06 febrero 2007

trabajar es casi tan bueno como hacer fiaca

As of this afternoon, approximately 1pm, I have finished what surely can be deemed a complete chapter of this picaresque adventure. I write this presently from Santa Teresita, a small beach resort town south of Buenos Aires by 4 hours, more or less. Ivan left the Hotel Demper early this morning, destined for another three days in BsAs before his return to Michigan to spend and the family. The Hotel Demper has wonderful ceilings. Reminiscent of Queen Anne´s lace, or more turgid perhaps. When I have a place of my own, I shall have to install similar ones in each room.

We were still splashing in the surf at about 5am, at which time the moon was directly overhead. Having alternated between the ocean, the crowds on the main drag here (Calle 3) and the somewhat lackluster (save for the ceiling) Numero 6 at the Demper, I awoke this morning feeling as though I´d spent weeks in this sandy town. Indeed, Ivan claimed himself capable of cramming 5, maybe 6 months of living into a single day oceanside. I no longer doubt it.

As for my part, where last I left off (Dec. 24, 2006), I spent the following days with the family of my Spanish instructor in La Paz, which was rosy. Due to poor planning on my part, as well as a small banking problem, too short a time did I subsequently have for returning to Buenos Aires (by way of Cocha Bamba, Santa Cruz, Yacuiba, etc.). I arrived nonetheless, on time to find the new apartment, have a beer, and meet Andrea at the airport at 7am, Jan. 31.

Somewhat unfortunately, Dre brought a bona fide Estadounidense headcold with her, accompanied by an upper respiratory infection, thus the first few days in BA were mellow. We explored the parks and markets, sipped coffees and mates, and shared dinners with new friends at the apartment in Constitucion. 10 days in BA, and then a few in Iguazú, which was well worth the 16 hour bus ride. We spent two days in the park, and left the third for Rosario, a pleasant and unfamiliar intermediary before Buenos Aires. Rosario, incidently, is a pretty interesting place, and I would gladly return for a time if the option presented itself. The river is the not the ocean, but sharing a choripan on the crowded beaches of the river in the foreground of the enormous industrial river traffic was impressive.

Happily, Andrea extended her trip by about a week, and we were able to spend a couple days at the beach, in yet another resort town on this same coast. Pinamar is bigger than Santa Teresita, and vastly more advanced in its tourist commerce. Andrea could give better details as to the "Pop-Up" retail on the main drag there. For me it was a bit nightmarishly like Vegas. Bombastic, overwrought.

It surprises me how few people are on the Argentine beaches at night. It concerned me at first that the lack might indicate some kind of danger, or possible illegality, but I´ve since been reassured, and walking in the moonlit surf has since become a favored pasttime. Thanks to a few more weeks in Buenos Aires, I have more or less resumed a nocturnal existence.

The latter couple weeks I have spent mostly in preparation and study. Ivan was living in a houseful of interesting, musical, culinarily-expressive people, and I spent a chunk of time talking politics with an Italian from Genoa, whose offer of house and wine I hope to take up this summer. My Spanish continues to improve, and as of today I no longer have any English-speaking acquaintances. It´s back out into the cold for me.

There are a number of organic farms in and around Patagonia and Mendoza which accept volunteer workers in the months of February and March, the harvest season. I´ve contacted them, and at least three happily invited me to come, so the option is there.

Tomorrow, I begin biking. I did little research before we came to St. Teresita, but am pleased now to note that it is the first in a string of beach communities ending with Mar del Plata a couple hundred kilometers down the coast, maybe less. A perfect opportunity to test out my legs and my gear again.

I shall double my efforts at keeping a better log. I am presently reading Dracula (my only remaining book in English), which is styled as a series of journal entries, and appeals to me as such. We shall see if it takes.