Category Archives: travel

My Travels

States I’ve been to (i.e. meaningfully stayed there, not just driven through or been in the airport of):

Countries I’ve been to:

I’ve barely scraped the surface of traveling. The cool site that made these maps informed me that I’ve been to 2.66% of the world’s countries. Hoping to pass 5% in the next five years.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under travel

Going Back To My Roots

T-minus 2 days until Albuquerque. How weird. I’m watching a lot of my friends (who’ve been here a semester) get upset and anxious about going back to the States. They’re trying to squeeze every last second out of Buenos Aires.

I don’t feel like that. Although I’m pretty sure I would have if my stay had ended after one semester too. But after living here for a year and really, truly integrating into culture (to the point where I’ve completely accepted cultural norms like lateness, poor customer service, and naps from 6-8 PM), I’m not trying to rush around and “see more” of Buenos Aires.

Touristy stuff has ceased being interesting. The same thing happens to NYU students that move to New York. Times Square becomes an awful cesspool of idiot, slow-walking tourists and when your friends come from nearby universities and want to go see it, you resent them a little bit. Similarly, I no longer want to go to an upscale parrilla or the Boca.

My favorite parrilla is on a quiet street in a residential neighborhood by my gym. I get stared at when I eat there because there are no other gringos in sight.

As my friend Lily (also here for her 2nd semester) pointed out last night, Argentina stopped being a crazy, foreign travel experience this semester. It became our home. We know locals, cook our own Argentine food, pay rent for apartments, and drink mate. That may be part of the reason we 2nd semesterers never really connected with the bulk of this semester’s students. We were no longer experiencing the foreignness that they were; consequently, the things they often wanted to do (go out to bars and clubs all the time) didn’t jibe with our idea of fun. (That said, I met some great friends here and had a very good time with those people.)

And now we go back to the States, having entirely shifted our perspective on what constitutes a “normal” life. I’m excited to come back and I feel prepared to leave Argentina, but readjusting to life in the US is going to be difficult. Yea, some things will be great right off the bat – supermarkets with all the things you need to make any meal, a wide assortment of ethnic food, delicious breakfasts – but other things are going to be a huge system shock. I don’t know that I can say what those are yet. But I know they’re coming.

I’ve spent half as much time in Buenos Aires as I have in New York City. That’s insane. Can I really call myself a New Yorker? I certainly wouldn’t call myself a porteño. But, in many ways, I live like one. I’ve internalized it. Now I’m about to spend the summer in Washington, DC, a place that feels far more foreign than anywhere in Argentina.

Yet time lurches forward. But not before a big asado this afternoon. Time slows way down for asados. And that’s what scares me about the States: time never slows down.

4 Comments

Filed under travel

Punta Alta

I just took my last trip in Argentina. It feels weird to write that after spending what feels like years here. I’ve been to Córdoba, Mendoza, Iguazu, Bariloche, San Juan, El Chalten, El Calafate, Punta Alta, and Bahía Blanca. And, of course, I’ve spent months here in Buenos Aires.

This weekend was the 200th anniversary of Argentine independence, so the country had a huge bicentennial celebration. My roommate and I spent our 4 days (Monday & Tuesday were both holidays) about 9 hours south of BsAs in a little town called Punta Alta, about 30 minutes from the much larger city of Bahía Blanca.

Two Argentine friends of ours took us around their town and the surrounding countryside. But, really, the trip wasn’t about sightseeing; it was about food.

The picture above is of the best asado that I’ve had to date, and I’ve had some good ones. We had chorizo, morcilla, chinchulines, matambre a la pizza, and costillas (sausage, blood sausage, intestines, flank steak with tomato sauce and cheese, and ribs). Absolutely rocked my world. And it was all cooked on a custom indoor parrilla built by my friend’s grandfather, who moved to Argentina from Italy only 50 years ago. It was, as my friend Eli said, “una obra de arte” (a work of art).

And that was only one meal. I had amazing fondue, pizza, more steak, empanadas, locro (a traditional pork stew with beans), an incredible coconut torte with dulce de leche. This could go on and on.

I think these may have been the best 4 days of eating that I’ve done and a badly needed vacation. Now, back to the grind and back to the gym…

1 Comment

Filed under BA, travel

Los Girasoles (And Why Guidebooks Suck)

After Acapulco, I bussed over to Mexico City (henceforth DF, which stands for Distrito Federal, the real name). DF is a wild, amazing place that deserves far more than the three days I spent there. I´d love to live in the city for a few months.

Anyway, I decided to take a look in my handy Fodor´s guidebook for recommendations on restaurants near my (excellent) hostel (that wasn´t in my guidebook).

I went to a place called Los Girasoles (sunflowers) that supposedly served good nueva comida mexicana. Well, the decor was nice and the staff was friendly, but the food was really not impressive (I had chiles rellenos). And it cost me a fortune – over $25 for a small appetizer, main dish, and 2 drinks at lunchtime.

The following day, I went to  an awesome artisan market and walked past a small staircase with a sign pointing up to a restaurant called…Los Girasoles. I went up. Inside was a small room with attached open kitchen, it looked like a house. An older woman was alone in the kitchen and asked me if I wanted to eat. The menu was set: cream of broccoli soup, rice with ham, chicken tacos, and horchata. For 35 pesos. That´s less than $3.

The food was riquissimo (delicious). And it cost less than my dinky appetizer at my guidebook´s recommended restaurant.

Here´s the thing: guidebooks are good for telling you about things to do, but they are TERRIBLE at recommending food and lodging. Why aren´t there any companies that have cheap, delicious food options listed? Not all travelers are rich, American tourists.

Anyway, I just arrived in San Cristóbal in the lovely region of Chiapas in south Mexico. I´m staying with a lovely family here (thanks Lisa!) and will be sightseeing throughout the area and perhaps even joining the family on a trip to their ranch near the Guatemalan border to help them pick coffee beans.

1 Comment

Filed under travel

Acapulco

Well, this was my first serious beach vacation. Ever. Yes, my family hates me and wanted to deprive me of the ocean as a child.

But, anyway, I just spent 5 days on the beach in Pie de la Cuesta, about 50 km north of Acapulco, playing Ultimate and kicking back, sipping pina coladas. Let me tell you, that´s good times.

I met tons of great people from all over the place and really couldn´t have had a better time. I hope I can make it back to the tourney.

Short blogging now because I´m in Mexico City now trying not to waste my 3 days here. More to come.

1 Comment

Filed under travel

The Next Few Weeks

As this is a travel blog and I’ve been home in Albuquerque, NM, I haven’t updated in quite a while. But that will soon change, as I am about to embark on a three-week trip to Mexico.

I will be traveling to Acapulco for an Ultimate tournament, then going to Oaxaca, the Chiapas region, and possibly the Yucatan peninsula. I will spend a couple days in Mexico City before I swing back by Albuquerque to pick up my things to head back to Bs As.

I also just got a new camera and will be posting lots of photos. 18X zoom. Hyped.

1 Comment

Filed under travel

Jumping Out Of Planes

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’m starting with the end of my Spring Break by sharing this video. This was my first time skydiving and I hope (sorry Mom) not my last!

There’s really no way to explain what it’s like to skydive. You don’t get the ‘stomach in the throat’ feeling because of the air pressure from below you. It’s very windy. It’s absolutely exhilarating. You just watch the Earth rising up to meet you. Incredible.I’ll have a lot more about the folks I went skydiving with and my time in San Juan (even more epic than the skydiving itself!).

Enjoy the video. It was taken via helmet cam. The pink chute is a stabilizer – you’ll see the main chute pop too.

2 Comments

Filed under travel