Posted by: Mo | March 20, 2011

Chile Willy

I tried to sit on the volcanic rock beach by the mountain lake yesterday, but the hornets kept getting all up in my ham. Just trying to eating a sandwich here, insects. And enjoy the scenery. Please let me make something of the day. Something like appreciation for the sights. I want to make some of that. And get off of my ham!

Pucon isn´t really my kind of place. Aside, of course, from the man walking around with a giant white tiger stuffed animal. I think I just might not be really into small towns. Or, I am into small towns, but not pretend small towns populated by fake swiss chalet type architecture. And crappy restaurants. Resort towns kind of blow. I can´t say that it´s not the “real Chile” because real live Chileans go here and love it, but it just lacks the kind of culture I like. Small towns have that feel of being totally confused, but surrounded by hospitable people you can´t talk to. And cities. Well cities suprise you with gifts like a man with Downs syndrome playing the recorder, midgets polishing shoes, and some yelling man tearing down branches from the park trees to form some weird hut. He was yelling in Spanish, possibly about who was to blame for his behavior or what he was passionate about. These are the moments when I´m most unhappy that I don´t speak Spanish. Chilean man in the sarong yelling Spanish at your branches, why do you yell? Alas, no entiendo. Even if I did speak Spanish, I might not understand. Prophet.

It´s not as though I haven´t given Pucon a chance. And I´ve by no means sufferred while I´m here. I´m just trying to pin point my likes and dislikes as I embark on the next leg of my trip: middle of the desert or coastal town? Middle of the desert will likely trap me and delve me further into my monomania, but is awe inspiring (???) and the coast has a day trip to see mummies. Oh yeah. And everything people have told me is amazing has been fine. Not everything, but people were lauding Pucon so heartily before I got here, I was sad I was staying here for only 3 days. Dear all those people, this place is like a goddamn Ricola wrapper. Is that really so impressive? I´m just a jerk. And am grumpy after getting totally duped on my first day. Not duped, but I hiked the day I arrived on my overnight bus. I of course didn´t sleep well, despite the fact that the man next to me didn´t smell good. And I got a free Peach juice box. So, I got in and decided I would do a hike and grossly overestimated how great of shape I´m in. A three plus hour vertical climb was not really what I´d bargained for. The vista of the three volcanoes at the top was impressive, but I guess I was hoping for something more. Like maybe a hot German or Swiss man in leiderhosen who wanted to carry me back down the hill. Because the descent was not any more fun than the ascent. The salamanders did their best sashay me into a good mood and the fluttering of the grasshopper´s legs was relaxing, but I still yelled Jesus Christ a number of times. I think I saw a bird doing a mating dance, but it failed to seduce me. So I´m hoping it´s just the species gap and not about his general performance. Because there was a lady (bird lady) in waiting.

But I´m really just upset because I wasted my ass swollen with lactic acid on going home and no night on the town. The cargo shorts just don´t do it justice. In vain. And also the realization that maybe I´m not as “outdoorsy” as I thought. I like hikes, but I guess I don´t like ones that go endlessly for an indeterminate mileage or amount of time. And maybe I don´t like it by myself. And I don´t like river rafting. I´d rather kayak on a lake or calm river. I don´t like bungee jumping. Or cliff jumping. I don´t like getting together with a group of random strangers and climbing up a glacier. I don´t know if this makes me lame or just my hanging out with myself is making me less inclined to tolerate people. I don´t think I like mountain biking either. I want a basket, sloping hills, a baguette and a bottle of wine during or after or in the middle of the bike ride. And the ability to come back and eat whatever I want. Not some weird, bland food or bread. Also, my projected image of South America was something akin to eating tropical fruit, beach, wine, and DANCING. I know diarrhea might be in there somewhere too, but it´s not my idealized version. I want to learn to samba. And then spend the night dancing samba. Not listening to Black Eyed Peas for the millionth time at some club drinking overpriced drinks. I´m not boob jobby enough to do this constantly. I´ll do it and it´s fun sometimes, but it´s a weird setting to describe as the “amazing” night life of a place. If you´re with the right people it makes all the difference and lately I´ve just been with myself.

And, don´t misunderstand me, I still make weird faces to crack myself up. Even though I can´t see myself, I know it´s fucking hilarious. And I say weird shit to myself and laugh. But I can never get myself to go to a club with myself. Myself is mostly too grumpy. Or too tired after a couple glasses of wine.

And when you´re woken up in the morning by your dorm mates doing what sounds like a dance routine with plastic bags, I guess being grumpy isn´t that surprising. But I´ll take plastic bags over smelly. The dorm mates I had in Santiago before I left for Pucon smelled so bad I had trouble sleeping. This sucks. And completely eclipsed how happy I was upon hearing a muzak version of “Wicked Game” whilst waiting at the Brazilian consulate to apply for my ridiculously expensive Brazilian visa. I better be getting some free samba lessons with it. That´s all I´m requiring. As long as they don´t find out I have “Puff the Magic Dragon” on my ipod I´ll be okay. I didn´t even know, Brazil. I know it´s fucked up.

So, if I only did one hike and one trip to the hot springs, what do I do to pass the time? I stare at things for extended periods of time. People, dogs, streets. I haven´t done much cloud staring or star gazing, but that will come. I think my favorite way to pass the time is come up with strange scavenger hunts. It begins with something specific I have to find. The way the stores work here is that items all have specific shops (favorite was the mannequin store district). There aren´t many all purpose stores. So, if you want lotion, you have to find a lotion store and then figure out the lotion you want on your skin. The other day I wanted face lotion. The task began. And through broken spanish, english, and hand motions, I bought something to put on my face. I have not broken out in hives yet, so I think each of us got the correct point across. And though my cargo shorts and wife beater may have communicated otherwise, I figured out how to get something more burato. It must be hard to believe I didn´t want $40 face lotion. My greasy hair must have betrayed different intentions. The vaccine was probably the most fun adventure so far. And given the small pox blankets they leave on the beds at the hostels here, I´m glad I´m up to date on all my vaccines. Am I the only one who can´t go into a public shower without flip flops on or handle a blanket that hasn´t been washed between uses? Barf. I´m getting nauseous just thinking about stepping my foot on that wet tile. Vomit. Or all that small pox I´m contracting. No wonder my lymph node was swollen and painful. It´s gone down now, now that I left that blanket behind. We´ll see if I get another one in Bolivia. If it´s a yellow fever blanket, yellow fever is going to be shit out of luck because I´m vaccinated. Take that fucker!

It´s sunny out and I´m surrounded by the Andes and mountain lakes, so I need to go and appreciate these things. I´m at least that outdoorsy. Then portugese flash cards. And, luckily my Spanish is so bad, it´s making confident enough to think I can at least achieve the lofty goal of the same proficiency in Portugese. Counting. Hello. I´m sorry. I´m really going to start blending in. Tan. Long hair. People are already stopping and asking me for directions. One glance at my deer in headlights look and they know what I´m thinking. I´m a master. Off I go. More adventures when I reach Bolivia. The biggest of which might be talking to other people for extended periods of time. Wish me luck!

Posted by: Mo | March 14, 2011

The endless pants problem

I wore the pants that I bought a size too big for me today. I seem to have no accurate concept of the amount of space I occupy. The size too big seemed like a good idea, “just in case” I say to myself. I´m not sure what the case is I´m preparing for. The case where I want to have extra room in my pants to feign an early stage pregnancy. That always comes in handy. They look terrible and the zipper either doesn´t work all that well, or holding together the extra bunching fabric is too much to ask, so they´re constantly coming unzipped. So I´m walking around Santiago continually zipping up my fly as though I´m having to take care of this perpetual boner I have for the city. But I don´t have a boner for the city. Not anymore. But it´s cold and overcast so I´m forced to wear these damn pants.

I´ve sent out the emails to a few of you, so sorry for the repeat, but I got a knife pulled on me yesterday (and maybe this is stupid to share, but it happened while I was here. This isn´t a point of bragging, trust me. I would happily do body shots on the bar for proper bragging rights). I say “knife” but this is rather generous. More of a rusty half of a scissor, but it probably could have stabbed with enough force. Maybe this description wasn´t completely accurate, but the screaming sort of took over the observation of weapon. Apparently I didn´t have the fancy robber willing to at least have a sharp knife to painlessly jab into me. Nope, I get the rusty dull one. I´ve heard this is the common theme. No one wants to waste the good knife on a gringo midsection. It all ended okay. I was a little shaken up, but my scream scared him off. It was much lower than I expected, so maybe that was more of the surprise than anything. But I don´t know that adults really give that high pitched horror movie scream. Kids do, certainly. That dog whistle pitch. But maybe all the cynicism has shattered that first soprano dream for me. Who knows. I´m happy I´m unscathed and as I prepare for my trip to Bolivia and Brazil, I can only hope this was an isolated incident with desperation. Fingers crossed.

Unsuccessfully tried to apply for a visa today. The consulate only takes 10 people on Tuesday only between 10 and 1130. South America doesn´t seem much for transparency. I looked countless places to find hours for applying to no avail. So I woke up early, just to get failure in as soon as possible. He was at least nice about it. And the Brazilian embassy was even more helpful in directing me to the right place, so let´s hope they´re not grumpy tomorrow. And that I can get it and get the hell out of here. I´ve spent so much time here for a city without much going on. My love of sun has warped my sense of time. That and finding whole wheat bread today. I´m pathetic. “What did you like about the city?” The whole wheat bread. Amazing. They really knew how to keep their grains whole there. No sign of quinoa yet, for all the talk of how this is some Incan treasure grain. Maybe further north, but I get the feeling this was one of those ploys. Like returning to the hunter gatherer diet like its the healthiest thing to happen to this generation. Quinoa! It´s a miracle! I´m not bitter, despite the tone, I just find it interesting the things we associate with a place aren´t as accurately representative as never visiting there would suggest.

So what else is new? I had all these details I was going to write about the city and have since forgot. I managed to fulfill the goals of seeing some museums and finally getting that coconut gelato. My only other things to tick off are drinking carmenere and getting this damn visa. Brazil, cmon. I will show my cheeks with the best of them. If you would like me to promise flights of stairs in the meantime just to guarantee my cheeks look perfect in that tiny bikini, I will oblige. I´ve got nothing but time. The lack of oxygen in La Paz may complicate exercise, but Brazil, I will do this for you. I love you and want your beaches. But I´m not using you. We´ll get a long. I promise and you better promise. Chile tried to stick me with some rusty scissors, so I need a friend.

One thing I´m struck by in walking the streets that makes me endlessly happy is that there isn´t a generation gap of people. What am I trying to say? Ín Cambodia, as a result of the despotic regime and Civil war was missing a whole age group of men. Just non existent. A couple of really old ones and then mostly younger ones that had been small children during the whole affair. It was eerie. But. despite Pinochet and all the strife, there is still a broader spectrum. I should look up more about Pinochet. Not surprisingly we learned less about this in school.

A huge difference from back home is the service system. Nearly everywhere you have to grab a number, wait for the number to be called, the person helps you and then you go to another station to pay. Or, you tell the station what you want, pay, get a ticket and then go to the counter for what you want. It´s bizarre coming from a land of fairly orderly lines. Yesterday I went to buy a bottle of water. This scenario was as follows: bottle of water taken from refrigerator, give to man, man takes behind counter, I go to the pay window on the other side of the store, pay, get a ticket and hand to a different man who now has the bottle of water. Maybe this is efficient in some respect. Seeing how people queue here, I´m sure that it is. Maybe I´ve already talked about this, I can´t remember. I´m just always taken by it. I went to get gelato. I go to the ticket area, pay, get a ticket and then walk six inches to the ice cream counter, hand the ticket and say what I want.

This was supposed to be a reflection piece, but I´ve already been at the computer for a while and feeling less creative. I was reading this piece in Kundera about this parade from ancient folklore that was held as a necessary tradition in the city. But, the streets weren´t closed off so it was relegated to weaving through traffic and drunken residents. Hardly a glorious tradition and more of a spectacle. I guess this was resonating with me today as I started to wonder what kind of things I´m going to shed back home. What do I really think is necessary and what was I just upholding as some sort of ridiculous tradition? Something I continued to maintain out of comfort or the knowledge that I had always done it that way. I don´t really know. It´s hard to hypothesize when I´m away. I don´t have any of those things, except the friendships and I´m not so keen to shed those. Obviously. Love you guys. But, as I began the cast aside with books and clothes, I have to wonder what patterns I´m going to fall back into at home. It´s so far away, it really doesn´t matter, but the quote was making me think of this suddenly. I can´t help but acknowledge that, just like everyone else, there´s a certain amount of facade and posturing upheld out of some sort of tradition in my life. Or as familiarity and stability. Something. I know what some of these things are. The physical is easy to recognize, but it´s the patterns of behavior that I´m more perplexed by. I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about patterns of behavior and it was strange to abstract myself from it here. The things I do and choices I make, relation styles I uphold that are somewhat destructive. Or at least not constructive. For what? Who knows, but how to get outside of it? How do you change things so deeply rooted? Work on it. Obviously. I don´t know if I´m doing that here. But maybe I´m laying the foundation for something back home. Maybe I won´t have to escape anymore. Won´t feel that necessity to have an exit strategy for every place I´m at. Maybe stability will stop making me feel so claustrophobic. HA! I think I´m still a free spirit. Whatever that means coming from an ex Chipendale dancer come lamborghini owning venture capitalist.

Oh, had I not mentioned him before? W.O.W. And somehow set his eyes on me. And thought that I would be interested in that kind of sleeves cut off pin striped pant, show me the picture of your car within minutes of meeting me skeez. I must have said something about it. Maybe I tried to keep the tidbit of him being an ex Chippendale dancer too close to my heart. I didn´t want anyone else to have it. But I´ll share now. Smile.

I need to get out of internet cafes. Ugh. The lack of sun has refused to let me work on a tan so I keep sitting at a computer. I didn´t sleep well last night so I blame that.

Off I go. Hopefully I´ll have some more safe excitement in store. I´ve been lulled into staying in this city for longer than I would have expected.

xoxox

Posted by: Mo | March 10, 2011

Daily Reading

“Do stories apart from happening, being, have something to say? For all my skepticism, some trace of irrational superstition did survive in me, the strange conviction, for example, that everything in life that happens to me also has a sense, that it means something, that life speaks to us about itself through its story, that it gradually reveals a secret, that it takes the form of a rebus whose message must be deciphered, that the stories we live comprise the mythology of our lives and in that mythology lies the key to truth and mystery. Is it an illusion? Possibly every probably, but I can´t rid myself of the need continually to decipher my own life.”

Posted by: Mo | March 10, 2011

Chile is for Lovers

Nothing like stepping out and starting the day to the smell of hot
fish garbage. Triumph! And when I say “fish garbage” I don´t mean
garbage fish would throw away. Hot garbage mixed with the scraps of
rejected fish bits. Must be garbage day. Or my LUCKY one.

Yesterday was nicely punctuated by pouring molten passionfruit lip
gloss all over my upper body. Remarkably idiotic. Really should have
realized it would not be solid considering how scorchingly hot the
material on my canvas bag was. But, I was sun stoned, so I will take
no responsibility. Trying to apply chapstick under the influence,
things can only go awry. Unfortunately no one was impressed. Or at
least if they were, did not stand up applauding, lauding my
intelligence. I was forced to laugh at myself, by myself. Or, with
people around who decided not to partake in the laugh opportunity.
Their loss.

The day before was my solid realization of the solid jam party that is
Chile or South America in general. Can I get a medley? I will take
one. I do not want to hear more than fifteen seconds of a song.
Unless, of course, I am cooking and then I want to hear Pump up the
Jam followed by Rhythym is a Dancer. Because when I chop vegetables, I want flair, I want enthusiasm. That squash has never felt a love like mine. At that time. At that jam. This triumph carried over to my first pisco sour. The restaurant was huge and probably the place where rich assholes hang out, but there was a couple making out in the middle of the restaurant, so I figured it was the place for me. I need no other criteria. That and shelves full of booze. And the medley. Jennifer Lopez began the hits, to be followed by Christina Aguilera, both seductively serenading me into the clutches of the dance floor. That didnt exist, but I think my ass moved slightly on the bar stool. Rhythymically. Next, Lady in Red, Love Hurts, I want to know what love is, Bad Boys, Is this love?, Rock me Amadeus, Tell it to my heart and even a little Tina Turner. I am drinking alone at a bar, rum in hand listening to pathetic love songs. I look cool.

As I was walking around yesterday, I came to the realization that I
can sincerely say that the t shirt or tank top with the bottom pulled
through the neck to create a make shift bra top paired with some cut
off shorts, pockets hanging out the bottom, top of the shorts cut off
is one of my favorite outfits to see. Always a squeal of glee follows.
And I am being sincere. I will admit this appreciation is along the
same vein as loving seeing a homeless man wearing a dress composed
entirely of inflated balloons, but that shouldnt diminish anything.
Keep doing what youre doing. Really. And get a danglier belly button
stud while youre at it. Heaven. I really fucked up when I was planning
my outfits here. GAAAAAAW. And by that I of course mean the lack of a dress made from inflatable balloons. So hard to pack, takes up too
much space.

I saw a really fat pigeon the other day in the park. Like hobbling
under the weight of its own corpulence. Too many completos. This scene was brilliantly set by the dog shit breeze blowing through at sunset. Romance. I fell in love with myself. I held my hand. I promised myself Id try harder, Id do better next time. Sparks flew, the dog shit dissipated in the air.

I wanted to start off this whole entry with the sweeping platitude
that ¨”Santiago is a city of contrasts,” but Im not working on a
documentary and also thats an incredibly stupid thing to say. Wait,
not homogenous? Que? The cathedrals abound. Endless bookshops with Catholic/Jesus paraphenalia. The bibles stare back, promising
salvation or more commonly, certainty. And Chilean Catholicism does it
right. Or macabre. The death of the body has never seemed such a
terrible fate as it does when projected on the bodies of impaled
martyrs or a crucified Christ. Striving for the soul´s salvation
suddenly makes perfect sense. But then matters are complicated because I turn the corner to find a sex shop. On so many city blocks. Now to choose: the pink, ruffled, be ribboned bra with the whip and tiny heels with the feather puff or drink the holy water. If I look at the
copious numbers of Chileans making out in any space they can fit two
bodies (the grass median in the middle of the road has been a favorite
to see), the feather boaed shoes is the choice to make. Maybe thats
why I keep seeing so many babies. And I say “fit two bodies” but this
isnt meant to connote a desire for privacy. Most of the time its just
out in the open. Really sucking face. This is a moisture filled love.
Ive never seen such passionate, ubiquitous PDA in any country so far
in my life. I dont hang out with teenagers much though. Chile is for
Lovers. Or just spit swappers. I try to participate by spitting up in
the air and catching it. This isnt nearly as romantic. And Im also
lying. Oh well. Remember doing the pretend make out enactment? Where you cross your arms and reach them around your back and rub them up and down like they are someone elses arms. And then move your head like youre kissing. That was tight. I squeeze into corners and do this. Just to capture the spirit of Chile.

And the final note is that the sun never seems to set on the miniature
poodle empire. Ive yet to find a corner of the world where these
fuckers arent mincing about. The jellyfish of the dog world. Everywhere.

Im now off to try and get a Brazilian visa. I need a printer though.
And drive. I will manage these things. Wish me luck.

xx

Posted by: Mo | March 8, 2011

Mendoza

The wine tour was a war against nature. The final battlefield was
strewn with casualties, bodies marked with burgundy stains. The
ditches ran magenta as the inevitable expectorations betrayed the
overindulgence of tired, sun soaked bodies. It was a grotesque
tableau. I can only imagine what the owners of the winery were
thinking. I was among the unfortunate victims of bacchus´s brew,
thrown down in the field, eyes close, arms raised in some perverse
prayer to some deity to get me back to the hostel. To save some of my
guts from being turned inside out anymore. Rose! You dirty dog! Tempt
me, get inside me, only to betray me. Torture and tear me apart.

Apparently you were jealous the steak got there first. Maybe if bread
had been there too, you would have realized it was a party and behaved
in front of the other guests. But no, like a jealous child you
misbehaved an d here I am, pale puking magenta on some red dirt ditch
in some winery village at the foot of the Andes mountains. My rented
bike sits away, having head enough of my antics for the day.

My original thought had been that Mendoza would be my affair with some
class. A desert city, wineries, malbec. How could that be corrupted?
Partners in crime and delicious bottles of wine that only cost $3. Not
to mention all the free glasses. Ruination. If I only had a job at the
post office, I could have put Bukowski´s LA romp to shame.

I suppose if I´m not going to catch yellow fever (which I´m not sure
I´ve escaped yet, more later) I may as well catch the old Rock and
Roll disease. Time has been suspended, apart from the ubiquitous Black
Eyed peas, the affordability of copious amount of alcohol and drugs
and the lack of coverage on the skin could easily cause one to harken
back to an idealized time one wasn´t old enough to experience. Except
on live album covers. So, I will do my best not to aspirate my vomit
and relegate it to rural ditches. Or shared toilets.

The bus to Chile was one of chico leg room. I knew eventually I´d be
resting my chin on my knees, but I was still hoping it wouldn´t
happen. Especially not for what turned out to be an 11 hour bus ride.
And while 5 hours at the border was hardly ideal, the ride through the
Andes was incredible. Upon getting to the Chilean side, I realized I´d
only seen cultivated cacti in my life, none growing in the wilds. And
the mountains were somehow purple, yellow, orange, green, blue. The
most vivid I´ve seen. I can hardly believe these colors were possible
on some rocks. Somehow this managed to quell the persistent panic I
was seized with in entering the endless tunnels through the mountains.
How long does this go for? Holy fuck! I´m going to be trapped in the
Andes! Bagh. I didn´t, made it up to 10,000 feet, crossing the border,
suffering through the good ol Argentinian double queue. Oh, and the
bus toilet spraying all over my leg when i tried to flush the previous
patron´s flush. Perfect. I´m already miserable, as I´m feeling like
I´m coming down with something. Just add some used toilet water. So
that´s why they didnt flush.

If I can make one suggestion to either the Chilean or Argentinian
government it would be more than one person on each side to do all the
paperwork for the buses going through. Wow. Line up, finally get
through one line, only to be shown over to the other snaking line. I
might lose it.

I make it over and the first city is gorgeous. Brightly painted
houses, vineyards, terrace spilling with flowers. WOW. I´m feeling
okay with Chile. Despite the government trying to get me down. And I
must mention the added bonus that overland travel means you don´t have
to pay the $135 US cash to enter the country. So I guess my time was
worth at least $30 an hour. Not so bad. And arrive at the bus station
where they use whistle signals and neon vests to direct the chaos of
buses in the station. Rad.

And so today was my first day. I´m a little out of it, but figured I
should update. The morning started with some dorm mates packing up and
having loud conversations, which is always marvelous. It fortunately
woke me up early enough to puke up my stomach in the shared bathroom.
I´m sure the ladies brushing their teeth were impressed.

So far, I´ve only laid in the sun, so I haven´t been bombarded with
dangers. But the water spouts don´t have the “Dont scald your baby”
setting, so I´m sure I´ll fall victim to that again before I leave.
But better that than the Chilean brown recluse. And whatever I´ve come
down with lately. But I´ll ameliorate and maybe move onto the surf
town Pichilemu next. Must go to the grocery store now that I have
pesos.

More soon when my brain doesn´t feel like it´s pressing against my skull.

Posted by: Mo | March 8, 2011

Today’s reading

“Sadness over the sudden realization that there was nothing exceptional about what I had been through, that I had not chosen it out of excess or caprice or an obsessive desire to know and experience everything (the sublime and the despicable), that it had simply become the fundamental and customary condition of my existence. That it precisely defined the range of my opportunities, that it accurately depicted the horizon of my love life from then on. That it was an expression not of my freedom (as I might have seen it, say, a year earlier), but of my submission, my limitation, my condemnation. And I felt fear. Fear of that bleak horizon, fear of that destiny. I felt my soul shriveling. I felt it retreating, and I was frightened by the thought that it could not escape its encirclement.”

Posted by: Mo | March 8, 2011

Puppy love ain’t that grand

Today I was lightly mauled by the hostel puppy. So cute, right. That was a question, but I can’t figure out the keyboard. I think it was a hound variety. Not because it looks at all like one, but because it persisted in attacking the girls in bikinis. And only attacked me after I tried to unlace in order to minimize the tan lines. People may have seen the lady bits today. Damn puppy. My arm is scratched to shit from those puppy needles known as teeth. I didn’t think it hurt that much at the time, but maybe I’m a masochist. And laying in the sun by the pool wasn’t enough torture for myself for the day. I’m easily going to get sucked into a routine of nothing here. Just sun and reading. And vegetables. I forgive myself though because I’m not drinking heavily. So that’s cool. This can be a question if you want to read it that way. I don’t know what it was.

Mainly I’m trying to decide the next destination. I think I want one more place in Chile before I head to the Northern Desert. I’m getting my detox I kept saying I needed though. Even as I’m wanting to go out and get smashed on pisco sours. Might have to be a day field trip. The way to rehydrate after a long day pool side.

Anyway, I should go to bed in the lovely dorms and wait for the puppy bit infections to stew. Give it a night.

Posted by: Mo | March 4, 2011

Feeling sick and not being able to sleep in a foreign country when you´re staying in dorms is a terrible feeling. ick. Save me please.

Posted by: Mo | February 27, 2011

2 weeks in

Today was an eventful, leisurely Sunday stroll seldom met with any successes I had planned. I was attempting to get a yellow fever vaccine, but the hospital is pretty much closed on Sunday, so I was shit out of luck. I was lucky enough to come across a huge mess of blood with a blood soaked rag acting as the volcano of gore erupting out of the sea of macabre all over the sidewalk. I nearly vomited. Surprisingly soon after was a stretched out (I can only assume this means used, but refused further investigation) condom strewn across the bricks. I´m hoping the two aren´t related. Bad things rarely happen when you actually use a condom, its the converse that seems to cause all the trouble.

This all left me more than prepared for the homeless woman cleaning out her comb in the park. It was a nice juxtaposition with the manicured, verdant slopes and stone statues of heroes looking over the pedestrians and loiterers enjoying the warm summer day. But, it´s really the little things that count. Like not spotting her cleaning her tooth brush or taking a shit. The little things.

Today has mostly been a hot sweaty walk around the city. I would like a beer and some watermelon. I just brushed my teeth with a healthy ratio of toothpaste to sunscreen. This was not intentional, but I soon discovered when I started just brushing away that the sunscreen that I had seen leaking all over the ziploc bag had managed to start hanging out with my toothbrush. The sunscreen taste is still in my mouth. I guess this is just proof that it is nearly waterproof because it has certainly coated my mouth and no amount of moisture that my mouth wants to produce is getting rid of it. Maybe I should just brush my teeth to get rid of it. Nope! Can´t! That just means more sunscreen taste. I can´t really wash a toothbrush, so I guess I buy a new one? Or just keep it and cultivate my martyr complex.

Two important things I did see and or learned today was a dog sitting in a chair with its owners enjoying life with a whole liter of beer sitting right in front of it. Little teddy bear dog buddy with a beer. Nice. Also, it seems that no one in Argentina thinks I´m pregnant. Or they do and just say it in Spanish. Everywhere I went in Asia, people asked me if I was pregnant. Doesn´t do much for the self esteem, unless I want to focus on the glow that I was emanating. Possibly. Pregnant glow. Generally the population is a wider mix of larger and smaller, not just a whole population of impossibly thin, no cellulite beauties. Still many beautiful people though. Hot damn. Just not on the beaches of Mar Del Plata. The Florida of Argentina (the retired par).

The last few weeks have been adventures in meat. It all began in Mar Del Plata when I bought some for a sandwich and after finishing it was immediately struck with the fear that I just ate a pack of raw meat. The texture didn´t seem raw, did it? Did that really say pancetta? I guess I´ll just have to see if I get sick. So, I waited. I didn´t get sick, which either means I ate a packet of raw meat and didn´t get sick or it wasn´t raw. But despite this initial fear, I still frequently find myself walking around with ham in my purse.

It´s ham that I purchase at a grocery store. And I´m taking it home. It´s not just a ham snack I carry around the whole city with me. Waiting, just waiting for that ham to get about arm pit temperature before I let myself enjoy it. Oh, sweet arm pit temp ham. I must be in a city with Spanish Heritage.

We can all breath a sigh of relief because my waterbottle doesn´t have much water to spill in my lap again. I saved that fun for earlier today. But, what´s travelling if not walking around looking like you peed your pants?

The other day I also went to the Recoleta cemetary. This was after a series of mishaps on the Subway. For some reason I continued to miss my transfer. It was really hot and stuffy down in the subway, which I didn´t expect. The A line does have old beautiful cars though. Wooden. Lamps lighting it. It would be romantic if my arm pits weren´t sweating and the ambient smell wasn´t hot vagina. But maybe that´s really what love is. And romance should accept it in all its awkward sweaty glory. The amount of anxiety alone attached to love would hardly call for such a dessicated version of love. One where people ride in old wood train cars, while wind gently ruffles their perfectly coiffed hair. Their armpits are perfumed, the lights flicker in and out, creating a candle light effect to soften the lines of each lover´s face. Because how can we have harshness in this love free of moisture? There aren´t even tears of joy, but somehow their eyes blink and the eye lids don´t stick to their eyeballs. Wait, as long as we´re being idealistic and unrealistic, who needs blinking in this kind of love? It will only get in the way of each lover´s gaze. There is no time for blinking with this kind of love. This moistureless, perfumed, perfect love. Oh, subway car, just take me away…

Walking around has also led to the discovery as such things as LITER beer coozies. Keep that shit icey. I think that´s what the sign said. Kind of like how the shirt that girl was wearing today did not say “Fuck the Cock” on second glance. Ah ha! That “l” is important. “Fuck the clock.” Sure. I could do that. I mean, I barely use one now. Every once in a while I know what time it is. The store called,¨”Class Express” continued to prove that not only is there no quicker option for acquiring class, it still can´t be bought. I think this as I´m sitting in a plaza surrounded by pigeons eating some mysterious crumb crap. They all have normal looking feet, 3 toes and none of those deformed stump feet they have back home. So, what I´m trying to say is that they are classy pigeons. Must be European descent.

What else have I done? Night clubs, saw the sun rise twice so far. The first time I saw it rise and then set. Up for about 40 hours. I looked REALLY good, don´t worry.

Oh, yeah. I went to a futbol match the other day. The game was okay, but the fans were fun. The man next to me kept yelling various curses in Spanish and the singing during the game was hilarious and exhilarating. If I hadn´t been tricked by the hostel into thinking the game started around 7 instead of 930, I would have been more energetic and less starved. I didn´t bring much money with me so I couldn´t get either drunk or full to alleviate the hunger feeling. Sigh. I survived though. And so far no infection in my feet from walking through the water from an unknown origin. It was the end of the game, so I can only assume it was mountain spring water and not the overflow of toilets. Keep it up feet, just keep that healthy feeling up.

It´s 730 and I want to take a moment to sit in the park before the sun sets. Red rocks border fountains and manicured lawns. Over looking this is a massive stone Congress building. Absolutely gorgeous. This city is beautiful. Tomorrow I head for Mendoza. So, fingers crossed I don´t injure myself falling off my bike wasted whilst touring wineries. I´m sure there is more I should share, but I want a beer and the paint peeling of the walls of this weird internet cafe isn´t putting me in the mood for a long visit.

Posted by: Mo | February 18, 2011

Argentina Impressions, part Uno

… And the Fernet flows like wine….

I´ve already developed a reputation in my hostel with the Argentinians for my neat drinking of Fernet. What have you done to me, Seattle? How are we so well acquainted with this spirit while no one else I run into seems to have even heard of it, let alone drank of its herbaceous ass kicking.

It´s raining today and I´m in a beach town, so it seems the perfect opportunity to update my blog. Or, rather start the blog for Argentina. I´ve sent out a few emails detailing the first few days, but why not share with the world? Please excuse the fucked up symbols interjected into my post, as I find the keyboard in Castelleno is not always quite the same as what I need. I think I fixed it, but also, fuck it, I’m not in school or a professional. I’m a bum, so I’ve got no standards to meet.

The rain isn’t doing much for the dog shit on the sidewalks. Other than the massive western and eastern expansion, maybe even a little Southern expansion; the true conquistador of the South American sidewalks, occurring right now on the pavement. Just spreading its parasitic mission all over the sidewalks. Sure, take a little more of the space, what do the rest of us need it for? Serves us right for thinking the dropping of you was the end of your mission. It´s only the beginning, at least as long as the rain continues to w(h)et your Manifest Destiny. Let´s hope for sun tomorrow, not only because I´m trying to up my vitamin D and thinly disguise my non purpose with a purpose (sun tan), but also because I´m wearing sandals and barely passed unscathed. If I hadn´t already survived walking through murky knee deep water outside of dirty Cambodian streets, I´d be concerned I´d come down with an infection as I accidentally slosh through puddles in the streets. Let´s hear it for not trimming my toe nails to short and leaving open sores on my feet! Right?! Thanks for all the grooming tips Cosmopolitan, and you thought I was just reading you for the sex tips. Oh, and the how to starve while eating so it doesn´t seem like you´re starving yourself. I think the title was actually ¨how to feel satisfied with less.” Sort of an ironic topic for a fashion magazine, but I´ll let it slide because why would I waste my time intellectualizing Cosmo?

“Taking freedom to mean the increase and prompt satisfaction of needs, they distort their own nature, for they generate many meaningless and foolish desires, habits, and the most absurd fancies in themselves. They live only for mutual envy, for pleasure seeking and self display.”

Thanks Dostoevsky.

I was able to fulfill my life long hobby of riding on busses in a short dress and bikini with absolutely no purpose yesterday. Hopped on the bus, paid, and then proceeded to just sit for the duration of the journey until it returned to the spot I had picked it up at. It was only an hour or so later, why else would I ride the bus? Oh, you want me to pay again? But I never got off, I´ve just been sitting here while you stare at me wondering what the fuck I´m doing. Gaw.

I did have a purpose. I just lied. I do love wearing short dresses on busses though. Something about sitting on that plastic seat and then having to rip my ass off the plastic after the warmth of my body has sealed itself to the synthetic substance in some perverse marriage really just keeps me coming back for more. I can´t stop. I´ve been ripping my ass skin off all sorts of seats here so far. Some have been chairs to be accurate, but I´ve just been ripping away. I don´t know if this is a great way of reducing my ass size, but we shall see, won´t we, disbelievers?

So the purpose was the head to another, dreamy fabled beach to the south of the super crowded one the hostel is by. The directions were so simple: just hop on the bus and go past the light house and you´ll be there. It´s a ways so you may think you´ve gone too far, but you haven´t. Great. Simple. I got on the right bus, but I just so happened to choose the wrong direction. Heading North isn´t a great way to get to a “South Beach.” I didn´t know I had to pay that much attention. So I rode and I rode and never saw a lighthouse so I panicked a bit and decided I should not leave the safety of the bus as I got into a more rural area with no marked stops and no busses coming in the other direction to hail. So I stayed on, the bus went through the neighboring town and started to back track. And then he asked me to pay again. Apparently this endless ride wasn´t free. For an extra dollar I´m not going to question whether it was just to make me pay again though.

I made it back to the crowded beach and maneuvered a spot betwixt a family and an older sun bathing couple, one of which was wearing a thong bikini bottom. The “one” was female and despite her age still was getting Brazilians. And yes, I observed that and yes I´m sharing with the world that I observed that, but I´m travelling by myself so I get to be a goddamn creep. I´m sharing mixed dorms with people and have been on perfect behavior so I don´t feel bad about these slip ups.

I went out with some people the other night to a club. After the hostel owners poured me almost a cup of Fernet, but somehow I wasn´t drunk enough. Or at least jacked up on caffeine or illegal substances for the experience. I still wanted some goddamn hip hop, but whatever. And as an aside, why is it that when someone learns you can drink come of this high alcohol amaros or herbal liquors do they think more is better. Sometimes I just want a shot´s worth of Chartreuse, not a cup, that gets a bit intense, wouldn´t you say? But I´m not complaining, just an observation. Also, my toe is having twinges of stinging so I´m now worried that maybe I spoke too soon in saying that I would suffer no infections. But it´s strange that Fernet is so goddamn popular here. I realize that there is a huge Italian presence, but really? Cynar and Fernet everywhere I go. And huge liter bottles of Cynar for maybe $3. And huge bottles of Cachaca for maybe $6. Damn.

So the club did not play hip hop. I was wearing one of those outfits that I think is totally covering up the fact that I´m travelling and looks muy fashionable, but doesn´t. One look in the mirror gives away the fact that the outfit does not work and my hair looks really greasy and needs to be washed. Oh well, I´ll never see them again. And I also didn´t realize that I was going to have to be so fucking fashionable here. I´ve got my life on my back, I didn´t really think of anything beyond necessity. Now I have to fit frivolity in there too? Goddamn. There is a projection screen showing looped videos of The Police for some reason. The giant young face of Sting keeps showing up, but is not inspiring me to have any more fun. There is also a group of guys who are wearing pastels and sweaters tied around their shoulders. I have NO idea. But apparently sweaters are really big on mar del Plata. I´ve seen several shops devoted to just sweaters. I just passed one with fancy beaded sweaters on my way to walk on the beach in the rain. Sweaters, who knew? Sweaters and no topless beach, I am disappointed. Cover those breasts in fuzz ladies, do not let them be kissed by the sun. Maybe I´ll have to wait until Brazil. I think this will happen, but I´m not sure when as my itinerary has now expanded to include the Altacama Desert in Northern Chile with a cross over into Bolivia to reach La Paz. I figure why back track when I can have a miserable bus trip across a high altitude desert?

Right?

But it will be beautiful and with any luck, the buses will continue to take into account the fact that there are members of the population who are over 5´2″. Asia was not so forgiving. So I figure if I can suffer an 18 hour bus ride on a local Laotian bus with absolutely no leg room, nothing but a metal bar to sit on and have grind into my ass flesh as we curve through endless twists and turns in the highlands, I can probably survive at least that to Bolivia. The trip couldn´t be too much longer than that???? I´ll pack myself some biscuits as a distraction. I don´t know, we shall see. But getting a Brazilian visa is easier in La Paz, so I might try for it there and jet over to Rio. Dusty and sick from altitude.

But so far my main impression of the beach is that I want more of the Argentinians cops in short shorts. Could we get some hot cops on the beach please? You´re already gorgeous, get those goddamn gams out, gentleman. I will ogle in the most discreet way possible, I promise. Or you could whisk me away and we could drink Fernet and save me from sitting in my hostel and staring at people another night. Having dorm rooms makes interaction awkward. Not that anyone there is bad, but there´s that weird tension of how many times you have to acknowledge the person and engage small talk when you keep running into them over and over again. Are they not saying “Hola” because they´re sick of seeing me or are we both implicitly agreeing that this is not necessary for the 7th time today? Am I a bitch for not alway engaging conversation? Who knows. Maybe if I could get a couple nights of good sleep, I could have more of a personality. I´m unfortunately growing real comfortable with not talking, so that could be hard. I better book a social hostel and quit saying I need to chill out. I cracked some jokes to myself in the mirror today, so I think that´s a good sign. I´ve still got it! Still crazy and able to make myself laugh! Quit being a goddamn mope and have a shot of Fernet while you´re at it. Maybe mope is the wrong word. Quit being a goddamn mime is likely more apt.

But while we´re on the subject. Mime? This could be interesting. People can´t hate mimes. Or they do and beat them up, so maybe I won´t do that. I´m getting good at charades as I keep going to shops and places buying things. I might buy some shit in Buenos Aires and send it back to myself. AMAZING shoes and dresses for way too cheap to resist. Cheap I mean $40 for amazing shoes and one of a kind local designer dresses are $80. This is not SE Asia cheap, but I guess that´s the price I pay for the jaw dropping good looks of the local population. Sonofabitch. More shirts off, please, construction workers. What? The lack of humidity means you leave shirts on? I do not like this development. Hot August nights people, hot August nights. Or Hot August Middle of the Afternoons. Neil Diamond would want you to take your shirt off. Chicas do not throw bras at shirt wearing men on the street. I don´t know that taking it off will get a brassiere wrapped around your neck, but it seems more likely.

I need to buy some more bottles of Argentinian wine. Maybe when I head to Mendoza. It´s a damn shame that the hostels all sell booze, so they don´t want you bringing any in. Have a better selection of wine then, guys. Or can I pay a corkage fee, por favor?

And the final thought to leave you all with is that long hair is sexy like a beard is sexy. From far away it flows and looks great, but you get close up and realize there´s food stuck in it if the owner has been diligent. And it´s tangled and hurts when it´s pulled on, even as people find it irresitable to do so. I realized this and decided maybe I should wash my hair more. I always forget when the last time was. And for some reason think that if it hasn´t been too many days then my hair is just being greasy to get attention and will not win that negative attention game. Oh, you want me to wash you? I´ll wash you when you need to be washed, don´t start acting bad thinking it´ll get you what you want. But, really, more than once a week isn´t too much. And when it´s starting to feel like I have left over mousse in it because my oil and sweat has built up, that´s fucking disgusting. I am SHOCKED that there have not been more marriage proposals. Most of the time people just think my hair is wet. But the good news is that it´s washed right now and looks nice. And is finally, solidly mermaid length. Full top coverage. Success!

More soon, especially if I continue to be in a beach town with no possibility of going to the beach.

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