Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Brand New "Fellow"

I can't believe that it has been just over a year and I have started my travel portion of being an Eisenhower Fellow. I did not know what to expect, but I have found out that there is not much free time.

I thought for sure that I would be able to keep up the blog, but sleep was more important. Now I regret giving the other Ag Fellow, Rhett Proctor, a bad time during his journey. I completely understand why he didn't post as often as I thought he should :)

I woke up at 2:30 am PST to catch my 5:30 flight to Salt Lake City. As I was walking out of the office the emotions really hit me that I would not be seeing my boys for 5 weeks. I was also torn by the look Bandit gave me while he was sitting on the porch. He knew I would be gone for awhile and was miffed.

Rhonda rode with me to Lewiston. We talked business, boys, and Brazil. The timing for getting to the airport could not have been better and I didn't have to wait long. As Rhonda is accompanying me in line the emotions start to hit again. We have never been apart for more than a week at the most. Torn between excitement and regret I take my shoes off, put my electronics in the bin and prepare to leave Idaho for the longest period since college.

After arriving at the airport I am on a mission to find the Brookstone store to purchase an iPad holder with built in bluetooth keyboard. It is awesome BTW. As I am walking I run into Senator Jim Risch (Jr. U.S. Senator) and we have a quick chat. We wished each other well and went our ways. After going into another terminal (SLC is under construction) I finally find Brookestone, make my purchase and head for the Crown Room to have a quick bite and play on the iPad.

The flight to Atlanta was fine and I had a 5 hour layover there. That is a bunch of time to kill. I walk around for a couple of hours to get the blood flowing. I stop at a money exchange place and convert dollars to pesos...4.2 to 1. I head to the Crown Room to have a few snacks and a couple of cocktails to prep me to get some sleep. Hop on the plane at 8:30 and we are delayed an hour for some reason. Finally we take off leaving the good ol' US of A behind.

The meal was wonderful and the movies available were good. I watched the Green Lantern. As the movie was playing I switched to the traveling map and saw that we were over Cuba. I open the shade and see lights and not much happening. As I am preparing for sleep I look at the map again and notice we are over Kingston, Jamaica. I scramble to grab the camera and take a picture. Finally sleep.

I am awakened at 6 am (4 hours before home time) and have an English Muffin with spinach, eggs, and cheese, fruit, and COFFEE! I slept ok, but I am tired. We arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina and have to wait on the tarmac for 15 minutes due to our delay. Hop off, grab my luggage, and go through customs with no problems. Waiting for me is my driver holding a sign with my name...a first.

The travels to the hotel take about an hour and I am in a semi coma, but I am so curious with a new country and city that I am trying to take everything in. I grab my little point and shoot Canon camera (PowerShot SX210 IS) and take picts. I also get the GoPro out and take some video. I am amazed and concerened about the driving and all the traffic...almost panic. Not a good thing for someone who likes to be in control of situations like that.

As we are traveling down the main avenue, I see a bulding with a likeness of Eva Peron talking into a microphone. I realize I am in Argentina.

I check into the Hotel Emperador around 11am and I start to get situated. I scramble to call home on Skype. My excitement is dashed by learning that my oldest bagged his first bull elk...a 5 point. I was not there. We chat for awhile and I proceed to take a nap. I was not planning on eating, but just getting sleep for the schedule I have.

I woke up at 4pm after a 2 hour nap and I feel the pangs of hunger from airline food at 6am. I get into my new cool jeans and start to do a walkbout. I ask the front desk about seafood and he points me to Puerto Madaero. I walk the other direction to see what is there (came in from that way).

I head back past the hotel with map in hand and a camera in my pocket. I see the sights (A bell tower dedicated by the British citizens for the 100 year anniversary of democracy). I cross the railroad tracks and I am begining to wonder if I am heading the right direction. Me no hablo makes me worried.

I make it to the old port and am in awe of the newer buildings and the companies that have offices there. I consult my map and keep walking towards a neet looking bridge. As I come to it I put more attention to the grain elevator on the other side...my first glimpse of agriculture while on the ground.

I finally come to my restraunt, Puerto Cristal, and have a wonderful appetizer of veal salami, cheese, greens, in a vinegrette. Nice and light but full of flavor. I am fascinated by the basket of breads that is placed at the table as well. My main course arrives...seafood stew with clams, shrimp, octopus, squid, and other fish in a tomato sauce...mucho bueno.

With dinner I had the server pair a wine for me that was wonderful. It went extremely well with the appetizer and the main course. I am stuffed and left a bunch. Since it was my first meal in Argentina I had to try a desert. I had the creme brulee...vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. I was in heaven.

I grab a cab back to my hotel and through gestures and finally pulling out my room key give the driver the address. Lesson number one...when you don't speak the language make sure you have the address of where you need to go. I went to bed satisfied around midnight with a great first experience in Argentina.

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