An Indian Rehearsal Dinner in Upstate New York

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One of my good friends, Manisha, got married to her love, Jeremy, in upstate New York over Memorial Day weekend. I have been so busy with my new job and traveling around Colorado (fun camping photos to come soon) that I am behind in updating my blog- very behind. However, I had to post this joyous affair!

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I have always wanted to photograph an Indian wedding.

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There is something so magical in all the colors, traditions and delicious food. Evan and I have had a soft spot for Indian food since we lived in London for a summer.

The day began with a henna lunch for the ladies. We took turns having our palms and arms  painted with henna by two freehand artists. One of them is a professional in India and she did Manisha’s hands and feet. The henna painting ended in a joyous dance in honor of the happy couple. I loved this tradition.

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These were my hands. I messed them up once trying to take photos before they dried, but we fixed it.

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As the afternoon wrapped up, the wedding party changed from one set of colorful clothes into their formal ware for the rehearsal. The rest of us followed suit. Here is the bride in her dress for the evening. She was beautiful.

Here is how Evan and I turned out.

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As guests mingled, I photographed the couple and I was really happy with the results. I could not have picked a better backdrop or time of day. The colors of their outfits really popped and it was easy to capture genuine happiness.

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I will not post all of the family and friend photos, but here are a few of my favorites. It was fun to capture these two cultures coming together.

I also loved photographing Manisha with her bridesmaids. It was a very colorful session.

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After the formal photos were done, we ate some delicious home cooked Indian food and danced the night away.

Thanks Manisha and Jeremy for a wonderful weekend. I had so much fun capturing the memories and participating in them.

Many congratulations to Manisha and Jeremy on their happy union. Much love to you both.

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Buenos Aires

The last stop on our Argentinian adventure was Buenos Aires– the city of love and tango.

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We rented an entire loft apartment in the Soho neighborhood. It was truly a beautiful space and gave us a comfortable place to spend the remainder of our vacation.

Our neighborhood was full of interesting, colorful buildings and creative graffiti.

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We walked through the botanical gardens. It was very lush and, much like NYC’s Central Park, provided some much needed respite from the city’s boisterous nature.

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There was even a Yerba Mate plant, the very same tree from which the tea we have grown so fond of is produced.

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I had three things on my agenda for Buenos Aires– eat good steak, see tango and shop for quality leather. It is a wonderful place to buy leather goods, but you have to know where to go. A lot of the best leather is exported. We found a well rated men’s shoe store for Evan called Terán and he got these beauties.

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I was on the hunt for two leather products for myself, a nice purse and a leather jacket. I read about a popular Argentinian designer purse line called Prüne. These purses decorate the arms of many Argentinian women. They are made out of quality leather for an affordable price and have a modern design. I bought a few gifts for my close girl friends and my sister there and I found myself a beautiful, versatile purse that I use all the time. It is pictured below on the right, next to the smaller sling style purse I bought at the market in Mendoza and the sheepskin leather jacket I bought in Buenos Aires.

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I bought the custom tailored leather jacket from Bettina Rizzi. She has leather jackets in all colors and styles. This one is super soft as it is made of sheepskin. I learned this is the second highest quality of leather one can buy. I paid a premium for it, but considering the quality and that it was tailored specifically to fit my short arms, it was totally worth it. The turn around time for the tailoring was only about a day. I use it all the time now in Colorado. It is perfect for three seasons and I think it will be timeless.

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I definitely recommend Bettina Rizzi to anyone looking for a quality leather jacket in Buenos Aires. Be advised, however, that she only takes cash. Here she is pictured below with some of her jackets. Her granddaughter visited the store while I was there too, and I asked her if I could take some photos of her. She was precious.

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Finally, we bought some lovely leather wallets for my nephew and brother-in-law as well as a belt for my sister to give to my brother-in-law for his birthday at Rossi & Caruso. For anyone looking for leather goods, this is also a wonderful boutique to check out.

The local women definitely have a different fashion sense than the US when it comes to shoes. So we enjoyed window shopping all over the city.

We quickly learned that the best neighborhoods to shop in are Palermo and Soho, where we got Evan’s shoes.

In Palermo, we found this great boutique called ISKIN. They specialize in jewelry, but also have other fun things in their shop.

I bought this sweet silver leather necklace and a cool decoration that we have up in our apartment in Denver. It comes in a box and it can be put together in whatever shape you like.

Also in Palermo there is a large flea market called Mercado de Pulgas. It has everything from depression era glass to old cameras. We enjoyed window shopping. There truly are some treasures here if you are willing to take the time to look.

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Satisfied with our purchases, we spent a lot of time just walking the city, getting to know the neighborhoods, people watching, and exploring. I still think walking a city is the best way to get to know it.

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It is definitely an interesting city. It is certainly a South American city, but there is a heavy influence from other cultures. It can be seen in the architecture and food.

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We enjoyed a rooftop restaurant on our first night.

There is a notable cemetery there that is similar in style to the New Orleans cemeteries. The tombs are raised above ground and are very grand.

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Also, similar to New Orleans and its oak trees, the city is known for its impressive trees. The roots are very intriguing, with substantial portions above ground.

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On our second night in the city, we went to watch tango. We found a fun local spot where a milonga, a gathering of tango dancers, happens several nights a week. It was in a rough area, but it was important to us to see the real thing, not a touristy spectacle. We had a very nice dinner down the street from the venue and then went inside.

There was a live band and amateur and professional dancers alike from all over the world danced together. They spoke the common language of tango and it was beautiful to watch and photograph this passionate dance. I actually used to dance some tango in college with friends, so it was cool watching a dance that I knew something about. My feet were a bit swollen from walking around all day and I felt too rusty to get on the dance floor myself, but I enjoyed just taking in the atmosphere.

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On our final full day in the city, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in Soho and then ventured on to La Boca.

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La Boca is a famous neighborhood in Buenos Aires. La Boca, meaning “the mouth” in English, is so named because it is situated at the mouth of the river Riachuelo.

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We went to a modern art museum first and then explored the neighborhood.

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La Boca is famous for La Bombonera, one of the city’s soccer stadiums, and Caminito, the colorful street filled with artists.

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It is a touristy area, but it is still something worth seeing. We did see some touristy tango in the streets, which was far less satisfying than what we had seen the night before.

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We bought a beautiful hand painted tree decoration made out of bent wires from an artist on the street. We also got one for my sister and brother-in-law and Evan’s parents.

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The area surrounding La Boca is very poor. It is not advisable to walk around outside of the neighborhood. It was an interesting area to photograph, but some police officers did advise me to put my camera away.

I loved the pattern and colors in this apartment building. I wish I had had my longer lens with me to get a higher quality image.

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The final area of the city that we walked through was the neighborhood of Recoleta, home to government and business.

This is Casa Rosada, the Pink House, Argentina’s version of the White House.

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Argentina is a country with a complicated and often times dark history that resonates into the current day. With so many issues still needing to be resolved, it was no shock to see a lot of protesting and political signs all over the area.

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The statue below commemorates the conclusion of the May Revolution of 1810, which was the first successful revolution in the South American independence process.

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This is Teatro Colón, the main opera house in Buenos Aires.

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After our long walk, we went back to our loft to shower and change. We had reservations at a traditional Argentinian steak house our brother-in-law had recommended. It was absolutely delicious.

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After dinner, we topped our final night off with a speakeasy bar that had been recommended to us. Our bartender was superb. It was like watching an artist.IMG_9451

Alas, our Argentinian adventure had come to a close. We began our long journey home.

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We continue to keep the memories we made in this unique country close to our heart and try to look at life with our new motto, Adventure Time, as often as we can. We even bought a souvenir coffee table book in Soho to help us remember. Thanks for the ride, Argentina. A la próxima aventura.

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Iguazu Falls, Home of the Devil’s Throat

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Iguazu Falls is easily one of the most beautiful places I have seen.  It’s no wonder that these magnificent waterfalls frequently find themselves on lists of natural wonders. Though it is understandably a touristy area, it is nonetheless worth wading through the crowds to see these incredible sights. As we arrived at the airport near Puerto Iguazu, it quickly became evident that we had found ourselves in a much more tropical environment.

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After getting spoiled in the temperate Bariloche climate, everything felt oppressively hot and muggy.   And, in light of some recent issues with dengue fever, the first words our B&B owner said to us were, “Do you have bug spray?” Soon after, we learned of the Zika virus in Brazil, which caused us to be even more careful to avoid mosquitos. We spent the rest of our stay there covered in deet and sunscreen, and all to good effect, as neither of us suffered any ill effects throughout our stay.

We retreated to our room briefly to change and found this little guy floating in the back of the toilet.

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I “rescued” him and released him outside, but later considered he may have been happier in the cool water then outside in the heat. As evening set in, we rode into town for dinner. I had a local fish cooked in parchment paper, which was quite delicious and a welcome change from the steak I’d been eating regularly.

After dinner we went to el Hito de las Tres Fronteras, the point at which Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. It was dark, so we returned another time in daylight, but I had fun photographing the children playing in the fountain.

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There was also a cultural light show at the end of the evening, projecting various forms of dance and sport upon a spray of water to create an impressive, three dimensional presentation.

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We went back to our B&B after that and settled in for the night.

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We woke up to a lovely breakfast, including fruit from the trees on the property. The owner had some pretty sneaky cats. We stayed at Casa Yaguarete. Our owner was very friendly and accommodating. We would recommend this place to other travelers.

With full bellies, we headed down the road and caught a taxi to the park.

The first thing we saw was not a waterfall, but some adorable coatis.

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They seemed friendly and demonstrated a complete lack of fear of humans, so they came rather close to us, but the posted signs were pretty clear.  They’re crafty animals; at one point we saw them steal some food right out of a person’s backpack.

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We also saw plenty of colorful birds and some very impressive spiders.

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Our first glimpse of the waterfalls was magnificent.

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Everything was so lush.  Having come from Bariloche, which had not seen rain in some time, the vivid, green tropics of northern Argentina made it feel like we’d traveled further than we had.

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The further we ventured, the more impressive everything became.

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We took a boat ride under the waterfalls. Of course I couldn’t have my camera out most of the time.

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we saw a bunch of beautiful butterflies, mariposas as they are called in Spanish, in all colors.

 

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There was also an iguana, casually hanging out on the walkway.

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The part of the falls that is perhaps most impressive, is nicknamed “Devil’s Throat.” It really was a site to behold.

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We went back to el Hito after our day at the park and saw where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet in the light. We are standing in Argentina, Paraguay is to the left and Brazil is to the right.

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This is Argentina.

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This is Brazil.

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And this is Paraguay.

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We returned to our B&B for dinner that night.

The next morning, we started our day out right with our first ever real mate (a strong, local tea). The owner’s employee, shown here feeding the dogs and cats, showed us how to properly drink it the night before. They made us a tasty breakfast, complete with mango juice made from the mango trees on the property.

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The owner has a bird, dogs and cats. She loves them all.

For our second full day in Iguazu, we were determined to see monkeys. At the advise of our host, we took a less popular trail in the park with the hope that with fewer people on the trail, the monkeys would be more likely to show themselves. We never did find any monkeys, but we did see lots of other cool things. We enjoyed walking through the jungle and soaking in the sights, sounds and smells. I enjoyed taking some detail shots.

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At the end of our hike, we came to a watering hole with a lovely little waterfall. I went swimming in the cool water and felt the force of the falls on my face.

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Having not found any monkeys, we decided to take a safari tour deeper into the rainforest.

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The rangers told us on the tour the jaguars are the real treasure of the jungle. They spoke of the magnificent animals as if they were unicorns. They told us it is rare to see one in the wild. Loss of habitat and hunting have made them endangered, but the rangers work hard to help preserve the area that is left for them. Much like the monkeys, we did not see a single jaguar, but the tour proved to be very interesting nonetheless.

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We were told there are 200 different kinds of butterflies in Iguazu. Above, a photo of a leaf eaten up by caterpillars. The rangers taught us that the caterpillars eat the leaves without disturbing the veins, so as to not kill the leaf. Below, cocoons from one species of butterfly attached to a tree.

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Here is a video of us driving through the forest. A butterfly can be seen flying in front of the jeep.

The rainforest is dense and lush. It is very different from the forest in Bariloche. There are over 2,000 species of plants and animals thriving here.

There are giant ants. We saw some on our hike, but I was able to really get scale for my photo of them when one of the rangers picked one up.

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This is a papaya. One of the rangers gave it to me and we ate it the next morning,

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There is an endangered tree that can also be found here. It’s wood is a brilliant pink color and it used to be commonly used for beautiful pink furniture. However, it is now illegal to cut down these trees. One of them had fallen down on it’s own, however, and one of the rangers chopped off pieces of it to give to us so we could see the brilliant pink inside.

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Here is a sample of some of the other species of vegetation we saw.

They taught us that if you want a tree to die, all you have to do is cut around the circumference of the trunk. The rangers had done this to this tree because it is an invasive Chinese tree, not native to this forest, and it is destroying indigenous species.

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The rangers here really seemed passionate about what they do. We had a fabulous time being adventurers in the rainforest, even if I didn’t find my monkeys.

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We wrapped up our time in Iguazu with a delicious dinner, complete with fresh heart of palm from the area. We thoroughly enjoyed this wondrous place.

San Carlos de Bariloche: Our Introduction to the Magic of Patagonia

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Evan and I both fell in love with Bariloche at first sight. It was so unbelievably stunning. Evan described it as an area where all the most beautiful parts of Colorado were squished into one place. It is the only place in Patagonia that we have ever been, but it has inspired us to one day return and backpack through the region.

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We had arranged for an Airbnb and had been speaking with the owner through the app. She was a French ex-pat, fluent in both French and Spanish but only functional in her understanding of English. She told us to take the bus to what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, promising she would meet us there. After some confusion at the bus station and basically nobody who spoke English, we eventually figured out how to get a bus card and put enough money on it to get to our stop. When we arrived, our host, as promised was waiting for us with her son and his car so that he could drive our bags up to the house.

The house we stayed in was as near to a tiny house as we’ve ever experienced. It was off the beaten track and personally designed and built by our host with the help of her family and friends. It truly was a work of art. The large circular window and the style of construction gave the impression it was ripped straight from the writings of Tolkien.  We grew to really enjoy our strange little hobbit house.

We had our own room, the entire upstairs, and our own balcony/roof area from which we could watch the stars. It was our beautiful little bohemian sanctuary. The only odd part was that the host, an older woman, slept below us and there was no door. It worked out fine though–adventure time!

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That first night, we were pretty exhausted. We went for a walk around our area and then our host made us a delicious, homegrown dinner. Small talk without a common language, we learned, can be challenging. Nonetheless, we tried our best and soon retreated to our room to star gaze.

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Our first full day in Bariloche was magical. We walked a little ways down the road and came across the cutest and most random toy store I have ever seen. We walked past it many times during out stay and it always seemed to be open– whether it was 11 am or 11 pm. All of the toys were handmade. I bought Jen and I each a little purple elephant.

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We continued further down the road to an uphill hike our host had recommended. We could have paid to ride the gondola up, but instead opted for the free hike, which proved to be rather challenging.

The reward at the top was worth every challenging step. It was one of the most, perhaps the most, beautiful views I have ever seen.

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We enjoyed some wine at the cafe at the top while gazing at the magnificent view.

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After soaking in the view, we headed down the mountain and went to a nearby cafe for lunch. It became a favorite spot for us. It was situated on a lake, had wonderful food and a friendly staff.

Adding to our long list of mishaps during our Argentina trip, we somehow lost our bus ticket on our first night. We asked the waitstaff at this lunch spot where we could buy a new one and found out that the only place to get a new one was at the main bus station, roughly 17 miles down the road. Our waiter and the manager were super nice though and the manager gave us a spare of his. He told us we still needed to get into town to put money on it though, and the buses do not accept any payment but for credits on these passes.  He advised us to ask fellow passengers to pay for us, an idea which seemed rather terrifying to us on account of both the awkwardness of the cultural disconnect and our language issues. After repeated attempts to ask, in our stilted Spanish, for help we did eventually get two really sweet guys to agree to it and they didn’t even let us pay them back.

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We spent the rest of the day walking around the town of San Carlos de Bariloche. It looks like a little Swiss town nestled in the mountains in South America. It’s a very unique place with artisanal chocolates, Saint Bernard dogs and cafes lining the streets. We went to an open air market, where I bought a couple hair clips and then ended the night with a fondue dinner at a german-style restaurant.

We also discovered the mascot for our trip motto, adventure time, in a store front, in the hands of a small child on the bus and plenty of other places.

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The next day we asked our host about laundry service, which she had advertised on Airbnb. She did have a washing machine, to our amazement, but it was outside in the back of the house. We were only allowed to do one small load, because she ran everything on well water and the season, so far, had been very dry. We chose our most important items and then hung them on the close lines to dry while we went on a lovely hike.

The hike was a longer one than the previous day, but not as steep. The water was an absolutely gorgeous shade of turquoise and we were surprised by how tall the trees were. Evan’s video really shows off the height of the trees.

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Exhausted from our hike, we went back to our Airbnb and changed and then opted to go to a nicer dinner. On our way to the hike, we had passed a fancy hotel with beautiful views and decided to go back there for dinner.

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For our final day in Bariloche, we took it a bit easier and rode a gondola up to another beautiful view.

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We continued hiking a trail near there and saw some beautiful trees and flowers.

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We enjoyed a snack and some wine in the revolving restaurant at the top after our hike, and then rode the gondola back down.

For our last night in Bariloche, our host invited us to a traditional Argentinian barbecue at her son’s house in honor of her son’s fianceé’s birthday. It was so awesome to be able to really get a feel for what it is like to be a local there. The food, cooked over the open fire, was delicious and the people were very friendly. They embraced us as if we were longtime friends.

Here we are with the birthday girl (left picture) and with our host, one of her sons and his girlfriend (right picture).

We absolutely fell in love with Bariloche and are eager to see more of Patagonia. We will someday return to this beautiful, magical place.

Matagalpa Medical Mission Highlights

It has been a busy few months for us with moving, traveling to Argentina and searching for new employment. My husband and I are now moved into an apartment in Denver. It feels good to no longer be nomads. I recently accepted a job in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Denver Health and I am now getting back to focusing on my photography.

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Now that things have settled down, I want to showcase my trip to Matagalpa, Nicaragua, where I went last month on my third medical mission with New Orleans Medical Missions (NOMMS). This time I went as the official photographer. It was a life changing experience, as always, and an extremely successful mission. While I’d prefer to finish my posts from Argentina before moving on to Nicaragua, I felt I had to do a  quick post on the highlights of the mission first.

We completed 90 surgeries in one week. Our ortho surgeon, Dr. Lance Estrada, did 7 knee replacements a day. He also fixed a young boy’s ankle, which had been injured in a motorcycle accident, and made it so he was able to walk for the first time in a year.

Dr. Estrada also saved a woman’s leg. She had also gotten into a bad motorcycle accident and her knee was so mangled that the local surgeons were going to amputate her leg. Using local screws and rods that he pieced together, Dr. Estrada was able to fashion her a new knee, saving her leg from amputation.

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Our general surgeon, Dr. Bobby Normand, completed gallbladder removals, a colon resection and removed a giant tumor from a patient’s abdomen. He also showed the local surgeons techniques in doing laparoscopic surgeries.

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Our ENT father and son surgical team, Dr. Christian Jacob and Dr. Dan Jacob, completed rhinoplasties and septoplasties and rebuilt a man’s nose using cartilage from his ear. The man had been hit in the nose and his nose no longer had any structure. It was impressive to watch them give this man his nose back.

Finally, our plastic surgeon, Dr. Elliot Black, worked with a local plastic surgeon and fixed cleft lips and palates and gave skin grafts to burn victims, among other things. This little girl, Ingrid, couldn’t open her hand because of a burn injury she had sustained. Dr. Black opened her contracted fingers and placed a skin graft on them so she could use her hand again.

Along with other children during the week, little Dianna had her cleft lip repaired. It was a touching experience to watch her parents see the transformation of their daughter’s face.

In addition to these life changing surgeries, our eyeglass clinic gave out 1600 glasses to those in need of help with their vision. People of all ages lined up all week long. It was rewarding to witness the moment when each person was able to see clearly.

I loved being the official photographer on this trip. I truly got to see everything and really appreciate the experience. It is amazing what a group of people can accomplish in a week when they put their mind to it. The local doctors, nurses and volunteers put as much work into this as we did and we all learned from each other. The Nicaraguans are resourceful, caring people. They took us in like family and we all parted as friends. I have many more stories and photos to share from this trip, these are only the highlights. I will finish my posts on Argentina and then return to Nicaragua.

Mendoza: A Region of Wine and Dogs

Part Two

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For our fourth day in Mendoza, we walked to two vineyards. The walk was a great way to see the region–the non-touristy side of it. We had to walk through a pretty poor area of Mendoza on our way to the vineyard. I was advised, several times, by concerned citizens to hide my camera. I kept an eye out, but I also kept my camera out. What is the point of owning a fancy camera if you are afraid to use it? I will also add that despite numerous warnings throughout our trip, nobody ever attempted to steal my camera or anything else from us. I did greatly appreciate how concerned perfect strangers were for our safety.

As tough as it can be to see people living in these conditions, it always makes me think twice about my own life when I see how happy some of them seem with so much less.

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What always impresses me is how creative people can be in solving unique problems in a  cheap way. For instance, the trash cans in Mendoza were all raised above ground. I suspect it helps keep out pests and stray pups.

The arrangement of these shoes really caught my eye. It is one of those images that only took a minute to make, but was a lucky find.

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And then I came across these children and puppies and couldn’t resist. The little girl didn’t want her photo taken but said I could take a photo of her pup and then the little boys came out and were less shy.

It was at this moment that an idea I had been mulling over for the past couple days was solidified. I want to make a photo book called Los Perros de Argentina and dedicate it to Cody. These boys may just make the cover. I have many photos of dogs from this trip and I will post them all in a blog post together soon. To say the least, the walk was inspiring. To those who fear walking off the beaten track, I understand it can be uncomfortable, but for me it is truly worth the risk to feel like you are experiencing a new culture to the fullest extent.

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After an hour or so, we reached our first winery for the day. We went on an informative wine tour and then enjoyed a five course lunch. The wine was delicious, some of it coming from their 100-year-old vines, and the food was outstanding. The olive oil was also amazing–we brought home two bottles of it. It was also the setting for one of our most humorous language barrier stories from the trip. One of the courses included a yummy green root of some kind and I didn’t know what it was, so I asked one of the cooks. He told me it was a sweet potato, to which I replied in my poor Spanish, “No es una naranja?” I was trying to say, “It isn’t orange?” I think he heard, “It isn’t AN orange?” or even worse, as Evan heard, “No es una araña?” meaning, “It isn’t a spider?” Either way, he looked at me like I had three heads and then walked away.

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After buying some olive oil and wine, we set out for Carmelo Patti’s winery. It is a small place, basically one old guy making wine, and was suggested to us by our brother-in-law John Jordan. We are so glad we went. It truly was a memorable experience. He hardly spoke a word of English, but we communicated as best we could and he was clearly very passionate about the wine he made. It was outstanding. He even signed the bottles we bought. I plan to keep them and make them into vases with the help of my nephew and his new interest in glass cutting.

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After a long walk, we made it back to our neighborhood.

We met our new house guests, another American couple, and decided to join them for the evening. We ventured out to the grocery, veg shop and butcher to gather the fixings for a home cooked meal on the grill. Guess who found us as we left the house? Our sweet girl Cody.

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She followed us on all of our shopping adventures. She even grabbed my leg at one point with both paws like she was letting me know she didn’t want me to leave. We never fed her because we didn’t want to encourage her. We didn’t give her anything but company. I really wish we could have adopted her. She is a good dog.

The vegetables, fruit and meat we bought were fresh and delicious.

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Cody followed us home again and we told our Airbnb owners about her. They said they’d look out for her and check the lost dogs posts online. They couldn’t take her because they already have five dogs. Here is one of our favorite’s of theirs. He loves his football.

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Cody climbed her way into the neighbor’s yard (they were out of town) and watched us through the fence. It was heartbreaking and there was nothing we could do. I had to tell her goodbye. I hope she found a family to love her. We will always remember her, our sweet dog for two days, and I will dedicate my book to her.

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It  took us a long time to get the grill to work properly, so I think we sat down to eat at about midnight, but it was an enjoyable evening nonetheless. We all had extra wine that we could not carry on our next flight, so we made a night of it.

My advice to fellow photographers and travelers alike, is step away from the tourist meccas whenever you can, meet the real people, and pet a stray dog or two while you are at it.

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Mendoza: A Region of Wine and Dogs

Part One

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Our first real stop during our trip to Argentina was Mendoza.

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In what would become a running trend, our visit to this renowned region didn’t start smoothly, but we were able to turn the rocky start to our advantage. We had lined up an Airbnb outside the city, surrounded by vineyards, but we got a message that our Airbnb owners were dealing with a personal emergency and we wouldn’t be able to check in until late that night. They did their best to be accommodating, letting us store our bags at a hostel they operated in the city, and we took the opportunity to explore downtown Mendoza.

We wandered around the city, exchanged some cash for local pesos and then headed back to the hostel to regroup. I have always enjoyed staying in hostels while traveling, because there are usually many interesting people to talk to. Evan has never really traveled this way, so it was a different experience for him. We met a girl from California and she shared a bottle of wine with us on the patio as well as some stories of her own travels and then convinced us to join her for a traditional Argentinian BBQ (called an asado) and a walk around the lively city. It was her last night in Argentina.

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After dinner, we were able to get checked into our Airbnb. We woke up well rested, to a beautiful day in our lovely abode. I loved the curious curly leaves on the trees in this region and adored the vines on the window of the house we stayed in.