Thursday, March 27, 2008


My first night back in BA after a two week visit to SF was a bit of a culture shock. To ease the transition and my jet lag I went to my favorite park for a power walk around the lake near our apartment. On my way home around 8pm I noticed cars honking their horns wildly at all of the intersections and people hanging off their balcony on ritzy Libertador Avenue banging pots and pans. The noise was unmistakable and deafening. Something was going on. I got home and asked Hugh "what the hell is going on!" It's called "cacerolazo" - a pots and pans banging protest (just google this on youtube and there are a ton of videos). Its all over the city and it goes on every night for an hour starting at 8pm. Right now I hear it outside and it is starting to sound like a harmonizing samba. Its the Argentines saying "we've had it! we won't be pushed around by this govt anymore!" I've never been in the midst of such a widespread and organized protest. Recently, the govt raised export taxes on a variety of farm products including soybeans (the most profitable) and beef. This means taking money away from the farmers and higher prices for city dwellers. This is bad news for everyone - except those in government who may be taking some of this excess tax money for their own private swiss accounts. In Buenos Aires we bang pots and pans every night in support of the farmers. In the country "el campo", people are staging protests that block traffic - not allowing large shipments of food to go through. Prices of beef have skyrocketed and inventory is low. Our local carniceria has maybe 10 cuts of meat when he usually has 60. No one knows how this will turn out. So far, President Christina Kirchner isn't budging and says she will not be bullied by these demonstrations. Our friend Clara sent us an email about a big protest tomorrow night in Plaza de Mayo in front of the Pink House. Everyone is to wear a green teeshirt in support of the farmers. Hugh and I both want to go but I must admit I'm a bit leary after seeing today's news photos of bloody encounters in the streets between protestors and police. For now we join the chorus of clang clackity clack...

More SF pics

Joni and I visiting the Annie Leibowitz exhibit at the Legion of Honor

Rach, me and Cousin Aja on Easter

The Jayme girls reunite at Slanted Door

Aunt Sea Jai, me, Auntie Brenda, Cousin Elan and Sis Rach


While shopping at Birite market in the Mission early in the trip, Joni and I noticed a sign promoting an upcoming class on fermentation - how to make your own sauerkrat. I was immediately interested having just learned a ton about the benefits of probiotics in the nutrition portion of my yoga course. Got to get more of that healthy bacteria in my gut! So we signed up and went the following Wednesday night for a few hours of chopping cabbage, carrots and other goodies for homemade kraut and kimchee. You can see me pictured there "massaging" the cabbage to bring out the liquid. It was oddly satisfying to dig deep in a pile of sweating shredding vegetable. We each brought home a jar to sit on the counter and ferment away. I tasted Joni's before I left SF and it was tasty and ready to put in the fridge. Now that I know how to make it, I'll being krauting my own here in BA.

One year anniversary

Last week marked my first full year living in BA. I spent it at a distance literally and figuratively - visiting San Francisco for the first time since leaving. It was a busy two weeks. Thought I'd have hours to stroll the steep hills and lounge at Dolores Park but between a one week intensive yoga teacher training, visiting family and a few friends, and packing in as much shopping as tolerable, time got away from me. A few days before leaving BA, the requests for the "underground railroad" started pouring in. Brad wanted Crisco for a new cookie recipe. Giselle needed me to send a letter to a new guy she's seeing in Lake Tahoe. Upstairs neighbor bought 2 pairs of designer sunglasses and a handheld device from eBay that I would be smuggling back. And ex spanish tutor David wanted to buy a laptop and deliver to Joni's where I would be staying. Did I mention the 4 jars of peanut butter, 6 bags of Fritos, Harpers and Vanity Fair magazines Hugh requested? I had my mind set on a dozen yoga books and CDs, a few writing books for my writers group, new socks and any good deals on sweaters for the upcoming chilly winter months. Needless to say I filled up the second empty suitcase I brought along with me and had to pay $50 extra for the weight thanks to all the books.

Being back in SF felt both comfortingly familiar and distant - like it doesn't belong to me anymore even though I know every inch of it like my own skin. My greatest indulgence was breathing in the crisp clean air. I don't miss the fresh air on a regular basis in BA since I've become accustomed to the pungent streets but I did appreciate the lack of odor in SF once I stepped outside. Food wise I went deep in Japanese. Many meals of noodle soups, sushi and grilled cod with veggies. On my more nostalgic days I visited old haunts Tao in the Mission for the Mien Ga soup, Good Frikin Chicken, and Birite market for their roasted turkey and swiss sandwich. I also fit in a double Mitchells ice cream cone, an extravagant evening at Slanted Door with nearly the whole fam, Ebisu sushi and a downtown lunch at my fav Japanese deli at the Ferry Market Delica. My asian cravings were well satiated. When I got back yesterday Hugh took me to a local parilla and I ate a big steak and creamed spinach. Back on the Argentine diet.

I didn't get to see everyone I had hoped to and I didn't have as much time to spend with the people I did see. Impossible to squeeze in a year of catching up in a few hours - that will be a theme no doubt as long as we live so far from our family and friends. Hopefully the blog can continue to fill in some of the gaps.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Yoga article

My first paid (woohoo) travel article made its debut yesterday morning on - the Argentine “OM” factor describes the recent yoga boom in Buenos Aires and points travelers to the best places to down dog it and zen out. I thought it would be a thrill to write about two of my favorite things – yoga and Argentina. Sadly, I discovered that practicing, teaching and studying yoga is far more interesting than writing about it. Turned out ok and the editors of the site loved it but for me, there was no zing in my zing. So….don’t expect a series of articles on yoga or a yoga book. Note to self: practice yoga, write about other stuff.


Most days I look around and imagine I’m in a slightly dingier Paris or Rome. I close my eyes, take a bite of freshly made ricotta stuffed ravioli or bite into a buttery medialuna (the argentine croissant) and I’m right there. Running through the parks designed by renowned French landscape architect Charles Thays and admiring the tacky yet deliciously glamorous ladies of Recoleta, I marvel at my good fortune.

Now and again, it’s something different – a bit more…third world. Our Fibertel (DSL) has been on the fritz for nearly two weeks. At first we thought it was just our apartment so we chuckled and patiently waited for the router lights to start twinking again like they always have. Then days passed and our English speaking neighbors stopped by to vent their frustration. They are thinking of moving if they don’t get it back up soon. Hugh waited all day on a Saturday two weeks ago expecting the Fibertel fix it man. They never showed up and when he finally called they laughed haughtily – “no, not this Saturday, you must wait at least 2 weeks”. Last week one of the Argentine neighbors popped by to inquire if we also had problems with our internet connection. Well, at least we’re not alone. So, I have to either take the laptop to a café with wifi or stop by a locutorio (internet café) to ck email(photo above at locutorio near our apt). No more skype calls and most of my more lengthy computer correspondences have trickled to one-liners. The third worldy part of it all is not that it happened because even in SF we lost our internet connection from time to time. It’s that we have no idea when or if we’ll ever get it back. It could be weeks, or even months. My friend Sharon just moved into a new apartment and has been trying for 4 weeks to get cable hooked up. She’s resigned herself to renting videos.

Autumn rained in this month. Heavy stormy showers near daily for the past week. Last Wednesday the storm made the front pages as major streets like Santa Fe and Libertador were flooded waist high. Lots lost power and the subway shut down. I was just beginning to get used to my coppertone arms and legs. The first real summer I’ve had since the teenagers years in sticky San Fernando Valley.

We saw the Oscars on TV and Hugh took note of all the winners. He’s a meticulous movie researcher. We can’t rent one unless it’s been given the thumbs up on the rottentomatoes or myriad other sites. This time he found a gem I would have never known about called “Once” – which won for best original score. Then he downloaded the soundtrack. I am officially obsessed. Glen Hasard and Marketa Irgloba’s voices are haunting, raw and beautifully complementary. There’s one song called Falling Slowly that I have played no fewer than 10 times in the last 24 hours. The chorus goes like this…

Take this sinking boat and point it home, we’ve still got tiiiiiiiimmmmme.

Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice. You’ll make it nooooooooowww.

It’s the perfect rainy day sing out loud in your pajamas with hairbrush microphone fix.