The best guerilla surprise ever

A couple weeks ago I was in the bathroom when the door rang. I heard someone else answer the door and I wasn’t expecting anyone, so I took my sweet time before coming out. But when I stepped into the foyer, this is what I found:

reenactment brought to you by Laura V. Holcomb and Lauren Stephenson

The last thing I expected on a regular Thursday afternoon: one of my closest friends, Ms. Laura Vaughn Holcomb, here to surprise me in Buenos Aires (while wearing a gorilla mask, no less). When I saw her it actually all made sense– I knew she’d been traveling in Brazil with her husband but we’d never talked about meeting up somewhere while she was in South America. Turns out she had sneakily e-mailed some of my friends to find out my address and surprise me with a visit. It was a perfect, unexpected moment– I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see her.

Talk about setting the bar for future visits, no? :)

We spent the next two weeks exploring the city and doing many things I hadn’t gotten the chance to try yet: we went to a puerta cerrada (closed-door restaurant), a play, a soccer game, biked around my neighborhood, and made so so so much guacamole. Check it:

shopping at the ferria in San Telmo

gettin’ silly and tryin’ on hats

For several days the weather was bad, but that didn’t deter us– we went to the national cinema which shows movies for 10 pesos ($2.25!) a pop, and we also saw a great one-man theatre show:

Teatro Anfitrion

free movies on Wednesday afternoons at Teatro Cervantes (if you haven’t seen El Lado Oscuro del Corazon, rent it)

We also went to a really cool drum show here (love this picture):

Rest assured we also ate our way through the city, hunting for gluten-free specialties (Laura doesn’t eat wheat, oat, etc.), and we found some amazing treats:

gluten-free pancakes with berries and honey for Laura and apple French toast with sugar-toasted almonds for me

One night we went to an amazing puerta cerrada restaurant called La Cocina Discreta. There are a number of puerta cerradas in Buenos Aires– these are restaurants that typically operate out of someone’s home, where a chef makes special meals one or two nights a week. You call to make a reservation and then the owner reveals the address to you. I’d been to one before that a yoga friend owns, but it was neat to try one in my own neighborhood:

A small room of 6 tables

Laura totally had the winning dish– a steak wrapped in bacon and covered in a chocolate-coffee sauce. Plus some fantastic potatoes. DROOOOOL.

tasty meatballs in a simple tomato sauce

We also went to a parilla with Pablo one night– I was a very happy girl with two of my favorite people in the same room together. :)

Parilla Elisa la Salteñita

happy meat eaters

One of my favorite days was when we rented some bikes and went exploring:

We also took some time to check out the pretty ecological reserve:

It was such a wonderful visit. Laura knows me well– that I would LOVE having her here as surprise, and we’ve always traveled well together on all of our adventures, from when we first reconnected after college on a trip to Nicaragua in 2008 to our Cucuyo work in the Dominican Republic. She is one of my soul sisters for sure.

Gracias por venir, amiga. Te espero la proxima vez… o mas probable, nos vemos en la Republica Dominicana. :)

Mil besos,


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