Saturday, March 17, 2012

And we're back!

Unfortunately close enough to feed.
Yahoo.  We are all feeling better again.  After feeling crummy for a week we were excited to get out of our apartment and see some of the sights left on our to-do list.  We let the kids decide where to head the last three days and as a result we've been to 2 zoos and a soccer museum.  The city zoo had a some decent exhibits and it looked like it used to be a beautiful area, but overall we were pretty disappointed by the conditions and the condoned feeding of animals.  All around the zoo were dispensers of some kind of nutrient-rich dog treats, but unfortunately we saw a lot of people also tossing their snacks into the animals' habitats.  It made us realize how much we take for granted the education piece that other zoos pass on to their visitors.  As a result of the feeding policy, there were also tons of Patagonia Maras (a very large rodent species that looks like a cross between a rabbit and a deer) and ducks roving the walkways trying to shake down visitors for the treats.  No bueno.
Patagonia Maras- Real life ROUSs 

Hot water dispenser for mate, the Argentina national tea drink
Before we headed to the soccer museum Thursday we started in the San Telmo neighborhood and watched a little tango show in the square.  Harper and Cal considered getting up and doing their own dance show but got cold feet and decided to just watch instead.  On our way to lunch we walked past a shoe store selling only tango shoes and Harper was mesmerized.
Checking out Tango shoes in the San Telmo neighborhood
Later in the day we were walking through the La Boca neighborhood on the way to the Boca Juniors soccer stadium and we were invited into the firehouse to see some antique firetrucks.  Harper and Cal got to try on a helmet and a friendly firefighter hoisted them up onto a truck.  "This is just like Uncle Greg's truck," Harper exclaimed.  There was a blue and yellow striped firetruck sporting Argentina's colors parked in the station as well, but unfortunately we didn't snap a photo of it.
"Just like Uncle Greg's fire truck!"
The colorful La Boca neighborhood around the stadium.
The soccer museum was located in the bottom of the stadium and we had fun looking though all kinds of memorabilia and watching the numerous highlight reels playing on all the screens.  Harper and Danny took a tour through the locker room and around the field, while Cal and I took a moment outside to take a break and sit for a while.  A police officer nearby came over and invited Cal to have a seat upon his police ATV which made Cal's day.  Once again we were reminded how friendly and welcoming the people of Argentina are, especially to children.
Constant highlight reels show all the great plays by members of the Bocas Junior club
Harper and Cal at the field.
Danny considers climbing the fence like all the fútbol maniacs do during the game.
The Temaiken Zoo just out side of Buenos Aires was worlds different from the city zoo.  It is an animal conservation and preservation foundation and you could tell great amounts of care and time were put into all aspects of this place.  The grounds were beautifully landscaped and the animals were well cared for with lots of natural, open space.  We were there when the zookeepers fed the hippo and gave a talk about her life and habits.  It was by far our favorite animal there.  Danny and I had never been up so close to a hippo and with the window right up to the hippos pool we got a great view of her swimming about, opening her huge jaws, and flipping her ears as she came to the surface for air.  The bird area was also really beautiful and it got us even more excited for Costa Rica; we were up close to all kinds of parrots, macaws, and toucans.  Cal and Harper also really liked the dinosaur exhibit where they got to "dig" out a fossil from the sandy soil.
Flying on my newly sprouted pelican wings 
We've embraced our children's regressions and allowed Cal to spend the afternoon in a stroller 
Harper's new tooth is finally coming in, albeit a bit yellow.
So close!

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