A Good Sign

May 17, 2009

On the subway there are ads for the lottery that say something to the effect of, “You could win a new life today.” And every time I see one of these ads I think, “But I don’t want a new life! The one I’ve got is pretty great.”

Today’s Needle

May 12, 2009

Every once in a while I find such a fabulous typo that it makes me laugh out loud – it’s exactly this kind of thing that keeps work fun for me. Here’s today’s, with identifying details removed to help the author save face: “The market takes place in the lot between the car wash and the School for the Deaf and Blond.”

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Ooh, pretty…

May 8, 2009

I went to the (perilously nearby) yarn “district” to buy some knitting needles today, and I found what I was looking for – but I also impulsively bought 4 skeins of yarn! They’re all different… A few I can chalk up to “research” for other projects I have in mind, but really I just bought them because they caught my eye.

In other news, the smoke is back, and lots of people I know are complaining of headaches and general malaise… The current conditions on my weather alerts even acknowledge it: “Smoky, 68 degrees.” I haven’t had time to find out why it’s back, I just know that I can feel it – and see it.

Searching

May 6, 2009

One of the adventures of living abroad is trying to figure out where to get something I need. Back in the States, whatever random item might occur to me, I usually have a pretty good idea what store – or what type of store, at least – would sell it. During my time here searches have been launched for envelopes, birthday cards, plain yogurt, meditation cushions, tortilla chips, and plenty of other things I can’t remember right now – and those searches have ended with varying degrees of success. A new search is about to be launched, as the long-handled lighter I use to light the stove (since the automatic “spark” button doesn’t work – I don’t think I’ve seen a single one in this country that does work) is running low on lighter fluid. At the supermarket today I bought matches, to avoid getting stuck without any way to light the stove, but I have no idea where to get lighter fluid. Supermarkets here often aren’t quite as all-encompassing in their stock as grocery stores back home; similarly, drugstores tend to be much more specific in what they carry. I also don’t know if they call lighter fluid by some other wacky name and not the rather literal liquido de encendedor that would be my first guess. My initial idea was to go back to the store where I bought the lighter (an independently owned grocery store near my old apartment – this type of store is called a chino here, because they’re pretty much exclusively run by Asians) and ask them. But first, I’ll take the Ask An Expert (Local) lifeline, when a bunch of Argentines come over for game night tonight.

The View from my Desk

May 4, 2009

As can happen all too easily in the work-at-home life, I didn’t leave the house today. But my work (currently editing a guidebook for Tucson and a book of unique Christmas traditions) allows me to make lots of interesting observations from my desk. Today found me checking out all kinds of random facts related to Leonardo DiCaprio, global warming, M&M’s, the State Department’s travel warning list, Choose Your Own Adventure books, Smokey the Bear, Corning, and the Escabrosa Grotto, among many others. I was just about to start the Restaurants chapter, but have to take a break for dinner first – I’ve learned it’s a special kind of torture to edit restaurant listings when I’m hungry!

Tierra Santa

May 1, 2009

I’ve been meaning to write about this since my friend Cate and I went there a few months ago – I was photography assistant while she took pix of the director for the cover of an amusement-park magazine in the States. I first heard about Tierra Santa soon after I arrived in Buenos Aires in 2007, as a lot of my traveler friends had been to check it out. I believe it’s the only religious theme park in the world, and pretty kitschy to boot (how could it not be?).

I’ll let the pictures on the site (click link above) speak for themselves… I’ll just add that where else in the world could I see The Resurrection three times in one day – and where said resurrection is accompanied by that famous song from Carmina Burana, and it’s canceled if it’s too windy? The concessions workers (and even the janitors) dress in period garb, and there are some cool sections devoted to different religious leaders, including Gandhi. All in all, a crazy unique place (with a director who wears tons of make-up and fishnets and high-heel sandals!).

Here’s my reward for being photography assistant:
AmyTierraSanta

El Día del Trabajador

May 1, 2009

How did I celebrate May Day (Worker’s Day)? I slept in, then headed out into the super-quiet city for lunch and happened upon a neighborhood restaurant serving up big bowls of locro (it’s that time of year again). Not the best I’ve ever had – no chorizo, lots of fat, no beans – and served with a salsa picante that hardly pica (“bites”), but enjoyable nonetheless. Sat in the warm fall sun and soaked up some rays… then it was time to get to work, which will carry me late into the night – no holiday for me!

Today…

April 30, 2009

I saw:
a guy wearing a shirt that said “F*** Milk – Drink Beer” (in English)
a horsedrawn cart
too many other things to name!

Inmigraciones

April 28, 2009

Yesterday I went to renew my visa at the immigration office, giving me a first-hand look at how it all unfolds. These processes make me appreciate so much more the struggles that people from other countries go through to be able to come to/stay/live in the U.S., and the relative ease of my experience with it here thus far is not something I take for granted. The 2 1/2 hours I spent waiting for various pieces to fall into place made for great people-watching (something I would have missed out on if I’d remembered to bring a book with me!). It is quite humbling to be one of just a handful of European-looking folks in a massive crowd of people filing various papers, paying fees, and trying to handle a foreign bureaucracy. For many of them, though, at least they have the added benefit of speaking the language – I don’t have any hard facts but suspect that the majority of immigrants are coming from Paraguay and Bolivia, and others from further afield in Latin America. I also saw some Brazilians, but the next biggest group after Spanish-speakers seemed to be Asians. The only real problem I encountered personally was discovering that the last stamp in my passport was placed on top of a strip of clear tape (apparently used when I had pages added to my passport), and some of the ink was rubbing off – making it hard to tell how long a stay I was granted and what date I entered. I had to go to another area where they verify and repair stamps, to get a printout and have someone notarize my entry stamp, basically, before I could get the renewal. No big deal, it just added about 30 minutes to the process. And, unfortunately, just a week ago the price to renew TRIPLED, so this was no longer a cheap endeavor (well, it’s all relative – still less than US$100). It would have been cheaper to go to Uruguay, if only I’d thought I had the time to do that this week.

Hot Spot

April 27, 2009

Today I went with two friends to a fancy Scandinavian restaurant that is supposed to serve a good brunch (a real rarity in this city). It did turn out to be quite tasty, with bagel-shaped bread even (they were good, but I’m not quite sure I can call them real bagels!), and yummy cocktails – I had a dill martini, particularly special in a city that doesn’t seem too big on martinis, and where it’s difficult to find fresh dill as well. On top of all that, I spotted Argentine-American musician Kevin Johansen there while we were waiting. I’ve seen him play a number of times and was sure it was him right away, even before I noticed the Argentines murmuring about him. He’s shorter and not as cute up close (isn’t that always the way?) and my friend noted how poorly behaved his daughter was, running around the tables and such – in general Argentines don’t seem to keep as tight a leash on their kids in restaurants and the like.