This morning, while the majority of the passengers were still in the air en route to Buenos Aires, I took a cab over to Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve and spent several hours strolling with my camera. The reserve has an interesting history—it had been a dumping ground for construction debris, and then nature decided to take over, and now it’s an amazing green space in the shadow of the city’s skyscrapers.
I saw a lot of birds I couldn’t identify, but was lucky to encounter a couple of guides who looked at the images on the back of my camera and told me what they were. I haven’t had a chance to sort out the info they gave me; maybe I’ll post more about that another time. The coolest bird I was able to photograph was the one I’ve posted at right—I knew it had to be a bird of prey, but that’s about it. The guides told me it’s a chimango caracara. I did a Google Images search and am not convinced, but I’m sure they know their birds—especially the local ones—a heckuva lot better than I do.
By the time I got back to the hotel, the passengers on the trip were starting to arrive in large numbers. The scene in the hotel lobby was a lot of fun, as I finally got to meet some of the people I’ve been corresponding with, and to reconnect with people I’ve traveled with before, and as travelers who know each other from past trips were reunited. Lots of hugs and just general excitement about what’s to come. A bunch of us Penn Staters had a long lunch (empanadas, anyone?) in the hotel bar to catch up with each other—or get acquainted, as the case may be.
In the afternoon the Gohagan trip directors held a meeting with those of us who are hosts and/or lecturers on the trip, to go over logistics. There are something like eight lecturers from the various schools, plus the ship’s expedition leaders will lecture as well, so we’ll be hearing talks on everything from astronomy to Antarctic birds to climate change and more. But we’ll all have to be flexible, we were told, because if there’s a whale sighting or something similarly good, the captain will announce it and everyone will race out of the auditorium to go see it.
After an evening reception, many of the travelers went off to tango shows. One of the Penn State travelers and I took a walk around, ending up at the Obelisk, about which I know nothing—other than the fact that looks a lot like the Washington Monument. I took a photo of it (shown here) against the evening sky, and we tried to translate its inscriptions commemorating various important dates in Argentinian history. There were a lot of Roman numerals involved.
Tomorrow we have a half-day city tour, and then some of the other Penn Staters and I are going to meet up with a local photographer, Bernardo Galmarini, who’s going to show us some photogenic spots in two very famous neighborhoods, La Boca and San Telmo. I’m looking forward to that.