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:

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!

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