Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Miramar Argentina

I am in a little beach resort on the Atlantic ocean, about 500 kilometers south of Buenos Aires called Miramar. It is about 5o km south of Mar del Plata which is the oldest largest and most famous of the beach resorts in Argentina. It has about 250,000 people and Miramar is about 25,000 people. I wasnt in the mood for such a big city vibe so here I am. There is a nice white sand beach here. This is the last week or so of the Argentine vacation season. Therefore ther are plento of tourists in town although they are almost all Argentines. I am out of the international areas like Iguazu and Buenos Aires and so there are virtually no english speaking folks around here. I am in a little Residencia (small hotel/rooming house) called Marycel. It has an excellent central location and is owned and operated by a charming older couple. I have a private room with a private bathroom and so I am not really meeting any other travelers. This is the first place I am staying that is not a hostel. In the hostels I meet tons of other travelers and get in lots of conversations and in general they are very social and cheap. This place is also quite cheap at 15 pesos per night or about $5.00 US. It is a nice room. Not the Hilton but nice.
There is a little kitchen in the place too, but the restaurants are so cheap that it is actually cheaper to eat out. I went to a parilla tonight which is a grill so they feature grilled meats and chicken. The Argentines love to eat carne de vaca (beef). This place had a big buffet with many many salads and veggies including grilled eggplants (berenjenas) and cooked beets, pizza, and spinach ravioli, many chinese dishes as well, and Argentine desserts plus a big grill station. It is an all you can eat concept and it costs 7 pesos without beverages ($2.25 US). With a mineral water and a tip it cost 10 pesos. I mean...why cook?
It turned cold today. I am wearing long pants for the first time since arriving in Argentina. I went swimming in the ocean yesterday but the water had a wee chill to it and today it was just too cold out to want to swim. I did go for a nice walk along the water in the sand. Very nice.
I go to Puerto Madryn on the overnight bus tomorrow so hopefully it will be warm enough in the day to get in one more swim before I leave. I think that as I head further south it will be too cold to go in the water. There is only one bus to Puerto Madryn which is 1400 km south. It leaves at 11 at night on the first of March and arrives on March 2 at 9 at night. So I will have my 49th birthday on a bus. Whooo Whooo Whooo. Partyin´ on!!!Rather appropriate considering my current lifestyle.
Last year I celebrated on an island called Nanu Leilei in Fiji. Where they filmed the movied called "the Blue Lagoon".
Puerto Madryn is a much more famous destination spot for travelers from all over the world. Quite well known to bird watchers and to whale watchers and dolphin watchers and etc. There is also a huge national park catering to eco-tourism. Should be lovely. I will stay for one night and one day and then I catch a flight to Ushuia (the end of the earth) and meet the lovely and talented Kimberle for two weeks of traveling together. I finally found a woman I am willing to go to the end of the earth for!! Next update is from Ushuia. From there we plan to hug the coast line and work our way back up north to Puero Madryn before cutting west to Nequen in the lake country. and then to Buenos Aires from where Kim will fly home to California.
I hope you all are having as much fun reading about my travels as I am having doing them! I will write4 again soon.
Love and happiness until we meet again,
Rambling Robert the traveling Man

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Iguazu Waterfalls, Argentina

Hi Everyone,
Well I just got back from Iguazu Falls. This has been one of my long term travel goals and one of the specific reasons I came to South America in the first place. The falls were even more spectacular than I imagined. They are truly magnificent. What an inspired moment the goddess of Creation had when she dreamt of these beautiful and enormous cascades of Water.
They have been compared to Niagra falls on the USA and Canada border, but this is not such a great comparison. Let me explain. First of all You must be willing and able to hike about a dozen kilometers through rainforest trails to see all the falls. There are a great number of falls here not just the two that are called Niagra
The trails are very well made, most excellent infrastructure thanks to the hard work and dilligence of the government of Argentina and are accessable to any traaveler able to walk the distance required in the heat. It is about 30 degrees in the morning and it gets up to 36 or 37 in the afternoon. (That would be a spread of between 90 and 102 farenheit for those of you who think the world revolves around the USA.) I believe I walked about 10 kilometers including quite a bit of stair climbing but... "Oh Mine Babies" it was worth every step of the trek.
The trails are perfect. They a are either cement or steel grid catwalks. Well marked and well maintained. There is also a narrow guage railroad to take you to the extreme parts of the park and a ferry to take you to one of the islands in the river.
The falls occur at a point where 3 rivers converge. They fall as high as 60 meters (90feet). There is one unbelievable vista point about 200 meters from the falls where you are just drenched in spray! I am here to testify...Oh did that ever feel good in the heat of the noon day sun!!
As I trekked along the trails there were incomparable flowers and trees all around me and many lizards and reptiles and beautiful birds of every description. But the kicker were the butterflies-Who knew? There were at least 6 species I had never before seen and that is just the point where I stopped counting. A zillion tourists taking 100 zillion photos kinda bugs me but everyone travels the way they travel and you have to learn to accept this while on the road.
It costs 30 pesos to enter and that includes free ferry boat and free small guage railroad. At first I thought it was a bit of a rip off but,I admit it, I was wrong. It must cost quite a pretty penny to keep up the maintenance and there are scores of workers about including nurses in aid stations for those who cant hack the heat or have some injury.
My only poroblem was my wonderful parents bought me new sandals in Florida and now I am waring them all the time, but uh-oh spaghetti O, whenever I get zapatos nuevos, I get blisters on my feet the first couple of weeks. OOUUCCHH!! I have like 5 on one foot and 3 on the other.
Last night I went out walking with a nice (but depressed and sad) French woman I met in the "hostel Iquazu falls" (I recommend this place. 6 dollars a night with a nice swimming pool and a very friendly staff. Great showers and a kitchen too.) So anyways we cruise the town for a couple or 3 hours and find a place with live music. It is a big outdoor cafe bar and restaurant with two absolutely CALIENTE guitaristas and a third player who was okay and he sang and aparently owned the place. A few folks from the audience came on stage and joined them to sing or drum and it was just a delight. A nice liter of icy cold Heineken cost 4.5 pesos (a dollar fifty). And it was all in all another one of those great nights and days for a traveler on the road. I live the life I love and I love the life I live.
Peace to you all. Dont forget to live your dreams.
Rambling Robert the traveling man

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sunday in Buenos Aires

I am really enjoying the wonderful city of Buenos Aires. The weather is hot and fair. The people are friendly and warm and the sounds of music and the smells of Parillas (Bar b Ques) are everywhere.
Today is market day in San Telmo. San Telmo is the old part of the city and there are nice little cobblestone streets and little shops and many cantinas and of course Parilla Restaurantes. There are every type of street entertainers, Puppeteers, Tango dancers, Musicians. Today I went out strolling with an Israeli Man I met in my hostel. We went to the Sunday outdoor market and looked at beautiful antiques and art. We stopped and listened to a little orchestra with 4 concertinas (squeeze boxes) and 5 violins a standup bass and a little acoustic piano. They played tango music. This place is magic.The food and drinks here are very cheap;and very good.
The national meal is called Paradilla and it is a platter of barbqued meats cooked over a wood grill.
Every Friday Saturday and Sunday here for all of February they celebrate carnival with marching bands and dancers in gaily colored costumes who shoot this shaving cream like stuff at everyone. They play lots of drums and whistels and also other instuments and they dance like madmen. It is so cool and so...so...I dunno, happy. In San Luis Obispo California they would have called out the Army to squelch such a good time!! So I watched the parade for a while and then ducked into a Parilla and had the Parillada for uno persona.
I swear they served me at least a kilo of meat!! It cost 9 pesos which is $3.00American and it was enough meat for 3 people. I tried my best but was only able to eat a fraction of it. Sausage, a huge steak and a BIG peice of pork, cooked beef heart,kidney, Chitterlings, and some other stuff like liver and I am not sure what all else. I tasted everything. I am not even sure what all it was, but it all tasted good.
Yesterday I went to the barrio in town where the poor people live. It is called Boca.They say it is safe in the daytime but dangerous at night. In the daytime there is a part of the neighborhood (un parte del barrio) with all these old wood buildings painted pink and red and blue and orange and yellow and green it is just beautiful and all these art studios with beautiful statues and paintings and jewelry and clothing and posters and you name it!! Lots of little outdoor cafes serving wine and cerveza and Bread and cheese and empanadas and Pastas. About half the Argentine people are of Italian desent. So lots of pasta and Piza places here.
I was there with 2 people from Spain and a guy from Israel. We strolled around and watched the people dance the tango in the streets and gave them coins. The tango is one very sexy dance. It is huge here.
Everyone should come to Buenos Aires at least once in their life. This is surely one of the great citys of the western hemisphere. Beautiful exotic erotic and just plain fun all at the cost of Southeast Asia.
I have a ticket to go to the Argentino Ballet tonite and see a new ballet. I am told it is very spectacular with great music and dancing, The cheap seats (where I sit) cost 15 pesos ($5.00American)
Taca airlines was supposed to have returned my lost bag yesterday between 12 and 3 in the afternoon but they never showed and never called and the offices are closed for the weekend. What an unprofessional bunch of creepy putas! Amatuers!! These creeps are beginning to get under my skin. When I get my stuff back from them I will go to Iguazu waterfalls. It is on the Argentina Brazil border an 18 hour bus ride from here, One of the great natural sights in the world. Supposedly 4 times bigger than Niagra falls on the Canada USA border.I am having too good a time to write anymore today. So... Until next time I remain
Rambling Robert the traveling Gringo

Saturday, February 19, 2005

A day in Buenos Aires

Nice relaxing day in BA
I met up with a nice couple from Cordoba Spain and a nice girl from Chile and we all went off to the Plaza Mejor. Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and the plaza is where the Senate and Congress are. There is a large field with trees and statues and etc and all the people who wish to peacefully assemble and protest can come here and demonstrate. There were no demonstrators yesterday which is good because I dont go to demonstrations in Foreign countries. I think its a good way for travelers to get in big trouble. Besides I never heard of anyone getting in trouble for minding their own business!
After there we went to the Japanese gardens and they were beautiful and tranquil.It was a very nice day, I made some good friends.
Later that aftearnoon Jose(the man from Cordoba) and I went to the airline office and they gave me some money to cover my inconvenience at not having my backpack and they promised it would be deliverd to my hostel today in the afternoon. I have my fingers crossed.
Jose and I are going to go to see the Local Buenos Aires futbol team play another city today. Should be a good time. Futbol is what they call soccer down here.
I had a great time in America but I sure am glad to be traveling again. I woke up this morning looked at the ceiling of my room and thought UUhhh Argentina. Cool I know where I am!!
In the plaza there was a huge banyon tree, and I thought of Buddha and how he sat beneath a tree (the bodhi tree) and was prepared to starve to death or achieve enlightenment whichever came first and he was at last enlightened. I think the tree finally understood him when his silence was as deep as the trees was and in that instant,He understood the knowlege that the tree and he were one and the tree was showing him the way to quiet and peaceful meditation.
I picture the banyon tree in the plaza as a wise old buddha just sitting quietly, reaching upward to the heavens and meditating and observing for hundreds of years.The tree watches all the protesters and smiles, birds nest in her branches and she smiles and the wind blows her leaves and she smiles. The tree knows. And maybe I am beginning to know too.
Rambling Robert

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tough day of Travel

It is 2-17-05 and I am now in Buenos Aires Argentina.
After the travel day from Hell.
I left Oakland California airport at 5pm on the 15th and flew to Los Angeles, where I endured a 4 hour layover, before getting on an airplane to San Salvador in El Salvador, where I endured a 5 hour layover before getting on a plane to San Jose Costa Rica and then onto another plane for Lima Peru and then onto another plane for Buenos Aires. I arrive here at 3 in the morning and discover that the airlines (I traveled on 3 United, Taca and Lacsa) can not find my backpack. Oh great. So I am now waiting while the 3 airlines blame one another and hopefully will get my pack back sometime today or tonight.
I am totally jetlagged. There is a 4 hour time difference here from California where I had been for the last 2 weeks. 1pm in California is 5pm in Buenos Aires.
I arrive and fill out lost luggage reports for an hour and then take a taxi to town, too weird to try to negotiate busses and find my way around at 4 in the morning, so I have the cab take me to a hostel that I had emailed to reserve me a bed. They got my email but didnt email me back because they had no vacancies...Duhh. But the night recepotionist was cool enough to call another hostel a couple of hundred meters away and now I am staying there. It is a nice hostel called MANDINGO which is in the San Telmo section of Buenos Aires. This is the old section. Lots of cobblestone streets and parks. My hostel costs 18 Pesos per night (about 6 US dollars ) and it includes a free breakfast (of sorts) and free internet.
I am sharing my room with a man from Germany and a man from Spain. The hostel has a pretty nice kitchen for the guests to use so I cant complain. The people here are real nice and they have been calling the airport for me for free to try to help me get my backpack back. I sure hope I am successful in this endeavor. I hate shopping and I will have to shop all over town to replace my stuff if the airlines cant find it.
Weather is beautiful blue cloudless skies and hot but not too hot about 85 degreesF or about 29 degrees C I wish I had my shorts and sandals to wear. I got about 3 hours sleep on the planes and about 3 hours in my room before some stupid dog started barking and woke all of us up. I had some coffee and bread and Dulce de leche ( a kind of caramel spread) for breakfast and went to a nice park for a little walking meditation and then back to the hostel for a nap and then some more walking and now a little blog posting. Gotta go now it is time to call the airport again. more from me tomorrow. Adios amigos.
Rambling Robert

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sacramento California 2-15-05

Sacramento California 2-15-05
Hello Everyone,
I am all packed and ready to go to south America this evening. I fly from Oakland to Los Angeles and I leave Los Angeles at 11:30 at night on Feb 15 and arrive at 3:15 in the morning on 2-17 In Buenos Aires Argentina. I am sitting throught the sweet pre flight anxiety that one always seems to have when one is preparing to leave their home country and travel abroad.I had a great time on Californias central coast with some excellent high lights. It was interesting to see many of my old friends and to watch the Superbowl which is the championship match for American Gridiron Football. I used to be a big fan of this game but have not foolowed it much in 2003 and 2004. I think I like watching rugby or Football(soccer) better now. I just simply dont watch much television or movies at all anymore.I guess as real life becomes more fun and interesting and fulfilling, Fake hollywood bullshit becomes less appealing.It was great to see my friends. I miss my friends and loved ones in California much more than I miss California itself. It is a beautiful place but America has changed and it is not the Paradise of Liberty and Freedom that it once was.
The truth is i will be glad to be out of this country. Not that I wont be back, but it is nice to leave.
I was treated to a fantastic Gourmet dinner with my old Gourmet club. During the most gorgeous central coast sunset of bright reds pinks purples and oranges over the crashing pacific waves in Pismo Beach.
We drank four bottles of 1995 Vintage Champagnes. A Piper Heidsick and 2 Roederer Crystals and another wine i was unfamiliar with and do not remember the name. These were served with canapes of cold smoked salmon, wasabe creme fraiche, and Russian Caviar. Followed up with Fresh Asparagus wrapped in Proscuiutto.We tried 5 most excellent California Cabernet Sauvignon wines vintages from 1994 to 1997. With a Beaulieu Vineyards 1996 Rutherford and a magnum of 1994 Etude being the two standouts and a Beautiful Schafer 1995 Stags Leap district also showing very well. Served with Roasted Beef tenderloin with Fond de Veau and a lovely array of Steamed Vegetables with a nice yogurt garlic sauce on them. Dessert was chocolate truffles with chocolate and Port wine sauce and a warm chocolate Crepe with Vanilla Haagen Dazs. This served with the wine of the night, boys and girls, a Magnificent 1913 Malavasia Madiera, that was in perfect condition and a delightful after dinner drink as one would expect. (This wine has now set my new personal record for the oldest wine i have tried replacing a 1918 Sigalas Rabaud Sautern that I enjoyed in 1985 in Boulder Colorado at the Boderado Hotel, courtesy of the Boulder Rare Wine Club.)
The meal was ALMOST as good as the company of wonderful old friends who love nothing more than an evening of Philosophical discussions and fine Wine and Dining.I also got to sit in on a couple of Poker games of which I used to be a regular player winning a few dollars in Morro Bay and losing a few in San Luis Obispo. I sure miss the clink of chips in sweet-smoke filled rooms with the groans of the losers and the smiles of the winners and the laughter of all.I cant believe I lost a hand with a tens up full house to a jacks up full house. Aye chingaso!
I even earned a few hundred dollars painting a fence gate in Paso Robles for a dear friend. Had a couple of Espressos with my ace amigo Howard and Jaye as we watched Humming birds in their back yard, and talked about my travels and the recently past American Presidential election.I got my stuff out of Storage in Paso Robles and moved it to my former home in Sonoma about 300 miles north and it is now in the custody of my life long friend Morty and his family.
Morty and I went to this little organic bakery and had green tea and cinamon rolls like we do whenever I visit. He always asks what i Want to do and I always say lets go to the "Birkenstock bakery for hippy bread". Ate a lot of healthy foods BRV`s (Brown Rice and Veggies) in California and had a nice thick Juicy American Steak with Mom and Dad in Florida.
For all I dont like about America I still have to say that I do love America. Its like a beautiful kid who acts a buffoon in class, you love him still, but wish the creep would learn thow to act.
I will e-mail you all soon when I get to Argentina.Please visit my new websightwww.robertstravels.blogspot.com
If you click on an advertiser i get some $$$ so go on and do it!!
Peace out to all of you,
Nothing but Love,
Rambling Robert

Monday, February 07, 2005

Rambling Robert... formally Chef Bob

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Setting up my blog...

English James has been kind enough to set up my new blog so I can email everyone more easily while I am travelling throughout South America. You will all be receiving a request to join the Yahoo group 'bontempsbob' via email shortly. The email will be from 'bontempsbob moderator [bontempsbob-owner@yahoogroups.com]'. To join my group and recieve email updates automatically you must either

1) REPLY to this email by clicking "Reply" and then "Send" in your email program


2) From within the email, click the 'Join this group!' button. Next Select the option to 'Join the mailing list' and finally click the 'Continue' button.

If you have any problems joining, or have any technical questions, email my good buddy English James at englishjames1@hotmail.com. Make sure you mention bontempsbob in your subject heading.

Remember, to visit my new web site at www.robertstravels.blogspot.com to keep up-to-date with my latest travells. You can also help me out by clicking on some of the advertisements on my page. Each time you do I will receive a couple of cents to help keep me rambling.

Superbowl and America

Just watched the Eagles lose to the Pats. This used to be my favorite day of the year, but after many months of travelling and the subsequent changes I have gone through, I dont care much about it at all.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Morro Bay, California

Hi Everyone,
Greetings from the USA, I flew into America on 1/15 and have been visiting in North Carolina and Florida for the last 2 or 3 weeks, visiting with friends and family members who very graciously hosted me, fed me(like a king!!!) housed me, drove me around,took me out, did my laundry,and generally fussed over me and made me feel real good. Got to dip my toes in the good old atlantic ocean it was like seeing an old friend, a little too cool for swimming but my brother and I took a nice long walk along Del Rey Beach and had a very nice reunion after not seeing one another for almost 2 years.Good old Dad drove me to the airport at 5 in the morning for a 7am flight to California. How cool is that? Mom packed me a lunch of trail mix, fried chicken and an eggplant parmigaian sandwich and 9 hours later I was in San Luis Obispo. Only to discover that Delta Airlines lost my backpack in Los Angeles. But not so bad, they had at least found it and they sent it 3 hours later on the next flight. So they covered it and I was cool.I was greeted at the airport by my loved one,Kimmy,and 4 of my bestest pals and buddies. I knew Kimmy was coming and I thought RB was coming but what a lovely surprise to be met by all those other folks too. So I went today to the Meals on Wheels charity kitchen where I was a volunteer with Kimmy and then we all hung out with the M-0-W girls for a while and told stories and got caught up, over in the Pismo Beach Methodist Church. It is so great to see so many of my old friends,my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. And staying with Kimmy on her avocado farm is so beautiful and restful and healthy for me, I just feel fabulous.I forgot how breathtaking the California Central Coast sunsets are. Best i have so far seen on this here planet.I will be here in San Luis Obispo for another week or so and then go to Petaluma and stay with my lifelong pals up there and leave some stuff to store with them and then on the 15th of February I go to Argentina for a little 6 month trip to South America. I have never been south of Costa Rica on the Western Hemisphere and soon I will be in Tierra Del Fuego watching Penguins from the southern most point in the Americas. In the meanwhile I still have to take care of some little business stuff like a drivers license and replace some credit cards and drink some fine wines and party like a big bad dog with Kim and my friends and dip my toes in the pacific and "build a web page" to Blog from and watch the superbowl and play some poker and...

Thats all for now, I will send the next update from Argentina.

Peace OutRobert