Entries Tagged as 'Argentina'


Thursday, August 15, 2013

I did some housekeeping today to get the site up to speed, and came across this entry from over two years ago in the drafts. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve decided to publish it.    

Here we are, five weeks in.  I thought the time would go by more slowly…

I met Joanna, a friend of Natasha’s. We immediately hit it off, and the day after she arrived, three days after I arrived, we boarded a bus to Mendoza to visit some wineries. We had no hotel booked, but we brought along a guidebook and a good punch of spontaneity.

We found a great place to stay, a finca with two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a porch. Four german shepherds snarled at us when we arrived, but by the second day we were all friends. Olive trees lined the rocky driveway leading up to the house. We went horseback riding in San Rafael. Laura, our fantastic tour guide, and her aunt Moni led us through vineyards. We ate cabernet grapes straight from the vine. The horse I rode kept stopping to eat from the trees, holding up the rest of the group. Kindred spirits, we were, always eating, and so I let him instead of pulling on his reigns, like Moni kept instructing me to do.

We rode bikes to different vineyards, and we met Sebastian at his family’s vineyard just before they closed for the day. He invited us to drink wine at his house, which he calls the Flower Power House. The name fits. He’s painted his Fridgidaire pink and left the brush strokes rough. A curtain of beads separates the kitchen from the dining room. After hours around his table, Joanna and I went to dinner in town, and it so happened that Sebastian’s parents were eating dinner there also. The next day, he met us at the bus station and we had a parting beer, a Quilmes, of course. Sebastian, we’ll miss you.

I drink coffee, but I’ve never drank so much as I do here. Every morning, every afternoon, and after dinner, if it happens to be at a restaurant. Espresso comes with a side of something sweet, usually chocolate coated, and a small glass of sparkling water. I always eat the chocolate first, then drink the coffee, and then the water. Is this the proper way? I’ve no idea.

I moved in with Natasha’s sister, Nicky, who has also become a friend. We found an apartment in Palermo. It’s modest and charming, decorated with vases of silk flowers, brass lamps, and a salmon colored tapestry love seat. Very 1960s. It’s nice to unpack my clothes and to put my toothbrush in the same place every day, some place other than its plastic travel tube or thrown willy nilly amidst well-worn clothes. There is also a stereo that we’ve permanently set to the eighties station. We hear this one a lot.

I met someone. He’s flippant and beautiful and vain, and he seems to think I’m beautiful back, and this is a very effective distraction from the person I last loved (and his new girlfriend). Though I’m trying to approach our circumstance as nothing more than coincidence, as two singles in transition who’ve collided for a few weeks, tops, something tells me this. will. end with me reaching.

I did reach. And that was that.   

up to now

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I’ve got an extra week in Buenos Aires, a bonus bit of time that I wasn’t supposed to have.  I owe an explanation.  I’ve had the original draft going for over three weeks.  I couldn’t pull it together, couldn’t seem to find a way to express how I feel just by waking up in the middle of this city.  And so I avoided it like I try desperately to avoid the tokens of appreciation left by four-legged pets on every sidewalk of San Telmo.  For the record, San Telmo is my favorite barrio anyway.  I’d start to write, and then I’d allow myself to be distracted by whatever or whoever was in the periphery.  Sometimes it would be the white-haired woman who wears lipstick and slingbacks to walk her poodle down our street.  Or the guy who works at the corner pizzeria and makes deliveries on rollerblades.  Or the granular chip on the side of the nearest espresso cup.  You get the idea.  I owe an update to those of you who have been with me during this twelve thirteen week process, who sent me off with enthusiasm, whose unwavering support and words of encouragement keep it worth it.  You are the reason I have this blog, and I am so lucky to have you.  A thousand times, thank you.

My first time in Buenos Aires was exactly two years ago.  I came with two friends and without expectations of what the city would be or how it would feel.  During those six days, it took hold of me like no place I’d visited ever had.  It broke through a fog of mid-twenties cynicism, the type that stems from a place of naivete, soaked me to the bone, turned me inside out, and left me with an unshakeable yearning to return.  I was hooked.  That trip was the start of something, but I didn’t yet have the self awareness to pinpoint what it was.

Six weeks ago, I began my second tryst under slightly less desirable conditions.  I was sick, faded, and I wanted to end the journey immediately.  I remember feeling that I would never take wellness for granted while traveling, or at any other point, again.  I mean, when I get a hangnail and I’m further than three hours from home, home feels about as close as the distance from Earth to Saturn.  So you can imagine how well I did with a horrifically volatile stomach in the opposite hemisphere of the planet.  As soon as I had an appetite again, that feeling of homesickness disappeared.  I started eating empanadas, and I haven’t stopped since.  So, family and friends, here it is.  I told you that I had goals for my time in Buenos Aires.  And, at the beginning of my sixth week, I have reached exactly one of these goals:  complete CELTA course, take Spanish classes, eat empanadas daily.  (Man, I actually feel relieved admitting it!)  You should also know that this goal requires almost zero effort since empanadas are not only sold on every corner but are also available for delivery.

I wake up somewhere between 9:30 and noon.  I drink a lot of coffee.  I sit in cafes and watch the  cadence of traffic and pedestrians and bikers that fill the streets and sidewalks.  I explore new neighborhoods.  When I do, I get lost.  I ask for directions in broken Spanish.  I find bookstores and record shops and boutiques and linger for awhile, sometimes picking up pieces of information from locals when I feel like asking, sometimes simply observing.  Last night, I took a private Lambada class, a type of dance that originated in Brazil.  I visited Mendoza and San Rafael with my friend Joanna, who took the photo at the beginning of this post.  She’s awesome, isn’t she?  We met Sebastian in San Rafael, and within twenty minutes of wine tasting at his family’s vineyard, he invited us to his home and discreetly kept our glasses full, which eventually led to a series of ridiculous photos like the one below.

Nickie and I share a small apartment in Palermo.  I met Nickie in New York through her sister, Natasha.  She convinced me to stay hours before I had to leave for the airport on Monday.  She made the extension of my trip possible.  She is a rockstar for so many other reasons.

I spend a lot of time at Natasha’s.  How she hasn’t tired of me yet is a mystery.  I try to cook for her as often as I can, so maybe this helps.  She is a big reason I decided to spend so much time in Buenos Aires.  She’s pretty incredible.

Kyle and Agustina are, of course, another reason.  (I’m sorry.  My word find sucks today).  They are quite the beautiful pair, and two of the most generous people I know.  I’ll miss them, like always.

(Insert photo of K & A depicting their shininess here.  My computer throws a hell of a fit every time I try to access my folder of photos.  Once it’s fixed, I’ll post more).

Because it is now almost dark and I’m still wearing the clothes I woke up in, I’m going to end this here with the promise to be back.  Sooner.  With an illustrative recap of this final week in BA.  Have a great week, all.