Going to Argentina and Brazil
Time to plan for the next trip. I have wanted to go to South America for a long time because there's something about Buenos Aires in Argentina that so attracts me. Is it because the city resembles Paris or is it also the birthplace of my favorite dance, the tango? Then there are the beaches of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil that are supposed to be some of world's best.  

So this is our plan. We will fly out of DFW Airport to Buenos Aires on February 19, 2009, stay there for five days then go to Rio, stay there another five days and fly home on March 2.  

It's kind of weird that Argentina does not require US tourists to have visas to enter the country but Brazil does. We got our valid passports, visas to Brazil, plane tickets and hotel reservations so we're all set to go.  

February and March are cold months in our northern hemisphere but they are summer time in South America and so I consider this trip our summer vacation.  

It's not a coincidence that we will arrive in Rio just a day after the crazy 2009 Carnival is wrapped up. On the one hand I would like to experience the Carnival in person, on the other hand, I can do without the crowds, the high hotel, taxi and restaurant charges.  

I have two months to learn my way around Buenos Aires and Rio, plan day trips, and memorize a few useful Portuguese phrases.  

Come back to this space in a couple of months and I'll give you another update

(Written December 16, 2008)  
We got everything planned.

In Buenos Aires, we will stay at the Hilton for five days and during that time, hope to visit all well-known sections of the City, attend a tango dinner show or two, relax in sidewalk cafes, shop, and make a day trip to Colonia, a coastal town in Uruguay, Argentina's neighboring country. 

We will then go to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for five days. Our hotel, the Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort is right on the beach just south of the Ipanema Beach. We'll visit the Sugarloaf, Christ the Redeemer, and of course spend plenty of time on Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.

It doesn't get dark until 9:00 PM, this time of year in South America. Our routine will change drastically because dinners there usually won't start until 10:00 PM, but we're ready.

They speak different languages in Argentina (Spanish) and Brazil (Portuguese), use different currencies (pesos and reals); and obviously have different cultures. This really makes me appreciate Europe where almost everyone speaks English and the euro is the common currency.

I can't wait to get to Buenos Aires. I'll post another blog in a couple of days with plenty of pictures. Buenas noches everyone.

(Written February 19, 2009)