Sunday, April 19, 2009

I Live in an Alternate Universe

Napkins take flight

It's friday night and La Cholita is loud and packed and quivering with activity. Enormous cuts of steak and french fries and bottles of cheap malbec fly from the waiters hands as they move throughout the top floor of the restaurant, taking orders they don’t write down and don’t appear to listen to, pouring the wine into water glasses and shouting over the already shouting masses.
Our table is covered with white paper and there is a basket of crayons in the center. My companions and I chat as we wait for our beef, sketching, leaving evidence that ‘we were here,’ that we too were thrilled by the ambiance.

Mid-meal a paper airplane, expertly folded and made from a napkin makes its descent on to our table. A series of numbers scrawled in blue crayon peak out beneath the wings. We ignore it and promptly hear hooting from the table of Argentines across from us.

Napkin #2 is hand delivered via the waiter, to me personally, asking that I please read the first napkin. I unfold it and see that it says “call me.” I go back to my steak.

Napkin #3, this time rolled up and scrunched into a ball, goes skydiving and falls to our table. I laugh and open it. It reads: “if you want I can sing a song for you”…

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mendoza, movement

Modes of transportation

I awake to flat, flat, flat lands as we drive west, presumably, eventually towards the Andes. I have dreamt of these mountains, young peaks that hint at the majesty of their parents. The Pre-Cordillera. The beginnings of the range that sew together the Americas.

Mendoza- Potrerillos- Adventure Tourism

They strapped me to a rope and I zip-lined across this river.......

They strapped me to a rope and I shimmied down this cliff.......

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cultural Relativism?

1. Parenting 101

It's seven at night and just dark enough so that the lit storefronts pop out along the street like someone took a neon yellow highlighter and marked his favorite markets, shoe stores, and cafes. Everything else slips back into shadow.

In front of the lit bakery is a small white dog, whose leash is tucked carelessly around the door handle. He stares up longingly at the treats in the display window, knowing they'll never be his, patiently waiting for his owner to make his purchases inside the shop.

The street is quiet and empty save for a stroller to the pooch's left. Surprisingly, the stroller does not have a leash that one could tuck carelessly around a door handle.

Neither does the baby inside of it.

2. Because you really don't have two coins to rub together

There a places you can go to get them, bags and bags of them, they say. Others buy them on the black market-- well maybe not the black market, but certainly a shade of gray.

Some claim they're shipped to Venezuela, melted down and sold for 10 times what they're worth here, that to get your hands on the really good, grade A stuff, you've got to want it. Desperately. You've got to know where to look.

The Kirchners clearly can't handle the situation. Or maybe they are the situation. A conspiracy to rid Argentina of that abhorrent thing called 'convenience.' Maybe they're working with the bus companies to suck the people dry.

The most naive say you can get them at your local bank.

But surely, that's an urban legend.