Wednesday, February 27, 2008


If it's "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise-" then I'm going to be sick, poor, and stupid.

On Saturday, some friends wanted to go to a club. So Rob and I basically slept all day in order to get ready, since the club scene here does not start until 2AM. (That's right. 2AM.) Here's how it went down:

12AM: Met at N.'s for a few drinks, waited for people to show up.

2AM: A few went to Pacha and we stayed behind waiting for S.

3AM: Text from people at Pacha- they are not getting in because the line is too long. We'll go to Ink instead.

3:30-ish? We take S. to her apartment so she can change and head over to Ink.

4AM: We're waiting in line at Ink to be let in. (It's the journey, not the destination....)

4:30AM: We finally get in. (That's right. We don't start the festivities until 4-frickin' THIRTY!)

4:30-7: Dancing, etc.

7AM: We all go to a café to have breakfast and watch the sun come up.

9AM: I finally get to sleep (because like a dumb-ass, I had coffee at breakfast.)

Sunday: Sleep all day.

O.K. Lessons from this? First, if we're going to go to a club, we need to pay in advance a bunch of money for a VIP table and not be humiliated by all the pretty people being let in ahead of us (Am I not skinny enough? What does she have that I don't..... etc.)

Second, I'm about ten years too old. Not just because the people at the club were probably about ten years younger than me (I'm 30 *ahem* something), but because it's taken me sooooo long to recover. It's Wednesday, and I'm just starting to feel normal. Club-Lag.

I'm sure I'll do it again, though, when I am overcome with the illusion that I am younger than I really am. It's all part of the time-shift that is Buenos Aires.

********* Update**********

After reading this post again, it seems a little cynical. But I actually did have a good time. Nicola gives another point of view on the same night here.

Out of Place....

I just got back from the local grocery store among the isles of dulce de leche (yum), bife de lomo, pollo milanesa, etc.

Where none of the employees speak a lick of English.

And yet...... Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" is playing on the speakers.


Habla Castellano?

My Castellano is improving bit by bit, so that I can let my needs be known to people at the grocery store, laundry, etc. I can order food over the phone (kind of). I can also tell people where I am from, about my family, where I live, etc.

There are some phrases though, that I wish there were a phrasebook for:

  1. I'd like a plain coffee, but put it in a large cup, and give me some milk (not steamed) on the side.
  2. This phone jack doesn't work.
  3. Does linen shrink?
  4. Don't put the frozen pizza directly on the oven shelf.
  5. Does this cleaner remove mildew?
  6. Do any of your bras come in a D-cup? (The answer is usually no.)
  7. No, thank you. Your food gave me diarrhea last time.
  8. When I try to go to Gmail, the page comes up all gobbledy-gook (at the locutorio).
  9. Please, do not cut my hair in a mullet.
  10. Do you have this in a "fat-ass American" size, or only an "anorexic porteña" size?
I'm sure there are many more. Maybe I should write my own phrasebook,

Friday, February 22, 2008

Would you let me pack your parachute?

I met someone at a function tonight. She's from San Jose, but her parents are Argentine. So when she speaks to people here they assume she is a local because her accent is perfect. But she said that it was very difficult to make Argentine friends because she didn't go to school or grow up with them.

This is a pattern that I have heard repeated quite often- Argentines are warm, friendly people. But to make it into their inner circle, you have to be trusted. And whom do you trust? Family, and those you have grown up with.

It's understandable in a country that has gone through a military dictatorship and an economic collapse that trust would not be forthcoming. Even the government economic data cannot be trusted (Inflation 8%? give me a break. Everyone knows it's at least 20%.)

There's even a gesture here for mistrust: they take a finger and pull down the corner of their eye. It means roughly "you better watch out" or "keep an eye on that guy." We don't have that gesture in the U.S. Maybe trust is something I take for granted. I trust most people implicitly. I trust them until they show me they cannot be trusted.

I feel sorry for the Argentine-American who has trouble making friends here. I've made friends with other Americans, Brits, Irish, and Canadians in just a few weeks whom I trust completely. I'd let them pack my parachute.

And we didn't even grow up together.

What is it that makes us trust others?

Lessons from the Bidet

No it's not a sink. It's a bidet. The Argentines love their bidet, which is pretty novel to most Americans, I think.

A handy lesson:

The handles in the back on the outside run a mixture of hot and cold water down the bowl from the holes in the back. so you can face the bidet, turn on the water, and adjust it t suit your liking. Then you can turn around and sit down. The handle in the middle switches the stream to go up from the spray on the bottom.
After you are done "sprinkling" your nether-regions, it's important to turn the water back so that it runs from the back of the bowl again. That way, the next person who bends over to turn on the water doesn't get squirted in the face. I'm just saying.....

(This is just in case anyone who happens to share an apartment with me- I'm not naming names- reads this.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Anti-Semitism Unmasked

From the BA Newcomers forum, a mailing list dedicated to helping ex-pats and other visitors to BsAs find housing, services, talk about common problems, etc:


"Go back to the United Jews of America. Who asked you to usurp our country anyway."

All I can say is... Wow.

(The poster was put on moderated status and the pot was deleted from the archives. While I agree with moderating the poster, I think they should have kept this in the archives for the record.)

The Jewish population of Argentina, is the largest in Latin America and the sixth largest in the world.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where's the @ at?

Twice now, I've been stuck in a locutorio trying to type an @ sign on a Spanish keyboard.They squish in three characters on one key! I see it next to the 2, but no combination of keys seems to coax it onto the screen. (You can click on the picture above to get a closer view.)

I don't feel so stupid, though, because Rob was with me once, and he couldn't figure it out either. (We ended up copying and pasting).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Beatbox Flute Sesame Street Theme

This has nothing to do with BsAs, it's just cool.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Am I French?

Yesterday, for the third time, I had a conversation that went something like this (in Spanish):

Me: How's that? Sorry, my Spanish isn't very good. I need to hear something twice before I understand.

Porteño: No problem. Where are you from? France?

France? This was the third time someone thought I was French, and I don't know why. It could be the way I speak- maybe my accent in Spanish sounds more like French than English. or perhaps I just look French. (What is a French look, anyway?) Maybe I do something French people do that I am not aware of. I was buying a bottle of wine, after all.

C'est la vie......