January 2006


There comes a time when you are travelling for long periods of time when you sort of feel like you are in limbo.  In that grey area between what you want to be doing and what you are doing.  It is a wierd concept I know but for a variety of reasons I found myself with a week or two to kill. 

  After a long bus ride, always involving either bad or no sleep, one never feels like continually moving.  For this reason, and because I didnt want to enter Brasil to early I killed a few days in Buenos Aires, relaxing, sleeping, reading and generally walking around.  From BA I ventured north to Salta for another few days where I had an awesome time a month or so before.

And there you go.  Not much to report but time in Limbo.  Its funny though; its almost boring, but the time still disappears.  I am realising life is too short. I might have to take up religion so I get another one.  Which religion believes in reincarnation?

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There is a point about 4 hours north east of Montevideo where the rich and self proclaimed famous Argentinian people squeeze thier bather bottoms into a g-string, try to be as pretentious as possible, and pay three times as much for anything as anywhere else.  It is also a point blessed with several immaculate beaches where the sun beats down, the sunscreen is abundant and the bikinis are small.

  It was here, in Punta del Este that Boaz, an Israeli-American that I met in Baires, and me spent 10 days shortly after new years eve.  Though we were shuffled between three different apartments in the 10 nights we were there, we still managed to have a pretty awesome time.  Our first apartment was a 2 minute walk from the beach, had 3 rooms, cable tv, and an awesome kitchen.  Our second apartment was on the 4th level, had an awesome view, a 1 minute walk from the beach and an awesome view.  Our 3rd place had cable tv, which was pretty good considering it rained for the last 3 days we were there.

   The weather truly was amazing for the first 6 or so days we were there.  The first beach I had properly seen since I entered Sud America the days were whiled away walking through the overpriced shopping strip and laying on the beach.  It was a tough life.  We partyed at night and lounged around all day reading and swimming, playing classic catches, and walking the beach and enjoying the ´view.´

  My biggest regret of Punta del Este was that we never went out to the famous beach known as ´bikini beach.´  I can only guess at how it got its name, but it became one of those ¨we´ll do it tomorrow things,¨ and like most things like that, tomorrow never came.

  We did eat particularly well whilst there with access to full kitchen facilities we were eating pastas, burgers, roast dinners and scrambled eggs with lots of fruit and vegetables.  It was basically the only way I could eat, as supermarkets, like everything else there, were thrice the price of anywhere else I have been.  Even Chilé.

  Nights were alive with activity, none more so than the 11teens crowded outside Macdonalds all night, being the only place open where you didnt need ID.  Embarressingly, and due to Bo´s encouragement, we stopped into Macdonalds too many times between the hours of 5.30 and 7.30am.  Our drunken states forgiving our misconceptions about Macdonalds; my stomach not so forgiving the next day.

   It was in Punta del Este that I made my first true Argentinian friends.  Juan and Ezequiel, the two coolest kids from BA, were holidaying in Punta for the time we were there.  Hitting it off instantly the first night we arrived Bo, Juan, Ezequiel and I became a force to be reckoned with over the following week and a half.  Hanging out every night we taught them the infamous ´circle of death´ which became the prequil to many a good night.  Parousing the beach and enjoying the ´view´we found we had similar ´tastes´ and they even took us to the infamous naña to look around. 

   WMWM.  Whatever, your Mamma Works at Macdonalds became the motto of that trip as the four of us used it was to often and always in good spirit.  The time spent in Punta was awesome and the four of us really became good friends.  Whenever I think of either Punta del Este or Buenos Aires from now on I will think of my two new amigos who know well and truley they wil always have a  bed to crash in whenver they are in Melbourne.

  So…. as I love doing… To synopsise.  Punta del Este.  Three times the price and full of Argentinas wealthy.  Beaches lined with hot young ladies in bikinis clinging to fat old important looking men.  Where the heads are turned and no recognition to your existense is given unless you have money (which I clearly didnt wearing my t-shirt with the enormous hole in the back all the time…actually i am wearing it now).  Drunken Macdonalds, cool argentinian friends, lots of partying and lots and lots of sun, sand and cold clear water.  First of the beaches good, bring on Brasil!

Me , Bo and Rob our roomie

Bo, Juan, Me and Ezequiel

I hope these are the right size, if not look harder.

 

Feeling depleated of ALL energy after New Years Eve, the days following were very quiet to say the least. I played soccer a couple of times, saw a movie and spent as much time as I possibly could with Isa.

Everything about her I liked and the time I had with her simply disappeared. I just loved being with her. Even tho I didnt go out and party during those couple of days before I left for Punta del Este they were some of my happiest days in buenos Aires. I said goodbye to her with a heavy heart and a promise which I will honour to see her again in Sao Paulo where she lives. Actually, I cant wait!
A tradgic thing… The guns have dispersed, atleast for me anyways. With the departure of Nathan a week prior, one in which we all certainly mourned and still miss, the guns finally parted ways for me on the 2nd of Jan. We are meeting up again in Brazil and doing Carnaval in style, but god it was hard to say goodbye to those boys who had become my family for the past 7 weeks.

To my fellow guns, be you home in Canada or trekking through Patagonia; good luck to you all until next we reunite. May the strength we gave each other continue and our respective paths be burnt through anything that stands in our way. It was a blast and I cant wait for carnaval.

Needless to say…  Goodbyes are hard at the best of times let alone when its too my best friends and my favourite girl in South America within 24 hours of each other. But, on the 3rd of Jan I departed with, Bo, an American guy for Punta del Este. We were going to soak in the sun, sand and beaches that the holiday resort for rich Argentinians held. Sad to leave, I was happy to be seeing a beach.

I cannot think of a better night of my life where I have ended one year and started another. Everything I have ever wanted from a good night was delivered to me in that one turn of the calanders page.

We started our New Years with dinner at the hostel which I had talked the guys into giving us for free because our Christmas dinner was so crap where a lot of wine was consumed over tasty food and some cintilating conversation. led by myself of course.

We ate and drank and counted down and hugged and kissed and hugged and drank until about 1.30 New Years Day before we embarked on a mission and a half to get to Opera Bay, the club we were going to for the night. We ended up walking the 25 blocks or so as NO taxis were available at all and at 2.30 finally arrived with our friends screaming ¨Where were you? We´ve been waiting for over an hour here!¨because they had our tickets. Opera Bay is a club on the docks in Bairies which is modelled on the Sydney Opera House. Enormous and with about 6 rooms, there was music and partying styles catering to all tastes and sizes. We waited for no time at all, as now I am an expert at pushing into lines, it really is an artform, AND I usually get everyone else in with me. Once inside the night really began.

Instantly seperating from everyone, one can only draw comfort from the amount of friends they know they have at a club and hence I went off to enjoy the club. Within about 20 minutes of being there I bumped into Ralph (who had been dancing about 1 metre from me) and two of the travelling possie of Australian girls from Perth crossed my path. We instantly started chatting and 5 minutes later we had jumped the rope and were partying in the VIP section. I cunningly got wristbands for the four of us so we could come and go as we pleased and we enjoyed the panoramic view of the dancefloor the elevation gave us as other backpackers I knew bitched about how we shouldnt be up there on account of how much it cost them to be there. I am not one to feel guilty in situations like those, but never-the-less, we left (knowing we could come and go) and danced throughout the club enjoying every one of the rooms. That is a lie. Actually there were only 3 rooms I like; Two electronic rooms and a hip-hop room, but I danced in all of them.

Occassionaly meeting up with various others here and there I quickly lost the Perth girls as Ralph went off to dance with some other people or something and again I was on my own. Lots of friends, lots of friends! After settling the nerves of a Canadian girl who told me a guy had just tried to rape her (tho I think he may have just been a little overexcited on the dancefloor) I went and danced on the big verandah which had pumping electronic music and was totally outdoors.

Then she came. Isa; the girl I had been dancing with and so keen to kiss 2 nights prior, appeared through the crowd with a smile and a ´happy new years´ hug. We clicked immediately and danced for a while before ´sitting down´ for some air. I spent the rest of the night with her dancing our way through the various rooms, holding her tight and gazing at her beautiful face. Actually thats not true, tho I thought it many times, I am not cheesey enough to simply gaze; not when Im that wasted and having such a good time.

It is amazing how quickly time slips through your fingers when you are engrossed in such a good time. Before I knew it there was sunlight and photos were being taken and the sky was turning different colours and girls were making out with each other. What a night! That night 4 of the girls I knew made out with each other for ages… I mean ages…. very entertaining. however, as the sun came up the party did not dim. At 5.30 Isa was feeling sick and she left with her cousin and sister. Surrounded by a group of people I actually knew, with the crowd dwindelling we made our way to the only open dancefloor and continued to party.

Donning my $10peso Aviator sunglasses that I had bought specifically for the occasion I hit the dancefloor now emersed in full sunlight where the hardcore partyers were going as strong as ever. dancing around for over an hour my glasses were the toast of the party and did the rounds with everyone in our group. It was not until the legs started to feel a little weak that we went back up to the VIP area (now open to anybody, I had not been back since my first visit; still the wristband made me look cool), and stood up there dancing whilst looking out over the crowd. For over an hour we danced and swapped my sunglasses, hugged and danced whilst partiers below lifted thier arms in salute to us, which we returned and everyone felt the new years spirit. I had the time of my night on that balcony and when the music finally died after an awesome DJ, with my throat almost dead and my shirt soaking wet with sweat, we dawdled out reminiscing on how good the entire night had been.

As people swarmed out from the club we all regrouped out the front before walking (AGAIN) the 25 blocks back home. we stopped at another hostel where we all drank a couple of beers and generally talked the usual nonsense people do in that frame of mind. Arriving home, I was excited about seeing Isa later in the day. I arrived home and finally got into bed at 11am New Years Day thoroughly satisfied with my night and the way i´d capped off 2005 and begun 2006. It had only been 11 hours, but 2006 was looking great!

It is better late than never.

One cannot continue without at least a few words about the year in completion, a time to reflect and contemplate mistakes and successes and learn from them for the year to come. God Im full of crap, but its true.
By the by, 2005 was a very good year for me. My first year out of university there are a number of aspects to the year which I will briefly synopsise.

FAMILY

Though there were periods of the year that were tough to say the least, the little conglomeration of personalities which resides at 149 The Boulevard in Ivanhoe came through in the end. With Penny moving intestate I lost a big part of my life however we maintained contact I even squeezed in a visit to the Goldy. Mums sickness was not easy, but with the help of dad I think the 3 of us really banded together and her continued improvement everyday was something that I think brought us all a little closer together. And of course molly, my favourtie McVey, what can I say. Gorgeous as always, even when she does jump in the drain at Chelsworth Park.

FRIENDS

What can I say, I love my friends. Whilst ties with old friends were only strengthened even further the emergence of some new friends and a new team in soccer has opened up many more social networks that I never had in 2004. Basically 2005 was a great year for me with friends as I made new ones which I will keep forever, and realised just important all my old ones were to me. Of course, I always knew how important they were, Im just being sentimental now!

WORK

70 hour weeks certainly were no fun, but the balance of two jobs can be fun. Specially when one of the jobs is working in a bar. Late nights on weekends and a lot of free alcohol, the only bad thing about work was my job at TNS, and even that had great people for me to bitch to.

FOOTBALL

My beloved bulldogs. So close yet so far… I will never forget the feeling of utter demolition I felt the friday night we lost to the demons by 4 points shattering our chances of making the finals. Never the less, we performed better than I ever could have hoped and the spark they showed throughout the year is a beacon of hope for the future. I loved every weekend with dad as much as I loved anything else and had some of my happiest moments bonding with my father either in jubilation at the games or in debate over players and coaching performances. I will never forget the last quarter performance in round 19 against the Brisbane Lions where we came from behind to win by over 40 points. I am only disappointed I will not be there in 2006 next to dad cheering them on. But there is always 2007.

THE GYM

Even though only for 6 months, it was such a big part of my life for that period. 3-5 times a week usually for over 2 hours. Moz and I slaved at that bad boy toning our muscles and high-fiving everytime of us made a good accomplishment. We were a great team and I look forward to working out with him again real soon. (I know how gay that sounds, I dont care!)

SOUTH AMERICA

Feeling like almost a year in itself the last two months of 2005 were amazing. I travelled through Patagonia and snow capped paradise with one of my best friends and embarked on a travelling adventure by myself thourgh Peru and Bolivia where I discovered social qualities I had not used in years and made myself again some amazing friendships.  what better place is there to end a year than Buenos Aires.
All in all, it has been great. the good definately outweighed the bad and the things I have done I will remember for a lifetime. I am very happy with 2005, and can only hope there is more to come in 2006!

13 million people.  4 million unbelievably sexy women.  $4US for a half a cow with a side of mashed potatoes.  A soccer culture.  The Christmas and New Years season.  Heaven…

   We arrive in BA (see, im cool!) 2 days before christmas just Katie, Carmin, Nathan and myself bright and early at 9.30am.  A taxi ride and I am in my hostel which was to become my home for the next 13 nights.  If anyone has ever said 2 weeks is a long time they have not spent that time in BA over christmas and new years.  2 weeks can be an eternity.

  It is now over 4 weeks since arriving in Baires (i know I am slack) so I am going to have to gloss over a few things that are not really that vivid to me anymore.  Basically, BA is an enormous city with a high density of nocturnal activity catering to the young and exhuberant night owls.  What I am trying to say is I slept most days and partyed long nights.  Also I played a lot of Soccer.

  Christmas was a fun time even if it was completely different to any other christmas I have ever had.  To begin no one decorates anything in Buenos Aires.  There were no christmas trees, no christmas lights on houses or building, no christmassy decoration in any shop windows.  In fact it could have been July in Melbourne if it wasnt for the blistering heat.  At least that part of christmas was normal… Another funny thing is everyone in Argentina has big nights on christmas eve, then they have the traditional day on christmas day with the family.  Quite frankly I have no idea how they do it. I have enough trouble with my family for 10 minutes when I have a hang over, let alone an intense full day…love you mum! 

  Deciding to organise our christmas through our hostal which had planned a big dinner then a club for the night.  We started with the dinner, which was crap, and at about 2am we all, being about 70 of us fromt he hostel, left and went to my first night of intense christmas eve partying.  Unfortunately, I had to apply more deodorant, nay, some deodorant and by the time we got back down stairs everyone had left without us.  3 of us hence caught a taxi from our hostal to the club and a 10 minute taxi ride and an offering to buy some cocaine later and we were at the doors as the others were just arriving.  Ahh, i love not having to walk.  We danced, drank, drank and danced until 8am the following morning before walking back in the sunshine to our respective hostals and calling it a night…or should I say day.  Bottom line, I spent all of christmas day asleep before I arose and managed to force down a little christmas dinner.  Once again, it could have been july for all I knew as it was the most unobtrusive xmas ever, but by no means less fun.

  The days between christmas and new years were spent in the traditional fashion.  We did the sights of Buenos Airies, partyed a lot, and of couse, yep u guessed it, I played a lot of soccer.  I quickly became friends with Sebastian, one of the workers at the hostel and he became my tourist information directory telling me all the good places to go out; information which made me very popular throughout the hostel as we constantly went out in big groups and constantly got home later and later.  I set myself a personal mission, to collect as many phone numbers as I could in the 3 nights after christmas.  Lucky my gringo dance moves are finely tuned and EVERYONE in BA speaks English, cos I managed to get 8 numbers in those 3 nights.  I never called one of them though, dont know why.

    La Boca is an area in Bairies which is basically the poorest neighbourhood.  There is a section set up for tourists and around we walked one day, taking photos, watching tango dancing and eating ice cream.  The buildings are colourful and there is a vibrant street atmosphere where artists gather to sell thier wares and tango dancers perform in the middle of the street.  Walking around, the girls were drenched by the streetkids with water bombs (to which I laughed histerically, possibly innappropriately, which they did not appreciate) tho I dont think they minded as much as they said, due to the 38 degrees which enveloped us.  Worth a look definately, my final conclusion is that Boca was a little too touristy for my liking.  I certainly got the impression that a couple of blocks from the brightly painted tourist area lay a neighbourhood not quite as vibrant.

  More alcohol, more circle of death and more night clubs.

  It was not until just after christmas that I received an email from Brain telling me he was coming to Buenos Airies.  Yes!! was my first thought, another gun in the hood.  Immediately Carmin and I made the reservation under the name ¨Romeo Lovechild¨ and his time in BA was from henceforth cemented.  However, the circumstances were less than as merry as my feelings toward him coming were.  Unfortunately all his stuff had been stolen in Mendoza and he was coming to get a new passport and new stuff.  Although this detracted from the overall feeling, he is not one to let things like that get him down and we rocked this city for our remaining nights.

  Ok, honestly I cant really remember the specifics of what happened in the days between Christmas and New Years.  I certainly played a lot of soccer with Sebastian and the others, but somewhere in that time Isadora, the most beautiful girl in South America, came to Buenos Airies and more importantly to Hostel-Inn Tango City.  Holidaying from Sao Paulo (Brazil) she knew everything about BA and quickly became the person with the ´word up´ of where was cool for a night.  Naturally, wherever she said she was going I wanted to go to.

  Club69.  Sounds great by the name, and on Thursdays it is the best club in BA, BUT… there was one little thing no one told me until AFTER I got in and had already paid the $25peso entrance fee…. It was transvestite night!  Packed like a sardine tin in peak fishing season the club was a sauna and bouncers would not let you out to cool down unless you were prepared to cue up to get back in; which I wasnt.  I had already pushed my way into the line once (something almost everyone from my hostel reminded me of the next day.. cos they had to wait ages…. haha), I wasnt doing it again.  Needless to say I danced that night away with the tranny show on stage and the occasional tranny ¨people-train¨choo chooing its way through the dancefloor and had a great time.  I left about 5am with some friends my t-shirt feeling like I had jumped in a swimming pool with all my clothes on.  BA is not a city to be a sweater, anyone that knows me, its not a good look at 4am.

    Tired and hungover for the entire next day I think we saw a movie that night or went out again… I dont even remember.  Actually I think we only took the 30th off, so we must have gone out again, we needed the 30th to rest as the 31st is obviously New Years Eve.  Big one! Duh!

  I will write another entrance solely about new years eve, but my time in BA from then until the 3rd when I finally left (and then came back 10 days later.. typical!) was pretty quiet.  I spent all my time with Isa and played soccer and went out to see a couple of movies.  But basically winding down from New Years.  What an end to 2005 and a beginning to 2006.