The Trip of a Lifetime

Recently, we returned from the trip you (our Granada Church family) sent us on to South America. What an adventure this was! Sandy and I traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 5th, stayed two days in the city. Then we boarded a ship with stops in Uruguay, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas); the ship rounded Cape Horn, and then made two stops in Tierra del Fuego before traveling to Valparaiso, Chile. We also spent two days in Santiago before returning to Miami. This was the trip of a lifetime for us! We enjoyed the experience tremendously. It broadened our perspective of South America, gave us a chance to connect with churches there, and provided a time of renewal and refreshment. We are grateful beyond words for you, our church family, and for thinking of us and planning this special time away. What an amazing adventure!

benWhat you have before you is an invitation to go with Sandy and me on this journey.  We are not inviting you just to see where we have gone, but in a sense, we are inviting you to share it with us.  You can do this by following the blog posts and by posting comments of your own that can be added. During our trip, I journaled about our experiences.  This is what I want to share with you.  Prior to our departure in Miami, Sandy and I were in St. Louis visiting with our daughter Rachel and her husband Joseph. Our mission was to hold our first grandbaby, “Ben.”  This little guy was born in the early morning hours of December 14th, and we were eager to welcome him into the family.

I flew out late Christmas day with our sons Andrew and Nathan to meet Sandy, and we celebrated Christmas together a day late. What a special time it was to share with them. Ben looks a lot like his dad. We took turns holding this little boy and becoming acquainted. They were doing so well adjusting to their new life with Ben.  We are proud of them.

We flew back to Miami on January 1st and shared worship and the Lord’s Super on January 4th at Granada.  This was the first week in our series on experiencing God with all our senses called:  Taste and See.  In the late afternoon we caught an overnight flight to Buenos Aires. The flight is about 9 hours and Buenos Aires is two time zones ahead of Miami.  We arrived to a busy airport in a city larger than New York.   The international airport is quite a distance from the center of town so we arranged in advance for transportation into the city center.  This was Monday morning at the height of rush hour traffic.  Our taxi driver knew almost no English.  Here was our opportunity to use our survival Spanish.  We had great fun learning about the city, getting to know our taxi driver, and getting his impression of a great many things.  His name was Rubens. He explained that he is married with a young daughter. (At this point, he was turning his head for so long to talk with us, I wondered if he was watching the road!)

Day 1 – Buenos Aires

San Telmo Corner

San Telmo Corner

We had met his wife since she was the dispatcher of taxis at the airport.  He explained that he could maintain peace in his home by forbidding the discussion of three topics:  Religion, politics and football (soccer)! Nonetheless, we talked about all three on the way into the city. First, religion.  Rubens told us that he did not have time for church, and that pastors are not respected in Argentina. (Note to self: keep a low profile!)  He explained that almost everyone will claim to be Catholic, but that few participate in church life.  Second, politics.  Rubens grumbled about the state of the economy and the political leadership of Argentina.  Here he was most guarded with his comments.  He did tell us that inflation is quite high and that the Argentinian peso has lost a lot of value in the last few years.  We found this to be true during our staff.  The official exchange rate was about 8.5 pesos to the dollar, but on the street the rate was over 13 pesos to the dollar! They have seen inflation of 40% in the last few years.  Rubens got us to our hotel before he got started about football and his team!

We stayed in the barrio called San Telmo.  This is an older section of town going through revitalization. We saw many buildings we loved…so much character, and we tried to imagine life in San Telmo “in the day.” Our hotel was a completely restored mansion with beautiful wood and marble throughout.  The basement level doubles as a dance studio and dance hall.  The theme of Argentinian Tango is carried through the hotel.  The rooms were nice, the street was quiet, and the staff were very helpful.  Having gotten little sleep on the plane, Sandy napped, and I read and journaled.  Then we took a walk through the streets of San Telmo.   Our favorite part of this barrio was along Defensa, a section of the city lined with antique stores and quaint shops.

San Telmo along Defensa - Antiques

San Telmo along Defensa – Antiques

Palermo street

Palermo street

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy on March 17, 2015 at 2:30 am

    I’m finally starting to read about our trip! Thank you for journaling and recording these memories! I wish I could add a picture or two of our hotel Dande there! Thank you for taking me along for the ride! xoxox


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