a diverse collection of travel photos and firsthand experiences while venturing across the globe. each destination has welcomed us with open arms and warm smiles, making us feel right at home. from argentina to utah - and thousands of miles in between - these are our visual memories of 'home'...just as we never imagined.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Smoke, Chalk, Art, and 5 GOALS!!!

So I just returned from a brief visit to Buenos Aires. No matter how many times I visit this metropolis, I still seem to discover something great and new during every trip. After visiting dear friends and conducting important business, I was able to enjoy a few pleasures (with Tania's permission). Unfortunately, Argentina's capital has been filled with thick smoke for the past week. Each year, farmers and campesinos burn their fields in preparation for a new season of crops. However, due to such dry conditions, these fires raged out of control and nearly 170,000 acres of land have been burned outside the city. Wind and rain have not saved the day, so the brown smoke, combined with overwhelming smog, has kept most tourists inside their hotels and nearby restaurants. Just yesterday, I saw several locals roaming the streets with paper masks. Due to the heavy smoke and poor visibility, several highways have been shut down following numerous accidents. Things should improve in the next week.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with British chalk artist Julian Beever. You might not know him by name, but I guarantee that you have received one of his famous emails in the past from a close friend or family member. Known worldwide for his sidewalk illustrations that challenge all visual perspectives, Telefónica and Movistar invited him to Buenos Aires for his latest project. For nearly 10 hours a day, 5 days in a row, Julian created a perceived crater in the sidewalk (along Diag. Roque Saenz Peña next to El Obelisco), filled with wildflowers and fire ants. Not only was he very kind, but he took several breaks to sign autographs.

I love museums. While I often suggest many museums to my clients, I rarely have time to enjoy the artwork myself. So, following a peaceful stroll through the trendy Palermo neighborhoods, I stopped by the magnificent MALBA art museum. Having studied Latin American Humanities in college, I was excited to finally see the original works of so many distinguished painters - Rivera, Kahlo, Botero, etc. However, I was most pleased with the temporary exhibit dedicated to the life and art of Tarsila do Amaral, from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I was very impressed with the museum - layout, overall design, variety of artists and styles (impressionism, modernism, etc). A true recommendation for all!

Lastly.....que goleada!!! I might be a fan of Boca, but when a dear business partner offers a free ticket to see River Plate play in Estadio Monumental, how are you going to turn that down (especially the honor of seeing Simeone and Ortega in person)? In need of at least a tie to stay in La Copa Libertadores, River came out in full force against Universidad San Martín of Perú. After 5 tremendous goals, 2 yellow cards, and 1,754 foul words screamed, River walked away with a dominant 5-o victory! Passion has a whole new meaning once you watch an Argentine soccer match, with Argentine fans, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fans do not boo - they whistle, hiss, and yell. Another true recommendation (though I am still a Boca fan)!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

No More Paperwork - Please! (Dog Travel)

While this blog serves as an online public journal of our international adventure, it must also serve as a source of vital information for those relocating to Argentina. We don't see why we should keep such knowledge for ourselves - we hope others can learn from our experience.

Bella had it easy - well, accept for the four flights inside a kennel. But she didn't have to do her own paperwork! For anyone planning to bring a dog (or other pet) into the country, please consider the following guidelines:

1-Contact your airline and advise them that your dog will be traveling. Airlines require breed information, etc, to be registered in their reservation system. Even with approval, please know that your dog most likely will travel below cabin with the rest of passenger luggage. In fact, if an airline even allows animals in the cabin, the requirements are very strict: animal must fit inside a small kennel, must be able to stand and turn without touching sides of kennel, and kennel must fit below your seat. Yes, this limits your choice of animal to pretty much gerbils and hamsters.

2-Your dog must receive a complete veterinarian exam within 10 days of international departure. All vaccines must be current. The vet must sign an official certificate (with four carbon copies) declaring the dog suitable for international travel. *Make sure that a statement of temperature acclimation is written by the vet - for liability reasons, airlines require that all animals be acclimated to lower temperatures before travel!

3-The same vet certificate must be signed and "sealed" by your local USDA office. An official USDA vet will place his signature on the certificate, thus certifying the animal's health based on government regulations.

4-The certificate must now be translated into Spanish. The translation must then be notarized. Upon notarization, the translation must receive an "Apostille". This is a very important document which is accepted (and required) for international relations between the United States, Argentina, and several other nations (initiated under the Hague Convention of 1961). Such an "Apostille" is provided by your local Secretary of State or Lt. Governor's Office.

5-Buy a good kennel (must be "airline approved") and train your dog to get used to it. Bella thought it was a form of punishment every night! Be sure to have food, water, and blankets inside before the trip - and post all breed and owner information on the outside.

Of course, please keep in mind that there are many costs involved. While the documents are not very expensive, do expect to pay between U$150 to U$300 to travel with your pet. Yes, this is cheaper than a normal airline ticket, but it is still steep. Once you arrive into Argentina, pick up your pet (and kennel) at baggage claim, present the paperwork to the local vet at customs, pay a few pesos, and get on your way. Now, just find your dog some much needed water!