Saturday, April 29, 2006

What the heck is going on with this doggone blog?

In case you were wondering what is going on with this blog, (especially if you've been here before), let me explain:

Tucson Querido is usually about Tucson but I've been traveling a bit lately so I expanded it to include posts about a few cities in South America (namely Montevideo, Punta del Este and Buenos Aires).

So far I have been too busy to actually add the text to the posts, so lately you are only seeing a string of photos (mostly of places that are not in Tucson). But do not fear! I have previously covered a myriad of Tucson institutions and lesser known gems. If you check out the archives you may find what you are looking for.

If you are interested in cities in South America on the other hand, stay tuned because I will eventually add some text to these posts and be adding reviews from one more South American city (Asuncion) this summer.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Reid Park Rose Test Garden

We went to Reid Park to meet friends for Easter Sunday Brunch. It was totally hopping with families setting up picnics. We strolled through the Test Rose Garden, which I vowed to blog about since it is a must-see for anyone who enjoys flowers. They also have some unusual species with cool names like "Marilyn Monrose". Actually, I made that one up, but they are cool.

Bog Spring Trail - Madera Canyon

This is Frida Yoltzin Romero Haberbosch, in case you were wondering. She is a four pound chihuahua but her deminute size does not keep her from being a champion hiker. Since she has decided to grace us with her presence, you may notice more dog-friendly reviews than before.

So, due to its dog-friendly nature, Bog Spring became our first hike at Madera Canyon. It's cooler up there than in the valley (the best thing about elevation gain) and it boasts lovely views of evergreen cloaked mountain sides (the second best thing about elevation gain). I would highly recommend this trail to about anyone.

Tucson March for Immigration Reform

I was at the Tucson March for Immigration Reform in April where I took this picture of a guy protesting for the rights of household appliances among chants of "Viva la lavadora! Viva la aspiradora! Viva el lavaplatos!" Hey buddy, I appreciate washers and dryers as much as the next person, but there's a place for everything and this march is about immigration reform!

Just kidding. That was the BACK of his actual sign. I couldn't resist the photo opp.

Sycamore Reservoir Trail - Coronado National Forest

Sycamore Reservoir Trail is a little too hot to hike on warm day because it's not high enough, but keep it on file for a winter day.

It's a notable trail for several reasons. For one, it starts out along a raised old federal prison camp. (Does anyone know any history on this prison?) You can still see some of the cement slabs. It also ends within a desert oasis with a little bit of water, and therefore is a veritable birder's delight. We saw lots of hummingbirds, especially.

The other thing that comes with the birds are, well, the bees. We were a little freaked out by the massive droning hum that turned out to be bees everywhere: the trees were in bloom and there was a bee on every blossom. Somehow we resisted the urge to do a 180 and run all the way back to the trail head. We didn't bother the bees and they didn't bother us.

Tambo El Sosiego - Punta del Este

We went to Tambo El Sosiego for merienda. This little farm is the place where they make dulce de leche Lapataia. We had freshly made crepes (dulce de leche or strawberry filled) served by a a guy with breasts. I mean real breasts, not man tits. Rare for Punta.

El Sosiego is just what its name connotes: a tranquil place to relax. The rolling country side is cool and green - very refreshing after a day at the beach. The goats and bunnies and llamas are fun to visit, as you can see from the picture. The place seems like the ideal setting for the International Jazz Festival of Punta del Este which they host each summer.

Filo Ristorante - Buenos Aires

We ate our last meal in Buenos Aires at Filo. No, much to the chagrin of myself, Nicolas Repetto was not there, but apparently other famous people have been. For example, if you go to their website they will be sure to let you know that Madonna, Lou Reed and Fito Paez, among others, have been spotted on the premises. But they leave out that every gringo with a Frommer's guide goes there, too. We all sat around, the only ones having dinner at seven, checking our digital photos of the day as we waited for our orders and tried to ignore each other.

I wouldn't say the pizza was remarkable, but I was charmed by the little gallery in the basement.

If you're wondering about the picture of Repetto, the thing is, he was just launching a new show de la siesta and the whole city was plastered in advertisements for it. The slogan was "Las tardes son de Nico." Which in engrish reads: "The retarded son of Nico." Fitting.

Calle Florida - Buenos Aires

Somehow everytime I go to Buenos Aires I spend most of my stay walking up and down Calle Florida. I love it. (And I love Munchy's ice cream which is right on Florida as you can see in this picture - but do I love it more than Freddo? I won't take sides.) Calle Florida is a ped street lined with stores, tango dancers, other street performers, restaurants and businesses. I guess I like it because real live porteños and tourists intemingle there without overwhelming distinction.

This is a photo from the Centro Cultural Borges - must see for anyone who is Borges fan. (Although I wish someone would wise up and do a proper museum already!)

Floralis Genérica - Buenos Aires

After MALBA, it was nice to rest on a bench in the United Nations Park where Floralis Generica opens and closes its massive petals every day.

To find out more about this artwork by Eduardo Catalano click on his name here.

MALBA - Buenos Aires

Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires
is worth a visit. Home to the well known and not so well known contemporary artists of Latin America, Tarsila Do Amaral's Abaporu is one of my favorites.

By the way, don't go into Museo Renault next door thinking it is a museum. (It is actually an uber chic overpriced restaurant.)

Teatro Colon - Buenos Aires

Che Tango - Buenos Aires

Plaza Dorrego Bars - Buenos Aires

Kempinski Park Hotel - Buenos Aires

Kempinski is a small, centrally located, absolutely charming boutique-style hotel. Their staff is genuinely friendly and pleasant. We balanced out two nights in Sheltown with one night in Kempinski (there's a substantial price differential.)

Hotel Sheltown - Buenos Aires

Feria de Antiguedades de San Telmo - Buenos Aires

Caminito - Buenos Aires

Catedral Metrapolitana - Buenos Aires

Plaza de Mayo - Buenos Aires

Piegari - Buenos Aires

La Recoleta Cementery - Buenos Aires

Centro Cultural Borges - Buenos Aires

Plaza San Martin - Buenos Aires

Cafe Tortoni - Buenos Aires

Gorlero Street - Punta del Este

Cerro del Toro - Piriapolis, Uruguay

Horseback Riding @ Solanas Resort - Punta del Este, Uruguay

Chivitos Marcos - Punta del Este

Chivitos are more than baby goats.

Okay, so this man isn't really eating a chivito. (And he isn't really a man. He's a Micah.) Micah's pretending to eat a maraca in the shape of a plastic hamburger. But you're missing the point. I didn't take a picture of a chivito and that was a very big mistake.

This calorie-packed steak sandwich is sinfully served all over Uruguay but the fast-food chain that specializes in them is Marcos. (There are a few places cropping up in the U.S. that take their stab at them also.) Anywho, the ingredients are the following (give or take a few):

a bun
red pepper
green olives
salsa golf
fried egg

Punta Ballena - Punta del Este

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Casapueblo - Punta del Este

Casapueblo was founded by Carlos Paez Villaro. It's actually in Punta Ballena, 15 minutes from Punta del Este, It's open 365 days a year, from sunrise to sunset and is visited by more than 60,000 tourists from all over the world yearly. I've never been to Punta without stopping by. It really is a special place. (And I mean that totally independently from all the snotty hype around it.)

Conrad Casino - Punta del Este

Three syllables: don't bother. The Conrad looked sooo impressive from the outside, but on the inside, it really had little going for it. We were far from titilated. (Gotta love that word.) There is, however, a pretty cool mural by Carlos Páez Villaró

Cerro San Antonio - Piriápolis, Uruguay

If you are ever in Piriápolis please do yourself a favor and drive up Cerro San Antonio to enjoy the sunset while drinking a sweet caipirinha mixed by none other than El Rey de Caipirinhas. It's the perfect way to end the day.

Piriápolis - Uruguay

Piriápolis is only a short drive from Punta de Este and even more relaxed and quaint. We had a lovely breakfast there off the promenade and then enjoyed a day at San Francisco Beach (which was named in honor of not only the saint, but Francisco Piria, founder of the town). The lifeguards sipping mate were friendly enough to take the time to tell us about the fish we saw jumping and feeding, and the man who ran the mirador was a great character and very friendly. Reminding me of Papa Hemmingway a bit, Gabriel Piria Huge is probably a decendent of the Don Franciso Piria. I enjoyed our chat because this man is obviously really dedicated to the community, the enviornment and the people. He talked to me about his love of fishing, hatred of littering, tourism and some of the beachfront properties available for about $USD 100,000...Let me know if you're interested and I'll send you his e-mail address. (And trust me, if you visit Piriápolis you will be interested.)

Solanas (Portezuelo) Beach - Punta del Este

I believe this beach is also called Portezuelo. It's 200 meters from the Solanas Resort. As you can see from the photo, it is celebrated as the best beach in Punta del Este to stroll at sunset.

Solanas Vacation Club - Punta del Este

Solanas is a little outside of Punta proper, the equivalent of three city blocks from Solanas Beach and not far from Punta Ballena. We had a blast there, eventhough the walls were paper thin and our bed was two singles pushed together, and they water the grass too damn much.