Monday, February 23, 2009

Life as a Buenos Aryan

The Trials and Tribulations of Being Painfully out of Context
No matter how much Dark Temptation Axe-Effect shower gel I use (a chocolate smelling fragrance that implies that because women like chocolate, they will find men who smell of chocolate irresistible, ladies?) I can't seem to wash the Anglo-Dutch stamp off of my forehead. Perhaps it's because I'm from Groton. Or maybe because when I muscle the average Argentine for position on the subte platform it's like Dikembe boxing out Muggsy Bogues. Whatever it is, its F'ing annoying.

Everyone who still thinks it's sweet to look like Powder in Argentina, come on and take a walk with me:

After a breakfast of hitting snooze 3 times, I catch a bus to a no-gringo zone. Here I have an uncanny ability to rouse the homeless from their cardboard dreams, one in particular who decides to follow me for four blocks whistling the US National Anthem.

I also think its unfair people assume I can't speak Spanish or dance... but as I can do neither, I guess I'll have to grin and bear it. I will leave you with a (not-so) relevant deep thought by Jack Handy.

I hope that someday we will be able to put away our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Me Mude a San Telmo

Buenos Aires has a mosaic of eclectic neighborhoods. Apart from a two week stint at a backpackers in Palermo, I've been living in a muy alto neighborhood north of the city center, Recoleta. It has a few of the city's defining attractions: the cultural center, fine arts museum and cemetery (shrine) for its rich and famous. Along with a posh restaurant scene and some of the highest rent in Buenos Aires, Recoleta is aesthetically very nice. Going out there, though, you have to run a gauntlet of tourist traps and gimmicky bars. This gives it an insincere and almost contrived feel. There are also a disproportionate number of English speakers in Recoleta - I've had entire interactions where Argentinians refused to speak Spanish with me. In these situations, you just have to no-shame it and continue to deface their language while they get some valuable practice speaking the language of the world. Anyway, these are a couple of reasons I was in the market for a new place.

So last Thursday I moved to San Telmo. This hood's got soul yo. I'm a few blocks from Plaza Dorrego which hosts the city's largest artisans' fair every Sunday. It has outdoor tango shows most nights in a cafe-encircled courtyard, and the cobblestone streets all around are lined with restaurants and cool graffiti. The neighborhood has an ubiquitous artistic flair - both spontaneous and permanent. We're two blocks on the wrong side of the tracks (Autopista 25 de Mayo) where things start getting a little dodgy, but on a good enough street. I mean, there are police on every corner, so I guess that's a good thing?

The place has two floors. The top floor is a sun drenched roof terrace with just one room - my pad. Downstairs has 3 more bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, dining room and courtyard. To get to the bathroom from my room I have to walk down an outside staircase, so it'll be interesting to see how that plays out on nights of adverse weather/intoxication.

Cast of Characters:

(1 and 2.) I've known Josh and Julia since I moved down here in October, they were the ones told me about the place. (3.) Jessica is down here working part time for a magazine, a 5'4 blond hailing from sunny London. (4 and 5.) Two portenos in their late 20's. They are both great guys, and, on a selfish note, living and breathing Spanish lessons.

My room
Rooftop terrace

Julia and Alex...Courtyard

Living room

Dining room

There's also a hellion, un-neutered cat running around - MR. CHIMBA

Monday, February 2, 2009

Recent Studies Link Argentina's 2002 Economic Crisis to the Country's Insane Sense of Time

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - A team of senior economic advisers, headed by Dr. Pablo Rojo, published a joint report on Monday that paints an alarming picture of the recent economic crisis in Argentina. The study has wide-spread implications for the currently governing Justicialist party, and it is not yet clear how it will be received by the general public. "We know that the people of Argentina may have trouble accepting such an absurd theory," admitted Dr. Rojo, during a press conference this morning, "but that is at least partly because they are strung out from a sleepless weekend of Speed Unlimited and fernet."

Before today's developments, it was widely accepted that the crisis had been prompted by the neoliberal economic platform established in the 70's by the NRP. Dr. Rojo and his team's controversial report, entitled "Wake the F*** Up Argentina," instead traces the problem back to a hallmark of the country since its inception - refusing to adopt a reasonable sleep routine. The 67 page report, incorporating insanely boring regressions, offers evidence that the crisis was indeed a result of public sleep deprivation.

Dr. Rojo claims that the inexplicable custom of eating dinner at midnight and staying out past 6 in the morning has rendered the workers, or "fundamentals," of the Argentine economy exhausted and inefficient. The report explains that staggering deficits in the economy due to lazy Sundays and a sedated mid-week workforce came to a climax in 1999. This crescendo of economic apathy left 25% of the country's citizens unemployed, and 75% wondering why they didn't just go to the bar a couple of hours earlier last night, it would have been just as fun... how many sick days do I have?...

No one in the Kirchner camp has been available for comment on the matter, seemingly because it was 2 for 1 at Crobar this weekend and ladies got in for free. However, one government official (although likely more corrupt than Blagojevich) admitted that closing every retail store and restaurant on Sunday, 1 of the 2 days a week that consumers actually have time to consume, did seem "mildly retarded."

Dr. Rojo is currently researching a relationship between his sleep deprivation theory and the fact that 80% of all Argentine men have mullets or rat tails (citation needed). So far, however, he has found no credible link, and admits that anyone with this unfortunate haircut might have to bite the bullet and admit personal responsibility.

inspired by "THE ONION