Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hot Cars and Jesus

So, yesterday we went here: - a place so ridiculous, so over the top and insane, that it doesn't even bear mocking. What's the fun, when the target's that big? A simple list of the facts will suffice: It is a religious theme park, sans rides. It features a light show and anamatronic mannequin performance of Jesus' birth backed by poorly edited snippets of Faure's Requiem. Its employees have to dress up in period garb. It is full of papier-mache (or terracotta? or something?) life-size dioramas of bible scenes, plus figures of folks like Gandhi and Martin Luther, just for kicks. Most of these statues feature a sort of simpering leer as their expression. There are snack shops, where one can purchase historically and geographically accurate foods suck as hummus, baba ganoush, and, uh, empanadas. And popcorn. Also, one of these snack shops is a bar. Oh, and every 20 minutes a GIANT FUCKING JESUS STATUE rises from one of the "mountains" to the strains of "aleluia", turns around, closes its eyes, tips its head back, and sinks down again. Yep.

It's like this, from my proud home state of CT, if it had never been abandoned:

I also wanted to post a picture of the bossest of all boss cars I have seen here. This monster sits on the corner of Costa Rica and Gurruchaga, and does not seem to move. I have never seen such an enormous back seat. I can imagine no use for a back seat such as this that is not unholy in the extreme.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Argentina switches tactics, deploys adorable toddler girls in the plot to kill me with cuteness

So I was sitting at the coffee shop I've adopted, diligently studying my Spanish, when this itty bitty girl, maybe 2 years old, toddled up to me clutching a Pooh bear. She said hi, smiled, and handed me her bear. I immediately suffered a heart attack and had to be revived with those zap machines like on ER. I admired her bear for a moment, and gave it back, upon which she wandered over to the guy next to me, gave him the bear, and jumped up and down. So. Unbelievably. Cute. One thing I've noticed is that children here are much more friendly and fearless than their North American counterparts - maybe they don't get "never ever talk to strangers" drilled into their heads from day one? Maybe they don't get lessons in shouting "this man is not my father!!"? Maybe they're just cooler? There seems to be more of a tendancy to admire kids and babies on the street, so maybe they just feel that it's their right to be as adorable as possible. I don't know, but I like it. Anyway, I wish I'd had my camera. The cuteness of the kid trumped any creepiness involved in taking pictures of someone else's kid.

Also, I was bullied in the nicest possible way into purchasing a leather bracelet I'll never wear by a fellow walking around selling them - after I politely declined he said he was going to make me a present, a good luck trinket, and whipped out this litte cross with a scroll thing out of wire right there, after which I would have felt like the worst Scrooge not dropping a couple bucks on a leather good. He also fashioned me a pair of wire earrings on the spot, which I do like and will wear, so I guess we both won out in the end. I'm an easy mark anyway you cut it, but I'm a fan of good-luck charms made of wire - I once gave a panhandler in New York a couple cigarettes 'cause I didn't have any change, and he gave me in return a tiny bicycle made of copper. "It's good luck" he said, "and good for the blood." Good enough for me - tiny bicycle! for the blood! wheee!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Nog! Nog! Nog! and other stuff.

Observe the gloopy wonder that is Argentinean heavy cream. Makes American whipping cream look like skim milk. And no, this isn't sour cream, or any kind of condiment - it's just thick, rich, nearly unpourable goodness. And with it, I made thick, rich, and eminently pourable eggnog, which we served to our lovely guests on Christmas. I like to think a good time was had by all, though at some point my brain shut off but like always, my mouth just kept going, so I'm certain I talked a ridiculous amount of shit and came up with ideas like "Hey! Let's go see if that nice waiter from downstairs wants to come up to our party!" The truth that things that seem like madcap and zany fun when drunk are actually obnoxious drunkard activities is one I should have absorbed long ago, but no. From now on, I'm going to write "IT WON'T BE FUNNY LATER" on my palms whenever I take to drinking. Perhaps a tattoo is in order.

Today, I met with an incredibly nice girl who writes a knitting blog here, and serves as an unofficial sherpa to people visiting the yarn district - her blog has attracted lots of travelers with yarn problems, like myself, and like the nice lady who took coffee with us today. I forgot my camera, naturally, but I will put up some photos of some yarn I bought recently, because I know how to bore and alienate my friends. Whatever, dudes, this is like 40 bucks worth of yarn. Scarves for everybody! Anyway, a total sweetie, and we were joined by a very nice lady celled Marcela, an Argentinean living in LA - very good times, and good for my knit-geek tendencies.

And in dog news, I made as if to pet a little sweet looking fellow who looked lost and sad, sitting in the doorway of a house - and leapt back in horror as he turned into a whirling, snapping flash of teeth and snarls. As it turns out, not every dog wants to be my friend. Sr. Opposite of Waffles, I am sorry that life has ruined petting for you. I am glad you did not bite me.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Farewell to Meats

So, we didn't go to the asado because we're idiots. The asado-having dude wrote down the date (three times, in fact) as "Viernes, Dec. 23rd" and YES I know Viernes means Friday, but Dec. 23rd was burned in my brain and then when I looked, I realized Friday was the 22nd, and we we missed the whole thing. Ah well. Perhaps he will grill meats at some other time, and invite us again. But what I did do Friday was reach a whole new level of assholery by going to a goddamn fancy spa and paying ladies to squeeze me in places I can't reach and apply things to my face in sequences I can't memorize. Turns out gay shit like that is WAY CHEAPER than in New York and also, that I love gay shit like that. So Megan and I went to Home, which is this fantastically frou-frou boutique hotel where, natch, the Bush whores stayed when they came here, and has a spa, and well, I emerged well-rubbed and facialized. Then I ruined it all by drinking a pile of insanely delicious girly minty drinks and then switching to bourbon when it got to be too much and finally just shoveling down a pile of empanadas and cigarettes and more bourbon and, well, today mama feels like she got hit by a truck. But we are having a little Christmas party down here on Christmas Day. I'm making eggnog (with cream that is 42% milkfat, eat it bitches) and John got this awesome little tree made of like plastic and rat turds which I will post pictures of, and one thing I like is that down here they don't assault you with Christmas crap everywhere and canned carols in all the stores and a fat man in a red suit on every corner looking to bad-touch your five year old and for that, I say hooray. Hooray!

Monday, December 18, 2006

In which Johnny makes a friend, and there is the prospect of grilled meats

Who says drinking doesn't pay off? John and I have been invited to an asado (grilled meat party, a barbeque basically) by this older poet fellow who holds court in a bar we frequent, said bar being the one where we were given coca leaves to chew. John spent some time time talking to a big dude of Native descent who made it very clear that he would kill anybody that fucked with us. This wasn't due to any particular awesomeness on our part, I don't think; they guy just had that spoiling for a fight glint in his eye. He also gave us a ride home, which ended with me, in full on jello-mold drunkie mcdrunkerton mode, mush-mouthing some sort of thanks and getting the exact response I deserved - "Yes. Yes. Get out of my car now." Not the first time I've heard it. Anyway, I'm excited about the asado. I'll be sure to bring the camera and regale you all with pictures of delicious grillitude.

In news less dripping with whiskey, we went to see a band called Massacre at the invitation of Moira and Agustin. Moira and Agustin: fun and awesome. Band: also fun and awesome. Thumbs up all around. No pictures to post, as I forgot my camera - that's why they call this blogging, not journalism. Nobody's tried to give me any dogs all week, though I did take a cab in which the cabbie had posted a sign for a Dobermann puppy for sale. Luckily the dog was not physically present, lest I have a Herr Waffles to add to the pile.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Argentinean Plot to Kill Me with Free Dogs

So Johnny and I took a little train ride up to Tigre today, which is outside the city and boasts an amusement park, which we did not visit, and a giant craft market, which we did. Upon typing the words "craft market" a fanny pack sprouted as if by the blackest of magic on my hip. Anyway, I was wandering around in kind of a retail haze after buying cheap earrings and things made out of sheep and then John said, "I probably shouldn't tell you this, but there are puppies over there." Yeah, nice work, Pastore. Not just puppies, a BASKET OF PUPPIES. That they were giving away for FREE. Why is Argentina trying to kill me? Sr. Waffles II, welcome to the dog pound in my heart.

On a non-dog related note, we went out Friday night with some friends of Ana, an Argentinean living in New York who had the unenviable task of trying to teach me Spanish before we came here. They were extremely great people and I hope we see them again. The experience also opened my eyes to a curious fact: while folks here do indeed, uh, rock it to the break of dawn - literally, the bars close as the sun comes up - they don't, for the most part, seem to get drunk. Walking home among clutches of revellers who, while boisterous, are not actually weaving or falling down is both weird and a bit shaming, to me, seeing as the only reason I never noticed nobody was drunk before is because I was too busy busting my knee on the sidewalk and trying not to walk into walls. Clearly, I am the sort of steady, responsible person who should be allowed to own a dog

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Mama said something about knocking you out, but I wasn't really paying attention, were you?

By far my most favorite thing about this boxing class is watching the guys greet each other with enthusiastic kisses on the cheek. I wish they did that shit at Gleason's. It would be a sight to behold. All in all, I appreciate the cheek-kiss thing they have going in this country. I'm kind of shy to initiate it, on accounta it's not automatic for me and what if I go the wrong way and kiss them full on the mouth or just whack them in the head with my forehead or something? - but I'm more than willing to accept it. But when I leave class I'm going with just saying "chau" and scooting, so I hope I'm not coming off as some don't-touch-me uptight type. Actually I think my "type" is more "hapless nincompoop who freezes like a deer in the headlights anytime anyone addresses her with the simplest of questions." It's pretty awesome, being a foreigner. Now I know how all those Korean chicks felt in my Vis-Com Core class in college. Tonight, I study verb conjugation.
Also, getting whapped with boxing gloves on a sunburn? It does not tickle. I think "I have a sunburn" is "tengo un quemadura del sol" or "estoy quemado" or "el maldito sol es mi ENMIGO, mira, mira, el piel es tan rojo y quemado, soy un monstre" but I didn't want to be some kind of, you know, pussy. But I'll be one here: owwwww.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Circus Drunk

What would happen if you stuck a clown in a blender? And maybe added some cotton candy, circus peanuts, and the wails of frightened children? Probably something like this. A shade of pink just one lighter than the ol' Pepto Bismol, it tastes JUST like this pink medicine I used to look forward to as a kid, and it's 28 motherfuckin' proof, y'all. I anticipate some ugly nights on this shit. I can already hear the organ-grinder. In every sense of those words.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Rock Lobster

We got us some bikes! Which means John feels human again and I'm back to tootling along behind him, hoping he won't forget I'm there and go full on bike commando. I am not so brave or so fast as John. Also, my bike is a total girl bike. It's turquoise and has big fat tires and a fucking BASKET and weighs about a billion pounds. I've come to love the basket. It makes me wish I had puppies to put in it. Ohhhh, Sr. Waffles!!

So anyway, we took our bikes up to a nature preserve and saw the river. There are all these boulders along the bank that are actually big chunks of a brick wall that have been rounded by time and weather and look awesome and weird. I angered a man selling french fries by giving him 2 2-peso notes for 2.50 purchase ("you don't have any change?" he asked me. No, dude, don't you??). Much fuss was made before I got my six quarters and I left feeling terrible. I did a completely half-ass job of putting on sunscreen, so my arms look like I should be in the Duran Duran "Rio" video. White hand splotches, streaks of lobster red. But dang, doesn't that just prove how good sunscreen is? I mean, the shit WORKS - where I did manage to put goo I'm as ghostly white as ever. Secretly, however, I am looking forward to peeling. And I hear melanoma's a party.

Saturday, December 2, 2006


There are lots - and lots and lots - of gyms here. Big gyms, little gyms. Fancy gyms, itty bitty janky-looking gyms. They're as common as bodegas in New York. However, I had a hell of a time finding one that offered boxing. "Aerobox?" No, sweet jesus no, not aerobox. "Quiero... golpear...cosas." Anyway, I finally did find a place about a 20 minute walk away and I can take boxing there 3 times a week and I am a happy, happy girl. Except this week, when I am miserable due to a rotten cold (the second goddamn time in a month I've been sick. Right before we left to come here my sister visited us and gifted me and John with some kind of stomach ebola. I turned into a one-woman vomit fountain, gasping and crying on the bathroom floor. Not that I blame my sister. Fucking whore.). My efforts on Thursday's class were lackluster, my wind was shot - all I could do was whack the bag around a little, and then step back and sort of gaze at it like I was hoping it would tell me to take a little break. And how is the class when I'm not begging to die? It's great. The teacher's a super tall dude with the semi-mullet a lot of fellas rock here. Lucky for me, much of boxing instruction can be done in pantomime. I feel a little rush of pride when I do something right and get a "biiieeeeen." The jumpropes are made out of some kind of industrial shipping cord with handles frayed into the edges. The other people are a real mix - some young, high-school age guys, a couple middle-aged tank-size guys, a couple nice-seeming office-type girls. Maybe someday I'll speak well enough to actually talk to some of them. Instead of, uh, TALKING WITH MY FISTS.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Rocking, or not rocking

Apparantly the kids like the garage rock down here. John and I went to a show a few nights back and saw what ended up being totally competent, fun rock - and even better, the second band had go-go dancers. There's a picture of this (and the tiny eggs and some other shit) here:

The club was full of the young, the attractive, and the impeccably styled (plus go-go dancers). I went to the can and heaved a sigh at my big old potato head. In other words, just like New York.

Also, we went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show, 'cause what the hell - I don't think anyone ever told these kids what you're sposta do at the RHPS, they all sat silent as the grave and watched politely. No shoutbacks, no toast, no waterguns. Lucky for me, I had left my Columbia outfit at home. But if you think watching the subtitles to the opening theme song didn't make me giggle, you are wrong. "Ciencia ficcion doble feature de madrugadas" or something like that. Let's do the Disturbance of Time again!

A trip to Chinatown

They have a Chinatown here. A delightful Chinatown, where you can get balls of squid on a sharp stick for about a dollar. Also, the grocery stores there sell peanut butter. Not that peanut butter is exactly Chinese, but maybe the conventional wisdom is that it's foreign, and therefore goes in the foreign section. We got two kinds, one that claimed to be "natural" and tasted like chalk and disappointment, and one that made no special claims and was perfectly serviceable. I've been missing the PB (or, PdeM, here. Pasta de Mani, in the Spanish). I'm quite pleased. We also got a couple dozen quail eggs, on account of their tininess. They taste really just like regular eggs, but so much more fun to make scrambles with!

The existence of a Chinatown here makes me wonder: if native Chinese speakers have enough trouble with English "r"s and "l"s, how do they navigate them in Spanish? I wanted to get somebody to say "perro," but it seemed kind of sadistic.

Speaking of perros, a few blocks outside C-Town in the semi-suburban section of Belgrano, some ASPCA type organization was giving away dogs. Sweet, adorable little dogs. I played with a little yellow puppy until John found me and led me back into Realityland, in which we A. cannot bring a dog back to the US and B. are not allowed dogs in our apartment even if we could and C. the dog was covered in tiny bumps and probably would have given us fleas or possibly leukemia. I of course had already named the puppy and now spend most of my time mourning poor Sr. Waffles. Oh, Sr. Waffles, I hope somebody else took you home. I actually had a dream about him the other night where just that very thing happened, and Sr. Waffles' new owner handed me a bag full of the bumps he'd had removed from the dog. I apologize, that's sort of gross, isn't it?

Now I'm that asshole

It was suggested to me by some folks that rather than send out random emails detailing my time down here, that I should start a blog. As it happens, I had to create a blogger account to get into some other blog and so, I figure, what the hell. Woohoo technology. At any rate, until I figure out how to post pictures I'm just going to link to my Flickr page, and you can all laugh, laugh, laugh at my technical ineptitude. Won't that be fun?

So, to recap: The first week or so here brought us adventures like chewing coca leaves with old men, learning the difference between a frutilla and a fresa, exploring the inadequacies of Argentinean napkins, and noting that sometimes, they sell televisions in the grocery stores (and blue jeans! and lots and lots of booze! But not sewing kits.). We also learned that my Spanish is useful mainly for confusing and angering people. What new things do I have to share with you? Stay, erm, tuned.

Also, seriously, fuck the Bush twins.