Thursday, July 31, 2008

Buenos Aires Dining Suggestions

1. Executive Menu. Almost all the fancy restaurants have menus ejecutivos, which is a lunch menu. It's usually 3 courses, or 2 courses and a drink and about $30 pesos ($10 USD). It's a great way to sample different dishes at different restaurants cheaply. That way if you aren't sure you like a place, you don't have to waste the time and money on dinner.

2. Don't get fish. It's not that common to see fish on the menu here, but I have yet to have a fish entree that was that great. Portenos don't eat fish in restaurants, and I guess that's why the fish in restaurants isn't that good. If you are coming from the US, you will be so disappointed by the fish entrees in comparison with home.

3. Live in Palermo Viejo, preferably in Hollywood. Soho isn't bad either. You just can't beat the restaurants in Hollywood.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I have a long list of topics to write about that I have been neglecting. Lo siento.

One thing that guys my age tend to ask me very frequently is what music I listen to.* Because I am me, I usually reply "Shakira." I think they think I'm gay.

* more than in the US even.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I might have to buy a guitar

I miss my guitar terribly. No matter that I hadn't played it in years. It was always there if I needed it. And now it's not. So I guess I may have to buy one.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Things that weird me out about Argentina

I can be at a party and have several middle-class, educated people tell me that they are communists.

Political values are one thing, but complete disregard for empirical data that supports theory...holla back.

Apropos the last post...

...Oh, and I had just finished telling them that I loved Bush and was 100% for the war, because I saw this coming and was hoping to ward it off. They all freaked out about the war (as expected), but it didn't matter (not expected).

Being an American...the world hates you, but it loves you too.

Is this my life?

Wow. I just got home from the birthday party of the girl I'm semi-dating. I'll explain more later (and by this, I mean, I probably won't explain) but it was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.

On top of everything else, at point in the night there were eight different 17-year old Argentinas asking me to kiss them. Seriously. Is this my life? This was after they had spent a good 3 minutes feeling my arms, stomach and chest. I can't make this stuff up.

I didn't kiss any of them, FTW.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Read between the lines

I realized today that often a date is the proximal factor when I decide to do all the errands and chores that have accumulated.

Not really sure why. I don't think it even matters whether I really want to impress her or whether the date just happened.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's winter here...

...and it was 28 degrees C, which translates to 83 Yank degrees. Awesome day; the only problem was that I don't think it was possible to plan your clothing for the weather.

We've apparently had an abnormally warm winter, which is fantastic. Almost a year ago today, we apparently had snow on the ground.
After writing the "Life in Latin America" post, my internet went down for 2 days. Ironic, si? I guess I deserve it. On the upside, my IP address is now from Argentina, not Deutschland. Prefiero Argentina, gracias.

Life is pretty difficult when you don't have internet. If I could choose electricity or internet*, that's a pretty easy choice. The only time it is close is when it's 100 degrees outside.

*Don't be a nit and point out that the internet requires electricity. Nobody likes nits.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Learning Spanish is one of the most frustrating things I've ever done

Yeah, what the title said.

It's hard. I don't think I'm terribly good at languages, like some. It's really frustrating, and I always feel like I am wrong. I hate everything about not knowing the language, about using the wrong grammar, about feeling tired because I'm trying to concentrate while I'm nervous. Hard

And honestly, I don't really have to learn the language. The only reason I continue to learn Spanish is because I like it here, and I feel like it is disrespectful that I don't speak their language. I can order things in restaurants, I can get around, I can tell people what I want, I can order food on the telephone (you'd be surprised how hard this can be, seriously), even dating girls with my terrible spanish isn't that hard. Most of the girls I'd be interested in either speak English (it seems like most educated people here at least know some English) or find my bad spanish charming.

Most of the time I want to quit. Too hard. I could be working on my English vocabulary! So hard. So hard. When I speak Spanish, it's just one huge frustration that I can't explain precisely what I want to say. I have to resort to vague, simplistic methods of expression, which is boring. And I think being boring is the biggest sin one can make in conversation.

Example: girl I'm semi-dating and I talk. I have no idea what exactly she understands of what I'm saying. And when I need to be precise with my words, I can't. It's like throwing water at a dartboard. You might hit the target, but most of it hits way off the mark.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I bought a corkscrew today

After I bought a corkscrew today, I realized it's probably the 10th corkscrew I've bought in the last 8 years. And those of you who know why, probably are laughing at me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Things Argentina hasn't figured out

So, Americans are used to buying things in bulk for a discount. It makes sense, of course. Retailers want to incentivize you to buy more, so they offer a slight discount.

In Argentina, a discount is very very rare. In fact, in some cases, they will even charge you more to buy in bulk. It has taken some getting used to. I think there are some cultural reasons why this hasn't taken hold, but it still baffles me everytime.

Run Horsey Run!

My horse in the World Series of Poker is doing well. Patri starts Day 3 (survivors of Day 3 should be in the money. If I recall correctly 1300ish are left now, and about 660 make the money) with a slightly above average chip stack, an M of 30, and what appears to be an excellent table. He's got position on the two largest chip stacks at the table, one of whom appears to be inexperienced.

In poker tournaments the luck factor is always high, but it's super helpful to get a good table draw. His table is likely to break early apparently, but it's still good news.


More Restaurant Reviews

This is prompted by my credit card statement, because it reminds me of a few restaurants I've eaten at recently.

Sudestada -- So, I've eaten there a few times. And despite previously thinking that one of the waitresses is one of the cutest girls on earth, I didn't like her new hair cut. Hmm. But this meal, which I'm pretty sure was entirely the same as one I'd eaten before, was amazing. It goes to show you that there is variability in dishes. It's also weird that I usually let my friend John order for me when we go here. Normally I'd pick the opposite because I'm stubborn. Maybe being friends with Perez has taught me that occasionally it's best to defer. (You've heard the story about how we hated each other at first, right?)

Olsen -- This is the sister of a famous restaurant in...Spain, I think. I'm too lazy to look it up, but it's a Norwegian (?) restaurant. It's really good. Hance, Liang and I went there. We didn't have reservations so we had to sit outside on a really cold night. They provide blankets. It's expensive, but really good. The appetizer was phenomenal (is that really the first time I've had caviar?) the main course was quite good as well.

Aire -- I've written that this is my favorite restaurant, and I continue to like it. It's quite good, although the entrees are the weakest part as of yet. Will this be my first date restaurant? It's looking like it.

La Espuela -- Betty, J Hance and I went to this place in Canitas. Diego joined us later. The ambience was great, except that they were showing a movie. Uh, what? The food was great, except that they only had 2 steaks left. Uh, seriously? Mine was more done than medium (this is normal is this foreshadowing), but excellent.

Morichu -- I went here the last night in my old apartment. Wow, bad. I ordered my steak "jugoso" which is equivalent to rare in the US. Except that Argentines cook their steaks more than we do in the US. Jugoso here is equivalent to medium rare in the US. Except that this was really rare. And totally bland. Too rare, too bland. But huge. I was disappointed. Still, I ordered Tiramisu for dessert. Horrendous! The exact same thing: huge portion, but no taste. Avoid Morichu at all costs.

Bonito / Jungada-- Some Argentine friends picked this. My steak was good, but definitely below average for Buenos Aires, Palermo Hollywood. I was the only one in the group to get alcohol with dinner, and it was a HUGE glass of red wine, but a little bit pricey (well, relatively speaking). The wine wasn't amazing either, though not bad.

Punta Brasas -- Joe and I ate at a restaurant next door when this place was protested. The food was pretty blah here, honestly. I won't go back.

Soberbia -- John says this place is good. The executive menu one day wasn't fantastic. I'll give it another shot and report back.

Standard -- Not really my type of menu, but excellent for what it was.

Social Paraiso -- Betty and I both had steaks, and they were awesome. Highly recommended. One of the few times I've ventured over into Soho instead of staying in Hollywood. However, there's an all you can eat steak place for like $9 US, so I'm going to go stuff myself silly sometime soon.

Life in Latin America*

Right now, my IP address registers as being in Germany. Seriously. Every site I go to thinks I'm in Germany. I talked to my roommate, and for the past few weeks, within a few blocks it is all Deutschland in Argentina, cyber-wise.

It's not that annoying. I can't use, but works (gmail is apparently trademarked in Germany by someone who isn't Google). Some financial sites are giving me problems, but there are workarounds. Still, it's odd. Life in Latin America*.

* This isn't really fair. But I've heard a fair amount of Argentines and other Latin Americans say things like "Life in Latin America" so I will say it too.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Riddle me this

I had to logon to facebook today, so I could get the email address of an old friend to wish him happy birthday. I have to do it tomorrow for an ex-gf too.

Anyway, the facebook feed brought up a picture of a girl I knew a few years ago. The girl has alot of personality, but I wasn't really that attracted to her. But in her facebook pictures, she's wow! ohmygosh! attractive. I can't understand it.

Change in utility curves or she's just photogenic? I don't know.

Yeah, I know I'm doing a bad job of making this blog about Buenos Aires. Schmeh. I'm having trouble being motivated to write anything at all.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

As of yesterday, I can cross "ask a girl out in another language" off the ol' list of things to do before I die.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I bought a horse

I bought a horse. I'm pretty excited. He goes out to work for the first time on Saturday.

Actually, Patri Friedman was offering tiny rooting shares of himself in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. At $50, how could I resist the gamble? Besides, I like to embrace variance.

Friedman is a pretty interesting guy. He's been in the news quite a bit recently -- his institute to build floating ocean cities recently got a $500K grant from famous VC Peter Thiel, so he's quitting his job at Google to do seasteading fulltime. I've been reading his blog since I found it back in 2002 or so while googling for poker info and it's always been one of my favorite reads.

Oh, and although my gamble isn't for a lot of money, Patri is definitely a +EV bet. Plus it'll be super fun to root for him when he hits Day 1 on Saturday. Did I mention he's the grandson of Milton Friedman and son of David? Yeah, I think he's got the math skills for the donkaments.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

!Que verguenza!

Paola, one of my Spanish professors, played Shakira for me today and now I can't stop listening to her. How embarrassing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


The other day I ordered a pizza by phone. Easy, right? It's in spanish. And. Well, yes, it's easy, unless you get caught up in one quesion that you can't understand.

But this was easy. No problems. I felt good about it, because last time, though it was awhile ago, I couldn't order by phone..

I live a charmed life

Occasionally I have moments where I feel really lucky. Right now is one of them. It's pretty great to be an American. And Dutch at that.

I moved

I have stories to tell, but I am too lazy to tell them. Maybe later... which means never, probably. I'd like to say that I have standards for my story telling (it takes effort to tell a story well!) but this blog clearly proves that false.

The point of this blog is to tell you how great Buenos Aires is, not necessarily what I'm doing in my life. Though there may be some of that.

I moved to Belgrano. I'll put some pictures up eventually of the new place. So far though, I love it. Bigger bedroom, huge living room, top floor of the building. And the rooftop terrace is amazing, and will be awesome when it isn't winter. I can definitely see having people over to use the grill for red meat, drink red wine, and be Argentines. (holla back grammar nazis)

Have I mentioned that it's cheap? (by USD standards). It's about the ridiculously low rate I paid in Houston for the last few years. But I'm definitely getting more.

In some ways the best part is my roommate's girlfriend.* So far, she's great. She speaks Spanish with me (and is patient!), she cleans up for me, she cleans the apartment generally, is a great mother to her son, and is generally the sort of happy, fun person that is good to have around. <3 Latin girls. What? What?

*Roommate is pretty cool too.