Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This one's for Aimee

I made a BAD decision eating some South American Activia yogurt. I don't know if Jamie Lee Curtis would support the kind of intestinal regulation I just experienced. It did not leave me feeling regular and happy, it left me feeling tired and hungry again. An unsavory experience overall.

In other news: We spent our last night in Buenos Aires partying until dawn again and it was super fun and bad ass just like last time! I decided to fall in love with our friend Nico for 7 or 8 hours which guaranteed me a dancing partner, hand holder and deep, semi-sober, club patio conversations. Yahtzee! Buenos Aires, you've done a good job.

Laura and I survived our 40 hours of busing, successfully experience Iguazu Falls, one of the wonders of the world and are now sitting out on our hostel's patio in Salta, Argentina enjoying 90 degree weather and a little Daddy Yankee. The bus experience was strange. Our first trip (17 hours) was on Rio Uruguay and we had legit seats! Top level, up front window view, blankets, pillows, little airplane meals which I love and we followed a bus with an enormous squirrel on it for a decade which is just good clean fun. Second round (23 hours) was on FlechaBus which SUCKED! FlechaStupid had wack seats, no blankies or pillows, crap food and movies with no sound or subtitles. What the hell? I really shouldn't complain since we're about to head into Bolivia where the buses are death traps and you have to hold cows on your lap, but at the moment that is neither here nor there.

All the Felchadumbdumbs were worth it because Salta is soooo crackin. It's hot, it's gorgeous, it has a gondola and fresh air! Ahhh, I may never leave. We made a steak dinner complete with rice and sauteed veggies for $4 each. BUDGET BACK ON TRACK! One of three regrets I have from Buenos Aires is how much money we had to spend in that city, the second was the magnum incident when Laura and I purchased a 6 peso magnum of wine assuming it'd be glorious considering our location. It was essentially rancid juice. 4 glasses later we were both sober and realizing that not ALL Argentinian wine is award winning. The third is none of your business.*

We are swooping our friend Urux today from wherever his bus lets him off and coercing him into coming with us to Bolivia, for his company and to shove him in front of us at the border and let him deal with the border guards. Thanks Urux!

Hokay, I'm going to buy suntan lotion and look for snacks and the gondola.


*Third Regret: Real thing or made up to toy with your curiosity? You decide.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A little something for your viewing pleasure:

This is a Jewish family we happened upon. I took a bunch more pictures of them taking lots of awkward family pictures together but didn't know if it was socially acceptable to display them all.

Laura and I tried to learn how to use the camera on my computer. This is the result.

We visited an enormous mausoleum compound and someone had this intense sculpture as their topper.

Aaaaand someone else decided to immortalize this cool lean as their signature move. Different styles, I like them both.

Just a perfect reflection picture I took all by myself, no big deal. It's copyrighted so do not try to make it into a calendar. You'll be tied up in lawsuits for as long as that statue above can hold his dainty side-sit.

Okay. Something Went Awry Yesterday...

In an effort to save money Laura and I opted out of a $80 day in Uruguay for a .75 cent day in Tigre, a city 45 minutes outside of Argentina. Proud of our decision, we boldly boarded a train bound for the Tigre Islands, a beautiful expanse of Sub-Tropical wetlands that has been described as the Venice of South America. We left Buenos Aires with the sun shining, birds singing and smog suffocating everything. We got to Tigre and stepped off the train in our pretty sun dresses and were welcomed by cool fresh air, lush greenery and semi-gray skies. I looked at Laura and said, "I hope it doesn't rain."

Friends, Comrades, Countrymen: It did rain. It practically hurricaned, and for those of you who are sitting there reading this and thinking, "Oh Marlo, over-exaggerating again because she's scared of wind." I'M NOT! Whole towns lost their roofs, power, telephone lines, fruit stands, I'm sure a couple pets went missing also and the streets were flooded around us within 15 minutes. Yet Laura and I stood strong and weathered the storm, out alone in the streets with no cover to be found, like the statue of liberty on the shores of freedom!

Laura and I had prepared for a sunny outing at a fruit and antique market and a possible boat tour through the islands so of course we didn't pack jackets or umbrellas (not that they would have done any good, but still). At the end of the 60 minute* monsoon, Laura and I stood soaked through and through, under shelter that we managed to find right as the rain...stopped. Mid-monsoon we actually found sanctuary on a bus that had pulled over to wait out the storm. The bus driver and his sidekick gave us plastic bags to wear which didn't do much besides create a sort of tiny steam room for my upper body and I was ok with that. We left the bus when bus driver and sidekick asked if we wanted to go to dinner. I wanted to ask them how they figured we would ever want to go to dinner with them seeing that A) We were in the same condition as drowned rats floating down a sewer pipe, B) they were old, married and random, stranger bus drivers and C) we can go to dinner with Argentinean super models our own age. Thanks for the bags though, sirs.

We made it out of the storm and Tigre alive and soaking and arrived in Buenos Aires looking sub-optimal and leaving a trail of rain water behind us as we walked out onto the street to hail a cab. It's needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, the day didn't go as planned. HOWEVER, it was the funniest, most entertaining, frustrating, exciting day of the trip so far and I'm not mad about it. I'm mad about the way my dress smells and the shockingly un-fixable, comb-over hairdo I had to rock all the way home but that's it.

*Approximation. Like I've said before, Laura and I haven't had any concept of time our entire trip so that storm could have been 10 minutes or three hours, I have no idea.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cranky Old Bats

HA! Laura just spent a significant amount of time on a sneaky photo shoot of two old ladies who just waddled into the cafe we are sitting at and this is the result:

YUS! These two are sooooo cranky and now, after noticing us staring and snapping shots, hate us. And are probably talking mess. It's no matter, Mafalda and Ethel, we like you anyway.

Buenos Aires Metroploitan Cathedral

It's a strange experience going to visit and view cathedrals as a tourist. All over the world, Churches and Cathedrals are open to, and thrive on, visits from tourists. Concurrently, they remain primary houses of worship for their immediate communities and many others. I experience the same contrary emotions each time I visit a church or cathedral; a desire to see and absorb the art and architecture of the building and the quick dilution of that desire that comes with the first glimpse of a man crying quietly during confession or woman sitting in the pews staring reflectively down at the altar or off into her own mindscape. The quick clicks of hungry cameras and the ambient noise of hushed conversation seems abrasively loud and my own presence intrusive. I'm not sure if the patrons notice or care about the excess activity, considering they are probably there with bigger issues to address. More likely, this is just a self-conscious observation.

Maybe I need to adjust the purpose of my visit. Leave the tourists and join the soul searchers in the pews.

The silver lining of the "tourists in a house of worship" conundrum: Snack stands right outside the doors when you leave.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

26 Years Under My Belt of Life

One year ago, on Novemeber 5th, I was forcing my friends to celebrate my birth for the third or fourth time in one week by eating at China Harbor, Seattle's largest, most mysterious and sketchiest Chinese food restaurant. This years birthday was right in line, though on a different continent, at an Argentinean Grill and the food came out at a normal pace (unlike China Harbor where they shoveled pre-made food from barrels onto our plates and had it out to us within 4 and a half minutes of the initial order).

Laura and I were taken to a seductive asado restaurant by our new friends Cata and Mayte where we binged on Steak, Papas Fritas and Chimichuri. No one f'd around with salads which I really liked and appreciated. The total per person for a king sized feast accompanied by wine and desert ended up being $12.50 USD. This exchange rate is so much better than that time I went to Belfast and had the value of my hard earned money sliced right in half. Stingy Brits.
They do Birthday candles so much cooler here! My first birthday candle was a lit match stuck in Ice cream, my second was a fire cracker. It made me feel bad ass and also like a big deal.

All in all, a successful turning of the age leaf. Do not question that metaphor, I think I know what I'm talking about people. After all, I am 26 now.

Problem: I Have No Idea What He's Charging Us For

Solution: Request more bags!!!

Maybe it was the 5 hours Laura and I had just spent drinking wine, typing emails, researching what we wanted to do with the next few months of our trip and listening to the seductive sounds of Pure Moods, Vol. 1 at Pizza Libre or maybe we both just can't speak Spanish. All I know is that when we went to buy a bottle of water and two snacks our brains we not equipped to handle the remedial conversation that happened at the check out counter. Within seconds of the first word being uttered from the checker's mouth a thick cloud of confusion set in and Laura and I started spouting nonsense holding out our water bottle, snacks, money and apparently asking for more bags than was customary or necessary. We walked away from the stand wondering what the hell had gone so wrong in a situation that is usually guaranteed to be simple...Moral of the story: When nervous or in doubt, just ask for more bags.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Eulogy

The Pequito Cucaracha passed away yesterday, after spending the day scurrying through the cabinet exploring his favorite nooks and crannies under our pots and pans. He left this world without a sound, without lament or regret. He quietly rolled onto his hard shelled back, stuck his spindly legs in the air and surrendered his prehistoric style body to rigormortis. We didn't know him well, in fact, we barely knew him at all. His life was an unobtrusive mystery to us, a parallel existence sharing our living quarters. In the words of Andy Warhol in regards to the passing of his friend Norman Mailer, "I always thought (he) kept a low profile. That’s what I liked about him so much.”
The little we did gather from his life along side our own was that he was a South American cucaracha, as we are in South America and we knew he was a gentleman, as they are smaller than the ladies. We knew he appreciated the simple things in life as he was a cockroach and they are a simple species.
We will not miss you all that much cucaracha as you did gross us out just a little, but we appreciated you not bringing your friends to party, not crawling on our faces at night and generally keeping to yourself.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'll Have the Traditional Argentian Dish of Ham, Eggs, Cheese and Sugar Please.

Fact: The three staple foods of Argentina are Ham, Eggs and Cheese. Try to order a dish with none of the above and you're likely to get slapped, if not with a hand than with a look. In addition, food and drink here come con azucar (with sugar). Don't assume a granola bar will be healthy because it is held together with sugar. Juice, unless fresh squeezed in front of your face (which is bomb) is 20% fruit and 120% sugar. Don't question my math, things are different down here.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some Jamon, Huevos y Queso but after thirteen days of eating just that I could go for fillet of salmon or fruit salad...*whisper* that won't give me the runs. Eeeeee....
Anyhoo, the other day I think we may have maxed out on Ham, Eggs and Cheese. While sitting at a cafe, Laura put down a ham and cheese chunk and timidly admitted that there was just too much ham and cheese on her ham and cheese sandwich. Interestingly enough, her semi eaten chunk looked alarmingly like a flying squirrel. I have provided a pictoral comparison and brief description of flying squirrels below.

"Flying squirrels are incapable of sustained flight, instead they glide between trees, with flights recorded to 90 meters. The direction and speed of the animal in midair is varied by changing the positions of its two arms and legs, largely controlled by small cartilaginous wrist bones. This changes the tautness of the patagium, a furry parachute-like membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle. It has a fluffy tail that stabilizes in flight. The tail acts as an adjunct airfoil, working as an air brake before landing on a tree trunk."-Wikipedia


Laura and I have added Buenos Aires to the long list of places we are really cool in. We partied until 6am with a bunch of Colombian bands who were touring the continent. I was feeeeling the beats and spent the whole night dancing face to face with a cowhide drum, fur still on. We didn't know we had missed bed time completely, until we walked outside to broad daylight but that is neither here nor there. We have had zero concept of time this whole trip. As neither of us were all that sauced up and both of us were super excited about being so rad, we decided not to go to bed and instead walk a mile to the Floralis Generica which is one of the prettiest sculptures I've ever visited. That is even considering the condition we were in: exhausted, wanted snacks, had to go to the bathroom, etc.

The moral of this story is: The Floralis Generica, Laura and myself are off the chain.