Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Unexpected Dosings

I don't know. No matter where I find myself, no matter how bad a day I'm having, I run into someone that turns everything around. I doubt I'll ever know whether humans are naturally inclined toward good or evil (or just idiocy), but I keep bumping into good folks, people that do things completely out of the ordinary, that trust for no reason and that treat me with unexpected, unconditional kindness. They pop out of the woodwork when I least expect them, and often when I most need them. On the street, in the mountains, on the bus. When my own meaness and anger burble up inside me, kerplunk, there they are, slapping me in the face with a good dose of life-is-life-so-turn-that-frown-upside-down reality. And you know, they're usually old people. Sneaky fuckers, really.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

...wind. That´s what I was going to say, wind. It just doesn't stop. We've found home in Chalten, the coolest mountain town in Argentina, hands down, with the country´s most brutal climbing, insane weather and pounding wind -- and it's just perfect. The continental ice fields are only a two day's trek away and Cerro Fitzroy stands like a monster above us. And we sit and drink beer and wait, like everyone else, for the weather to break. There just can't be anywhere in the world like it. And the light, there's something in the light.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Crash, whumple, crunch

Whoa, glaciers. Big-ass moving, crunching glaciers. And iceburgs. And turquoise blue lakes. And two-hour sunsets. And endless, endless, endless, endless, endless...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Liquid Peace

There's only one way to come down from a hellish 2-month deadline session and prepare for a trip to Patagonia in half a day: Tequila. Fortunately, we had plenty (yeeowza!) since Dina and Damian brought a bottle of Don Julio and a bottle of some other wild top-shelf brand in a mysterious, blue ceramic bottle. By 11:30am I was three shots into the morning, frantically ironing out last minute kinks in the Ecuador book, glancing at my unpacked backpack and answering my editor´s questions about the South America book. By 1pm we had the thermous filled with tequila and grapefruit soda, by 2pm we were on the bus, and by 3pm Dina and Damian were passed out. Aimee and I continued working on the thermous full of magic. By 10pm we were all out cold. At 9am the following day we stumbled off the bus in Bariloche, 20 hours after leaving Buenos Aires. Now we gotta figure out how to get further south.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Friends along the way

I figure the more street dogs I make friends with, the better off I'll be in the long run. Roof dogs aren't as common here as they are in Mexico, but the street variety are plentiful.

This guy generally follows from in front of me. It's weird how they do that. Often, when we're traveling, we'll get to a new town, and before we know it, we've got a companion. And they always follow from in front, as if they want to keep up appearances. And they'll hange with us the whole time we're in whatever town we're in. We had a lot of good luck with dogs up in the northwest. Oh, but then there was Rolo from San Ignacio. Now that dog was coolest street dog I've ever met. Good name, too, eh no? I didn't name him. That's what the woman who ran the street stall told us his name was. That little fucker had more personality than most people I know. Except he staid clear of Pepe, another short-legged dog, but black, mean and missing an ear. He wouldn't let any of the other street dogs around the stalls. I gotta dig up a photo of Rolo. Hang on...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alternative transport

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bike Wreck

So I was walking down Corrientes the other day and I was nearly killed by a bicycle that fell from the sky! From the sky I tell ya -- no one on it, nothing. It just came outta nowhere. A little more investigating and I realized what might have happened.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Big Dogs & Free Campari

Big dogs, killer shopping and free Campari (what?!) in Palermo make getting anything other than drinking and spending impossible! We went shopping for an asado a few weeks ago and at noon I'm walking through the supermarket with a glass of Fernet & Coke in one hand and my honey in the other with a glass of champagne in hers! Free samples are just too much.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Such is the Life

Yesterday at 2pm I was on the floor crawling around in my boxers looking for my brain. I'd lost it the day before after my fourth consecutive seven-day work week trying to make this January 15th deadline. My only fear, besides not makeing the deadline, was that another cockroach the size of the one I killed last week – which was no smaller than my thumb – had made off with my cerebellum (cerebellum). Now I'm sitting here in the same pair of boxers sweating profusely from this intense heat and relentless humidity, stopping every few minutes to wipe the sweat from my forearms and the mouse and keyboard with a sticky towel, just like towels the bus drivers carry with them to wipe the sweat off their steering wheels. Aimee came home a few days ago to find me in my boxers and wearing only one shoe. This heat is like being stuck in a dream where all your movements are slowed and everything takes on a foggy, heavy feeling – it's not the state of mind I need as I near this fucking deadline. But I can make it. And there's no need for me to change out of these boxers or put anything new on. It's only a week away.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Fuera Bush

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Boat Drinks and Big Mato

If there's one crowd Daddy Yankee should not be unleashed upon, it's the New Years family dinner crowd at the nautical-club restaurant at the Escobar country club. But I'm sure that's exactly what the DJs had in mind when they ripped into a heavy reggaeton set around two in the morning right before the tie-clad waiters brought out the lemon ice cream. I can see the logic: I may be stuck DJing a country club on New Year's Eve, but there's no way in hell I ain't throwing down some Big Mato before the night is over.

And the amazing thing is, no one was phased. Lucila's grandfather Tito kept chicken-walking around and feeding everyone whole pineapples filled with wild boat drinks, her dad and uncle kept dancing away, and the abuelas just sat there, feet from the speaker stacks, taking everything in with big smiles on their faces - all despite that heavy. fucking. grating. whacka-beat of reggaeton.

Meanwhile, in the parking lot outside, the 11-year-olds were having a field day with every imaginable exploding, launching, spark-spewing firework conceivable. In fact, they'd been doing this since long before midnight making everyone in the restaurant (which was open to the parking lot) gag on their mushroom-shrimp salad each time they set off an M-80. But really, what better way to keep the kids busy while everyone else eats dinner than to hand them a bag of fireworks and tell them to bugger off to the parking lot? More champagne, please!

So by the time the reggaeton set landed on us, everyone was well lit, and we were able to continue dancing, no matter the fact that Tego Calderon (who is actually the only reggaeton artist that kicks out a listenable song) was doing wierd things to everyone's sense of rhythm. But that's the family spirit down here - bring on the reggaeton, bring on the cumbia! Bring on the bombs, kiddos - we don't care! We're here to dance!