feeling is that I've BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!  Now it's time to move on and await our next trip out of the USA to places we much more prefer to visit.  ;-)

I hope you all have enjoyed reading these stories from South America as much as I have enjoyed writing them.  They aren't intended to be great literary works.  What you see is what you get as it flows from head to hand to keyboard, no rewrites, no editing.  Since I am using an email system that is different than some others, it is possible you aren't getting the notes in the same format I am sending them (like you may not see the above as 'bullets'), but I think the notes are readable.  So, until our next trip out of the country, take care y'all.  :-)

Return to International Travelogues Menu

Return to Roaming America Main Menu