AG w/ Shannon Nov.10-22..actually 23rd! (2013)

Somehow, Bevan and I convinced his brother, Shannon, to come to Cafayate and do some handyman work on our house. An all expense paid trip may be considered a treat to some, but truly this was a sacrifice for Shannon. One – he would be taking time off work to fly halfway across the world – to work! Two, he would be away from his kids for longer than he had ever been before (thus creating more work for his wife and Mom). Three – he would be stuck with me for 12 days!!! It was touch and go for a while but his strong desire to help us out (or probably more likely the things he read about Argentine BEEF!)  persuaded him  to come.

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Beef sized Beef!!! Parilla (BBQ) at Grace Hotel

I booked our flights in Economy Plus (or Business Minus depending if you are a glass half full or half empty kinda person)  – but despite me phoning United 3 times to confirm his seat assignment next to me and having the agent write on his file not to move him out of the “Gold Member” area, Shannon was shuffled somewhere off  to the rear of the plane. Once we were up and flying I started my journey back into the hollows of the plane to find Shannon. Who knew planes were so long?? Poor Shannon was literally wedged between a big man who had his entire office set up on his meal tray and lap and  another large creature that I assume was human but really seemed to be a cross between Sasquatch and a big bear. Shannon looked so tiny! I totally can picture what he looked like as a baby. I was comfy in my super-sized seat and enjoyed a lovely conversation with an Argentine man who is the head of the Catholic church (?priest, ?Pope? God? I didn’t want to be nosey and ask for too many details) This man has travelled the world meeting with other church heads (I was picturing the gargoyles on Notre Dame in Paris) and the UN. I will probably go to hell for thinking things like this. If not, I sure I will go for suggesting he watch “The Heat” because it is a “really funny and cute movie.” Watching it for a second time, with a man who is potentially the Pope, I found it more difficult to find the humour and cuteness between all of the swear words. ( a lot starting with ‘F’ if you know what I mean?)

Shannon was a good sport, and despite not having any sleep on the plane, was in good spirits when we arrived to Salta. We had a nice supper and then headed back to my Salta home: Legado Mitico.

After a morning of shopping for home supplies and having lunch at  Diane’s home, we made the 3 hour drive to Cafayate. As we drove into the property, we saw a meter long snake at “Creature Corner”. I named a certain bend in the road this as I always have animal sightings there (baby foxes playing, doves, armadillo on demand when Lorrie wanted to search one out!, rabbits, donkeys, etc). The sighting was quite rare, I am sure, as I was assured that there were no snakes in Cafayate when we were purchasing the land.

I thought I had entered the wrong house as the lights were on, the water was on, the gas was on, and the AIR CON was on!!!!! Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!!

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Shannon worked on sealing up our windows and trouble shooting and consulting with another contractor that we highly trust. He worked hard during the day, I tried to help, but mainly just ensured that he was fed and that he had time to go to places where he could buy gifts for Crystal and the kids. We had some fabulous meals out and went to the Grand Opening Party at the Grace Hotel. I even managed to get Shannon to try the local wines. I may have turned him into an AG wine aficionado!!!

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Party at Grace Hotel Grand Opening before it got crazy.

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Gauchos at La Estancia.

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We spent a day in BA on our return and had a fantastic time with our friend Brent and Julieta. On the 22nd, we arrived at the airport early to ensure Shannon was sitting with me this time, which he was, and then enjoyed a couple of hours in the Business class lounge. Shannon really appreciated the size and comfort of our seats – well… – at least for 4 hours on the tarmac –  at which time we were told to disembark due to mechanical issues and the flight was being cancelled. (Felt like “Ground Hogs Day” – same thing happened to Bevan and I in June!) Shannon and I had the taxi ride from hell – travelling in an old crap car without seat belts at speeds of up to 150km/hr while the driver kept doing something (?texting) on his phone. We were both sure we would be in a horrific accident and were both somewhat surprised when we made it to our destination.  It was almost 4am when we got out of the cab and kissed the sidewalk in front of the apartment. I had an email from back home with some very worrisome information – which made me feel like I needed to get back to Canada even quicker.

Unfortunately, the next day at 5pm, a mere 2 hours before our planned departure to the airport, we found out again that the flight was cancelled!!! Luckily, I had a very helpful and empathetic agent who booked us on American Airlines despite it not being a partner with United. We were very lucky.

The last 48 hours seemed like hell and I was very worried that I scared the travel bug right out of my brother-in-law. However, with seeing and hearing our families and a good night sleep in our own beds, the positive memories are outshining the negative.

Things I learned on this trip:

1) My brother-in-law is a fabulous travel companion.

2) Cafayate has scorpions.

3) Armadillos scurry around in the daytime. (we saw one out for an afternoon toddle)

4) When with an English only speaker that it is important to translate BOTH sides of a Spanish conversation. I found that I would translate what other people were saying to Shannon but figured when I was speaking Spanish that he should understand what I was saying.

5) Things can actually get fixed in Argentina.

6) It is window CAULK, NOT  window C**K. Who knew ? And why wasn’t I informed earlier?

7) It is possible to get a photo radar ticket even when you are NOT in the country.

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Jacaranda trees make BA a lovely purple colour! BA is gorgeous in summer!

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