Thursday, October 30, 2008

How I know if they are dating

Me: blah blah blah. Anyway, I don't think she had a boyfriend.
Friend: How do you know?
Me: Well, she wasn't making out with anyone and there was a guy present, so she must be single.

Yes, Argentines love their public displays of affection. Making out in the streets is not only acceptable, but normal.

US political coverage in the rest of the world

I just read the most remarkable article in Clarin. Translated, the headline was something like "Arizona, the most racist state in the US, home of John McCain." The first two paragraphs said that everytime a latino leaves his house in Arizona, he assumes that he is likely to be robbed or beaten by the police." Then it went on to talk about how this was the state of McCain. And that was the summation of the article, basically.

If you're reading this, no matter your political persuasion, you probably know that 1) McCain really isn't from Arizona, he's from the military (he only moved there to run for Congress), 2) Arizona isn't the most racist state or even that close, 3) the opening paragraphs were ridiculous, and 4) McCain has probably spent more political capital and taken more political blows fighting for comprehensive immigration reform than anyone else in Congress (no mention of that).

I can't figure out the motives behind the article. I assume the Argentine writer just wants Argentines to hate McCain. But why bother? Argentines don't vote. Just bizarre.

By the way, Clarin is the centrist paper in Argentina.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Silver linings in dark clouds

It's apparently a done deal that Maradona will coach La Seleccion, and I am quite sad about it. Is there any evidence that the man knows how to coach? He's had two brief tenures with 2 non-huge (that is, not Boca, River or San Lorenzo) clubs in Argentina. He didn't seem too well at dealing with the pressure of success while playing (how was that for a euphemism?). How is he going to do as the manager of one of the best -- and maybe the best right now, recent qualifying results aside -- national team in the world? Poorly, I think. And I really don't want to waste Messi's talent on a futilely-coached Argentine team. Un lastima!

On the other hand, I hold hope that after Maradona fails (a probability, although with this level of talent, not a certainty), that Argentina will end the ridiculous and sometimes counter-productive worship of Maradona.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I have Skype now

So it would be wonderful to hear from you estadounidenses. Search for me using my email address.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I swear that Argentines take more pictures of themselves than anyone else in the world.

A spring resolution

I have resolved to spend at least 3 of 5 weekday afternoons this spring at a cafe, sipping coffee (I don't like coffee, but I'm going to learn to dammit!), reading Porteno newspapers (socialist government + nationalizing pension program = impending crisis), learning spanish, enjoying life, talking to Portenos, and pretending to be an intellectual.

Seriously. Spring is so gorgeous, so wonderful, and life is amazing. Bye bye 2nd winter in a year. I will never experience 2 winters in a year again, but if I had to, I'd rather it be in Buenos Aires than in anywhere else.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Apropos my last post, I've been thinking about things I can't live without.

Buenos Aires is almost as hot and almost as humid as Houston, so obviously put air conditioning during the summer as something I have to have*. I did the living in a hot place without air conditioning before, and I plan on never ever ever doing it again. I don't have AC in my room right now. My roommate's room apparently has AC, so we might switch rooms. If not, I'm definitely going to be moving come December 1st.

I may be mildly ascetic, but why labor if you can't live in relative homeostatic efficiency?

Interestingly, spanish doesn't have a translation for "to afford." My dictionary translates this as permitirse, but somehow "I permit myself" doesn't seem quite the same to me.

* We're in the southern hemisphere right now, so we are just now entering spring. Glorious, glorious spring. You are possibly the greatest thing to ever happen to me.

How do people live with only one monitor?

In case you've been spending all your free time wondering why I'm not blogging, then I have an answer for you: busto. I've been having computer issues. Turns out that the fan on my video card stopped working, so my video card fried, but because the video card was occasionally working, I didn't think of trying the computer sans video card. So I paid $60 pesos for them to remove my video card.

I bought that video card back when I bought my dual monitors (something ridiculous like $2500 or so, but still a great purchase), so I suppose that 4 years of service wasn't terribly horrible. It's an open question as to how much I'm going to have to pay for a new video card. Electronics are expensive here: yay socialism!

So I'm back to the onboard video card that came with the computer. And it's pretty bad. It's pretty weird to only have one monitor too. As I have admitted before, I'm mildly ascetic, but two monitors is just one of those things that I have to have.

In other news, I have some various writing projects to finish up, including my trip report from Santa Roses/Oktoberfest, so that should be up soon.

I've also gotten a Skype account, so search for me using my email address if you have it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Today is my 6th Month Anniversary. Llegue hace seis meses.

I arrived in Buenos Aires 6 months ago today. Definitely some ups and downs, but mostly ups, and moroever, no point in which I even slightly regretted moving. There are definitely moments when I roll my eyes and think "Argentina!" but on the whole the lifestyle is pretty agreeable to me.

Before I moved, I was curious as to whether my level of consumption would increase. Before I moved, I thought I should increase my level of consumption. It's true that when it wasn't my money at all (eg, essentially unlimited expense account in LA) that my consumption increased. But I was still circumspect, because I'm not inherently spendthrifty.

So, when most things cost about 1/3 of the US price, how would that affect my marginal consumption? So far, it looks like my consumption has about doubled; maybe a bit more than doubled. I spend my money almost entirely on restaurants in both the US and Argentina. And the occasionally massage too. But I definitely dine out more here, and in fancy restaurants. Although, the problem here is that there isn't much that's inbetween standard Argentine restaurant (which often caters to the lowest common denominator) and fancy. There's no cheap Mexican restaurants like in Houston. I do miss my Mexican food.

Speaking of restaurants, I'm a little burned out on steak. The other day I ordered a salad rather than eat steak. Especially if I'm not sure if the place will make me a good steak (and cook it properly, which can be a problem), I am occasionally forgoing it. It's quite possible that in 2 years here I will eat double the amount of steaks that I eat in the rest of my life. I definitely miss seafood alot here. Argentines just don't like seafood, and when it is in restaurants, then it's either bland, prepared bland, or salmon. Always at least 2 of the 3.

So speaking of restaurants [did I use that segue already...whatever], my plan when I moved here was to experience lots of different neighborhoods. Not really so sure that's going to happen because I would probably find it difficult if I left the immediate vicinity of Palermo Viejo. There's just not the same culinary redolence emitting in other neighborhoods. I've become big fans of the Asian restaurants in Palermo Hollywood. They aren't terribly authentic, but are all excellent.

I don't play nearly enough soccer here, and that needs to change. Hopefully it will with the weather changing.

And my spanish continues to march onwards...slowly.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Off to Oktoberfest

I'm off to Oktoberfest this weekend, which is in a little city called Villa General Belgrano an hour from Cordoba. This trip was pretty haphazardly put together, so we'll see if it all comes out allright. We're staying in a cabin in Santa Rosa, which is 11km from Belgrano. So, hopefully we will somehow figure out how to go from Cordoba to Santa Rosa to Belgrano.

Hopefully I'll do a better job of taking pictures than last weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Last weekend I went to the hot springs down south called Termas Marinas. I don't really remember the name of the city, because it was in Spanish. It was nice, though. Very relaxing. The water -- according to the brochure -- had 5 times the normal amount of salt, sulfides, calcium, minerals, etc. It was very murky, you could feel how heavy it was. And 41 degree celsius water is quite warm. They recommended you stay in the 41 degree pool for 5 minutes. I think we stayed in for 45. Then we went to a cooler one, then we had 2 beers, then we went back in the really hot pool. Not necessarily the smartest move, but fun. Very relaxing. Lots of old people obviously. Maybe it's a small sample size, but I don't think you'd get Americans wearing that little clothing when that old.

That night we went out to Calculo, which is probably another name of a beach city that I'm screwing up. We spent the night, and then headed to the beach the next day at Pinamar.

On the way to the beach, we decided to check out the mountains of sand in between the highway and the beach.

The guy in this picture is over six feet tall. This was a big pile of sand. See how faint my footprints are? That's how fast the wind covered up tracks.

We'd been walking through mountains of sand for like 30 minutes before we saw the water.

Tree in the middle of nothing. Interesting.

Argentines talk their beaches down quite a bit. Basically like Houstonians and Galveston. It's not Malibu, but it isn't so bad. The beaches are huuuge. Anyway, this is a shot of the beach in Pinamar.

Buy stocks, get rich.

It should go without saying that I am buying stocks right now. You should be too, since it's arguably the greatest buying opportunity of my lifetime.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Today I realized that my favorite band released its first single 20 years ago, almost to this day. Since I consider them to be contemporary, I'm pretty sure that makes me old.

But Chelsea Girl is still so classic. And Dreams Burn Down and Vapour Trail will never ever (nunca jamas!) be be out of date.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A request for the Houstonians

Does anyone want to have me eternally in their debt?

I was storing some stuff at Nick's place, but he's moving and can't keep it anymore. It's not really very much, it just 2 boxes that need a corner in a closet somewhere. It isn't stuff that's worth enough to get storage for 2 years, but it's stuff that's either useful or has sentimental value. If you can spare a corner somewhere, I'll love you forever.

Because everyone loves to wile away time

1. The old classic Dubai is nuts. The first time I saw this was probably a year and a half ago. I've looked it up probably 5 times since, and am astounded everytime.

2. New essay by Nassib Nicholas Talem. It's not the timeless classic that Fooled By Randomness is, but it's worth reading given current financial circumstances. It's not like he said this was going to happen or anything...oh wait.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Just wondering...

but who drives around Buenos Aires at 3am on a Friday night with Frank Sinatra blaring?

Anyway, I'm off to some hot springs tomorrow. There'll be pictures if I remember my camera.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

El progreso?

Well, I can almost always understand when they put Spanish on American TV shows. Es lento y con los despacios.

Spanish on Spanish TV is another story, of course.

How do you run out of coins?

There is a nationwide coin shortage. Yeah, seriously. Shops even put up signs saying "no hay monedas." (There are no coins.) So, that's not a huge deal, except that people get around this city by taking the bus. The only way to pay for the bus is with coins.

How do you run out of coins? I take the bus out to the suburbs frequently for church, to play soccer, to get lost, and for other stuff. So now I am constantly trying to think of buying the right quantity of stuff so that I can obtain coins.

This is what I call a picture dump

In case you're wondering why there aren't more pictures on the blog -- and why they are always all at one time instead of spaced out -- it's because my upload speed isn't too fast. Plus Blogger makes it kinda hard to organize the pictures. Normally I at least semi-organize them to put them in order. Not this time.

This is a pretty famous statue. It's huge; bigger than I imagined before I got here. Those mammoth steel petals open up and close during the day.That's water all around it. As I write that, it occurs to me that this could've been planned to discourage graffiti. There's also security that I assume is 24 hours.

This is the Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. If a law school had a building this cool in the US, I'd probably have to go there. You can see this building in the background of the previous picture.

Picture of the Duarte family tomb in the Recoleta Cemetary with Evita's placque on the top right.

This was the Sarmiento tomb, I believe, but I'm not so good with the camera. The cemetary is an impressive place. I'd rather just be cremated. Funerals aren't for the dead.

Why is there so much dog crap all over the sidewalks? Now you know. This is pretty standard. You'll often see dog walkers on bikes with 10 dogs on leashes running next to them. Que peligroso!

I never knew Uruguay was in the Orient.

This is where I eat lunch several times a week. In fact, I'm headed to Sudestada tomorrow.

This is what I normally order. On Monday, the waitress asked me if I just wanted the same as usual. That must mean that I'm a regular. I didn't take a picture of the dumplings, but they are excellent.

Notice the spanish book. It was a working lunch. Because I am all about the industriousness.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

NYC? Yawn

If you think New Yawk cabbies are crazy, then it is very unlikely that you have experienced the joy of Porteno (Buenos Aires) cab drivers.

Also, tell them to take it off the meter in arrange for a fixed price, and they will go crazy to get you there fast. It's like riding in a Formula One car. Open the windows, enjoy the breeze. Feliz!