Bouncing Around

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Better Map with Pics Link

A Drawn out Peace Out

Chauisimo BsAs - Te Echo un Gracias

Oye erebody - 3.5 days and counting till I hop on that double decker bus to nowhere, leaving the increasingly humid but increasingly unrepeatable ciudad known as Buenos Aires. I am moving around quickly these next few days getting gifts, eating all the food I won't taste for a long while (choripan - empanadas:pollo/humita - non-saucey pizza - locro - and of course medialunas (small, awesome egg/sugar croissants) and pretty much just aimlessly walking around the city that I have grown to call home.

My feelings right now are mixed as such:

Remorse - There is still so much more of Argentina for me to know, and I am sad to leave all of the people that have made my time here so damn, perfect. Friends I may not see for months, years or a lifetime; unless I of course take a global trip in 2018 and make it to Europe, back to South America and Southeast Asia. For that I am sad to leave, I really have a grasp for this city now and it's nice to have a niche and know where and what you're doing. Plus I've only been working about 18 hours a week for the past 6 weeks, I doubt I'll find that anywhere too soon. And the food and cheap beer. A liter of beer is 4 pesos at the mercado, 1 u$d. Come on.

Excited - I'm bout to embark on a pretty indepth and not too commonly traveled route Northwest through South America, and I'll have one of my good friends from Colorado to accompany me, Brent Thrash (adventurous Texan). We depart on Sunday and move Northwest through Argentina - then cross into Bolivia where we will hit up both lake Titticaca and the Bolivian Amazon in Rurrenburque. Then out of La Paz I'll fly solo to Cartagena, Colombia, then Medellin, then Bogota. Finally on the 19th of December I'll fly to NYC to meet mi hermana then to Chicago for christmas. Lots of traveling, a good 3 weeks to do it, and my entire November salary to make me enjoy it. It will be like nothing I've ever done. The longest trip I've done before this was from Sevilla, Spain = East through France, Italy and Greece. But I have a feeling that western Europe may be a tad different then Bolivian jungle and Colombian mega-cities. Anyway, for this I am truly pumped, and a tid bit nervous cause we have one important train to catch in Bolivia. If we miss it we're on really, really shitty (deserving swear) buses through the unpaved outback of southern Bolivia. Other than that though it's all good, we have enough buffer time to really enjoy the trip.

Relieved - 11 months, thats how long I'll have been here. It was great, it was fun, I learned about 15 things on top of another language, the most important being that if you're happy and patient you can make a living anywhere, but I'm glad to come home too. Where things make sense, I can get free cracked pepper on my sandwich and I have 5 options for a burrito within a 2 mile radius. For this, I am relieved to be returning, in all my self imposed glory, back home.

Hungry - Did someone say burritos.

Okay, there's a lot more I think I want to say but that should pretty much cover the major points. Look above for a really un-in-depth map of the trip I'll be taking or for a dated/picture-full and cool version go to this link.

A Drawn out Peace Out

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Por un rato mas..

Oye Boludos, como se van? I hope all is well with you folks. Those of you residing in the politically shifting country of Estados Unidos, I hope you all made some good decisions. From what I can tell on the various news websites I cite for my daily educatin' on world events it seems that on both federal and state levels the U s of A is in for some major shifts in power. Or it's all a bunch of malarky conjured to make us watch more TV, who knows. All I can say is that the daughter of the creator, and former President of the WWE (a.k.a wwf) is running for a SENATE seat. I know she's intimidating and can speak well but....well actually..I guess that pretty much is all one needs to get a vote right?

Anywho this blog is called Argenventure, not I'mgoingtoRantAbourMyFeelignsventure, so let's get on with it shall we. Though I'm still confused, did that comedian guy ever get elected to represent Minnesota?? (online sarcasm)

3 things of interest have passed since our last sit down. And they break down as such.

1) My buddy Wade ran in the Buenos Aires Marathon on 10-10-10, thats 42 kilometres for all you standard system users. He's a fairly consistent runner so wasn't to difficult for him but he asked me to hop in on the 32nd kilo to give em that last motivation to break through the wall. I don't know if it was my sharply accurate wit, fresh, unsweated attire or simply my naturally slow and unpracticed running pace, but it seemed to work. He finished with a strong time and I got to completely steal glory from those deserving corredores who had been running since 7am that morning. I got to see belly dancers, bolivian marching bands, and about 1000 people cheering me on from the sidelines. Seeing as how I had only been running for about 45 minutes I was really able to put on a show these people didn't expect, what with my energy packed leg muscles and still actively thinking mind. It was great, I wasn't able to technically finish cause I didn't have a number but I was only a half kilo away. And I was all sweaty and wearing running clothes at the end of a marathon so people totally thought I was one of them. Here's a pic, guess who has run 20 miles already...

2)The current President of Argentina is Cristina Kirchner. The famous, and glamourous, left leaning wife of the former president Nestor Kirchner. As of last Wednesday (which happened to be the National Census day here, which is a whole nother story, I think that actually is point #3 I was getting to) he is referred to as the late former president Nestor Kirchner. He died of a heart attack Wednesday morning, though many people believe it was Tuesday but those mysterious folks who always plan these things thought it better to wait until a national day off so the mourning could really come into play to announce his death. So on Wednesday morning, when legally no business could be open, a very polarized figure was announced dead to the very em-pathetical peoples of the Argentine. - A quick note on my reactions and experiences with this interesting situation. I work 2 blocks away from the Plaza de Mayo (the main political meeting place of BA, also the plaza housing the casa rosada (casa rosada=the white house for argentina)) Because of this, on Thursday when I was walking my merry way to educate people on the finer points of an auditorially pleasant english diatribe, I saw a line, and I'm talking one by one, maybe two wide at any point. A line that I assumed was a march waiting to get things moving (marches literally happen twice a week in the downtown so it was no shocker at all, especially considering the circumstances) Then I continued walking towards the casa rosada to pick up my daily newspaper and some sugar steamed mani (peanuts, absolutely delicious, cost only 2 pesos too) when I noticed that this was no march waiting to go, this was a line, a line for waiting, a line that doesn't seem to move and wrapped around the entire plaza. Shocking yes, but again not the craziest thing I've seen happen in the plaza. I then go upstairs to my first class on the fifth floor of citibank, I have a view of the northside of downtown from here, by thor's beard I saw the same damn line wrapping around 2 more blocks of the city, and this was coming from the opposite direction that I came. Meaning it was doing this on both sides of the plaza. I don't know if my description is either clear or delivering the shock I had intended but, in lesser words, there was a long assed line, probably about 5 o 6 thousand people. It was for a viewing of the closed casket of Nestor inside the pink house. I don't think there's anyway everyone could have seen him but it was amazing to see the devotion. But much like anywhere in the world, Nestor was one who taxed the rich and upper middle class and gave to the very poor. So most of my educated, middle class students and people who make enough money to spend it on tequila at bars in Palermo on the weekends, really don't give a flying fiddle about Nestor. It's funny to see the insane devotion some of these people had for him and the downright passivity others did. It made me think if Michelle O. died and what the reaction in the states would be. Other than the obvious half year dedication of Vogue covers to "The First Lady's Outfits and What they meant" I imagine there would be a great outpouring of support for her family. Same thing is happening here.

Dang, sorry about the tirade there (thats right; fit in tirade and diatribe in the same post) but I thought you educated, lovely people might find that interesting because I didn't see one note or one link on or saying anything about Nester diciendo chau (saying goodbye)

3)There was a national census here. I can officially say I lived in Argentina because they are officially marking it down.

Phew. Allright. I have four weeks left here before I make an epic journey north to meet the fam in Chicago for christmas. I'm going to make a cool interactive map thingy that one can access here so you can track me. Or, which is what I imagine will happen, my mom will use this tool to confirm I haven't been kidnapped by any FARC agents in the south Colombian jungle and held for ransom only until I befriend the rebels and begin an online social marketing campaign to spread their message.

I hope you guys are well and if I don't see you first have a happy thanksgiving. Eat an extra forkfull of turkey covered with mashed potatoes covered with stuffing covered with gravy covered with buttered biscuit pieces. covered with love.


Por un rato mas = For only a little longer

Friday, October 8, 2010

No Tengo un Mango

Here you go mama -

Oye Boludos, como andan? How are you my friends and family, and those weird ones who just linked up to this blog through a google search... I am doing fine, wonderful actually, I just housed a delicious carne asada wrap, for breakfast, after teaching one of my favorite students. Again, as happens in 63% of my classes, we digressed into discussing food and the various flavor procurers around the city-this leading me directly to a place where I could buy a carne asada wrap, not typical carne asada cause there really is no picante action going on at all like we're used to in the states. Technically carne asada really does just mean grilled meat though, so I can't get too bent out of shape.

Anyway whats new with me you ask? Well I just returned from a super double epic Adventure to what I must assume is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World - Las Cataratas de Iguazu (Waterfalls of Iguazu) Located here (click this link for map), for those of you who aren't adventurous or simply don't like to interrupt your reading train by clicking on unnecessary links, Iguzu Falls is located on the tri-border of Southeast Paraguay, south wester side of Brasil and Northeast Argentina. It's in the provincia de Missiones, which is pretty rugged, coastal terrain for the most part. Me and 4 of my friends took a 16 hour bus ride up there last thursday night (all you can drink personal bottles of wine make for a good meal but...when said empty bottles get trapped underneath a seat and roll with every shift of the bus causing quite possibly the most un-soothing cacophony ever created, one begins to regret downing four bottles each) Anyway, we arrived in Puerto Iguazu (Iguzu Port, difficult I know) on Friday at about 3, two hours later then scheduled. It was too late to get into the park which closes their entrance gates at 4 so we did what any intelligent, travel savvy, excited thrill seeker would do - we went to our hostel, tossed on our swimsuits and got in the near freezing pool to shield ourselves from the quite chilly wind blowing. And this is how the now infamous - Poll O'Clock- was born. From now on whenever your party needs a kick, your feeling a little down, or you simply want to go have a splash, the term you must scream is Pool O'clock. Anyway our hostel was awesome, pingpong table, fooseball, a sweet bar and cost only 25 pesos a night (about 5.20 U$D) Next day we woke up for the 7:30 bus and toured the national park - which I must say is amazingly well kept and put together - this may have to do with the 85 pesos entrance fee but still, every centavo is worth it. The falls are basically two large groupings, the southern chain and La Garganta del Diablo (The Devils Throat) The southern falls are basically set up like a massive lower case c with millions of gallons of water falling over the edges every second. You can see the north curve here..

We were able to be really cliche tourists and take a boat to both tips of the "c" under the waterfall, though a little corny, it really was amazing to look up and see the shear force these bad boys produce. It's insane that these falls have been this powerful for hundreds of years, day and night, month after month of non-stop pounding energy. Truly surreal it was. (yoda) Next we took a nice little baby train up to the Devils Throat as seen here...

The devils throat is absolutely like nothing I've seen before. You look north and it seems like any other calm jungle river (though, thinking now I haven't seen too many a those) then you see the water stop abruptly at a giant hole and one ponders, "huh thats weird, where could all that water go?" as seen here..

Then you walk down the very well kept walkway (no offense but extremely well kept compared to all sidewalks/any pathway in existence in Buenos Aires) to stand on a dock overlooking the falls' basin. As seen here..

You can look straight across and see Brazil and look downstream to see the turbulent water barreling down towards the southen falls for round two. Every few minutes the wind blows the mist at the bottom of the falls away and you can see the insane whirpool/deathzone created downthere. It was surreal and beautiful and a little nauseating, especially after staying a night in a hostel where you can Pool O'Clock until 4 in the morning. In this foto Brasil is to the right, straight down is the southern falls and what would be behind you is the north wall of the devils' throat.

Here's a pic of that wall behind you...

And another pic of the Brazilian side...

Dang there's a lot more I want to say but I don't want to go on too long, noble like a rambler. Basically if you have the opportunity to go to either Buenos Aires, Rio or Sau Paulo, you should go to Iguazu. It's a realatively close trip and it is an awe inspiringly awesome sight to see. I'm reading a book about the Moon landing and they talk about seeing the earth from space for the first time and how humbling it is. I'm not going that far, yet, but it truly was incredible to see nature in such an uncontrolled, beautiful way. Man didn't design or plan any of the spectacle but for that it was so, ahh, so much better.

Allright guys good talk. My buddy Wade is running in the BA marathon this Sunday and he's asked me to pace him the last 5 miles. So there's a good chance this will be the last post I have for a while after I pass out from exhaustion on mile 3.6 and hit my head while the man who just ran 22 miles picks me up and carries me to a bench than grabs me a gatorade.

Hope all is well with you guys, I'm getting nostalgic about Argentina and pumped for the E.E.U.U. Chi town christmas let's do it.

No tengo un mango = I don't have any money (the gauchos (Argentine Cowboys) used to carry their money in hollowed out mangos)

see the entire album here

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jaja Que largo no?

Hola flacos - Lo siento for the long delay, I'm sure there has been a large amount of cumulative sleep lost amongst you. (though I'm sure it has nothing to do with missing my blog) My life hasn't really been hectic it's actually been rather internet free, which is the reason for the 3.5 week gap in blog entries.

I was living in a 9 bedroom house in Almagro, "Parisita "is what I liked to call it due to the 6 Frenchies living there. It's actually quite a funny story and a rather fitting metaphor for an overall lifeplan, bear with me here.

I moved in the second week of august to this gigantic house (think long term hostel but we all had our own rooms, more just hostel vibes I guess) Also huge patio on the roof right smack in them middle of the city. Measuring about 15' wide by 45' long, you could really do whatever you pleased out there. Anyway I move in after speaking with the two argentine "administrators" of the place. two 30 something women, one a designer the other a lawyer I think? But I move in and the demographic at the time is one dude from the Northen French Coast, a rugby player (which roughly corresponds to a cool psuedo jock that can toss em back and stay witty) a student from Munich (I'm still surprised Germany hasn't surpassed US GDP yet, those people really know how to focus) a French girl from the city of Lights and a Israeli guy whose lived here for 3 years. Pretty solid vibes but I was hoping to be living in a packed house, meeting people and hablandoing español. For the first two weeks we had fun but it was more like living in a frat house without the parties or unhealthy competition. At this point I ran into an old coworker who was moving back to the US, she mentioned she had a sweet apt a little farther south and was paying half of what I paid in the argen frat house. Me, being the fiscally responsible young lad I am, jumped at the opportunity and agreed to takeover her room the second week of Sept. Now this is when things began to change. Literally that next morning I woke up and went down to the kitchen to grab my standard morning banana and vîola attractive young foreigner cooking up some bacon (thats a double bonus in my book), she told me she was from central France and had just moved into one of the spare rooms the night before. We exchanged pleasantries and I scadaddled along my way. Now repeat this situation every day for a week, but sub in another foreign girl who had just moved in. By the end of the week I looked around and our house was now full, with me, the french Rugby player, the German student and the Israelentine being the only males and all the rest either french, argentine, Belgian or British females who liked to party. I had already given my word on taking my friends place so I made the most of my time and now have a solid group of new friends, but there really was nothing like being the American man of the house. Though I had to withstand the nightly faux-anger directed towards my assumed to be bush loving self, I also was able to try and speak French while quoting all my favorite American movie lines to roaring laughter. Good times really, but alas life goes on.

I just moved into my new apartment on the most southern of the subte lines (the farther south you go more or less corresponds to how much more ghetto the place you are living in is) (but don't worry the mean streets of Edina have prepped me for anything) I have a fullsize bed and what I believe to be a high quality chinese place next to me so I really can't complain.

I am now in the process of planning my final epic trip from BA. The first leg of which I will be accompanied by my cousin Mr. Michael D. We will be heading south to a beach town, mar del plata, then onto the Valdés Peninsula where we will see 2 million penguins and whales. Then I am planning cutting west to the Andes then up to Bolivia then to Bogota Colombia then back to the little apple (chicago) just in time for christmas around the 23rd. We'll see how all that works out I still need to hack out the deets.

Life is good. I am teaching full time, which means walking 3.5 hours a day. Meeting sweet students and peeps and generally enjoying myself. I hope the same is for all of you and I am excited to see everyone around Navidad. Sorry for the length but I just had so dang much to say. Keep it real and keep it low.

Nos Vemos

Flacos = Dudes more or less

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Como se van chavos?

Yo peeps - Let me quickly describe my current view to you guys. To the right of my computer I have a 350ml glass bottle of Coca-Cola Classic (apparently the reason it tastes so much better out of the glass bottle is because they use pure cane sugar when making it? I don't know if I made that up or it's a fact, let's just go with it) To my right is a giant window looking out on Avenida Corrientes, (One of the main east/west avenues of Baires) and in my backpack are two bottles of highly spicy and poetically titled hot sauces I just bought form Barrio Chino (China Town) Now these three things may seem to have no relation but they do, their connection is my comfort. I finally feel at home in this city, it took 6 months here, 2 weeks in Minnesota, 1 week in Cable Wisconsin and about 3 days on planes, trains and an air mattress lacking proper sealing for me to get here but today is the first day in a while I'm all like "bam, I'm moving through this place like wizzo. " I just started my 2 month long intensive Spanish courses at UBA (University of Buenos Aires) which run 2 hours in the middle of the day (if I had any other job then teaching english I have no idea how I could attend these classes, furthermore how any normal working person could). Speaking/hearing/participating en espanol for even that long seems to have flipped the switch for me, it reminded me that if you try, honestly try, you can really accomplish a lot. My entrance test put me at level 2, I then moved to 3, and tomorrow I'm hoping to jump to 5. I just needed to get out the mental rag and wipe the dust off the old thinking device I guess. Anyway life is good and it's because I remembered I'm in an awesomely big city to learn Spanish, and to my great luck that is the language the speak here.

Anyway, for those of you who were wondering; I did not take the year long job working at the Digital Marketing Agency, I had a very positive meeting with 3 people there and I liked the vibe/office/people and everything but when it came down to their very fair question of "Can you commit 100% to 1 year in BA?" I could not, I let em know, but it's always nice to go through the motions of getting a job and knowing what your potential is. Now I'm giving full hours teaching English to business people throughout the city, mostly within Citibank and a Train company, as well as my spanish classes. And saving money to make an epic trip in December, or maybe to try every quality restaurant in the metro area. Or to buy a motorcycle to drive back up the states. Or to pay back some of my student loans. haha just kidding that last one didn't make any sense did it?

Here's a pic from this past Sunday when me and my pals got free tickets to the Teatro Colon (on of the top 6 theaters for acoustic quality en el mundo, again this is not a citied fact but more of a feeling I got ). It was a horned/flute quintet with a French horn, flute, obo, bason, and calrinet. Music was lively and awesome, reminded me of springtime and Disney. The theatre itself is classy/gaudy but I guess that's how they did it back in 1862.

Anyway all is good here I hope all is good there and all of you should read the Dragon Girl Trilogy by Sveig Laarson, it's more addicting than sour skittles when you have a giant bag next to you at work.

Chavos - Basically is the same as amigos but I think it's used more in rural areas of Argentina.

Hasta el prozimo

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Que Tiempo Ninos

Wassup Peeps - Sorry for my rude delay in your reading pleasure, I was busy soaking up midwestern rays, devastating the Beautiful American mix of stuffed pizza and chipotle burritos and generally really enjoying myself. America is awesome, friends and family are awesome, spicy tereyaki is awesome.

Of my American exploits I will only say this, I really love the US and, I won't lie, checking into the American Airlines desk yesterday at 7 am certainly left me with a twinge of regret. But alas, I am back. From Minneapolis to Chicago to NYC to Santiago to Buenos Aires I had cumulative airtime of over 15 hours, if I were flying direct I think that could take me to the Midde East. Again I will be short of my plane travel and I will only say this, if it weren't for personal on-demand TVs for every chair on my flight, 10 hours betwixt two gentlemen who apparently can shut their bodies off (they didn't get up the entire time I don't think), I would be in a much less cheery state of mind. Oh and somehow my suitcase is in Lima, Peru right now. Initially I feared it to be lost forever on the basis of Argentine companies somewhat lacking in the customer service department but, to my great surprise and satisfaction, I was promptly assisted and my bag located. Now all that needs to happen if for it to travel the 2000 miles to Buenos Aires than get into a van where they will drop it at my hostel, easy right????

Anyway, I'm back to the real world (kind of real world I guess) I will either be teaching full time or taking a position at a digital marketing company. I will know by Tuesday what route I will take, the only issue is the marketing company's contract is for another year, 365 more days. Being so recent from the homeland I can still taste the crushed red pepper from my Sabarro Pizza, that many days sounds daunting, but than again so does going back home in the middle of winter.

Hope all is well with you folks and I'll be back to you soon.

Check out my buddy's blog who I came down here with. He just came back from a super epic trip through Northern Argentina.

Chau for Now