We woke up with not too far to go to Lima. We had a scheduled transfer in Lima, and not too long of a connection time. So when we landed, already a bit late, and then just sat on the runway, it didn't do much for the heart rate. It was odd to see Lima in the sun, as it so rarely is. We were near the front of the plane, so we were able to get through the security line quickly. On the other side of security we saw a couple with a French Bulldog, which ordinarily we would have fawned over, but we had to book it to the gate. It wasn't a short walk, but thankfully it wasn't a Bangkok-airport long walk either. We got to the gate for our Buenos Aires flight just before boarding, and wondered if our checked bags had made as good time as we had. There didn't seem to be very many planes, but we waited on the taxiway and runway for an inordinately long time before finally taking off.

We slept the first part of the flight, and were surprised when we woke up that we were flying over the Pacific Ocean. Lima is on the far west coast, and Buenos Aires is on the east, so we weren't sure why we were flying south out over the ocean. We finally turned inland right around Iquique in Northern Chile, in the Atacama desert. We had visited the Atacama in both 2008 and 2010, and vaguely recognized the area. Then we did see something we recognized very clearly - San Pedro de Atacama, Volcan Licancabur, and Laguna Verde. Licancabur is a nearly perfectly conical volcano that sits above San Pedro, and we saw plenty of it in 2008. When we climbed Cerro Toco (a nearby peak), we could see Licancabur right in front of us, and Laguna Verde right behind it. We had this vantage point etched into our brains for a couple years, and then when we saw the same area again in 2010 - but from the opposite vantage point (Cerro Toco is behind us in this picture)- it was like seeing your own backyard from your neighbor's property: you recognize everything, but it just looks odd. So today, it was odd again, particularly since we were up to high, but it kind of interesting to triangulate everything and say "oh, that's the road we must have driven up to go to Cerro Toco; oh, that's the road we must have taken from Bolivia; etc." [FYI, in the portrait photo below, San Pedro is at the bottom, Licancabur is in the middle, Laguna Verde is just behind it, and Cerro Toco is just off the right of the screen, to the right of Licancabur.]

Crystal spent most of the flight alternating sleep and listening to podcasts. Justin tried in vain to catch up on all the magazines that have piled up at the house over the past few months. Coincidentally, he was reading an article on Cordoba, Argentina, right as we happened to be flying over Cordoba - go figure. We landed at Buenos Aires' larger international airport (EZE) right after 16:00. We had flown into this same airport in 2008, but couldn't really remember it or the drive into town. Today, we noted the drive was fairly long, and particularly tedious once we got off the main tollway and onto city streets headed for Palermo. We got to our hotel, the BoBo, around 17:30 or so. The hotel seemed different to us, and we eventually realized that it had doubled in size sometime in the last 9 years. After some minor situating in the room, we walked around to get some Argentine pesos from an ATM, then headed to dinner.

Dinner at 19:00 is embarassingly early for Buenos Aires, and almost certainly outs you as a tourist, but we were starving after the limited food options the past 24 hours, and we knew we'd be able to get a prime outdoor table at Don Julio at that time. We had eaten at Don Julio twice in 2008, as it was fantastic, inexpensive, and just two blocks from the hotel. It is still fantastic, and still two blocks from the hotel, but either prices have gone up or the exchange rate is not as favorable as it used to be, as it definitely was not "inexpensive" any longer. Perhaps because of this, while our meal was quite good, it didn't quite measure up to the rememberances we had in our head. After dinner, we decided to head across town to Floreria Atlantico, a bar we had read about in the recent Top 50 bars of the world article we'd seen. Also, Justin's friends Erin and Drew had visited a couple months earlier, and also recommended it. No one at the BoBo knew about it, and neither did our cab driver, so we just got dropped off in the vicinity and walked the last little bit.

On the walk, we walked past dozens of well dressed people for some event, and we hoped they weren't coming from the bar, as we were not dressed nicely at all. We got to the address, and it was a florist shop - a Floreria. We were a bit miffed, and looking around at the address and scratching our heads when a lady came up to us and asked if we were looking for the bar. She told us it was inside the florist, down a secret set of stairs. We thanked her profusely, went into the florist shop, and asked for the bar (pretty sure we've never done that before anywhere). The hostess - who we also assumes sells flowers in her spare time - opened a door and took us down the stairs into a crowded, dimly lit bar.

The bar not only had a good vibe, it had a lot of odd and unusual drinks and ingredients. The menu was in Spanish, but we knew enough to sort of know what we were ordering. Interestingly, the menu also had drawings next to the names, indicating what type of glass the drink came in. Crystal got a Vinito de Galitzia (Absolut, Vino Torrentes, Pickle de Papines, Limon) and Justin got a El Charro Azteca (Tequila, Anana a la Brasa, Chimichurri y Cilantro) for the first round. For the second round, Crystal got a glass of Malbec and Justin got a 43/70 (Gin Principe de los Apostoles, Licor Casero Tipo 43, Cynar 70, Dulce de Tabaco, Pulpo Blanco Ginger Ale). It started to get a bit crowded for our taste, and we were starting to get a bit tired, so we figured it best to go back to our hotel whilst we still had all (or most) of our faculties. Back at the hotel, we went to the Hotel Bar and sat out on the patio, getting two more rounds (wine and pisco sours, best we can recall). We were asleep around 1:30, which isn't too bad by Buenos Aires standards. We definitely got our money's worth out of our first 8 hours in town.

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