Archive for the ‘local adventure’ Category

Life Is Good

September 17, 2008

I have just over two weeks left until the end of the 1,001 days designated for doing these 101 things. When I saw the date approaching on my calendar I started thinking back over the list, and then read over the list today, and was kind of bummed at some of the things that remain unfinished. But I know that’s kind of silly, considering that many of the things haven’t been a possibility because I’ve been busy doing other awesome things, and because my life has changed way more than I anticipated back when the 1,001 days began January 5, 2006. If things like Move to another country, Meet lots of interesting people, and Experience something new every day had been on the list, they would have been checked off with ease.

I’ve been really busy – working most days, squeezing in some exercise and maybe a little knitting, and going out many nights a week – and when I have a rare quiet night at home I relish every minute. Quality-of-life and productivity gurus often say that if you’re “too busy” you need to assess your commitments and make sure you’re not saying yes to things you don’t want to do. But it’s pretty unusual that I find myself doing something I don’t want to do – it’s just that there are so many amazing opportunities and activities going on that I don’t want to pass up! These are just some of the things I’ve done so far this month: numerous nights playing games at various friend’s houses, a friend’s birthday dinner and salsa dancing, cooking dinner with friends several times, tango music concert and another show, weekly massages, dinners out with roommates and friends, several goodbye parties, a waterdance workshop with people from Couchsurfing, salsa dance class, Couchsurfing movie afternoon, and Peruvian cuisine cooking classes… and coming up in the next week a night at the theater, a voice yoga class, and being a model for a photographer friend’s photo shoot. Even though none of these things is on The List, how can I go wrong?

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Boca Wins!

April 23, 2008

The smoke has cleared, my allergies are lifting, and I’m high from the crazy energy of a live fútbol game at La Bombonera, where the Boca Juniors just beat Maracaibo from Venezuela. Tonight’s game was kind of a big deal as part of the Copa Libertadores. Their win, and another game tonight in Chile that ended in a tie, means they’re on to the quarterfinals, and everyone was thrilled. Of course they won the Copa last year, so it was probably a given they would win tonight.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a professional soccer game in any country, but going to a Boca game in Buenos Aires is a pretty big deal. They are known to have some of the craziest, most loyal fans, and a good team to boot. I can hardly describe the energy—and the noise!—in the stadium. The most hyper fans were sitting behind the goal closest to us, and I don’t think they stopped singing/shouting and jumping up and down and pumping their arms at all the whole time we were there. There were drums, and firecrackers—the smoke was so thick at one point it was hard to see the ball on the field—and banners practically half the size of the field, unfurled over the top of the stands, one proclaiming “You can imitate us but you can never equal us.” The screeching whistle sound they use against the other team made it sound like we were in a cave full of bats, the sound echoing off the stadium walls. The fans in the “good” section where we were, high up in the vertigo-inducing stands, were a little more serious and actually quieted down to concentrate on the game now and then. But any little action on the field and they were shouting and (if there was a goal scored) hugging each other, or shouting and (if the team or the ref did something they didn’t like) throwing their hands in the air, and often jumping in on the songs coming from both ends of the stadium. I didn’t understand all the shouts, but I did catch enough to know I’ve probably never heard so much cursing in my life—the guy behind us was so emphatic we felt his spit raining down on us. And one of the songs said something like “I’ve been with Boca since the cradle,” which gives you just a hint of how fervent these fans are. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the excitement, and I was pumping my arms, clapping my hands, and pounding the seat when they screwed up, just like everyone else. At the end as everyone was celebrating and slowly filing out (or staying and partying), I felt the concrete stands gently swaying beneath me.

Despite some of the rumors I’ve heard about the games, and being in the serious minority as a woman (I’d guess no more than 1 percent of the crowd was female), I felt really comfortable where we were—though I was awful glad we weren’t in the hooligan-filled mosh pits that were the cheap seats. We went with a tour, which felt pretty cheesy, and didn’t get us as much “tour” as we expected in terms of insider info, etc., but it was handy to not have to wait in line to get tickets, and to have a van waiting for us afterwards instead of trying to find a cab or bus in all the craziness. I’m so glad I finally got to be part of this very Argentine experience!

Feelin’ Groovy

February 29, 2008

Day 12 is coming to a close, and except for going a little overboard on the herbed goat cheese today, I’m feeling great. Have jumpstarted the needed weight loss (apparently eating whatever you want for eight months will catch up with you eventually, but eating only raw foods is a pretty easy way to get back on track) and am confident I can continue eating more veggies and taking better care of myself (I’ve also been exercising pretty much every day since the beginning of January).

It’s been a good week in other ways, too, most obviously noted by the several more things I’ve crossed off The List! Last week during dinner with some Couchsurfers and other travelers there was talk of weekend outings, and I was definitely interested since work was petering off late in the week. Next thing you know, five of us—from Australia, the States, and England—were loading up a rental car and heading into the Andes for two days! #2 on the list, spontaneous road trip? Check! It was a great couple days, with stunning vistas around every turn, driving to the tippy-top of the mountains between Chile and Argentina (where we even saw some snow flurries!), and taking a short hike/walk to an overlook for Aconcagua, the tallest mountain outside the Himalayas (check out the pictures). The second day found several of us horseback riding (#19) in a beautiful valley surrounded by red hills and snow-capped mountains.

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Tormenta

January 28, 2008

I’ve been composing lots of blog posts in my head, and even jotting down notes, but they haven’t made it online yet! For now, I’ll just say that I’m enjoying the view from my new apartment, which is on the 11th floor with views to the south (where many of the wineries are) and to the west (where I can see the foothills of the Andes from my bed!). There’s been quite a bit of rain, and a few serious thunderstorms, since I arrived, kind of surprising for the desert, but okay with me. I love watching the clouds roll in, like I could from my apartments in San Francisco, but we never got the lightning, the thunder, the rain—what a show! I was up at the window at 5 am today, mesmerized, though trying not to wake up all the way! Not to mention the sunsets. I have a feeling I will end up with a lot of sunset pictures in the next two months! (Apartment pictures online soon, I promise.)

As I titled this post (tormenta means storm) I realized that’s also the title of the CD I bought the other day—how fitting! I went to see a cool local group called Altertango, with an amazing singer (why do the strongest voices often come out of the smallest people!?), funky rockin’ female pianist, a bandoneonista (a must), drums (called batería in Spanish, I love that), and bass (bajo). They play an intriguing mix of tango, rock, jazz, and whatever they feel like, and I was drawn in immediately. I think they are a regular fixture at a place called Soul Cafe (when my friend told me about it I assumed it was Sol Cafe—like sun—and was so surprised to see the sign!) so I’ll probably see them again.

Blame the Visitors

December 17, 2007

I know I haven’t been posting much… just been having too much fun with all my visitors in the last month—first Catherine and Daniel from SF, and now my brother, Aaron, and his girlfriend, TJ, from Portland. TJ leaves today but Aaron will be here until 12/31, and we’ll be joined by my parents on the 23rd. They arrived in Argentina yesterday—we made an early-morning trip to the airport to greet them (and pick up the many goodies they brought me) before they headed off to Chilean Patagonia for the week.

It’s also been a month of goodbyes, with lots of people I know headed home for the holidays or continuing their travels and that sort of thing—not to mention saying goodbye to the visitors! But visitors and friends leaving town make for lots of excuses to get together and have fun, so it’s been a good month overall. Lots of fantastic meals out, lots of drinks, four weekends in a row taking short, great vacations to the province and the nearby town of Tigre and the surrounding delta… A little sightseeing, some shopping, and lots of wandering. Plenty of laughter and a few farewell tears.

Thanks everyone, and I’ll have pictures posted soon(ish)!

The Temptress

November 19, 2007

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This is a long one, but I hope you enjoy it…

Almost exactly three years ago, on one of my first days in Buenos Aires, I wandered the streets of San Telmo during the weekly Sunday feria there. Tango was in the air, and I stopped to watch a tango orchestra playing on the street. I was hooked right away, particularly enthralled by the bandoneón players up front—the sound the instrument can make, and its integral role in tango music, mesmerized me. I thought, I want to be able to make that sound! But instead, I bought the group’s CD, and continued on my merry way, enjoying everything that Buenos Aires had to offer. (more…)

AWOB

November 9, 2007

I know I’ve been absent without blogging for a while… There’s just so much going on, it’s hard to focus on one thing to write about! I promise more substantive posts soon.

For now, here’s a recap of the last few weeks:

I took my first two tango classes ever, plus a “rock” (swing) class—so much fun! Hope to do more of that.

The couchsurfing crew in BA is awesome—a few weeks ago we had a picnic in the park by my house and I think 40 people showed up. This past weekend, we had a halloween party at a bar/club, with another fabulous turnout (I think estimates are way over 100 guests, between local couchsurfers, travelers, and friends)—what a night!

Last Friday I rocked out to one of the best live shows I’ve seen in a long time: The Killers. If you have a chance to see them live, you won’t regret it. For the first time in years, I was right up in the middle of the action, jumping up and down and singing along with all the Argentines (some of whom I could tell didn’t really know the words, but just mimicked the noises, like I sometimes do with songs in Spanish!). The last show I remember with so much energy was my brother’s band Marathon‘s last show in Syracuse a few years ago.

I’ve also been to a few excellent dinners with a friend who’s writing an article about slow food in Buenos Aires. So many restaurants to explore here!

Oh yeah, Argentina also elected a new president—the first woman elected president here, and the wife of the current president. I’m honestly not sure when she takes office—if I was reading the newspaper like I told my Spanish teacher I wanted to, I’d probably know that! Speaking of Spanish, I had a test last week after two months of taking classes (2 classes a week, 2 hours each) and I did a lot better than I expected—looks like I’m finally making some progress!

Taking classes in Spanish is tricky but I’m giving it a go—yesterday was bandoneón (much more on this soon!), and today body pump at the gym I just joined! OW. I don’t think I’ll be able to walk tomorrow. To treat ourselves after three days in a row at the gym, my friend Emily and I are headed out for a tasty dinner tonight!

There’s also just a handful of new pictures on Flickr, check them out via the link on the right!

Around Buenos Aires

September 30, 2007

I’m taking a much-needed break from work to drink the cerveza artesanal I brought back from Tucumán (it’s tasty, but not as hoppy as I’d hoped) and share some pictures with you, dear reader. The photography class I took last weekend was inspiring and motivating—it’s got me thinking about a new camera, something that’s hardly crossed my mind in the three years since I bought my first digital camera, which I love—and I spent about three hours wandering around Palermo with my friend Kevin on his second-to-last day in town, taking pictures with abandon. I think it was the first time I’ve wandered around with my camera since I got here, and it was lots of fun. I’m determined to schedule another photography outing soon. In the meantime, enjoy the fruits of that day.

Travel Bug Bites Again

August 12, 2007

After almost three months here, it was high time to get the heck out of the city, the provincia, and even the country! First, a visa run to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, founded by the Portuguese in the mid-1700s and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bidding my fair city farewell:

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Three hours later, we disembarked in Colonia. It was a beautiful day, and Brian, Virginia, and I had a great time wandering around, and a fabulous lunch outside in the sun (I told them I always eat well when we’re together—a good sign!). Some other friends who’ve been to Colonia during my time here didn’t seem to think much of the town, but we really liked it. The good weather helped, I’m sure, but it was such a welcome getaway from the city—so quiet and tranquilo—and much prettier than I expected.

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I’d definitely go back to spend more time there; we found some information about horseback riding and other excursions in the area. Staying overnight would be nice—it was a really long day trip. Left home at 8:15 this morning, didn’t get home until 11 pm!

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I took a lot more pictures, but these will have to do for now—the pictures section of my website is still down (my own fault) and there’s no time to fix it, because I’m off again tomorrow! This time to Córdoba Province for a week with my friend Carolynn. We’ll start in the city of Córdoba—about 9 hours west of Buenos Aires—then venture off to some smaller towns for relaxation, hiking, etc. Can’t wait to get on the road!

Snow!

July 9, 2007

It’s front-page news today, 9 de Julio, Argentine independence day: snow in Buenos Aires for the first time since June 1918. It’s been going since mid-morning or so and is expected to continue most of the night. I spent the day bundled up wandering around a gaucho museum in San Antonio de Areco, a historic city out in the province where pretty much everything was canceled because of the weather, but we also found a great place to hang out, eating great food and enjoying music, dancing, and everyone running out to get their picture taken in the snow. Brian took this cool one of me through the window:

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And this is from the road on the way home. We also saw lots of people pulled over on the side for impromptu snowball fights and building snowmen on top of cars.

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More on all that later; for now it’s back to work after a three-day break.