Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Food Blog

I've been pretty upset recently with the food blogging in Los Angeles. There seems to be 10 New York Food Blogs for every Los Angeles Food blog. Most of them barely updated since 2003. So I started my own: And They Say We Don't Eat

Enjoy my musings on my favorite places to eat.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Buenos Aires Part One

I realize that I just posted about the election but I'm excited and too pumped to go to sleep so I thought I would write about my last three weeks in Buenos Aires.

It starts with Marcy and I flying back to meet up with Catherine. It was so great to be a threesome again. The truth is that we rarely spend time with each other. We have a comfortability with each other that few friends have while barely knowing what is going on in the other's life. It was wonderful to spend time with Catherine and Marcy. Here is how we spent it:

We started by having a late lunch in Plaza Serrano where we met two Irish guys who were lost souls. They were hopeless so being the generous souls that we are, we took them under our wing. The evening was spent drinking with them until the early morning when Marcy talked her way into a pizza for us and we played in a play ground meant for three year olds.

The next day, we went to Siga La Voca which is an all you can eat Asado place, which gives you a whole bottle of wine with your meal. In preparation, we didn't eat all day so we were very happy to eat all we could.

Thursday we went to the Pink house and saw the mothers marching for their sons. Since mother's day was on Sunday, the crowd was huge and speeches were filled with tears and hope.

Friday, we went to MOD with Magda (Marcy's niece) and her friends. We danced until 6 am when the club closed, enjoyed an Argentina Elvis impersonator and I experienced how much being a six foot blonde means in Argentina. I am impressed by Catherine's ability to dance forever...move over Energizer bunny...

Saturday, we went to Ricoleta for the Artsist fair. I had been once before while Marcy was sick and enjoyed it much more the second time around. Catherine and I discovered our mothers' ability to shop has been passed down to us. We used our powers with caution.

Sunday was Boca vs. River. And the horse races. I believe I wrote about that before.

A few of our friends from the South had come into town so we met them for dinner on Monday and went out at a club near Milhouse. It was wonderful to see them and the club did its purpose for a Monday night.

Sometime during the week, we discover the shopping district where we all bought our leather jackets, boots, jerseys, havanas....did I mention the power to shop...

Silvia wanted to see Eva the musical and we got two boxes for the Sunday show. The show was incredible. Beautiful and perfectly directed. I was amazed that I still felt the same power of theater that I had felt eight years ago when I first saw 42nd street. The musical bleed Argentina: its history, its pride, its story. What a wonderful opportunity to see it in Buenos Aires where it meant so much.

The rest will wait for tomorrow.


I spent election night in Buenos Aires which may have been the best decision of my life. First of all, I had ran into Sam Widdoes from Windward's middle school days two days before hand and he led us to a bar where the American population of Buenos Aires was hanging out. The place was packed and I started sweating as soon as I entered the place. The most overwhelming featuring - everyone was cheering for Obama.

It makes sense. American travelers are few and far between and most of them are liberal. So of course this bar was filled with Obama supporters. And I have to admit, it was nice to boo at McCain and cheer for Obama and fuck the "vote for whomever you believe"bullshit.

So Marcy, Sam, and I spent the evening drinking beers and explaining the electorail process to a brit named Sophie and then it was announced: OBAMA WAS THE PRESIDENT ELECT!!!!!

Champagne and beer was sprayed on me and everywhere. People were screaming and I started to cry. I gave my champagne to a man who looked so in shock, he needed whiskey and not champagne.

We listened to McCain's speak. No longer was he the villain of this election but a proud supporter. A noble loser. I have always admired what he has done. I blame the Republican party for what he was turned into.

Then Obama spoke. And I cried. And the man who I gave my champagne to, I should mention he was a black man studying law, held me. Yes. I can't be the stereotypical but wonderful moment I had. Being held by a man I just met while I cried in a bar in Buenos Aires for a man who I suddenly believe could change the world.

For the first time, I feel proud to chant U. S. A. For the longest time, especially while traveling, I've been embarrassed that I have nothing to call home but the United States. But tonight I was proud to be American. I feel like good things are coming.

My mom told be to come home to America (the North One) and I am excited to do so.

Fuck I feel like a Unicef commercial.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

traveling ain't all roses and daisies

Today I just want to be home. I miss LA. I miss my LA people. I want to hang out with them. Drink free water and have peanut butter. Stupid complaints from someone who is experience the world, I know.

I just wonder how the people who travel for a year do it...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A week or so of major activity!

Ok so I have been pretty absent for a while. I must apoligize to Analise who posted right before this hiatus, how much this blog helped making the work day go faster. I'm sorry for some slow days at work.

But here is a really long post:

El Calafate Part One

After Puerto Madyrn, we bused it down to El Calafate for some quality time with the glacier. If I haven't mentioned before the bus system in Argentina is amazing. Sure the bus ride is 22 hours long on average but there are meals and movies and free wine!! Greyhound is a shit show compared to Argentina's Comma (full bed) buses.

We stayed at the America Del Sur Hostel in El Calafate which is perhaps the best hostel I have ever stayed at. Maybe not the one in Italy that was also a winery but close to it.

The next day we went on the All Glacier boat tour which was pretty boring. A lot of old people and very comfortable. There was a hiking portion of the tour but we were frozen out of the port and couldn't get off. We did get some cool pictures and I did get to see my first ice berg, ever. And yes I was quote Titanic left and right.

El Chalten

We arrived after the All Glacier Tour excited to do some trekking. I had after all spend some money on some hiking boots and I wanted to break them in. So we started with a simple trip to the waterfall as well as exploring the tiny tiny town. We actually ran into a bunch of people from our white water rafting trip. I can see how traveling alone in Argentina or South America can be nicer than doing Europe. Since everyone is doing the same loop, you run into the same people. They told us we were here for the town's 23rd birthday.

We made friends with two Irish girls, Elisha and Therese and we decided to do the Fitz Roy hike the next day, which was incredible. Due to the threat of rain, we were basically alone on the trail which was about 4 hours in good conditions and about 6 in the conditions we were traveling in (one way). The views were incredible but nothing beat the last bit. The trail all together was 1000 meters up in the air. But the last hour is 400 meters straight up. Its challenging enough except we had to go through waist high snow as certain points. But once we reached the top, it was all worth it.

We sat with a French guy admiring the view and proud of ourselves for completing such a feat until 5 French hikers come from the other peak. Oh no there was more. We hiking through more snow to find an even more incredible view of Fitz Roy and the frozen lakes below.

The way back was long because we sat around waiting for the clouds which seemed to constantly hang out around Fitz Roy's peak to clear. Then we saw a condor and three wood peckers. It was pretty much an incredible day. 10 hours of hiking, 1000 meters climbed and climbed down.

The next day was the towns birthday. So we skipped hiking in favor of a town wide asado and a rodeo like gaucho competition. It was awesome. They basically were riding unbroken horses and I loved every minute of it.

El Calafate Part Two

Marcy and I went on the Big Ice Tour and it was incredible. A serious can't miss experience. You spend four hours ice hiking on a glacier. You have crampons and everything. And the best part is, they found an ice cave we got to climb through. I climbed through an ice cave on the only stable glacier in the world!!!!!!!

Our friends from the south are incredible. Ben made us dinner and Therese, Ben, Tomasz, Marcy and I spent hours drinking wine and playing party games. (Christine, I taught Marcy you and your mother's game about the questions. It stumped them for a long while). It was a perfect way to say good bye to trekking and hello to Buenos Aires and party life.

Buenos Aires

Cat arrived and we met her at the apartment. Its wonderful to hang out as the three of us again. I haven't been able to spend this much time with Cat in years. Its a bit different in Buenos Aires. There is less to see and things are mainly on the weekends. So I will hit on the big things:

We couldn't get tickets to Boca vs. River. I'm sad about that since its one of the biggest sporting events of a lifetime to see. But they only gave Boca 2,000 tickets so no one could get them. So we ended up watching it at Lobos por el Futbol and Boca won! even with a player down.

We did the traditional night life in Buenos Aires. We went to club Mod and danced until 6 am. I was hit on about every 20 seconds. I didn't believe Ruben when he said men would love me here but now I do...maybe I should consider a move...

I am having a leather jacket made for me. Its so cool. Since I'm taller than the entire population of Argentina, they just made on to fit me. For the same price as a pre-made jacket.

We went to the horse races with two Irish guys (we meet a lot of Irish guys) and bet on horses. I won 8.50 pesos but spent 20 pesos...but I won. That's the important part. Also who knew there was a race track in the middle of Buenos Aires.

There will be more but I'm tired of writing...and I sincerely hoped that made sense because I'm not editing this at all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just a taste

I don´t have time for a real post so here´s a teaser of whats to come...

Climbed a 1000 meter mountain through snow packed 3 feet deep for beautiful views of Fitz Roy.
Saw a gaucho rodeo in honor of Chalten 23rd birthday
Drank water out of a glacier stream (it was safe to drink!)
Saw the sunrise on a moutain
Bought gaucho boots
Saw ice bergs, glaciers and more glaciers

Tomorrow: Big Ice climb which includes hiking with crampons

Then on to Buenos Aires for some good old Catherine, Marcy and Diana time. Pictures to come as well.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How I wore the same pair of underwear for three days...

First off, my last post talked about Marcy going scuba diving with the sea lions which was absolutely incredible. She has pictures and video to prove it and I am infinitely jealous of her and also annoyed with the hostel. They told me it would be the same price to go snokling as it would scuba diving and the scuba place told Marcy they would have let me go on the boat for free and probably charged me way less to go snokling. Blast! Anyway my new goal is to get my PADI license before I go traveling with Marcy again because this happened in Greece as well.

So my bike ride was spent getting pushed around by the wind and getting whipped in the face with sand but it was cool to ride around the cove. This town reminds me a lot of Woods Hole in the winter. Its really dead and if you are not that into marine life, then its not really worth it.

That night we met up with Marcy´s niece´s friend Flor and her friends for dinner and to go out. They were great. We played Argentina´s version of Trivial Pursut, which translations for me and then Marcy and I taught them ¨Kings¨. Most people don´t really go out to get drunk so they ended up pretty drunk and it was a sight to see. After a while, we went over to the ¨boys¨house and taught them Kings as well. It was so much fun watching them get confused by the ¨take the little man off the glass¨rule or try to rhyme.

Then at 3 am we went dancing which was considered early for everyone but we had a bunch of free passes. The music here makes dancing and going out so enjoyable. And EVERYONE dances. They salsa and we freak. One more point to the South Americans. Although I did try to explain break dancing to a couple of them.

At 5 am, I was ready for bed and we left to get french fries. When we got back to the hostel, we thought we were going to wake up our roommate, Darcy, a 30 something Aussie who was afraid of sharks, but he was pissed drunk singing to himself. It was pretty funny as we all stubbled around until he went to bed with the stinkiest feet right next to my face. Luckily I was too tired to notice.

Then at 9 am, we woke up to Flor at our hostel and trudged to the bus station to get to Puerto Lumas for some whale watching. Flor´s dad owns one of the whale watching companies so we were able to go at a discount. He basically was the Mob boss of whales and everyone called him ¨Captain¨. He spent most of the day yelling from his perch outside of a cafe with different people coming up and saying hello. We couldn´t go on a boat until 2 so we sat around and drank coffee and tried to figure out how to see the penguins and sea lions.

A plan was formed: we would spend the night in Puerto Lumas and then join the tour from our hostel after they whale watched. And we could stay at his house. Perfect right? Except both Marcy and I were pretty scared of him because he yelled a lot and the house was under construction...oh great...And then because of the winds, there was no whale watching so our tour bus wasn´t coming. So we ended up staying the night and paying a taxi to take us to the penguins and sea lions and then back to our hostel...More on this later.

The whale watching was pretty incredible and Flor said that it was a bad day. But the whales literally come up right to the boat. What´s a bad day for Puerto Madyrn would be an outstanding day for any place in the States. I loved seeing the whales but I hate going on group tours like that and eventually got sick of a boat full of people and sick of the boat itself.

After the tour, we went to his house to take a nap. So I mentioned his house was under construction, which at first I though meant ¨oh yeah there are some paint buckets¨. Nope, his house hasn´t been built yet. There was one room with a small kitchen and a bathroom filled with laundry and a sponge bath tub, then upstairs there were two rooms with three shabby mattresses and a half of a not working bathroom. So we pulled on our jackets and slept and I wouldn´t be surprise if my bed was infested with fleas.

We wandered around the town where clearly Flor knew everyone and then bought meat for an Asado. Flor´s dad started up the BBQ and was yelling from his chair outside the pit. It was pretty frightening until his friends came over and started laughing at him. They were great. Old classic sailors who carried their knifes on their belts.

We ate a rib and a leg of a male sheep which felt like the closest I would ever come to eating a dinosaur. I wish I could have gotten a picture. Then it was off to sleep on our mattresses. I can only imagine that this was what backpacking used to be. Before hostels and Lonely Planet, you went and slept where ever.

In the morning, we left to have breakfast and had the best cereal I could ever eat. We have been having a lot of toast with dulche de leche and just having cereal with a banana felt amazing on my system. Then it was off to see the penguins and elephant seals. We saw some lamas too. I am so amazing about how comfortable they are with people. We respected their space but they just knew that we wouldn´t hurt them so they stayed really close.

We were hoping to see a Killer Whale eat an elephant seal because they are in this area as well but no such luck.

In the end, our hostel was mildly concerned when we didn´t show up for a night and I am not exactly sure we saved any money. But it made for a good story and I seriously saved on laundry.

Back in Puerto Madyrn, we ran into Duncan and Becky and made plans for New Years in Los Angeles. We met them rafting and they have a four day layover in Los Angeles in January.

Then we booked tickets for the south. Next stop is the glacier for some ice hikes and climbs. Maybe some dog sledding.