Friday, June 29, 2007


Last night went to a sports bar aptly name "Loco por el Futbol" with huge TV screens to see the Argentines pound the US in their first game in the Copa America. In Buenos Aires this tournament is second only to the World Cup. It was quite a scene - more like New Years Eve circa 1999 than a soccer match but I'm obviously not a true Porteno just yet. Argentina performed well but the locals were angry that the US chose to sit out 4 of its best players in favor of letting newer guys test out the international scene. For about two seconds I struggled with which team I should be cheering for...good thing I went with my adopted homeland or I may have been beaten up. Will be an interesting World Cup in 3 years as the US is getting better and better - some say they could actually give Brazil a run for their money if they continue to improve. Still I can't think of anyone I know in the US that really gives a hootch about soccer. What would it take for the US to adopt this sport as it has football and basketball? probably several more David Beckhams home grown with Paris Hilton flair. In the meantime, I've got a lot of futbol history to brush up on before I head out to a sports bar again in this town. wikipedia gives a good account of the Copa America. The best and most exciting player to watch is Lionel Messi seen above sporting a posh black headband which disguises the requisite futbollers mullet.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Found one of my favorite games at the store a few weeks ago - Scrabble or as they call it here "Crucigrama". Invited english Emily and American Anne Marie to dinner the other night to sample the lastest of Hugh's Stews con lentejas, chorizo y papas and play. I used to think I was pretty good at this game but try it in another language and I'm struggling with the two letter words. took us nearly two hours to finish one game and Hugo nearly won with "Elfo" - unbelievable. yes, its an actual word and yes, it means what you think it does. the little christmas fairy. hoping after a few more months of espanol, we can graduate to three syllable word play.

Big drama this week with Anne Marie (see above tokin da mate) during Crucigrama. She had moved in with argentine boyfriend Pedro and had planned to move back to the US - florida somewheres - together where they would ideally live happily ever after and so on. he got jealous (as is common with the men here as i've been told repeatedly) as their relationship progressed and the other night "lost it". kicked her out, so she fled to english Emily's apt with all belongings. of course he later apologized but now too late. so back and forth via text. first she's a "ladrona - thief", then it's "te extrano - i miss you". drama drama drama. she is devasted but resolute. back to the states next month less one explosive and too frequently verbally abusive argentine boyfriend.


When not studying my spanish verbos I've been reading a novel by Marisha Pessel called Special Topics In Calamity Physics. Its one of the few books I've read that makes me laugh outloud. sharp, witty and decidedly american. a real treat for word nerds like my amiga jc.

utta and i have become quite close since moving to BA. well, she always had a special attachment to me but its off the charts now. i guess its to be expected given how much time we spend together. when i'm at home she has to be not just near me, within eyesight, but often touching me. the other night she curled up in the crook of my knee while i was reading. Mira, que precisosa! a slice of heaven.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Last night we were invited to dine with Hugo's boxing coach Mariano and his wife Luciana. They live in one of the outlying neighborhoods of the city called Flores - devoid of expats and the inflated prices of our hood. It was an enjoyable evening but I woke up this morning wondering about the type of friends we'll have here long term. 3 months into my argentine dream I still feel like I'm "dating" and haven't committed to a relationship with any of my new friends. Many Argentines find foreigners fascinating and novel - unlike the French who could care less and from what I've heard tend to keep their social circles pretty tight and closed to outsiders. We've been invited to dinner at the homes of aristocrats, gays and working class types. they have all been warm, welcoming and keenly interested in hearing about our lives in the US. how much it costs to buy a home, what people do for fun, wanting to understand how americans can be so fat etc. Mariano was a generous and enthusiastic host. he recounted the events leading up to the most recent economic crash for us (every argentine loves to talk about this period with all of the drama of going to the bank only to be told their money was gone POOF along with the politicians) - all in spanish of course. we talked music - they love coldplay, she madonna, he the ramones. neither had heard of Beyonce or Puff Daddy, Piddy - how can that be? their children were adorable and spoke better spanish than us (duh) and better english than their parents. shrek is huge down here right now and there are lines around the block of every mcdonalds in town with parents trying to buy their kid the happy meal with the toy shrek inside. Mariano's son franco squealed with delight each time he pressed shrek's stomach and the thing says "soy un ogre" (trans: I'm an Ogre). press again and it burps, really loud.

this afternoon we go to our english friend emily's apartment for a luncheon fiesta. she's making Locro - a traditional argentine stew that my spanish tutor tells me is "muy rico". Rico seems to be the only word used to describe food here. If it's delicious, succulent, good, great, tasty, scrumptuous, yummy - in spanish its just "rico". if only spanish didn't have 500 verbs in 15 different tenses it might be easy to pick up....

Monday, June 18, 2007

a week after my good friend Giana had her third child i went to visit. next weekend i'll miss baby Nicco's christening and likely some other major events in his life. sometimes i wish i could live two lives - one back in sf with my friends and family and the other here in buenos aires. my love to Nicco, and his wonderfully raucus twin brothers giacomo and giovanni....send pictures - we do get mail here!

Rio Caliente and home

imagine this routine:

7am - wake up with the sunrise, scratch new spider bites
7:30-8:30 hike along the river caliente, listening to the birds chirping themselves good morning, sometimes with sis and Joni, a few times solo
8:30-9:30 breakfast in the communal dining hall, usually oatmeal w/flaxseeds, fresh papaya, pineapple and cantelope. some days huevos con chilekiles y tortillas
9:30-12pm the long group hike high up into the mountains. converse in espanol with my friend and guide - Lalo. Lalo says "pollo" (POY-oh) and I say it like this (POH-shoh) but we understand each other.
12-1:30 meditation and yoga class. first time since leaving sf. body is thanking me.
1:45-3pm lunch. biggest meal of the day. veggie burgers or barley casserole, tuna salad or bean tostadas and the like. papaya for dessert
3-6: lounge by the pool, nap, read, visit with the girls, email hugo hello, float in the hot mineral baths, study espanol.
6:30-7:30: dinner. always soup and ensalada. cooked fruit for dessert.
7:30-9:30: float in the pool or listen to one of the visiting doctors lectures. all alternative medicine types. mudra technology anyone? bioresonance? shiatsu pressure healing.
9:30-10ish: "read US weekly" (had 3 months worth to catch up on. now am completely up to date on all britney, lindsay and paris's goings on and i can continue my life without wondering what they are up to) whew!

Coming back to Argentina from Mexico was sweeter than I expected. I kept thinking "this is home". not until i got to return to it did it really dawn on me that i've got a new one. i still had to stand in the tourista line at the customs gate but with my passport stamped with a one year visa i felt a different sense of entitlement. dammit i want to stand in the permanent resident line. it's the middle of winter here now, no denying it. wore my wool coat all day. thank god i brought back all of my heavy sweaters. rachel smuggled in several jars of organic crunchy peanut butter, starbucks coffee, sheets, spanish verb books, wireless router, camera (for our friend fernanda) new running shoes and our quilts for the bed. other than that, we have everything we need here now. my ankle feels great. will attempt falcon like moves this week....

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

First visitors

Our first visitors from the states swept into the city sunday night for two days before heading off to other parts of south america on a whirlwind 2 month post college backpacking, hosteling trip. Family friends of Hughs from Texas - Jonathan and his girlfriend Kelly - both 21, eager and surprisingly at ease in a foreign country. we took them to dinner at one of our favorite parillas Don Julios in Palermo Soho. we had a mix of meats from the grill, a nice bottle of malbec and then to the best heladeria in town for ice cream at Persiccos.

a vacation from my argentine dream

tomorrow i leave for Rio Caliente - a somewhat crunchy hot springs retreat/spa in the mountains 45 minutes from Guadaljara Mexico. it will be a short 16 hour day of travel from BA to santiago, Chile, to Mexico City to Guadalajar. If you live in SF, you can take a direct 3.5 hour flight from SFO to Guadalajara which is one reason I've been to this spa every year for the past six. My good friend is working there on a 6 month marketing assignment and my sister is going to be there for 5 days of much needed rest and relaxation. We will have a pajama party in my friend's casita, take hikes in the morning, eat tasty, healthy vegetarian fare (read - much needed detox) and float in the thermal baths. much as i hate to admit it, this new life in argentina comes with more than a few stressors so some time away will no doubt do me a world of good. i miss my sissie terribly and hope to make up for lost time on my familial right to impose unreasonable views of her upcoming wedding plans. ha! that said, my spanish maestro gave me a LOT aka crapload of homework so i hope to practice my spanish with all of the staff of Rio Caliente as well. in my mind, this is a "working" vacation. Mexican spanish is quite different than the castilian spanish spoken here so will be interesting to see how well i'm understood if at all. I now fancy myself more Penelope Cruz than Selma Hayak.

Mullet update

a fews weeks after arriving i realized albeit a bit subconsciously that the "look" here is more windblown, more tossled, more...i just got up from a nap. entonces....i have all but stopped blow drying my hair. curious as i was fastidious about my hair rituals in sf and always had to have my hair, makeup, outfit - just so. here, i like to shower at night, go to sleep with wet hair and in the morning, whatever it looks like is my "do" for the day. most of the women my age here sport the same so it seems i'm adjusting to porteno life in more ways than one. hugo has made a more conscious effort to preen as evidenced above.