Wednesday, May 30, 2007

on the mend, again

well, a few days and four visits to the Hospital Aleman later and i am mobile once again. had the umm pleasure of visiting the ER on saturday afternoon in hopes of obtaining crutches aka muletas. no one told me that the hospital down the street from our apartment is the Argentine Grey's Anatomy. Helllloooooo Dr. Dreamy - now known to me as Horacio Herrera. i saw my main docter (dreamy), got an x ray from another abercrombie lookalike and now have thrice weekly PT sessions with a 19 yr old dawsons creek type sweetie. i digress...swelling is down quite a bit thanks to my vigilent state of donothingness over the weekend and i can walk again albeit with a bit of a limp. tonight i got a massage from scottish woman with manlike strength - one of those painful massages that feels more like torture than relaxation. we'll see how i feel tomorrow.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

alas, a dove

a couple of days ago while i was running through the park and feeling pretty strong, a good looking athletic argentine guy rode up beside me on his bike. at first i assumed he was trying out a new pick up line - bold but not that unusual here as the men are hardly bashful. after a few seconds though i realized he was asking me (in espanol of course) how far i'd run. not the kind of pick up line i'm used to but whatever. he handed me his business card and started telling me about a running group he facilitates called the "los halcones" in english - the falcons. he'd watched me running in the park and thought i would like the group which meets every morning from 8-9:30 and he also has an evening class from 6-7:30. he said the program was very fun but not for "doves" only for "falcons". i was elated! exactly what i had been looking for - a boot camp like outdoor class with an emphasis on running. although i love my salsa and kickboxing classes at the gimnasio, i'd been missing my greg bianchi led bootcamp he said the group is international (a few argentines, americans, a finnish woman and a german) and all women so some good friend potential. i came home feeling better than i had in weeks. i told hugh god sent me an angel. i planned to start with the group on monday after the long weekend.

flash forward two days....this morning i decided to get up on the earlier side and take a nice long run in the park around my favorite lake before most argentines got up. the weather has been cold but sunny and perfect for autumn like runs outside. i was feeling energetic and fit. after a few turns around the lake i head back towards home. then out of nowhere it happened. roll, snap, roll....stop....owwww....owwwww. pain. can't walk. owwwwww. f**k!!!!!!!!! its my left ankle. ( yes, the same one I sprained 3 years ago the second day of a bootcamp in the marina jumping down cement stairs (i remember going for my final round of interviews at schwab on crutches).

can't move....have to wait for the light to change 3 times before attempting to walk. how am i going to get home. i'm not even half way. try to walk a bit. shake it out, that's right. maybe its not as bad as i thought. maybe that wasn't a pop i heard. ok, who am i kidding? i can't walk home. owwwwww. owwwww. time to wave down a taxi. dammit dammit dammit!!!!! where's my angel now? come on UNIVERSE. PLEEEAAAAASSSSEEEEEEE! time to say the serenity prayer.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Correr - to run

In my daily spanish lessons i use the verb "correr" in many of my example sentences. I'm running about 4x per week in the beautiful parks that line the main artery of the city - Avenida Libertador. These pix are from the parks I run by and the lake I run around at least twice or more depending on my level of energy that day. on weekends the grassy areas surrounding the lakes are filled with picnicking familiies - drinking mate of course, roller bladers, runners and strollers. BA also has an activity program where they send aerobics instructors to public spaces to conduct free outdoor classes. people here love getting out as often as possible to enjoy the parks and each other.

yesterday I walked by our old apartment in Palermo and saw a for sale sign on a 3rd floor apt (see above) across the street. the location is perfect (2 blks from the parks) and the apartment is sunny, beautiful and has some interesting french architectual elements. unfortunately its priced pretty high for the size - $275k for 120 meters. in our current neighborhood we could get nearly double the space for the same price, but..............farther from the parks. so why is this topic so important? well, if i could change/improve one thing about buenos aires at this point, it would definitely be the air. It took me several weeks of living here to realize the irony in the cities name - literally translated "good air". well, i'm certain at some point in time it was pretty good but no more. not with the hundreds of buses barreling down the avenidas in plumes of unregulated exhaust. imagine running behind just one of those buses 4x a week for 60 minutes or more. nauseating at times - yes it is. so that's why i run a bit farther to enter the parks and get away from the city noise, pollution and lets just say, at times, interesting smells. living here longterm means having easy and close access to "buenos aires" in a city of a lot of "malos aires".

Sunday, May 20, 2007


last week marked two months here in buenos aires and a number of other notable events:

started thinking thoughts in spanish before the engish words came out. more importantly i can understand how to edit my blog postings via blogger. ever since i moved to south america, my blogger site comes up in espanol only so i have had to guess whether i'm doing the right things or not. i now know exactly what each of the words mean and can navigate the site as easily in spanish as i did in english....whhheeeeeeeeeeeeee

went native with Mate. learned the custom and ceremony of preparing and drinking the herbal tea seen everywhere. you're supposed to use one cup and pass it among friends. heres a shot of me tokk'n da mate at a friends asado last weekend (asado is a bbq). its kinda addicting once you get used to the flavor. it suppresses the appetite a bit and has something like caffine but not.

had a girl date with my new argentine friend laura - shopping for lingerie and then to a teahouse. nearly three straight hours of conversational spanish. my head hurt afterwards from concentrating so hard but actually had a good time without conversing in my native tongue.

started evaluating the friend circle. was fast and furious in the beginning, easy to meet people and tons of expats that like to socialize but what do we really have in common other than being foreigners in a strange new country? decided to be a bit more discriminating with my time.

survived my first "enferma" of the estomago. am carnivorous once again and feeling much better. think it was the milk (ok, and a bit of overindulgence but can you blame me?) so am now taking my coffee con leche without lactose. also sticking to more chicken and fish than bife. hugo has had no problem and loves all the different types of meat. he ate blood sausage at the asado - yuck!

hugo and i had our first in country fight. no fun but a bit of a reality check. we are really in this thing together and no running upstairs to cry on my sisters shoulder when things get rough. time to face the music, button up and take a look in the mirror. interesting that spanish has very few such expressions. how will i get my point across without them?.....

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Is Lars a tramposo?

heres another place lars showed us yesterday. notice the original marble hallway again, light fixtures and molding! i love this place too. we originally called him about it because we walk by it every day on our way to the park with utta. its a stunning french building one block from a great park. however when i first met with lars he told me it was already sold to an argentine family for $280k, they were just waiting for the financing to go through so he wasn't allowed to show it. of course he assured me it was a special place and a great value for the money - occupying an entire floor at 3,000 sq ft. well, three days later he calls and says its "top secret, what i am doing but i will show it to you - you can tell no one, quickly inside". he's right, it's huge, grand and well priced. he tells us he will try to get it for us if we pay $285k and he'll go straight to the owner. the argentine family is waiting on a loan approval (i guess loans are possible here but very unusual and probably only to permanent residents in unique situations). he will essentially go behind the back of his colleague and screw his deal up. nice ethics. he wants to know by tomorrow. riiiiiiiight....well, i guess he's had his fair share on the other end of these deals but i don't like the feel of it. very tramposo.

El Granja aka The butcher

a few shots of our local butcher shop. i love the pollo milanesa which is the very thinly cut chicken breasts marinated then lightly breaded. you fry in a bit of olive oil for 2 minutes, squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top and serve with an ensalada mixta or some sauteed chauchaus aka huge green beans i've never seen in the us. we eat this at least once or twice a week. costs about $1.50.


Try saying this word 3 times fast - impossible. EEyn-Moh-BEE-Lee-Ahhh-RRHEE-OHHzz. much of my new spanish lesson is spent working on the prononciation of other similarly difficult words. the word means real estate so its an important one to know. there are inmobiliarios on every block in buenos aires and everyone and their mother is in the biz. my new spanish teach was sick with el gripe (the flu) the first half of the week so i was left with some unexpected free time. decided to start researching the neighborhoods where we may want to buy and see what the inventory looked like. these photos are just one example of what you can get for $250-300k here (but remember no mortgages so its an all cash transaction). this is a beautiful 2000 sq ft apartment on the 5th floor of a parsian style antique building in Barrio Norte. as you can see the kitchen needs a remodel but most of the house is in great shape with original molding, wood floors and original marble and tile entryway. its about 6 blocks from where we live today. i loved it but its on a very busy street called Santa Fe and more importantly too far from the park for uttas walks. am working with a german real estate agent named Lars. not sure if i trust him. very hard to know who to trust here. i get the sense that as soon as people find out you're american, they see dollar signs. lars told me some disturbing stories about being robbed here by his so called argentine friends/acquaintances. he's been robbed 4 times in the 3 years living here. once, he was drugged by two women friends that he'd known for 5 months. when he woke up, they had stolen everything of value in his apartment. yikes! our american friend brad who's been here two years says he's never heard of anything like that so maybe lars just keeps the wrong kind of company? i hope..... in other news, had a great visit with my new general practioner Dr. Alfredo Mays. he speaks perfect english and was very helpful. he sent me straight up for an ultrasound to make sure i didn't have a serious liver issue (which i don't). next i am going to see a nutritionist who also speaks english. so far i'm impressed with the quality and efficiency of medical care here. in the meantime, still taking it easy on the carne and leche.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Fight Do

Hugo had his first training session this morning with a well known boxer named Mariano. Apparently he's won 3 argentine titles and 1 for all of south america. and he's a hottie to boot! yes, i loitered nearby with my camera after throwing the ball to utta a few times and pretending to do leg lifts. actually i posted these shots more as an ego boost to my hubba hubba hubby. pretty studly for a 41 yr old eh? I heard Mariano ask him in espanol what his age was and to guess it around 25 or 26. that's gotta feel good. meantime, i'm on the mend. drinking lots of water and eating steamed veggies. tonight we go to dinner with a couple from Malasia we met a few weeks ago. they're on a similar adventure but much bolder. they left everything and came here with their 3 kids, bought a dumpy building in a trendy part of Palermo Soho shopping/dining district and are renovating the entire thing while living there. they plan to turn the downstairs into two retail storefronts to rent out and add a second story for them to live in. they've also purchased another building down the street that they plan to turn into a 9 story boutique hotel. neither of them have ever built or run a hotel before but they were architects in malasia so at least know alittle something about space. oh, and "Fight Do" is the name of my new fav class at the gimnasio. it's similar to cardio kickboxing but more real boxing moves. a great workout and of course all chicas in the class. 30 minutes is saved at the end for the prerequisite leg and butt lifts.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Feelin not so great

ok, so yes, i thought i was invincible. i thought after 15 some odd years of being a semi vegetarian/chicken-fishetarian but mostly tofu and organic everything and wheat free grains and soymilk that i could move to a new country and fill my days with non stop gorging on - steaks, pastries, chocolates, spicy stews, cafes con leche and ravioles with no repercussion. well, surprise, my body is in full blown revolt. all week i've felt terrible - bloated with terrible stomach pains and numerous other not to be disclosed symptoms. at first i thought cutting out beef for a day or two would do the trick. well, its been 5 days since i last ate meat and still no improvement. two days in a row were so bad i had to stay in bed. i made an appt at the hospital down the street (thank god i signed us up for health insurance last week) but its not until next wednesday. thinking of taking the situation into my own hands. could i be lactose intolerant? back in sf, i started each day with a grande starbucks con soymilk. here, i'm drinking lots of regular milk with my coffee, cereal and in desserts. who knows. i'm sure the daily dose of carne is no picnic for my delicate digestive system. i actually trolled the internet while contemplating the master cleanse. last year when i tried it, i gave up after two days. i was so hungry i couldn't stand it. this can't be happening. in my new life i'm a carnivore dammit! i don't care that my eat right for my blood type diet book says that i should be a vegetarian. i live in argentina now - no-one is a vegetarian. ahhhhhggghhhhhhhhhhhh