Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mas cojer el burro, por insistidor, no por bonito

A great thing about learning languages are the idiomatic expressions. I especially like this one, as it is true, and says a great deal about Latin culture on the whole. I won't translate it because you never know when your mother will stumble across your blog.

In other news, I ventured out to Parque Rivadavia last Sunday. Linea A is now perhaps my favorite subte line here. It's traversed by classic cars, old style lighting, wooden seats and doors, and at any moment they may just lose that final screw and go flying into the other side. The park is great, it's filled with book and magazine sellers, and most importantly cheap music. The majority runs at 5 mangoes a pop, but you can buy 5 for 20, a solid deal. Depending on the stall, you can buy double disc albums as one, so then you're really getting a bargain. There is an issue with music shopping though, it's like a box of chocolates... Except that chocolate is generally delicious and music can be downright cacophonic.

I'd say I had just under 50% success. Trouble with asking the opinion of a salesman is they want to sell you things. Esta bueno? Si si, como no. Everything in their opinion is platinum, if it means you'll buy it. I purchased some Argentine music on the assumption that I should accustom myself to all aspects of the culture here. Truth is, I am not a fanatico for Rock Nacional. Nor for Charly Garcia, "Be damned!" you might say to me, but everyone has an opinion. It's all rather grating, and has little of the class or soul that I tend to like in my music, or the beat and booty shake I enjoy in my hiphop or electronica. The lyrics are often potent and at times incendiary, but the overall package lives up to my expectations of Industria Argentina. Should you have some solid recommendations, I'd gladly take them. Additionally, beware when buying rebarato cd's, they are often rebarato for a reason, damned "you get what you pay for" law. Comes nowhere close to buying music in Asia, where you can listen to every cd in the store 5 times just for fun, but I like throwing darts from time to time.

My cousin, the asador, had a little fiesta at his house Saturday. I stuffed myself and took a little too much of the good stuff as usual. There are those that claim to have a skinny person dying to get out of their fat body. I have a fat person bound in chains inside this flaco, and he stays quiet as long as I give him 5 to 10 kilos of meat a week. Either that or all those jokes I make about tapeworms aren't so funny, Asia! His wife asked me to bring some plastic plates and "silverware" for the party. As it turns out, this is no small task. Me thinks the Chinese don't particularly believe in these items. After 5 stores, I found one clerk (the first put up her hands and ran away when I said something in spanish, I am going to have to ask for a refund from my teacher ) who cheerily showed me a rack of things hidden on the side of the cold drinks fridge. Not quite sufficient, but I bought what they had anyway so as to not turn up empty handed.

I seem to be getting a reputation in this town for eating too much and falling asleep immediately afterwards. The majority of my friends have come to expect my absence if I tell them I'm going out to eat. Generally I wake up a few hours later with a mountain of meat in my stomach fighting an Iraqi style battle with digestion. It seems my brain is Mr. Bush, and just like him, doesn't think at all. To say my eyes are too big is something of an understatement.

I went out last night and had a very entertaining conversation with one of the many hombres that sell futuristic crap out of their bags. The basic gist of which made me question yet again why I came to Argentina and not to Brasil. Hystericas, todas hystericas!! I said, "but I don't speak Portuguese.." "It's for the better, you get the sympathy booty" (note, all translated, and nicely). Well, I'm in the ballroom, tengo que bailar.

Monday, March 20, 2006

La peor pelicula de todos!!

I went down to Mar Del Plata the other weekend for a little break from the bustle of the big city. I didn't realize I was going for a film festival, but these things happen when you've only spoken a language for a month or two and you spend all your time in the company of non-english speakers. But I was game, having not seen too many films since coming down here, and well, it was an International Film festival.

We arrived (by auto, que bueno) Friday night to my roommate's house ( well the house of his mother ), and ate well. Went over to his cousin's place, and ate some more. The eating seems to be a rather common theme in my life here, have to have something to look forward to. Saturday morning we were awoken bright and early via intercom to eat some more, fantastic medialunes. Better than any I've yet to have in this city, and that's no small amount.

We headed out to purchase our barrage of film entradas ( this is when I found out I would be spending 8 hours a day in movie theatres ). Everything was done by name since no one had any insight as to the content of any given film. My favorite was "Bang Bang Orangutang." Had a little tour of Mar Del, kind of like a shabby version of Atlantic City. I have become accustomed to being underwhelmed by places that Argentines tell me are incredible, Mar Del being one, Villa de Angostura another. Don't get me wrong, the locations are great, but the development, well, another thing entirely. I think they are all trying to convince themselves how great it is to be Argentine since they can't leave after the devaluation (personal theory). That said, I do like Argentina.

So, first movie was "Frontieras," a sad story about a few Africans from different backgrounds all trying to make it to Spain and a better world. As can be expected, it ended on a downnote. "Bang Bang Orangutang," a swedish/danish film, started with all the glitz and oddness one might expect from those spunky Scandinavians. Lots of loud rock, crazy colors, funny accents, and then, in the first five minutes, the main character ran over his 5 year old son, Oscar. It became progressively weirder from then on, but was all in all a solid film. "Le Fleuve," another return to Africa type film was just boring, although brief nudity goes a long way to restoring the merit to any film.

However, excessive nudity can do much to damage one's psyche, as we would find out in the next film, "Batalla en el Cielo." The opening credits were accompanied by loud Mexican nationalist music, which then cut to silence and a somewhat obese unattractive mexican man's face. As the camera pans down, turns out he's naked in a cold grey room. The further down we go, he's receiving fellatio from a young girl, graphic, graphic, graphic. While I don't want to go into details as I had many pesadillas (nightmares) of this film, it got worse. The gordo had a gorda for a wife, roughly 1 metre wide, and they too made graphic graphic love. I'd say 25% left the film, I took a nap.

The next day I made my first asado! Well, with a little help from my roommate, but I made the fire, watched the meat, all those necessary manly tasks. This is a truly segregated country, the girls we were with had no idea what to do with the parilla. They offered to help, but only in the kitchen or in the bringing of the mate to me. Which was acceptable.

After wallowing in my digestive juices, we hit up another movie marathon. Solo Dios Sabe, a very sad beautiful Brazilian story, some campy Spanish flick. Princip y Fin, a documentary on the eldery of rural Brazil, this was a little difficult for me, all in Portuguese with Spanish subtitles, and a whole lot of dialogue. I managed, but left a little tired. Finally, C.R.A.Z.Y., a touching story of a young French Canadian boy and his route out of the closet in his traditional family, replete with an old bedouin man in the deserts of Israel. Easily the best of all, good soundtrack, strong character development, well laid storyline.

Hopped a night bus back to BsAs, just in time to take a shower and head off to my first english class of the morning.

I cannot understand why so many Argentines willingly go into the english teaching profession. Perhaps if you are more professional it is more rewarding, that would explain why my enjoyment level is so low.