BA - Days 16 to 18

Met Hugh for coffee at 9:30 and then our friends from New York, Jane and David, arrived for coffee at 10 and Sophie, Hugh's shopping consultant, arrived at 10:15 to take V and Jane for a 4 hour shopping expedition. At this point we had overwhelmed the small breakfast room at the Magnolia and a party atmosphere was beginning to develop but the various parties began to disperse and order was restored. Jane and David are attending a wedding in Brazil and had stopped off in BA to spend a couple of days with us before the wedding and they will be joining us for the opera tonight at the Teatro Colon.

David and I spent the morning walking to the Botanical Gardens and wandering around our area. Gardens were interesting as it's spring and lots of the Garden was filled with new blooms but surprisingly, given that it was a Saturday, all the buildings and greenhouses were closed so we just roamed around and chatted and spent a very pleasant 3 or 4 hours.

Opera was scheduled for 20:30 and we arrived at 19:30 to pick up our tickets from the box office and to explore the building which is supposed to be very elegant and one of the top 5 opera houses in the world. Long lines of people waiting for rush tickets but I had booked a box on the first level since it was not likely that we would have the opportunity to attend this opera house again, and the line up for previously purchased tickets was blessedly short.

We wandered around the building, but it was much less impressive than I had expected; just felt a mix of sterile and municipal with a not very welcoming air. Our box, like all the others, contains 6 chairs all of which are first-come, first-served, so our box is reserved, but not the 6 seats within it. We got to our box about 20:00 to discover that we had arrived just a minute behind another couple who took the 2 front chairs, leaving us 2 chairs behind them whose view of the stage is partly obscured by the earlier couple. Pity the last couple to arrive as they will be behind us and really in a pretty poor position to see anything. However we were there to listen and since the sur-titles are all in Spanish, having great sightlines will be less of an issue.

We spent the time waiting for the opera to begin watching the crowds arrive and the seats and boxes fill up. Surprised by how relaxed the dress code is; we had expected more Spanish formality and we were in jacket, tie and evening dress as were the 4 Argentine occupants of our box, but looking out over the orchestra seats below us, a large portion of the crowd were in open necked shirts and slacks or jeans. Occupants of the other boxes seemed to be better dressed but overall much more relaxed than I'd expected.

We have a dinner reservation for 23:30 at Tomo 1, reputed to be one of the best that BA has to offer and, depending on the reviewer, one of the 50 best or 100 best in the world. Now having eaten there, wouldn't make my list. To begin, Jane and David thought that they'd leave the opera a little before the end as they were not great fans of Un Ballo in Maschera and were still tired from their flight from New York and thought that they'd be happy to relax with a drink while we stayed through the end. In the event, we did not particularly like the production or the voices and decided to leave about 20 minutes before the end so that J&D would not be left on their own. We arrived at the restaurant, which is across the street from the opera, at about 23:00 to find that J&D had not yet arrived. Restaurant would not let us take our table even though we could see an empty table which eventually proved to be ours; they said that our reservation was for 21:30 and we would not have access to a table until 21:30. It then took some effort to order a drink while we waited in the lobby and by the time that J&D arrived at 21:30, they had decided to stay for the whole performance since they expected that we would and had gotten tangled up in the crowds leaving the theatre, I was becoming very cranky with the restaurant's unwelcoming attitude. Food was interesting and creative, but the service was a little too condescending and at that point I was not in a very receptive mood. All my own fault, I know but nonetheless, I'm not a Tomo 1 fan.

Last two days were a whirlwind; met Hugh for a last drink, bought a custom-made leather jacket that I liked in a store where V was having some clothes made and which I'm very pleased with and generally tried to cram in all the things that we, as usual, left to the last minute.

Off on time and after a 6 hour delayed flight in Bogata, arrived home at 1:00 in the morning, ready to be overwhelmed by Christmas.

Ethiopia & Kenya

Puna to BA - Day 15

Puna to BA - Day 15