Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vindinctive Horse Flies and the Missing 55s

Last night's journal entry:

How does one make sense of an experience like this? Of growing paired with poor habits, of hair cuts, or tango lessons and chasing subway cars? Do I use the words I've forgotten in English? Where cobblestone and concrete collide; that's where I sit, waiting for the bus at 3:30 after a nine hour bar shit. The stoplights blink lazily. I classically revert to to-do list mentality: must pick up schoolbooks, re-pack suitcase, give fingernails to the accordion player in my painting. An assemblage of number 55 bus drivers are sitting parked in some empty lot somewhere, drinking Quilmes and laughing at the poor fuckers waiting patiently at busstops across Buenos Aires. I'm sure of it. A man dressed head-to-toe in khai walks his dirty bichon. Wednesday night clubbers stumble past tumbleweed newspaper pages. A whore showing off her stretch-marks scuffs up her cheap heels as she drags herself round the same block, like a nightly infomercial selling something no one really wants. See ya tomorrow night, sexy.

I just thought I'd stick that in. I never really feel like writing just for the blog so I figured I'd put in some journal entries to save me the trouble.
Life lately has been .... good. It's been really good but more than anything it's been surprising as to how much life can change and how quickly. Fortunately, I had one of my best friends, Jessie, here for about 10 days to keep me company. One of the best days was went we went to Tigre.

Jessie and I got to Mariano's place yesterday at about noon. We hopped on a bus to Retiro, took a train to Tigre, where we sat in this cargo seatless area where all the people with bikes ended up cornering us. We hopped on a boat on the Delta to this little island thing with this little hut and hammocks and met up with Diego and Junior, Mariano's friends. Jessie and I went for a hike through the woods.

I had already taken my socks and shoes off, so decided to make the hike barefoot, which was an incredible decision. It's so remarkable to feel the dirt between your toes while trekking into the unknown....

After a short walk around, we decided to join the boys for a swim.
It was nothing short of paradise.

Not long after we dried off, the clouds began to roll in...

I had gone in the hut for a while to rest, curled up on this little blanket on the wood floor, but was called back out after a bit to watch the storm creep up on the river. We all stood on the deck and watched as the dark patch on the Delta inched closer.

We howled into the wind as it grew stronger, until it finally hit. We just stood there for a moment, still in our bathing suits, in the thundering rain. Then we ran in rolled a big plastic sheet over the entryway. Jessie and I held it down with our feet as the boys rolls a big log over the bottom to keep it down. Until the storm cleared, we took refuge indoors, listening to music, and writing, and relaxing.

When the storm finally DID pass, it was absolutely REMARKABLE outside...

As the sun began to set, Diego brought out empty gallon water bottles for each of us, and we did a group drum circle.

I went back inside to try to nap some more, but was woken up to see how the sky continued to surprise up, becoming new kinds of breathtaking each moment.

We had run out of liquor by this point.... naturally..... so Diego called this Kiosco on the Delta to come deliver boxed wine and beer to us by boat. That in itself makes the whole day incredible.
We were all starving at this point, and had very little food, but the boys somehow managed to scrap together a delicious dinner. (As always!)

Here's the post-sundown view from the "dinner table" :

I had left all watches and cell phones at home, so I have no idea what time we all actually got to sleep. Junior had his own room downstairs, but Diego, Mariano, Jessie, and I, all bunked together in this loft area above the kitchen. It was like a grown up sleepover. In a hut with a straw room on an island in Argentina, of course.

The next morning, Jessie and I woke up early, and decided to take advantage of it by actually getting out of bed. The sky was UNREAL!

We sat on the front porch/deck stairs, watching the water and writing in our journals, when these two horses just walked over to come chill with us.

Diego was the first to wake up, and as there was absolutely NO FOOD, he brought us some mate, which is always surprisingly satisfying. I had work at 6 that afternoon, and since I had to take a boat, train, subte, and bus to get there, I thought it best to err on the side of caution and leave earlier. After watching Diego garden for a bit, taking a morning nap in the hammock, and cleaning a bit, Jessie and I grabbed our stuff, and headed to the dock. I was so excited trying to get the attention of the city-bus-boat that fell into a hole from a missing floorboard in the dock. Fortunately it wasn't big enough to fall through. We hopped on the boat, and just like that, we were off again. Here's a photo I took from the dock of the place we stayed at:

When Jessie and I finally arrived back at my apartment, I realized I HAD FORGOTTEN MY KEYS IN TIGRE. They must have fallen out of my pocket in the sand or something. No one was home, AND in the spirit of "vacation" I had left my cell phone inside, so I couldn't call anyone. The both of us desperate for a shower, stood in front of the door for a while brainstorming what we could do. Here's the sparknotes version: my NEIGHBOR came home, and I convinced him to let us into his house, let us up to his terrace, climb to OUR terrace, and in through my window. The mission was a complete success. A roommate arrived back home not long after, I made a copy of the keys, and ever arrived to work ON TIME!

Well anyways, speaking of work, I worked tonight, and it's 5 in the morning now, so I think I'm gonna call it a night/morning. Take care, all. I'll try to not let it go too long without blogging again.

And by "try" I don't actually mean I'll try hard. Let's be realistic here.

Saludos a todos,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Buena BUENA Onda

holaaaa. Okay so I know I´ve been getting worse and worse at this blog update thing and I´m sorry but life is really wonderful so at the same time I´m not. One of my bestest bestest buddies, Jessie, spontaneously bought a ticket to come from Cape Town to Buenos Aires to visit me.
There is no way to describe to someone who´s never lived in a foreign country by themselves how lonely it gets, how beautiful it is to have a chosen sister from a ¨former life¨to share things with.

She arrived at the Ezeiza airport on Sunday at 1pm. I brought her to the San Telmo fair, introduced to her the magic of choripan, a chorizo (sausage) sandwich, and we watched couples dance tango in the square.
On Monday I introduced her to my friends Mosqui and Pablo, and we went to the Recoleta park and drank beer while takin some sun and listening to Mosqui play bagpipes. Jessie and I got a coffee after, went back to Cabellito to nap, then returned to Recoleta at about 1030 that evening. Mosqui and Pablo had prepared us an INCREDIBLE dinner as always, which we followed by wine and dancing to Brazilian music in the apartment. We all fell asleep while watching this surreal animation film called ¨Paprika,¨which we set to have audio in English and subtitles in Spanish. The next morning Jessie and I bought fruit from local venders and made a delicious salad of apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, grapes, strawberries, and plums. From there the girls and boys split ways, and I showed her the peculiar Recoleta cemetary. We went then to El Museo Xul Solar, an art museum dedicated to this one artist, whose style would be better understood through google than my words. From there, we went to Palermo, where I met one of my professors from this past semester to talk about Argentina while Jessie wrote in the Botanic Gardens across the street. After about 2 hours of cultural chatting, Jessie came and joined us, and the two of them discussed the whore'dom of madonna. It was a beautiful moment. Jessie and I returned HOME, relaxed a bit, and then I prepared a dinner of squash with spinach, yellow peppers, onion, garlic, and parsley, while I gave Spanish lessions to her. We left at about 1030 to search for this one bar in Almagro with Tango singing.
I´m not going to go into all the magic we found there, but say simply, Jessie was so moved by the singing even without understanding what it meant that she burst into tears afterwards. It was beautiful.
We returned to my apartment and climbed up on the roof, where we listened to Madeline Peyroux, drank wine, and ended up falling asleep until it began to rain and we went running back inside.
Anyways, this is just a little flavor of what we´ve been up to lately. Right now she´s on the phone with her mom and I´m drinking mate and relaxing before I have to leave for work at 6.

Sending much love back to the states.