Tuesday, March 29, 2011

goals revisited

So I haven't fully met my two goals that I aimed to meet a while ago. 1. Ride the bus 2. Buy a phone

BUT...the good news is that I've ridden on the bus like 3 times now! Yaaaaay, turns out getting onto a bus, paying, sitting down, and then getting up and getting off at the appropriate stop is not so hard. Although, last night when i was using the coin machine to pay once I got on board, I managed to open the machine to expose the inner workings of the giant contraption when I thought I was turning a lever for my ticket. The big door came right open when I turned it and shocked the hell out of me, but luckily I swiftly closed it right back up, took my ticket, which came out on its own, and sat down.

The phone, unfortunately, has yet to be purchased. However, other big things have happened. haha! Some good, some bad, mostly good.

#1 - I'm moving
I am leaving my place and I haven't even shared any pictures, so, here they are. Better late than never.

My little bed & nightstand


My dresser


Bathroom


The hallway & front door. Okay, that's enough I'm tired of loading these.

I'm moving in with a very nice Columbian guy in an area of town called Caballito. I'm super excited because my new roommate is aware of how bad I want to improve my Spanish, so he'll help me immerse myself and hopefully introduce me to some of his lovely Columbian friends? Maybe he knows Shakira.

#2 - I've got a ton of teaching hours each week starting April 4
I have been patient, (haha, mostly), sent out countless resumes and emails, but finally, the company I have been working a few hours for every week has finally come through and they're giving me the hours I need to survive here, starting next week. I'm excited about getting productive again, and it's a pretty smooth schedule.

Just keep on putting one foot down in front of the other. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

easy breezy friday

It's a 4 day weekend here in BA, not that that matters when you don't have a real people regular job. Even if I did, I will say these people sure do know how to relax.



I thought I'd share something nice and fun - a view of my laundry from the roof of my building, (better enjoy it while I can, I'm moving next week). I really love doing laundry here, carrying it all the way up to the roof for it to dry in the sun and breeze. Give me a few months and I'll be cursing like a sailor going up each step as the novelty will have worn off by then and my laziness would take over from there. For now it's great.



Also, a few weeks back I saw a free concert with a few different artists from South America. One of whom was Marcelo Pretto who I now love. He's Brazilian and brilliant. We couldn't use cameras at the show, but that didn't stop me from recording a bit of one of his songs from my purse. Just enjoy the sounds of the video matched with his elated face and have a happy Friday!



video

Monday, March 21, 2011

bomba del tiempo



This was a really fun concert I went to with some friends a while back. A group of drummers go nuts for like an hour and half while the crowd dances and from what I remember smelling, smoke pot openly. Lots of fun. Especially the beautiful conductor, he's somewhere in this city and I will find him...

video

Sunday, March 20, 2011

the sounds



This is a pretty loud place. Sometimes even when I'm walking down the street with my headphones on at near-full blast I can still hear the random roars of the city around me. Here are a few things you might expect to hear here (here! here!:) -

Whistling buses - Not sure why but many of the "colectivos" or public buses that drive around the city are accompanied by a high-pitched and inexplicable whistling noise. This combined with the fact that they go very fast, making a roaring engine sound, helps to create a consistent vibrating hum on the street during the day and well into the night.

Screeching sounds of the subte - In between certain subte (subway) stations as you pass through there is a horrendous sound of metal scraping against metal. These seizure-inducing screeches are pretty bad. It's like when you have your iPod turned up loud already and then a song comes on that you downloaded, (legally or illegally?), which was recorded extra loud, (because you downloaded it legally or illegally). That moment when the song pierces your ear drum and you could drop to the sidewalk from the shock is comparable to this scraping sound on the subte.

Random music - Sometimes I hear songs that are under the radar even in the US. There are some radio stations that have a great mix of indie music and 90s and 00s. But then sometimes, you're in a cab at 2 in the morning and your middle-aged, male cab driver is playing Super Trooper by ABBA and tapping cheerily on the steering wheel.

Morena hermosa! - If you at least even resemble a woman here, chances are, you will receive cat calls. If you are not a woman and you get cat calls, I would encourage you to show your true self to these men and scare the hell out of them. If there has been one man who has succeeded in picking up a woman through cat-calling, I would love to meet him. This man would be an international hero, because 10 times out of 10 women want nothing to do with these assholes, myself included.

More sounds to come, I'm sure...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

tread lightly

Before I get into the nitty gritty of the sights and sounds of this really cool city there is one thing you should know. When you're walking here, always look down.



WHOA!

This place is littered with this kind of treachery. I have yet to take a spill, but just know that it's coming. And it will be hilarious.

Apparently it's part of the culture for flirty, (or, rather, all), Argentine men to look directly into the eyes of women as they walk past them in the street. If women look away the men can normally tell they are foreign. It is customary to hold their gaze as you walk past. The flirtatiousness in this city is never-ending... for better or worse. But I don't glide with the swan-like grace of a Latin woman. My goal is always to move with the grace of a quick-moving dinosaur. I'm just trying to get to where I need to go. I look away and down so that I don't plunge to my death into the street where a bus is whizzing by or fall head-on into the crotch of the man who's giving me the opposite-of-evil eye. I don't know which of the two would lead to a more dire situation. Bus or crotch? Who knows. For now I'm just going to keep looking down and be a foreigner.

Friday, March 11, 2011

goals



You have to start small, I guess, be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was this statue I found in the city outside of el Museo Nacional de las Bellas Artes. So here are 2 small goals to be accomplished in the next two weeks:

- figure out and then take the bus (Here the bus is known to barely stop long enough for you to get on, however, I've got strong suction-cup webbed feet and hands like Spiderman, so this should not be an issue overall.)

- buy a cell phone (I hate doing this shit in the states, so doing it in another language and getting the cheapest deal possible is like that homework assignment that I keep putting off. I'd rather light a toenail on fire.)

Off I go.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

my day



My day sort of started out like this Michael Jackson song/video.

I had to schlep over to a faraway place at the end of the subway line today to pick up my books for the class I begin teaching tomorrow. (yaaaay! work & money!) It's a long subway ride and then a longer walk to get to the building and it was a hot day out.

Things started out a little bad when I looked in my little booklet to retrieve the address of this building. I had taken notes on the job when I was there before and it turns out I'll be making less an hour than I originally thought. Damn my brain and it's poor attention to detail!

I entered the underground putrid sauna that is the subway system and slicked my way onto the train where I stood sandwiched next to other equally stinky people. In this city I step outside and instantly start to stink. I don't keep very well in this heat.

After I got off the subway I walked in the heat toward the building, sweating my ass off. As I walked I was reminded of yet another reason why us ladies should never shave. I was hot, itchy and uncomfortable. I would've been better off pouring fire ants into my underwear and putting on some hot pants to keep them tightly enclosed. Needless to say I took a few wide, awkward steps on my way there (for adjustment purposes).

Once I got there and they threw a few books and attendance sheets at me, I made my way back.

I stopped at a little cafe and got some coffee and a sandwich. Just so you know, the waiters & waitresses here on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being hostile/volatile and 10 being indifferent are normally at about a 5, sometimes a 3 or 4. They are usually not happy to see or help you. My waitress today was at about a 4. Also, the food here is usually pretty bland. I don't dislike it yet, but I know I will probably get bored soon. You have your choice between cheese sandwiches, or ham and cheese sandwiches, and that's kind of it. They don't even put any damn honey mustard or mayo on it. Jesus, just put some salt on 2 sheets of paper and that'll do the job just as well!

From this point on, my afternoon felt more like this Michael Jackson song

A good mood crept up on me out of nowhere just like Michael singing at the beginning of this song. **whispering** ....you make feel like, you make feel like--WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I left the restaurant, put on my headphones and floated the rest of the way back to the subway. I'm not sure why, but I suddenly felt as happy as a fart in a windstorm. Michael Jackson was on my iPod and I was happy as fuck. I felt like dancing and skipping my way down the sidewalks lined with trash and dog shit. Everyone I looked at was smiling and I was filled with that inexplicable feeling we sometimes get for no reason when you just feel like everything is right with the world. So, to celebrate I bought a cheap shirt, (shown above in photo of me doing ta-da gesture), which will probably fall apart after I wear it twice, and then I danced my way down into the subway where not even the gruff ticket woman who I bought my subway pass from could make me feel bad.

You can't take this good mood away from me, mean lady! And no, I DON'T have change!....

Keep on with the force don't stop, don't stop til you get enough! Keep on with the force don't stop.....

Monday, March 7, 2011

learning


This shit is hard, son!!

I'm not talking about relaxing and reading and waking up whenever I want to, or drinking coffee in bed and taking naps. That's all easy. The hard part is opening my mouth and letting decent Spanish pour out. Well, actually, not "Spanish" but "Castellano." [with their double L's sounding like ssshhh - Caste-sha-no] That is what they speak here in Buenos Aires. It's basically Spanish with a different accent, conjugations and vocabulary. NBD, right?

Not entirely a big deal, on a good day. On these days when I get the chance to talk to nice people they like to tell me I speak very well. Maybe they're just being nice, who knows.

On my worse days I can't understand or speak worth a SHIT. Someone will be speaking to me for a while and I just wait and pray that I don't hear that inflection in their voice at the end of their statement that connotes a question. I'd rather just look like the intelligent, pensive, good listener. I don't like the part when they ask me a question and I grin like an idiot and ask them to repeat themselves while I scramble to translate what I want to say in my head from English to Spanish (which is NOT a good thing to do).

Everyone has always told me, (I've even told my English students myself sometimes), don't think, just speak. WTF?? I know I should trust my gut and what I've studied already a bit more, but, the shit that comes out of my mouth sometimes is already insane when I'm TRYING to speak correctly, who knows what the hell would come out of my mouth if I let er rip!

I'm a pretty impatient person, so if I could just wake up and have this be done and me be fluent that would be great. But #1 that's not possible, yet... #2 I'd miss out on the "learning experience." You know all those sayings about finding your way and all that stuff. I remember I had a Carebear suitcase when I was little that said "getting there is half the fun." Damn bears. Making me feel bad about not being patient enough. Easy for them to say, I don't have Cheer Bear here to guide my way and this ain't Care-a-lot.

Nevertheless, I know I will get there, and I will share my ridiculous flubs and mistakes along the way.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

here at last!

I made it!! I'm in Buenos Aires! (and actually have been for almost 3 weeks now, but still! I made it!)

I have lots to share, but for now I took a quick, non-impressive video on Avenida 9 de julio, their main strip, (which has their obelisk and part of their downtown area). I had wondered for a bit if their obelisk was bigger than DC's. After seeing it up close again, I'm proud to report that is definitely NOT the case. Everything's ALWAYS bigger in America. Plates of food, people, bald eagles, pick-up trucks and especially phallic-monuments.

video

Thursday, March 3, 2011

big bang theory


Americans are not always looked at as the greatest of human beings around the world. I am reminded of why this is every once in a while.

On my flight from Mexico City to Panama, (where I had a layover), the airline showed an episode of the Big Bang Theory, the U.S. sitcom about geeks.

Yeah, Big Bang Theory, good choice, because THAT'S what this plane full of Spanish speaking non-Americans want to watch. Out of dozens of passengers, I would have been the only one with an interest to watch/understand/recognize it, and they struck out with me because I don't watch it. I'm sure it's great, I'm really happy for David from Roseanne and everything, but, no dice. I didn't watch it.

It's really no wonder other countries resent the U.S. so damn much. What with our English, Coca-Cola, our Michael Jackson and Big Bang Theory.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

videos from mexico: el fin

I will leave you with my last post/video about Mexico, (since I've been in Argentina two weeks now already).

On the last day, while I was in Mexico City, I happened upon a memorial performance in El Museo de las Bellas Artes. It was complete with a mariachi band. No disrespect for the dead when I say this but, I FUCKING LOVE mariachi music, so this was a great surprise, (despite the circumstances). R.I.P. Manuel Esperón and thank you again, Mexico. I love you more than I ever knew I could.


video

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

videos from mexico part III

Driving through the tiny streets & hills of Taxco

video