Monday, January 30, 2006

No Plans is a good thing.

I know I said I was supposed to be going to ezquel 4 days ago and then to El Calafate, but sometimes you just happen upon a spot that feels so right, all you can do is be thankful you have the freedom to stay there as long as you please. Besides, those places are not going anywhere, right?

If you were here you would know why I am so relaxed as well as why I am still here. I have been enjoying the most sublime days: It is summer time and 80 to 90 degrees everyday. Beautiful green mountain valley and clear untainted rivers, hanging out with really smart, interesting, fun people in one of the most easygoing places I could ever imagine.

It feels like summer camp, but for adults. There are all the requisite ingredients: old, cheap, sagging mattresses, lots of activities including hiking (two days ago to these killer waterfalls), swimming (the river is freezing, but right outside), horseback riding for those interested, rafting (just got back), and at night, campfires. There is also intra camp gossip, except it is of a more, ahem, mature nature than you find in the Junior Unit on Lake Sebago.

So, subtract the uptight counselors, the overly perky camp director and his wife for whom you were not quite sure what she was thinking, mandatory reveille at 7:45, and gender separation and you have my life this last week. Well, that and add a lot of beer and wine consumption.

I was talking about the fallen chocolate cakes I make from time to time, and all the girls in camp were like "um, yeah, you are making those or we will break your kneecaps" proving that you never tease a girl with chocolate without expecting her to turn all Tony Soprano on you.

So, instead of swimming with the fishes, I chose to oblige since I love them too. After all, they might just be the most decadent thing ever. I did have foie gras which was somewhere between getting a massage by 10 people all at the same time after two martinis, and getting kicked in the skull by the decadence donkey. I honestly think gravity stopped for a few moments after putting it in my mouth, but you will have to ask the waitress whether or not I was, in fact, actually floating.

But back to the cakes. These are tasty little hand grenades of highly rich sensual overload, and thankfully I was able to get the recipe off of the internet not the exact recipe, but close enough:

http://www.rosaliecooks.com/Fallen.htm

The raspberries I bought in the local market from a stand which was super easy, but it was a bitch finding the right kind of chocolate. After walking around the supermarket about 7 times I found it, though they do not really know what 70 percent cacoa is in El Bolson, and apparently, that ice cream comes in flavors other than "neopolitan". It was kind of hilarious as I was carefully amputating the vanilla out of the strawberry and chocolate flavors (which I know all of you have thought about at some point), all in the name of getting the dessert right.

To my culinary credit, I was working out of a camp kitchen, but still managed to fashion a double boiler out of two very large pots, and instead of ramekins I made it in one large skillet, andthe ovens do not really have settings here, but it was a huge hit anyway, and my popularity in Camp Porro skyrocketed. You know, even higher than it already way, of course. Naturally.

In other news, I met a couple from Orcas island today. Yes, that Orcas Island, you washingtonians. He is a spanish teacher and she is a nutritionist, both taking a year off. He was actually picking up some work with the Rafting company as a guide, and since he spoke english they put him in our "international" boat, which comprised of me, his wife, Italian Alisa (see below), and this canuck who spoke almost no spanish, a spanish couple with really curious haircuts and of course the first appearance of super tight male euro spandex bathing suit. Yes folks, It is okay to cringe. Even so, do not judge people just because they like plums with them when they go swimming.

The "rafting" we did was not exactly intense: let me just say the only reason I got wet was from the other boats splashing us. The rapids were more like "swifts" (does that not sound really british?), but me and my super screaming hot fiesty italian friend Alisa (also an Aquarius) and I had a good time. She is basically pure energy, is from Barcelona speaks three languages fluently, and works as a tour guide for 7 mos a year throughout europe, and then travels the rest. When she is not picking up the hottest waiters that El Bolson has to offer, she likes to stay up late, smoke a lot of cigarettes, and talk in high volume. Italian women are kind of like a forest fire: hot, noisy, surrounded by smoke, strangely enchanting and powerful, yet highly dangerous to men that are not properly trained.

OK, now that I got my metaphor out of the way, I can wrap this up. After taking the last couple of weeks to chill out from Coroporate america life and life in dreary Seattle, I am getting more and more into the idea of what this whole travel abroad experience is about: ME, and whatever I feel like doing. This is kind of a hard thing to do, mind you, when you spend most of your life thinking "how am I going to pay my rent" or "what will the boss/neighbor/girl I am dating/family/hairstylist think?" or any version of "well, then what will happen? I´m freaking out!" or maybe for some of you "how do I get Tivo to record Lost, america´s next top model, and the Daily Show? all at the same time?" and "where is my next half gallon of ice cream coming from?" or whatever it is that occupies our minds, and just get into being in the moment. It is not as easy as you think, but that is another blog.

My blisters are doing better, I am looking less blindingly Seattle pale and actually getting more tan (Yes mom, I am still using sunscreen), my spanish is coming along great, and I even went on this killer run yesterday for about 6 miles and my knee did not hurt. yay!

Take a second and email, it is always great to hear from you!

adamjboardman@yahoo.com

Adam

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Getting my Hippie On.

Apparently El Bolson is the hippie capitol of South America. I would say I agree with that.

So far I have certainly spotted a lot of mangy beards, dirty t-shirts, ratty hair, flowy skirts, earthy sandals and lots and lots of Bob Marley. Funny thing is, it does not make me crazy anymore. For some reason hippies used to drive me up the wall. Maybe it was being surrounded by them in HS, or the fact that so many of so-called-hippies I have known were some of the most pretentious people on the planet (i.e. wandering monologues about different and original, being anti status and anti corporate, followed by turning up the same shitty, Other ones album everyone else they know listens to and busting out their new North Face Parka their dad bought them). Since about mid college, I realized that If I ever hear another hippie witness about how the (insert random date) (insert misc sports arena) bootleg changed their life because that was where they were totally connected with the crowd and showed what great musicians they are, I would have put a fist through their mangy, unshowered, bolivia mountain hat wearing, patchouli scented temple.

Which is why it is rather meaningful that Regardless of my past experience, I came into this famed hippie mecca with an open mind, believe it or not. It has been working out well. I just had the most marvelous 24 hours. After wrapping things up in Bariloche (I got to shop for new mountain pants, among other things) we caught a bus to El Bolson and ended up staying with this fellow we met at the Bus station who was this total old dirty hippie but was real nice and offered to have us stay at his house/hostel, and gave us a flyer. Well, he actually has a website and looked legit, so we caught a cab and headed over. It is kind of out of town a bit, and it was getting real rural real quick, and I did not like the looks of the cab driver, so I turned to Andy and said "If you hear a banjo, run."

Actually, it has been great. http://www.geocities.com/agustinporro/ for you curious ones. We are basically staying on a commune, right next to a river. there are those rock piles everywhere (the tall ones that hippies make), we are right near a river, and it is super rustic but really great. they have all these chickens (I made fried farm fresh eggs this morning for breakfast) and more random collarless dogs you see all over this country. It is totally sunny and warm and idyllic hear, as we are in this valley surrounded by mountains, paragliders overhead and children playing all over the river. We took a walk along the river and Andy found a fishing spot for the next day. we also walked to the super rustic store and bought beers, wine, and the requsite large quantities of meat for the big Parilla we had that night.

It was a total scene. There were these two super skinny Spanish guys, this pair of adorable argentine sisters Mariana and Vicky (one 19 and a Culinary Student, vicky is 29 and write scripts for Soap operas), this italian girl elisa who speaks four languages brilliantly, the Brit Helen who grew up in Rome, rented out her house, moved in with her mom, and quit her job of 9 years as a photography producer (commercial and ad work) to travel, and is planning on spending the next two months watching all the movies she has always wanted to see. She is a riot. oh yes, there was also the american outward bound instructor from North Carolina, and then Augustin, his wife, and his kids. Oh yeah, let´s not forget about the other Brit Andy, who basically sits around smoking joints and reading paperbacks, except when he starts talking. He reminds me of that roadie from teh wayne´s world movies.

It was just everything you wanted from a relaxed summer bbq, Except being Argentine and thus it started at 10 and went until 2 AM.

today, at Augustin´s urging everyone but the spaniards and Susan the American who left went to this lake that only locals know about. Again, it was about 25 Kilometers down a really ruddy dirt road which we of course navigated in a econo box compact car. it was so worth the trip. it was 85 degrees, we had this lovely beach, and bought beers soda and ice cream and swam in the 45 degree, caribbean blue lake when we got hot, and got to know each other. it was just wonderful. I am really getting into this experience on a new level and feeling more and more comfortable with what I am doing, which is great. It is like my trip is a pair of shoes and I could not hit my stride until they were properly broken in.

oh, pardon me, no more thoughtful metaphors. tomorrow we are off to Ezquel to do some camping, and then El Calafate for the real goods (i.e. Fitz Roy and Torres del Paine).

until then, Boardman

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bariloche is totally sweet.

It is like Tahoe with a tenth of the people, and no sunburned, bloated ski boat driving hicks blasting Creed. Also, there are chocolate shops everywhere, some as big as your local supermarket (no exaggeration, all chocolate, all the time), which no matter how cheap or wierd the chocolate, is always better than listening to Creed.
Andrew and I really like our hostel. everyone is great, it´s really comfortable, reasonably priced, the food is good, etc, and the weather lately has been perfect. BTW, for all of you in Seattle, I went from [look out your window] to the sun going down at 10 and 75 degrees every day. who wouldn´t like this?
So yesterday I was all pumped to climb this mountain, Cerro Catedral, which is also a ski resort and has these sweet teeth on the ridge that make it look, well, really badass. It is just a walkup, and since you are basically walking up a ski resort you can´t get lost, and if you do, just follow the chairlift down. so I walked/hitchhiked/took buses to the base and started going. To make a long, infuriating story short, I got blisters (new vocab opportunity: Ampollas). New boots and improper blister gear and a steep ascent are a rough combination for your feet.
It is amazing how much of your reality has to do with the state of your feet. I ended up taking the cable card down since I was almost starting to bleed, after trying everything else...second skin, duct tape, tying laces differently, walking differently, wishing them away, telling myself to be tough, thinking about non-blister related subjects like dancing bears and talking midgets, swearing creatively and profusely and in multiple languages... You know, everything.
When I got to the bottom this lady literally chased me down and told me I had to pay (JEW HOFF TO PAYEE, JEW HOFF TO PAYEE!!) 24 pesos (8 bucks) for the ride down and then marched me to this kiosk to do so. It felt like I was in grade school getting taken to the principal´s office. Maybe it was the most exciting part of her day, but it would have been nice to know that I had to pay before getting on the damn thing. Trust me, I looked for a sign. Welcome to latin america.
So I was all pissed off at my feet hurting, getting skunked barely halfway up to my goal, and the whole indignity of the crazy grade school secratary lady, so I decided to bust out the iPod and listen to two songs that can´t not put one in a good mood. Yes folks, anyone who knows me can guess: Erotic city and Canned Heat. They are like a magic bullet. It was hard not to shake my ass at the bus stop which may have made me some new friends, but I just listened and it put me in a much better mood. I would recommend it for you too. Have you ever seen anyone frowning to Canned Heat? Yeah, I thought so.
The bus here was like going back to high school. right after getting on the stereo played Stairway to Heaven and Wish you were Here back to back, on top of being surrounded by women I had no chance with romantically because I had no clue how to talk to them. Yep, Just like HS. Also, the bus is like 30 cents, and all the mirrors are trimmed with either fake fur, fringe (a la a Surrey or the lead singer´s jacket from the ´88 RATT tour), or something else dangly. Mind you the drivers are Latin Men, never short of machismo, or in this case, danglies.
Town was fun-the aforementioned supermalls of chocolate, and cheap everything else. I went to this family friendly restaurant, and by family I mean over half the women inside were pregnant, including the waitress. And I am talking swallowed-a-television pregnant, maybe-there-are-two-or-three-babies-in-there pregnant. Apparently when you are pregnant in Argentina, you head straight for the Empanada joint. I cán not blame them, they were fantastic. My favorite was spring onions and cheese...think of what you want a really, really great omelette to taste like, then wrap it in buttery pastry instead of eggs, and imagine you quit your job and are in the middle of summer. Yeah, they are that good.
Today on the other hand, was pretty much exactly what I hoped for. Andy and I went on this huge adventure with this 50-ish couple who speak basically no english (great for my spanish). She is from Uruguay but her father is italian, he is from Italy and grows spumante grapes but spends his off season in uruguay, and they have been maried for five years and are very charming. They took us on this tour of these rivers so giuliano and Andy could fly-fish (didn´t catch any), and Sylvia and I hung out. On the way out we stopped at this roadside shack, for lack of a better term, where they claimed Eisenhower had visited, among other celebrities, and had my first truly sketchy mystery food experience. I stayed away from the "probably-tripe-but-regardless-covered-in-gelatinous-substancë" plate, and stuck to the bread and cheese.
We took what was basically a geo metro on roads better suited for a 4x4 for about 60 or 70 miles, but saw some amazing stuff in the process and had a lot of fun. I took the time to learn a bit more about my camera and took a lot of photos. This one place we stopped for lunch-this "town" Villa Traful that was 30 miles down a dirt road, mind you- and I snuck back in the kitchen where they were preparing an entire lamb for Parilla (argentine BBQ, which everyone does, all the time, everywhere).
I took some photos of the cook doing his thing trimming and splitting the spine to spread this lamb and he asked me all about cuisine where I was from and I told him about Alaskan Salmon. They were totally into it and super nice, like everyone else in this country.
So everything was super beautiful, our friends were super nice, and we had a great time. The only bummer was that I left my Schoeller hiking pants at the first place we stopped, and when we went back they were gone, so I have to find some more. too bad, they were just perfect for the outdoors, and I have been up several mountains with those. Why is is that I can not travel without someone stealing pair of my pants? Matt knows what I am talking about. Note to the people: If you ever fall asleep drunk in a grody red-light district amsterdam hostel, either wear or lock up your pants.
But the country folk out this way are pretty cool, except for the pants thieves. On the way back, Andy and I said to each other "you know, if this were america, these people would be totally cracker-y rednecks with gun racks in place of social skills, but these people are great!"
Anyway, the geology was beyond words, the sunset amazing, and then after a quick shower we went back into town for dinner (I had to wear my ski pants to dinner since my jeans were at the laundry), which was of course Parilla, which translates roughly to "The best way to get rid of vegetarians is to starve them."
So, I ordered the tenderloin (lomo) and they basically brought me a filet no less than 20 oz. Mind you, a tyical restaurant filet portion is usually in the neighborhood of 5-7 oz, so I was, needless to say, more excited than a Republican Senator playing 18 at Augusta courtesy of some indian tribe. Wait who cares, let´s have another scotch and get some hookers on Abramoff!
ok, pardon the political outburst. If you know andy waterman, you´ll understand how it came to mind.
Anyway, the first course was this local sausage, and the second course was a cutting board PILED with meat. The little Uruguayan-Italian lady? she threw back a 20+ oz Ribeye without even blinking. Like I said, this is a great country. so the steak was huge, the wine was great, and the bill for all of us (2 bottles of wine, a small mountain range of meat, side dishes, dessert) was around 60 bucks.
Like I said, this place is totally sweet.
Hasta Pronto, Adam

MAILING ADDRESS


So in the "things are coming up Boardman" dept, I talked to my friend in Buenos Aires from the Pomona Alumni Directory (go hens, oh wait, ¡Vaya Hens!). Once I get to Buenos Aires (in a few weeks I imagine) I can pick any mail up, so just imagine how crushed i will be if there is none waiting for me, especially for you folks I actually manage to get a postcard off to.

Please send all letters, photos, good ideas, sea salt caramels, hair product, and wads of cash to:

Adam Boardman
c/o Roberto Liebenthal
Cuba 2155 - 2do Piso
1428 Buenos Aires
Argentina

I will let you know if and when this changes (i.e. when I get a more permanent place of my own).

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bariloche is totally sweet. It is like Tahoe with a tenth of the people, and no sunburned, bloated ski boat driving hicks blasting Creed. Also, there are chocolate shops everywhere, some as big as your local supermarket (no exaggeration, all chocolate, all the time), which no matter how cheap the chocolate, is always better than listening to Creed.
Andrew and I really like our hostel. everyone is great, it´s really comfortable, reasonably priced, the food is good, etc, and the weather lately has been perfect. BTW, for all of you in Seattle, I went from [look out your window] to the sun going down at 10 and 75 degrees every day. who wouldn´t like this?
So yesterday I was all pumped to climb this mountain, Cerro Catedral, which is also a ski resort and has these sweet teeth on the ridge that make it look, well, really badass. It is just a walkup, and since you are basically walking up a ski resort you can´t get lost, and if you do, just follow the chairlift down. so I walked/hitchhiked/took buses to the base and started going. To make a long, infuriating story short, I got blisters (new vocab opportunity: Ampollas). New boots and improper blister gear and a steep ascent are a rough combination for your feet.
It is amazing how much of your reality has to do with the state of your feet. I ended up taking the cable card down since I was almost starting to bleed, after trying everything else...second skin, duct tape, tying laces differently, walking differently, wishing them away, telling myself to be tough, thinking about non-blister related subjects like dancing bears and talking midgets, swearing creatively and profusely and in multiple languages... You know, everything.
When I got to the bottom this lady literally chased me down and told me I had to pay (JEW HOFF TO PAYEE, JEW HOFF TO PAYEE!!) 24 pesos (8 bucks) for the ride down and then marched me to this kiosk to do so. It felt like I was in grade school getting taken to the principal´s office. maybe it was the most exciting part of her day, but it would have been nice to know that I had to pay before getting on the damn thing. Trust me, I looked fo a sign. Welcome to latin america.

So I was all pissed off at my feet hurting, getting skunked barely halfway up to my goal, and the whole indignity of the crazy grade school secratary lady, so I decided to bust out the iPod and listen to two songs that can´t not put one in a good mood. Yes folks, anyone who knows me can guess: Erotic city and Canned Heat. Yeah, Jill Langly knows alright.

They are like a magic bullett. It was hard not to shake my ass at the bus stop, and maybe that would have made me some new friends, but at least it put me in a better mood, and I would recommend it for you too. Have you ever seen anyone frowning to Canned Heat? Yeah, I thought so.
the bus here was like going back to high school. right after getting on the stereo played Stairway to Heaven and Wish you were Here back to back, on top of being surrounded by women I had no chance with romantically because I had no clue how to talk to them. Yep, Just like HS. Also, the bus is like 30 cents, and all the mirrors are trimmed with either fake fur, fringe (a la top of a Surrey or the lead singer´s jacket from the 89 RATT tour), or something else dangly. Mind you the drivers are Latin Men, never short of machismo, or in this case, danglies. .
Town was fun-the aforementioned supermalls of chocolate, and cheap everything else. I bought some pens and paper and a beer and started writing. it was great, and my day certainly got better.

Today on the other hand, was pretty much exactly what I hoped for. Andy and Iwent on this huge adventure with this 50-ish couple who speak basically no english (great for my spanish). She is from Uruguay but her father is italian, he is from Italy and grows spumante grapes but spends his off season in uruguay, and they have been maried for five years and are very charming. They took us on this tour of these rivers so giuliano and Andy could fly-fish (didn´t catch any), and Sylvia and I hung out. On the way out we stopped at this roadside shack, for lack of a better term, where they claimed Eisenhower had visited, among other celebrities, and had my first truly sketchy mystery food experience. I stayed away from the "probably-tripe-but-regardless-covered-in-gelatinous-substanc? plate, and stuck to the bread and cheese.

We took what was basically a geo metro on roads better suited for a 4x4, but saw some amazing stuff in the process and had a lot of fun. I took the time to learn a bit more about my camera and took a lot of photos, and this one place we stopped for lunch-this "town" that was 30 miles down a dirt road, mind you- and I snuck back in the kitchen where they were preparing an entire lamb for Parilla (argentine BBQ, which everyone does, all the time, everywhere). I took some photos of the cook doing his thing with the lamb and he asked me all about cuisine where I was from and I told him about Alaskan Salmon. they were totally into it and super nice, like everyone else in this country. So everything was super beautiful, our friends were super nice, and we had a great time. The only bummer was that I left my Schoeller hiking pants at the first place we stopped, and when we went back they were gone, so I have to find some more. too bad, they were just perfect for the outdoors, and I have been up several mountains with those. Why is it that I can´t seem to travel without someone stealing pair of my pants (If you ever fall asleep drunk in a grody red-light district amsterdam hostel, either wear or lock up your pants)

Andy and I were both like "you know, if this were america, these people would be totally cracker-y rednecks with gun racks in place of social skills, but these people are great!"
Anyway, the geology was beyond words, the sunset amazing, and then after a quick shower we went back into town for dinner (I had to wear my ski pants since my jeans were at the laundry), which was of course Parilla, which translates roughly to "The best way to get rid of vegetarians is to starve them."
So, I ordered the tenderloin (lomo) and they basically brought me a filet no less than 20 oz. mind you, a tyical restaurant filet portion is usually in the neighborhood of 5-7 oz, so I was, needless to say, more excited than a Republican Senator playing 18 at Augusta courtesy of some indian tribe. Wait who cares, let´s have another scotch and get some hookers on Abramoff!

ok, pardon the political outburst. If you know andy waterman, you´ll understand how it came to mind.
Anyway, the first course was this local sausage, and the second course was a cutting board PILED with meat. The little Italian lady? she threw back a 20+ oz Ribeye without even blinking. Like I said, this is a great country. so the steak was huge, the wine was great, and the bill for all of us (2 bottles of wine, a small mountain range of meat, side dishes, dessert) was around 60 bucks.


So, when are you going to come visit?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I made it out of Uruguay in one piece, if not at least a little worse for wear from the experience. I have never really been that into beach towns anyway-they always remind me of the things about my hometown that irritated me, and the cheesy aspects of where you stay "at the beach" i.e. thin walls, really old shitty mattresses, and a persistent odor of mildew never struck me as exactly charming. nevertheless, i am glad we went, and I want to offer a few parting observations before I move on to my current locale.

First, in SA the women seem to really like to have as much of their butt showing as possible at the beach, and as little of their face. To be specific, the bikini bottoms are small (not exactly thongs, just like typical american bikinis but with half of each butt cheek missing) and the sunglasses are ENORMOUS. I mean like so enormous you would see it on a tour de france rider during a time trial and they look so silly you can only rationalize it by assuming there exists some profound aerodynamic benefit that scientists found to justify the fashion.

But it is not like these girls were exactly moving that fast. most spend 6-10 hours a day at the beach, lying around, like everyone else, young old skinny or extremely chubby. A bit sedentary of a place for my taste, but maybe that is exactly why I needed to go there to force myself to sit still for more than half an hour.

So, even in my condition I made it back on the bus and boat ride to Buenos Aires okay, and got a great night´s sleep. We encountered a British guy named Naveed who was dressed like a straight off of Broadway (seattle people) hipster gay guy, but since he was Euro of course he turned out to like girls. and when I say like girls, I mean constantly leering at them and talking about them. He turned out to be just off a term working for The Mirror in londong, and then heading to Dubai to work for the gulf news. If you don´t know anything about Dubai, check it out: the place is like Vegas but gorwing faster and some might argue more ostentatiously, and in the middle of the Persian Gulf, basically out of nothing. The New Yorker did a great article on it a few months ago if you need a good start.

He was really nice and offered to introduce me to a couple of people he knew in BA (argentine and english) and gave me heaps of recommendations for apartments., clubs, neighborhoods, and the like. It seems like life is encouraging me to consider freelance journalism, as I have encountered and been befriended by two freelance journalists in the last 3 days, and Andy keeps telling me what a great thing it is tp dp as as Expat. I´ll keep you posted, but the closest I have ever gotten to print journalism is when my sister wrote that libelous piece about me in her¨"high school views" column in Morro Bay. Maybe they will let me put a sexy picture up with my column too.

I am now in Bariloche, which they say is the Mountain Destination for Argentina, a la Tahoe. it is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Also, our hostel, might very well be the nicest hostel on the planet (if you are curious, check out the site: http://www.hostel-inn.com/realindex.php?lang=en ). We have perfect weather right now, and there are these awesome looking mountains around here that really make want to climb-Cerro Catedral is teh main ski mountain, but it has this really jagged toothy ridgeline that looks like a mini torres del paine, and this other mountain Tronador (3400 meters or so) that looks stunningly similar to Galcier Peak in WA. I think I can do both-they are pretty much walk-ups with huts halfway up.


so back to this hostel: The people are super, super easy going here (kind of reminds me of the berkeley co-ops except way cleaner), and the first night we got here they did a parilla, this traditional argentine wood burning barbecue. Being the cook that I am, I was totally into it, and when I went out to check it out they literally had half a lamb propped up (standing, I don´t know if it was practial or solely for dramatic effect) and an enormous cut of beef which i couldn´t figure out in tanslation, but it might have been brisket or flank steak, though it seemed too thick.

So they are all passing around this huge plates of meat (dinner started at midnight, so no kidding about the argentines doing everything later) and they also made a nice salad. since it is summer down here the tomatoes are great, by the way. Everyone is really really nice, and when I asked about running some errands in town, one of the guys insisted on coming with me to show me around.

Andy and I met this australian girl named Sharona who we ended up hiking with yesterday, who was friendly and kind of a hippie as well, but she is doing freelance stuff for Australian Broadcasting compnay (ABC) and the BBC Radio. she actually has a law degree and studied a sesmeter at Harvard, but like most of the people my age I know going ot law school has no interest in actually being an attorney. We got to know each other a bit and we are both planning of living in BA after some time in Patagonia, so maybe we will be friend there too. You just encounter a gazillion people travelling, and with email being so easy you can actually reasonably stay in touch. While on teh trail I actually met this guy named Ian from Venice (California) who just graduated from Santa Cruz who is down here for a year doing Ornithology fieldwork. We did the standard exchange of email addresses in case I get back to Bariloche and want to do some rock climbing. He knew a couple of people from Morro Bay, and had actually surfed there, but no one I remembered. Small world, no?

One final thought-I have now been gone a week, and I feel like I am JUST starting to decompress. A nice change from feeling like I have to hurry back to work or cram relaxation into a lousy 10 days a year. This last week has been a bit of a roller coaster emotionally, and thanks to sketchy beach food, phsyically, but I am finally feeling clearly-at least for the time being-that this is really fantastic and was absolutely the right decision, despite how nervous, confused, or torn I felt before I left.

So, anyone reading this, I strongly recommend coming down to join me.

Until next time,
Adam

P.S. Email me, people! adamjboardman@yahoo.com

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Who goes to Uruguay? And more importanlty is it even a country, or abrand of car wax? All I remember is from HS spanish class that it had a capital that wasfun to say and reminded me of Blockbuster. Believe it or not, thissmall south american nation won the world cup at some point, which ifyou are a man from outside the US you always dream your country willdo, because you are allowed even more machismo posturing than usual,and you are practically guaranteed to get laid that night. but actually folks it is a real country, and judging from the ranges ofages, they don´t just procreate based on international sportsvictories. it is very small, but it does have the beach that all the people fromBuenos Aires who everyone kept telling me weren´t there (everyone wantsto tell us how empty the city was, but if by empty you mean the streetsare full all hours of the day, full must mean total packed mayhem likeAbercrombie 70% off clearance sale in West Hollywood, or maybe a tokyosubway at rush hour), all apparently come here. well, i can understandwhy. the beach is great, it´s warm (well during the day), and justlike the rest of this continent, no one does anything until at least11. literally. we were in a restaurant at 9:45, and i felt like i was my grandmothereating dinner at 4:45. needless to say, we are still adjusting. so, this place feels like malibu (for all of you who kept talking aboutliving vicariously, look up punta del este, uruguay). The nice thingis, there aren´t hardly any americans, just uruguayans andargentinians, most of whom are myseteriously beautiful and in skinny. This is so not Seattle. We just decided from the guy on the plane that we would come here, andto do so we had to take this cool ferry from Buenos Aires to theuruguayan capital, and then a bus, both very efficient and comfortable. we are happy to be here, but at a certain point we were like "wait,did you ever think you would come to Uruguay? What are we doing inUruguay? and how can I make E-Z $$CASH$$ from home in my spare time?" Well, i know now that spam email can´t answer everything, especiallythe questions that you shout at your travel partner during wineinfluenced existential moments. I know, I am so deep. so here we are, and if nothing else it is a stamp on the passport. ifyou have read so far, you must really not want to work (I can relate). well, this spanish keyboard just killed three paragraphs about this guywe met in BA with his wife who hooked us up with all these travelarrangements and recommendations and directions for our coming weeks. ME being loving ice cream paid off (note to mom and erin: Ice cream:not just for thursdays and sundays anymore!) as we asked this couplenext to us at dinner the other night if they knew a good gelateria andit turned out he is an airline executive and he invited us to hisoffice and gave us free cokes (sweet), brought to us by a girl whosejob in the office was to bring people, well, free cokes and coffee. wemight have better cable and bigger cars, but seriously they havecertain things way better down here.so besides that great introduction, they also recommended a greatgelato place (it is excellent here) and this hotel, where we had drinksand wrote in our journals and will make all of your brains swell andburst with jealousy of how nuclear hot it was. I have seen Italiancathedrals with less gold encrusting and Carrera marble that theirwashroom. (http://www.faenahotelanduniverse.com/).okay, i should go as it is 1:15, which means in this country thatpeople are going to start thinking about going out.

adam

Uruguayan beaches are distinctly different from NA beaches. First of all, they are packed. second, they are packed until about 8 at night. third, people are way less uptight about their bodies down here...for better or for worse (for the viewer), everyone one throws on a swimsuit and hangs out, no matter how old, overwieght, or in my case, whiter than a NASCAR fan club.


In other corporeal news, I thought Montezuma was only pissed about Mexico, but even several dozens of degrees south he is still exacting his toll on us gringos. In other words, the worst part about ordering strange fish off of a foreign menu is that you have to, ahem, experience it for another 24 hours. But, the upside is that the pharmacists in this country are all very nice, sympathetic women who are happy to help and, bless their hearts, accept american money in a pinch. and by pinch I mean otherwise needing a baño within 50 feet at all time and staring down the rapidly approaching stark reality 5 hour bus and boat ride. This will make a man out of me yet.

but for the most part, things are still coming up Boardman, as the weather is warm and sunny, I got a little color yesterday, and you know what, having nuclear runs in a wierd country far from home where I am still getting strange looks from my obivously american accent and dealing with the reality of really being out here with no job, no apt, etc, is still better than being in my office staring down a list of 50 high school seniors I need to call, or trying to stave off the crushing depression from 30 something straight days of rain. Nevertheless, thank god they sell Gatorade and immoium AD in this country. }


If they only knew what two-ply cotton blend was...

Boardman

I have just satisfied my boyhood dream of getting south of the Equator,even if the lovely power of Ambien (Dr. Pepin rocks) denied me thepleasure of the actual moment of crossing said topographical feature. even so, all the flying (I haven´t sit that still since the last IRONCHEF marathon) went great. on the flight to DC I sat next to thisuruguayan microsoft engineer named alejandro who gave me my firstopportunity to have an extended conversation in spanish which confimredmy relaxed attitude up to this point that it would come back withrelative ease. that felt great, and the spanish is flowing easily. we talked at length about climbing mountains (he has done Aconcagua),he gave me a great itinerary to go through Uruguay (our likely nextstep) and after about an hour he asked me, in hushed tones about realamerican attitudes about the war. I am expecting more of that, but hewas pretty cool about it, and he was mostly happy just to meet anamerican who says something other than what the politicians say in thenews.in the "adam boardman is going to love latin america" front, i barelyknew this guy, and he insisted I come to Sao Paolo and call him andstay with him, after an hour of chatting on the plane. This is so notseattle. we had some excitement on the ground in DC. Andy and I had planned tomeet in DC (he was coming from SFO) and we were on teh same flight toBA. The ride into DC made me feel like he marble in a spray paint can,and teh weather slowed down all traffic in the airport, so his flightlanded 50 minutes late and he was going to miss the connecting flightto BA by about 3 minutes. talk about drama-anyway, I turned on thecharm wiht a few of the flight attendants and got them to find out whatwas going on, and they put some calls into the desk to find out whatwas going on, and communicate the situation I was in, and they ended upholding the plane. as it turned out, I got something of a reputationon the plane since I was talking as charmingly and persuasivly to anyflight attendant who would listen, and by the time we got to BA halfthe staff came by to find out if my friend made it (they held the planean extra ten minutes because of the delayed landing of andy´s flight asthere were also others from that flight going to BA). The main lady I talked to named Carla (I have good associations withthe name) who spoke ot us a few times asked me if I liked champagne,and the only answer being¨"well, I like it when I am entertainingwomen-before, after, and sometimes even during...and that´s only themeal" and next thing I know she hands me a full bottle of frenchchampagne with a smile and a good bye. we left it at that since shewas 35 years older than me and married, but champagne just finding itsway to me is a good omen for starting my journey, no? Buenos aires is great-it is super humid and rainy here, but around 70degrees. As far as I can tell, they don´t have unattractive people inthis city. our hotel is like the W, except everything is really cheap and theinevitable hip, urban electronic music playing has spanish lyrics. andy and i are totally fired up to be here, and i am psyched to betravelling with him, and we are a bit tired but doing great otherwise. We just had a big lunch at the hotel, the food was great, and it costus 38 pesos (about 13 dollars) with tip included. in other news, I am still working on the blog, but don´t hold yourbreath (I´ll email the address when it happens). hasta pronto, Adam

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I wrote this about two weeks ago, but did not post it. I decided to and I hope you like it. From reading it now, I seemed so uptight then...

I have been noticing a something prominent in the conversations I have been having lately. let me tell you what I mean:

This being my first time doing anything quite like this (i.e. leaving job, apt, city I know and going abroad indefinitely), I am finding that an interesting part about it is telling people in my life and then getting exposed to their experience of it too. I can't tell you how much I have heard the words "jealous" "envious," "live vicariously" and "my hump, my hump, my lovely lady hump"lately. The last part i just threw in there because all these people in my life love the Black Eyed Peas (BTW, which if you don't know what buying a girl Ice is, stay out da' club).

Though what I don't know if I expected was that people are right out there with their feelings. I appreciate the encouragement, but I think I am responding to the format.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about all the feedback. Part of me feels like I am doing something really exciting and that people are just encouraging me because they are happy for me. At the same time, through this experience of planning this I have had to visit my own notions about Security (i.e. benefits, steady income, predictability, etc) and all the attachments we have to them and the fear we feel of letting them go in exchange for freedom. I can see it in people's eyes and hear it in their tone-I know it because that was me not so long ago. It takes a lot of effort to make something like this happen, and the bulk of it for me was financial and emotional.

I feel like being a part of our culture, whether it's the world we live in, Corporate America, or just plain America, but there is a lot of fear, and it is interesting to pay attention to how the world we live in perpetuates that. Okay, enough thought for the day, let's get back to my earlier point:


So, even though I am hearing all these things with a lot of frequency, It is better other parts of my life, when I kept hearing things like "I guess I always thought of you as a friend" or "Mr. Boardman, your gums are really showing a lack of flossing" or "you expect to get girls withthat beard?" Yes, Erin, my charm and good looks are only enhanced by my manly facial hair (isn't that right, Langley?).


Regardless, Each of you have been so encouraging and supportive, and I sincerely appreciate that, and I realize how specialof an opportunity this is to take advantage of, even if on occasion thewhole idea scares me like out of me. Then again, isn't everythingworth having in life feel like that at some point?Although I haven't left yet, thankfully the dominant feeling hastransitioned from surreal to sincere enthusiasm. I mean, no matter howweird it might feel or how big my to-do list is, I know I am going to be in the middle of summer and away from 24 straight days (at last count) of Seattle rain in about 5 days, and then I get to backpack for a month.Yeah, talk about something positive to focus on.

Fate is smiling on me with connections: I just heard back from a Pomona alumni who I found in the Alumni directory (Thank you Nancy t-o) whoseems to being open to me stashing my "city clothes" in his closet whileI roam the mountains.Also, I spoke with Rafael, this bartender I met in capitol hill (611 Supreme for you Seattle folks) who is from BA and who referred me to about 10 of his friends around the country including actual phone numbers. I honestly met Rafael for 20 minutes and he is hooking me up like crazy. If this is what argentines are like, I am going to have lots of friends. Well golly schucks, Being nice, proactive, and having a positive attitude is working out great!