Wednesday, October 29, 2008

buenas tardes boys and ghouls...

after a 3 month hiatus due to not so accesable internet access i now feel ready to resume periodically spewing my thoughts and reflections into a box for all to see.

as i left mama roja with a(nother) bug in my foot and a heaviness in my heart the last image reflected on my eyeballs as we drove out the gate was rambo, the furry, toothless love of my life sitting with ears pricked watching us go. it was a sad goodbye, but more than anything i feel incredibly greatful for all the good times and learning i had there and for the fact that i will never have to spend another night in that damned canadian tent.

instead i will spend the next 10 days sitting on a cushion in complete silence at a vipassna meditation retreat an hour outside of buenos aires. i thought it would be a good transition and i hear the food is great, so for now i leave you with the sacred sound of the universe...


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

mama roja.

after picking up a new, oregonean, travel partner, her sack of veggies and her mandolin and blowing throgh mendoza and cordoba like we had a fire raging under our cooshie cama-class seats, the dust settled and we found ourselves in the sleepy town of obera in the misiones provence.

... and whooie! its a whole other ball game up here. misiones makes its home in the northeast, stumpy finger-shaped, sub-tropical corner of argentina. its painted all in reds and pinks and greens and all a flury with butterflies, tarantulas, venemous snakes, misquitos, no-see-ems, and a schmorgusborg of other bugs im pretty sure are extra terrestrials.

and the internet people are kicking me out so for more information see:

Saturday, August 30, 2008


san pedro de atacama is a toursit trap, with a side of roasted chicken, served up in a hellish dust bowl that gets sand in hard to reaches places youd didnt even know you had theyre so hard to reach. so, impressive as the suspiciously martian landscape is, the place´s unfriendliness to the debitcardless left both chris and i happy to to admire it from the window of a bus on our way the hell out of there.

now armed once again with the company of an old santa cruz friend (and one equally neglegent with wallet sized pieces of plastic) i hit the road with my pack on my back and my thumb in the air, but only for about 5 minutes until a sweet middle aged couple picked us up and drove us 700 km south to the charming beach town of la serena. i would have like to have stayed, but poor chistopher is not so lucky as to have the luxury of a one way ticket. and so, after a stroll to the beach and a rough night of poor man´s pisco sours, it was back to thumbin´it.

this time we maybe waited a whole of twenty minutes and were starting to get antsy when a mac truck pulled over and ushered us aboard. for the next 8 odd hours with christian the crazy chilean camionero there was hardly ever a dull moment between sing alongs to his eclectic music selection, which spanned from evanescence to ac/dc to the backstreet boys (and back again), jokes that im pretty sure were all bad even through his thick chilean accent, and pit stops for dulce de leche smuthered sweets and horse jerky. when we fianally parted ways with dear christian in valparaiso, we trudged like a couple of somnambulists to the cheapest hospedaje we could find and hardly even noticed the hole in the floor and cigarette burns inthe sheets before falling asleep with all of our clothes on.

buuuut, janky hotel aside, valpo is a neat little port town with a kind of san fransisco feeling, what with the fog and hills packed with colorful houses, and i may even venture to say that it one ups sf in the trolly department because homies got elevators, yo! theyre cool rickity old things from the turn of the century that carry passengers (aka tourists thesedays) up and down the steepest slpoes. once again, we would have liked to have stayed, but we had things to do and cheaper lands to get to and we were gone again within a matter of days.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

buenos aires: round 2

view of the full moon from my borrowed tent at salta municipal campsite.
nacho and me.

view of downtown buenos aires from the ecological reserve.

scrabble night at the hostal.

oh man, what a month. so it all started out with a week on kevin´s floor, half a block from the widest street the world (i counted 20 lanes, but ive never been good at math) complete with pricey vegan food, spanish school, greenhorn 18 year old americans, and the works.

then, kevin got the flu, so i got the heck out of there and into a hostel in a quieter area of town. and, seeing how its winter down here, my hostel mates were all of 7, 4 of whom were employees. so it made for a nice, querky, family like feeling, plus i got a whole loft to myself, sweet! im not quite sure where those two weeks went, but i think i may have lost them between seeing jessica (the quiet librarian of the group) jump up on a bar and rip off her top to ¨i love rock and roll,¨ fighting with brenden (the reincarnated hemmnigway, but nicer, probably) over countless games of scrabble, taco teusdays at a chipotle copy-cat, run by a ¨buddy¨of andy (the sox fan from boston who also happens to speak italian, portugese, and a bit of spanish which he charmingly blends with english swear words), not to mention countless batches of homemade empanadas. oh and the 2 kids who run the place like to invite all their friends and friends bands over for house parties every so often. so with all that it was rather easy to loose track of things; like time... and my debit card.

yep i was all ready to check out and catch a bus north when, whoopsie daisies... wheres my debit card?? and since the combined iq of the fine people who opperate the phone bank at wells fargo comes somewhere close to that of a choripan (which are delicious as far a sausage sandwiches go, but none too bright), i found myself stuck in buenos aires for a week with no more cash, which meant goodbye hostel and hello nacho.

no, no, im not talking about the deliciously cheesy mexican ourdeurve (? no clue.), but a wonderful new argentine friend who opened up his floor to me in a little artists flat in palermo, hollywood (there is also a palermo, soho. so tacky). and after going on tours of the areas best grafiti murals, drinking beer out of gigantic plastic cups at la bomba del tiempo (the biggest and coolest percussion show ever), ¨helping¨him with the lighting design at a local club (really he just let me push some buttons in time with the music for a while), playing darts in his kitchen, watching a silent movie in the national library, and teaching him the beauty of american delicacies such as home made steak tacos, and chocolate chip cookies, being stuck in buenos aires really wasnt all that bad.

and that brings us to salta. i decided that debit cards are over rated and im not about to let little problems, hiccups rather, like not having any money keep me from traveling. so i bought a bus ticket with my credit card and arrived just in time to not get the last seat on the only bus leaving for san pedro de atacma for the next 4 days. no problem. i showed up at the municipal campsite, tentless, and one of the women there took pity on me and lent me her tent, which she actually rode her bicycle to her house to go get for me. and thats pretty much all there is to tell. around salta is lovely, but the city itself is kindof, eh. and with no money ive been doing alot of reading and much needed napping, a bit of hiking and chatting with my fellow argentine campers. tomorrow ill once again be in the company of a branch of the santa cruz crew, but not till i make it through one more uncomfortable night in a bus terminal. man, whatd id do for a crossword.

Friday, June 20, 2008


after returning to the farm for a few weeks to get my fix of fresh air, rambuncious children and manual labor i felt ready for the city again. so on information id recieved from a drunken frenchman, who had talked to a dreadlocked spaniard, who heard from a belgian farmer that manu chao was playing a free concert in rosario to celebrate the 80th birthday of che guevara i packed up my backpack, said my goodbyes and headed east with two other voluntarias.

we arrived early in the morning and were met by a tall, lanky kid with dark sunglasses and a swagger. this is julian. we stayed on his floor for the next 4 nights (or was it 5?) along with one of his friends who had gotten down on his luck, a danish guy and another californian. its called couch surfing ladies and gentlemen and its goshdarned fabulous. every day lasted around 20 hours every one of them different. one night we drank champagne on the roof of one of the tallest buildings in the city and then danced till dawn at an 80s disco, the next closed down the house at the best folk music show ive ever seen, we cheered from the front row as one of our new housemates sang-screamed-growled into the microphone at a local heavy metal venue, and froze our buns off at a free rock concert on the river... and no, manu chao wasnt in the line up. just goes to show you should never trust information offered by a drunken frenchman who heard it from a dreadlocked spaniard, etc, etc. the both of whom by the way we bumped into at the folk show and joined for various other outtings the rest of the week. but it wasnt all youth crazed debauchery. i met some of the most wonderful people on my trip to date and i have to admit, i left them with a bit of a heavy heart (not to mention eyelids), but such is the life of a traveler. i think it was kahil gibran who said something like, when the wings of love enfold you, yeild to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. ok, so its a little dramatic, but whats life without a bit of drama, eh?

and now here i am back in buenos aires being insessantly rained on and feeling extreemly thankful for the shelter of the grand palace turned office building where my spanish classes are held as i am locked out of kevins apartment till 4. oh! and goodness me its nearly 4. so as my tummy organs are gumbling noisily i think ill go find the boy and begin our daily adventure of locating vegan eateries in the land of meat and meat.

chao for now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

men to the doza

its snowing!!! well kindof... it hasnt stuck to the ground or anything but there is definetly white stuff coming down from the sky every now and again and the temperature has dropped a good 25 degrees since last week so it sure feels exciting (in that i-cant-feel-my-extremities sort of way).

well as of today i have been in what used to be the sunny city of mendoza for 23 sunrises, most of which ive actually seen because my spanish classes start so ungodly early. but besides the fact that it makes it impossible to get more than 5 hours of sleep, spanish school has proved to be one of my better travel ideas ... ive befriended many friendly gringos and english learning locals, developed a love-hate relationship with the subjunctive tense, and been accepted into a lovely argentine family with a pitbull named vorki who has fallen in lust with my calf. and to make matters better mendoza itself is a beautiful city. every street is lined with huge, shady (oak?) trees. the only downside to this is the drastically increased possibilty of being shat on by a pigeon, a fate ive only narrowly escaped. the sidewalks are made of coblestone and tile and are kept impecably clean by fussy old women who actually scrub them with soapy water every morning and arent afraid to spray or sweep a foot or two if they happen to get in the way. the best part though is the park and the fact that it has a big lake complete with an island and takes up a good third of the city.

so thats mendoza. i leave this weekend to see what snow is like when your diggin ditches on a farm. something i really never wanted to find out, but it looks like im a gonna. id better get to my spot on the couch so i can join the others in rooting for Boca... apparently theyre in the semifinals of the southamerican cup. apparently its like a big deal or something. i hope they wont be able to tell that when comes to soccer... shh... im really quite apathetic. oops, sorry, futbol.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

... y mas fotos (el bolson

yeah, it looks impressive but for the past ten minutes id been carrying him on my back.

magical el bolson.

julie the giant bubble headed american and irie agustin trying to compensate.