Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lots of photos for you...

It's a tad tedious to upload ALL the pictures I take to this blog. It's much easier on FaceBook, but I realize many of you don't have a FaceBook account. Yesterday, I learned that FaceBook will allow me to share my photo albums with all of you! Here are some links to click around:

Argentina Pt. 1: NYE, Villa Gesell

Argentina Pt. 2: Mi casa.

Argentina Pt. 3: Palermo + Parque Rivadavia

Argentina Pt. 4: San Telmo + more

Argentina Pt. 4b: "Open Door" Series

Argentina Pt. 5: Palermo

Argentina Pt. 6: Puerto Madero + pool party

Argentina Pt. 7: Recoleta

Argentina Pt. 8: Palermo (river parks)

Argentina Pt. 9: Jardin Japones

Friday, January 30, 2009

Note to self: learn to take naps.

Friday, like many days, starts with a very tired Matthew. That’s me. Folks take naps here. It’s great, except that I haven’t totally gotten into that habit. Everyday at 1pm, after class, I think, “well, I’m really tired and could use a nap.” Next thought: “nah, I’ll just go to bed early tonight cause I know I’ll be ready for bed by 10pm.” Oh, wait. That didn’t work yesterday. Or the day before. Or the day before. And it’s not going to work today, deep down, I know it. So that’s the cycle. My cycle. Silly me.

It was another one of those days I found myself saying, “man, I’m really tired and should take a nap or I’m not going to last past 10pm.” And what happened? Did I nap? No. Oh well.

The plan: Noah and I would meet up with our new landlord at 9pm, pay some rent as a security for the place, and meet up with Andrea (friend from school, she’s from San Francisco) for a drink. Darcy (Chicago friend of a friend) invited us to hip-hop night at Club Araoz. “Meet us there at 1am.” Woah. Ha!, yeh right. There’s no way I’m going to make that. Noah agrees.

Ramiro, our new landlord, is really nice and relaxed. I’m really excited to rent from him. Noah digs the apartment; it’s the first time he’s seen it. I dig it even more after this visit. And Ramiro is recommending all his favorite spots in the neighborhood. He’s also recommending his favorite thing to do on Thursday nights: go to Club 69. He said that we really, really should go and hang with him. “Yeah, you should really make this! Meet up with me. I’ll be there at 2:30am.” WOAH! Hahahaaaaa! But he went on and on about this particular hang. I think Noah and I both were simultaneously thinking, “yeah, we should make this happen… impossible! But possible? Impossible.” Ramiro says, “guys, you gotta learn, take naps. I’m getting dinner then coming back here to take a nap. That’s what we all do.”

Ok, let’s make it possible. But without the nap.

Off to meet up with Andrea at (text) “the plaza.” Yes, I know the one. Of course. We meet a couple of her brand new friends; they’re hostel mates: Marie (from France) and Darcy (from Australia… and now, that there are two Darcy’s in this blog, this one will be Daussie. And he’s a he, the other Darcy is a she. She will be referred to as Darchi. “chi” as in Chi-cago, of course). These are good people. We chat for a while. Have some empanadas. Taste Andrea’s new favorite drink (I forget the name, Noah forgets too). Andrea, what’s the name of that drink? And what’s in it again? Sugar, limes and ???

I mention the hip-hop hang with Darchi and the 69 hang with Ramiro. Everyone’s into these ideas, but wow, that’s hours and hours away. And these folks, including myself, are on the descent. Dissension into sleepy-time. But, let’s do it! Pace, pace, pace.

Club Araoz… outside, out front, 1:15am. Again, woah. Ummm, nah. Let’s just head to Club 69 instead.

This Club 69 spot is just a few blocks from our new place, that’s cool. There are also lots of restaurants and bars around. We find 69. Why is there a huge, fat Argentinean transvestite dancing and singing out front? Wait, there are more inside. We can see this. Craziness. Ok. Well, lets grab a drink at that place across the street first, Carnival.

Carnival has a really nice roof top terrace. We all like it quite a lot. And now, it’s time for everyone to have some Red Bull. I think I’ve had two Red Bulls in my life, or maybe five, but I’m desperate for energy right now. Super desperate.

3am, mas o menos. Okay, lets do this. Lets go to Club 69. I think we’re ready.

After paying the cover, we were greeted by two dancing transvestites. They were very enthusiastic to see us. Along with everyone else that entered. Our ticket stub got us a shot of the worst tasting Tequila on the face of the earth. Again, I ask, Andrea, what's the name of that Tequila? I need to make sure it never ever touches these lips again.
This place is enormous! On stage, there are several shirtless young men break dancing. It’s like a break-dance-off. I was totally impressed with these guys. Bouncing up and down on one hand, doing flips and such.
This place is huge!
Packed with pounding music and hundreds and hundreds of folks dancing. And what’s up with the random robust and extravagant transvestites? Well, what are we to do? Well, what else is there to do other than dance? Not much. Though, one could spend a long time people watching, some people wouldn’t necessarily want to people watch here. Very, very eclectic.

Every so often the stage turned into a dance show of sorts with women (I'm pretty sure. No, they were women). It was quite an entertaining show. Very, very entertaining. Very entertaining. I can't emphasize this enough. But I'm trying to keep this clean. There are kids reading this blog.
Here's what another blogger says about Club 69: here. And like, Olivier, I suggest going to Club 69 on a Thursday night, if you haven't already.

So, we danced. We danced for a very long time. We finally decided to leave, but somehow ended up dancing more. Then we all decided to go home. It seemed as though we were the only ones that decided to go home. The place was still packed. This was around 6am!!!

Noah and I went on our journey to find our 15 "bonde" (the hip way to say "bus" or "colectivo"). But why is this random Argentinean girl following us? And why does she want to know who our favorite celebrity is? Jajajjajaaa!

We get home. And decide to check out the sun rise on our roof top. It's not too impressive because it's sort of cloudy and gray.

Now to sleep.

P.S. Dig some more pictures and videos from the night:
(still to come)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lease ends, new lease starts, but with 12 days in between.

Well, there you have it. My one month lease ends at my current location on Jan. 31st. Alas, I found a new place to live in Villa Crespo, just outside Palermo. We´ll be renting from another musician; a guitarist who´s leaving BA for a few months for gigs in NYC. Exciting, as playing in other cities and countries is. Again, it´s musicians supporting musicians (in case you forgot, my current roommates are also musicians).

The new place will bring new roommates and old friends. Well, they´re not that old. I´m older than them. These friends are from Chicago. Margot and Noah. Noah arrived to BsAs yesterday and it´s great having him around. He´s fun and funny. Margot will get here on Feb. 4th; she´s spent the last month in Nicaragua.

We won´t be able to move into our new place until Feb. 12th. And that´s no problem. There are plenty of hostels in the city to hang in for those, almost, two weeks. But wait!, why pay for hostels in BA, when we could just as easily pay for hostels somewhere else, like in another city or province or even country!

We don´t have any specific plans as of yet, but we are going to Uruguay. And we will hit some beaches there. We´ve heard they are beautiful. But we need to double check, see for ourselves. Jaajaaajajaaa! And that´s about all of a plan we have. Go there. Camp or hostel it. Beach or city it. Boat or bus it. Not fly it. It should be fun...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You'd never believe how difficult it is to find spicy food.

I'm telling you! Spicy food is not present. Nope. And!!!, after a night of cooking last week, I realized that it's also difficult to cook spicy food. Why? Well, because ingredients required to spice things up don't exist here. And if they do, I'd love to learn where. Please, readers in BA, inform me!

Last Thursday, I was hanging out at Julieta #2 folk's house. We all had cake and tea. It was yum.

(Now remember, this family is the nice family that took me in on New Year's Day at Villa Gesell. See funny previous video in earlier posts.)

When I first met this lovely family, I couldn't speak Spanish. At all. Well, now I can converse a little. Tiny amounts. And of course, my sentences are full of nouns. I need to learn more verbs.

We got into conversing about some "traditional" (United) stateside dishes. I tried to explain New Orleans cuisine to no avail! Try explaining crawfish to these folks (some of you know these little creatures as "crayfish"). No way. I finally used my hands to shrink an imaginary lobster, but then, of course, explain that's it's not a lobster. And how to cook it? A crawfish boil? Ha! Wanna see a crawfish boil, do ya? See below:

Then, I talked about food that I like to eat and cook. I talked about burritos and quesadillas especially. Because they are on my mind quite a bit. Their absence in this city make me weep a little. Instead, they have "empanadas" which are yummy. They're filled with different meats, or cheese, or veggies. They are everywhere. And I dig. I had some today actually; from Solo Empanada.

I was explaining the ingredients that I use: pollo (chicken), red/yellow bell peppers, onions, salsa, guacamole, etc. Well, little did I know that they were asking me to actually make dinner. Uh, it's 10pm! The next thing I heard was "supermercado." We were off.


We head to a special store for tortillas. Wait, this is a bakery?! We can't find torillas here. Julieta #2 holds up "tortillas". Ummm, those are tortillas. Those are squished pancakes, like crepes. Well, heck, this isn't a good way to start off tortillas. But maybe that's all I'm getting here? I have no idea. I'm crossing my fingers they'll have some at the Disco!!! Jajajajaaa, I love saying that: "Disco!!" It's the name of the grocery store.

"Salsa", the way folks from the states think of salsa is quite different here. Salsa just means "sauce." They don't really have much salsa. Guacamole is rare too. Okay, I'll just make fresh, homemade salsa and guacamole. Guacamole is better that way regardless. I've never made salsa though. Grab some limes. And then put them back, Julieta says they have a bunch. Get some "sour cream." For sure need some jalapenos. NOPE! Absent. What about any hot pepper? NOPE! Absent. Oooookay. Ummm... Grab a yellow onion, and then put it back. #2 says she has that too. Luck: they had traditional tortillas at the Disco!!! Etc.

Get back to her house. Make some salsa (mushed up tomatoes and fresh cilantro). Dee-lish. Okay, where are those limes? I need to add the finishing touch to this yummy guac. Where are those limes? Wait, those little round things are yellow. Those are lemons. Dang it. Oh well.

Time to prep the yellow onion and bell peppers that are awaiting in the fridge. Open fridge. Wait! Those red peppers are old. And not for consumption. Okay, I can salvage some of one. And that's a green onion! Silly #2, yellow and green onions are not the same. Silly. Oh well.

#2's dad has refused to allow me to cook without also drinking wine. No problem. About an hour later, I've got a very colorful thing going on in the kitchen. Chicken is all done. As an experiment, I cook up one of the quesadillas in those crepe-y things. Didn't work, as expected. The "regular" tortillas did though.

Slab of guac. Spoonful of salsa. Quesa triangle. And now where's that sour cream? Ah yes. Open lid... ummmm... it's very liquid-y. Very. This is not sour cream. It's like sweet cream. Some sort of sugar-y cream. And water-y. Ooooookay. Hmmmm.... Ah, what the hell, dashes of "sweet" cream.

Results? Family verdict: yummy!!!! I agreed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Have I told you about not being able to do my own laundry?

Well, unless you have your own washer and dryer, you can´t do you own laundry here. At least, not that I´ve seen. And not that my Argentinian roommate has seen either. Odd. I want to wash and dry my own clothes. I like it. Plus, I´m a tad particular with some things.

Saturday I dropped off my clothes. It´s the first time I´ve done a load of wash since I left the states. Yes, some of my clothes are quite dirty. But I did bring a bottle of Fabreze with me. (Don´t you think it´s funny that I hyperlinked ¨Fabreze¨? I do.) So I´m so-so fresh scenting (a new word... scenting). I mean heck, it´s so hot and humid here, I just sweat anyways. Especially after getting out of the shower in the heat box that is my apartment.

And it´s funny, the lady at the laundry spot, of course, doesn´t speak Spanish. I´m used to that in my barrio. Most folks are natives in my hood. Totally cool. I like it! But it was funny trying to answer her questions. I had no idea what they were, as I often don´t. Like, at one point in time, I thought she was asking me if I wanted to wash my own clothes? Or maybe she was asking if I wanted her to fold them? Or maybe she was asking me if I wanted a job? Or maybe she was asking for my digits? Or maybe she was asking if she could give me ah million dollars? Not sure.

So, I just pointed at the washer and said, ¨aca¨, then pointed at the dryer and, again, said, ¨aca¨. ¨Here and here.¨ Luckily, in these situations, I can just smile, then laugh at myself, outloud, of course, and the local folks usually start laughing with me. And when we´re all done laughing and we actually figure each other out, mas o menos, we look at each other in a sort of, ¨wow, we accomplished something here today and we don´t even speak each other´s language.¨ It´s sorta cute. And sorta fun. (Please note the use of ¨sorta¨ in those last two sentences.)

I picked up my fresh and folded clothes today. No worries. And I´m wearing all clean clothes for the first time in a little while... sniff me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Catching up with you... (here's last Monday).

Yes it’s been a week since I’ve really written. It’s been quite a busy week. Quite busy. Let’s see if I can sit here long enough to bring you up to speed. …

But first, I’m revisiting the record Third Eye by "Ben Allison and Medicine Wheel" right now and I am totally re-amazed by Allison’s compositions. What a great record!!!

Monday. Of course, Spanish class in the morning (wait, why did I say "of course"? Seeing how I've missed class before... didn't hear the alarm one morning last week. Oops.). I'm really enjoying my class. Even though I have barely scratched the surface of the language, it gives me lots o' confidence. The school is a tad on the expensive side, so I think after this next week, I'll start private lessons, which are normally pretty cheap. Teachers here, in general, in the public schools, including universities, get paid, so I'm told, NOTHING! Ok, well not nothing. But very, very little.

People are always telling me about this thing, this thing I've just got to experience. "La Bomba", some call it. Some referred to it as "Konex", some "La Tiempo". I never put two and two together. (And even if I had, I would've ended up with five. Thanks Radiohead! (YouTube: live on Letterman or with neat cartoon action). (P.S. Radiohead's coming to BA soon. Noah's trying to get tickets for us!))

So, I finally decided to scope out this show. After some folks at school were talking about going, I decided to go as well. With no cell phone, it's a tad hard to make many plans or connect. But I thought, I'd totally run into these folks at the show. I mean, it's a regular, every Monday, gig. How many people would really be there? Attending? From my experience, not tons and tons. Boy!, I was totally oblivious. The line to get in was down the entire block and around the corner. It was crazy!! I had no idea. I tried finding school friends to no avail.

And to clarify. The group is called "La Bomba de Tiempo" which means, Time Bomb. The venue is Konex. The group is a large percussion ensemble that's conducted, improvisatorily, with hand signals, similar to Butch Morris' Conduction. The grooves were super bad ("bad" as in "good", of course). It was amazing. Hundreds and hundreds of people dancing! The venue was open air. It was a beautiful night. I don't have pictures because I didn't have my camera. But there are lots of videos on YouTube and pix on their site. Check them out for sure. I'm going back Monday. I'll grab some shots. ( shots!!! that is! geez.)

Later Monday night, I HAD A REHEARSAL!!!! A tech rehearsal for my upcoming gig. Yep, that's right! Dan Godston of Chicago, of Chicago Calling, of Brown Rice, of Telematic Arts, of lots more, connected me with Azucena Losana, an artist here in BA. We were attempting to connect our music with Dan in Chicago, and folks in Mexico City, via Skype, as part of the "Sonic Bridge" project. Sonic Bridge is described as such:
"Hundreds of miles of wall and fence stretch along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the U.S. Immigration Policy could change soon since Barack Obama is now the U.S.’s 44th President. Performers at Brown Rice [in Chicago] were part of a telematic performance event which perpendicularly ran through the U.S.-Mexico border wall/fence, in conjunction with sound artists and musicians who live here in Mexico City and Buenos Aires. Artists in these remote locations interacted with each other in real time."

Peter Margasak, writer for the Chicago Reader, even suggested this event in his "Post No Bills" blog. Read it: here.

We would play/improvise together thousands of miles apart via internet. We had some issues to work out, mostly audio distortion. But after some trials and errors, we came across satisfying results. We were actually all playing together. It was great! Plus, I was excited to meet some new folks, as I always am. Very creative and innovative peoples.

Well, that sums up last Monday, at least. I've got to run at the moment. Tonight, I'm meeting some more musicians, referred to me by Martin Urbach (I used to play with Martin in New Orleans. He's a great drummer who moved to NYC after Katrina)! I'll catch you up more later.

BUT wait!, P.S., more news. I got a cell phone and number here. It was cheap. I pay for it as I go. No contract. And I think incoming calls are free. ALL INCOMING CALLS, even from the states. At least, that's what I'm told by a few friends. If you're interested in my new number, let me know.

Much love. Peace!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Update... but not.

I know it´s been a while since I´ve written. Yikes. Busy, busy, busy times.

Here´s an update: I am alive.


...Just kidding, much more tomorrow because, well, there´s a lot more. Music, MALBA, quesadilla cooking, etc...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

¨Weekend Update¨ with Matthew Golombisky and Cat.

So, I had a social weekend. Let´s see.

Friday night I hung out in Palermo with lots of folks from my Spanish school. Some of them are getting TEFL certified, some are volunteers, some are language students (like me). Well, needless to say, considering most are from the states, it was a night of English, English, English speaking! It was fun. Good people. Late night/morning. When I finally inquired the time (because I still don´t have a watch!!!), I was told, ¨Son las cinco y media.¨ Oh my. I should head home... I guess? I did anyways. I shared a cab with a lady from the US who lived in Australia cause her husband was Australian. (...more on Australia in a few paragraphs...)

Saturday? Jog, exercise, grocery shop. And... ummm, what did I do Saturday night? Ahhh, si! I hung out with my Argentine friends! Julieta #2 y Fiorella y Martin y Isabel (and sister) went out for drinks. Isa is a TV/film producer. Martin is going to France soon. And!!!, Saturday night was the first time I rode in a car that wasn´t a taxi! I know. Isa lives in Boedo (my barrio) too. So she was nice enough to drop me off. Sweet.

(AND, I think it´s time to make a promised ¨shout out¨. To Laurie.) I have, of course, looked and checked out many cars here. I notice cars. I can´t help it, with my childhood and all; being surrounded by cars and the fixing of cars growing up does that to a man (and woman, I´d imagine). And at a later date, I´ll add more and more pictures, along with a full post, of the car attendence and scoping here in BA, but for now, I only want to say one thing: THEY ARE ALL STICK SHIFTs! I have not seen one single automatic transmission! (ok. not true, I have seen three Volvo´s here. They were automatic). BUT!!! All other cars, and I´ve looked and looked, are manual transmissioned (official term there for ya: ¨transmissioned¨) Even the cute little taxis. Eveything. Amazing. I love it!

Tonight? I went to Isa´s house. My newest Argentine friend. She invited me over to her casa (which is 9 blocks from me and really beautiful!) and I learned how to prepare ¨mate¨. The tea-type drink that´s everywhere here. I had it the first time on New Year´s Day on the beach at Villa Gesell with Julieta #1, 2 y Fiorella. Loads and loads of folks drink it. And they drink it everywhere!! I see people preparing mate in the car. On the street. Homeless folks, bums, making mate. All over!!! Well, I learned how to make it tonight. Or at least I learned how to make it, Isa home style. She says all homes/families make it slightly different. But yummy.

Then we strolled the area. Then, in conversation, she told me that the movies, big screen style, here are in English! The movies from the states are still in English here, in the theaters! I got really excited. I expected that they would already be overdubbed in Spanish. BUT NO!

In my excitement, she asked if I wanted to go see a movie? Umm, yea. Even though I haven´t been to a movie, on the big screen, in forever it seems, I certainly wanted it now. Really, when was the last time I´d been to the movies? It may have been when my aunt Alice and I went to ¨Borat¨when it came out. I donna know? I can´t quite remember.

BUT!, now I´m in Argentina. They speak Spanish here. ..a lot, duh. I have an opportunity to hear English on screen? Let´s do it! We saw a sort of independent film called ¨El Rastro¨. I´m not sure what it means, but it was great! (and odd... this is what Wiki says El Rastro is... click here) The movie took place in Australia! Some of you know that I was totally fasinated with Australia as a child. I never knew why. But kids don´t really ¨wonder why¨, do they? The movie was great! Highly recommended.

And now, I do my homework for tomorrow. Later folks.

P.S. Dad, this is where I live:

Ver mapa más grande

Friday, January 16, 2009


Glass of cab sauv, yes, right now. Si, son las tres y media!!! Por que?!

Yes, I´m having a glass of cab sauv right now. ¨It´s 5pm somewhere.¨ Yes, I put a few ice cubes in it. It´s 89 degrees here! And maybe hotter in my apartment. Estoy mucho calor pero soy alegre!!!

I´m celebrating my first week of Spanish school. I deserve it! Yayyy! Oh, and yes, I know what the name of my wine means, Los Arboles... the trees.

Oh, someone just called. They were looking for Ivan, my roommate. I said he´s not here. I understood that this caller asked if he was at work. I said no. After that, he lost me, but whatever. More and more and more, yo entiendo. And that´s great!

This wine is yummy. Really yummy. And really, really expensive! It´s Argentine, si. 15 pesos for the bottle. Know the math? Yep, you got it, just under $5.

And today, I met Jordan, a friend of Leah´s in Chicago. They went to college together and he´s from Cali. He´s lived in BA for 3 1/2 years and owns a burrito shop, California Burrito Co., near Florida St., which is also near school. And the food is great! Great homemade guac. The topper for me though... fresh arugula! Never thought of putting arugula in a burrito before, but I certainly will now. Dee-lish.

Congresso pictures are wonderful. Pizza is wonderful(ler).

Bloggin’ away. I’m sitting here at this little pizza/pasta place (night time). It’s called Roma, I believe. And it’s in Congresso (area’s name); called such because I have this spectacular view of the Congress building. It is amazing. I could probably spend all day (and even more so, all night) taking pictures of this building. I want to go inside! Very badly. After I learn more Spanish, I’ll figure out how to ask, “hey, is it cool if I walk around in there?”, pointing my fingers up the marble (or some sort of stone) stairs. I doubt they’d say yes, but I would try regardless. I’ll report back on this little adventure slash goal slash dream slash naive notion. Wanna see some day shots of the area? Do see:

But!!!, today was great. I had class. Yes I had class. I made it. Yesterday, I did not. My didn’t hear my alarm. Or wait, did I? I have tiny bits of memory that say I hit snooze several times. And on the last time, I turned the alarm off and told myself, “ok, it’s time to get up,” but fell back asleep instead. I donna know.

Today was different. I woke up. Took a shower (much needed after a long sweaty day running AND night existing in my mucho, mucho calor apartment). Had a bowl of oats and dried fruits, accompanied by the new, beautifully tasting Ades soy milk I’ve discovered at the Disco. Thanks Julieta #2 and friend (I forgot his name).

(P.S. Dig this, it’s happening right now, and it happened already today at “The Coffee Shop”… dudes or kids stop by your table, wherever you are and drop little gadgets or cards explaining their handicap and walk away. They just leave it on your table and walk away. Then, minutes later, come back, hoping that you’ll buy whatever they left. Just now, a book nite-light was left. It’s actually really nice. And I would use it if I were reading late, after my mate was attempting to sleep. But that’s not the case. I have my own room and bed and can stay awake reading as long as I want. …..update, two minutes later: two of the folks here bought this dude’s book lights! That’s great!!! Dig it, the first time I’ve seen cats buy this stuff.)

Class today. Learned a lot. Ay Dios mio!!!, and the new vocabulary. Today I described characteristics of family members (and my favorite music person…what came to mind today? Well, even though I listened to Avishai Cohen’s Continuo, Yesterday’s New Quintet (the Stevie Wonder record) and Todd Sickafoose’s Tiny Resistors, I choose Henrik Gorecki. I love him. I love him. If you have a moment (OR SEVERAL), please make sure you listen to his most famed, Symphony No. 3. Have a calm place for this listening excursion. Class was great! Today, we had a new teacher, and I dug him; very animated and excited and down-to-earth and such.

After class, I walked around the area, Madero. Walked down Florida st., again. A street I really don’t enjoy, but lots and lots (mostly tourists) love. They must, because they are everywhere. Alas, I went to an ATM, because, ummm, I HAVE NO CASH WHATSOEVER on me. I haven’t for a couple of days. I’ve run out of the US dollars I brought with me (exchanged for pesos, of course). And I haven’t figured out the best method for getting Bank of America to give me more US$, so I can change it to pesos. (AND WAIT, is Bank of America asking for a US government bail out?!??!?!?!?!?! I read that on someone’s FaceBook status today and was totally confused. I didn’t have time to research what could possibly be MORE and MORE NON-SENSE! Fill me in…)

So, I a CitiBank, they’re stateside, right? I tried their ATM for cash flow. They said no. Wait, they said Bank of America said no. (P.S. I just asked my waitress the name of this restaurant, AND IN SPANISH!!!. It’s called Napoles…. I dig. And I’ll tell you why later.) No cash for me. And I was very hungry. Matthew gets hungry a lot when he’s exercising regularly. And he is.

Few blocks later. Corner of eye. Itau (name of bank, as I recall. But could be wrong) had an ATM that had the U$S symbol plastered on it. Odd. Interesting. I investigated. And lucky me, it took my ATM card, I thought. All the menu options were in Spanish, and they were all words I hadn’t learned in my first three days of basic Spanish classes, but I still just pushed buttons. And you know what? Out popped a 100 in pesos! Awesome. Now, I have no idea what sort of charges I inflicted. I have no idea what exchange rate this or my bank was using, but I was hungry and I needed $$$. And I got it.

Headed over to CBC, as it’s nicknamed. It’s a BURRITO shop!!!!! And yes, I knew about it. A friend (Leah) of a friend (Margot) introduced me via email to her friend back in November. He’s Jordan and he moved to BA. He then started a little burrito shop. I sought it out. Chose a burrito, by pointing (like at Chipotle or Subway) and saying, “aqui”, which means “here.” (side note on “aqui”: in most Spanish speaking spots, aqui is pronounced “ah-key”. NOT HERE! It’s pronounced, “ah-kah”. And that’s what I said/say, cause, like, I’m learning Spanish in Buenos Aires, and not Brasil, or Mexico, or the United States, or Spain. ‘tis fun indeed.) I didn’t actually meet Jordan, but the burrito was yum. And since it’s close to my school, I’ll probably hit it up again. Oh, and again. Have I mentioned yet, that I miss burritos? No (or you don’t remember)? Well, guess what? I MISS BURRITOS!!! (even though I haven’t had one in a very long time, I still miss them. Problem, when it is a problem, solved.)

I eventually walked my way to a totally different area, Congresso. Neato hang. Restaurants, visually stimulated apartments buildings and such. I love it. Then I happened upon where I sit now. In the courtyard (of sorts) of the Congress building for Argentina! It’s great. (see pix above for Congresso, daytie

BUT! (I say, or type, that a lot, huh? “BUT!!!,”??? I do. But it works a lot, in lots of different contexts.) BUT!!!, before I ended up here, eating a most spectacular meal, I went to my very first Tango lesson. Mind you!!!!, Laurie, my girlfriend of 6 years, now my ex-, was a professional ballroom dancer and teacher for some time. I wonder (I don’t really wonder, cause I know the answer. But pretend like you wonder.), what was her favorite dancing style/vibe? Swing? No. Salsa? No. Tango? Yes, but be more specific. Argentine tango? YES!!! And in those six years, did I ever learn a lick of Argentine tango? (your answer aqui:______, which is probably correct based on my sarcasm.) For those of you not hip to catch on to written sarcasm, the correct answer to the previous question is, no. No, I did not learn a lick of Argentine tango from Laurie.

Tonight was my first lesson. And you know what? It was really cool. Very different than I expected. Very close. Not as hectic (at least to me) as other dances. Smooth, slow with quick jolts, but smooth. Sure it was my first class. But it was neato. I will go back. How could I not? It’s great and it’s 12 pesos a lesson, which lasts over two hours!!!! BTW, 12 pesos is less than US $4! A few of the other class members were also from outta country: two from Germany, here on an internship, one from…wait, go ahead, guess… ….guessed yet? From Chicago!!! Small world. Small, small world.

After class, I again, walked around Congresso, because it’s wonderful and took similair pictures I did earlier, but this time I got to use my most favoritest camera trick/method of all time: long/extended exposure. Dig:

And then, I moved in for dinner. Yes, it’s 11:30pm. Yikes. But tonight, I totally went crazy and had a pizza. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had pizza since Jan. 1 2008!!!. That’s 2008, you see. And not because I don’t like pizza. I love pizza!!! Hello! But I cut out dairy back then for lots of different reasons (to be discussed on a one-on-one basis if you so desire). And this pizza. This pizza I had tonight!! Well, just look at it:

Does it look amazing? …less the olives mom! …I do love olives. And less the tomatoes Laurie! … I do love tomatoes!. But oh, you say, rather, some of you, say, “it looks amazing!” Guess what? (I have you guessing a lot tonight, don’t I?) It was amazing!!!!!!!! It was. And now it’s in my belly, via my mouth, of course.

I’m all done typing up this blog posting. And now, I need to figure out how to get home. Wish me luck.

“Luck.” Oh, thanks random person that wished me luck. Gracias. Buenos noches.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dog poop and soy milk.

Really? Really. Why won´t people pick up their doggies´poop? It´s everywhere. I find it odd and icky. And it´s not like dogs poopin´ in the grass; no, it´s on the sidewalk! Like in the middle of high traffic, busy sidewalks. Strange. Cultural thing, I guess? No se. Maybe I´ll have an Argentino tell me about? If I learn more, I´ll share.

This is also funny (though dog poop on the sidewalk isn´t what I would call ¨funny¨, so I´m not sure why I said, ¨This is also funny.¨ Anyway...). Buenos Aires is not the cleanest place in the world, by far. It´s also not the dirtiest.

(Let me also say that I´m pretty spoiled. I live/d in Chicago and for being such a populated city, Chicago´s pretty darn clean. Really clean. I would argue that Chicago totally kicks New York City´s butt in cleaniness. Keeping trash in alleys is the way to go! But yes world, Portland, Oregon is rated cleanest city in the states.)

But also dig, getting up early in the morn and commuting to school, I see a much cleaner side of BA. City workers are out and about cleaning the streets. Folks are spraying portions of the sidewalk outside their business (which I find a waste of water). etc.

The other night though, I noticed something ironic. A truck with a high pressure washer was going around cleaning the public trash bins located around the city, elevated on these posts. I was like, woah, they´re cleaning the trash bins? Craziness. This one observed worker emptied out most of the trash from one bin and sprayed it down. When spraying though, large chunks of excess trash came hurling out on the street. Did he pick it up? No. He finished CLEANING the bin, but left the trash in the street. Hmmm... interesting.

Oh, did I mention there´s dog poop everywhere?

And I´ve been looking. Looking long and hard (that one was for you, Michael Scott). For.... soy milk! And I found some at a ¨Disco¨ (please start dancing...) Dancing? No? Well start!!!!

(...insert dancing here....)

The grocery store is called Disco. There are lots of them. Isn´t that funny and exciting? ...that they´re called DISCOs!!! It is funny. (insert chuckles here...) Anyway, the brand is Ades, and today, I had it for the first time. And you know what? It is delicious! (and P.S. click that included link. It´s really funny!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Smiles to you.

Smiles to all of you.

Being away makes me think a lot. I have a lot of time in my head... to think.

And, right now, I am spending my time thinking of all of my friends and family, and thinking about how much I do love you.

You all are great! I miss you,... but I smile. I love playing music with you, chatting with you, doing nothing with you, skiing with you, spending holidays with you, touring with you, venturing in the night with you (for hours and hours on the highway), doing and doing with you all.

Love all ya´ll (yep, I grew up in the south!, and we WILL NOT rise again. sorry... wait?... alTHOUGH, we did rise again, didn´t we? We went blue this past election! NC went BLUE!!!!! Ay Dios Mio!!!!).

Point being: thank you for you and I think of all of yoos guys. Buenos noches.

Random pic of the night, of the past, entitled, or at least, at the moment, entitled:

¨Reflect., even on the absolute terrible.¨
(below: lower 9th ward, NOLA, post-Hurricane Katrina)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spanish classes! Brighter times.

(P.S. I added pictures to yesterday's post...)

Hola amigos!

Yesterday was my first day of Spanish school. It was tough. The class was a bit unbalanced. Luckily it was small, three students total, one from L.A. and one from Switzerland. They both spoke a lot of Spanish. Yikes. But!!!, mi profesor es muy hermosa! She's from Spain and was teaching us the "real" Spanish way to talk. If you don't know already, Buenos Aires has a slightly, sometimes more than slightly, take on the Spanish language. And I quite like it! I'm of course, learning the BA way more than "Latino" or Spanish (as in "Spain") way. I mean, all around me, I hear the BA way. I'm cool with that.

Oh you want an example? Well, "pollo" is chicken. In Spanish , it's "poy-yo". "Poy", like "boy". "Yo" like, "what's up yo!?" (At least, this is what I think. I'll let Quin or Yosh or Joe C. correct me.)

In Buenos Aires (not even Argentina really, but this city!!), they say "poe-show". Quite different. Double y's are totally different. And since, I've been hangin' and listening to BA folks talk, I do the same.

Here's another good example: "I". In "regular" Spanish, "Yo". Not quite, "yoy", like "boy". Here in BA, it's "cho" or kinda like "sho". It's a mix of those two. I think. (I'll let Julieta or Ivan correct me if I'm wrong.)

It's fun learning this BA way.

So, the class was a blast! I'll tell ya, it certainly helped boost my spirits. A lot. Funny, I only really learned stuff like: He is tall = El es alto; Tu eres = you are (formal... and in BA, instead of "Tu", it's "Vos"); Esto es un arbol = This is a tree; Yo say estado unidense = I am American (United States, of course... HECK, all these folks here are American too!!!); and a tad bit more.

And just this much helped a lot. At least in the spirits department.

Oh and by the way, you know things don't calm down here 'til quite late. I mean, it's 9pm and it feels like 7. Classes are at 9am. It takes me about 40 minutes by bus to get to school. Yikes.

Today's class was more balanced, experience-wise. It was also great! I learned days, dates, more numeros (those are tough), more adjectives, and stuff. Dig this: "Mi fecha de nacimiento es el siete do septiembre de mil novecientes setento y nueve." My birthday and year. Neato.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rollercoasters can be fun... if they're at a theme park.

Okay, well, to get back to my previous post and weekend notes:

Saturday night, after a really fun day at a pool party with new friends of friends; Darcy, John, Kelsey y more, I was visited by some down, down, down time, inside, emotionally, that is. There were many thoughts and physical reactions to some emotions; most of these I will spare you.
Pool party:

But I realize one thing: I like people. I like to talk to people. To interact. It's something I enjoy. A lot. If you know me, you probably know this to be true. And in case you can't imagine, here in Argentina, I'm not really able to talk. Not much. I can't speak Spanish. And when conversations engage, they are very long with little information gathered and little content exchanged. Most simple sentences proceed around one per minute. Where's there room for quick wit and smartie-pants Golombisky (that's me)? Not much. Not much room at all. I've realized that most of my recent conversations have been with myself. And sure, I'm a purty darn good at self-entertainment. Let me tell ya! 'Tis true. But, it's been almost two weeks since I've really talked.

Here's another situation: I'm homesick. And I really, really would love to talk to someone I love; family, friends, anyone. I can't. I'm still not sure how to dial out. Don't even know if my house phone can dial USA anyway. And if it can, I couldn't use it. I don't have cell phone access. Damn it!

I can't talk to my peeps. Rough, rough. And rougher now. I have survived this much. But combined with my need to talk, and my need to say hello to folks back home, I think I deserve this luxury, at least a tiny bit and at least by now in my travels. Si? Si. (I hear in my head right now: "NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!" or in my case, "NO ORANGE FOR YOU!!!!" or "NO TALK FOR YOU!!!!")

That Saturday night I had some long chats in my super f'ing hot apartment (something else that feeds my physical craziness). Many thoughts were charted and discussed; mostly sad or dark. Again, I will spare you. But here's a blog I started late, late Saturday night:

"There are times. Of up and down.
These times are down.
The times right now.

It´s hard. You know, this trip, vacation, adventure, whatever you´d or I´d like to call this thing I´m doing, has been quite a ride so far. It´s interesting. It´s very, very interesting. I came here to get away a bit. Or to slow down. And/or to sort out my brain and come back fresh and upbeat. Or to something.

And I´m here. And I´m learning. I´m learning about myself. Let me preface it:

I talk a lot. I like people. I don´t mind brand new situations; a party where I know no one, a town I´ve never been to or played in, etc., etc. I like them. I can make new friends. I find some happiness through knowing that I can interact with humans. It makes me feel human, I guess. I usually use an old, old form of communication to achieve that interaction: talking.

Here, I cannot talk. There are several broken conversations. They are here and there. With my new friends. But it´s tough to meet folks alone, outside them. At the local bar. In the coffee shop. It´s harder. ..."

I stopped, not feeling the relief I normally get from writing.


And there's Sunday, the next day. I woke up pretty early to meet Julieta #2 to head out to Tigre, which is a really nice little area outside the city. On the way, we strolled through another super cute and cool section of BsAs (which I will now shorten to BA, as do the locals) Canitas. Love it there too, like I do Palermo.

And while I had #2 with me, I wanted to pick up a phone card, something I could call home with. And I'm glad she was there to help. Folks don't speak English here very much. We got one. Now, I wouldn't be stuck without communication again. You realize, I have yet to make my first call to the states!

Then we hoped aboard very, very crowded train to Beccar. There we met #2's boyfriend, Alberto. He has a car. Sweet!
Alberto y Julieta #2:
Ice cubes:
Well, this area is beautiful! Full of trees. And houses, not big apartment buildings. And it's super clean. I can hear birds. My, oh my, did I need this calm, or what?! Calm. Not what. I needed the calm. Delightful! It really lifted my spirits. Then we headed to Tigre, which is on a river. Lots of tourists this time of year, especially on a sunny Sunday during the summer. We went to a really nice art museum with several Argentine artists, most popular Benito Quinquela Martin, and my favorite Luis Aquino. Walked more. Through an open-air market, aka flea market. It was huge.

(notice: "Tea o'clock")

Happy, high emotions on the fade away about this time. And sometimes, it's hard to turn off. Brink of tears, you ask? (Answer like a man? Or a sensitive man? hmmmm.... Okay, yes, brink of tears....)


During the hang, I caught rumor that Alberto might drive us home. That way, I wouldn't have to suffer through another tourist-ridden, overcrowded train ride home. And I especially didn't want this in this mental/emotion state. Just at that moment, Alberto hits a curb. I hear hissing. I try to say, ummm, stop. We stop. He's a tad confused. I try to explain that one of his tires just popped. Well, I had to get out of the car and show. There was the gash. Yikes. There was lots of Spanish back and forth between #2 y Alberto. I didn't understand. They got back in the car. I followed. Maybe we were headed to his mechanic or shop right around the corner? More driving. Wobbling ensures. We have to stop. More Spanish. Wait!!!, are we going to have to ride that train back instead?!?!?! NOOO!!!

I signal for a spare tire. We eventually understand one another, and I change his tire in about 3 minutes. Sweet. They were super impressed. Thanks Dad! My hands now have that wonderful grease color, smell and feel to them. I feel like I'm in Hillsborough working on my GTO.

We get that ride home. Yes!

And I get to call home! Double yes!

P.S. Mom and Amanda researched and found out about Penny Talk. I'm not entirely sure about it. Visit the link. BUT!, now my mom has a special number she uses to call me. It's three cents a minute! A steal. Later that night, mucho late, I get a call from my mom!!! Sweet deal. Thanks mom!

P.P.S. I have a lot to say right now.... like after my first day at school. And loads of pix to upload, but must run. Check back!
living in Buenos Aires