Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Years Junkanoo

These are some of the only respectable pictures from the evening. We spent the night at the only bar in Hope Town, well that was celebrating New Years. It was a great time with a bunch of random people and some great dancing stylings of my cousin! After the fireworks, the Junkanoo parade started. It processed all throught the town, which isn't that large, and everyone joins in. The official members are dressed very colorfully and there are drummers and people with bells.

Hope Town

We sailed to Hope Town for New Years on Man 'O War Cay. A small little town, with a very protected Harbor. This is the Hope Town lighthouse. We pulled into the harbor in the afternoon and got ready for new years. Most of the restaurants were closed or rediculously expensive, so we got some take out food from a small hole in the wall called Munchies and ate our food on one of the harborside decks of the closed restaurant. It was actually quite perfect, nice setting and we were by ourselves.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tilloo Cay

That small speck is our sailboat. We anchored overnight off Tilloo Cay and hiked on the island. We were about a days sail from Marsh Harbor. We spent a quiet night there surrounded by no one. It was fantastic! The other picture is of the sunrise, over Tilloo Cay in the morning.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas

Well I recieved a pretty great welcome to the Marsh Harbor when I arrived; a scooter with an enclosed bar. Ironically Joelle and I had the same flight from Florida (I had a short stint in the US) and Tad met us at the Airport. The weather was perfect when I landed. Unfortunately, mi prima, Kristin was delayed and will come in tomorrow, when we set sail for the Abaco Sea.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Leaving Buenos Aires

It seems a bit weird to leave. I am ready to get out of the heat, but excited to return as well. I have made some good friends here and some will still be there when I return. I am looking forward to some time on the water. One thing I havent talked about yet is that there are people who are called 'The Cardboarders'. They come out at night, families and groups, around 11 PM to sift through the garbarge put out on the street. They take out all the valuable recyclables: cardboard, paper, and glass. Then in the morning the garbarge workers come out and repile the garbage for collection. Its a pretty interesting process. And here is a picture that has nothing to do with that, but I like it. It's in the neighborhood San Telmo.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Merry Christmas everyone! I have to admit it does not feel like the christmas season at all to me. Its hot, there wasn't too much decoration or christmas music, and its just not that big of a deal down here. I joined the ranks of many of travellers who has had their stuff stolen ... camera and phone. But not too broken over it. I had recently downloaded my photos so I only lost a few. I took them out with me at night ... which was just a dumn idea anyway.
I have decided that no plan plan is the the way for me to travel. Some semblence of planning is required for the simple fact that if everything is done on a whim then all of my budget will be spent on the last minute airline tickets. So I have decided to come home for a couple weeks are rearrange things ... which I admit feels a bit lame, but ultimately I think it will lead to a better experience for me. Being down here for 6 weeks has allowed me to learn a lot about South America and what I want to do. I already have a ticket to return to Buenos Aires mid february from the Caribbean ... might try to add a cruise in there (thanks for the suggestion dimps). So my unresearched plan for now is to go to Ushuaia (the most souther city in the world). A quick trip to El Calafate to visit the Glaciers and back to Ushuaia. From there you can go to Antarctica but that cruise costs $3,000. A cheaper option that I think I will go on is a $300 trip through the fjords or Southern Chile. This leads me to Puerto Monte and from there back to Argentina and the lakes district. Make my way through Argentina to Mendoza, then back to Chile to Santiago where I hope to make a stop at Easter Island. Continue up through Northern Chile to Bolivia, Peru, and Equador. I have heard good things about all of these and would like to visit the Gallapagos. I didn't bring a South America travel guide with me, which was brilliant so will have to start doing my research when I meet up with my cousin in the Bahamas, who is graciously bring it with her. Now that I know what I will be doing I will have a better idea what I will be needed and can dump a lot of my stuff.
There are some benefits to this as well, leaving the hot sweaty heat of BsAs and avoiding the crazy crowds in Patagonia. And of course I have been crazy jealous of the phenomenal skiing that you have been enjoying back in the Northwest. Consider yourself very lucky as Europe has not had any good snow. (I looked into that). So I guess that means I will be seeing some of you earlier than I anticipated, but I will be focusing mainly on skiing, studying my spanish, and planning my trip ... no messing around ... well maybe a little.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Schools Out For Summer

Last day of school today! Phenomenal. I am definitely ready to be done. I didn´t realize how much time it would take out of my day. The usual day was class 9 until 1:30, go out for lunch afterwards till about 4, if I went to see something it would be until 6 or 8. Dinner at 9, then get ready to go out at 12. The days flew by. Its been great though. I am looking forward to all this new information slowly solidifying over the next couple of weeks. And actually having time to review. Things are starting to become clear to me and I am able to at least convey what I am trying to albeit in really broken spanish.
Claire got into town this week, a friend I met when I was travelling 6 years ago. I haven´t seen her in 4 and its great to get back together. We partied in a crazy hotel room last night, one of her friends from this trip had the presidential suite at the Sheraton ... crazy. It was great to finally get above the city to see some of the views. It ended up being a bit of a rough night. But met some great people from Amsterdam.
I can´t believe Christmas is this weekend, it doesn´t feel like it at all. Its my first hot Christmas and Argentinians don´t go as crazy as we do ... or at least in the same way. Christmas Eve is one of the biggest party nights. People generally eat with their family, then go out partying all night. They sleep in on Christmas day and then have another dinner with family.
Well I had a bunch more earlier but the program crashed and I lost it ... so its gone and lost forever now.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Things Fall Apart

My highschool lit. teacher would be so proud that I remember that book, or not. Well for those of you that know my decision making process, this isnt too hard to envision, but for those who don´t let me explain. I am somewhat incapable of making decisions ... the bigger ones. What to eat, I can handle. Anything larger than that and my brain gets too confused with too many options. (Have you read the book Paradox of Choice ... interesting read) Coming down here with no plan, I landed in Bs.As. and only had to find a hostel and find a school. Easy. However as the weeks progressed (and the weather got hotter and sweatier) I realized that soon I should leave BsAs and needed to at least start thinking about it. The Southern Argentina is nice this time of year, but really crowded as everyone who can leaves the heat of the city and heads to cooler climates. Uruguay was an option as well, but still hot and couldn´t find accomodation for New Years Eve. Bolivia has a cool climate because of its altitude, but its the rainy season there (Jan/Feb). So I have annoyed many a people in the past couple weeks trying to figure out what to do to escape the South American heat. Well, I have ended up buying a ticket to the Bahamas to meet my Cousin and Joelle for New Years and a bit of a sail. I have a return ticket to Bs.As on February 14 so I have about 6 weeks in the Caribbean. Complete departure from original idea but that is the point of making it up as you go along I guess. Though its nice to do that ... the cost and stress involved was a little much. I decided I don´t like plane tickets too much. It should be more like train stations where you just show up and hop on. So I think I am giving up the idea of a round the world trip for now. I realized that not having plane tickets really stressed me out and not having a general plan really stressed me out. Since you have to buy a plane ticket at least a month in advance so you don´t pay an exorborant amount of money that means that you need to decide where you want to go, how long you think it will take, where you think you will end up. A little intimidating when your actual flight date is creeping up on you. So I have spoken with other people about their flights and the Oneworld Alliance around the world ticket requires that you book your cities and dates when you book, but you can change your dates for free and its 125 to change your city. So I have realized that I want to do some planning for that trip but that requires me to come home (a tempting idea with all the snow that is falling in the mountains!). I am not ready to come home (well for more than maybe a 2 week ski trip) and spend time planning so I will continue only with South American which is completely doable by bus. I will rondevous with a travel guide (oh yea and my cousin) in the bahamas that covers South America so I can plan a bit for that trip. But I am estimting now a month in Patagonia, couple weeks in Chile (perhaps more in the north), a month in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. I have made some friends who have been or are from Columbia and have heard some great things about Bogota ... but not too sure, its a bit sketchy. So thats my new plan ... but I usually have a new plan every day ... but at least this plan includes tickets.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Americanata is a word that the Italians use to describe things that can only be American ... the best example I can give is in movies. When things that aren´t logical happen just to basically improve the plot. Its been a pretty fun word to throw around. I have used it a couple times when I have seem some obvious American tourist pass by or attempt to communicate with the locals, by which I mean no attempt at all.
On the topic of Americans, I have asked several people I have met about their view of us. This has mainly been Europeans, South Americans, and Australians. I thought I would pass on the review and it isn´t too good. The worst I have heard are: we are viewed as believing we are open minded but in actuality close minded, we are war mongering continually in a ¨conflict¨with someone, and the worst I think is that Americans were likened to German citizens during Nazi Germany. The public ruled with fear so that the general population goes along with the flow. Pretty sad picture but of course this has only been a small population of people. And of course the conversation always involves that this is just the impression and not really a reflection of every American and everyone has been very nice. I guess it just puts things in a bit of perspective.
My last week of class started. I am a little excited. I completely underestimated how much of my day would be absorbed by class. When I go out to lunch with someone from class, which has been quite frequent, I usually am moving on to my next thing around 4 pm. I am ready not to be in class during the day. This week we did get some new students, two Americans (Austin and New York) and a girl from France. We have been studying a lot of grammer and it is fortunately starting to make a bit of sense. Still haven´t really done any studying though ... too busy. I am sure I will get to it ... at some point.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Da Weekend!

SCHOOLS OUT FOR the next two days!
This weekend Saturday was the hottest day so far. I went out and felt my skin get singed, so I headed back to the safety of inside in about an hour. I guess I have no idea of the ozone status here, but the sun is really strong. Went out to a fancy dinner that night and at midnight it was still about 80 degrees and 100 percent humitidy. Then all of sudden it just started to downpour. The streets and sidewalks turned to rivers. It was pretty amazing. Great thunder and lighting. (Though I have heard Seattle has its own little storm too.) I tried to capture the intensity of the storm but it never really comes out how it looks. Luckily we were in San Telmo with plenty of bars to duck into. We stopped in on this great place that was really small, playing Marley on the radio, and had that old feel to it. It´s a great little spot.
Sunday we forwent our original plans as it rained until about 11. But ended up walking around Puerto Madero for a while and ended up in the San Telmo sunday market. Its an insane antique market held every Sunday. They have everything there from silver serving pieces to salvaged ornamental pieces. I saw a lot of interesting old glass soda bottles. Pretty cool looking actually. It ended up being pretty cool today, but the humidity was back on the rise. Would have been a good day for a bike tour, but perhaps another time.
My friend Claire I met in Paris comes into town on Tuesday. She will be here through Christmas as well. So this next week will probably go even faster.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Quick Week

This was week 3 of my 4 week spanish attempt. I think the class peaked on Tuesday, but by Friday there was a complete information overload. There were only 5 of us this week and ironically a new girl ... from Seattle. Also ran into another Seattlite in another classroom. The school is only about 50 students ... crazy no? I spent a lot of time this week going out with people from school. A social coordinator of sorts got the whole school together and organized meeting points ... pretty fun to see what everyone is doing. There is one girl from Sweden who is taking a break from school, spent 6 months in China taking language classes and now is spending 3 months here. Pretty crazy but probably a good idea.
The weather got hotter and hotter this week ... up in the mid 30´s by the end of the week. Thats in the low 90´s for all the non-Newfies out there. The humidity was pretty insane as well. After class I went to a movie with some school mates just to sit in a cool place for a while. It was The Prestige. I had never heard of it and I don´t know if its realitively new or not. It was interesting though.
Hung out with the family mates a lot this week, though the Ruso-German guy keeps to himself. We have started refering to him as our best friend. We must have just gotten into a fight though. Haven´t done too much sightseeing this week ... though most of that is because I have been hiding from the heat.
My class is droping like flies and only two of us are continuing. The other guy is Paul, who I have been in class with since the first day and for some reason I haven´t told you about him. He is a middle aged guy from Nice and a total typical frenchman. The poor guy has been the butt of the classes jokes, but ever since the first week when he brought up that he has seen UFO (OVNI in espanol) we have kind of prodded him. He is pretty into crystals and telling the future and stuff like that. Apparently there is a city here, Capilla del Monte (central North Argentina) in which they for some reason believe that aliens live underneath a mountain there. I haven´t quite figured out what the whole story is. Anyway, hoping we get another student, but if not I am sure I will have some good stories to pass along.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Discoteque ... and more

Went to a place called Opera Bay on Saturday night. We were partying with the group we partied with on Thursday night and go to this club around 2:30. Its architectually based on the Syndey Opera house is on the water. Its a huge club that has numerous rooms, but we stayed outside on this enormous patio most of the night. Great music, good people, and awesome views. We stayed until about 7 in the morning. And by that time you are all sobered up. I walked around the port area taking some pictures ... it was kind of funny. Awesome club, but the building has been bought and will be torn down for a high rise. Still have been slacking on trying to get my pictures off my camera ... I will get it done at some point.

Friday, December 08, 2006

aaaiii mi cabeza ...

I went to a pre funk last night that was pretty well represented by S. America. There of course were people from Argentina, but also Chile, Boliva, Columbia, Mexico, and Italy. I eventually learned that the majority of people spoke English, but insisted on only Spanish. I was actually surprised how far I could get. Everyone was pretty tolerant of my language skills, or lack thereof. One of the Chileanos gave me some good advice on places to go in Uruguay and gave me a braclet he made. Pretty nice.
Two Italians girls have joined the household and a German guy joins us on Sunday. He is going to the same school as I am so it will be like grade school again. I wonder if Patricia will make us PB&J´s.
Odd experience of the day, the pool. Ironically for being on the water, Bs.As. does not feel like a sea side town. In addition to not even seeing the ocean yet, the water I have seen in the port area is more of a brown color with an odor worse than Long Island Sound. Therefore you go to the pool. Only one outdoor pool complex (that I know of) is relatively close to the city center. It was $22 (thats pesos) for admission. Its quite a large complex that includes grassy areas, tennis courts, playgrounds, etc. When we entered the pool area, we were informed we had to go through a medical examination first. About 50m from the entrance to the pool is a building, seperated by sex in which you take a shower, show some ¨doctors¨in between all of your toes, under your arms, and supposedly your head. It was one of the weirdest experiences I have had in my life. Well, apart from the huge inflatable Jesus that loomed over the pool area.
I have decided to research the sailboat portion of my trip a bit further, and it turns out that my dates were all messed up and I have to be in Panama much earlier than planned. I may have to cut my trip in S. America short, which might not be too bad if I stay in the South and avoid the heat of the summer. As always, my mind changes daily ... so we will see where the next wave of inspiration leads me.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

La vida y el estilo de Buenos Aires

Some funny observations from here. The younger guys seem to be trying really hard to bring back the mullet. I haven´t gotten any pictures of them, but I think I need to start. There have been some creative styles. It is also quite fashionable to walk around with a sweater tied around your shoulders ... Oh Kiki, please do ask Marta to bring us the lemonade.
Though I haven´t seen any Starbucks down here (though there is a rumor there is one), mose of the McDonalds has an attached section called McCafe. The McDonalds part looks similar to the ones in the states, but the McCafe has nice hardwood, modern black leather chairs, nice wooden tables ... basically looks like a Starbucks but a little more trendy. I haven´t been in one but am sickly curious. McDonalds also has ice cream windows, which Reese would be quite fond of.
J Walking is an art down here. In the morning they actually post policemen at busy cross walks to make sure people obey the signs. Its a little unclear who thinks they have the right away. The cars get awfully close to pedestrians and bicyclists.
A side note that I thought was a little funny is that I am living above a Patagonia right now. I checked to see if the prices were any lower, but unfortunately not.
Almost done with week 2 of class and my head hurts. I haven´t been partying too much which is good for the wallet, though I anticipate that this weekend will be a big one. It is a little difficult for me to stay up as people don´t usually go out until two, the time when we are normally ushered out of bars. Though getting up at 8 every morning doesn´t aide that. Never been much of a napper, but I am going to need to learn.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday Markets

I skipped out on partying last night, just haven´t got into the groove yet. People don´t go out until 2am and I always fall asleep before then, well at least since I have started school. I know doesn´t really sound like me does it.
Today I went to the San Telmo sunday market. San Telmo is a barrio (neighborhood) of Buenos Aires. They had so many antiques there it was crazy. The weather was perfect today, warm with a cool and NOT HUMID breeze. I met up with a classmate, Jacki from Australia and we stopped at cafe for some drinks and food. We went through the market in the afternoon as well. Got some more food and sat in one of the many plazas with some alfrohoras ... a Buenos Aires pastry.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Today, actually today, I moved out of the party hostel and into a homestay. They are getting ready for Christmas and putting up their tree. I haven´t met many of the people yet as Argentinians party quite late ... 6 - 8 am so not many are up yet. Patricia is the mother of the house and her grandaughter is visiting from Australia. I am hoping to stay here for the next three weeks, but will see how the first week goes.
Last night we bought beers and sat near a fountain on 9 de Julio. Despite it being 17 lanes of traffic it was quite relaxed and very entertaining. We saw some people swimming in the fountain, a condom train of cars throwing free condoms out the window, and a soccer bus so full people were hanging out the doors, all singing, jumping, and waving flags. The whole thing was pretty entertaining and much cheaper option. A lot of people hang out in parks here eating and drinking.

Starting Class

I found a school last week and started my first week of four on Monday. I had to switch hostels as well since mine was for some reason shutting down. My class has 6 people total and two different professoras, one 9-11 and the other 11:30 - 1:30. There are two Austrailans, one French, one Dutch, and an Israeli with me. One of the Austrailian girls and I have hit it off, unfortunately she is only here a week. I ended up moving to her hostel and ended up being in the same room together.
The hostel is pretty crazy. A lot of fun people and the way that the place is set up, it is super easy to meet people. All the rooms adjoin to common rooms, which makes it a bit noisy but fun. I have met a bunch of cool people. Emma (Austrailan) and I usually return from class, grab lunch, and then I go somewhere for the afternoon. At night a group usually goes out for food. There is an all you can eat buffet with real high quality food (they love buffets here) for only 10 pesos ... about $3. Insane I say. I usually end up stuffing myself though. The hostel is on the corner of the widest street, 9 de Julio, in the world 17 lanes and the longest street in the world, Rivadavia. Though this is all I have heard. Despite its location its quite peaceful. We played a futbol game in San Telmo under the freeway at a local futbol club. Its been since grade school that I have actually played a game, and it was a little embarassing next to the Argentinans and Ecuadorians. Oh well, it was fun.
I have made a visit to the Recolleta Cemetary where Evita Peron is allegedly buried, to the Bella de Artes museum, which is free and has some great art.


After returning from Tigre, I went with another guy from my hostel to a futbol game in La Boca. The game was against La Boca Jrs. and Santa Fe, La Boca being Buenos Aires and Santa Fe ... well Santa Fe (west of BsAs). It was a pretty awesome experience. We weren´t allowed to get too close to the action. The foreigners were completely seperated from the madness, but it was fun to watch. I don´t know what was more entertaining the game or the crowd. The futbol playing was great and La Boca won! The crowd was dancing and singing the whole time. They paused for a second or two during intense moments, but otherwise completely insane. A good time all around.

Trip to Tigre

Its been a while since I have updated this so here is some filling in. Went to Tigre the weekend after Thanksgiving (I didn´t know any Americans so I just brushed the holiday off). The hostel I was staying was full for Saturday night so I decided to take a day trip to Tigre, about an hour outside Buenos Aires on a commuter train. Its a small town on the delta of Rio Parana de las Palmas that was a big casino town. The state outlawed gambling in the 1933 and the town has become a little run down, though all of the buildings and clubs from its day are still around. There were a bunch of rowing clubs and cool buildings. They have a pretty extensive market on the weekends that weirdly reminded me of home. A lot of shops around the area looked like they belonged on Ballard Ave. A little strange. The hostel I stayed was pretty bad. It was outside of Tigre and you had to take a boat to get there. So many beds in the room you couldn´t move. I was in the room by myself though which was nice. The place was pretty poorly constructed but right on the river. No one spoke English which made it a little difficult. Luckily another guest ran a Spanish school in Buenos Aries and was able to help me out.
To get back to the train station on Sunday, I had to take the lancha collectiva back to Tigre since the hostel´s boat was not running. This turned out to be great since the hostel was in a real sketchy area and the water taxi took us all over the different waterways to get back to town, a bit of a free tour. It was beautiful and pretty cool looking.