Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires


June 1, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

My high school classmate, Barbara Nadler, publishes a bi-monthly eNewsletter that contains our classmates’ special announcements and recent activities.

Barbara was aware of my travels in South America, so in a recent edition of the newsletter she included this brief review of my month-long trip:

“In May, Jan Polatschek traveled in Uruguay and Argentina.  He visited his cousins in Montevideo, drove with them to the trendy resort of Punta del Este, took a bus to the charming Spanish colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento, rode the ferry on the Río de la Plata, drove across the plains of Patagonia, took a cruise on the Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego, climbed a glacier in El Calafate, explored the geological formations in the Humahuaca Region, discovered two synagogues in Salta, ogled at the Iguazu Falls, and made a pilgrimage to Moisés Ville.  In Buenos Aires, Jan slept!”

Barbara was quite correct.  At my hotel in Buenos Aires, in between watching television reruns of CSI: Miami, Law & Order and House, I slept.   All day.

The next day I looked at the calendar. (I know you might not believe this, but it is quite common for travelers like me, in the midst of our journey, to not know the current date or even the day of the week.)  The calendar said May 31.

May 31 is my mother’s birthday.   Ruth Polatschek would have been 100 years old.

I have mentioned this to you before, but it is worth repeating:  my mother’s advice to her young son was always, “Jan, get out of the house!”

So, to honor my mother’s memory and to acknowledge her wisdom, I dragged my tired ass out of bed and set out to see Buenos Aires.


The Pilgrimage Part IV - Moisés Ville

The Pilgrimage

Part IV – The Destination - Moisés Ville  


As they approached Jerusalem, the Seven Hills were clearly visible to the ancient pilgrims.  And from afar, the towers of the Canterbury Cathedral surely beckoned to the medieval faithful.   But out here on the plains of Santa Fe, no landmark guides this determined traveler.  No signs.  No mile stones.  In the midst of vast fields, nothing at all rises on the horizon from any direction.

The Pilgrimage Part III - The Ride

The Pilgrimage

Part III – The Ride

On my escape from the boisterous city streets of Santa Fe, I miss only one turn but I quickly right my way and drive north on Highway 11.   After Highway 11,the route is west on Highway 70 towards Esperanza.  I am ever hopeful for a pleasant day.

I am driving an unfamiliar standard shift vehicle on an unfamiliar busy road.  And what if my Spanish is inadequate in case of who knows what?   Still, I anticipate a trouble-free pilgrimage to Moisés Ville.

On the outskirts of Santa Fe on Highway 11, I encounter a honking congestion of vans, panel trucks, tractor trailers, construction vehicles, cabs, cars and local buses that all maneuver for an advantage on the less than adequate route.  I recall the outbound artery in New York City called the Boston Post Road in the Bronx with clothing stores, small markets, and an unending gamut of gas stations, vehicle repair stalls, used tire shops and a car wash or two.

It’s a short distance on my map from Santa Fe to the turnoff to Route 70, but on the ground, will I ever break free from this ugly traffic? 

Pilgrimage Part II. Santa Fe

The Pilgrimage

Part II – Sunday in Santa Fe


Even pilgrims get the blues.

Sore Back

Stiff Hips  

Uncertain Knees  

Everything’s closed

 Aha! A River Cruise



More Water

More Jungle

And More Water

And More Jungle

Let’s Eat Lunch

Today – Jewish Holiday … Shavuot

G-d gave the Torah and Commandments to Israel and to Mankind

Gave Where? Mount Sinai

Gave to whom?  משה … Moshe … โมเสส … Moïse …  موسى … Моисей … Μωυσής … Musa …   Moisés … Moses


Tomorrow … G-d willing …   I drive to Moisés Ville

The Pilgrimage resumes.

Pilgrimage Part I. Jewish Cowboys




Part I – Jewish Cowboys

Santa Fe


May 26, 2012

Many years ago I read We Lived There, Too! – an account of Jewish American Cowboys.*  I learned about Jewish immigrants who were settlers, farmers, ranchers and businessmen in the Western United States in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. 

(There were plenty of Jewish farmers in the East as well.  My friend Allen once worked on a chicken farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York State and when I was a boy my family spent the summer at Feigners’ Farm.)

But in the West, I have a fundamental family connection:

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

Misiones Province


May 25, 2012 

Dear Friends and Fellow Travelers,

The guidebooks claim that Iguazu Falls is one of the most spectacular sights in all of South America.   This is not an exaggeration. The Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil are truly wondrous.

Please travel with me as I follow the trail through the jungle, linger at the Falls, and return along the trail and end the day at the Lower Falls.