Monday, March 10, 2008

Let's start off with a round of the game "What the HELL are they selling?"

...because I really don't think they're selling ice cream.

So it was bound to happen. After a few days of being sick, rained on, and feeling lonely, I got nailed with a major dose of homesickness. It shouldn't have been that big of a surprise, considering that it's happened before, will probably happen again, and is most certainly a part of the human condition. The fact that I'd even read about this beforehand didn't even help. In reality, there are 5 emotional stages of moving to (or living in for an extended period). Even found an article online about it:

Looking at that list, I think I hit steps 2 and 3 at roughly the same time...something like "I don't want any more fucking empanadas...when what I REALLY need is a cheeseburger from the Waterfront in San Diego...on Kettner Street...Two blocks from my old...*sigh*"

I'm grateful that in this case it didn't last very long. A few things help to jolt me out of the funk. First of all, the sun has FINALLY come out...which means all of you who have been begging for more pictures will finally be getting them. Secondly, I've been drinking mate like a madman and it seems to have kicked this cold's ass. Thirdly, I'm actually starting to feel like I have some friends here. Between the local Buenos Aires expatriot website and a nice couple (Gina-Marie and Javier) who have befriended me regardless of the fact that I did not rent their apartment, I am expanding my network of English speaking friends. That's not to say that I don't like speaking Spanish with the locals, but being that my skills are far from perfect, it takes constant attention and mental focus to have a halfway decent conversation in Spanish. There's something to be said for the effortlessness of a casual English conversation, even if it's with a complete stranger.

So today, I think I entered Stage Four. I successfully took the bus (more on those later) to the Jumbo store in Palermo (as you can guess by the name it's huge), bought some stuff for the kitchen for which my landlord has promised to reimburse me, went to the gym, bought chicken and vegetables so I can test out my new kitchen gear tonight, and had some more fucking empanadas for lunch...exquisite, beautiful, amazingly tasty, flaky-crusted and perfectly-spiced, fucking empanadas. We were on the outs for a few days, but we've gotten back together and are wondering why we ever parted...especially when they are prepared for me by this sweet old toothless man across the street who actually told me that I have to order them in even amounts, because if I buy three instead of four, "the third will not have a partner." And, yes, they're far better than any burger at the Waterfront...

I guess now I can write that book called "What to Expect When You're Expatriating"

More tomorrow!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The U.S. is about to dump a big number two on Argentina!

And by that of course, I mean this numero dos:

Glassware all over Buenos Aires is trembling in anticipation for the arrival of Ryan #2 (El Dos) on April 21st. I guess I better stock-up on champagne flutes in case he gets lonely.

Those of you who don't know this character, THIS is the guy who for the months leading up to our Europe trip kept going on and on about how excited he was to be going to Europe for the first time in his life! Somewhere around day two of the trip, we were sitting in front of the Pantheon in Paris at which point he casually mentioned that the neighborhood reminded him of the time when he was 13 and in Denmark. Apparently, Scandinavia has only recently become a part of Europe...

So I am very excited to welcome Ryan to South America for the first time...other than the time he was in BRAZIL!

In other news, after fighting the funk for a week, I finally got the nasty cold that's been threatening me since San Diego, so the last few days I've been laying low. This is all fine as we've still been having shite weather. Luckily, Bella was able to motivate me to go for a walk this morning so we could catch our daily dose of cloud. Stopped at a cafe and for only 10 pesos (3$ US) grabbed coffee, three small croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a $25 Savings Bond.

On the way back, happened to walk right by something I'd taken a picture of a year ago. Check out the miracle of modern timelapse photography:



Please keep the comments coming! I love hearing from you all!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

B.A.CK in Buenos Aires, B.A.BY!

Can't believe that I've been here for a whole week already! I hope I got to everyone with my blast e-mail with all my contact information. That being said, PLEASE keep in touch, leave comments and don't forget about Bella and I!

So, where to start? Well, the trip down here went as smoothly as possible. All the prep work in getting the dog here safely paid off and when I arrived at the baggage claim at Ezeiza airport, her cage was the first thing I saw drifting around the carousel, being followed by no less than 5 children all trying to get a peak at Buenos Aires' newest celebrity. After the initial couple minutes of whimpering, she was back to normal (other than the lovely urine odor) like she'd never left my side. So, grabbed all my luggage, cleared customs with no problem, and jumped in a cab too the apartment. I even sweet talked the driver in really bad Spanish to pull over so she could get in a quick whizz.

The apartment is all that was promised. My landlord, an American named Robert Shive, gave a quick walkthrough and I was set to finally try and sleep for the first time in 48 hours....or was I? As soon as I laid down, my mind started racing with all the things I wanted to if I were only going to be in Buenos Aires for 3 hours instead of 3 months. So after 15 minutes of insomnia, I jumped up, grabbed the dog, the camera, and got to taking some pictures of the hood.

The part of town I live in is right on the border between Palermo Viejo and Palermo Soho. It's a very pedestrian area, with tons of cafes, bars, restaurants, parillas (grill places), and shops. For all of it's popularity, it's very quiet and quaint with lots of trees and cobblestone streets, very reminiscent of New Orleans (especially with the humidity). Yes, the name does come from the Sicilian capitol, pronounced Pal-er-mo, and NOT Pal-me-ro. There is still a decent size population here that still speaks italian, and they absolutely love Bella.

I'm just putting up some general pictures for now just so you can get an idea...more details to come later. Oh, and the sun hasn't really come out yet, so apologies for the greynessnessness.

After grabbing some long awaited empanadas and a coffee, I went back to the apartment to get connected to the internet and make some calls. The power strip that Robert provided me with had this big giant transformer thing that the wireless hub adapter was plugged into. Well, when I was juggling all the plugs on the powerstrip to make room for my laptop, I inadvertently plugged the adapter directly into the powerstrip. I immediately heard a boing sound like from a cartoon and a cloud of smoke coming from the adapter. Off in the distance, I also hear what sounded like shit hitting a fan. Through the magic of modern high-tech photo-editing, I was able to recreate that lovely moment as Exhibit I (for Idiot):

Exhibit I - AKA My first fuckup of the trip

Robert was kind enough to provide me with a replacement router and told me not to worry about it, but I felt it was my duty to replace it anyway. So today, Bella and I loaded the backpack with dog treats, camera, towel, book, destroyed adapter, and my umbrella (which has seen more use in the last week than it would a lifetime in San Diego) and went for a 4 hour walk across town. Objective: seek out a place called "Casa de las Transformadores" or House of Transformers (and all this time, I thought they were from Cybertron). Long story short, with my absolute crap Spanish I was able to procure a new adapter.

Along the way, Bella and I were able to get some sight-seeing in around the fancy Recoleta area. We even tried to get into the world famous cemetery, but they wouldn't let me in with Bella...even though the place is loaded with cats. Something a little racist about that...or I guess it would be spec-ist? Anyhow, last pic for now...this is Bella standing outside the gates of the Recoleta cemetery, looking very pissed off at the apparent double standard.

"Just a bunch of dead people anyway. Woof."

So enough for now! Missing EVERYONE!