Thursday, March 30, 2006

JOB CONTEST RESULTS 
Speaking of jobs, for any of you who made it this far I will now reward
with the entries from the "YOU make the call: Adam's Professional
Future" competition, because they are f*&$#% HILARIOUS. This is easily
the best idea I have had in months, and reading these made me laugh so
hard I almost lost my empanadas.

I left these unedited, but I included some comments in brackets.

Vote for your favorite and email me!

Cat House Concierge
High fiver
Hand Model
Proctology Assistant
Rodeo clown

Hostel mattress tester
International man of mystery
Union 417 laborer
Mormon on a mission
Conscientious defector on the run

Model talent scout
Hostage negotiator
Salesman (Q: "What do you sell?" A: "What do you need?")
Surf bum

Travel writer [author's note:I like this one]

Columnist for one of the famous broadsheets' Sunday magazine [from a
british friend who says it is like the New Yorker except no staple
holding it together]

Test driver for all GM prototypes (more believable than mentioning
Ferrari, Lambo, etc.)

Then there were those of you who wrote more then just job titles,
including descriptions as well, mostly because they are funny and at
the same time fascinating.

Wrinkle Chaser (The fellow who irons shoes while they're being made to
ensure they are perfectly smooth before they hit the shelves)

Chicken Sexer (sorts through baby chicks to separate and segregate the
cocks from the hens)

Alligator Wrangler (pretty self-explanatory though you
might be a bit of a weenie to claim it as your profession)

Then there is the more "um, over 17" Category- Mom, don't say I didn't
warn you.

Hustler
Oil wrestler
Erotic Dancer [twice]
Brazilian waxer [got this one 3 times]
Virginity Authenticator
Taco Salad Tosser
Hispanic Genetic Enhancer
Burrito Filler [okay, borderline...could be benign, but if you knew who
sent it, you would understand why I put it in this category]

Funny how certain times in your life people seem to notice something
different and start saying the same thing to you -
Kind of like that "He-asked-his-doctor-about-Cialis"
commercial. You know, good stuff like: "You seem different-did you
change your hair? Have you been working out?"

Which is better than hearing "you know, the whole office has noticed
your um, (looking down at the floor, clearing throat, then looking
quickly at the ceiling)...YOU KNOW, and like the commercial says, if it
has been more than 4 hours, you should ask your doctor about that
too..."

Granted, there is something to be said for listening to, and
responding to feedback. That is, in a way other than with slamming
doors, hijacking buses, hurling unopened christmas presents, or
swearing never to take your ungrateful girlfriend back to Medieval
Times "3-Dollar-Mead" Night.

A few of you wrote back expressing concern about the tone of my recent
entries, i.e. cynical, jaded - okay, call me old fashioned, but what
about expressing a fantasy of clobbering well-meaning but unimaginative
people in the skull with a large hardened cricket bat seems cynical or
jaded?

I also heard bored, and even bratty got mentioned (something about
living a life of travel and leisure and complaining about it-I don't
know what they were thinking).

I so appreciate your concern, but let me assure you that there is no
reason to worry.

Then again, I did not hear from a lot of you. Come on people. Where's
the invasive, presumptuous criticism disguised as loving concern? You
must not have older sisters.

Okay, okay, contrary to popular belief I really can be serious, that
is, serious longer than it takes to ask for money.

In reality, things could not be better. I have been staying at the
beautiful home of my friend Hervey which is basically like an
oasis-pools, palms trees, beautiful women everywhere (large chilean
family with lots of cute cousins), and they have done nothing but take
great care of me and make me feel at home,

still, to put your minds at ease that I am having fun and feeling good-
and because I want to talk about it- let me tell you about a sample day
here:

On Wednesday, I took a trip to the recently constructed U.S Embassy
here in Santiago. What an experience.
Santiago-,um,-ans refer to it as "La Fortaleza" which translates to
"America's highest, strongest walls since the Mexican border."

I can proudly announce that to date, zero (0) Mexicans have made it
across.

Well, that was disheartening. Pretty much all the criticisms you can
lay against the US, i.e. being an unresponsive and isolationist
buraeucracy are manifested there, in spades. You can't call in, there
are no email addresses, you can only send faxes or show up in person.

Even if you are a US citizen you have to wait in a big line and they
only let one person in at a time and once you get in, you have to wait
and wait and wait. Granted, the wait time turned out to be worth it- I
made all sorts of new friends, and not just with the hot girls who were
in the Green Card line.

"You know, Constancia, or is it Florencia? oh well, no matter my
Chilean princess. Can I tell you that between a girl of
your...talents, and a man of my vision, we could make your dreams of
being a Green Card holding Hollywood actress come true. What, you have
an apartment nearby?"

Well, now exactly, but the thought crossed my mind. Hey, a boy can
dream.

What nobody told me that a jaunt to the Embassy would be so good for
networking. We actually went to get Hervey's tax questions answered,
but while I was there a woman gave me her number and this business-y
guy (light blue oxford, braided belt, dock shoes, need I say more) gave
me his card to send me his resume. My charm must have shown through
the three days growth, the crazy hair, and the white running socks with
black shoes I was wearing at the time (for the record the first and
last time ever, to you style police). Not bad, eh?

If you are speed reading this, or do not want to know the realities of
my life of leisure, skip the next three paragraphs.

Wnce we left to enjoy the perfect warm and sunny day, we walked around
santiago (interesting architecture here), went to Starbucks (all over
the place here, and even in chile full of yuppies, but on the bright
side finally a decent macchiatto), went to this sweet park in Santiago
where you can hike up into this super cool old Spanish fortress, took a
bunch of photos, had beer at lunch in this cool plaza near the art
college (i.e. plaza filled with hot art students), saw the state
palace, took a siesta, read part of a book, jumped in the pool, had
dinner with Paula and Hervey, watched March of the Penguins, made plans
for the next day to see the woman I met at the embassy, made plans for
the day after with my chilean friend Sebastian I met in valparaiso and
had partied with the night before, and slept great.

Not bad, huh? well, it gets better. If you don't want to delete this
email or add me to your "this is spam" list yet, keep reading:

The next day I went to Isla negra, on the coast, to see the house of
Pablo Neruda. Apparently winning the Nobel Prize and being a national
icon scores you a really sweet place on the beach. I took a bunch of
photos, wrote a lot, tried to put my feet in the water and succeeded in
getting my entire jeans wet (rogue wave), and was totally into the "wow
I can't believe I can just take off on a Thursday and spend the whole
day going to the beach and screwing off" experience.


Okay, this is getting boring. I did end up interviewing for a few jobs
here in Santiago, since things were going so well I figured why not
stick around. Well, that will wait until next time...

First of all, to those of you who noticed the headline on Yahoo! like I
did, I was not on that bus that 86'ed (that's ochenta-seised to you,
yankee) those 12 American tourists yesterday. Apparently they were
taking an excursion from some cruise boat and the driver got twitchy
and then it was game over. I actually saw the boat in Valparaiso when
I was there a few days ago and thinking "I am having so much more fun
than those people...or at least I am better looking."

Even so, for a moment even I was like "Oh god! Did Adam die in some
tragic bus excursion from a Cruise Ship in Chile? Where will I get my
blog updates?" Then I thought "That is impossible, Adam would never do
anything as garish as actually take a cruise" and then I thought "oh
yeah, I am not dead, or, even in the afterlife I can still get Yahoo!
mail. They weren't kidding when they say 'check your email from
anywhere.'"

OK, that last part was a bit much. So, since I am not dead or
dismembered, you get more travel updates.

Check this out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theboardman/

With Hervey's help, I am uploading my photos, slowly, and here are a
few for you to enjoy.

Two weeks ago, I went from Santiago to Pucon, an 11+ hour overnight bus
trip.
A good friend once told me, the best things in life are the simplest.
I have also heard the three best things are a good sneeze, a good dump,
and a good O (thanks J-man). I'll let you decide. Right now, I have
to say that happiness, truly, is an overnight Chilean bus ride, a
charged ipod, and half an Ambien.

Pucon:small ski/vacation town in the Chilean Lake District in the
shadow of an active volcano-expect more photos online soon of this
beauty.

As I mentioned before climbing Volcan Villaricca was my goal, which I
managed to do as an 'assistant guide' which meant I got to save 50
bucks on the climbing fee. The walk up was a snooze ("client pace,"
"we guides" call it in the "industry"), and the views were excellent
but sadly, no lava but a lot of sulphurous, acrid smoke at the top

It was a good thing they did since not only did this chubby dude from
the group (the Brit) fall in a crevasse (self arrest is not that hard
people) but he managed to take the guide Claudio with him who was, I am
not making this up, exactly half his size (240 vs 120), and then,
landed ON him.

Everyone walked out, but there was still drama. For those of you
thinking of Touching the Void or Vertical Limit (or even that Black
Eyed Peas song...don't touch the humps), it was not even close. In
fact, the whole thing happened in slow motion- much like the
steamroller scene from the first Austin Power's slow-motion. This guy
slid for almost 40 yards really, really slowly, and despite all his
chance to stop, and the half a minute of very simple instructions (i.e.
STOP!) getting yelled at him, never managed to. I was below this whole
scene at the time, getting to not only watch it all unfold, but
actually see the guide and the chubby dude plunge out of sight,
screaming, into a swallowing crevasse.

What about that last phrase sounded vaguel sexual? Wait, what didn't?

All I could think was "that did not really happen" much like all these
other things people warn you about constantly that MIGHT happen but,
come on, are never really going to happen to you. Other equally
horrifying examples include IRS Audits, termite problems,
ex-girlfriends dating your friends, and having to cut out dairy because
of a high cholesterol test.

In the next instant the following images crossed my mind: broken
bodies, blood, screaming people, rope rescues, helivacs, getting
interviewed on Chilean TV by some hot reporter, taking her out to
dinner and charming her with my media penetration in other South
American countries "Yeah Baby, I am huge in Uruguay" and "the hardest
part of that whole experience for me was -pausing casually leaning
forward, looking into her eyes, brushing the back of her hand- knowing
the babies and puppies that those brave men would leave behind. I love
babies and puppies, don't you?" and then "I never realized the
creativity that goes into network reporting-you are a real artist. No
really, I really think so. No I am not just saying that. You know,
you are really cute on camera. You think I am too? Have I mentioned
that I am a movie producer in town for a few nights...oh you have
always wanted to be in the movies? You think your apartment would be a
better place for this discussion? what a great idea!"

As I was running uphill at top speed for 200 yards in the thin air of
the high volcano, the lack of oxygen shook me out of the horror-fantasy
I quickly found, thankfully, to be completely unwarranted. As I peered
over the edge of the crevasse that moments before had swallowed the
guys, the same crevasse I imagined to be 100 feet deep like all the
other scary crevasses I had seen that day, in fact turned out to only
be about 10 feet deep. Furthermore, it did not have an evil crack that
snaps legs at it's bottom but a flat, snowy, very non-lethal floor.

They were bruised, and Claudio was limping real hard and looked like
someone broke a bottle over his face, but that is what you get when you
forget your helmet and then try to stop someone twice your size from
falling in a crevasse and they land on your leg. Or, of course, when
you tell an Irish ex wrestler that his girlfriend looks like your
grandfather after he has just finished his 14th Guinness. Either way,
not recommended.

I got to do some first aid on Claudio, and then we checked him and
British guy out. I am happy to report that everyone walked off the
mountain, albeit more some gingerly than they walked up. To add to the
excitement, I got picked to drive Claudio's sweet 4 x 4 down the
sketchy mountain road back to town where we went for beers (and cake to
celebrate another episode of not dying). The main criteria was that I
MUST know how to drive since I am American, AND of course since I amthe
"Assistant Guide." (There is a photo of me an Claudio on the photo
site of us in town).

That night I had dinner with a British investment banker (the chubby
one from the crevasse, who in all honesty is a great guy), a 56 year
old Swede who is a nurse/scuba instructor, and a stunningly cute 28
year old swiss internist who is finishing her final years of residency.
Who I did not know the day before and of course were all leaving the
next day.

So all in all, typical dinner company for a traveler like me. Not bad,
eh?

While in Pucon, I also went rafting (class IV just started to get
interesting), did some hiking with some new friends I made, jumped in
several freezing lakes, which in case you didn't know is ALWAYS worth
it to get in the water. Lake Villaricca was just one of them, see
photo online. I also spent an evening in these killer natural hot
springs, but that will have to wait until next time since it warrants
its own episode.

Ciao,
Adam

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I am so over guilt.

nevertheless, I feel compassion to the lovely people out there who love
me and my blatherings from south of the equator, and I hate to leave
you hanging.

I also love to not worry about it. The last few weeks have been a blur
of travel and excitement. Thus I have been largely ignoring the
computer for more than maybe 15 minutes a day. I am back at Hervey's
house in Santiago, so y'all can expect some more Boardman lovin' in the
next few days.

A quick homework assignment for you-I need more ideas of what to write
in the "profession" section on hostel registries and those funny slips
at border crossings. I started with "education" then switched to more
interesting things like "movie producer" "party designer" "vagabond"
"personal assistant" and my personal favorite "style consultant." I am
ready for some new ideas, and I need you to help me. Whoever wins gets
their choice of a high five, a signed head shot of yours truly, or me
crashing on their couch and raiding their fridge for a whole week.

Who knows, if it sounds good enough, I might just do it when I get back
to the States. For now, let's stick to hostel registries.

So back to the fun. Let me share with you another piece of travel
reality. Along with long bus rides, bug bites, weird languages, even
weirder food, comically sunken mattresses, smelly israelis, even
smellier Australians, and frequent cases of the runs, one of the most
uncomfortable realities of traveling I could have never expected:

The TRAVEL CONVERSATION

Much like Seattle winters, GWBush saying something stupid and
embarrassing, and outrageous bank fees, it is inevitable but still
never fails to irritate me.

I can smell it before I hear it. I start to twitch, grind my teeth,
and imagine horrible things happening to the people who initiate it,
because you ALWAYS know what is coming next...

No matter where you go, you know it is coming. One minute you are
boiling water for tea, and then out of nowhere you are in the middle of
it:


Where are you from?

How long have you been traveling?

How much longer are you traveling for?

How many languages do you speak?

Where have you been? oh really?

where are you going next? oh cool....

Have you been ____?

I feel like a pull-string doll, except pull-string dolls never seem to
get tired of saying the same things OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I on the
other hand, am looking for a better solution.

I wish I had a card I could give people with these answers already on
it. No, I wish I had a bat, a cricket bat maybe (more surface area)
with all the answers on it so anyone who insisted on having this
conversation could read it in the mirror off of their reddened, swollen
forehead I had the pleasure of gleefully indenting.

"Hey nice cricket bat...are you English? [pause, as Adam braces
himself, hands over eyes] so, yeah, I've been going for like 5 months,
been all over Peru, Machu Picchu was like totally sweet, I think
Bolivia is overrated...[Adam licking lips, raising bat to shoulder,
eyes widening]
so, like, how long are you traveling f-"

[WHACK!...sound of hairy, dirty body hitting grimy hostel kitchen
floor]


Oh, A boy can dream.


Even worse are the unsolicited, presumptuous, and often highly detailed
recommendations:

Pick a place, say ___:

"___ sucks, Skip it!" then up walks a Slovenian
"___ is AMAZING, YOU CAN NOT MISS IT" minutes later a German girl
"___ is SO expensive" followed by someone from Arizona
"___ is SO cheap, you HAVE to go"

are the most common sort, but the general format is more like:

"so if you are in (place you were not planning on going, and gave no
indication of going) you HAVE to (stay at this hostel/go on this
tour/avoid this restaurant/expect it to suck/fantasize about getting
another cricket bat made that says I DIDN'T ASK on it)"

But in all sincerity, a certain degree of this can be helpful, and
recommendations from other travelers have landed me in some pretty cool
spots, Granted, those few times are when I asked, but back to my
point.

My frustration over this repetition has led me to try and ask more
creative, interesting questions. The first time it hit me that I had
been having the same conversation ever since arrived was in Puerto
Natales chile while talking to Nathalie, this french traveler:

Scene 1: Adam, three days growth, shirt he has worn for past month,
characteristic grin.

nathalie, cute French girl with bored look on her face -more than the
one french girls usually have, hair in ponytail, on opposite side of
couch in low ceilinged hostel lounge

Nathalie: so how long have you been traveling for?
Adam: 6 weeks...you?
N:4 months.
A:Great.
N:Yeah.
A:are you as bored as I am to the point of feeling like your skull is
about to creakily implode like a sinking submarine?
N: [startled, and becoming excited] oui! I mean, yes!
A: how about we make ourselves come up with different questions, like,
say, things that are actually interesting to us?
N: [looking like she was being offered a date with David
Hasselhoff...oh wait that would be a german girl...for a frenchie,
let's say, I dunno, prince William... okay, it doesn't matter but let's
just say she was looking really surprised and excited at her good
fortune of someone who gets it] yes!

within 3 minutes, we were having the most interesting discussion since
I got here. It was like a drink of water when you are really thirsty,
and I have not looked back since.

And don't forget to give me a job!

smooches,
Adam

Friday, March 10, 2006

Have not been blogging much lately. Apparently a few of you really like this (thanks for letting me know) to the point of being a bit indignant at my little break. Daddy hasn't forgotten you. Just sit back, relax, and get ready for a big fat dose of...The Boardman.

I am currently emailing all of your Boardmaniacs (shut up Jill, you know you love it) from Santiago, Chile in the attic office of HerveyAllen, Pomona Class of '86 and more importantly ex-Sagehen Runner. I will get back to that in a second.

When I woke up on Tuesday, I had every intention of ending up inValpraiso, a port town on the coast. Well, I screwed up the bus times,and when I got to the station all the buses had already left. That is what I get for sleeping in (don't say it Ian, I already know what you're thinking).

I knew I was ready to leave so I asked what was still available...Santiago in 15 minutes? I'll take it! It's in Chile, right? And what grumpelstilskin does not want to go to a city named after a whale's vagina?!!?

The bus ride was memorable. Beautiful views over a 10000 foot pass,and really scary looking roads. Thanks to the guy sitting next to me, I found out that METALHEADS are similar the world over. Same blackshirts and pants and belt and socks and shoes, same lightning and skulls heavy graphic design on the t-shirt, same motorcycle jacket, same greasy skin, same long overgrown poorly kept hair, and most vividly, the same sinus-busting reluctance to shower regularly or use enough deodorant.

How do I know? An 8 hour bus ride next to one in an under-ventilated bus in the middle of a hot summer day. They played movies-criteria for picking movies: low quality and disturbingly violent- and at one point the flight attendant dude gave us an alfajore (alpha WHORE ay, orif you want, Alpha-Whore..YAY!), the argentine answer to the Choco-dile.Wait a second- I think that guy should have his own title...flight attendant is just wrong, ride or trip attendant sounds stupid, stewardnever worked...so why not the "BUS-terino?" or "Coach-illa?" If you got a better idea let's hear it.

So back to the Bus Station. I called him from the bus station payphone-though part of me was tempted by the Courvoissier, bus station th-kanks, and paytoilets- and said "Um yeah, I am the guy who told you I would be here in a week...and I am here right now, and...need a place to crash" and he said "No problemo!" which is Spanish for "I'll pick you up and we'll start drinking!" Ah to be a Sagehen...

Having been coached by Pat Mulcahy, and the bonds I have with those who can say the same, is the closest thing I have to being in a fraternity. The similarities continue when you consider the beer consumption. the uniform dressing, the partying, and of course the benign homo-eroticism that marks every frat I have ever seen (You will be hard pressed to see that many young men, that sweaty, in really short shorts andfrequently slapping each others butts outside of a hot summer night atManRay, of course). Take it from this 8 season athlete, Pat Mulcahy dedicated, Beer Mile organizing, Naked 400 champion: college, and my life since then, would not have been the samewithout it. But the upside is that we all had formative experiences in P-P XC andTrack, and lots of outrageous stories to tell thanks to recent Wig Teaching Award Winner Pat Mulcahy.

Who knew that a loud, abrasive, redfaced Irishman with artificial hips could be such a great coach andteacher? Not to get all sentimental, but we have him to thank for notonly some of the best times at Pomona, but also some of the mostpowerful lessons we learned in our four years there. Well, there are a lot of us out there that have had the PM experience and lived to tellabout it.

Lucky for me, we let each other crash in our guest rooms.

What can I say, even when I bristle at the thought of more 2 mile repeats in 95 degree smog, I know how much that all meant to us. Thanks, Pat.

So, I hope you liked a little dose of sentiment, now back to something funny. It is amazing how travelling, and sleeping in hostels makes youappreciate things such as, but not limited to, the following:
+A real mattress. You know a "mattress" other than decades-old foam rubber, so compressed that your shoulders and forced up to your earsand your feet are above your head, and the only thing that reminds youthat you are not in a hammock is that your butt is on the bedframe

+Free laundry!

+"Breakfast" other than Nescafe and toast

+A kitchen that includes more than two steak knives and a warped panwith no handle

+Did I mention the Laundry is FREE?!?

+The absence of snoring, smelly, perpetually drunk Australians

+and oh yeah, THE FAINTEST HINT OF PRIVACY.

Not that I am complaining, mind you. But what do you expect from 8 bucks a night?

Speaking of Nescafe, the coffee down here has been consistently,predictably, spectacularly dissappointing. Now I know how Cubs fans feel. I go back and forth: do I have more distaste for corporateamerica or really bad coffee? A complicated question, one that was partially answered last night...I can not put into words how OVERCOME WITH PURE ECSTATIC JOY to see a Starbucks logo than I was to see Hervey pull a bag of Sumatra blend outof his freezer. I had sweet dreams last night knowing I would be waking up to the first decent cup in almost two months.

It was amazing.

If I smoked, I so would have laid in bed and had a cigarette after my three cups of sweet, adequately roasted and blended corporate whore coffee.Not that I could sit still mind you, but the thought is kind of romantic, no?

Ciao, Adam

Next time...off to Pucon for a live volcano and hot springs-Keep your fingers crossed for lava flow and cute bikinis!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

So, having already made TV in Uruguay, what better way to make a splash
in Argentina then to get into the paper. Well, it finally happened, and
contrary to the unsolicited speculation of my brother-in-law, it was
not because I was arrested. Besides, he gets enough calls from his High School friends in Kentucky for bail money as it is, I don't want to bother him.

I am in Mendoza, the wine capitol of Argentina, and this week is
Vendimia, the annual wine festival, with a parade, events, and this wierd
queen competition involving teenage girls with too much makeup (a la
Rose Festival for you Portlanders) and silicone. The guide books do
NOT mention that boob jobs only cost 1000 bucks in this country, and
they are the "it" accessory, especially for the 19 year old princess
crowd. And, incidentally, about half the women in Buenos Aires. Who
knew.

One part of the festivities is a road race, along the parade route
immediately prior to the floats going by. The Chileans at the hostel
who think I am crazy for running at all - by no means the first in my
life to think so thank you friends and extended family- saw it in the paper and pointed it out to me, laughing at the ridiculousness of running, you know, willingly, and not after a soccer ball.

I of course, could not resist. I even managed a bit of glory on the
family name:

http://www.losandes.com.ar/2006/0304/deportes/nota303415_1.htm

So if the Argentines at the paper already took it offline to go drink wine and smoke
cigarettes, here is the relevant text:

"La nota de color la dio un estadounidense. Su nombre es Adam Boardman,
que aunque está de vacaciones en la provincia, se hizo un tiempito para
despuntar el vicio del trote. El turista del Norte llegó en el cuarto
lugar."


Let me translate: "A note of color was given by Adam Boardman, an
American. Although on vacation he still managed to take the time to
race and get fourth place overall, passing three Argentine chumps in
the last 200 meters, and looking particularly dashing in his sleeveless
racing jersey. The local authority is already considering a eugenics
program pairing him with fertile, attractive local girls based on his
obvious virility and performance. Even the suspicion of which
immediately caused a stir in the Vendimia princess court, as Andrea
Sanchez and Maria Jesus Marquez got into a hair-pulling, tiara-smashing
fight over who got him first."

The local police not being used to any sport other than soccer matches
(I am not calling it football) and ogling women, are obviously ignorant
of standard race management protocol. It is generally best to, say,
stop auto traffic if you have 100 people simultaneously running through
the city streets, or maybe have a lead car to tell people not to eat
their ice cream in the middle of the race route. Literally, the last
800 yards were run THROUGH traffic...i.e. around the cars and grandmas
and families of 10 children and drunk greasy haired men in soccer
jerseys that seem to be everywhere here.

In other news, I also managed to FINALLY get some photos online:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35762751@N00/

Photographic proof that I am actually in South America, and not just holing up in some bunker in South Dakota and blatantly lying to everybody so you don't see me as a fraud. Besides, one Dick Cheney on this planet is enough, don't you think?