Monday, January 31, 2011

ma! i don't think they heard you in URU-guay!

 flashback: el 21 diciembre 2010.  my friend amanda and i took the ferry over from bsas to colonia del sacramento in uruguay. tiny little waterfront town with lovely historic buildings. it is also historic because spain and portugal fought over it for a long-ass time. now it is a popular day trip. the world, how it turns! we rented bikes and rode around the town and down to the beaches.  food is pricey and not at all delicious, but the view is swinging. my new mission is to open a restaurant with waterfront dining where the food does not suck.  the trip to colonia, however, was fantastic. it made us want to spend more time in uruguay!

two shanky weeper

distressingly, i learned this weekend that the actual derogatory/deprecating/loving name for estadounidenses in argentina is not, in fact, gringo.  it is yankee. which we are all familiar with. the twist here is that the "y" sound is pronounced with an "sh," rendering the pronounciation of this word as "shankee." e.g., "oh shit, a big bunch of shankees just walked in" or "why do the shankees not release any decent movies in buenos aires, forcing us to watch 'el turista' and 'pequenos fockers' ad nauseum?" etc etc.

this is distressing for two reasons. 1) the word just phonetically symbolizes something unholy and wretched. 2) its obviates the name of our blog! should we change the name to something involving yankee? blargh! two shanky weeper?

suggestions welcomed. for now, the two gringo circus soldiers on.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

loerkus reviews the long-awaited return of "parks and rec"

i was trying to make a separate page so i could put reviews of pop culture away from the traveling stuff. won't let me! i might just put it in a whole new blog. blargh! anyway: coming soon, my thoughts on "lights out" first 4 eps and latest "the good wife." also, we saw "somewhere" the other day. once i come out of the existential ennui which has pinned me to our couch since watching the film, i will post that too.

after a fervent, feverish 28-episodes-in-3-days experience this fall, i was in full ron swanson withdrawal while awaiting the 20th enero return of my new favorite comedy show.  the only thing keeping me going was the knowledge that at least NBC had the wherewithal not to replace this genius piece of political-cultural satire (cleverly hidden behind amy poehler's daffy pratfalls and guileless big-eyed goodwill) with "outsourced." i am also a huge tina fey fan, and this is the perfect companion piece to "30 rock." i also think both tina and amy are lady comedy badasses. it also now has some of the writing-producing talent that used to drive "the office." ergo, "the office" now sucks it, hard, and "parks and rec" inexplicably features the docu-style interviews that semi-made sense on the BBC progenitor but make zero sense here. nonetheless, the characters are so darn delightful that you want to spend more time with them. so bring on the interviews!

the season 3 kick-off gets 3.5 out of 5 alfajores from loerke. it would be more, but i must leave room for the new cast (now featuring rob lowe and adam scott) to gel. there was a little awkwardness when the full group was together (which i blame on the overly coiffed LA'd-out noggins of the new cast members, which detracts-- as does rashida jones, but i'll take it-- from the otherwise vague cinema verite of the show. no one in indiana has that hair!). i also missed april, who doesn't show up until show's end. that said, i think chris traeger is the best character rob lowe has been anywhere near since sam seaborne.

other than those tiny quibbles, the ep was hilario-- all the characters were great as usual. i know i'm obsessed, but i did think ron's coaching strategy of his community basketball team was standout. it featured the ron swanson pyramid of greatness, which includes such classic elementary education fundamentals as "crying:  acceptable at funerals and the grand canyon" and "property rights." please use the little magnifying glass zoom function to enjoy the marvel that is the pyramid of greatness:

Pyramid of Greatness graphic

Link from the New York Times; graphic property of NBC, not created by me, etc. etc.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

trabajamos con voluntario

as yorio mentioned, we have begun volunteering via L.I.F.E. in some of the villas in BsAs.  basically, it's an after-school program (though it being summer, there is no school at present) where ex-pats go and play games, color, hold the jump rope, make balloon animals etc. etc. the kids were very enthusiastic, esp. about caballitos, which meant piggy back ride.  justin was the most popular caballito, which translates literally as "little horse." he ran about 10 miles over the course of the afternoon. the event on 12th jan was a birthday celebration for all the january birthdays of the kids in laferrere, outside of the city.  we had a great time, practiced our spanish ("chicas! una a la vez!"), and everybody ate cake.

our friend loree lipstein took these sweet photos, she has a great eye:
Loree's laferrere photos

thank you Loree for letting us share these.

**Also shared with the permission of L.I.F.E.  Thank you for letting us participate.**

Monday, January 10, 2011

carrera de caballos y el dia nacional del tango

saturday 9th december we pilgrimaged to san isidro to see la carrera de caballos. it was packed with humans, all of whom were betting intently. we bet on three races and lost them all. we were unfazed, as we both come from strong genetic lineages of horse race aficionados (cf lolo and papa generally; the paper bag and the pendulum). there was a brief and furious downpour that resulted in the sought after "double rainbow," but the masses of people were equally unfazed. the races continued. later in the day we rushed back for the national tango day celebration, which was surprisingly shut down due to inclement weather. inclement weather being temperature below 85 degrees and the memory of raindrops. we hit the narcotango concert instead (similar sounding to the gotan project, but much less homogenous sounding from song to song.) you can hear samples on their website, here:


bicicleta de viaje a tigre

Continuing to post photos from december-- a group of us took a marvelous bike trip up to Tigre, 17 km or so north of BsAs. Tigre has a lovely riverbank to bike along, which we did at sunset.  We trained to a midpoint, then biked up, then trained back.  Our tour guides, Maria y Julian, are highly recommended by me.  Bikes, helmets, water, and a mid-trip maté were included. As was about 5 hours of biking around beauty.  They just started their own company, definitely check it out if you visit here:

boca juniors futbol fotos

On 13th December, we attended the final Boca Juniors futbol match.  Even though the rankings were already determined, the fans were still highly enthusiastic ("we are Boca Juniors, we have to win").  During certain songs, the entire stadium would vibrate with energy.  Interestingly, no alcohol is served in the stadium. Shocking!

L.I.F.E. as we now know it.

i have been remiss with the posting. i haven't posted on permanent beta (though i will soon), and this is my first post here. hello everyone.

cat and i signed up today to volunteer with an organization called L.I.F.E. (which stands for "luchemos para una infancia feliz y con esperanza," or "we strive for a childhood with happiness and hope.") our orientation guide talked protocol and showed us videos, much like dr. pierre chang from LOST, except that his name was ola and he was from tallinn, estonia. cat and i told him we'd been to estonia last summer; he wasn't as excited as we'd have liked him to be, not even when we told him we'd been to the estonian islands saaremaa and hiiumaa, though i thought i saw a faint upturn of his lips when we told him we liked tallinn better than riga.

the orientation lasted over an hour. the topline: sign up, show up, and wear the "L.I.F.E." t-shirt. we will be going into the villas, or slums, of buenos aires, where, according to ola, they smoke a lot of paco (don't do drugs, kids). ola also lit upon something incredibly sobering: the children there, he told us, go to school not because they want to be ballerinas or astronauts, but because school is the one place they can reliably eat one good meal a day. more to come on this front. we're looking forward to working with the kids. our first day in the field with the dharma initiative is wednesday.

in other news, i might see if i can do 10-15 hours of one-on-one tutoring every week, in lieu of spanish classes (cat has already decided to get private lessons). the classes at the schools have a decent structure, and the teachers have been more good than bad, but i'm not getting nearly enough practice speaking, and the two schools i've attended to date seem far more concerned with receiving payments than with making sure the students are learning. we'll see. i might try one more school before i officially jump ship.

also, i've yet to check out the casino at puerto madero, which i'm told has poker, but it is next on my list of things to do. i'm very excited about the potential to play live a few days a week.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

el primero clase de tango

We went to our first tango class last night where we learned the basic step and I attempted to master el ocho. We were immediately informed that the man must lead, the woman must always wait to be shown what to do by the man. Justin was entirely pleased with this information.  Learning tango will be an exercise in surrender for me.  I always want to lead!  (There are emerging tango schools which abandon the heteronormative traditional roles, esp. given strong gay community here in BsAs, but we are just going with it for now).  The space we went was called La Catedral and was a big lofty warehouse with the dancing in the middle.  It was on the casual side and I felt comfortable in my sneakers, though proper shoes clearly will be necessary. The teachers were very patient with us given it was our first class.  We learned about the abrazo, or the embrace, which is the frame created by the dancers' bodies.  This prompted multiple "spaghetti arms" quotes throughout the evening.  Definitely check out this place, they have multiple classes (20 pesos each for 90 min) and milongas nightly.

inaugural post

It has just taken us approx. 14 hours to set up this blog. This does not bode well for frequency of future posts. Expect next post to coincide with wedding of Middleton and Prince of Wales. I plan to wear a special hat for the occasion.  Since we are dreadfully delayed in setting this up, there will be flashback posts to December.  Flashbacks and dream sequences.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

photo teaser

we are going to get photos organized, so in the meantime here we are at a boca juniors game