Saturday, June 17, 2006

To break the pattern of blog procrastination, and more because I just could not seem to get something more organized together, I decided to try something new: a blog entry in a the "classic blog-journal" style, and to try to dress things up a bit.

I know, I know, you are already bored.

But stay with me. Some of you have mentioned that you are “missing my missives-” and to those who are: I am honestly touched. To those who aren’t and haven't noticed:
In the words of Scottish Mountaineer Ian Mackay

“Screw you.”
For those who are curious as to the adventures of the not Bored-Man, I am rewarding you
with the newest, greatest version of my blog, including links and pictures.
I have been enjoying life very much .
since the end of May which marked my arrival in Buenos Aires,
I have been lucky to make lots of friends here.
Although you may find this strange since I typically leave other people out of this blog
- largely a product of admitted self absorption -
it is high time to mix it up and make Albertina Agnostini a Blog star.

First of all, she is from California, AND a fellow Aquarius (Feb 16th).
I know, AWESOME COMBINATION.  Must be great.  It gets better from here.

You know those people you meet and with whom you immediately feel like
friends around and honestly adore their company?
Yes, and Yes. 

Even if she is a textbook overachiever- no one is perfect - in the form of
speaking four languages, a violin soloist, Stanford undergrad (Really, don't prejudge)
and now attending Very Selective Grad School.
Smart, funny, and on top of everything else,
You would think it would give someone a big head.  
Just like, you know, it has with me.
But no.  
From San Diego, the product of Argentine parents who left when things got ugly
in the 1970s. Can't blame them there, as one can understand how a Professor married to
an Artist might not have an easy time staying off the radar of an oppressive dictatorship
even less keen on "liberals" .
So off they went to Mexico, then San Diego, where the story of little Albertina begins.  

And this is where it ended up earlier this week, in my apt, on my celphone:
She calls me and says she has a "really wierd" question for me. I brace myself.
What could this question be? We are such good pals, and were my instincts totally wrong?
A brief flash of baseless irrationalism hits me,and my fear speculated:
"Your good looks and style make me pause: are you gay or something? The Gays freak me out."
"My boyfriend is really wierd about me having guy friends-can you please stop calling me?" 
Of course, no such nonsense took place.  Like always, Fear is usually a liar.
Here is what actually happened:

"Do you want to have dinner with me and my parents and some of their friends?" 

Smart funny and handsome never rules out the occasional patch of being A Complete Idiot.

So I meet her folks.

In a word: Wonderful. Good grapes make good wine.

In more words, they are gorgeous and hilarious too. Her mom Marie-Claire (like the magazine, she explained) is fun, beautiful, a little crazy in a fun way, and half-Belgian.

NOT the lovely Marie-Claire, but also Half Belgian (No Relation)

Marie-Claire has an affinity for discussing profanity, and talking with her mouth full, most likely found to be discussing profanity-using the subject in question as often as possible-while not only letting us know what the contents of her mouth are but reminding those present as often as possible.

Her dad is, as described my
"definitely-straight-but-not-so-straight-so-that-he-doesn't-know-good-looking-when-he-sees-it" friend Alex Taurel (as he also mentioned, was recently quoted in the
Harvard Crimson) as "an incredibly handsome man" is Alfredo, who is, in fact, quite handsome.

Marie-Claire, whose mouth was not full at the time of this comment, generously explained her husband to me as "como la fettucine" just in case I did not totally get it.

I was charmed.

Dinner was Very Argentine: an empanadas and pizza place full of fur-clad "derlies" - shortened from "elderlies" by a
very funny friend of mine. Eventually the under-60 crowd showed up, but it did not stop us from making fun and lots of adolescent eye rolling. For some reason when one hangs out with parents, the regression is unstoppable.

Afterwards, we had some gelato, then A went to bed-something about a "job" and "family in town."

I was just getting started.

My next destination was to meet Ricardo and Alex at a "sham Sheshun" which is Porteño (i.e. this particular brand of ed-up but somehow y Spanish…why is it that " ed-up but somehow y" so often go together?) for "Jam Session."

What followed was best summed up as “walking into a scene from Reality Bites.”

Wandering alterna-jam music with lots of people in flannel, sitting on the floor and generally putting off a grunge-y air. I half-expected Jeanene Garafolo to enter.

Thankfully, we had other stops on our "Tour de nuit" which is french for "lots of beer and cabs."

By now it is maybe 1 AM. We were off to another party, this time in an apartment with a bunch of machisto Euadorians in a swanky part of town.

The crowd there wore hip, expensive looking clothes and had edgy haircuts, including some carefully tipped designer baseball caps and
other signs of posturing. (see example below):

Alex remarked they were "a coke kind of crowd." I agreed.

Highlights include the following:

While two wierdly skinny overly made up s -with a certain suggestion of russian s who had been "trafficked" about them- entered and the poser-machistos swarmed to hit on them, I asked the hostess, a Costa Rican who spoke almost disturbingly good English, about why she had a Disco shopping cart in her kitchen.

She told me, straight-faced:

"For laundry." Oh. Of course.

Ricardo, who is my patron, of sorts, at least in the free apartment category, was drunk and tired from working all week (I, like other actively-unemployed-heroes-of-ours including the one pictured below, wouldn't know) and actually fell asleep in a chair.

I tried to wake him up with a wine bottle to the stomach. Then the crotch. He wasn’t responding. I stopped because it seemed creepy to be manipulating a wine bottle-or anything else- in Ricardo's crotch.

It was not like he was waking up anyway.

Next thing I know I am walking to a Salsa Club at 4 Am with two of the Ecuadorians-the least of the machistos named JuanPablo and this other Equitoriana, as they are called, named Natalia. When Juan Pablo was off buying smokes, I asked if he had a crush on her. I had
reasons to believe he did.

Natalia told me about he did, in fact have a
crush on her but it was “so not the other way.”

I turned around at the door. I decided I did not really want to fake salsa - since all of
CCHS knows, I can not really salsa- and said goodbye at the door.

Since then I hoped you all caught the
USA trying to not to any more damage to it's international image, well at least as much that could be expected from a soccer game to tie Italy. Considering it was 9 men to 11 ain’t bad, particularly against the "mighty Azzuri." Not enough to make an underdog movie about, but not bad for the Yanks.
Also I have been doing a lot of not-working. I have attended some ACTUAL Spanish training, but don’t let that fool you. “Not Working” really means a lot of staying-up-late followed of course by sleeping-in, then a lot of World Cup watching. Also and most interestingly, I have been doing a lot of reading (Murikami “The Wind Up Bird Chronicle” and “All The Pretty Horses” have been highlights). “Doing a lot of reading” to all you overworked stiffs-who before this trip I was a part of– might sound amazing and easy and wonderful, but in reality is harder than you might think. It is not so much the “ being carefree and sitting still and enjoying a good book,” but doing it guilt free: not thinking about “how-everyone-you-know-has-a-job-and-what-do-you-have-to-show-for-your-day” thoughts, followed shortly by NOT going outside even when it is sunny, then NOT digging through the kitchen again, then finally NOT calling someone to see what is going on, and so forth. But despite my nature, it has been working out great. More to come.

To let you all know, I am in NYC as of June 28th.

P.S. I had some formatting problems with this-please pardon any distracting ignorance, in this case in the form of double-spacing I CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHY IS HAPPENING, and generally, of all things internet.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I will get to the rest of Machu Picchu in soon. Let's just say it got better from there.

I am now in Buenos Aires. Not Buenos "Fucking" Aires, like those stupid t-shirts those even stupid-er tourists, usually Commonwealth for the record, tend to wear.

This is the real deal: A Latin city of European memories. The home of Borges, Tango, great steaks, late nights, great architecture, countless cafes, beautiful women, and the timeless flavor of urbane romanticism.

I have been here three days, and I already have a packed social calendar (not to brag, but it does feel good) AND I have a non-hostal place to live.

So things are good. I do happen to have a hacking-cough chest infection, but nothing is perfect, and thanks to certain people before us, I have anti-biotics working away as I type.

My new homebase is slightly out of the center, in the comically underfurnished in that "just-moved-in-young-heterosexual-bachelor" kind of way, apartment of Latin wunderkind Ricardo Arnold.

We met in Mendoza, three months ago, in a hostal defined by heavy beer consumption, nonstop soccer, even more nonstop loud music., and the worst matresses in South America. I think this place was like a hospice for Foam Rubber, the place the sad, terminal cases went to die.

Which Andino Hostal turned around and sold for 27 pesos a night, to bask in slumber to the lulling sounds of yelling drunks, and that Jay-Z cover of "It´s a hard knock life" I now hate after having to listen to the flighty hipster who worked at the desk blare it over the sound system every 45 minutes (not exaggerating).

But it was all worth it, if nothing else to meet Ricardo. He is so my kind of guy. Really nice, smart, fun, great taste, and easygoing. He also has one of those Argi-mullets so popular in this country which I find hilariously authenticating-he is DEFINITELY Argentine- and hilarious. I introduced him to my German friend Susanne who I met on a sleepy day-after-my-birthday morning in El Calafate. She came to to Mendoza to meet me, I introduced them, and after a week of being super nice and shy, sparks flew.

Also noteworthy is that they are both really tall. I think that helped with the chemistry.

That being said, his generosity far outweighs anything I ever did for him. So let's learn more about the admirable Ricardo:

At 26 he works full time (45 hours a week) while going to school at night in BA, so he stays with his mom in the city during the week-hey, she cooks and cleans, and it is not like he has any time to impress the chicks during the week- and only really uses the place on the weekends. For predictable reasons.

Thus, the first order of business is to wash the sheets.

Then, put something in the fridge.

Current Refriferator contents: Beer, water, coke, fernet (goes with the coke, it's huge in Argentina), and champagne.

The Bachelor late night date special. Like I said, apartment only used for predictable reasons.

Living Room Contents: Disconnected TV on the floor, boombox, phone table with phone, yellow pages, take-out sushi menu and unused chopsticks and napkin from last order. Next to phone: a glass half full with coke and cigarette butts.

At least it keeps the smell down.

Bathroom: one towel, soap, shampoo, razors, shaving cream, TP, Bathtub (awesome), bidet (charming), a box of condoms, and four types of cologne.

Again, to keep the smell down.

Bedroom: Queen Size Bed, sheets that are about to be washed, blankets, empty closets, uncnnected tangle of TV cable sprouting from wall.

The good news is that I can offer him some obviously needed decorating and re-arranging help, and it is really close to a busline that runs constantly AND a train station, with service to the center of the city.

Oh yeah, did I mention it was free?

I also got a celphone: 115-348-1652, if you are calling internationally add a 00549 in front.

So another level of semi-permanence has been achieved, all set in place to enable the writing, laughing, wandering, socializing, reading, maybe dancing or cooking classes, not-having-to-show-up-for-work joyous lifestyle of the next month of my life.

I can imagine what you are thinking. Really, try not to spit on your monitor as you curse me and my current lifestyle.

Ciao for now,