Posts Tagged With: Louisville

More from Mar De Plata

Endless Ocean!Good morning again from beautiful Mar Del Plata, Argentina! We could rave at length about the endless amount of great features of this beautiful seaside city. But one thing particularly worth noting is just how relaxing it has been. Our time in this rented apartment has given us some of the best sleep we’ve gotten on this trip. Ranks way above the unbearable discomfort of the Reino Inn in Hiroshima and about on par with our time at the Hanoi Moment in Vietnam. All kinds of sleep from sun drenched naps on the couch with a subtle sea breeze or a long night in an oh-so-comfortable bed punctuated with the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks fourteen stories below. Probably sounds odd that I’m boasting about how rested we are, but we’ve spent so much of our travels up early, running around all day and then worn out by nightfall, that this is a good way to wind down the trip.

Cuidado!All of this makes it even more striking that we were woken yesterday morning by the booming sound of shattering glass. A quick look out the window confirmed that a car had sped directly into the glass bus stop directly across the street. No one was hurt, but that’s a hell of a way to start your day. Later when walking along the main road, we observed that a highly suspicious number of bus stops no longer seemed to have their glass siding. Driving and, for that matter, riding in cars down here tends to be a guaranteed white knuckle adventure. Given the examples of bad driving we’ve seen again and again down here, I’m going to start referring to waking up in that manner as an Argentine Alarm Clock.

Lovely Seaside Brooke!

Reckless motoring aside, it’s not hard to see why Mar Del Plata is a booming vacation spot during the summer. Even though its early in the season, the main walkway along the beach is teeming with joggers, casual walkers, groups sipping maté, rollerbladers and more. I’ll make the bold leap and say that you could draw comparisons between this town and parts of Florida. Seaside walks, hundreds of hotels and compact blocks loaded with shops, storefronts and charming homes. We’ve had a couple of surprisingly windy days and nights, so the beaches are somewhat empty but there is a steady crowd of aspiring surfers just off the coast. As Brooke mentioned, the view from our window brings us the ocean falling over the horizon during the day, the unfamiliar stars of the southern window at night and everything ranging from large group of bicyclists to racing cars a la Fast and The Furious on the street below. It’s been fun just to watch out the window.

Brooke and I have also been using some of this time prepping for re-entry back into a day-to-day life in the states and, more importantly, taking some early steps to settle into our new city of Louisville, KY. There is much to be done and much of it is exciting. Its easy to frame our next steps as a completely new type of adventure. In upcoming weeks, we need to find a car, a place to live and, probably most importantly, jobs. Between a slew of e-mails to potential Jefferson County school employers and some buffering and polishing of LinkedIn profiles, we feel proud of the head start we’ve gotten. Never under estimate the power of a strong WiFi connection. We plan to hit the ground running when we get back, but a little work in advance goes a long way. Once again, having our ASUS Tablet and keyboard on this trip has been a lifesaver.

Or Lobo Del Marina is you so choseBut don’t be fooled. We’re spending a lot of time enjoying all the Mar Del Plata has to offer. This city and weather combine to provide the perfect atmosphere for long walks. We’ve headed north, south and west outside our front door and found worthwhile treks in each direction. Throughout this trip, I’ve always enjoyed venturing down a new street for the first time. I dig the initial voyage combined with the exciting philosophy of “who knows what we’ll see!” Occasionally, you discover zip but other times you see Sea Lions. As was the case yesterday when we walked down to the main port. Sure enough, at the edge of the docks mingling among fishing boats, was a large pack of Sea Lions. A few were somewhat active almost clamoring for attention from camera-toting human guests, while others were just lazy bastards. If I didn’t know better, I would presume I was looking at two dozen beached Sea Lions. It was quite cool to see and hear these giant creatures up close; when they “bark”, they actually sound a bit like lions. Fun fact: Argentines calls Sea Lions “Lobos Del Mar” which actually translates as “WOLVES of the sea.” Along with serving as a vacation sport, this city has a very active port including scores of small fishing boats. I don’t think Brooke ever has to worry about losing me to the sea; days on a fishing boat looks like a rough way to make a living.  After a long walk out, we ended with a small victory as a local bus and the equivalent of 75 cents gave us a ride back directly to the aforementioned smashed bus stop just outside our building.

On another walk, we discovered the closest thing to a diner that we’ve seen in a long time. Manolo restaurant is apparently a Mar Del Plata institution and was recommended highly by our Air BnB host. Complete with massive menu, indifferent waiters and reasonable prices, it was a place where the selection is endless want but it’s unlikely that any of it is going to be outstanding. Following the “When in Rome” ideology, I ordered the house chicken burger which came with a ham, cheese, egg, olives, tomatoes and lettuce. Oh my. On the taste scale, it fell somewhere between interesting and delicious. Also, since every single person in the joint had at least one churro on the plate in front of them, I ordered one as well. I’m sure its part of a relatively small universe, but that was hands down the best churro I’ve had in my life.

Brooke and I have also spent some time in front of the boob tube. The best part? The commercials. I leave you with this strange, gem that had us bewildered when we first saw it. I’ve watched it 15 times since but I’m still scratching my head. Trust us, this is worth clicking on link to see this strange mishmash:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_sfTz2BTfY

-Phil

Another car that ran off the road. Keep in mind this is different than the one that ran into the bus stop- same day, 2 KM down the road. Yikes.

Sea Lions hanging out under the pier. There were tons of them! They sometimes fought and they reeked.

We’ve seen tons of these “Living Statues” street performers all around the world. This Angel outside a church in Mar Del Plata was hands down the best. He went all out! Click to enlarge to see the detail.

Good living in Mar Del Plata

Good living in Mar Del Plata

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Categories: Argentina, Beach, Diversions, Driving Abroad, Eating, Mar Del Plata, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

PODS Success!

As I stated in an earlier post, I was incredibly worried about fitting our entire apartment into a PODS unit.  For weeks in advance of our PODS arriving, I was mildly obsessed about loading everything up.  Not only was I worried about everything fitting, I was also scared we wouldn’t have enough help to get it done in 4 hours.  After all, we were doing this on a Tuesday morning when most of our friends would be working.  In fact, I even had a nightmare about loading the PODS and it was a total disaster.  Clearly, this was preoccupying my brain.

Luckily, there was no need for me to worry.  I can say with 100% confidence, loading the PODS was a total success.  First of all, they arrived on time which is always a good thing when you have recruited outside help.  They even called about 15 minutes before arrival to let us know they’d be there.  PODS offers a special city service that requires the driver, ours was David, to stay with the truck.  He was really knowledgeable and offered a lot of helpful hints and advice.  As soon as he opened the door, I breathed a sigh of relief.  I knew immediately we would have enough space, but the challenge would be organization and working efficiently to get done in the 4 hour “city service” time limit.  We had managed to recruit 4 of our friends, Dan and Dean (both who work, but didn’t have to go in until later) and Melinda and Violet (both teachers with the summers off).

PODS with David

David suggested we load all boxes first, but I didn’t listen and decided to start with some of the bigger furniture and fill in with boxes.  I should have listened to him.  He watches people load these things all the time—he knows!  But, I got cocky and decided to do it my way.  It worked, but as it filled up it got a little bit tricky and ended up less neatly organized that I would have preferred.   One of the really great things was that there was a lift on the end of the truck where we could just stand with the heavy stuff and David would raise us from the ground.  That was awesome for some of the bigger pieces and saved some difficult lifting onto the bed of the truck.

It may not have ended up as pretty as I would have liked, but, in the end, we made it all fit!  It took us about 2 and ½ hours.  We were so impressed with our hardworking friends—everyone said that it went so much easier than they expected.  Yay!

Done and Done!Now, our stuff is on its own adventure on the way to be stored in Louisville. (I sometimes like to imagine Toy Story scenario where everything comes to life and has its own storyline when there are no humans around.) As for the security of our items, they are locked in with two of our own padlocks and we keep the keys.  David cautioned us to make sure we do not lose the keys because replacing the door is some ridiculous amount of money.   When I asked him why we couldn’t just cut the locks, he said cutting them without damaging the door is virtually impossible.  Yikes!  The warning scared us enough that we are keeping the keys in a very safe spot.  As added security, he also had me sign an orange plastic label connected to a zip-tie.  This way when we receive our items we will know that no one has been inside the unit.

Now, we are able to track our PODS as it makes its way to Louisville where it will wait until we need it again.  I’d say the whole thing was a resounding success.  I guess the real test will be when we open it up and see if our stuff made it in one piece.  Hopefully it did, but if it didn’t…well, it’s all just stuff.  We have too much of that anyway!

–Brooke

Categories: Moving, Packing, PODS, Storage, Trip Prep | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Homesick

So, last night I watched the Fourth of July fireworks from a house we are renting in Westhampton, NY.  They broadcast the fireworks live from NYC…I must say, it was quite an impressive show.  Nearly 30 minutes of beautiful displays of light and color all set to patriotic, and sometimes cheesy music.  Here’s the thing—as we were sitting there watching the fireworks I realized something.  I think I’m going to be homesick while we are on our trip.  There was something about watching the fireworks display, especially when they played the Armed Forces Medley that made me realize I’m going to miss America.  I think I’m going to be very excited to return home.

When I mentioned this to Phil, he asked me what I would miss the most.  That’s a tough question.  I think I’ll miss my friends and my family, of course.  I’ll miss my favorite foods and the comfort of my own bed.  But more than anything, I think I’ll miss that familiarity that is home.  I’m trying to prepare myself for this now so it isn’t such a shock when it happens.

One way we are preparing ourselves is by sleeping in other beds.  Weird, right?  Well, we realized that we wouldn’t be sleeping in our own bed for a really long time, and we needed to get used to sleeping in unfamiliar places.  Waking up and not immediately recognizing where we are.  Shaking ourselves out of that hazy sleep and figuring out what city we are in.  So, the next few days, we sleep in a bed in Westhampton, NY (pretty comfy, though a little bit bouncy).  We will have3 more nights in our own bed, in our own apartment, and then, it’s different beds in different cities until December!  It is daunting and exciting, and will be a workout for our back muscles, but overall, I think it will be totally worth it.  Just imagine how awesome it will be when we set up our new apartment in Louisville, KY, take out our bed which has been in storage for months and sleep on it that first time, only to dream about the adventures we just had while traveling around the world.  Amazing!

-Brooke

Categories: Homesick, KY, Moving, Random Thoughts, Trip Prep | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Home Moving and Storage

One of the major things we had to deal with when deciding to take a trip around the world for four months is what to do with all of our stuff.  We have an apartment, but we didn’t really want to stay here any longer than we had to.  The apartment is fine, but we aren’t thrilled with our neighborhood (the street is quite loud and can be like a nightly party during the summer).  So, we decided that taking a trip around the world would also be the perfect timing  for us to quit our jobs and move to a new city.  After lots of research and visits to cities, we decided to move to Louisville, KY.  The reasons are numerous and we are very happy with our decision, but we’ll save telling you about all that for later.  So, once we figured out where we would be going once we got back from our trip, we had to decide what to do with all of our stuff while we were gone.

Sure, my parents have a basement, but I’m certainly not going to burden them with all of our stuff.  That’s just not cool.  So, we had two clear choices:  One—rent a moving truck, load it up, drive to Louisville, unload our stuff into a storage unit and let it hang out there until we get back.  Then, once we found a place in Louisville, we’d unload the storage unit, pack up a new truck, and move into our new home.  Yikes—that sounds like a lot of work.  The other option:  PODS—Portable On Demand Storage (www.pods.com).  For this option, a PODS unit is dropped off at our apartment and we load our stuff into it.  Then, the PODS people drive it to Louisville and store it until we call and request them to deliver it to our new home.  Then, we unload the PODS and they come take it away.  In case it isn’t obvious, this is the option we chose.  Sure, PODS may be a bit more costly, but ultimately we thought loading and unloading just one time was much more convenient and well worth the price difference.  Also, this will save us the hassle of driving a moving van from New York City to Louisville.

Now, less than two weeks away from moving, we are in the throes of packing up our apartment, boxing everything we own, taking apart Ikea shelving and figuring out what to keep and what to pitch.  This process is always humbling and makes you realize all the stuff you have that you don’t really need.  Phil says he’s never buying anything again!  Famous last words.

One of my biggest concerns now is making it all fit.  The PODS is 16′ x 9′ x’9′, or something like that, and a lot of our furniture can be easily disassembled.  Still, I’ll have to use my skills as a Tetris Master to pack it nicely so it is safe and snug until we have it delivered to us in December.  Exacerbating the concern of making it fit is the fact that living in NYC is a distinct disadvantage when it comes to working with PODS.  Normally, they would drop the PODS off and you would pack it at your leisure.  However, since we don’t have a driveway and it has to be parked in the street, we only have a 4 hour window to pack it (plus we have to pay extra so the driver stays with it—blegh).  Four hours is a fine amount of time if you have lots of help—we are packing it up on a Tuesday morning starting at 8:00 AM, however, and help may be limited.  It will get done, but it could be a very hectic morning.  To top it all off, that day will also be our one year wedding anniversary.  What a way to celebrate!

So, for now I’m thinking about what should go in first and imagining how it will all be organized and fit beautifully.  We’ll make sure to take some pictures when it is here and let you know how it goes.  I just can’t wait until it is done—moving sucks!  We are experts by now—after all, we’ve moved 4 times in 6 years.  We must be gluttons for punishment.

-Brooke

Categories: Moving, Packing, Trip Prep | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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