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Belgrano “R” – Resplendent, Residential, Revoltingly Rich

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Hello boys and girls, and welcome to Belgrano “R”. Let’s play a game! Everyone think of an “R”-word that describes this lovely neighborhood!

Residential? Yes that’s right, Bobby. Very clever!
Rich? Indeed, how true! Gold star for Judy!
Ridiculous? I suppose that works too, Jürgen, though I don’t much care for that one.
Fascist? MICHAEL! Sigh, that doesn’t even begin with “R”… and put your fist down, you irritating little twit. There will be no populist uprisings in Belgrano “R”!

British Buenos Aires

The northern barrio of Belgrano is split into a few sub-neighborhoods, two of which are known as “R” and “C”. The letters come from the names of the train stations “Rosario” and “Central”, but most porteños assign different meanings to the abbreviations: Belgrano “R” for residential, and Belgrano “C” for China. We’d already checked out China Town during the New Year celebrations, and returned recently to explore the more upscale section of the barrio.

With broad, tree-lined streets and Victorian-style homes, Belgrano “R” is easily the most dignified neighborhood we’ve seen in Buenos Aires. This section of town was settled by wealthy British expatriates, and the gates and well-maintained gardens are clearly reminiscent of England. After a good lunch at Jolie Bistro, near the train station, we set off to explore. With sunlight filtering through the leaves of the trees, and so many fascinating houses to photograph, we couldn’t have been happier.

But the joy didn’t last long. The very first time Jürgen hauled out his camera, in front of a house which might as well have been a castle, a portly security guard shouted at us from behind the gate. “¡No es museo! ¿Que quieren ustedes? ¡Esta es una residencia privada!” Geez, we just liked the house. Sorry to have been impressed by a building clearly designed to impress people.

This scenario repeated itself throughout the day. Private security guards were set up on every corner of Belgrano “R” in tan-brown boxes that resembled phone booths. Every time Jürgen started taking pictures, some blustery guard would run over to us and start asking questions. I suppose that’s their job and, once their curiosity was satisfied, they always allowed us to continue, but it was awfully annoying. Even when we weren’t taking pictures, the guards kept a careful eye on us. “Strangers”.

Still, Belgrano “R” is a beautiful neighborhood. There’s clearly a lot of money here, and perhaps the exaggerated security measures are necessary. Anyway, enjoy the pictures… I think in the end, it was worth the hassle.

Estacion Belgrano R on our Buenos Aires Map
Hotels in Belgrano

Casa Azul
British School Girl
Buenos Aires British High School
Jolie Bistro
Jolie Belgrano
Chicken Belgrano
British Fence
Security Buenos Aires
Angel Boyz
Super Rich
Cuba Embasy
Belgrano
Casa Verde
Purple Flower
Mansion Belgrano
English Ingles Belgrano
Film Set Buenos Aires
Security Belgrano
Wrapped Car
Casa Rosada
White House
Strange Architecture
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April 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm Comments (12)

Photographing while Traveling: Instant Inspiration

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We recommend Bite Away against mosquito bites. We use it daily!

Blue Diamond

Compared to a lot of photographers I know, I have it pretty easy. Visiting so many new places all the time means I never have to sit around, waiting for inspiration. When you’re in a new location and everything is novel to your eyes, finding interesting things to photograph is a piece of cake!

Enjoy the latest random pictures from Buenos Aires:

Panorama Buenos Aires
Argentina Flowers
Mosque Train
Mosque Buenos Aires
Tilt Way
Happy House
Trash Toad
Window Shades
Buenos Aires Blog
Power Tower
Filete Porteno Collectivo
Manga Chicas
Pirate Sign
Urban Art
Retro Bar
Old Old Timer
Stonken Cute
Street Ping Pong
Night Taxi
Very Big Moon
Calle Defensa

Really cool hostels in Buenos Aires

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April 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm Comment (1)

Caballito – The Middle of the City

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Explore Buenos Aires

The geographic center of Buenos Aires is Caballito, a charming neighborhood with large green spaces, and well served by the Subte. Although it’s not on the top of the normal tourist itinerary, this barrio has enough highlights to make it worth a trip.

Centenario Buenos Aires

We began our excursion at the perfectly round Parque Centenario, designed by master urban planner Carlos Thays (also responsible for the Jardín Botánico). Though the park looked cool enough, we happened to arrive at the same time as a massive thunderstorm, and sought shelter in the Natural History Museum.

Nature History Museum

Along with approximately 39,403 screeching Argentinian rugrats, we drip-dried while looking at fossils, animal replicas and fish. The focus was on on native Argentine fossils and dinosaurs, such as the giant glyptodon, and it was fascinating to see the differences between prehistoric life here, versus in the USA. Their prehistoric monsters seem cuter, somehow. Though we hadn’t planned on a visit, the museum was a fun place to escape the rain. But if you’re allergic to children, you might want to stay away.

Once the downpour ceased, we walked along Avenida Rivadavia, a boisterous shopping street. It was a nice alternative to the more famous and ultra-touristy shopping zones in Retiro, with stores of comparable quality. And it was relieving to be surrounded by Argentines who weren’t continually shoving Tango Show fliers into our faces. We walked past the Parque Rivadavia, and browsed the offers at a second-hand book market. I bought an old Superman comic for a few pesos, and then sat down for a drink in El Coleccionista, a bar notable which still serves as a meeting place for different groups of collectors.

Book Market Buenos Aires

Fully rested, we ventured onto the other side of Calle Rivadavia and into the Mercado del Progreso. Behind its wonderful art deco facade is a lively goods and produce market, which has been a staple of the neighborhood since 1889. It was cool but we didn’t spend much time inside; the day was getting late, and we didn’t want to miss out on an historic tram ride.

The Tranvía Histórico de Caballito offers free trips around a small section of the neighborhood. Until 1963, trams had been one of the primary modes of transportation in Buenos Aires, linking the city’s 48 barrios to one another. Out-of-use tracks are still visible in between the cobblestones of many of the older streets, and the Asociación de Amigos del Tranvía seeks to remember this history by operating one last route. It’s a fun ride; a quick 20-minute trip into the romantic past.

Tram Ride Buenos Aires

The tram skirts around a section of Caballito known as the Barrio Inglés, long one of Buenos Aires’ most fashionable residential areas. The small area occupies just a few blocks, and has somehow survived intact into the present day. Built in the late 1800s as homes for British train executives, the Georgian- and Victorian-style houses are gorgeous, and cost a small fortune. This is one of those areas in Buenos Aires where vigilant security guards will watch your movements carefully.

Enjoy our pictures of Caballito! We’re making an effort to explore some of the less well-charted areas of Buenos Aires… if there are other great neighborhoods which not many tourists get to see, let us know!

Ducks
Stone Beast
Bird Argentina
Bird Collection
Flamingo
Insect Collection
See Stern
Skull
Blubber Beast
Simon Bolivar Buenos Aires
Lady and Sons
Beer Snack
Qiulmes
Market Buenos Aires
Malinesas
Market Caballito
Tracks Buenos Aires
Yellow Tram
Old Tram Buenos Aires
Tourist Tramway
Tramway Argentina
Tramway
Tramway Historico
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April 11, 2011 at 7:55 pm Comments (4)

The Barfy Burger and Other Random Pictures

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Pictures were taken with this camera

Barfy Burger

“Well, I just don’t know why our burger brand don’t seem to be catching on English-speaking countries!” Ha… I have to confess, I was tempted to try one! Buenos Aires is full of fun little oddities, some of which I hope to capture in my photography. Enjoy another set of Pukey Pictures!

Buenos Aires
Transformers Buenos Aires
Roboter House
House of a Million Eyes
Best Empananda
Buenos Aires
Glücks Tropfen
Buenos Aires Market
Sad Playground
Wave Building
Sport Buenos Aires
Running Evita Peron
Tunnel of Light
University Buenos Aires
Walking Tour Buenos Aires
Pegasus Buenos Aires
Lady Boots Buenos Aires
Design House Buenos Aires
Dream House Buenos Aires
Fine Line
Buenos Aires Architecture
Cat Walk
La Moderna
Buenos Aires Radio
Corrientes Buenos Aires

Places to stay in Buenos Aires

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April 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm Comments (4)

A Tour through Barracas

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Great Hostel in Buenos Aires

In the 19th century, the wealthiest corner of Buenos Aires wasn’t Retiro or Recoleta, but Barracas. Over the decades, this southern neighborhood lost its former glamor but recently has been showing signs of a resurgence in popularity.

Lsa Palmas
Yellow Fever

In 1871, a yellow fever epidemic devastated Buenos Aires. Eight percent of the city’s population fell to the disease, and the southern end of the city was particularly hard-hit. The upper-classes abandoned Barracas in droves, resettling in the north of the city and leaving the neighborhood to the European immigrants, still arriving from Italy and Spain by the boatload. The wealthy families generally held onto their properties as landlords, and slowly allowed them to fall into decay.

Las Palmas
Lsa Palmas

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we set out to uncover the best the barrio has to offer. We stepped out of the bus at the strangely quiet Parque España, and made a beeline for Pizzería Las Palmas. Pizza was our first mission of the day, as it nearly always is. Las Palmas is a very cool, unpretentious restaurant with cheap prices and delicious food. With its neon lights and casual vibe, it felt like a place right out of 1950s Midwest America. I turned around every time I heard the door open, to check if the Fonz had just come in.

Calle Lanín
Calle Lanin

Full on cheese and grease, we headed south along Calle Brandsen, past a creepy neuropsychiatric hospital and onto Calle Lanín, a street which has been turned into an amazing open-air art gallery; kind of an answer to Boca’s Caminito. Every house on Lanín is covered with colored tiles, in swirling, mesmerizing patterns. The project, by local artist Marino Santa María, debuted over 10 years ago and has lost none of its brightness or vitality. And the amazing thing is, on a Sunday afternoon when thousands of tourists are crammed into El Caminito, Calle Lanín was absolutely desolate.

The Israeli Temple & Society of Light
Sociedad Luz

In fact, everything was so eerily quiet that we were becoming convinced that nobody actually lived in Barracas. But that changed upon crossing Avenida Montes de Oca, where the neighborhood burst noisily into life with shops, restaurants, dog poop, galleries, buses and traffic, and cleaning ladies dumping buckets of water out onto the sidewalk. As we wandered around Barracas’ eastern side, we came across some incredible buildings. A gorgeous Arabesque building on Calle Brandsen turned out, strangely, to be the Israeli Temple. According a group of older Jewish Argentinians standing outside, it has an amazing interior patio (the temple was unfortunately closed when we arrived). Nearby, we found the neoclassical Sociedad Luz building, a stronghold of 19th-century socialists who founded the university to promote scientific learning among the working classes. Today, the building continues its educative purpose as a public library.

Iglesia de Santa Felicitas
Angel

But Barracas’ most impressive building is the Iglesia de Santa Felicitas. This massive religious complex was inaugurated in 1876, and named in honor of Felicitas Guerrero, who enjoyed fame as the most beautiful noblewoman in Buenos Aires. As a teenager, she had been married off to a rich and much-older landowner, who died soon after the union, leaving his young widow incredibly rich. Felicitas had youth, wealth and beauty… it’s no surprise that she became the desire of numerous suitors, among them Enrique Ocampo, who had been obsessed with her for years. When he learned that she’d fallen for a rival, Ocampo lost it. Following her onto her estate in Barracas, he confronted her with a pistol. “You’ll marry me, or you’ll marry no one!” When she tried to escape, he shot her in the back then committed suicide. (Or was shot by Felicitas’ father, who had quickly arrived on the scene; it’s never been satisfactorily resolved). Both the widow and her assassin were buried in Recoleta Cemetery on the same day.

Barracas was once the scene of the noble class’s exploits, but has spent the last century as a forgotten corner left to poor workers. The richness of its history is evident in every corner, and it’s a fascinating neighborhood in which to spend a day. Warned off by overly cautious guidebooks and well-meaning locals, tourists generally avoid the area, and that’s a shame. Barracas has a lot to offer… but get there quick if you want to be ahead of the curve, because the neighborhood is already at work shaking off its rough image. Check out the rest of our images, of this incredible and still relatively unknown section of the city.

Calle Lanín on our Buenos Aires Map
Short Term Stay in Buenos Aires

Best Pizza
Sleep Driver
Dog
Old Timer
Old Car
Mental Hospital
Barracas
Marino-Santa-Maria
Fake Porteño
Tiles Buenos Aires
Architecture Buenos Aires
Argentina Colors
Volkswagen Buenos Aires
Salvation Army Buenos Aires
Shopping Buenos Aires
Barracas Buenos Aires
Jewish Culture Buenos Aires
Jewish Temple Buenos Aires
Temple Barracas
Iglesia-de-Santa-Felicitas
Iglesia Barracas
Buenos Aires
1970 Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires Blog
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March 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm Comment (1)

Metropolitan Buenos Aires

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Go Digital with your Photography

Metropolis Buenos Aires

Groups of shouting Brazilians, skyscraper window cleaners, gallery-worthy graffiti, costumed kings and queens roaming the streets… you never know what picture opportunities are going to present themselves when you step out. Now that fall has begun, Buenos Aires has changed a little. Kids are back to school, and people are back to work… luckily for us, the city’s compelling beauty stays the same!

Art Buenos Aires
Abstract Buenos Aires
1887 Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires Hipster
Casa Catalan
Paradise Bird Argentina
Crying Prince
Fight Buenos Aires
Wine Festival Buenos Aires
Jean Claude Van Damm
Panda Art
Opera Building Society
Hoe Does Good Look Like?
Kiosco Buenos Aires
Laundry Buenos Aires
Magic Buenos Aires
Mirror Dude
Naked Woman
Oldmobile Buenos Aires
Pirate House Buenos Aires
World Cup Brazil
Posing Argentina
Plaza Italia
Republica San Telmo
Scary Graffiti
Trapped Bears
Teatro Buenos Aires
Sunset Buenos Aires

Learn about Modern Art

Mafalda San Telmo
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March 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm Comments (6)

San Telmo’s Sunday Antiques Market

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How to Buy and Sell Antiques

On any day of the week, San Telmo is the best spot in Buenos Aires to go antiques-hunting. Dealers hawk everything from chandeliers to ancient books in shops which blanket the neighborhood. But the Sunday antiques market in Plaza Dorrego has become a phenomenon; all San Telmo comes out to party along with thousands of visitors in a celebration of curbside capitalism.

San Telmo Market Fair

Walking around the antique vendors’ stalls in Plaza Dorrego is a treat, even if you’re not planning on purchasing anything. Old soda bottles, copper cookware, matecitos, vintage telephones and collector matchboxes are just some of the treasures on offer. The prices are fairly high, but the quality is top-notch. Because there are more antique dealers in San Telmo than stalls at the market, a weekly lottery determines who gets the right to set up shop. Organizers are strict about their rules, which dictate that all actually be antiques, and that the owners be physically present at the stands.

The antique dealers are confined to the plaza, but shopping continues for at least six blocks down Calle Defensa, where artisans and craft-workers hock on the curb to sell their wares. We’ve found a number of great gifts here, including a hand-crafted teddy bear for a niece and individually designed t-shirts. And the prices are so good, you’d feel guilty about haggling. Tango bands play on the corners, and everyone’s hanging out and talking, drinking mate and bumping into friends.

Proceedings become more festive as the sun goes down and a group of bongo-drummers begins to parade up and down Defensa, encouraging onlookers to join in. I must not have any Brazilian blood in me, because I’ll never understand the whole bongo thing. Anyone can play bongo drums, and sound somewhat competent. You don’t actually need dreadlocks. But it doesn’t matter that bongos are relatively ridiculous, because man do the girls love them! Once those rhythms start, control goes out the window. So, guys, if you really want to impress the ladies, forget nice clothes and expensive cologne. Just grab a bongo drum, skip the shower, and throw on a ratty Bob Marley t-shirt.

Meters from the makeshift parade, a popular milonga gets underway around 9pm in the plaza. With great music and an ample floor filled with dancers of all skill levels, it’s the perfect place to show off your tango moves.

Plaza Dorrego on our Buenos Aires Map
Great Hostels in Buenos Aires

Soda Bottles
House Numbers
Pink Phone
Pink Silver
Angel San Telmo
Antique Market
Hang Girl
Argentina Pharmacy
Argentinian Bull
Bombillas
Boxing Gloves
COCK Fight
Foxes
Match Boxes
Pillow Angel
Pots and Pans
Sugar Spoon
Watches
Wooden Shoe
Tango San Telmo
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March 17, 2011 at 1:20 pm Comments (6)

Pizzería Banchero in La Boca

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Another great pizza place in Buenos Aires: El Cuartito

“Hey, what do you feel like eating?” Every time I’ve been asked that, every single time during the course of my entire life, the answer has been “pizza”. Even when it was 8am. Even when I was 18 months old. It’s the only honest response: there are other things I should eat, things which might even taste better. But pizza is what I want to eat. Always.

Serving Pizza

So you’re asking me what I want to eat? Well, I know we just had pizza last night, but there’s another famous pizzeria right across the road, there. We really should try it out. Everyone says we should try it out. Don’t look at me like that; it’s totally coincidence that we happened to end up in front of Pizzería Banchero at lunch time. I totally didn’t plan that.

Banchero is a classic spot in La Boca, established in 1932 by Juan Banchero, the son of a Genoese baker who had emigrated here at the turn of the century, along with thousands of his countrymen. The restaurant quickly became a hit, and a couple branches have even opened elsewhere in the city. It’s immediately apparent why Banchero is so loved among porteños — the prices are great, the atmosphere is casual and comfortable, and the pizzas are astounding. We ordered a fugazza, made with a crunchy, airy crust and topped with onions and mountains of cheese. Delicious. Plus, the service was great; our impeccably-dressed Paraguayan waiter was as friendly as could be, taking time to explain the pizzas to us and make recommendations.

If you’re in La Boca, and have survived the tourist hordes of El Caminito, treat yourself to a great pizza in a time-honored joint that locals love: Pizzería Banchero. And don’t worry about all that cheese. Diets are for later, and firm bellies are over-rated, anyway. That’s what I keep telling myself, as we continue to tick Buenos Aires’ “must-eat” pizzerías off our list.

Pizzería Banchero
Suárez 396 y Brown
Tel: 4301-1406
Location on our BA Map
The Art of Making Pizza

Pizzzaria Banchero
Pizza La Boca
Pizza Waiter
Fanta Buenos Aires
Beer Snack
Fugazza Pizza
Fugazza
Cheesy Pizza
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March 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm Comments (0)

Recoleta Cemetery

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Other great cemeteries we have visited: Bonaventure and Laurel Grove

One of Buenos Aires’ most beautiful neighborhoods is also one of its most exclusive. They won’t let just anyone move in, so if you’re looking for a new home here, there are a couple of inflexible prerequisites: you must be rich, and you must be dead. Being famous helps.

Recoleta

One of the world’s most gorgeous cemeteries, Recoleta Cemetery is the final resting place of the city’s richest and most powerful citizens, and a wonderful spot for us plebes to do some gawking. They’re serious about that admittance policy. Not many are “good enough” for Recoleta. My politics are strongly populist, and the notion of a cemetery which exclusively houses the wealthy would normally disgust me, but in this case, I’m willing to disregard my inner socialist. Even in death, rich people are eager to show each other up, and the results of the rampant egotism are astonishing: every crypt is more beautiful, more ostentatious than the next.

The cemetery occupies an enormous amount of space and truly is a little city unto itself. It’s even organized into blocks. Strolling aimlessly about its streets is an overwhelming visual experience. Cypress trees sprouting up around mausoleums, feral cats slinking noiselessly across cracked tombs, sunlight filtered through stained glass throwing colorful shadows upon the ground. Make sure to have your camera with you.

Irigoyen

Established in 1822, Recoleta was the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires, without any kind of preferential policies. In fact, one of its first inhabitants was a young freed slave by the name of Juan Benito. But in the 1870s, a yellow fever epidemic drove the city’s elite out of the city center and into the neighborhood of Recoleta. They wasted no time in claiming the cemetery as their own.

Many of Argentina’s presidents are buried within its walls, but the cemetery’s most famous resident is undoubtedly Eva Peron. Surprisingly, her tomb is difficult to find and not nearly as impressive as those which surround it. Members of the oligarchy had fought for years against her being buried here, since she worked so hard to destroy their grip on power, but they eventually relented. Juan Perón, though, was a different story. He’s buried in the Chacarita Cemetery, west of Palermo.

Entrance is free, and it’s one of the absolutely must-see attractions for any visit to Buenos Aires. Recoleta is easily the most amazing cemetery I’ve ever been to.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Cheap Accommodation in Buenos Aires

Cemetery City
Buenos Aires Blog
Angle Feet
Angles Watching
Buenos Aires Cypress
Buenos Aires Tour
Candle Angle
Cemetery
Cemetery Tour
Coffing Argentina
Dead Eye
Dog Lady
Pharao Buenos Aires
Egypt Grave Argentina
Flowers Buenos Aires
Family Grave
Glass Seat
Glass Dome
Friedhof Buenos Aires
Jesus Buenos Aires
Lady Look
mausoleum-buenos-Aires
Old Flowers
Recoleta Cemetery
Recoleta Cemetery Buenos Aires
Ricardo Alfonsin
RIP
Sleeping Woman
Spider Lock
Spooky Grave
Statue Buenos Aires
STatue Row
Stone Temple
Evita Grave
Eva Peron Grave
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February 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm Comments (9)

Buenos Aires Vice

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Learn To Tango

Buenos Aires Vice

I can see why so many movies and advertisements are produced in Buenos Aires. Set up the camera in a certain angle and location and you can shoot scenes representing spots from all around the world. I would have never guessed that this ad supposedly shot during the La Tomatina in Buñol was actually filmed in San Telmo!

Another set of random Buenos Aires pictures:

Architecture Buenos Aires
Messy
Walking Tours Buenos Aires
Santiago-de-Liniers
Main Street Buenos Aires
Theater Corrientes
Buenos Aires Paintings
The Dude
Musical Bird
Music Park
One Happy Dog
Awesome House Buenos Aires
Art Photography
Thinking about Granny
Selling Friuits
Tree Hugger
Waiting Alone
Love Handle
Filete San Telmo
Green Icicle
Baby Pigeon
Dog Walker
Awesome San Telmo
Buenos Aires 1945
San Telmo
Mafalda
Mafalda Friend

Buenos Aires Hotels

Mafalda Comics
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February 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm Comments (0)

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Belgrano "R" - Resplendent, Residential, Revoltingly Rich
For 91 Days