Saturday, December 27, 2008

Salimos las campeones

Boca won the championship, in case you were curious.

I have to say, I am pretty much sure I can guarantee you that I am the only Boca socio who has a picture of the River Plate stadium (our archrivals) as their background.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

That mark

A few months ago -- I'm going to guess I was dancing in a boliche, because I am notoriously bored while dancing -- I noticed that every Argentine girl I've seen has this little round indentation on the outside of her upper arm.

It's obviously some sort of leftover after a shot. But it's just so ubiquitous here, whereas I have never noticed it on any other nationality. I assume the guys have the mark too, but I don't see nearly as many upperarms on chicos. Oh, and older women here don't have the mark.

I've looked on the internet and didn't find anything. So I guess they just have some different kind of shot here. The funny thing is that while I once found this mark slightly unattractive, I'm starting to find it sexy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I don't know why I find this so funny

But the translation of "It's greek to me" is something like "It's basic Chinese" in Argentine spanish.

I laugh hilariously every time I hear this and can't really explain to people why I'm laughing.


As of now, I have 8 more days in my apartment, then I am moving. New year, new start....maybe with a pool.

Where, you say? That's a good question. I have no idea.

How I get coins

I've written before about the nation-wide coin shortage here. Slate wrote an article about it, which a few of y'all forwarded to me (Rudy got there first, job well done). The article was a bit exaggerated and overdramatic (really, I disagreed with quite a few things -- it's like the author took every overdone stereotype and then multiplied it by 3)

In the never-ending quest to find coins here, I have come up with a few strategies.

1. Buy a subway pass with a 2 peso note. This way, you get 1.10 pesos in change. Some subway stations have signs posted saying that you have to buy at least 2 subway passes, so this is obviously not a sure-fire strategy. Also, it's crucial to use a 2 peso note. If you pay with a 5 or a 10 peso bill, then you will not get any coins in return.

Normally I use my prepaid electronic subway card, but not when I need coins.

2. Buy train pass from the clerk instead of from the automated coin machine. I hadn't realized that there was a clerk until recently, so now I both save coins that I would have put in the machine and get coins in return for my 2 peso note. Sweet!

3. Carefully plan your purchases to ensure the most number of coins. Some stores won't let you buy something if it isn't very expensive and they have to give you alot of coins in return. So plot carefully. Just the other day, I bought some medialunas (croissants) and it costs $2.50. I go to the panaderia alot, and didn't have coins, so she just decided to charge me $2 pesos and forget the .50. Really, I'd rather have paid that 50 cents and gotten 50 cents in return, but...

4. Offer to buy the $1 peso coin from people for $2 pesos. Yeah, that might be ridiculous, but when I want to get home, I want to get home.

5. I could probably go to the bank and ask for coins, but banks are only open between 10 and 3 and there are frequently lines, so I haven't done this yet.

UPDATE (evening): I just got back from picking up my chinese food. Paying with a 100 peso note, he could have easily given me all paper notes, but chose to give me a one peso coin. I am baffled. Plus, he didn't scowl at me when I paid for my 12 peso bill with a 100...which may have been a first for him.

Speaking of, I was talking -- in Spanish -- to a rather cute girl last night who asked me what I like to eat. Not thinking, I told her that I eat in alot of asian restaurants in palermo (and by that, I mean that I eat at Sudestada for lunch everyday). She asked me why I liked Chinese food. I said I didn't like Chinese food. So it seems she thought I was playing games with her, as Portenos generally say "Chino" for all asian. Anyway, sucked for me because it totally ended that conversation.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Random question

Which city in your opinion is more likely to leave the average person soul-less: Los Angeles or Las Vegas?

What schmuck goes running with their camera...? (part 2)

I went running with my camera again yesterday (part 1 was actually a week ago), and have a little bit of a sunburn to show for it. It was a beautiful day.

This little Catholic church is one corner of Las Canitas, the corner of Avenida Las Heras and Avenida Dorrego.

This is shot from just off the right corner of the first photo. It's looking up over the elevated railroad track. Don't know why, but I thought this was a super cool picture.

A little farther down the road is the polo field of Las Canitas. They just had the championship last weekend, but I guess they still have to get the horses out to exercise them.

Just across Avenida Libertador is the horse track. I forget the name of this too. Either this horse track or the polo fields is called the Hipodromo, I think, but I don't remember exactly.

This is Crobar, a boliche (club/discotheque/whateveryoucallit) over inbetween the horse track and Bosques de Palermo. It's pretty much all electronica, all the time. As I recall, it's part of an international chain of clubs. Not really my scene, although there are definitely some cute girls there (they might be 16, be careful)*. But what's interesting about Crobar -- and what I tried to capture -- is that it's built inbetween and under the railroad tracks, both of which you can see at the top of the picture. Anyway, I think it's interesting inside architecturally.

* If you speak English and are a foreigner, you can usually jump the line and skip the cover. This seems like the opposite of what it should be.

I went over the bridge and into the island to the rose garden.

Another picture down the main boulevard looking at the fountains.

This was looking back at the main bridge to get inside over the water. I think it really highlights my lack of photography skills, as some angles are pretty. I should've taken pictures of the Andalusian plaza and the little island inside as well as some more pictures of the roses. But I didn't. Next.

I think my hand moved while taking this shot. That's what happens when you have shaky hands. This is the corner of Bullrich and Libertador. And while that billboard of Universidad de Palermo is always there, UP isn't anywhere close to here.

It's a church....wait, that's not a cross at the top. No, it's a mosque. I took a picture of this before, and within a week of me posting my pictures from this area, the New York Times did a travel article that referenced all the places where I had pictures. Suspicious eh?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I must be getting old

Everytime I go run or play futbol, my ankles hurt afterwards. Wah.

What schmuck goes running with their camera...?

...this guy.

A few blocks from my house, there's a bridge over the railroad tracks. This looks back towards my place. Apparently it was still gray at 10am.

I took a picture of this because it's a random, non-descript building on a street. [For the record, I think this was Avenida Cordoba on the border of Soho and Villa Crespo.] But for the sign that says "futbol 5," you'd never know that there are probably 6 soccer fields inside the building. Maybe more. It's funny because I wondered where everyone played soccer here, and I have slowly realized that I just don't see most of the buildings.

From there I wandered down through Villa Crespo. Not sure how well it turned out, but those are little brick shacks on the left side of the picture. I'm guessing they saw the median and figured they could get away with putting a house up there. They've clearly been there for years, probably decades, and neighborhood-wise it's a good location, though I don't think I'd like living beside a railway.

Notice that the train goes the opposite way as in the US. I'm used to this now in the subways, but it did take me awhile. I'm not sure how the cultural norm happened, though, because cars drive on the right side of the road here. Perhaps the Euro influence was stronger back when railroads started, but by the time cars were invented, the Euro influence had declined? That's my working hypothesis.

I was trying to run to the Parque del Centennario, but apparently got a little lost. I found myself at this little city block park.

As I was wandering around semi-lost, I saw this house and thought it was cute.

A ha! I figured out where to go. This was as I came into the park -- which is either hexagonal or octagonal if I remember correctly. Not sure if you can see the fountains or the playground off to the right.

I was a sucker for the little baby ducks swimming. Aren't their little heads bobbing out of the water so cute?

Same vantage point as before looking another direction. Very tranquilo, or at least as much as Capital Federal ever gets.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Birthday present

With less than half a year remaining until my birthday, I'm pretty sure I've decided on a present for me: lasik surgery. I've had hard contacts for more than 15 years now; I don't want to have them for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yo soy de Boca

Yesterday went to the game. Didn't take too many pictures. See below.

While we lost last game, we won this one 2-1 on dos tantos de Riquelme. It's pretty crazy that Boca has Riquelme, who makes multiples more than anyone else in the Argentine league. It's totally a privilege to get to watch him. It's funny, because even Boca fans seem to be love/hate with him. They love him because he is effective, but they hate him because he is supposedly a pecho frio. Literally translated to "cold breast." It's hard to describe him. If you grew up playing soccer with me, I have a feeling we'd have described Danny that way if we were Argentines (although Daniel was so clutch in high school that it's not fair). You were frequently pissed off watching him play because sometimes he just seemed lazy, yet somehow at the end of the game he has a hat trick.

Anyway, like Danny, Riquelme has a ton of talent. It's pretty awesome getting to watch him play, even if he sometimes appears to play effortlessly.

I was pretty amazed that I managed to snatch this action shot. That tattoo on the inside of random che's right leg is the Boca shield. Boquenses (boca fans) are passionate, let me assure you.

My view from where I sat stood. Also, whenever something exciting happened, you'd have people climbing up to the top of that fence. Which kinda scared me -- how firm can fences be? -- but so far so good. Obviously, it was my first night game here.

Definitely not a great vantage point, but pretty intense. I was right underneath the doce. There was a girl next to me who came alone to the game and was just incredibly intense. Somehow that was very attractive. Hard to describe what it's like to be there. Everyone starts singing pregame. When the opposing team comes out, I'm pretty sure the whistling decreased my high-end frequency hearing. At halftime, everyone immediately grabs the best real estate near where they are standing for sitting. People are screaming at the ref for every call (mostly calling him gay (puto) or a son of a prostitute (hijo de puta) and plenty of other things I probably just don't understand).

Like many things here, it is intense. When Boca scores, the crowd just goes nuts.

Anyway, we are up 2 points in the league with 2 games left in the season. Our last two games are relatively weak opponents. Next week is away, and then the last game is home. Obviously I'm going to go to the last game of the season, and hope I don't experience any hooliganism. I can definitely see the crowd rioting if we win the championship at home. Heck, even this week I was definitely knocked over in the crowd a few times. Standard, and awesome.