Saturday, December 29, 2007

YAY for pictures!

Well, we finally figured out why we couldn´t upload pictures - they´re about 10 times too big! We managed to resize some and get them up today. There should be a slide show on our blog, or if you can´t see them, check at < >.

Will write about diving later...


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Finally! A conversation in Spanish!

So at the car place today, we finally had a conversation completely in spanish. The lady behind the counter gave us the schpiel about milage and such. We rented the car, payed, filled out paper work, and the whole nine yards in Spanish. The best part was we didn't fell intimidated. I mean sure, we didn't get every last little thing, but we kept up. There were a couple of words I understood, but can't remember, for things like deposit, insurance, and in case there is a rollover accident and the car is destroyed, but at no point were we lost. A nice change from our usual conversations that go one of two ways. First, we speak Spanish and are answered in English, or second, we speak Spanish, they ask us where we are from, we answer, and they speak English. Who knew it was so hard to speak Spanish in Argentina!

Useful Phrases-in English and Spanish.

Yo nesicito tiza para pool - I need chalk for pool.
¿De donde sos? - Where are you from? Your spanish is very bad, so if we can use your language I'd really prefer that.
In English? You've butchered my language enough...Let's use yours.
¿Repita, por favor? - Literally, repeat that please. Interpreted as "This poor fool can't speak spanish. I'll ask them '¿De donde sos?' and stop this torture."
I kill them, at the bar! - The bastards at the bar always screw this up! I'll kill them! (Spoken by one of our waitresses.)

Lazy Days in Puerto Madryn

So we arrived in Puerto Madryn yesterday in the afternoon. The drive in was nice, but those of you in New Mexico can imagine it perfectly. Picture the drive to Santa Rosa, just past Morarty. A flat mesa with miles of tumble weeds.

can Madryn is a different story. As you get close to the beach there are more trees and plants and youfeel a cool breeze from the ocean most of the time. Just like most touristy beach towns, thestreet by the ocean are packed with restaurants and gift shops. We've had a fun time meandering around and poping in and out of the shops for about the past day.

Other than eating and drinking, we've managed to find a decent pool table. So far, we've found one that was too short (as in too close to the ground), one that had crappy felt and 15mm cues (13mm is a standard bar cue), and all of them had the "tiza" chained to the table. And to top it off, the tables were on the second floor of a bar with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the beach.

But our major accomplishments of the day were suntanning, making a scuba reservation, and getting a rental car. The tanning is self explanitory. Find the beach and lay down. The car is to go to Punta Tombo, which is 170km from here and is overflowing with penguinos right now. They're in the breading part of lifes cycle, so Punto Tombo is like the world's largest penguin signle bar right now. About the only was Aura might be more excited is if it were right after the hatching, when tons of penguin babys would be waddling around fact, I think it might be dangerous to her health to be that excited. Oh no! I'm in trouble. Aura just talked to to people in the hostel who were at Punto Tombo yesterday. They said it IS after the hatching and there ARE tons of baby penguins everywhere. I guess I'll find out if Aura will pee herself when confronted with that much cuteness tomorrow. ;)

We'll we decided that as long as you're in one of the best places in the world to see marine wildlife you might as well go all out. So we booked a boat to go diving with sea lions. They call them "lobos" here, but it was pretty reasonable to get a private boat, all your gear, and guide. After you walk into the dive shop, it's pretty much a done deal. Let me lay the scene for you...You walk into a nice dive shop with new wetsuits that are still in the plastic (and a wetsuit that hasn't been peed in is really hard to find!). There is the cute latina behind the counter and she's about 8 months pregnant and super nice. She shows your hippie girlfriend videos of people diving that are SURROUNDED by sea lions. The swim with the sea lions...they play with the sea lions...the PET the sea lions. There was no chance of was like shooting fish in a barrel. You might as well have walked me into a bike shop at the foot of the Pyrenees that was having a half-off sale. So that's our plan for Saturday...well let you know how it turns out.

Other than that, we've caught up on our sleep. That's alway's nice. Like my good friend Mario says, "you have to sleep late when you can, and all your bad days will come to an end." He credits The Flaming Lips with that one, but I think he's just being modest.

Love you all! Wish me luck with the penguins...I hear they bite.


On to the Atlantic...

Hola chicos! We arrived safe and sound in Trelew on Tuesday, at a little itty bitty airport. There was one gate, some tarmac, and that was about it. It looked a bit like ABQ - dry and flat and scrubby. We stayed at a hotel in town, went out, walked around. Trelew is pretty small, but it was nice. The museum of paleontology was amazing! We spent about half of the next day there. It was small as well, but it was a working museum and you could see into the lab through a big window. They also had some awesome fossils. After we left the museum, we went shopping for a bit and found an artisan market that had nice handmade wool products. The artists were working in the shop, so it was nice - not commercial like most of the shopping we´ve seen so far. We were going to continue shopping, but everything closed. I mean everything. Around here, shops take a siesta from about 1:00 to 4:00, sometimes a little later. So, we hopped on a bus to Puerto Madryn. On the bus we sat across from a man and his 8 year old son. The man started talking to me (we were sitting beside each other across the aisle) by pointing out that his son was staring. He was nice, and we actually managed to have a conversation for a while. Eventually, out of the blue, he asked how people in the U.S. paid for things (like with cash, cards, etc.), which I thought was quite odd. It kind of stopped the conversation, since it took me a while to figure out what he was asking, and it was a little weird.

For the past day and a half, we´ve been lounging around - I´ll let Ryan tell you about Puerto Madryn. Tomorrow, we´re driving (yep, driving) to Punta Lombo, which is supposed to be the world capital of Magellenic Penguins - and they´re breeding now - I´m really excited! I´ll also let Ryan tell you what we´re doing after that...

Love you guys,

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

La Navidad en los Aeropuertos

Hola familia y amigos! Ryan y yo estamos en el aeropuerto, esperando para la vuelo. We´re going to spend most of the day in an airport or on a plane :) We went to see the falls yesterday, and they were amazing. I can´t even describe it in words. Hopefully the pictures come out. We rode in a boat under the water and got soaked, and then wandered around the park getting sunburnt. Ryan saw a toucan! The falls are in the middle of a subtropical jungle, so there were lots of little creatures running around.

We got back just in time for a little swim and a huge deluge that lasted all evening. They had a big show last night - dinner was an Argentenian asado (BBQ), and then there was a tango show that was muy impressive. After that, they had a Brazilian dance show. I actually felt a little like I was at some cheesy resort when they started dragging people out on the floor to dance and participate in skits. The pictures are a riot - it was kind of like being at a strip club, actually! We met a bunch of cool Aussies and Brits last night and stayed up talking politics and literature (and partying) pretty late. Now we´re on our way to Peninsula Valdez, hopefully in time to see the whales. We´re going to lounge around there for a while on the beach, and also check out the Paleontology Museum in Trelew - you should read about it and see if there´s anything cool there, Hannah.

Gotta run to catch the plane - missing everyone bunches today - Merry Christmas!

Aura (and Ryan)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

And a river of beer ran through it.

So yesterday we got a late start...or that is to say, I got a late start around noon. We spent the early afternoon taking care of erands and be escorted by little, old ladies who told us that ¨The Boosh¨ was ruining the world with the war. We ate lunch for about $15 pesos a piece and were overcharged $10 pesos (which I suppose was the ¨you don´t speak the language¨ tax).

I the early evening, we took the Subte down town to Recolta, which had a tapas resturante that Aura was very excited about. We made the subte ride with little trouble, but the tapas resturante was a bit harder to find. It was the only even numbered place on the odd side of the street. And just when we thought we would be eating good food at low prices...we read the sign on the window, which in formed us that ¨tancat¨ had closed that morning for remodeling. Well, you can´t win them all, so we trugged on.

We jumped back on the subte and made it to the neighborhood of ¨Deep Blue,¨ which is the name of the place where the cool kids hang out an shoot pool. We decided to get diner first, and walked about 14 blocks, passing the same place three times, before we settled on a decent place. Dinner was okay, but pool was the focus of this mission.

We made it to Deep Blue around 12:30, so it was still early by Buenos Aires standards. We got a table and polished off a rack or two (as well as a cerveza o dos). Around that time we spotted the private tables with their private beer taps we had heard about.

I was impressed, but Aura was like a kid in a candy store...on Christmas. We ditched the pool table in favor of the beer tap, which was metered with a 2 liter minimum (which is just a bit more than 4 pints). At this point, I realized we had found Aura´s little piece of heaven, and a river of beer ran through it. We hung out and talked a bit past 03:00. On the cab ride home, the cabby was nice enough to point out that we were turning in early for such young folk. We gave him a nice tip for the ¨Castillano¨ practice (pronounced cast-tee-jawn-o).

Today, we walked into the airport, stood in line, and caught a flight to Iquazu. There is an accent in there somplace, I think over the u, but I´m not sure. We´re living large on small dolars right now.

That´s all for this installment, but remember...if you want to hear more you have to comment!

I love and miss all of you!

Ryan (a.k.a ¨el coostar¨).


Well, we´ve arrived in paradise, quite by accident. We showed up at the airport today and caught a quick flight to Puerto Iguazu today to see the famous falls. We arrived as our resort (a.k.a. hostel) this afternoon, and now we´re pretending we´re on a beach in Florida :) It´s seriously gorgeous here, and this hostel has a huge swanky pool, hammocks, pool tables, a bar, restaurant, etc...for $11 a night! Tomorrow we´re taking a boat under the falls! Okay, I´ll let Ryan type, because he gets excited about it. Miss everyone!


Is there anybody there?

It's about 4:00 AM local time and Aura and I are calling it an early night. We checked our blog with futile hopes that there would be a few comments from our friends back home. However, it appears that no one is reading it! So, if you're out there and you want to hear more of our stories you better post a comment. Otherwise, we're going to call it quits with the blogging and drown our sorrows in Quilmes.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Zoo Too!

One thing that Aura forgot to mention was our day a the zoo before we went off to the tango show. Although I would have liked to sleep all day, my girlfriend decided we should do something with the day, so we walked to the zoo with our friend Ron.

We spent the day seeing bears, reptiles, lions, muskrats, and ducks. Aura bought a bag of food to feed the animals and insisted on speeking to the animals in english. I told her that these were spanish speeking animals, but she didn't listen to me.

All and all, it was a fun day at the zoo and a good vocabulary exersice for names of animals. The highlight of the day was probably the time at the baboon cage. When Aura offered them food, some of them crawled up the side of the cage and held out their hands. The would catch the food when you trew it to them, and Ron was daring enough to crawl over the barrier and hand one of the monkeys a treat. The monkey was cool with Ron until he tried to shake it's hand, then there was a lot of shrieking (and a few tense moments were poo-flinging was a definate possiblity).


Last night we decided to go see a tango show, and based on a fellow traveler´s recommendation, Ron, Ryan, Tara and I grabbed a cab across town to what turned out to be an amazing hole in the wall. When the cabbie dropped us off, we were confused. The address we had looked like a dark office building. We knocked on the door, a guy let us into a dingy lobby, and then pointed towards a wide, dark stairway. Upstairs was a huge open room that looked like a warehouse of some sort - with amazing artwork everywhere! The room was dark, surrounded by tables, with kind of a red-tinged lighting. There were tango lessons in progress in the center of the room. Since it was only about 11;00, we decided to grab dinner and wait for the action to start. We had an antipasto plate, 4 various dishes, 2 bottles of malbec (argentinean wine), and a dessert. We shared all of this for about $30 US. The place was vegetarian, and the food was awesome.

While we were waiting on our food, the manager came over to chat and offer to buy us a drink. He was very friendly, and he gave us some postcards of various artwork. By the time we were finishing dinner around 12;30, the show was ready to start. I can´t say I´ve ever seen anything like it - I have got to post some pictures! They had been slowly setting the stage with a small wooden table, medical instruments, a chair, and a bowl of water on the floor for several minutes. The dancers then began this elaborate, impressionistic dance/skit. The man sat in the chair, the girl pretended to give him oxygen, and then she dropped to the floor and began thrusting her head into the bowl of water and then throwing it up in the air. They danced, and it was rather like what I would imagine watching people do *it* would be like. It was so intimate that you felt you should look away. The whole performance only lasted a couple of minutes - then there was some down time, then another performance. We were so tired that we didn´t stay for more than a couple - they were having about 20 minutes of open dance in between each performance. I wanted to stay though, because the place was just starting to get crowded! They take things rather slowly around here...

Anyway, it was an enchanting place. Today, we managed to FINALLY find a place to change money. We asked several people, walked the same block about 4 times, and finally were led there by a sweet elderly lady. She literally held my hand. I also made a phone call and reserved us a room - in Spanish! It was so easy that I thought I might have missed something, so I called back to make sure that I actually had a room!

Anyway, I have some more reservations to make and a boyfriend to drag out of bed. He´s been sleeping non-stop ;)

Friday, December 21, 2007

We went to bed LATE!!!

Buenas, todos mis amigos!!!!

It's Ryan, and I just wanted to keep everyone up to date on our adventures in debauchery. First a recap of what Aura has already covered. However, my writing skills and talent as a story teller trump those of my girlfriend, so here we go. So we started the evening after a long siesta. We played a drinking game call "ring of fire" with some new friends. Although the name of the game sounds quite threatening, it was quite lame but our new friends were nice.

We needed some food...

So after an hour of a drinking game, we needed a bite to eat. The crowd was divided on what we should do, so Aura, our new Dutch friend Ron, and I all went in search of a restaurant. We went on our typical bumbling search, passing the same place about three times, before settling on a place with a decent sized crowd. The food was okay, but the company was great and we shared a lot of great laughs over a bottle of wine.

We head out into the night

At this point, it's about midnight and I was ready to turn in. Aura and Ron had other plans. The bumbling search for resumed, this time in hopes of finding a really cool bar. After walking in circles, trying to breach a club that was having a private party, and passing the same place three times, we settled on a decent bar with a decent sized crowd. After a beer and some stories, I was ready to turn in, but Aura and Ron had different plans. Ron hit on some girls and found out the name of a happening club. We made the 7 block trek to the new club and tried to make it through the VIP line. The bouncers were nice enough not to damage my self esteem and simply told us we needed to be in the other line. About 60 seconds into the bar, Ron is talking to a group of porten~os that we think are his friends. It turns out its a group of gay porten~os who think Ron is cute. We'll were not picky people, so we started dancing with them. After being kissed on the forehead an cheeks more times than ever we got to know this group of people as good as you can in a loud club.

My god, Porten~os do stay up late!!!

So at about 3:00 AM, I'm about ready to fall asleep on my feet. I think to my self, "Hey, it's 3:00 AM so everyone will start to tucker out soon. As the thought passes across my mind...the live band starts up. The band carries on for 90 minutes or so and livens the crowd right up. After the stop I figured I would be off the hook, but everyone keeps dancing. It was about 5:00 AM when I convince Ron and Aura that it's about time to call it a night. The porten~os were sad to see us go (especially Ron) but they did give us there cell numbers.

And we slept 'til noon

After all the fun and drinking a liter of water, we finally turned in. We slept until noon and hit the zoo. More to come my friends, so tune in tomorrow. We'll try to find a way to get some pictures up to make our blog a bit more colorful.


Ryan and Aura


It is hot here! I mean Georgia hot. The adventure continues. Don´t have a lot of time, and this keyboard is a pain in the ass, but we´ve moved to a hostel and are having a great time. We made some new friends - a British girl, a dutch guy, and a Kiwi. We had a good time hanging out with them at the hostel last night, and then Ron (our Dutch friend) came out with us for dinner. We managed to find a dance club and met some friendly Argentineans. We left at about 4;30 this morning, and they weren´t even closing yet! It was pretty crazy.

Yesterday we also went to an art museum, and today we went to the zoo, which was pretty cool. There were all sorts of small animals wandering around on the sidewalks! Gotta run - I´m gearing up to try to make a few phone calls in Spanish to make some reservations. Scary.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Buenos Aires!

We´ve arrived in BA, managed to grab a nap after a terribly long and uncomfortable plane ride. We then wandered around La Recoleta and had cafe, snacks, and beer at a microbrewery. Right now we are chilling at the hotel and waiting for a proper time to go to dinner, which is not before 10 pm around here. Some bars don´t even open until 1:00 or 2:00!

We forgot our camera cable, but we´ll try to find a way to post some pictures. So far so good - our spanish appears to be passable :)