A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Music

Portenos love their music. Be it the notes of the Tango or the thumping bass of the club at 4 am or the singing of the crowds at the futbol matches, the music infiltrates the city like nothing else.

I walked the streets of Palmero and San Telmo today during the Sunday marketplace, listening to the sounds of the city. Just a random sampling of what I heard: an old man playing violin on a streetcorner, a man playing some sort of tin, drum-like instrument, a chorus of violinists and accordian players, a dude puffing away on a digeradoo, and a series of bands playing all sorts of music. As soon as you think you´ve left a song behind, a new one begins.

Just about everything Portenos do includes music. I´m not much for concerts usually, but something about this city gets into your blood. Just in the last two weeks I´ve been to a jazz fusion concert, a rock concert, an open air concert in the park, the Brazilian Bakukada, and La Bomba - the most rockin live drum show I´ve ever seen. I´ll blog more about La Bomba and the Bakukada later, but for now, I´ve added a brief clip of some street musicians I discovered earlier today.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Strange Way to Top a Pizza

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cemetery Cats

Cats dig dead people. Maybe even more than they like us alive. And in Cementerio de la Recoleta they have full run of the place.

The ornate tombs are a veritable who´s who of Argentinan history, where the likes of Eva Peron lay to rest beside the generals, the poets, and the deceased members of the upper crust with enough clout to gain admittence.

Yet within this veritable city of the dead it is the cats who reign. Perched on the steps of the regal monuments, the cats watch everyone that passes with intense scrutiny. It´s as if the spirits of those entombed have taken on the feline shape and guard their places of rest with ferocity.

Walking the many streets of the mini-city sends chills up your spine. The elaborate marble facades, the gloomy sarcophagi, the angels soaring on rooftops, the steep steps leading deep into the dark crypts, the weather-worn sculptures, and the eyes of the cats, alter your senses.

A shadow moves. Was it the sun peaking through the clouds or was it something else? Deep within a crypt the lid of a coffin seems to shift. Wind whistles through the tombs and it sounds like words. You look around and you´re alone, but are you? You feel the eyes of the dead watching, considering, and you shake it off, certain its only your nerves. But then, to your right, on the marble edge of a tomb a cat sits staring at you.

Does the cat know something I don´t? Clearly. And it´s keeping it to itself.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Buenos Aires: Population 15,000,000 & 1

The first thought that went through my mind upon arriving in Buenos Aires besides ´thank God my backpack arrived´ was ´man, this is a lot like being in Europe´. Quaint little tables outside cafes and restaurants. Cobble-stone streets (which, incidentally, translates roughly into spanish as cat-heads. don´t ask me why.). Sculptures and monuments around every corner. Cool architecture. Women wearing big sunglasses. Guys wearing scarves. It´s like a snapshot of the land across the pond except that all the signs are in spanish.

For anyone traveling here, arriving on a Saturday morning is a great idea. Traffic is much less than on weekdays and the last thing you want on your first trip to a foreign city

is to fight morning rush hour. Anyway - its a 45 minute bus ride into the heart of the city. Think arriving in New York or London and you get the idea of the mass of the city.

(btw: the picture to the right is this massive steel flower petal - something like 50 feet high I´m guessing. Cool enough.)

Once settled in my hostel, a slick little place in the San Telmo district, it was dash into the heart of the city. I love cities that emphasize parks and trees, and in this Buenos Aires does not disappoint. One area in particular that was impressive was Palmero, a higher-class neighborhood in the north of B.A. Amongst all the local parks is the Botanical Gardens, where paths meander around fountains and exotic flora from around Argentina. Also, surprisingly, throughout the garden are dozens of beautiful statues, possibly up to a hundred.

As the evening wore on, I found out what Argentina is perhaps most known for: they have no sense of time. It isn´t that they are lazy or anything, they simply are so relaxed that time just sort of passes by. For example, using Argentinian time, if you are to meet people at 8, be prepared for them arriving between 8 and 10. And the best bet is the later time.

This lifestyle is best understood by the nightlife. Dinner happens around 10 or 12. And the gathering starts around 2am and doesn´t really get hopping until 4. And they stay out even later. I´m a nightowl and I´ve been put to shame. But what´s most baffling is that they get up at a normal time to start their day. I´m not talking travelers here, I mean the entire city is out and about at these hours.

If I had to come up with a word to describe Buenos Aires, it´d be impressive.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Call

This first entry is going to be rather short since I'm so busy getting everything ready for the trip. Its as if every one thing that needs be done turns into two. Inevitably you always forget something or a situation arises that you didn't prepare for, but that's just how traveling rolls.

Its been some time since my last entry. I took a hiatus while working on the books over the last months. But it was a fantastically productive time. I managed to write 5 novels in a years time while pulling off several short stories and editing 4 of those books.

But now I find myself in need of an adventure. Perhaps it was the long hours spent staring at LCD screens or the distant drum from a far-off land calling to me, but I had to heed the call. Out there is a fascinating world that has awed, driven, and inspired me. And when the siren to travel sounds, I follow.

Where this trip will take me, I don't know, but I am anxious to find out. Hopefully I can give anyone who reads along with my travels an idea of what's going on.

But for now, I must find sleep for tomorrow begins the journey.


- C