30 June 2008

LAN Flight 601

We're on the plane and ready to go. There's a TV screen (with remote!) for every seat... Even in steerage. It's an "on demand" type system with dozens of movies and TV shows, plus video games and music.

And yes, we will indeed stop in Lima. How is it possible that we didn't know that?


We're sitting in LAX just waiting to board our LAN Chile flight. We change planes in Santiago de Chile, but we think there's also a stop in Lima, Peru. That would probably be a good thing to know, eh?

Oh! I almost forgot... don't call or text our cell phones unless it's an emergency; the international rates are crazy! We'll check e-mail every day, so that's the best way to keep in touch.


29 June 2008

Redondo Beach

We drove from Sacramento to the South Bay this morning without a single bathroom, food, or gas stop. It was a mellow drive; we talked and listened to music the whole way, and the kids never took off their headphones long enough to bug each other.

We had dinner at Vince's Spaghetti with the Aguileras. We don't see them often enough. Jesse is as sweet as ever, and Brandon and Michael have mysteriously grown into handsome young men. Brandon will always be eight years old in my mind. I just can't fathom that he's seventeen and taller than I am! Emily is the absolute spitting image of Amy now. I always hoped Caroline and Emily would be great friends like their moms, and my wish came true. They adore each other!

After we said our goodbyes to the Aguileras, Steve and I took the kids for a walk through the old neighborhood. It's a perfect night. Steve and I are watching the waves, Daniel is building a mound of sand, and Caroline's reading the latest Warriors book and missing Emily.

Amy, I love you hugely!

28 June 2008

The miracle of the iPod

Is the sibling car-fight a thing of the past?

We're off

We got a late start this morning, but we're on our way. The sun is shining, the lattes are foamy, and Caroline is reading a story about polar bears to us.

Life is good.

23 June 2008

True Economy

We leave for Los Angeles on Saturday, 6/28. My task this morning was to find lodging along the I-5 for two nights on the way down, and one on the way back. How is it possible that every dump in Bakersfield costs three times as much as our top-rated B&B in Buenos Aires? 

With three nights at hotels, food, $4.50/gallon gas, and a conservative estimate of 22 MPG, the road trip portion of our summer vacation will cost about $800. That's still half the cost of flying. 

Even if it were a false economy to drive, it's become our tradition. We love to stop for gas in Yreka, where we pick up a State of Jefferson brochure so that we can mock the nutty secessionists. We stop at Granzella's for olive-themed souvenirs and a bathroom break every time. We have lunch at In-N-Out every day. The burgers are always yummy, the french fries always suck, and we always regret letting the kids order thousand-calorie milkshakes. Daniel still talks about the chandeliers at the godawful Red Lion in Redding where we stayed in 2005. Caroline still talks about the time we bumped into a teacher from her school at a bagel place north of Sacramento in 2006. We never get sick of the first, glorious glimpse of Shasta Lake when we cross into Northern California, and we always agree that when the kids are a little older, we'll have to stop at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on the way back home.


18 June 2008


I've been following a couple of online forums and there's a discouraging recurrent theme: Buenos Aires seems to be suffering from a plague of various sorts of crime. At its most threatening, it manifests as muggings and armed robbery on the street - no area of town seems to be immune to this problem. Lesser threats include all sorts of taxi scams, bogus currency, short change artists, and pickpockets. Add to this the very real possibility of public demonstrations against the government, and it all sums up to a volatile and slightly threatening environment.

I'm not averse to going - in fact, I'm still very much looking forward to the trip. But it will be interesting to see just how vigilant we need to be, and how much that vigilance detracts from our overall enjoyment of this vacation.

13 June 2008

Best laid plans

We've made progress these past few weeks, but one of our most important decisions just fell apart yesterday.  We intended to spend our time at Casa Bolivar, but they just notified us that the building will be undergoing repairs, so they cancelled our reservation.  We scrambled around to find an alternative and have made new reservations at a highly-rated B&B, Casa Palermitano, for all but our first night.

So we're getting close.