Author Topic: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report  (Read 25420 times)

Offline yitrap

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #80 on: April 28, 2015, 08:03:16 AM »

Lol. Need to upload the pics from my home computer but I'm in Israel now.

Just read through it, absolutely amazing TY!!
welcome to Israel :)

Offline yitrap

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #81 on: April 28, 2015, 08:03:55 AM »

Lol. Need to upload the pics from my home computer but I'm in Israel now.

Just read through it, absolutely amazing TY!!
welcome to Israel :)

Offline Mech

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #82 on: April 28, 2015, 08:41:42 AM »
Just read the whole TR! Amazing! Gorgeous pics!
Welcome to Israel

Online jaywhy

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #83 on: April 28, 2015, 12:03:20 PM »
Thanks guys :)

Offline benjie1305

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #84 on: April 28, 2015, 12:24:23 PM »
Holy smokes! Amazing TR. Great pics. Great elaboration. Thanks!
Work hard, Play harder!

Online jaywhy

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #85 on: May 05, 2015, 05:46:24 PM »
We arrived at IGR airport with plenty of time to make our flight to Aeroparque, the city airport in Buenos Aires. We flew LAN economy class, which was perfectly fine for the sub 2 hour flight. Security at the airport was very relaxed, allowing us to go through without disassembling our stroller, a rarity on this trip.

We arrived in Aeroparque, collected our bags, and took a cab to our hotel, Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires, which I had booked with cash and points, and used a diamond suite upgrade to upgrade into a Park Suite. The hotel is located in a former palace and is a gorgeous property, with a very classy design, while retaining some of the palatial elements, without being too ostentatious.








Park Suite

Once we arrived and freshened up, it was time to get our hands on some blue dollars. For those unfamiliar, blue dollar is the unofficial exchange rate for USD-ARS, which can be 35-50% more than the official exchange rate. I have a good friend in Buenos Aires, who hooked me up with a money exchanger who does hotel visits. So instead of going out on the street to exchange USD, we had a nice Chabad guy show up to our hotel room with a big bag of cash to exchange. Once we had our ARS, we headed out to Asian, the famed kosher restaurant in Buenos Aires. This place had really been hyped up to me by Dan and others, so needless to say, we had very high expectations.

Perhaps we should have tempered those expectations a bit as the restaurant did not live up to itís billing as a world class place. We had some very good dishes, some average dishes, and one shockingly bad dish. We went there quite a few times during our time in Buenos Aires, and sampled almost everything on the menu. One thing that was great was the price, as with most things in BA when factoring in the blue dollar.


Bread Sticks


Vodka shots


Asian chicken salad


Beef spring rolls


Bone in Rib Steak


Hot Pastrami


Lamb Burger




Desserts

While we were out, I arranged with the butler over email to place a large bouquet of roses with a note in our room as it was our anniversary. They went one better, and added some chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne to complete the setup. Unfortunately, not kosher, but it was a nice gesture.


Anniversary Surprise

We decided to spend Shabbos at our friendís house, as it was just much easier with the kids. So we checked out on Friday, and had the hotel store our bags while we brought a carry-on with us packed for Shabbos. We had a nice enjoyable Shabbos and davened at the Chabad of Belgrano.

After Shabbos, we returned to the hotel to find that they had upgraded us to Park Executive Suite, which is huge and very tastefully decorated. My one pet peeve was the lights; they were supremely frustrating. One very thoughtful gesture by the hotel, they made my older daughter a coloring book with her name on it and some crayons to go with it. Itís touches like this that set hotels apart, and this was a very thoughtful and touching gesture that we really appreciated. My daughter ended up using the crayons on some furniture in the room, but the hotel didnít seem to mind.


Park Executive Suite

Minibar



Office alcove

My friend came over and we ordered in sushi from a local place, and some Freddo ice cream, which we enjoyed together with some of the local Argentinian wine. The ice cream was delivered in a styrofoam container with a few pieces of dry ice on top to keep it frozen. We had some fun playing with the dry ice.


Sushi


Ice cream with dry ice


Some dry ice fun ;D


During our time in Buenos Aires, we explored some areas in the city like, La Boca, Puerto Madero, and Tigre. La Boca is a touristy area with some very colorful houses, lots of trinkets, and rife with street performers and supposedly pickpockets as well. BH, we didnít have any issues, but you do need to be vigilant and situationally aware at all times. BA lives up to itís billing as ďthe city of tango,Ē as there were people engaging in tango dancing all over the place.












La Boca

Puerto Madero is a really nice area around the harbor that has lots of shops and an old battleship in the water. It made for a nice place to enjoy the sunset views.








Puerto Madero

The next day we went with some local friends to Tigre, which is a river about an hour drive of BA. We spent the day relaxing by the water and sampling caipirinhas from the various restaurants in the vicinity. One thing is for certain, the Brazilian caipirinhas top their Argentinian counterparts. It was super crowded at Tigre as it was some sort of Argentinian holiday. We also checked out some old architecture and houses in the area.

We took a cab back to the PH and the cab driver tried to rip us off by charging us the price for crossing the entire city instead of going straight to the PH although we had already agreed on a price in Tigre. A bit of yelling at him with the help of the PH staff solved that problem.

That night we wanted to go out again to Asian, but we weren't able to find a babysitter. So we sent a cabbie to pick up a to go order that we ordered over the phone. We ordered a full 5 course dinner with a bottle of wine. Including the cab fare, the total was less than $90. Incredible!

The next day I was feeling a bit under the weather so we hung out at the PH until nighttime, when we found a babysitter and we were able to go out again with our friends to Al Galope to try the famous grill, called a parilla. The parilla was a huge metal grill with hot coals piled high with all sorts of meats. It was quite enough for all 4 of us. Some items were delicious, such as the sweetbreads, but some other items were not as good. After that, I went out riding motorcycles with my friend. After some riding fun, we regrouped at a local brewery/bar to get hammered off local Argentinian beers. Personally, I wasnít too impressed with the craftsmanship of the beer, but it sure did the trick.


Parilla at Al Galope

The next day it was time to leave BA and say goodbye to the PH. I had my money guy come over the hotel and change more pesos and then settled the bill in pesos. Quite a good deal, I must say.

We went to the Jewish area and tried a bakery and another sushi place. Both were good, but nothing great. We picked up some more food from Asian for the plane and took a cab to the airport. I had booked a connecting flight from EZE to GRU in TAM J for 15k Avios pp. I wasnít able to book it online so I called to get it booked and added my lap infant on for 1500 Avios.

Once we got to check-in, the check in agent, who looked exactly like Hitler and even had a Hitler moustache to go with it, as well as a glaring lack of intelligence, started frowning and looking at his computer. He went back and forth with another agent and then called a supervisor after about a half hour. As our departure time was fast approaching, I started getting a little anxious. During this entire time we just stood there while they didnít inform us as to what was going on, despite repeated requests. After about an hour of waiting around, they told us that they couldn't find a ticket number for the lap infant and that we needed to call BA to sort it out. As our flight was departing in 45 minutes, that clearly was not going to be an option so I opted to pay the lap infant fee, which was about $125 and off we went. They were able to check us in to our next flight from GRU-MEX even though it was booked separately and tag our bags all the way though to MEX.

We headed to security and then saw Hitler running after us, and offering to escort us through security, and help us with our bags. I assume that the supervisor told him to help us, as we were connecting F passengers, and entitled to an escort through the airport.

We boarded the plane and found our seats for the 2.5 hour flight to GRU. The business class was 2/3rds empty, and we had our pick of an full aisle of angle-flat business class. The seats were OK for a short haul, but I definitely would not want to overnight on them.


TAM business class

The kosher meal that they served was delicious, a juicy flavorful pepper steak with sautťed mushrooms, green and red peppers, and white rice. My wife thought it was the best kosher plane meal we had during the trip.


TAM J kosher meal

We landed in GRU and got ready to deplane. My wife and kids were, understandably, a bit frazzled and tired from the airport experience in EZE, as well as struggling with numerous carry ons and a food bag that started to expel its liquid contents all over the plane. Thatís where TAMís excellent ground services really saved us. The plane was deboarding on the tarmac, and there was a bus waiting to take the passengers to the terminal. But not us! We were met at the airplane by 3 TAM reps, who helped us with our bags and escorted us into a waiting Mercedes. We went through a private door to pass through a private customs and immigration, and were then escorted to the TAM first class lounge. As far as first class lounges, this was pretty weak with no exclusive features, or perks, besides for a nice design and exclusivity. The shower was a plastic tube coming out of the wall which kept coming out of the wall!




TAM First class lounge

We boarded the next flight to Mexico which was operated by an old A330 with the old first class, which was still extremely comfortable and private, with only 4 seats. After dinner and a few caipirinhas, we all passed out, and I had the best sleep Iíve ever had on a plane.




TAM old First class

We landed in MEX, and were escorted throughout the extremely long walk to immigration. A TAM rep had our bags waiting for us when we got outside, and loaded them onto the waiting chauffeur to take us to our next hotel, the Hyatt Regency Mexico City.


View from the Hyatt Regency Club floor

The next 2 days we spent touring Mexico City and sampling the various kosher restaurants there, as well as meeting up with some family we had there. Gaucho Grill was a fantastic restaurant, with fresh meats and spectacular breads and desserts.




Gaucho Grill

The Chapultepec Zoo was also a nice, free attraction, which my daughters, and my wife and I really enjoyed.












Zoo de Chapultepec

We spent a nice Shabbos at a family friend in Polanco, and early Sunday morning, my uncle drove us to the airport and gave me a few bottles of top notch tequila as a goodbye present.

Mexico City airport was a disaster, it was crowded and looked more like a bus station than an airport. After check-in and security, I picked up some tequila before boarding the plane to take us back to Miami. The climb out of the airport was among the most beautiful Iíve ever seen, with a brilliant blue sky and mountains surrounding the entire city. Absolutely stunning.


Climb out of MEX

We landed in Miami and quickly cleared customs and immigration with Global Entry, and were picked up by a relative, who drove us back to Boca to begin normal life again after an incredible trip.

In summary, it was an amazing trip and I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of this hobby, and travel in luxury, that I would otherwise not be able to afford; and to have a wife and children, who put up with my craziness and take part in these trips.

The end.

Offline yls2011

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #86 on: May 05, 2015, 07:58:12 PM »
Nice TR! It came just in time, I'll be in BsAs in a few weeks.

Are you able to give me the info for your money guy? Thanks

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #87 on: May 05, 2015, 08:12:35 PM »
Wow, great TR! Well done! Sounds like you had a blast! Brings back fond memories.

Offline Yaalili

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #88 on: May 05, 2015, 11:28:18 PM »
Awesome, thanks for taking the time to finish it.

Offline morgs

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #89 on: May 06, 2015, 02:27:47 AM »
Thanks for finishing up!! Sounds like you guys had a really amazing time!!

Offline VacationLover

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #90 on: May 06, 2015, 10:56:33 AM »
Wow, never saw this TR before. Really nice and professional pictures.

Sorry if it was mentioned before... which camera did you use?

Online jaywhy

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #91 on: May 06, 2015, 04:25:43 PM »
Nice TR! It came just in time, I'll be in BsAs in a few weeks.

Are you able to give me the info for your money guy? Thanks
Sure, PM me.
Wow, great TR! Well done! Sounds like you had a blast! Brings back fond memories.
Awesome, thanks for taking the time to finish it.
Thanks for finishing up!! Sounds like you guys had a really amazing time!!
Wow, never saw this TR before. Really nice and professional pictures.

Sorry if it was mentioned before... which camera did you use?
Thanks y'all.

I use a Panasonic GX7.

Offline sruli1234

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #92 on: May 06, 2015, 05:11:39 PM »
Wow.

Wow.

Wow.

I just read the whole TR. I am amazed!!

Thanks!

Online jaywhy

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #93 on: May 06, 2015, 05:38:09 PM »
Starting a TR and not finishing it right away is like moving in to a new house when its 80% done. The last 20% never gets done.
You can put this in your pipe and smoke it :D

Offline DMYD

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #94 on: May 06, 2015, 06:39:22 PM »
Nice Stuff @jaywhy the last pictures of the food made me hungry even tho I wasn't

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #95 on: May 07, 2015, 09:38:18 AM »
Great TR.
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline AJK

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #96 on: May 18, 2015, 12:56:24 AM »
Awesome!
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper