i don't like fun

25 November, 2008, 3:44 pm
Filed under: argentina, mummies!, museums, salta

so, i went traveling for a week and a half, and spent part of that time in salta, in the northwest of argentina. it’s 1,600 km away from buenos aires… so, a pretty damn long bus ride.

while i was there, i stopped in at the museo arqueología de alta montaña (roughly translated: archaeological museum of high altitude), where there are 4 inca mummies! they are children who were found on high peaks in argentina (3 near the chile border, on a volcanic slope called “llullaillaco”, at 6,700 meters above sea level in 1999), and originally there was a lot of controversy about whether or not they should be moved, as they were human sacrifices to the inca gods… but now they are cryogenically preserved in this museum. they’re in incredible shape, due to the freezing temperature in which they’ve been kept for hundreds of years (i think they were interred in the 1400’s).

although ‘la doncella’ (the maiden) is the most famous of the 4, they only display 2 at a time, so the ones i saw were ‘la reina del cerro’, which was robbed from a mountain site in 1920 but recently returned, and ‘el niño’ (above), one of the llullaillaco mummies. he was about 6 years old when sacrificed and is wearing a white feather headdress to indicate his elite status.

it was surreal to see him- he looks as if he were just slumped over sleeping. ‘la reina del cerro’ was somewhat deteriorated due to years of being bought/sold/moved. the others that were not on display sounded cool, too. ‘la niña del rayo’ is named so because at some point in between her burial and the present day, she was struck by lightning, leaving a large burnt portion of her face and clothing. insane!

the best part of all this? on the bus ride home, the featured movie was “the mummy: 3”. which was terrible, by the way.

19 October, 2008, 1:36 pm
Filed under: argentina, crazy, friends, liquor, things i like

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am going to eat a lot of dulce de leche, i think.
my party last night was amazing, but now there’s a gross apartment that needs to be cleaned. asap. i also have a lot of stuff to do today.
i also managed to lock myself out of the apartment while trying to take out some of the trash and felt really bad because to get back in i had to wake up javier. who is awesome. and wasn’t mad.


it’s a very argentinean thing to drink. and strong. you can have shots or mix it with coke. i had never heard of it before i got here… but it’s good. we had a lot. i also got champagne. mmm. everyone else was relegated to rum & cokes and beer. and as we were wrapping up the party, the morning light started to come through the kitchen windows… it was perfect.

thanks to e.b. and ami li for the blog shoutouts! i have to call about a million people today, but it will be fun. usually i’m not a big fan of the phone. right now, though, i have a lapse in calling appointments, so i think i am going to go out and get some breakfast/brunch/lunch/whatever for me and javi. because cleaning is never fun on an empty stomach…

hasta pronto.

16 October, 2008, 6:33 pm
Filed under: argentina, food, things i like

since i am too lazy right now to start summarizing things i’ve been doing but said i would update today, and since i just ate a great slice of pizza, i am going to talk about the food here. and drinks. et cetera.

number one – DULCE DE LECHE. it is the most delicious caramelly dessert and seems like it must be from heaven. but it’s all made in argentina. the best are these chocolate cone-shaped candies filled with dulce de leche – ‘havannets’ are the brand name of one of them – but i don’t know what they’re called. they look like this.

number two – alfajores. an alfajor is this dessert-cakey-thing that is essentially layered cookies with dulce de leche or chocolate in between the layers. sometimes the whole thing is coated in chocolate. they’re very argentinean and they’re everywhere.

number three – italian food is everywhere. argentineans are pretty much the most italian of latin americans. hence the pizza. mmm.

number four – what you’ve all been waiting for – cows. also pork. meat in general. they have ‘parillas’ which are more family-style grills that serve asados de cerdo o de bife (you can get pretty much every single part of a cow. or pig. grilled and served on a big wooden ‘tabla’). i tried some… but i don’t think i’ll be eating it too much…

number five – mate. yerba mate. it’s so good. hot and cold. people take around thermoses of hot water and mate gourds with bombillas (the straw part), and then there are vendors on the street that refill the water or the yerba for you.

number six – beer. lots of beer, and it’s not too expensive b/c there are a lot of argentinean brands that have local breweries as well as a stella artois brewery, i think. there’s also a lot of wine, if you go for that, from vineyards in mendoza and other parts of the country.

number seven – fruit. it’s cheaper and better here than the vegetables. it’s the cheapest if you go to the farm-stand places instead of the supermarket. so cheap, in fact, that i accidentally bought about a million oranges on my 2nd day here. i asked for 5 pesos’ worth (about $1.75) because i misread the price. i got 2 kilos of oranges. and had to carry them home. luckily, the wall in my room where i was staying was orange… so i could excuse it all as an artistic venture, resulting in this:

summary post, part 2
30 September, 2008, 7:53 pm
Filed under: argentina, crazy, friends, jews, to do

so, i have been very, very busy these last few days trying to find a place to live and figuring out things like argentinean cell phones (i’m still pretty bad at writing texts in ‘word’ mode… i don’t even use that in english. also, there are about a million ways you have to learn to dial other phones- there are different numeric prefixes if they’re cell or land lines, and then to have people dial you you need to give them like 12 numbers… it’s complicated). i also had to recognize that the kind of shady-looking hole-in-the-wall ‘kioscos’ are actually the most important vendors in this whole city and that everyone goes to them for everything from phone cards to sodas to ice cream. also, argentinean spanish has a bunch of crazy pronunciations, some of which sound italian (the whole language here sounds italian-esque), some just… argentinean.
thanks to chris and jen for reading (and telling me you did so).

HAPPY NEW YEAR / SHANAH TOVAH to all the jews.

and, for the more educated reader,

is this blog pretentious enough yet?
other things i have to do in the next day or two: buy a wireless router which i have to sell before i leave; buy some curtains or cheap material that i can fashion into a curtain (the windows everywhere all have these wooden slats that block out the light, but they’re kind of ugly); plan out how much money i have versus how much money i am going to use… oy. summary is to be cont’d.
p.s. you should all get skype immediately.

the dreaded summary post, part one
27 September, 2008, 8:52 pm
Filed under: argentina, books, borges, things i like

ok, so. here is (some of) what i did from my arrival up to this point.
i got here, received a complimentary cup of café con leche, was able to check in early, and took a nap. then i woke up, went out, and got a cell phone (i had to bring it back the next day to get it to actually work). i proceeded to walk around the area called palermo soho, where i’m staying.
here are some places i checked out and liked:
kiev, a kitschy little store where i bought a wallet made out of spanish wonder-woman comics (approx. $8). i think that e.b. and jen would like this place the most.
– i walked up and down calle j.l. borges about a million times, just reveling in the fact that i could be on a street called borges… me encanta. here’s a borges photo by diane arbus.

oro y cándido had delicious coffee. there is a lot of good coffee around. it’s miraculous. this place was especially cute, though, and had cool free postcards.
– perhaps my favorite find, papelera palermo, was chock full of lovely handmade paper, journals, posters, serigraphs… everything beautiful. also, i’m sure it wasn’t cheap by argentinean standards, but it was dirt cheap compared to what this art stuff goes for in boston and n.y.c. (handmade journal for $4 !) i wanted to buy posters there, but i didn’t want to tote them around with me for months, so i have to go back. frequently.
– i also liked boutique del libro, a 2-tiered bookstore with a very cool café inside. the whole place was wood-paneled, and had one of those sliding ladders (like in the library in beauty and the beast…) so you could climb it and see the books that were way up high.
these all were only in one tiny little part of town. this city is absolutely massive… i had no concept of it, really. this is one of the most trendy parts, but there are a lot of just nice, independent places without pretension. (there are also some with pretension. but who cares?)

i’ve also been looking at rooms / apartments. i should be settled by the end of the day monday; more on that when i feel like it.

¡estoy viva!
25 September, 2008, 5:08 pm
Filed under: argentina, business, crazy

i’m alive!
look at that; you all just learned spanish.
i’m here, and it’s really cool. i’m also crazy tired. more later!

punctuality must be important
6 September, 2008, 8:51 pm
Filed under: argentina, crazy, day in pictures

this from the bbc news’s day in pictures feature:

“frustrated commuters in argentina set fire to a passenger train after the rail company has trouble meeting rush-hour demand.”

that is not exactly what i’ve been hoping to see.