Thursday, April 30, 2009

A few thoughts from today's visit to the Bombonera

I went to my first Copa Libertadores game today. That's the South American version of the Champions League (have I mentioned that Champions League has a tendency to ruin my midweek productivity? I do have to say that I do love having a girlfriend who watches soccer with me.)

1. The songs are all different for Libertadores. Weird. Seriously we were in the 80th minute before we sang my favorite song. And I don't think we ever sang my second favorite. Pretty much all the songs were different.

2. Boca has given up on the domestic season. Copa Libertadores is alot more important and we already won 1 this season (there are 2 domestic titles per season...Apertura y Clausura). The last domestic game we rested half of our starting 11. We still have like 35% of the domestic season left...but it's not terribly obvious that any of the games will be worth going to.

3. Que golazo increible! Some of you may already have seen it, as it appears that American Sportscenter put it as their #1 play of the day. Martin Palermo's second goal was a sweet bicyclekick. Gotta watch it...very awesome to be in the stands during that goal. Definitely some hugs in the stands (that's how we roll). Please ignore the fact that the American announcer said his name was "Martin Palermin." Silly Yanks. So...was Adebayor's goal better? On initial blush, I said yes...but on reconsideration, I have decided that Palermo's goal was better. Also, he wasn't that far off from having a bicycle kick goal in the first half too.

4. Palermo is definitely more popular than Riquelme, although I don't think anyone questions that Riquelme is a better player than Palermo. The best analogy for Palermo would be Taylor Twellman. Still, he gets the job done for Boca. He's awesome.

5. I'm pretty sure one of our songs today said some bad words. But not absolutely certain. Man, there was alot of marijuana being smoked around me. Even more than normal. Maybe that's why the section I normally go to is so chill.

6. It got cold. I'm glad the girlfriend has been nagging me about wearing more clothes. The jacket was very key.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I have done the paddleboats

I've been wanting to take the paddleboats in the Bosques de Palermo (the park I tend to take pictures of everytime I take pictures...that's not that often is it? pictures require me gusta) since I first went there

Although Ceci and I have been there a million times (or 5...who's counting?), we finally did the paddleboats last Saturday.* It was pretty amazing. I have no idea why paddle boats on a man-made lake are so fun, but they are. I enjoyed it, and I'd been waiting for a year to go on the paddleboats. I couldn't have asked for a prettier companion.

* It cost $25 pesos for a half-hour (at the current exchange rate, something a bit under $7 USD). At Hermann Park in Houston, it was either $6 or $8 an hour last time. In other words, equal. Wow, Buenos Aires is expensive... this would be like paying more than $25USD for half an hour. Yikes.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two thoughts

1. Ceci and I hung out today, like most days. Also like most days, we brought books, because clearly no one can really have conversations for at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The books didn't really get opened. Always a good sign.

That means we must be talking alot of Spanish. Yes, we are, my spanish is definitely improving. Just as English needs alot of practice to figure out the pronunciations, Spanish needs alot of work to get all the verb tenses right...accents, subjunctive tenses, etc. It's starting to feel more natural, but I still get nervous alot of times when I talk to people. No one teaches you the informal phrases, you just have you stand there, look stupid, and roll with the punches.

I think Ceci's friends all wonder how we communicate, but the truth is that culture is a much bigger barrier than language. And culture just requires a little communication...usually.

2. Which one of you fish put my post on twitter? My traffic went up alot today.
Apropos my last post about music, have I mentioned the tshirts? Especially among girls, it's pretty common/trendy to wear tshirts with stupid English phrases in capital letters.

This would definitely be up there on my list of complaints about Buenos Aires. Also casual female footwear.

Such Great Heights

One of the problems with this blog is that I don't remember what I've written here or not. Have I mentioned that I was pretty surprised how much US music there is here? Hop into a cab and it's probably over 50% that you'll hear English language pop if there's music playing.

For a long time (and maybe still, I haven't spent much time in the subways recently), The Postal Service's Such Great Heights would play every few minutes. It was very surreal hearing the blips and loops of that song echo through the cavernous subway stations in Buenos Aires.

Friday, April 17, 2009

One year

Happy Anniversary to me! I stepped off the plane exactly one year ago.

Let's see: I got on the plane, and there was an Argentine girl next to me. As I think I recounted here before, I tried talking to her in Spanish and it was an epic failure. I didn't understand a single word that came out of her mouth: I can't even blame the Porteno accent, as she was from way far north. And that's when it hit me: this was going to be interesting.

Going through customs was interesting. At least I didn't have to fake that I didn't speak Spanish. Not speaking Spanish helps you get through customs with lots of expensive electronics.

Although everything I'd read said this city was safe, I have to be honest that I was a little nervous on my taxi ride from the airport. The last person I talked to before I left Houston was someone who told me some long story about how he hires the police blah blah blah because of how unsafe it was. I didn't really buy it, except during those fleeting moments of uncertainty -- it makes life more fun to be nervous! But with those expensive electronics in my luggage, all my favorite clothes, and about $4k US on me...I was nervous.

The last time I went to the State Department's info page about Argentina it said something like, "it's pretty safe...except when you're in a car." Yeah. I was pretty sure that my taxi driver was trying to kill me. Since when does 4 lanes on a highway become 8? I always thought the idea was to drive between the white lines...not on them.

Once we got off the freeway, we just sorta careened through streets. There are alot of 4 way intersections, none of them have stop signs...and yikes, did that guy almost just hit us? Eventually we got to my apartment, I gave the guy a tip that he didn't expect (tipping in Argentina is not normal...awesome), and then...I waited.

I waited for 4 hours or so (Welcome to Latin America!). Sorta nervously looking around like a tourist with 2 big boxes (1 of which got all ripped open on the flight...nothing lost but 2 of my colognes, which is annoying). My landlord finally showed up. I attempted to talk to her in Spanish in the largest comedy of errors ever.

That was my first day. I woke up the next morning to the smell of smoke. Was my apartment was on fire...?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


While bouncing around the interwebs today, I found a listing of all the different local McDonald's items in each country. (McLobster? I want to try that!)

It seems to me like quite a few of them were things from Argentina. [Haven't seen the McKebab, but I don't pay that close attention. Strange that it's sold only in Argentina and Israel, although there are a good amount of Jews here. I heard that this was true, but didn't really believe it until walking around Once -- that's a neighborhood here.]

Which doesn't really capture half of it. McDonalds is much much nicer here, with pretty much completely different menu items. [I mean, you think Argentines would buy desserts without dulce de leche? Obviously not.] It's also not cheap. As in, even with a 3.5 to 1 exchange rate, it's frequently more expensive than in the US. On the other hand, all the restaurants are nice, new, clean, upscale places.

I've been to McDonald's a few times recently because the food court in the mall of Moron has a McDonald's with McCafe and the girlfriend likes their coffee and pastries. Which are pretty good, I have to admit.

Two weeks later, I edited the post with the bolded correction and addition.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Maybe this is weird, but...

I was once going out with a girl who I thought was pretty. But man, everytime I time I ever saw a picture of her from anytime in the past, I thought she was unattractive. And this was a big problem for me.

I don't have this problem with Ceci at all. I think she's pretty intensely adorable in all her pictures from her childhood. Which is definitely preferable.