Monday, February 18, 2008

Finding My Groove In Buenos Aires

I can't deny that I'm a little burnt out with the writing and travel. I want to find my hogar en el mundo, and South America feels like the wrong place to look.

That said, I'm enjoying life in Buenos Aires. It's almost impossible not to. Every day is sunny, with light breezes and blue sky, temperature in the mid-70s.

My apartment is walking distance from a cafe where the waitresses know my name and kiss me hello in the mornings. There's a fruit shop on the corner with ripe peaches stacked against the walls.

I've made friends, too. Sometimes I joke that Buenos Aires is turning me nocturnal, because it seems that every night there's a party to go to, or a concert, and more often than not I end up flopping into bed at 5 or 6 in the morning, waking up at noon for croissants, cappucino and fresh squeezed orange juice over morning e-mails and my favorite blogs.

It's Sunday night now - technically Monday morning, 3 am. Thinking back over the weekend, I realize that it's been quite a ride, so perhaps there is something worth recapping in the last 48 hours...

Friday night.

My friend Tony asked me to come along as wingman for a night out with some girls who just graduated from Lewis and Clark college and are now living in BA. We met at a sidewalk parilla and ordered big plates of blood sausage, spicy chorizo, sizzling cuts of fatty beef, baskets of salted french fries, green salads and beer.

We ate and ate and ate - and when it came time to go to the movie theater we could hardly walk, got there too late for the 11 pm show and decided to buy tickets for the 1 am show instead, killing the time in between by wandering the streets of Palermo.

The movie - Juno - was awesome. Funny, touching and beautifully filmed, with a killer soundtrack.


I slept in and worked at the cafe for a few hours, then bused down to San Telmo and watched a free rock concert in Parque Lezama. At 9 I met up with my new friend Eve, a writer and musician, her boyfriend, a Radio DJ in Buenos Aires, and 4 of Eve's friends.

We all squeezed into a car and drove out into the suburbs, to a launch party for a rocking new website, Argentina's Travel Guide.

The party was in a huge, beautiful home with landscaped gardens and a lighted pool. Waiters served champagne and a delicious cake made with dulce de leche.

Before long I was in the pool, then - wonder of wonders - salsa dancing.

At 6 am we bundled into a taxi home and the streets were still alive with happy people enjoying the cool Saturday night.


At 1 pm I woke up to a phone call from Tony.

"I've got tickets to Boca Juniors," he said. "You're coming."

Now, Boca is the soccer equivalent of the Boston Red Sox, or maybe the Cubs, and their stadium - the chocolate box - is notorious for rowdy crowds.

Walking up to the chocolate box in late afternoon light we were frisked 3 separate times by police decked out in full riot gear. Pushing up the steep stairs the sound of the crowd grew louder and louder, drum beats and rolling chants ricocheting off the yellow concrete walls.

We climbed up into the stands in an eardrum bursting eruption of noise and suddenly a large man with sweat pouring off his hairy chest picked my up under my arms and pushed me back into the wall - not a moment too soon.

A drumstick nearly caught me in the face as a band of Boca fans marched by, trampling a path through the crowd. The fellow who had manhandled me out of the way turned back when the band had passed, leaned down and gave me a big sloppy kiss on the side of my cheek.

Boca won, 4-0.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My New Favorite Travel Blog: Uncornered Market

Part of the new editing positions I've taken on involve scouring the web for travelers who are posting guides and photos from dusty Internet cafes on the far side of the world.

It was a great pleasure to discover the travel blog of Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll, a married couple who lived abroad for several years and are now in the midst of a round-the-world journey, measuring the Earth with their feet.

Their website is a marvel - easy to navigate and packed with funny stories, excellent photography and detailed guides to off-beat destinations.

Big up, Audrey and Daniel. I'm impressed.

Check out their homepage and you will be too.


Monday, February 04, 2008


I've entered a contest to win a trip to Martinique. 25 bloggers, 25 travel stories, the one with the most votes wins.

My story is called "Running With Zelda" and it's probably the funniest thing I've ever written.

Here's an excerpt:

Five minutes to a first date with the most beautiful woman in the world, and here I was, standing on a street corner in Cambodia with crap in my pants.

Tentatively, I surveyed the damage. It was bad. Not awful, but not good. Two minutes to six. What could I do?

I sure would appreciate it if you would read my story and vote it to the top.

One voter will also win a free trip. Thanks!

Click here to read and vote.

Back In BA

Things work out.

I drifted back to Buenos Aires and arrived early am with 40 pesos and a canceled debit card. Found a cafe with WiFi, checked Craigslist for a rental room, found a place to stay and boom - that night, there I was, drinking wine and eating spaghetti with two Swiss backpackers, one French traveler, two American university students, a British woman studying for her phD and Claudio, our gregarious Argentine landlord.

Trust in the flow and keep smiling...the road is life.