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a hearty serving of burnt pita and pasta sauce

2 May

Last night I came home and almost caused a fire. I didn’t know that until I woke up this morning and found a kitchen turned upside down, with scattered burnt crisps of pita and a pan full of pasta sauce.  Apparently I had tried to cook pita bread directly on my stove and intended to spread it with tomato sauce, but never got that far. I don’t remember any of it.

Just that the night started in a bar named Mud Bug. In true South American fashion, there was less standing and more sitting, which suited me fine since I was meeting a group of people.  We had a few beers and I poked a pregnant woman’s stomach.  She was at the table too, with a beer, and a cigarette, and she assured everyone she was fine.  Her friends didn’t protest and I wondered whether should I.

We went on, to a nightclub in Gavea.  We were lured by the promise of a cheap cover and all-you-can drink booze, but found something much more pricey and set within a strip-club type of a decor.  We had fun just the same- It just cost a lot more than we wanted.

Several caprivodkas later and I was happily dancing to some techno.  Everyone expects me to be an amazing dancer because of my videos.  I had the same coversation I always have when it comes up, that I was just the producer, not the instructor.  Most people don’t understand. I made a mental note to take dance lessons when I come home.

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The rest gets pretty hazy. I time travelled back to my apartment and awoke to the disaster that is my kitchen today.

It wasn’t the first time I tried cooking while black-out drunk.  There was that time in Geneseo when I left a piece of meat in the Geroge Foreman grill all night to the dismay of my housemates.   I’t happened several times on this trip as well, once with Danny in Buenos Aires when I left a pot of boiling water and went to sleep and once in El Calafate, which I don’t remember at all.  Hey, there’s worse things to be done while black-out than get a little food in your belly.

taxi cab confessions

24 Apr

A working glass dish.  That’s what Fernanda called the massive portion of beans, rice, chicken, and cornmeal I’ve been having on a regular basis.  She almost seemed embarrassed for me.

A month ago I was pointed onto a local restaurant serving up hearty meals for about 4 dollars.  I headed over and discovered an intimate looking eatery sitting on a corner a few blocks from the heart of Ipanema.

A line of taxis on the street revealed the small restaurant to be quiet popular with cabbies, a good sign considering taxi drivers know the city better than anyone else.

A small barricade separated two sections of the restaurant, the tablecloths from the bare wooden tables, the expensive dining room from the row of tables on the street, the expensive menus from the ones the cabbies coveted.

It turns out,the Prato Faito, the meal I’ve come to love, can only be had sitting at the bareback tables on the street.  It doesn’t come served with a smile at Paz y Amor, but its hearty portions will keep you stuffed and satisfied.  Trying their homemade hotsacuce, a chilli paste of sorts,  is also a must.

I didn’t realize how class conscious Rio de Janeiro is, but I suppose the signs are everywhere: the upper-class guy from Ipanema afraid to be seen on the streets of Lapa, Sticky and Mick’s response to the favela, the way Dee gave money to the jugglers.  The less than modest doctor in Salvador who made sure we knew his house was the most expensive in all the city.  There was that furtitive glance of Sarah’s, when she thought I wasn’t looking and she checked out my watch’s brand.  The long lines to get into the right nightclub.  Golf clubs.  County clubs.  Five start Hotels.  Sounds like a divided Rio.  Sounds like it rivals any other cosmopolitan city.

I’ll keep on vising my boys on the corner of blank and blank.  Of course, it’s easier playing the righteous role when you’re out traveling. But just how immaterial have I become?  Brief bouts of inspiration to lead an ascetic life, especially after watching movies like Into The Wild, usually fade as quickly as they come.  I miss my car.  I need the luxury of an apartment to myself.  I look on enviously when I see a shirt I can’t afford to buy in a nice shop.  I’d like incredibly loud ipod speakers and maybe a new watch too.

But I will return a different person, I know that much.  I won’t be pursuing the kind of life I thought I’d have just a few short years ago.  Money is not a priority.  Not right now.  I know that physical possessions will not make me any happier.  Now I just have to implement those ideas in a society that will surely pull me in the other direction.

cafe culture

21 Dec

looooving the cafe culture.

chillin on the sidewalk with a beer or a coffee.  watching people go by or just reading a book.

it’s a sweet style and it seems like most Argentinians are all about it.

siesta lasts for about 3 hours and the cafes are filled with workers and students just hanging out and doing their thing.

it’s seems like the nightlife culture is all about cafes too.  we’ve seen A LOT of people start their nights in cafes and restaurants with a bottle of red.

things don’t really get popping off until about 11 pm for dinner, and 2 am for bars and clubs.  especially in Palermo (which is faster and more fashionable than the rest of the city)

bueones-aires-at our favorite restaurante with naranja (or lily)

this particular spot is in out top 3 for sure and it’s in palermo, just one block from our hostel, where there is one restaurant on top of another.

we had a lomo (tenderloin) with an almond? glaze or puree with sun dried tomatoes and mashed potatoes filled with olives…(SO GOOD), as well as a basil chicken with carrots, mozerrela, and tomatoes, (which sounds plain but is SO GOOD, lol)

La Segal and Museum and Bahriem

21 Dec

Imagine the laugh we got when we we’re lost and tipsy at 2 in the morning and we ask a group of ladies where the nearest Museum is.

Turns out Museum is a popular club in San Telmo (sorta the grungy east village/artsy williamsburg area of Buenos Aires) and is really popular on Wednesdays with the after office crowd.

It was our second night in town and we were well on the gringo trail, the group of travelers who cling closely to the same guidebook that everyone else has. We ate at a steak house the book recommended, and although it was clearly touristy, it was really good – and incredibly cheap.

6 dollars a steak!

We left on somewhat bad terms with the waiter though.  We annoyed him at the get-go when he couldn’t understand why were ordering a boat; we were trying to order vodka but apparently the two sound similar in Spanish.  Then it was our turn to be impatient as we the slow and inattentive service was starting to get to us.  We stormed out of the restaurant, barely having left a trip.  In retrospect, that’s just the Argentinian way and was nothing to get worked up about.

Afterward, en route to Museum, we stopped off at a local bar, where with absolutely no spanish on our part, and even less english on our bartenders part, we managed to get a lively dialogue and mutual admiration.

btw, i now know that hielo means ice and esta fria means cold.

bueones-aires-musuem

bueones-aires-at a bar

Museum was three floors, loud, packed, and fun.  Our first attempt at Argentinian women proved unsuccessful.  We were recipients to the Seinfield “no soup for you” finger shake by more than a few of them.  We did notice that Brazilians in the club were much more friendly.  Could just be because they were on vacation though.

La segal the night before was a great time as well.; an expat toursity spot for sure but a great vibe and lots of fun people.  We got introduced to the BA tipping method (bartenders in Buenos Aires apparently don’t work for tips so tipping per drink is not necessary) and we pre-gamed before heading to Bahriem sp?.  Bahriem was an experience to say the least, with a breed of obnoxious techno and strobe lights known only to the most serious raver in the 90s.  it was fun though to see everyone’s expressions change with each strobe light, but it’s probably not a scene for me on this trip.

and i almost forgot – dinner on Wednesday was in a french restaurant with the coolest, most eccentric french man who’s actually not french at all, but from uraguay.  feeling lethargic from a long flight and walking around all day, his mad energy and personality was the perfect wake up call before a long night out.  go there, it’s good.