Whoopsies, I have been a terribly neglectful parent of an internet blog site. Sorry my little blog site, I will try to do a more thorough job from now on.
It is April 24th 2009, a Friday, I am back in Buenos Aires, and I am all by myself save for the millions of other people in the slot canyons of this massive ant farm. But none of them know I´m here.
Last time I wrote I was on my way to Ushuaia, which now seems like centuries ago. But there we were, Laura and I, skipping stones on the Beagle Channel, which is a confluence of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and is as tremendous and beautiful as it should be, given such a job. The town of Ushuaia is perched right on the banks of the channel, and then rises up steeply towards the massive Martial Glacier to the north. We arrived on the first day of autumn, and shortly thereafter it was snowing on us. The Martial Mountains which surround the town were all capped in a shock of white hair, and the leaves of the Nothofagus trees were retreating in waves towards their mulchy death beginning with a deep red scarf around the necks of the old man mountains, into a rush of a golden tunic, straight down to the stretched legs clothed in a naive and basking green. I took two boat trips on the channel, one to see the old lighthouse and the many sea lions and sea birds, including Black-Browed Albatross and King Cormorants, and a second trip 60 KM from Ushuaia to visit a Magellanic and Gentoo Penguin colony. They were so damn cute! We also hiked around in Parque Nacional Tierra Del Fuego, and I saw my first peatbogs. These tired words are doing no justice to the magnificence, just know that if you are ever considering going to Ushuaia you have my heartiest endorsement as someone fortunate enough to have been.
Once the beauty wore off a bit we started to recognize just how cold it was, so we catapulted ourselves through the chilly sky straight to Mendoza; the warm, wine-producing region of Argentina (I can´t believe I just used a semi-colon. I would appreciate any feedback if anyone knows if it was used correctly and opportunely, or if I blew it. Thanks). Good thinking! It was warm, and there was wine! We even took a bus to the nearby town of Maipu and rented bikes for the day and rode to a few of the wineries for wine tastings, which was spectacular. Maipu is pronounced My-poo, which of course prompted a limitless spree of very mature exclamations such as: ¨Riding bikes through Maipu has never been so enjoyable!¨ and: ¨Hey! I just peed in Maipu.¨ Go ahead, think of a couple of good ones, it´s fun! ¨¡Damn Maipu is hot!¨ Sorry, I couldn´t help myself.
A week in Mendoza was followed by a 15 hour busride back to Buenos Aires where we spent one night in none other than Hotel Maipu! And it really lives up to its name, I´ll have you know. I am extremely ashamed to admit that now two weeks later I am once again staying at Hotel MyPoo, which I will try to explain later. The next morning we awoke early to catch a ferry across the Rio Del Plata, the widest river in the world, which takes three hours! Three hours to cross a river. In my opinion it is more of a bay than a river, and I think they call it a river just so they can brag about it being so wide, but hey, what do I know? We disembarked the ferry in Colonia, Uruguay, and jumped straight onto a bus to the capital city of Uruguay: Montevideo. Uruguay is the best! It´s a little secret nugget of a country, much cheaper than Argentina, with little beach towns strung out like prayer flags all along the eastern coast. We went to the very northeast to a little town called Punta Del Diablo. We arrived the day before Easter, which unbeknownst to us marks the end of the tourist season, so our first day there it was packed, and the next day the wholetown seemed to have a crippling hangover, and everyone was fleeing, and by Monday morning we had the entire place to ourselves. Punta Del Diablo is incredibly sweet, beautiful and tranquil. The whole town is little dirt roads, street-side food vendors, thatch and tin-roofed shanties of every bright color, and no ATMs. Because there are no ATMs we had to take an hour bus ride north to the town of Chuy just to get more pesos. Chuy is a border town, half of it is in Uruguay and the other half is in Brazil, and without even knowing it we wandered into Brazil, ate chicken sandwiches and french fries and drank Coca-Colas, and then were back in Uruguay before we even realized that we had just eaten lunch in Brazil. Life is fun, and political boundaries are stupid.
After spending almost a week as two of only a handful of people on beaches that stretched for miles, we headed back to Montevideo, and then back across the Rio Del Plata to Buenos Aires, a city which I seem to have a magnetic connection with, because this is now my fifth time here, not including the night we spent sleeping on the B.A. airport floor on our way to Mendoza. Laura left two days ago, and now for the first time in these four months of adventures in the Southern Hemisphere I find myself alone. Not for long though. Sometime next week I will brave the 48 hour bus ride from here to La Paz, Bolivia, where the magnificent Mega Shauna awaits my arrival for yet another chapter in the book of YES!
So normally I don´t do the typical ¨And then we did this. And then we did this...¨ chronological travel accounting, because I know how dull it can be to read, but since it has been six weeks since I last wrote I figured I do a quick catch-up entry.
Oh yes, and how I ended up staying at Hotel Maipu again? Well, there´s really not much to tell, I am a terrible creature of habit and when presented with the task of finding myself a place to sleep in a city of over 12 million people I walked around aimlessly all day, felt socially intimidated by the hostels full of exuberant, outgoing young people, and then retreated to the one cheap, dirty hovel I had already wallowed in.
I endured an impressive, and even cinematically comical bureaucratic circus this morning to get my hands on a package that my mom had FedExed to me, and now am the proud carrier of an I-Pod forthe first time on this trip. During siesta today I found myself feeling lonely and a bit down in my lovely hotel room which is enclosed with four walls that in color resemble a mix of tobacco stained teeth splotched with leprous sores, and so I thought I would cheer myself up with some music, that old dear friend. I forgot how emotion-inducing music is though, and my despair, though made more epic, became tremendous, and I had to flee to the busy-ness outside to get my mind off of myself, and now I feel much better. You try listening to the opening piano notes in ¨Don´t Stop Believin´¨ by Journey, while sitting alone in a gigantic city over 6,000 miles from home, and see how tough you feel. Jerk.
Anyway, the short and sweet of it all is that I am doing wonderfully out here in the big bad world. I set out on a journey four months ago with only vague notions of what it would hold for me, and it has been everything and way way more than I imagined. So that´s that. Until you hear from me next I will be doing what I am always doing: pumping water from the sink into my bottle in dangerous, disease-riddled hotel rooms, watching TV, eating cold empanadas, drinking warm beer, listening to 80´s Glory Rock, wandering through old cities, looking with wide orbs at the magic of it all, and pretending that life lasts forever.
Because we have all the time in the world. Until we don´t.