Sunday, November 1, 2009

5th Day in and still going Fuerte

     I am alive and flourishing in este ciudad. I want so badly to simplimente start typing all in Castellano, but I will refrain. Every day so far has been jam-packed with adventure in some form or another, with much more adventuring planned for Monday and Tuesday. I will simply pick up from where I last left off, seeing as lately I have had literally no time to update my blog. Photos will be randomly strewn throughout this post, so deal with it please. :)

     So shortly after writing that last blog, I dressed up for the first night on the town, and met up in Plaza Serrano with Graeme, this dude from Ireland who now lives in BsAs. After a couple liters of beer, we started talking with two cute Argentina chinas, the one I chose para la noche was a violinist del tango and played a little bit of la guitarra tambien, whose name is Victoria. We communicated in broken forms of Castellano and English about cool places en la ciudad para visitar (to visit), about awesome American bands, and about our own lives. Anyways, by 3 in the morning and by liter numero 6 of Stella Artois (which is a terrible beer), we left the bar in Plaza Serrano and headed to a place the ladies chose that was relatively nearby.
     I was pretty tired by this point, since I had been flying, and things just got weirder. We went to a bar called Kim y Novak, which is basically like a drug bar with crazy music that´s kind of like an electronified latin style. It´s a real hip, trendy, and certainly contemporary bar, with some of the weirdest looking people I´ve ever seen in my life, and a transvestite, make-up toting bartender/bartendress. Oh, and there was a ¨baño¨ downstairs that I was not allowed to go in.... I wonder what it actually was. I kind of got weirded out soon after arriving, so I literally got up, left the bar, flagged a tacho (taxi), and went home, all within 8 minutes.

Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.
[The transvestite bartender is the one with the French-styled  striped shirt with white collar and a beret, in Kim y Novak

So yeah, that completes the night half of Day 1- now onto Days 2-5.

Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.
     I went to Calle Florida in the Microcentro area (downtown), which is a pedestrian-only street for shopping and for quickly walking from Point A to Point B in the city. There are a few interesting shops here, like one called Guns Leather, and another one full of antiques, souvenirs, and handmade stuff from all over the country. I tried on a carpincho jacket, which is made out of capybara leather. Look up capybara for more info on this cuddly (and probably delicious) creature. There were a couple areas on Calle Florida where tango performances were happening, as you´ll see.

Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.
Oh! Also, the first store I stopped in was an heladeria (ice cream shop), where I indulged my self in the immense flavors of the best ice cream I´ve EVER had, literally. Not just saying that because I´m in a foreign country. The process to purchase ice cream is also interesting: first, you choose whatever cone or cup you want (which were small sizes, but incredibly tiny sizes compared to America´s largeness with all food containers), and you pay for it. Then, you take the ticket to the ice cream guy, where he´ll scoop you one or two flavors, depending on what you tell him. No charging for extra, and they pile it on high here. Like, twice the cone´s height high. ¡Que rico! I might as well mention the fact that practically all flavors here are FAR different than ány flavors I´ve had before, besides the Argentine-exclusive dulce de leche. I ordered the ¨super dulce de leche¨, which was so thick it was almost like chewing taffy.



Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.
Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.
Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.
   Prior to going to Calle Florida, I went for breakfast at an unmarked restaurant near my hostel, which apparently is very much a locals-only place, with an interesting history. The old, bald, hooked nosed owner has owned this place (called Rio de Gallegos) somewhere in order of at least 40 years I think. One day a few years back, he was offered at least 1.000.000 pesos for the property. Now that is a TON of money down here, and he boldly turned it down, saying he´s not gonna close this place after however many dozens of years it´s been open. Bad. Ass.
     The food was great here, fresh and tasty and inexpensive. My waiter was this really cool guy who was poking fun at my gaucho hat, and caused some laughter at my expense in front of the locals. I stood up to it, and appreciated the ¨initiation¨, so to speak. I feel incredibly welcome there for future returns.
    

     Okay, so to get home from El Microcentro (downtown area) to Palermo Hollywood, I had to take Subte Linea D (subway line D). I guess the last subte had just passed before 7pm, so it left everyone waiting in the subway to find a new way home, including me. There are two options at this point: take a colectivo (bus) and walk, or take a tacho (taxi) and walk less. I wanted to try the bus. I asked around to find out which of the hundreds of bus lines I needed to use, learning it´s 152. So I eventually found the bus waiting area after much asking and looking, and ended up buying the wrong bus number ticket. Shit. So I waited for 152,  but when I got on, the bus driver said it´s not the bus to Palermo Hollywood- that one is on the other side of the street. Surprised, I made a mad dash across heavy traffic to catch the approaching other 152 line on the other side, but when I got on that one, THAT bus driver told me it´s back on the OTHER side of the street!!! So, repeating history once again, I waited in line for the correct bus, got on, and never ended up even showing my wrong tickets. I got a free ride, except that I paid the city still. I always end up giving money to the city somehow, no matter where I am.
    The day was still not over, since I ended up going out to party with some hostel people from España and Germany at a nearby bar. The night was hot and windy as Hell, with a cool old car parked in the street.
Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.

Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.
                                                    
For day 3, I moved to the other side of the city, in San Telmo, where I am currently residing. I stayed at Sandanzas Hostal, where there are cute staff girls who are all artists. I checked out a bike to ride along the nearby Reserva Ecologia, a trail-laden nature park reserve on the shoreline. This day was overcast and highly windy, and Rio de la Plata was just as brown and ugly as ever. I met a guy on the trail who went by Muchacho Chacho, a former architect from here who lived in London and Switzerland. And he had an architect´s beard.

     Day 4 has so far been the closest I´ve been with any of the locals (porteños). While it was Halloween for us Americans, it was simply another weekend in BsAs.
     I set out for Museo Xul Solar in Recoleta, which is a collection of the works of Xul Solar, a famous Argentine painter. His paintings are muy interesante, with geometrical shapes and pastel colors mixed with bold ones being trademark characteristics of his. Even his name means Solar Light, which is quite the badass name, in my opinion. Think of a kind of M.C. Escher type style, with some of the colors of Dali´s works, and you have a surreal, symbological imagery found in his paintings. Also, he made a quarter tone piano, but I couldn´t tell how it was arranged. First off, all the keys in an octave were replaced with spectrum-colored wood blocks, and there were three rows of keys. 44, 44, and then the quarter-tone ones. Quite awesome.
     I tried and successfully got through to the U.S. via phone, and also completed a couple local calls for reservations last night- it was all far easier than I ever thought. Anyway, I set out last night for Cineclub Mon Amour, which is 5 blocks away from my hostel, but I didn´t have the numbered address, just the wrong intersection and right street. After much asking around, I finally found the completely unmarked theater, where I watched ¨No Morirle Sola¨. It was basically a movie where 4 cute Argentine girls set off on a road trip into northern Argentina, and get severely raped by a couple yokels, with a lot of super-slow exteded actions, and intense bursts of violence. Many people die very brutally in this, and it kinda reminds me of a Kill Bill-esque plot line.
     From there, I headed out for a live quintet group playing in Sanata Bar in the Amalgro district. Here I caught the end of their excellent performance, ate dinner at 1am and left a few seats open at my table for the tango music act following the quintet, hoping to be joined by locals. Well, certainly enough it happened, and I got to enjoy my first live tango music, which is INCREDIBLY passionate, rhythmic, and full of dynamics, sitting with a couple regular locals.

Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.
     Throughout the show more people joined my table, and the chairs were constantly shifting people around at my prime seating location; they all know each other, and all conversed happily with me. I got to find out about more locals-only type events, and actually learn what these people do in regular living.
Photo © 2009 Drew Castle Peters. All rights reserved.
It was also raining from the night prior through this day, into the night, and all the way till this morning. But keep reading.

     By the time 3 rolls around, I was planning on heading home, but got sucked into the table right next to mine to jam on spoon and random table object percussion music. This led to me meeting the son of Ruben Juarez, an incredibly famous tango musician from Argentina, and his friend who had won a lifetime supply of 6.000 pesos per month from a local casino. They bought me my second round of Fernet, which is a bitter and sour digestif, if you will, which Argentines mix with CocaCola. It´s gross, but 45% alcohol strength. We got to talking loudly like all porteños, with me learning more super-locals-only places from these two dudes, who made fun of each other and me and of course, I had to call them putos every now and then. We spoke via Castellano, broken English, and drunk-tongue. It was truly awesome having these two super cool dudes as connections to more fun nights in BsAs. So, I got home at 6 this morning, and am starting today at 4pm. Will post again soon, but for now, chau chau. (It sounds like a dog food goodbye).   


4 comments:

  1. Cool portraits and insights. I'm enjoying following your blog.
    Cheers!
    - Jerr

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  2. Holy mackerole!!! your trip sounds dope! so jealous! cant wait till you're back so we can talk on the phone. :) -Erin

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  3. Thanks for following along, this is the first "blog"-type site I´ve ever had and used. Will post more soon.

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  4. Hey World Traveler! Are you in Rodeo windsurfing? Or are you beyond there in Barreal, trying to replicate on land the experience you had in Rodeo on water? You haven't updated your blog since Nov.12, when you were in Cordoba. Hope you're not hiding from some remote indigenous lost tribe somewhere in the jungle. Survivor, indeed!!!! You might even be in Mendoza... how's the weather; how are you finding the locals...interesting local customs and peculiar practices would be encountered... so break away from those ladies of Argentina for further posting in the Drew Peters travelogue; I'm quite enjoying the pix so far. We'll have to spend the time to sort them out when you return. All for now. Just sign me as: Dad

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