Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Nitty-Gritty

A very important blog follower has requested that we post not only about the cool stuff that happens, but the nitty-gritty as well. Like what it's like to live on 25 pesos a day, between two people, for example. While we aren't head banging to heavy metal or dancing our pants off at fabulous parties or watching the sun rise, our lives are...a little difficult. I say this because we really have no money. This is mostly to blame on the fact that it is the end of the month and as is custom here we are only paid once a month. Wow, I thought I knew how to budget, but...next month its time to take it to the next level. Having loads of cash in the beginning of the month is great, but then we pay rent on the 12th...we have some good steak, take a cab here and there, and end up with 200 pesos for the last two weeks. As of now we are living off some converted dollars (thank you ever so much Shelley). Also I would like to dedicate this post to meatloaf (no, not the singer), a life saver of the poor.
However, if this experience has taught me anything, it's that when you really have no money (besides a few dollars in the bank that are being saved for trips and such) you discover what it is in life you truly need. My parents have always said that while they have never been more poor than when they first got married, they also have never been happier (this claim was taken back when I spoke to them on their 26th anniversary last Friday and my mom told me they are actually happier now than ever before; my dad then attributed it to the fact the wine has only gotten better with the years...a hopeless romantic). In any case, besides getting stressed about what we are going to eat, and running all over the neighborhood in search of the pack of six eggs for two pesos instead of three pesos, we are very happy. In fact, never been happier. And while my first fall in a long time might ruin this, I've never thought about shopping less. I went one time in our first month here (not to mention the awesome red bag I bought), but as time went on my desire for new things faded. I've never had fewer cloths in my life, and not once have I stared at my closet (as I so often did with three times as many cloths) and stamped my foot while shouting "I just don't have anything to wear!!!!!" We've also gotten very creative with our cooking, and always eat tasty things even if they are cheap.
It is hard though. We can't go out when we want to, we have to make constant choices between the things we want to do that cost money, and I'm often stuck in the house when not working to avoid spending the few pesos that it would cost to sit in a cafe. Sometimes, when cooking or deciding whether or not we should spend the few extra pesos to have a little fun I put my head down, sigh, and feel utterly overwhelmed by our empty pockets. Lucky for me, Josh is always there to take me into his arms, hold me close and tell me its going to be OK. We'll find a way.
As another month ends another opportunity arises to be better budgetters, and I think its also time that I found a second line of work. But until the day comes when we have some extra cash on hand, we will eat out once a month (thanks Behars for an amazing three year anniversary dinner!!!) and abstain from ice cream.

Monday, March 30, 2009

14 Days Later...

...I did not wake up in a deserted hospital to an empty city ravaged by hoards of flesh eating zombies, but instead arose from my two-week hiatus in Buenos Aires to return to the blogosphere! Digital flower petals are raining down my screen in celebration of my arrival as we speak, impeding my vision so much that I must brush them aside with my cursor. Mind you, no such pomp and circumstance accompanied my physical return to Argentina, even though Santiago and Ulises said they intended to make some sort of a sign welcoming me home. But, if Facebook has taught me nothing else, it's that we are all more popular on the internet than in real life, so I was happy with just a big hug from Julia instead.

First, a few words about my trip to the States. The three hour time difference without much sleep - and airplane sleep at that -, a greeting party comprised of GW hoodlums and GB rapscallions, and EXPENSIVE (I say this not to show that only drink expensive booze, but to express my genuine shock at how expensive a particular 6-pack of beer, albeit good beer, was in comparison to a liter of Quilmes. Gotta love New York.) libations made my near 30 hours in New York a whirlwhind of a good time. True to my word I stuffed my stomach with New York pizza, with a lunch of fried chicken doused in hot sauce to top it all off. I got back to Massachusetts just in time to catch a snowfall the next day and suffered through a week of freezing my ass off but loving being home, even getting the opportunity to see Hannah's basketball team play. The Bat Mitzvah weekend was also loads of fun - it was fantastic to see so many people who I had not seen in months, and in some cases more than a year's time. I even got a beach towel! And even better, the break between the service and the party afforded me the time to run into Wellsley to hang out with more friends and eat an expensive sandwich. All in all, it was a great trip home and I'm really glad I got the opportunity to do it.

Bring me your tired, your poor, and your hungry for extortionately priced beer.

Since I got back I've also done a good amount of fun and interesting things, here are some highlights:

Unable to watch March Madness on our television and in search of a festive atmosphere to view the games, Ted and I have ventured out to the previously mentioned El Alamo two times in one week for some good old (North) American fun - once for the first round games, once for some Sweet Sixteen action. Amongst the mostly forgettable cast of characters we encountered in our time there, we met a guy named Larry from DC who went to Pitt. In his presence we witnessed two Pitt wins, which was beneficial for me not only because I picked Pitt to win those games but because I'm guessing he would have been much less likely to humor me by talking about DC had Pitt lost. But as it was, I got in my fix of DC nostalgia and could move on with my day. Plus, we got to see some reasonably exciting basketball and drink beer without hemorrhaging money, which was awesome, too.

Speaking of basketball, one of the things I really wanted to do but neglected to mention in my last post was to play my sport of choice upon arriving back in the States. It had been 5 months since I last handled the rock and was definitely itching to get in some playing time. I tried going to the gym one day only to be confronted by a basketball court occupied by novice volleyball players. So besides hoisting a few shots in my driveway after the Bat Mitzvah, I failed in my quest for the Holy G. Surely enough, the very night I got back in Buenos Aires Ted told me of a pick-up game in Palermo he was heading to. Julia also decided to join us and we ended up spending the better part of the evening playing basketball, and besides the fact my game was quite rusty, it felt good to get out and run, and I will definitely try and do so again. The only discouraging aspect of the experience was how many fouls the Argentine players called. Any contact merited an immediate foul call, no matter how minor it may have been. A slight bump, foul. A clean strip, foul. I don't wish to extrapolate this tendency at all, just thought it was worth mentioning. Also worth mentioning: Julia scored a basket! I think she actually scored before I did, and I'm not the least bit ashamed to admit it - my girl is an athlete.

If I got any paler due to my trip up north, Frisbee has undoubtedly fixed that situation. I spent my entire first weekend and one day this past weekend in the hot hot sun playing Frisbee. The tournament two Sunday's ago left my face burnt and peeling, but I learned my lesson and applied generous quantities of sunscreen yesterday. Despite my beet-red face, t felt great to be back out on the field surrounded by familiar faces and the tournament locale was incredible. You'd never know Fall had begun in Buenos Aires as it's hot as ever in our fair city. Yesterday, for example, was 12 degrees hotter than average. Throw in a healthy dose of humidity and it made for some exhausting Frisbee yesterday, but good Frisbee nonetheless. Our roommates and some of my students have advised me these summer-like days will come to an end and that today's weather is actually a sign of Fall's impending arrival. But after looking at the 10-day forecast, I don't know how much I believe them, that is unless Fall means mid-eighties and scattered thunderstorms. Either way, I'm ready for the someone to remove the invisible incubator that is currently encompassing Buenos Aires, even if that means a little rain.

Last but not least, especially it's probably been THE highlight since I got back to Buenos Aires, I spent this past Saturday head banging to Iron Maiden with 42,000 others, most notably Julia, Jessica, Nick (the only true metal fan amongst us, but his love for metal more than covered our ignorance of the genre) and Jessica's family friends Peter and Prudence, the former of whom works with Iron Maiden's finances - he's so VIP they actually get to fly in the band's 747, which is co-piloted by the lead singer. It was by far the most unique concert experience I've ever had, mainly because it's the first HUGE production I've seen in any genre, much less in one so explosive and with such a rabid fan base. We got VIP treatment all day, including getting wisked away after the show in the band's caravan (let it be known I tried to find a clip of Van Morrison's "Caravan" from The Band's The Last Waltz, but could not find one. It would have been a great reference. Blast.) and even chatted it up with one particularly jovial band member over drinks while watching a tango show afterward in the Four Seasons Hotel (listen to me name drop, one day living the VIP lifestyle has changed me). I still don't really like metal music, but I guess I have a new appreciation for it. And I definitely got my face shredded off, just as Nick said I would. Julia wrote a very extensive post with photos/videos, many of which I took (my computer no longer imports photos from my iPhone or camera. It also quits any application if I try to attach anything. As you can see, my baby is on her last legs, but she keeps trucking.) and I admit I have yet to read it. Yet all it took was one positive review to convince me not to compete with it, so be sure to read her account of the concert. She's so much more prompt with these things, I suffer for her blog-updating gusto. But in the end, you all gain from it, so I can't wallow in self-pity...for too long. Or, I could emulate her ways and try to post more often. I guess I'll give that route another try, because, quite frankly, it feels good to be back!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Iron Maiden is Going to SHRED YOUR FACE OFF!!!!!!!!

Metalhead is a popular term for a devoted fan of heavy metal music.. Heavy metal fans exist in many countries beyond the United Kingdom and United States, where it first developed, especially in Japan, Scandinavia and Brazil and even Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. The long hair, leather jackets, and band patches of heavy metal fashion help to encourage a sense of identification within the subculture.


Meet Bruce Dickinson, a fifty-one year old man from Nottinghamshire, England, and the lead singer of Iron Maiden:

I know, I love the pants too

Or meet him as I did yesterday afternoon: salt and pepper hair, faded blue t-shirt that read "Some days you are the pigeon, some days you are the statue," faded pink salmon shorts that ended mid thigh, an old pair of sneakers and a nice disposition. I thought he was one of the crew. He talked with Jessica's family friends, Peter and Pru, for a good ten minutes about his target practice the day before and then wandered on to chat with more folks that were hanging around the back stage at the Quilmes Rock Festival on Saturday afternoon. After he left Peter commented that once Bruce starts talking about something he'll never stop. He almost sounded annoyed. Five minutes later the shock and awe left Nick's face long enough for him to tell me who that was.
So how did I end up in the exclusive back stage of a Heavy Metal concert? Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...
Pru met Tina (la madre de Jessica) when they were 17 years old. Pru married Peter, and 12 years ago Peter got a job as the accountant for Iron Maiden (the manager of the band is his long time college friend). This year, Iron Maiden embarked upon their 2008/9 Somewhere Back in Time Tour, and Peter and Pru arrived in Argentina before the band to do some sightseeing. They also brought pots of pesto and Marmite for Jessica, and of course an invitation to the Iron Maiden concert to which she could bring three friends. Nick, an Iron Maiden fanatic, was the first to get an official invitation, and Josh and followed by default since Jessica's list of Metal Head friends is pretty limited.
The day of the show arrived, and I just didn't know what to wear. Finding out that its all about black at Metal shows was a relief, so I donned my black tank dress, my Frye boots, a borrowed scarf from Jess, some homemade dangling earrings and I was ready to rock. We Subted it to the Four Seasons hotel where the band and their entourage were staying. As the door was opened for me a cool rush of air began to cool my overheating skin, and the marble lobby welcomed us with the smell of fresh flowers and elegance. We looked over our shoulders at the Maiden fans in the driveway (I think one might actually have taken our picture) and Josh and sighed a guilty sigh of someone getting to do something they really have no business doing but is about to take great pleasure in anyway. We met Pete and Pru in the bar where we refreshed with cold sodas and then hopped into our private van that took us directly to the arena. No hot, sweaty, long ass bus ride for us.
One at the stadium, we stuck on our blue guest stickers and ventured to the back.

Sticker on much loved camo shorts = nothing to stick to. Thankfully Jessica had a safety pin.

We hung out in the catering area drinking cold drinks and eating the surprisingly good Hallah they had out while waiting for the first set to begin.

Free beverages!!!
Nick = most excited fan
Pru and our extreme proximity to the dressing rooms

Lauren Harris, the daughter of Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris, was warming up in her dressing room, and I was struck by how amazing her voice was. I was then schooled a bit on Heavy Metal music by Nick and Pete (who both know truckloads of things about the genre) and discovered that one of the most important things about this music is the extreme talent of the musicians. Well, you would have to have one hell of a voice box to compete with your accompaniment. According to Nick, her band was good, but nothing compared to Iron Maiden. "Iron Maiden is going to shred your face off," he informed me. We watched the set with the slowly growing crowd, and I observed my first large group of Metal Heads. For once, Nick really blended in.

Camo shorts + black t-shirt = uniform (and what Nick always wears)

The long hair, the black faded and much loved shirts, the tough looking girls in cut off t-shirts...I was transported back to a decade I can barely remember. It was amazing.
In between sets we returned to the backstage to chill while the crowd multiplied and grew more rowdy as the space grew more limited. We didn't see much of the Argentine bands (they were...REALLY heavy to say the least) and instead listened to the distant shouting from comfy sofas or from the tables set up for the band and crew while eating the free catering. Think Almost Famous and bandaids. Its the closest I'll ever get.

Red Carpet style next to a bucket of ice cold Quilmes cans
Then it was time. We were to watch the show from the sound desk, or for those not in on the lingo the control tower. However, in our absence, the last bits of space on the floor had disappeared with the sun's setting, and 42,000 people had arrived at the stadium to witness one of the greatest Heavy Metal bands of all times.

Very crowded

Seeing as the sound desk was in the middle of this tightly packed, sweaty mass of riled up metalheads, we had to use the isle down the middle of the crowd to get to our spots before the show started. We were taken there by a loud English man from the North. Beer in hand, I took a deep breath and began what felt like the never ending journey to the oasis in the middle of a...OK, well maybe I'm taking it too far, but the people sure were thirsty and hot, so the oasis metaphor seems a good one. The path was just wide enough so that if you carefully walked down the center the flailing arms on either side trying to grab you were just out of reach. The security was keeping the crowd barely under control and pulling people over the barrier to carry them out when necessary. People shouted WATER!!! in English as we walked past, and hollered louder than any truck driver as Jess and I passed by. At the same time, waves of human heat and smell came at us from either side as hands reached for us. It felt like a never ending gauntlet, and me, little old non-important me, has never had so many eyes on me at once. Scary. We were all relieved when we arrived at the sound deck and snuck to the back where we would be out of the way with the equipment cases with the best view ever of the stage: dead center with nothing to block our view.

Trippy photo of the sound board

The air was thick with anticipation, the crowd was getting rowdy, and the minutes ticked on until finally, at nine pm, the lights went out, and music started playing from the blackened stage. As the song ended, another one began, but this time there was a video of the band arriving by plane, their fans, and then footage from a WWII. To the sound of "We will never surrender!!""" and in a flash of pyrotechnics that black curtain came down and the stage was lit up in an explosion of light to reveal an amazingly detailed back drop of a mummy faced sphinx, a stage with a strong Egyptian theme, and the band with Bruce in the middle wearing the outfit in the picture above straddling two speakers. Man, did they put on a show and a half!!! With ever changing back drops, giant torn British flags, sarcophagi with red lights for eyes, hand banging, and a ridiculous amount of running around the stage while singing and playing the guitar with every ounce of energy in their bodies dedicated to making this the most rocking show ever. There were also many costume changes, including Bruce dressed up as the Grim Reaper. Amazing.

The show begins
Nick, well you can see how happy he was for yourself
For the end of the show they upped the decibel even more, and the giant head of a sarcophagus opened to reveal a giant mummy inside with unraveling bandages and waving arms.

My favorite guitarist (Yanick) started doing crazy things with his guitar: swinging it around, swinging it by the handle, and eventually he threw it not once, but two times at least twenty feet into the air and caught it both times as if he had done it everyday for his entire life. Maybe he has...There were more pyrotechnics than left me momentarily seeing only red, and ear blasting shreds. I reached up to my face to make sure it was still there. It wasn't. It had been shredded to pieces, and those pieces had been shredded again, just as Nick had predicted.
We left the show before the encore in preparation for our "run out" with the band. We were part of the four van caravan that left the arena the second the show ended in order to safely transport the band back to the Four Seasons before the crowd got out. We watched the encore on the little TVs in the van controlling the big screens, and then were rushed into a van and were whisked away.

Walking back through the gauntlet
Show no fear (even though inside the crowd is scaring me!!)
Video Van

We arrived back at the hotel, and emerged from our vans as Iron Maiden rushed into the hotel in sweet Iron Maiden dressing gowns. We followed and went straight to the bar where a Tango show was about to start. Thrust from one world to its opposite we sat at a table and watched Tango and waited to see if the band was going out. Sadly, two vodka gimlets and too many olives later it became clear that not much was happening due to the 7:45 wake up call, and seeing as Bruce had not invited us to get sushi with him we said our goodbyes to Pru and Peter, but not before Yanick joined us at our table, long hair down with three beers in his hand. "Well here's to obvlivion!" he cheered with his Brahma.
As the night ended we walked to the front of the hotel with Peter and Pru while thanking them profusely for the coolest night EVER. As soon as we had our last hugs goodbye the magic slowly faded away and we resumed our normal lives as paupers and caught the 152 bus back home, but we had our blue stickers and some amazing photos to prove it all happened.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Graffiti Del Dia

A nice piece of work on Bolivar, includes the old fashioned lamp, which I like...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spirit dedos

A fly on the wall of my bedroom would have been very perplexed this weekend. She would have wondered why in Dios' name was I doing going to bed and waking up at such strange hours. Well, hopefully now she is looking over my shoulder for the explanation. After an enjoyable day of Frisbee on Saturday, Jess, Josh and I hopped on the 33 and headed back to San Telmo. After a dinner of left overs all three of us went to bed around midnight for some solid hours of sober sleep in preparation for our early wake up. After a hearty breakfast of eggs and toast we rode the sleepy subte to Retiro to catch the train to Tigre armed with PB&J sandwiches. Andrés met us in the nick of time, and seeing as there was no time for him to by a ticket he did the obvious and hopped the turnstiles. Achmed (our Egyptian teammate) found himself on our train as well, and our seatless group huddled on the floor of the train to Lalucia. When we emerged from the train the cool air refreshed us for our walk to Lincoln High School where the first International Frisbee tournament in Buenos Aires was being held. Several of our Frisbee players work at this amazing American private school where only the richest people can afford to send their children to a beautiful campus that overlooks the Rio Plate. How can I get a job there?
The fields are the most beautiful I've seen since high school, and the sun shone down on dozens of Frisbee fiends warming up in the morning light. It was a beautiful thing. We were greeted with smiles and kisses as we approached the already set up tables of prizes, food, and Frisbee stuff in yet another professionally planned tournament.
I was placed on a team with Josh, Andrew and Felipe and our team name was La Merced (all the teams were different brands of Maté) and we had a kick ass Cheer made by Filipe: Shake it a baby now! Shake it a baby, La Merced, La Merced!! We twisted, and shouted and kicked ass in our first game, and then lost all the rest. It was still fun though, and as always I learned a lot and tried to ignore how little I know about the game so as not to get toooooo frustrated. There were big boxes of fruit, sandwiches, frutigrans, and lots of water. The day was hot, and even with many applications of sun screen I got a nice little burn across my face. There were many cramped calves and tired faces, but all in all some amazing Ultimate was played and the spirit of the game was mostly very high. Spirit!!!!! While lately I've been dieing to play some good old soccer, but after the great day we had, as always, I fell a little more in love with Ultimate and the people we play with. We returned home at dark exhausted, red, and ready for bed but with just enough energy for pizza night!!!!!

I get my ass kicked by a breast feeding mom

getting my butt kicked again

Josh getting ready to throw a nice flick

Nick is a beast...
Jessica's team lost everything...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Graffiti Del Dia

These stenciled graffiti images are all over San Telmo. This one is special though...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

other homecoming

JOSH IS HOME!!!! Well, in his other home, and I was so excited I woke up at 8 and watched don't mess with the Zohan until he showed up early at the door with cookies and bagels, other wonderful things...and of course himself. YAY!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

In Which I am really clever and dress as Tectonic Plates

Ted = the best Tintin ever, Jessica = the perfect Thunderbird (crazy British puppet thing) and I am the essence of tectonic plates. Yay for costume parties!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Journey to the top of the...roof terrace in Jeremy's sweet new pad...

In contrast to the post I recently read on Alex's blog this post seems frivolous in nature, but more than that it shows the difference in quality of life available here versus the majority of cities on this continent. My life here is more glamorous than it ever was in the States, and possible more glamorous than it ever will be again. Anyway, you should all read Alex's blog as well for a different perspective on South America, but for now, back to the glamor that is my reality in Buenos Aires.
Jeremy, a recent character in our blog who first appeared in the Carnival blog, is a British man living in BA selling wellies, or as we call them rain boots. He also has the most fabulous new flat in Buenos Aires complete with a pool in the courtyard and a personal roof terrace. He threw himself a party last night for duel causes: new pad and birthday party. The theme was dress to impress/masks and in Casa Cochobamba we took this very seriously. I wore my yellow DVF wrap dress (the first occasion I've had to wear something fancy besides New Years and I wasn't going to waste it) and regrettably some fabulous high heals. Buying a mask just never happened for me, so at 9 pm Matt (Ted's lucky visiting friend) and I made some homemade masks that even had some glitter on them. We arrived around 9:30 just in time to move everything upstairs. By everything I mean the bartender's set up. Jeremy, net worker extraordinaire, had gotten the bartender at the famous Green Bamboo to bar tend for the first few hours of the party with a menu of four fancy drinks of his creation from the restaurant. The Kiwino (a kiwi mojito fusion made in cocktail Utopia) was my favorite. With his blender and cool mixing tools he whipped up over 200 drinks for the first three hours of the party. As Juan made Green Grass, Sea Breezes, and more concoctions, the most beautiful virgin parilla I have had the privilege to witness being fired up by a Porteño asador was put to good use. Hmm, I thought, there is one thing missing...what about music, and even this was taken care of when around 10 the DJ arrived equipment in hand. The music started pumping and it became clear that heals were a bad choice.
Like the champ I try to be I danced and shook my tusch anyway seeing as the night was the coldest one of the summer and one had to keep warm by dancing.
While we waited for the meat to slowly cook I met all kinds of new people. I met an older foundation, among other things, and told me about brunches he holds every few Sundays where artists come together, eat, talk and do artsy things. Wow, I thought and made him take down my number. Hopefully there is no confusion and he understands that all I want is to help him cook for artists and then hang out with them, but with luck he'll call me when the next one happens. I also met loads of British people, and for the first time there were very few people from the States at an international party. To my delight, people form England love New Jersey and only have positive reactions when I tell them where I am from. The first British guy I spoke to said "Oh, I love New Jersey!!!!" Why? I thought? Have you been there? His mate answered this question by saying just that. "But you've never been there!" The British guys responded that he had been to the Newark airport, but his real love for Jersey spouted from his intense obsession with The Sopranos. For the rest of the party he called me Meadow.
Also attending the party were copious amounts of French people, who were by far the most fashionable bunch I've seen in this country yet. Actually the whole crowd was the most fashionable I've seen in over five months and they easily could have been transplanted from the Upper East Side or Soho with the benefit of international travel of course.

Roommates...we never looked so good (me maybe because my face is covered)

More roommates (I swear I hung out with new people too): Santi and Ted

Myself, Ulises, and Santi

The party continued on into the night, and we even got an extra hour due to the fact that we have put the clocks back an hour. Now we are only an hour ahead of the East Coast again. Normally in the States we joyously use this extra hour to sleep, but here it meant an hour extra to party!! And party hard they did. Never before have I been at a party displaying so much extravagance and excess and it was an interesting adventure into a world I had never before been privy to. The masks made it that much more wonderful, if only I had be able to see through mine!!
Everyone left to go out or stayed at Jeremy's were they supposedly were still partying hard at 9 am, but I headed home with Ted and Matt to get some intensely needed R&R. Sunday was lazy and wonderful, and I beat Ulises at backgammon on top of the roof of Ted's bedroom where the sun still exists in the late afternoon. We had an asado at Nick's request with some friends of his that were visiting, and the Colombians we hang out with. Jeremy and his friend Jonny came as well and while there was an unfortunate divide between English and Spanish speakers it was still a very relaxing and tasty evening. And after two nights of meat in a row I am going to make a concentrated effort to stay away from meat for at lease half the week. We'll see how that goes!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Whole New World

Last night we went to a party called Trash Mission in an abandoned ware house not too far from my house. The party was held by the magazine Wicked which Jessica works for. The space was very cool with an out door courtyard, a big empty room full of art pieces made of trash, a bar, and a big dance room with a DJ. It was quite the hip scene. We spent the whole night there, and eventually we were able to tear Jessica away from her duties at the door at the end of the night for a little dancing. Andres (our Colombian friend and the bearer of buena honda if you remember from an earlier post) had stopped by our house after class and never left, so he came back home with us. When we arrived home at dawn he brought me to what I think is his new favorite spot. If you climb on top of the roof of Ted's room you can cross over to the roof of another building and climb up this other thing for the most amazing view of the sky this city has to offer. We lay down on the concrete platform and watched the sky lighten slowly as the clouds were illuminated. The size of the sky was overwhelming in its beauty, and the Geogia O'keefe puffs of clouds turned a light shade of pink as the light grew and we watched a new day being born. Exhausted, we went to sleep until 2:30 with the metal shades down to shut out the new day and now the light is fading again as the sun finishes its journey to rest for the night.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thank God Its Friday

One of my students reminded me of this important phrase that had lost its meaning recently as days blended into weekends and the ritual of the work week faded from my memory. Well, this week that memory was rudely brought back into the foreground of my cabeza. I ran all over the city teaching real lessons and imparting my expert knowledge of the English language and its pronunciation to my eager students. Hey, for me its beats an office, but it was exhausting. Living in San Telmo puts me in a great position for getting to work in a downtown office, but many of my classes this week were in Palermo or the near by neighborhood of Chacaritas. This is quite a trip, and on a day like Wednesday when I only had 6 hours of work but left my house at 7:30 and arrived home 10:30 after traveling to three different neighborhoods through the pouring rain.
This week, by a stroke of luck, I received an assignment from LV Studios (one of three I'm working for) to teach a Colombian girl from Tuesday till Friday for two hours a day equaling 200 pesos total for my pains. On my first trip out to her beautiful apartment in one of the ritziest (I am currently eating real Ritz crackers, so had to through that word in) neigborhoods in the city. I was 40 minutes late after I got off the bus too early and then got lost before I finally found the beautiful Baez street full of nice restaurants and trendy looking bars. As she brought me to her apartment I wondered why she only wanted classes for the week and how she was able to afford this apartment. She looked not much older than me. Turns our she's only 24, and I wondered even more how wealthy her Colombian family must be for her to stay here. The situation eventually became clear to me when her boyfriend returned home. Bruce, a weathered looking man from California, was obviously paying for their apartment. Turns out they have been traveling throughout South America for quite some time, and they rented the apartment for their one month stay in Buenos Aires. Each day she opened up to me a little more, and the strange details of their relationship were revealed to me. Bruce lives in the States, and she lives in Panama where she has a Cosmotology business. Bruce, an older man, does not like to go out, and does not like for her to go out. This results in this beautiful Colombian girl being stuck in the house night after night with him when all she wants to do is dance to electronic music all night long. She told me in her faltering English about a night where she snuck out to dance all night while Bruce was sick. He wondered why she returned from her "walk" at 6 am with no shoes, but at least she had some fun. With his low level of Spanish and her limited English I wonder how they really communicate. In the end I felt like I was the lucky one, having made a new friend that I really liked who lives in Panama and who has a family in Colombia. But I felt sorry. Her father is a priest, and he boyfriend an old man. Her whole life she has dealt with men repressing her desire to have fun and live a little. I wonder how she deals with it, and why she chooses to see a man with such different interests. I guess they are joined in their love of travel and his ability to pay for it. Que raro, how strange.
In other news, I realized I forgot to tell you all that Chimba has been back with his rightful owner for a few weeks now. I feel that I had more to say about the week, but this will have to do for now. Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

News that's fit to print...

What a week I have had so far! It is in fact the busiest week I've had in the big beautiful city, and what a refreshing (if tiring) change form the usual. I was walking to the movies after I picked up our measly pay (February is a cruel month) when I received a call from one of my studios telling me she had a student for me that wanted two hours a day on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for this week only. "Hell yea!" I thought with an imaginary fist punch as I took down the address. I continued to the movie, bought some credit so I could find out where Ted was, only to find out that he was waiting for me at home. Oops, I had unintentionally ditched him on our second date (the first being to Coto the night before) but I had already bought my ticket and headed into the part of the theater in the basement that really looks more like a screening room than a movie theater. Well, what do you want for $AR 10?
So you know how in the beginning of a movie there are the little weird clips of the producers companies? We all know the Focus Feature's well, as well as that one with the boy fishing from the moon...well when a movie goes international there are a lot of groups responsible for getting that movie to your theater, and I was the only person giggling in the theater as clip after clip of this kind showed. There must have been six or seven of them, and each time I got really excited thinking the movie would start, and then really let down as another company's signature clip started up. They really are overly dramatic.
The Wrestler left me sad, which is to be expected from a movie about a depressed, used, asshole who can't do the one thing he loves anymore. However it wasn't the ending scene that left me almost in tears. Surprisingly it was the lonely, snowy, somewhat depressing scenes of New Jersey's dilapidated areas that left me walking down Lavalle inhaling deeply (for once forgetting about the nasty bus fumes) to keep from crying. Even scenes in the Acme (which I've never even been to) left me feeling truly homesick for the first time since I've been here. Before I bragged about my steel sentimentalism that only broke for bagels, family, and pickles. I now must bite my over zealous tongue, for I, the girl who obnoxiously claims to not get home sick...was very home sick for the windy, narrow roads of New Jersey. You might wonder at this point, "Did you even like NJ that much to begin with? What's to love?" Well, I can't say when or how, but I somewhere along the line fell for the dilapidated diners, the flannel, the accent (which I can't help but notice now that I'm here, and I've been told its strong!) and the bare trees in winter. I longed to go to Tiger's Tale. It was bizarre.
The feeling slowly began to dissipate as I walked down Florida and stopped to listen to a group playing beautiful music who had a sign posted saying "Can you imagine life without music?" It reminded me why I am here, but didn't help to get the rocking 80's soundtrack from the movie out of my head and banish my longing to hear it in Jersey. I felt better as I continued to walk, and even stopped to listen to two other groups, but reminded myself that I actually had to go home and do work. As I neared my house and entered my neighborhood I passed by a restaurant. I suppose it must be a restaurant where the waiters sing, because the staff was hanging out in a circle singing the theme song to Hello Dolly at the top of their lungs, and with much gusto...in Spanish. As I paused for a moment I smiled remembering Patrick and I breaking into song all over DC trying our damnedest to sound like Barbara after watching that epic film senior year. Some things will follow you anywhere, and apparently Barbara Streisand is one of them. More on the week tomorrow!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Classes de Salsa

Why did I dream that my back hurt so much I felt the need to stretch it only to wake up and find that I really did need to stretch it (kind of like those dreams about needing to pee that I always have)? Read on to find out!!
My friend and companiera de casa (house mate) Jessica, who has been making regular appearances on this blog in varied posts from masked partier at Carnival to narrator extraordinaire for the empanada video brought me to my first salsa class at Azucar two weeks ago. Of course we were late, but jumped into it. For 10 pesos you get an hour and a half of salsa, an hour and a half of rock and roll, and then ANOTHER hour and a half more of salsa if you have the ganas (a word you should get used to: there is no direct translation, its somewhere between desire and ability and something else, its stronger and different from to want...its a great word - ex. Ulise - do you have want to dance tonight? me - hmmm, no tengo ganas depues 3 horas de bilando - i don't have ganas after dancing for three hours). Oh and did I mention the free coat check?
Well last time we had to leave because Zach and Evelyn had arrived and I had a dinner to attend, but this week we brought Ted and his friend Rebecca who was visiting and Jessica and I stayed for Rock and Roll as well. Salsa was a little bit easier this time. Again we were late, but tried to pick up the steps we had missed. First you stand in lines and practice the steps, and then you get into a circle of boys and girls. You dance for a few minutes, practice a few steps and then the girls rotate around in a circle. Its a bit like speed dating. A bit too much like speed dating. Anyway, lucky for me I eventually ended up with a guy who was actually a little bit worse than me (he lacked the strong arm that tells a woman what to do during the dance) and instead of making me turn he would tell me to turn...kinda lame, BUT he had the ganas to practice a lot so instead of standing aorund and watching I got to practice with him for a while. I was one behind Jessica, and everytime I moved to a new partner they would say to me, "Oh, you are Jessica's friend?" "Si" I would respond, and then the salsa would begin.
After Salsa was over, Jess and I decided to stay for Rock and Roll even though Ted and Rebecca dipped out. So what is Rock and Roll exactly? I was wondering myself. Its essentially Swing dancing. After a short intro dance off type thing led by this crazy guy we split off into beginner and intermediate while expert couples stayed on the floor. I, dripping with sweat, picked up quickly what I have been kind of doing anyway for years at dances. It occurred to me as I danced and twirled with an older man with longish dark curly hair, a tight grey t-shirt, large pectorals, and an annoyed look on his face aimed at the number of times he had to turn me, that I had come to Argentina to learn not one, but two dances not native to the country and one which was actually from my own. You may want to know why I am not taking Tango classes. Let's just say Tango is not what the kids are into these days. I felt increasingly silly learning how to Swing dance in the country of Tango as a Christmas song came on and I think Jess and I were the only one's who knew we were dancing to a US Christmas song in March. We left early again so we could sprint to the GIANT Coto supermarket near the class and spent way to long there wandering around, and getting yelled at of course.
At this amazing Coto there is a large table of empanadas and yummy stuff. The empandas are only $AR 1.99. We had to have one, and we couldn't wait. We went to the woman who weighs empanadas and puts the price sticker on it and we asked her if we could eat it right away. She said that once the sticker goes on we could do what we wanted! Gleefully we skipped over to the microwave and heated our prospective treats. They were tasty.
Afterwards were were wandering around wondering where in tarnation the canned good section was, and a security guard motioned to Jessica to follow him. We tried to explain that a woman told us we could eat it and that we were going to pay for everything. He would not speak a word, and every word we spoke would cause him to turn around and motion at us again with his hand. I honestly thought Jess was going to get kicked out. But no, he simply insisted that we pay for our eagerly eaten empanadas immediately. Afterwards he dragged us somewhere else and at this point I was sure we were both being kicked out. But no, he just wanted to hand us our empty Styrofoam (yes Styrofoam is still all the rage here) plates in a plastic bag so we wouldn't miss out on having them. Oh Argentina, me encantas.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Monu Chao

At the Manu Chao concert shirts and baby sitters were optional and the only beverage available was coke. There signature dance move consists of three steps backwards and three forward. Every seat was a good one, and every member of the band was at least twice my age with three times my energy level. A month ago I had never heard of him and today I think he is one of the coolest people I've ever been in the same room with.
For those of you who have never heard of him or don't know much, a few words on the man himself (you can listen to one of his most famous songs while reading about him!):

Born in France in 1961 after his parents fled the dictatorship in Spain to save his Grandfather from a death sentence, Chao grew up around artists and intellectuals in a suburb of Paris. Many of these childhood influences would later become influences for his music. He formed two bands before going solo called Hot Pants and Mano Negro. They achieved success in Europe and South America with some cool tours. One tour was a port tour where they traveled and performed on a boat. The other was done with a retired train. He went solo with his band the Radio Bemba Sound System, and toured Central and South America recording songs as they went in order to replicate the sounds of the street in different cultures. Most of these songs were sung in Spanish instead of French and this is where his music also truly transformed from punk to street vibe. He is also an activist.
Truly a rock star, this man sings in more than three languages and keeps the crowd going for three hours at a time. Consequentially he also has a rocking body.
By the time I heard about the man and the show, the first show was sold out. Two more dates were added and Ted bought us our 74 peso campo tickets (general admission) and him, Jessica, Jeremy, his friend from home and myself were all set.
Unfortunately I was a bit tired for the whole show. Friday night we had a crazy party and while I was decidedly the only sober person by the end of the night, I also went to bed at 6:30 after having woken up at 7 am that day. I slept till 1:30 and then after some Chinese food Jessica and I headed for Frisbee. We only played for an hour (Cadillacs won against Big Red for the first time!!) and then headed home for dinner on the roof, a few Calimoches, and then set out for my first experience in Luna Park.
The venue is one of the best I've been too. Its big enough to play a big show, no matter where you stand you have a good view. We were stage left, but the floor was at an angle, so I had a great view of the show and avoided getting beat up by the drunk masses in the middle who had probably been there hours in advance to get a good spot. Now those were the real fans. Once girl was hoisted up by her friends during the show (as were many) and took it to the next level by dropping her skirt to reveal boxers. Very strange, not very sexy, but maybe she knows something I don't about Manu?
In front of us were two couples who had obviously come together. They were older, maybe in their late 30's and each had brought something special. One couple had brought a few joints, and the other their 4 year old child. I'm not sure what people here have against baby sitters, but this kid stayed up with his parents till midnight rocking out to Manu Chao. At first he looked miserable, but after a few sips of coke he perked up, shed his shirt with the rest of the guys in the place and rocked it with his parents. Children happen, and its no reason to not see Manu.
A word on shirts in this place. They are almost always optional. The farmers tan doesn't exist here because every time a man gets the slightest bit hot or enters a sunny place, there goes his shirt!! If you care to look back to the Carnival post you will notice our guys took advantage of this practice, and even after we went to a bar Josh asked me, "Do you think its OK that I keep my shirt off?" and immediately answered his own question after seeing a table full of shirtless men next to us. Well last night was no exception. It was hot, and by the end of the show only two men on stage had shirts on (at the start all but one were clothed) and throughout the show guys in the audience took off their shirts and threw them at Manu Chao on stage. If he caught a shirt he would generally sling it over his shoulder for a time until it fell off. At one time he had 4 or 5 slung around him.
The band consisted of Manu, his guitarist (however Manu played guitar all night as well), a bass player, a standing drummer, a seated drummer, a grey afro haired keyboardist who rocked it, and a trumpet player. They were casual, some even in gym shorts or pants, and I've never seen a more talented group rock so hard. They were having the time of their lives, and in typical Argentine fashion they never wanted the party to end. There were four encores, and for the last one they brought their whole crew on stage and there was a big dance party. By the end I was exhausted and worried he would play for a fourth hour, but we danced and sang along till 12:30. We were kind of in the lame section of stoners, but used the space around us to dance and to match the buena honda on stage in our own section until it was over and we could barely walk home.
One of the best parts of the show was when the guitarist traded in his electric guitar for a classical one. Watch this because I'm not sure my words would ever do it justice:

As you can see, it was kind of ridiculous. This band was truly about the music, and the politics of course. They had a "poet" come on stage a few times who spoke to the crowd as Manu played in the background. The second time he took the stage he spoke about our president, Senior Obama. He said something about how he was watching us, well I'm not exactly sure, but I'm pretty sure it was positive. What a departure from my last international concert. The last time I saw a show abroad was in Berlin at the Berlin Insane festival. There, in one of my favorite shows of the night I was traumatized by the video in the background. As Germans cheered and screamed the video showed a cartoon of tanks blowing up the White House, and the White House going up in flames over and over again. At the time I was obviously a few beers in a so a little more reactionary, but I remember being more than a little upset about it. How incredible that in one night the image of our government has so changed. A girl from the US I recently met here that works for Casoc as well said she wanted to stop telling people she was from the States and instead say Canada. I was so surprised! While I had echoed this sentiment half jokingly 2 years before, I have the opposite feeling here now. I am so proud to tell people where I am from (part of that is that people don't say "ew" when I mention New Jersey). While evil President Bush is viewed abroad as the monster he really was, I feel that this is no longer being held against us.
I digress...
The concert was wild, and a great time. Afterwards Ted, Jess and I walked the short distance to the river to get empanadas, some Pasa del Toro (the best grapefuit flavored soda ever!!) and some agua and we sat infront of the dikes of Peurto Madero talking about how amazing the show was and refreshing ourselves for the long walk home.
(just found this amazing Pasa del Toro commercial):

We arrived home exhausted and I passed out pretty immediately around 2:30 for my earliest Saturday yet in Buenos Aires.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hi-HO! Hi-ho, it's off to work I go!

Good news!! I got not one, but two new jobs!!! I started my first yesterday with LV Studios. I am teaching two nice women in their late twenties/early thirties in one of their apartments from 7:30-9:30 every week. That's 50 extra pesos a week, at a whopping 200 extra pesos a month. That's right, one of those hundreds will one day go towards the little leather bag I covet at the market...but until then it means making it the whole month on our own two feet and no more digging into the savings.
The lesson went really well, and I was excited to actually teach a real class using the valuable (I say valuable become it damn near empties your pockets) info from the extortionate TEFL course I took. I lesson planned, I created my own matching, fill in the blank and connecting the sentence worksheets, and explained how to play charades in Spanish. Yes! That's how much my Spanish has progressed. 4 months ago I couldn't explain simple children's games in Spanish, and now I'm explaining Charades! I was impressed with myself anyway, and I think they might had learned something too. They really liked acting out the verbs I gave them. We were kind of giggling. OK, we were laughing out loud. It was great. I left feeling more elated and hopeful about work and my financial worth than I have in a long time.
Then, after sending out many emails on Wednesday, I received two back asking me to come in for an interview. I went to my first today, and was kicking myself for being ten minutes late. Turns out the whole thing went swimmingly, and she offered my 5 classes on the spot. Now I only have to check in with Casoc to find out about my schedule with them and I might actually have a full week.
Silly me, when I got home I re-read my emails and realized I went to the wrong interview today and that I had switched the addresses. Oh well!! No one said anything and it obviously worked in my favor. Happy mistakes.
On the other hand I am sad about Josh leaving...but on the bright side I'll take suggestions for my T costume for Ted's bday. I had the brilliant idea to be Tectonic plates...so costume suggestions for how to pull this off would be welcomed. Or better ideas...and um...I need them by tomorrow. Thanks.


Maybe not this kind of Homecoming, but great nonetheless!

In just two days time I will be joining the rest of you out there in Readeropolis as dedicated followers of our blog. I am getting out of here just in time to catch the tail end of winter in the Northeast and, thankfully, to miss Ted’s sure to be awful “T” themed birthday party in Casa Cochabamba. (Ok, I didn’t mean that. I said it purely out of jealousy because I had dreams of rekindling the Halloween-glory days of my youth by dressing up as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Tortuga, some how, some way. Instead, I’ll be listening to podcasts, reading Cien Años de Soledad, and requesting more little bottles of wine to knock me out for the witching hours of the flight. Let me take this opportunity to publicly wish Ted a most happy 23rd birthday, I will be sure to throw back a glass of Sutter Home or two in your honor somewhere over the south Atlantic.) I arrive at JFK International Airport this Saturday morning and will proceed to spend that day and evening with friends before returning to Massachusetts Sunday afternoon, where I will be until heading east for the Bat Mitzvah festivities of the next weekend. I am excitedly looking forward to each weekend, both providing quite different opportunities to catch up with those who I’ve missed over the past five months. And after talking to a friend from DC who made it sound as though a contingent from the District would try and make it up for the day/night, I have even higher expectations for Saturday.

Now, you may be asking yourself, what else am I looking forward to during my brief spell up north besides a romping evening in New York and family time in Westborough? Quite a few things, most of them revolving around food. While I won’t bore you with everything I’m looking forward to, here’s a short list of things I can’t wait to do:

1. Although it’s somewhat related to my weekend in New York, it has absolutely nothing to do with whom I will see: I want my first meal to be a huge slice of New York pizza. I’ve been saying this for a few weeks now and I aim to make this dream. After making my way up to my friend Jake’s apartment in Harlem, I plan on purchasing a greasy, cheesy, giant slice of delicious thin crust pizza. The best way to describe the pizza in Buenos Aires? Incredibly mediocre, sometimes okay. So what better way to reintroduce myself to one of my favorite foods by experiencing it at its best? It would be even better if Jake greeted me at his door with a hot slice in his hands. Please, Jake, if you’re reading this post, make this happen. Please.


2. I’ll spend one more on various other foods: I can’t wait to not skimp myself on the novelty items I’ve had delivered by gracious visitors, namely peanut butter and hot sauce. Along those same lines, I eagerly await Buffalo wings, Mexican, Chinese, and other foods full of flavor and spice. Despite that fact that I adore Argentine fare, I’ve often commented on its limited set of tastes and look forward to giving my palate a more than welcome kick in the pants. I need a fresh bagel from any bagel shop, preferably with smoked salmon or accompanied by a fried egg with bacon and melted cheddar cheese. The Jew in me cannot believe I’ve gone 5 months without a bagel and I will rectify this transgression shortly after arriving. Last but not least, I can’t wait to help myself to a cold glass of 1% High Lawn Farm milk. I drink the milk that need not be refrigerated until opening in milk and coffee, but I truly miss drinking milk with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty excited for some food from home.

more mmmmhmmm

3. While I would rather not own a car in Buenos Aires, or in Argentina in general, I very much enjoy driving, something I will be able to do while I am home. If only my family still had a manual car in the driveway, I would be tickled pink, but the automatic ones will more than do for me. That’s it, this one was pretty straight forward.

4. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I look forward to walking around my neighborhood with my dog, Tucker, who has essentially become a new dog since I left. My mother has told me that the news she delivered back in November of his change from a wild man to a gentleman, a change I’m quite anxious and excited to see after dealing with the pup’s crazy antics for so many years, continues to be a near model citizen. According to her, he has even been civil enough to have sleepovers in Jacob’s room on numerous occasions. I, too, want a doggy sleepover. Tucker, get ready for some quality time!

Not Tucker, but a dog of similar likeness.

I was all ready to go on a long rant about how excited I was to finally watch an episode of Lost on a large television in HD amongst other Lost fanatics (or maybe just one, but he's worth 5 regular fanatics), until I found out today while reading up on last night's episode that the show will be taking a week off the one week I will have the chance to watch it live. Very typical. I had similar dreams shattered when for about 2 minutes I thought I would be in the States to see the first weekend of March Madness only to figure out after further investigation that that would not be the case. I will have to settle for seeing the conference championships along with a healthy dose of NBA action, which would be the last item on my list of things I'm looking forward to. I've gotten to view a few basketball games this season, but no where near my yearly quota of somewhere between 50 and 500. I don't expect to satisfy said quota next week, but with basketball on all day and night, I'll definitely make a dent in it.

You might get an update from the states, but for now, I'm signing off. Fingers crossed for a painless trip home, see you all on the other side.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Graffiti del Dia

I love this piece, and I pass it every time I go to the grocery store. It has little dog stencils spray painted on it as well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Me Encanta Empanadas

Dear Mom (and other curious folk),
You asked how we make our Empandas so professional looking? Well here is nothing else than an instructional video narrated by my house mate, friend, and colleague Jessica:

I hope you enjoy!!!
Love Julia

PS Miracles...I made a You Tube video...I feel very futuristic

Monday, March 2, 2009

Carnival - Gualeguaychu

I arrived home yesterday after dragging my failing legs up our steep slippery stairs at 9:30 am. My arms were bruised, by knee swollen, my hair bedraggled having lost its bobby pins, and my dress torn and dirty. No, I was not mugged, I was not assaulted, and no I did not take part in a mash pit of any kind. I was carnivaled. 15 hours after we left our beautiful city we returned after a night that seemed to be a dream. Did it really happen? Well luckily I have the pictures to prove it!

After arriving in Gualeguaychu (a town known only for its Carnival and a big prison) we hopped a city bus to the ticket station, forked over 40 pesos for our tickets to the Carnival and made our way over to the beach. Of course there was a long line full of drunk and drinking people (who we were fortunate enough to steal ice from).

Waiting in line? Might as well work on those biceps!

As could be expected, these people began to get rowdy. From our position in the middle/back of the line we saw the barbed wire fence begin to shake, and a few brave souls climbed the fence, ducked under the barbed wire and tumbled over to the opposite side of the fence. The security caught on to this, and the crowd cheered on one guy who hopped over and immediately ran from a big man in a white shirt only to be dragged back by us a minute later to god knows what fate. Soon the rattling of the gate increased as the crowd grew more restless, and low and behold, we stormed the gate. Sadly a few people and their stuff were trampled in this madness but in Argentine fashion people who break all the rules break down gates as well.
Turns out the whole mess was useless, because in typical Argentine fashion we were actually waiting in line for another line that would let us into the beach, and the authority fought back with scary police with rubber bullet guns and truncheons. By fought back I mean they stood menacingly at the entrance and dared one of us to make a move. The selling of tickets was suspended, and it was agreed we would have to hang out outside the party on the grass. We bought beer from a "kiosko" that was actually some one's house, which I had a nice tour of when I was shown to the bathroom.

Outside our "Kiosco"

Drinking beer out of plastic bottles so the nice ladies at our "Kiosco" wouldn't have to part with their precious "retourables"
British people: Kat and Jess

After about an hour they opened the gates and some of us went in, but the rest of us decided to go to a bar and save some money. There we had a great time playing Indian poker (while the name is most defiantly racist in origins its still fun and I'm not sure what else to call it) amusing the Argentines around us with the fact that we actually brought cards to a bar.

What better venue could we have found?
Jess is so going to win

Our group divided further when Jessica, Josh and I took a took a cab to the Carnival area. While waiting for everyone to catch up to us we got our favorite! Churripan!!!! Again we were welcomed into someones house in order to buy something delicious and with a cold litre of beer in a plastic cup the sandwich never tasted so good.
Eventually we entered Carnival where we found the famous melon drinks our friend Austin had told us about. Scooped out melon with...yumminess inside. Carnival itself was actually really cool. The floats were larger than life and out of proportion, huge structures filled with dancing men and women led by more dancing men and women in fantastic over the top costumes...check a few out for yourself:

Jeremy channels batman, Josh channels...no sé

Mask time as we enter the Carnival


Josh getting ready to hop the fence: the same fence responsible for my bruises

Jeremy = genius for bringing whistles
There he goes!
Birthday guy

Sneaky Josh with the people who paid lots for their tickets

Porfavor, take note of the people dancing in wild costumes all over this thing

Most of these pictures are thanks to the shenanigans of Josh who hopped over the fence in the Argentine style multiple times. Of course when I tried it I got caught, and then the second time Zach and I saw Josh getting what we thought was dragged away. We ran all over looking for him like crazy people until we sat down outside the stadium and lamented our departed brother. We did not know what to do...and we were sad...major buzz kill.
Who was there to pop out of no where to cheer us up but Josh himself. "There you are!" he said. Relieved, we skipped back into the Carnival to dance, dance, and dance some more.
The Carnival ended at four in the morning, and with two hours left till our bus left we headed to a supposed party with our new Argentine friends. After what felt like hours of walking (really only about half an hour in reality) Nick, Josh, Ted, Zach and I decided we were hitting the proverbial wall and that we were done walking away from the bus station and headed in that general direction. On the way we found "the best hamburgers ever" according to Nick (they were pretty awesome at the time) and then made our way to the bus station where Ted lay down on a bench moaning and desperate for bed. We all echoed his feelings and when the bus pulled up (with the most comfy seats ever!!!) it was like the Messiah had come and told us everything was going to be OK. Falling asleep doesn't quite articulate how hard we passed out. It was a sleep of the dead, and I woke up three hours later as we pulled into Buenos Aires feeling slightly punch drunk and surprisingly well rested. We took a bus home...and then limped back to our place (maybe that was just me limping) after tearful goodbyes with a great group of people that I could not have had better fortune to have travelled on this journey with. We all passed out dirty in our beds, unable to move another inch and woke later to a rainy day.

Collectivo back to San Telmo