Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Che of the Day: Gonzalo (Another One!)

Gonzalo - The Family Guy
Age: 25
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Occupation: Art director, web designer
Hobbies: Paint, play soccer, smoke, people watch 
Favorite movie: Big Fish
Favorite music artist: Groundation (reggae/jazz) & Led Zeppelin
Favorite season: Summer (it's summer year-round in Venezuela)
Is he close with his family?: Yes, especially his brother, mother and grandmother
First thing he notices in a woman: Her face, hair, and boo-tay (that's "culo" in Spanish)
# of times he's been in love: One
Something girls do that's really annoying: Talk too much (not sure where he gets the idea that we do that) or stopping to look into every store window
Something girls do that's awesome: Put in the extra effort to make themselves look nice, or wear his t-shirt while making him breakfast (well, at least he appreciates it when we take forever to get ready, as long as there's food on the table!)  
Ultimate super power: Have whatever he wants to appear in front of him, or to be able to read peoples' minds 
If he found $100, he'd: buy alcohol (even if he found it in a bar, on the street, or in front of a church!)
The actor that would play him in a movie: He would like it to be Russle Crowe or Robert Downy Jr. (Is there a Hispanic version of those actors? I suppose Antonio Banderas can't make EVERY movie.)
If he only had one day to live, he'd: get all of his friends and family together to eat, drink, smoke, have lots of sex (I presume with his friends, and not his family... but I'm not judging), and say goodbye with everyone SMILING!
Best advice he's received: Treat others the way you would want to be treated
Gonzalo, in two words: Complicated (riiiight... booze, girls, drugs. -kidding G!), transparent

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grandpas Gone Wild (AKA: Old Man River)

If you live in Argentina and have a pulse, then you are aware of the fact that the "River Plate" fútbol team (one of the most successful teams in all of Argentina) recently lost an important game that resulted in their historic descent to the B League for the first time in over a hundred years.  Although it’s not the same analogy, the consequences could be likened to the New York Yankees being at the bottom of their division for several years. 

I watched the game at home with my Argentine roommate (and our che: Gonzalo: The Smooth Criminal) and his friends. Needless to say, the River fans were pretty upset and the Boca fans (the other major team in Buenos Aires and arch nemesis of River) were gloating in their faces. It was a little uncomfortable to be an outsider but I was full of beer and a meal cooked on the parilla (grill), so I was fine with the result.  After the game, usually everyone heads home but that day, we sat and watched the destruction of the morale of the River fans, and their destruction of the stadium and surrounding neighborhood.  I will say, it was nothing like the aftermath of the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup (hockey) loss to the (super-awesome and current world champions) Boston Bruins, but it was still embarrassing to see that this is how the fans reacted.

One disgruntled fan has become an internet sensation in the last few weeks. His family secretly filmed him watching the game and his subsequent rage (I’m guessing this isn’t the first time he’s had this sort of reaction). During the course of the video, he proceeds to curse at the players, managers, owners, and even fans. At 2:40 in the video, the 2nd goal was scored by the opposing team, more or less sealing the fate of River. The old man’s reaction is pretty good, shouting, "No! Noo! Estamos en la B!" Translated as "No, Noo! We're in the B (league)!" Then, toward the end of the game (5:42), his family proceeds to give him a pill to calm him down.  I hope you get a kick out of the video.

Below, in a very *special* addition of Vocabulary Time!, are some translations of the expletives the fan uses. Check it out! Anyway, thanks for being a follower, puto!

Vocabulary Time!

 Swearing, just like eating a good steak, savoring a wine or spending time with friends, is an important part of Argentine culture. Below are some of the phrases that Old Man River spat on his television.

 *Advisory* If you are under the age of 18 or over 65, you should get someone's permission (parent or doctor, respectively) before reading.

 Argentine Slang (Lunfardo)
English Translation
“La concha de tu hermana”
"Your sister’s pussy"/Go to Hell (he also refers to his & your mother, aunt and grandmother as well)
“Hijo de puta”
Son of a bitch
Prick or douche bag
A nicer way to say “pelotudo” AKA: Idiot
Stupid, acting like a child
“La puta que me parió”
The bitch that gave birth to me
“Pongan huevo”
Grow a pair or telling someone to hustle (in a sports reference)
“Parado mental”
Mental retard
“Forro de mierda”
“Shit condom” AKA: fucking asshole

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Che of the Day: Gonzalo

Gonzalo - The Smooth Criminal
Age: 31
Hometown: Buenos Aires but has lived in Los Angels for 10 years and Barcelona for 8.
Occupation: Working as little as possible (how Argentine of him!)
Ultimate celebrity crush: Kate Moss (back in her early CK days)
Favorite musician: Joan Manuel Serrat (old school Spanish music, (check out one of his most popular songs)
Favorite movie: 8 1/2 by Frederico Fellini (won 2 Academy awards)
# of times he's been in love: 3
# of times he's had his heart broken: Many
First thing he notices in a woman: Her voice (riiight!) 
If he was a woman for a day, he'd: masturbate for half and have sex for the other (he didn't say with who)
If his house was on fire, he'd take: a box with all his keepsakes and his Mac computer (Apple DOES rule the world apparently)
If he had only one day to live, he'd: have a goodbye party with all of the important people in his life, pig out on food (specifically beef, and Freddo ice cream), and then experiment with drugs. (a solid day in my opinion)
Has he ever been arrested: "You want to know all the times?" (ya know, the usual)
The most years between him and someone he's hooked up with: 30 years, older. (my granny says she doesn't regret it! --disclaimer, not my real granny)
The ultimate super power: Teleportation (golf clap for that one)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Need for Speed (and Other Risky Business)

The Road Less Traveled
As many of you have seen on my Facebook page, three friends and I went on a road trip a few weeks ago. It was the brainchild of Dave, for whom I am extremely grateful to for suggesting the trip. He’s here as an exchange student and the Easter holiday was his last chance to see the great Salt Flats of Northern Argentina before he has to head back to Canada to finish school. The people we told about our trip thought we were extremely crazy to take on such an extensive drive in 5 days (approximately 2,500 miles).  Turns out, they were right. However, with a bit of planning help from Jay (my constant savior and purveyor of good times) we were able to maximize our time by mapping out a few key places we wanted to see.

Somehow I managed to book a car in Spanish, and had the foresight to include a GPS. Little did I know that this GPS would basically become useless because of its inability to recharge itself and absence of recognition for roads constructed in the last few years.  We ended up relying on a tourist map inside Jay’s (there he is again) Lonely Planet guide book, which was also lacking many roads and serious detail. You’d think after the first few wrong turns, we would have purchased a road map.


Good thing we were able to rely on the well-intentioned people of Argentina who, for the most part, were able to send us in the right direction (after they explained our route several times and always sent us over, under, or around a bridge… after which point we completely forgot what they said in the first place).

Dave, my co-pilot/navigator/calming force/caffeine provider, was also a huge help. Always one to take the high road, literally, he did get us in a few precarious situations. However, this was nothing Tito (Tito Gonzalez is the name of the dealership our Ford EcoSport came from and subsequently our nickname for the car) and I couldn’t handle.  Bianca and Kendall (back seat passengers and merriment makers) were brave enough to put their lives in my hands. And when I say brave, I really mean lacked the necessary manual transmission driving skills and had no desire to drive. For the most part, they didn’t comment on my driving except to give a scream or two when there was impending danger.  In all seriousness, it was a crazy drive but I was in control of the situation almost 100% of the time. Tito, unfortunately, did not come out unscathed. A baseball-sized rock made a lovely sun-shaped indentation on his windshield. He handled it like a champ though and never gave up.

Tito & I, BFFs <3

Thus far, it probably sounds like I did all the driving. I took on about 90% of the journey (doing 10-14 hour days… still not quite sure how). Dave took the reins when I needed a nap PLUS learned how to drive stick shift along the way! I’m not sure if it was his innate skills or my amazing ability to teach but he had two perfect starts right off the bat. I honestly couldn’t believe how well he did. I’m so proud of the first graduate of the Eden Ligas Academy for Manual Transmission Driving!  On the last day he did stall out a few times, which made me feel better about my own experience of learning how to drive stick shift.

Driving in Argentina is… interesting. In the city of Buenos Aires, it’s every woman for herself and buses pretty much run the streets. Upon first glance, there doesn’t really appear to be any rhyme or reason as to how one should behave on the roads. At the conclusion of the trip, I decided it’s sort of a go-with-the-flow mentality. Don’t worry about your lane, just pay attention to the people in front of you and don’t get in the way of the buses. On the “highway” (anything from a 10 lane road to a one lane-both direction gravel path), the norm is basically to go as fast as you can and watch out for oncoming traffic/animals in the road. There are laws for just about everything but no one pays them any mind.

Passing vehicles is an art form. Much of Argentina has roads with just one lane for each direction of traffic. (Upstaters, you know what I’m talking about!) When you’re stuck behind a slow-moving truck/trailer/motorcycle with 3 people and a baby on it/horse and buggy, you have to pass or you will never get to your destination. Along our journey, we saw multiple cars passing the same car at once, cars passing multiple cars at once, and multiple cars passing multiple cars at once. My favorite was when multiple cars each decide to pass the car directly ahead of them, creating a leap-frog or card-deck-shuffling visual. My more American approach was to wait it out until the long lines of cars died down and to pass one car at a time, usually.

By this point in my post, you’re probably still waiting for me to get to the good stuff: snow-capped mountains, arid deserts, staggering heights, amazing food, friendly people, llamas… (oh yeah, we ate llama). But I think the multitude of photos we took speak to the sights. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and we probably took a thousand photos. Sorry to disappoint (insert evil laugh).
For those of you thinking that this all sounds cool and you’d like to do it for yourself (although I will also tell you that you’re crazy), I leave you with some advice:

  • Buy a map and know how to read it (GPS actually stands for “Gonna Punch Sh*t”)
  • Have a super-excellent co-pilot who can also read a map (yay Dave!)
  • Ensure you have at least two capable and willing drivers (now she tells me…)
  • Stop as frequently as you want to take photos (“Take a picture, it’ll last longer!”)
  • Allow yourself a LOT of extra time (certain terrain takes a lot longer to navigate, and you’re taking a lot of photos, remember?)
  • Bring cool people who have as big of balls as you do (they might not be driving but they’re taking the same amount of risk)
  • Have some fun get-to-know-you games (20 Questions; Kill, Sleep with, or Marry; Tell us about the first time you ___; etc.)
  • Don’t distract the driver (thanks Mom and Dad)
  • Get plenty of rest each night (we don’t need any hallucinations, okay?)
  • Eat local cuisine (the llamas aren’t just scenery)

Above all, have fun! Don’t get so caught up in the fact that you’re trying to get somewhere specific or trying to make “good time” that you end up not enjoying yourself. If you have a laid back approach, you just might find out that the journey is better than the destination.

Some Lovin' for Tito

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Che of the Day: Rama

Rama - My First "Victim"
Age: 25
Hometown: Rauch, Argentina (a small town about 2.5 hours from Buenos Aires)
Occupation: Pianist, mostly Jazz and Electronica music
Hobbies: Swimming, drinking beer (not swimming in beer)
Interesting Fact: He recently became vegetarian after seeing a movie about the meat industry
Why He's Our Che: He was the first new person I met when I arrived in Buenos Aires and he shared his breakfast with me. Cute guy and a free meal... ¡Bienvenido a BA!

The First is Always the Hardest

Dear Blog Reader,

Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m not entirely sure what this will evolve into but hopefully it is something that you will come back to often; if not to check on me, then at least to see my weekly hottie (See “Che of the Day”).  After spending a few days trying to write a particularly clever first blog entry, I took the advice of a wise friend: “it’s a blog, don’t stress.” And with those words I will leave you for now. Please enjoy and I will see you soon.


P.S. Thanks to everyone for all their love and support. I’m doing just fine!  And a special thanks to Yaz, who is the mastermind behind the “Che of the Day” section.