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balance (2): December 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

jet lag

after a total of 6 flights (one hellish one in which i was not only seated in the middle seat of the middle row on the plane, but in the midst of a huge missionary group of loquacious 18 year old Americans) and about 48 hours, i finally got back to thailand, safe but exhausted. it is very nice to be back here in some ways. the weather is just unbeatable. warm, sunny, humid (no more nosebleeds!), birds singing, tuk tuks purring. i am so happy to have thai food again, and the street culture lends itself to easily meeting people too!

headed back down to my island tomorrow just in time for new year's eve. my resolution this year is to find a way to balance my life between the gorgeous, lush, lazy life of the island, and the fast fun life in the city. whether or not that entails a move remains to be seen.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

merry xmas

back in BA... i really wish i could have spent more quality time in rio, and i also really wish i hadn't spent $1000 for just 3 days there (including visa and flight). oh well. i took a decrepit cab from the airport with what i thought was a nice old driver who agreed to drive slowly, but then the car broke down in the middle of nowhere and he pretended not to have change so i ended up giving him 100 pesos instead of 65, and still having to catch a second cab. sigh. merry christmas indeed. i took a trip to the neighborhood 'jumbo' and bought a bottle of champagne and some good food to eat as consolation. i spent the night drinking the champagne in a hot almond scented bath and listening to the 'a christmas carol' audio book. BA is hot and sunny so there is not much of the christmas feeling here at all. but i haven't been in a cool country that celebrates christmas for the last 5 years, so it really doesn't make much difference to me anymore.

so this is my last day in south america! i feel a bit emotional actually. reflecting back, i hated peru, didn't much like bolivia, was comfortable in but rather bored by argentina, and loved brazil but had little time there. i still do not regret this trip - i have actually learned a lot! i speak better spanish!!! & it has made me stronger, i have learned not to worry so much about things like safety, since not only are the dangers hyped up, but if something is going to happen it's going to happen and all you can do is react to it. hey, i travelled through south america alone! i also feel a lot more independent now, though that is both a blessing and a curse. the more time i spend alone, the more comfortable i am with it, but i have also become so reclusive that i don't know what i will do if anyone interesting does cross my path anytime soon! & i certainly have inhibitions that i never realized before... but i have also got my priorities a little bit straighter in this time. i want to travel so many places in the world still, i love to be on the road! but there are other pieces i am missing, and i need to make more intimate connections with people and drop the ones who turn out to be only superficial and detrimental to me. along with this i have realized i need to shit or get off the pot in thailand, so to speak. the longer i stay there, the more i realize how small a world it is, and that surrounding myself with poor, uneducated people (including the tourists in koh phangan) and dating thai boys might not be best for my future! but then again, i am happy there most of the time, and there is nowhere else i want to live besides NY, and my dog (not to mention my bank account) would be miserable there.... who knows, i am really tempted to just miss my plane to thailand and see what happens, but then the other side of me is really excited to go back! for 5 years now this country has been tearing me into 2!!!! for now off i go to NY, with a 12 hour layover in which i may meet up with my cute mexican friend, then i fly to bangkok via alaska and taiwan, about a 30 hour trip. hopefully things will fall into place somewhere along the way. if nothing else, at least maybe i can have some fun again! i feel like i have been doing penance for something. more later....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

mala suerte

this morning i had planned to spend the day at the beach, but the weather was rainy and cold again, to my chagrin. so i decided to take a taxi to the hippie market in ipanema. it was ok, not much different from any of the other markets that i have been in in south america. i bought a couple of bracelets, including one with colorful pictures of all the saints to protect me. afterwards i wandered around ipanema a bit. it's so similar to buenos aires, just the language is different, and the fact that people are wearing beachwear. it's quite a neighborly place, someplace i was thinking i could easily live in. i really loved the colorful, cartoonish grafitti that was everywhere, and i wished i could get someone to take me on an art tour of rio... perhaps next time i will do it myself. (my camera is getting worse and worse, i wish i had bought a new one before i set out... thus i have no good pics of the art).

ipanema "hippie market"

i asked a taxi to take me up to the santa theresa neighborhood next, as it was supposed to be the more artsy and bohemian area, but the driver couldn't find it?! i got a bit frustrated with him, but told him to keep on going to cosme velho instead, where the famous christ the redeemer statue overlooking rio is. my taxi came to almost 60 reals ($30), so i have a feeling that somewhere in there i was being scammed, but oh well. i got in line for the train up the mountain. it was full of tourists, mostly brazilian. the train ride itself was nice, it is lined by various botanical gardens. but when we got to the top, the fog was super thick. i hung around a bit hoping to get some good pictures of the famous view, but it only got worse as it started raining as well. argh.

so i headed back to my hotel in copacabana, and my minibar. and my cable tv. it was then that i decided that despite the fact that i really(!) loved rio, i needed to leave. i have had such bad luck this trip with things like weather and timing... it had been raining for 3 days straight and i didn't want to spend $120 a night just to sit in my hotel room alone, since i couldn't go out and see the things rio is famous for. so i canceled my plans for another tour the next day and changed my flight to return to buenos aires for christmas eve. :(

Saturday, December 22, 2007


woke up to the most delicious breakfast i have had on this continent which put me in a good mood. then i was picked up by my guide (alejandro i believe?) for the favela tour i had scheduled for today. we stopped to pick up about 6 more people in the van, and then were on our way to 'rocinha', which is the favela (poor neighborhood) we were to tour. alejandro had a microphone and gave us a brief history of the favelas in rio and told us what to expect. if you have ever seen the movie 'city of god' you will know what i was expecting.

rocinha favela

though there are darker and dirtier favelas in rio like that in the movie, most favelas are pretty ordinary little villages. the difference between them and a regular village in rio is that the favelas are run by drug dealers rather than the government, and as such, normal brazilians and even policemen won't set foot into them. on a daily basis, they are quite harmonious and safe for their residents, but occasionally the police and military will storm in and start shooting in the streets. there are literally drug wars here. the drug dealers will announce such a raid with firecrackers, which made me nervous as there were firecrackers going off when we got there... but our tour was uneventful. there is also a very big contrast between rich and poor here. the wealthy neighborhoods are right next to the poor favelas. but the rich do not even acknowledge the poor, let alone help them in most cases. so the poor people, who have no access to good education, often will go from the favelas down to the wealthy or the tourist areas like copacabana and rob people for their living. the funny thing is, the favelas are build up on the mountainsides looking over the beaches, which is public land, so the poor people have better views than their extremely rich neighbors on ther private estates just below.

we toured a couple of streets and a school project that favela tours had contributed to for educating the residents. i saw that these tours are very good for raising awareness of these peoples' situation, and they are a way to bring help and education to these neighborhoods. but overall i wasn't too impressed. it wasn't much different from being in a typical neighborood in peru or bolivia.

neighborhood shop

later on i was dropped off at my hotel and since the weather wasn't quite as dreary as it had been, i decided to go have a drink on the beach. there are little bars scattered along the length of it. i sat and ordered fried shrimp and a beer. about two minutes later a guy plopped down next to me. he spoke no english and i spoke no portugese, but somehow we managed to communicate using a combination of spanish and miming (the fact that he had no qualms about making a fool out of himself helped immensely). his name was italo and i had a good time with him. apparently he had had a fight with his girlfriend and had come to mope on the beach when he saw me. he bought me a drink, a silver bracelet from a passing old lady, tickled and teased me, and lavished me with compliments in portugese, which is a seriously sexy language. he did try to convert me to catholicism for about 5 minutes, which threw me, but otherwise i liked him a lot. but after 2 beers i decided i had better be off before it got dark. he insisted on walking me back and giving me a goodbye kiss, and when he stopped to pee in a restaurant on the way, i ran off and left him... i actually regretted this later, it was the most stimulating interaction i have had with anyone in a long time, and i couldn't stop thinking about him. but though he had been telling me that his girlfriend andrea was a naggy pain in the ass, she called 3 times while i was with him and he was quite sweet to her on the phone.

at night there was a christmas parade down copacabana beach, right outside my hotel. i wandered down to watch. brazilians really know how to party. it was probably the best parade i have seen. rather than a bunch of people waving listlessly from halfheartedly decorated floats, they have full on productions, with dancers, singers, costumes, and lavish decorations. i wish i could stay for carnival!

Friday, December 21, 2007


i decided a day or two ago (based on some prompting from 'x') that since i will most likely not be in this area of the world again for quite some time, if ever, that i couldn't miss out on seeing rio de janeiro in brazil. so despite the fact that it meant an extra $1000 that i hadn't budgeted in, and despite all the warnings that i would get killed if i went solo, i hopped on a plane this morning to spend the remaining days leading up to christmas there.

my flight on varig was kind of disappointing as there was nothing with which to pass the 3 hours. no magazines or movies, crappy food. i wished i had brought more english books with me on this trip as they do not sell them in south america! nevertheless, i got to rio ok and managed to find my way to the coopertramo taxi booth. the lady there sold me a ticket and then thrust a tip box into my face. tips for what? i claimed i had no small change and she took the liberty of extracting some from the change she owed me for my ticket. i was a bit irked by her outright begging before i even stepped foot out of the airport, but nevertheless, took my taxi to copacabana.

the road to copacabana was full of favelas, destitute neighborhoods of burnt out, decrepit buildings. it reminded me of india. the closer we got into the copacabana area though, the more rio looks like a typical south american city. it's covered in grafitti, a lot of it very cool! there are loads of corner juice stands, little supermarkets... it's quite similar to buenos aires, and actually a lot like thailand as well! my taxi dropped me off at the mellow yellow hostel. i had intended to make myself try the hostel thing in an attempt to meet people. but when i got in they had overbooked and put me in a hot stuffy room full of 6 other girls rather than the 4 bed a/c room i had requested. there were two rather trashy english girls sitting on the floor in there surrounded by piles of their belongings and trash. the bed was small, and the girls informed me the hostel was full of bedbugs. the lockers did not lock. there were guys wandering in and out of the room as they pleased. the "bar" they had advertised was a dirty cafe with crappy food, the bathrooms were filthy and not private... the list goes on. even though there were a few cute guys and they offered free internet, there was no way i could handle 4 days there, so i took a walk down copacabana beach to find another hotel.

copacabana is not a pretty beach. it's an urban beach, and it is lined with tall buildings. perhaps if it had not been cloudy, it would have looked better, but in addition to being rather ugly, it was (despite it's reputation for crowds) deserted with exception of a few halfhearted hawkers selling sarongs and fried shrimp. there were a couple of the requisite guys in speedos too, playing volleyball. i walked down the boardwalk 13 blocks alone without even coming close to getting mugged, and i realized that the danger had been totally over hyped. if there is one thing south america has taught me, it is that you should not listen to peoples' paranoia about a place. overall, i have found south america to be safer than thailand!!! rio is just like any other city, at least in the daytime.


anyway, i found a nice hotel (martinique) and moved my stuff in, even though it was more expensive than i had expected. i was starving, so i decided to go eat. copacabana surprisingly does not have much to offer food-wise, so i took a taxi to ipanema. ipanema is a bit prettier than copacabana, and more upscale. there also seems to be more of a selection of food and entertainment there. i went to have a capirinha at the 'garota de ipanema', a famous cafe in which the song 'the girl from ipanema' was written. the capirinhas were super strong but divine! i also had a cuban dish of chicken with shoestring potatoes and fried bananas and palm hearts, which was delicious. i noticed there that rio is similar to thailand- lots of older men with young prostitutes on their arm. ugh.

capirinha at 'garota de ipanema'

back to my room, i debated on going out, but having no idea where to go as i had not really researched the city, and not wanting to wander around alone at night, i crossed the street to peruse the sweet shop, bought a few assorted goodies such as chocolate covered bananas, coconut bars, and dulce de leche, and went back to my room to raid the minibar and fall asleep to the movie 'nacho libre', which was funnier than i remembered.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

horseback riding

as i mentioned earlier (i am backtracking and adding this post) i went to an estancia near buenos aires today. it is called estancia de los dos hermanos. they came to pick me up at 9am, and it was an hour and a half drive out to san pedro, where they were located. the ranch was pretty nice, though it was situated in flat lands similar to kansas in the US, which disappointed me as i was hoping to ride through shady forests. there was a swimming pool and a football field in addition to the farming grounds. the owner, anna, welcomed us with coffee and delicious pastries, had us sign a waiver, and then gave us chaps and riding helmets. then we were led by don juan, the gaucho, to the paddock where we were assigned horses according to our height and riding ability. i used to ride horses all the time, i was even in 'westernaires', a riding club in colorado which puts on annual trick riding shows (i have bad memories of having to dress up in a hillbilly uniform and go door to door in rich neighborhoods trying to hawk tickets to the shows). i was assigned a very stupid and stubborn horse named 'pamparito'. our first ride out was an hour and a half, just over the grounds. it was nice as we were basically left to ride as we pleased. several people galloped on ahead. my horse was more interested in eating the plants than riding, and no amount of kicking and screaming at him made any difference. still, it was a nice ride overall.

me and pamparito

lunch was a traditional argentinian 'asado', or barbecue. argentinians eat a lot of meat! different cuts of meat were brought out at different intervals. first was the sausage and ribs. then the bife de chorizo (sirloin), then the bife de lomo (prime rib), then something else...all i know is i only eat red meat about once a year so this week i have fulfilled about 5 years' worth. it was quite good though, and it was followed up by a delicious dessert of flan. i had a good chat with an older couple from philadelphia, some french airline stewardesses, and a rather flirty older man from the UK.

our second ride out was onto the main road rather than within the grounds of the estancia. it was extremely hot, and i got pretty sunburned despite my sunblock. also, we were pretty much expected to gallop for most of it, but my horse was so stupid that he would only trot. trotting is ridiculously painful for your back! i did get him to gallop for about 5 minutes of escstatic freedom, but then he went right back to trotting. by the end of the day i hated pamparito. and i hated the daughter of the ranch who kept following me around telling me to discipline him as if i hadn't been trying.

the ranch

after a nice tea and more pastries, we said goodbye and got back into the car towards town. the driver for some inane reason decided to drop the philly couple back first, right in the middle of downtown traffic, so that it took me more than two hours to get out of the traffic and back home. i was in serious pain and very dirty and smelly, but i poured a glass of wine and took a hot bath, and overall was left wishing i had access to a ranch to ride more often.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

day of the dead

i went to a hairdresser yesterday named javier luna. never before have i spent all afternoon at a hairdressers, but it was an interesting experience to see the goings-on in a building full of the hottest people i have seen in this country so far. wow! my colorist was so cute i could only stutter back at him and it wasn't my lack of spanish! the room was full of models, which i didn't realize until i had already been talking to them for awhile and then looked up on tv and saw pictures of them on it! very cool. i wished someone would invite me out with them but they were more interested in asking me whether or not washington DC was in new york.

today i gave in to all the tourist hoopla and took a maniacal taxi (who was screaming and flipping off drivers the entire way) to recoleta cemetery. it's a famous spot full of famous rich argentinian dead people, none of whom i know anything about. usually i am really into cemeteries as they can be aesthetically gorgeous (as in new orleans), but this one was, meh. it is basically a big city of mausoleums (i prefer graves). they were quite snazzy, in black marble with commissioned statues and such, but i liked the older, crumbling ones that looked like they had been broken into more than once. didn't spend a whole lot of time there. wandered around the little outdoor fair for a bit, bought a gaudy ring, sat and had a dreamy hefeweizen at a brewery. got hit on 100 times today, must be the new hair or my huge sunglasses.

x wrote me aghast today that i haven't been laid once on this trip. haha, i am rather aghast myself, but i don't see what the big deal is about sex anyway. still, it is weird that on a 2 month trip i haven't met anyone or even gone out at night once! i just HATE going to bars by myself! if anything else screams "desperate whore" i don't know what it is. the restaurants here are intimidating enough. besides, i am so shy, i end up sitting quietly in the corner, flinching if anyone talks to me and spilling my drink down my top. still, x is right, nothing is just going to "happen" here like it seems to do in asia unless i get out and shake my hiney a bit, and i have a newfound lust for boys with argentinian accents. i may actually sneak out tonight (yeah right). otherwise, i have just over a week left in argentina, and then off i go back to fun-land.

woah i completely forgot it is almost christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


just got back from iguazu falls, and i am happy to report that it is much cooler than i expected it to be. the national park straddles the borders of argentina, brazil, and paraguay. puerto iguazu (the city on the argentinian side) is smack in the middle of very thick, lush rainforest. i was impressed to see how vast it was from the plane. and a bit scared to drive through it alone with my taxi driver who displayed the common trait of staring at me in the mirror instead of paying attention to the road!

on monday morning i woke early and walked to the bus station. paid 8 pesos to get to the park. apparently it was some sort of national holiday, so i had almost the entire place to myself for most of the day! at the entrance, next to the visitor center, is a little train station, and the train takes you through the jungle and drops you off at the trailheads. i did all the trails... i was hot and steamy, which i love... and full of animals! i was disappointed not to see toucans, but i saw lots of other gorgeous birds and insects, monkeys, huge lizards, colorful butterflies, and little rodent things i can't remember the name of.

and then there were the falls! they were very impressive from the upper and lower circuits, but it wasn't until i did the last trail (devil's throat i think) that i saw how magnificent they really are. pictures can't do it justice at all... from the top you see what appears to be a lake, but as you move closer the lake becomes a steaming pit of rushing water, huge falls (bigger than niagara) cascading into the jungle canyons below, full of rainbows... really cool.

see if this video works

when i had stood staring so long that i found myself soaked, i made my way back over the river and through the jungle again until i came upon a sign for an eco-tour on a boat. there was one muslim girl (from the US) waiting, and they decided to take just the two of us. we floated down the river for about an hour... didn't see many animals but had a great conversation in spanish with our guide. i wish i could have spent more time with both of them, they were great people, and it was a lovely ride. after the tour i stopped and had a cafe con leche and an alfajor (hello addict), and hopped on the bus back into town, very satisfied with my day.

the next morning it was pouring rain and kind of chilly, which set the tone of my day. i had planned to cross over to the brazilian side of the falls and trek through the park there. got to the bus ok, got through immigration ok, got all the way through to the other side of foz do iguacu (city in brazil) before i realized i must have missed the stop for the falls. the driver confirmed this and kicked me off towards the other side of the street to catch a bus going in the opposite direction. problem was, i don't speak portugese, and i had only argentinian pesos (no brazilian money). luckily another bus driver took pity on me, and took me back to the central station (really sketchy) and showed me which bus to get on to get back to the park. i asked the bus attendant to tell me where to get off. he called out to me when we arrived in the middle of nowhere, on the highway. i shrugged and got off. there was no sign of the park anywhere. i asked at a hotel nearby but they didn't speak english or spanish... they did manage to get through though that i was totally in the wrong place. i walked for about 2 miles along the highway (creepy guys yelling at me all the way) and 2 miles back to where the bus dropped me off and i never found the park entrance. finally decided to wave down another bus. 3 busses went by and ignored me completely. finally another bus headed back to argentina slowed down for me, and i gave up. i had already seen the best of the falls from argentina, and i guess i got a little adventure in brazil. and that was that!

back in buenos aires, 2 weeks left... considering not going back to thailand! but not sure at all where else i would go. hmmm.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

regaining my balance

ok so the secret to my not being so neurotic is to just forget i am supposed to be travelling. when i am not putting all kinds of expectations on myself it is easier to "come down" and enjoy my days. so i have just been chilling out in my apartment, cooking pasta, listening to music, downing bottle after bottle of excellent champagne (ow my head), and working on my new portfolio site, which has ended up being a huge undertaking because i have to re-learn how to use flash (an animation program with which i am not in the least patient). but i have found time each day to walk around my sunny neighborhood and sit in a cafe to do the crossword in the buenos aires herald... and spy on the people on the street, which is one of my favorite things in the world to do.

corner market

i spent this morning at bar taller, my new favorite place to sit under huge trees and overlooking plaza serrano. i sat next to one of the kioskos full of newspapers and magazines, sort of a neighborhood meeting point, sipping my 'cafe con leche y 3 medialunas'- the standard argentinian breakfast, apparently, and watching the local characters. across the street in the plaza were loads of hippie stalls selling jewelry, clothes, etc. lots of cute quirky people around this area, must be where all those supposed "hot argentinian guys" are hiding out... i did see a few! i flirted with a guy on stilts and smiled at passing squinty-eyed infants. almost gave in and took home a siamese kitten for sale when thankfully i realized how inane that would be. bought some expensive sunglasses and silver earrings. came home and had a couple chats with friends who were bombarding me with instant messages (nice to catch up), and am preparing to fly tomorrow morning to puerto iguazu to see the national park/waterfalls on the border of brazil and paraguay.

stilt man

hansome cab

Thursday, December 6, 2007


not much going on now... i was supposed to go spend the day on a ranch horseback riding and learning about the gauchos, but they must have forgot about me because they never showed this morning to pick me up. so i decided on a little shopping therapy. i took the train to abasto shopping center, supposedly the biggest mall here, but as with all the shopping so far, totally underwhelming. still it was nice to see the teenage element of this city, and i am beginning to like the fact that large corporations haven't taken over here and the people are more laid back than trendy. funny though, almost no one here can speak english, but they can all lip synch the ghastly american pop songs blasted overhead. i can't really understand argentinian spanish at all! compared to peru and bolivia it is quite a different accent and they use different words. but i suspect it is the huge italian and jewish influence here (that is also why they all look italian and jewish). speaking of which, there was a kosher mcdonalds in the mall! never seen one before in my life, i am surprised they don't have them in NY.

kosher mcdonalds?

if i did understand more local spanish i would be going to this show i saw advertised, which is tomorrow! what a great lineup, i haven't been to a concert in years so i would love to have a local to go with... but i couldn't even figure out where it is!

would love to see cocorosie and gotan project!

yesterday i spent reading in the botanical gardens, which was nice. there are loads of stray cats that little old ladies come specifically to feed.

stray cats

nice trees at the jardines botanicos

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


these little things are going to make me gain back all the weight i lost in thailand if i don't stop eating them! everything in buenos aires seems to be flavored with dulce de leche. they make these special cookies with dulce de leche filling, covered in chocolate, called 'alfajores'. they are so damned good, especially refrigerated! i particularly like the white chocolate ones. they go well with a 'capuccino con crema'.


i figured out today what is wrong with me, i think i have been depressed! for the first time in many years! (here is where people start emailing me about being too open but hey, if you want a superficial blog go write one yourself). not being into travelling is totally blasphemous to my normal personality, which is a definite sign. i really don't like south america much, but usually i would at least try to find the good in it. besides some personal issues (which i really won't get into)- i think i am just lonely! it's weird to get to 30 and be alone i guess, but i was never the marriage and kids type. i am (by choice) disconnected from my psychotic family, my best pal and i don't see each other much, and my friends in thailand are on average 5-10 years younger than me, and are on a much different financial/priority level. when i travel, i travel more upscale than backpackers, so i get a little bit isolated from them too. and i am so shy that it is hard for me to meet locals! so, i end up spending almost all my time alone! don't get me wrong, it is nice to be alone, i like myself and all, just not all the time. i think i am just tired of it. :( not that i am gonna run out and drag someone to the altar or anything, but i am going to make an effort to make more friends who are on my same level (ie. from a western background who have the money and flexibility to move around a bit). i did meet a hot guy through the couchsurfing travel board! good start i guess, if i can muster up the confidence in myself to call him up for a drink... anyway, i am tempted to just hole up in my apartment with 'the cure' blaring and work on my portfolio and my badly neglected writing, to kick off the new year (wallowing in my morosity being a definite contingency)... but i think i also need to make the effort to keep putting myself out there, alone, until i am no longer alone, and i remember that i love the world and someone in it loves me!

my apartment in palermo hollywood

Monday, December 3, 2007

slowing down

i took the subway to san telmo yesterday. most tourists rave about this area of buenos aires, but i didn't like it at all. there is a little antiques fair set around plaza dorrego, but it is crammed with tourists and most of what is for sale is junk. (i was much more impressed by la boca.) i did sit and have an apple shake and watch the goings on for a bit. there were a couple of decent street acts and i did look over some nice original victrolas, but that was the extent of the fun. buenos aires doesn't have the best shopping in the world, especially for women's clothes- i haven't seen a single person who stood out as being fashionable or trendy (not that i suppose that matters). so far i have found a bunch of identical shops full of cheaply made stuff that has big cartoonish prints like a 13 year old girl would wear. i also looked for english books, but as in all 3 countries i have been to in south america, they have a very limited and overpriced selection.

street musicians

puppet guy

i have to admit i am bored of this place already. i was so excited to be in a "normal" place when i got here, but there isn't really all that much to see. i moved into my apartment which is nice- it is a luxury to have running water (hot baths!), air conditioning, a microwave for a bit. i don't have those things in thailand. but how i am going to kill 3 more weeks, i don't know. reflecting back, this has been the worst trip i have ever had in my life! i have not met one single interesting person (well maybe the artisan boy who kept popping up) or spent one single decadent night! this is very unusual compared to my time in asia. south america just isn't for me at all. but, at least i can cross this part of the world off my list! and if anything, it makes me appreciate fun, gorgeous, decadent thailand even more!

... actually tonight i finally found a parilla (steakhouse) that didn't cost me an arm and a leg, and the boy who served me was such a cutie i tipped him 25%! i definitely recommend 'la dorita'... they put about 50% more wine in their glasses than other parillas. i am lucky i found my way home. :)

coming soon: trips to an estancia (ranch) for a day of horseback riding with the gauchos, a trip to iguazu falls on the border of brazil, a trip to colonia, uruguay... and perhaps a trip to the amusement park at el tigre delta, if i can get someone to go with me!

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