Sticky Situations

You can only fall into so many unfortunate situations while traveling before you realize you might’ve wasted a good bit of time using your feet to walk instead of your wings to fly. Libations give you freedom, tenacity, a quick tongue, and a brilliantly sloppy two step. But most of all, libations give you wings.

Inspired by some unfortunate events that have happened to friends, acquaintances, friends of acquaintances, and myself, I figure now is as good a time as ever to remember those unfortunate sticky situations that could’ve been avoided with a few pieces of advice. And to finally make use of those glorious boozy wings.

Situation  1

A good friend got hit by a car while biking for booze in the city.  She also only ever says “hello, good night” instead of “hello, good day/afternoon/evening.” Locals may think her rude for saluting them and dismissing them in the same breath.

-Irish

Situation 2

A different friend who, for several nights, politely ignored the cat calls from a couple of beautiful transvestites sitting just two doors down from his flat as he’d stumble home alone. They were simply watching the sunrise and invited him to join. He was afraid. Drunk and afraid.

-Californian

Situation 3

A romantic friend deathly afraid of heights had ironically chosen to live on the 13th floor with a balcony overlooking the beautiful skyline of Palermo, and had considered jumping more than a few times.

-Argentine

Situation 4

A newer friend had knocked over a little old Argentine lady with his bike because she, unfortunately, failed to look both ways before crossing, and might need a new hip now because of it.

-Coloradan

Situation 5

An acquaintance almost got robbed in La Boca but avoided the pack of 8 men waiting just two blocks ahead, thanks to her use of context clues.

-Texan

Situation 6

A social friend missed out on a cold can of beer at a house gathering because all of the beer had been prematurely frozen.

-Texan

After reading a bit of Bukowski and Fitzgerald… and after having beer after beer after beer in a beer bar in Las Cañitas…and after falling into a beautiful rabbit hole of a-night-on-the-town, I found myself chin deep in courage and reflected on those unfortunate situations mentioned above. I looked for some solid advice from some of the greatest authors of all time, and here is what I found.

These words will tell the tale of trial and error. Of faith and reasoning. Of a dream deferred and a mountain top to stand on.

Advice 1

From Dorothy Parker…

“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy.”

Advice 2

From Hemingway…

“An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.”

Advice 3

From Bukowski…

“Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you’re allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It’s like killing yourself, and then you’re reborn. I guess I’ve lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now.”

Advice 4

From Fitzgerald…

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

Advice 5

From Raymond Chandler…

“From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.”

Advice 6

From Edgar Allen Poe…

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”

Full Moon

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

-Christopher McCandless

According to some, people always look better in the sun. According to me,  everything looks a bit more intriguing in little to no light. No sun, just the pulse of the night with the moon guiding us to herds of bodacious deer to feast on. Deer don’t have to pay taxes. They fatten up on their own dime eating all that grass, all day long. And so we honor their hard work at nighttime, with a hunt.

Here’s the scene:

It’s a full moon. And a street vendor mentioned the other day while waiting at the bus stop, that every time there is a full moon, people gather near the planetarium in the city park, and celebrate it.

Already sounding a lot like a Dionysus-and-his-faithful-followers situation, I store that piece of information into my long term memory, catch the bus, and wait for the next full moon. I’d patiently wait for the sun to set day after day, hoping the moon would show its fat belly, round and luminous. And after a few days, it did.

It was a Saturday.

I should say, if our mothers had any idea of the sort of things we get involved in at night here in Buenos Aires, particularly last Saturday night, they would either put us on the next train home, or join us in the debauchery

- depends on the mother.

Along the way to find the full moon, I met a lovely Irish gal who decided to be adventurous enough to join the full moon party search team. You, me, an Irish girl, and a bag full of treats for the journey toward this whispered subculture of moon worshippers in Buenos Aires. Sounds like a made up sort of thing, but we go anyway to see if we can call his bluff.

We arrive prematurely; silly foreigners showing up to a celebration in Argentina before 2am. A deserted wooded area welcomed us at 11:30pm. Just a gaggle of wild geese honking on by the lake, and a few mysterious trees standing tall and phallic-like in the crisp air.

Not a soul in sight. At least we tried. Prepared for this situation, we reach in our bag of treats and pull out a bottle of beer, a bottle of wine, and some french fries. “We’ll make our own full moon party. No problemo.”

Tall tales told by strangers at the bus stop. Should’ve known he was pulling our leg. It was too good to be true. Something that only happens in fictitious novels or silly wanderlust blogs. But it was worth the attempt because to be a part of something so tribal and worldly in a concrete jungle of a city full of Catholics and sort of Catholics like BA is a once in a lifetime experience.

With the pop of the cork, we plopped on a large rock and stared at the obnoxious geese, ranting on about what it used to be like in the city.

A minutes later, a man from Chile and his friend from the north of the port approach and ask if we were there for the full moon party. Relieved that someone actually knows about this secret gathering, we say yes, pass the bottle around, and get to know each other – waiting for other wanderers to show.

These guys were the kind of folks who built houses out of recycled things by the river. They showed us photos.

It was enlightening.

We noticed that the Chilean guy wasn’t taking a sip from our communal bottle of wine… Which put the the Irish gal on edge, and so she offered him some other tasty treat to relax.

Never trust a man who never drinks.

I kept my eye on him. After all we were in the middle of the woods, tucked away from the city buses and trivial urban happenings. I think, that bottle could be used as a weapon. If he decides to make any strange advances, I’ll crack it open across his head. Maybe the guy at the bus stop set us up? Maybe these men are here to collect us and take us to the river where they build those odd looking houses out of bottles and things.

After a long wait, and with eyes wide open, we decide they are harmless and actually quite friendly.

Waiting for the thing to start, as were we.

In the distance we heard a harmonica, so we walk toward the music and join them. Another group of early arrivers sitting in the woods.  Waiting. Waiting. Looking up at the sky. Listening to the harmonica carry on.

And then…

Drums in the distance, coming closer.

Then a fire. And then guitars. A trumpet. Flutes. Street vendors selling empanadas and special brownies. More flutes. More people. Just like that. More drums. Another bonfire. Men with carts full of cold canned Quilmes circling the impromptu collection of moonwalkers.

And so, we grab an empanada, a Quilmes, a few brownies, and stand close to the trumpets, the flutes, the drums. And we dance around the fire.

Liquored up under a full moon.

And in a brief moment of sanity, my dear new Irish friend says, “it’s probably not a good idea to have such a big bonfire in the middle of the woods…” But that was probably the unmentionables talking… The good kind, the natural kind.

We were a mixture of wolves in the night. Channeling our inner Dionysus. Celebrating the little bit of peace and absurdity the full moon brings to this big bustling city in South America.

*Some interesting facts to consider about Dionysus:

  • While other gods had temples, the followers of Dionysus worshipped him in the woods. Here they might go into mad states where they would rip apart and eat raw any animal they came upon. Dionysus is also one of the very few that was able to bring a dead person out of the underworld.

  • Once he had grown to manhood, Dionysus decided to wander far and wide.

  • Dionysus is represented by city religion as the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society and thus symbolizes everything which is chaotic, dangerous and unexpected, everything which escapes human reason and which can only be attributed to the unforeseeable action of the gods

  • He is also called Eleutherios (“the liberator”), whose wine, music and ecstatic dance frees his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subverts the oppressive restraints of the powerful.

One Year Anniversary

Think I’ll just stay here and drink – as Merle Haggard put it. Nothing like a good country song from back home to get you in the mood to keep your distance.

Listen close and you can hear, the singsongy voices that twisted and puzzle-pieced our sacred thoughts into one 3 minute tune, as if they wrote the thing especially for you. For us.

 

This song was the perfect companion for a soft reflection of this past year. Yes, it’s been a year since we put on our fancy armor and ventured to these foreign lands to fight for ourselves, to share our stories, and to tap into the fountain of free flowing libations.

 

One year of peeking into the lives of those who welcomed us into their homes, set an extra place for us at the table, and filled our hearts with a familiar and uncomfortable kind of love.

 

One year of prancing around the latitudes and longitudes of South America, with just enough pesos to get out of town if the sirens went a ringin’, always enough to chase a pint down with a treat of fernet.

 

These past twelve months have put an extra notch on our belts, it has tested our morals and spit us out all pasty pale and disoriented. And through it all, we have survived. At first we were afraid, but if anyone dare asked, we were flying down south to petrify, stupify, and fly back to those ring-a-bell back alleys of that amazing bar. Back home.

 

Still far from home though. And the serendipitous playlist has fattened up like a happy, juicy, free range turkey preparing itself for the November feast, unbeknownst. With each foreign friend and enemy we’ve encountered this year, they’ve given us a piece of themselves, of their souls through their music. As such, the songs play on and we listen on. They all either call us home, or keep us flying onward.

 

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I am reminded now of The California Ramblers 1920’s classic, “Show Me the Way to go Home” which stated:

 

Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I wanna go to bed,

I had a little drink about an hour ago and it’s gone right to my head,

wherever I may roam, on land on sea or foam, you can always hear me singing this song,

show me the way to go home.

 

But the question of home being where the heart is fosters an undying flame in our bosom. Cooking us from the inside out. Giving off a smell of perfume covered bewilderment.

 

And just then, before the flames go flying out of our nips, right when there’s about a third of the song left, the melody shifts and a voice of reason chimes in to the tune of that old schoolgirl rhyme “Oh he’s a jolly good fellow…”

 

I won’t go home in the morning,

I won’t go home in the morning,

I won’t go home in the morning, I don’t know where I live.

Ah ha! Better then, to dream of returning home when the night comes and no one will take us in, in the morning.

 

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And then there’s Pink Floyd’s reflective, mature, and sane 1980’s tune “Paranoid Eyes.”

 

You put on your brave face and slip over the road for a jar.

Fixing your grin as you casually lean on the bar,

Laughing too loud at the rest of the world

With the boys in the crowd

You can hide, hide, hide,

Behind petrified eyes.

 

True enough, this has happened several times while here; except the pie in the sky is right at our fingertips. And we won’t hide our ugly mugs. No, we will demand our mugs to be filled and overfilled, spilling into that of the others next to us. For good luck.

 

Finally, a fairly modern country song that rings true with the title alone, “Beers Ago,” by Toby Keith.

Drinking everything we could get our hands on

Learning ‘bout right by doin’ it wrong

Hopin’ we didn’t get caught

Happy to say we never did…

 

Seems like yesterday, even though

that was fourteen hundred and fifty two beers ago.

 

But let’s be honest, who’s counting…

Happy one year anniversary.

Here’s to one beer more.

We’re still alive and thirsty

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John Barleycorn

Let the search begin.

It’s a new year for us down south, and so a new mission has been placed in our laps. To rescue a poor young lad named John. There’s a bounty on his head. As legend goes, he shows his face every season, offends kings and queens, and so has been mistreated, mishandled, bloodied up and left for dead because of his grassy mouth. We will take on the challenge to bring his truths to light and let the public judge him fairly. For those who are slaves to the barley, this may sound familiar. For those who have no idea what barley is, well, it refers to our dear John. John Barelycorn.

Barely is the key ingredient used to make beer and whiskey. And as legend tells it, it has been personified, given two legs and a soul. His name is John.

Now, there are several versions of this legend, it began as a piece of oral history in Celtic cultures, it then transformed into folklore songs in England and Scotland, it has been revived into poetry, books, and now modern folk musicians live to tell the tale. Don’t dare take this lightly. These words are very relevant for a lush like you and a sponge like me. Overall its worth digging into.

Have a look at the legend below, and then we’ll begin our search to defend his name and his honor.

*Follow my notes between stanzas…

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There was three kings into the east,

Three kings both great and high,

And they hae sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn should die.

Sounds like John did something unforgivable to these high and mighty kings to put them through the trouble of finding him and swearing to ruin him.

 

They took a plough and plough’d him down,

Put clods upon his head,

And they hae sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn was dead.

What a clean way to get the job done, fancy kings…

 

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,

And show’rs began to fall;

John Barleycorn got up again,

And sore surpris’d them all.

 

That a boy! He’s got the cajones (balls) to fight back!

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The sultry suns of Summer came,

And he grew thick and strong;

His head weel arm’d wi’ pointed spears,

That no one should him wrong.

 

We each have our season, and Summer was John’s.

The sober Autumn enter’d mild,

When he grew wan and pale;

His bending joints and drooping head

Show’d he began to fail.

 
Maybe he needs a drink to get him back in the sack. Wonder what his preferred poison is…

 

His colour sicken’d more and more,

He faded into age;

And then his enemies began

To show their deadly rage.

 
They’ve taen a weapon, long and sharp,

And cut him by the knee;

Then tied him fast upon a cart,

Like a rogue for forgerie.

 

Here we go again, he’s an outlaw, like us, and everyone wants him dead!

We’ve got to join the rebels and defend poor John!

 

They laid him down upon his back,

And cudgell’d him full sore;

They hung him up before the storm,

And turned him o’er and o’er.

hmm…

They filled up a darksome pit

With water to the brim;

They heaved in John Barleycorn,

There let him sink or swim.

ok……

They laid him out upon the floor,

To work him farther woe;

And still, as signs of life appear’d,

They toss’d him to and fro.

 

They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,

The marrow of his bones;

But a miller us’d him worst of all,

For he crush’d him between two stones.

Damn.

 

And they hae taen his very heart’s blood,

And drank it round and round;

And still the more and more they drank,

Their joy did more abound.

 

OK so this is some sort of annual sacrificial harvest sort of thing? I see…

 

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John Barleycorn was a hero bold,

Of noble enterprise;

For if you do but taste his blood,

‘Twill make your courage rise.

 

YES! John isn’t in danger! He’s not a fugitive. No! On the contrary, he is a saint of the fields, cultivating himself! And come harvest, we indulge in his rich beers and whiskeys that he offers us sponges and lushes.

 

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‘Twill make a man forget his woe;

‘Twill heighten all his joy;

‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,

Tho’ the tear were in her eye.

 

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,

Each man a glass in hand;

And may his great posterity

Ne’er fail in old Scotland!

Publ. 1782

 

Nor in Argentina, nor in America.

Here’s to John Barelycorn. We will always honor your legend.

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One Year Anniversary!

photo 2 (2)Think I’ll just stay here and drink – as Merle Haggard put it. Nothing like a good country song from back home to get you in the mood to keep your distance.

Listen close and you can hear, the singsongy voices that twisted and puzzle-pieced our sacred thoughts into one 3 minute tune, as if they wrote the thing especially for you. For us.

This song was the perfect companion for a soft reflection of this past year. Yes, it’s been a year since we put on our fancy armor and ventured to these foreign lands to fight for ourselves, to share our stories, and to tap into the fountain of free flowing libations.

One year of peeking into the lives of those who welcomed us into their homes, set an extra place for us at the table, and filled our hearts with a familiar and uncomfortable kind of love.

One year of prancing around the latitudes and longitudes of South America, with just enough pesos to get out of town if the sirens went a ringin’, always enough to chase a pint down with a treat of fernet.

These past twelve months have put an extra notch on our belts, it has tested our morals and spit us out all pasty pale and disoriented. And through it all, we have survived. At first we were afraid, but if anyone dare asked, we were flying down south to petrify, stupify, and fly back to those ring-a-bell back alleys of that amazing bar. Back home.

Still far from home though. And the serendipitous playlist has fattened up like a happy, juicy, free range turkey preparing itself for the November feast, unbeknownst. With each foreign friend and enemy we’ve encountered this year, they’ve given us a piece of themselves, of their souls through their music. As such, the songs play on and we listen on. They all either call us home, or keep us flying onward.

Knowing When to Say When

Never knowing when to say when, ten months and a decade of days in have left us on our asses. Full of wonder, buena onda (good vibes), and good beer. Content as ever, as the colors of autumn nudge us into a peaceful bliss,When 1

and rock us even further into wanderlusting. Where shall we go next? Our eyes have glazed over and a silly smirk has been painted on our ugly mugs. Mayness and Junetime creep in and throw off our senses. E.E. Cummings’s lonely leaf crashes head first into a bed of recycled bottle tops and ink stained paper, waking us up a little from our beastly slumber. We find ourselves waiting on the next nudge to make a move and leave our mark. As the tale goes, someone, somehow, somewhere lurking behind the door’s shadow, double-dog-dared us into throwing a dart at the Malbec blood red stained map on the wall, and commit to it. Just as our luck would have it, the damn thing landed in the middle of Argentina. Right on Córdoba; so we packed the essentials – a 21st century camera, a handmade wooden pipe gifted to us by a nice young man in Junín de los Andes, and an ice-cold book for the road – and headed inland. We journeyed there by car, arriving 12 hours later with a burning desire to knock a few colds ones back, get rid of the sting, take a siesta, and play that on repeat.

Córdoba, province of Buenos Aires and the perfect place to turn women into women and men into men, or so they say. Located at the very center of the country and weighing in at a stout 63,831 square miles, yet and still a light swig of Angostura Bitters compared to that of Texas´ double whiskey pour with a fattened up cut of ice 268,581; yet and still offering the same amount, and possibly a half ton more, of magic. It was an excursion which would prove to be worthwhile. A quick trip to the much talked about heart of Argentina, a strategic venture to conquer ourselves – and subsequently those who recklessly lie in the way. To find our passions, our flaws, or to liberate a dream deferred, and pull the fire alarm such that the quenching might begin.

The views were full of sophisticated mountains, hearty lagoons and snake shaped routes. It hosted a fiery sun which trailed our descent into a closeted part of town. Clusters of little cottages and beer huts gathered round in song, eagerly waiting for our arrival. Good thing because exploring a fertile land like this one left a curious thirst in the belly of ours mouths, and so somewhere along the infamous 100 Curvas (100 curves) through the mountains, down into the valleys, over the clear blue bodies of water, and ‘round the river bend, a beer stop was a toll worth paying.

When 2Never mind us losing our way around curve number 32. We arrived after the 100th curve, and came upon a misplaced village called Villa General Belgrano to pay the tariff. An appropriate charge at that, since it’s this very village that hosts Argentina`s annual beer festival – Oktoberfest. Wait a moment, Oktoberfest in Argentina? Picture it…through one eye you’ve got the mechanically rich cut-and-dry stick-to-itiveness from Munich and through the other, the beautiful terror of time not existing in South America, both making Oktoberfest in Córdoba a real treat. At least that’s what they say, for we half-wittedly ventured there in May. Fortunately? Or a failed shot in the dark? Never the matter, the closer we got to this quaint little village, the more some of the most potent fragrances of barley, wheat, and liquor-kissed souls came flushing out of the mountain tops. Good thing we yet have a few months to train hard and strong for the festival in October.

When 3 When 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the intellectually thirsty, Oktoberfest in Córdoba is regarded as the third-most important Oktoberfest site after Munich and Blumenau in Brazil. Founded in 1930 something, two German settlers marked their territory, either with an inconspicuous zip of the fly to break the seal, or by force. We won’t look into the details of the thing. What we know now, is that thanks to these two German chaps, the middle of Argentina hosts a land with luscious rivers full of libations, mountains with creamy head covered tops, and plunging caves that have the unspeakable waiting for good company in exchange for a piece of good dignity. In fact, settlers from Switzerland, Italy and Austria also settled here later on due to the Alpine quality of the land and blah, blah, blah. But let’s be honest, they wanted to find a place in the middle of what they thought was nowhere, surrounded by beautiful peaks and milk and honey lowlands to keep us outsiders out, and to brew their delicious varieties all the live long day.

When 7Well, they have been found out! 100 times over! We have come to sip on, to be reminded of, and to forget all that daunts us. All that raises our spirits and crushes them with one breath. Imagine being in a land that looked like Switzerland on the outside, houses and decor, pieces of that culture scattered about… but had the spice and punch of Argentina. The experience was sort of like being in WIlly Wonka’s factory, expect the chocolate was hidden in their tap`s – stouts, porters and the like. We came to offer our help as the Oompa Loompas did, dressed up as fancy Texans far from home, stammering about with our eyes wide closed, and our skin a greenish purplish hue.

We’d gone to exploit and replenish the hidden treasures held within the lands of this gem of a village in Córdoba.

We’d arrived in the form of Wonk’s highly qualified, rigorously trained, foreign looking peoples offering our ever flourishing tongue to taste the ever pouring taps.

And we left completely satiated.

And now for a poem about Córdoba and a young horse, by Federico García Lorca.

Song of the Horseman

Córdoba

Away and alone

 

Pitchblack pony, risen moon.

A sack of olives at my saddle.

Though I know the roads I travel

I shall never get to Córdoba.

 

Through the meadow, through the wind,

Pitchblack pony, crimson moon.

I am in the sights of Doom

That watches from the towers of Córdoba.

 

Oh the road lies long before me!

Oh for my courageous pony!

Oh for Doom out waiting for me

Long before I get to Córdoba.

 

Córdoba

Away and alone

 

The Original:

Canción del Jinete

 

Córdoba.

Lejana y sola.

 

Jaca negra, luna grande,

y aceitunas en mi alforja.

Aunque sepa los caminos

yo nunca llegaré a Córdoba.

 

Por el llano, por el viento,

jaca negra, luna roja.

La muerte me está mirando

desde las torres de Córdoba.

 

¡Ay qué camino tan largo!

¡Ay mi jaca valerosa!

¡Ay, que la muerte me espera,

antes de llegar a Córdoba.

 

Córdoba.

Lejana y sola.

When 6 When 5

 

 

 

As Fate Would Have It

san telmo street

As fate would have it, the stars collided and two pieces of heaven sort of fell in the lap of the beast. A book and a game. The book, “On Booze” by the Great F. Scott Fitzgerald, sent to me by an angel in California. The game, The 2014 World Cup.

History is being made, and while everyone has been distracted by the matches happening right next door in Brazil passionately glued to their televisions like phantoms, holding their breaths and chanting prayers like shamans, locked indoors until a long overdue “goooooooooooooooool” is shouted over the airwaves provoking the stampede of those same anxious phantoms to flood into the streets whilst banging pots and pans and flying down the alleyways in a rush to replenish their bottles of fernet and liters of coke until the next goal is made  I took it upon myself to seize the opportunity by reading. Yes reading, and consequently drinking, because the two pair together better than a push-up bra on a drag queen.  There is nothing more inspiring than a game-hungry ghost-town, combined with a luke-warm book by one of the classics and a few dozen chilled glasses with no one to stare at you as the bubbles make you hysterically hiccup like a lamb lost and found. We chose to educate ourselves a little more about life as we read, and drank, and drank,  and cheered Argentina on. The intense energy of The Cup and the twisted black words on the page called for a euphoric experience.

Herds of soccer fanatics joined in a rhythmic pulse, a harmonious crescendo. Soft at first and then  AR…GEN…TINA……….AR…GEN…TINA!!

Fitzgerald chimed in with words of encouragement, just as strong. clear in the beginning and then blurry after a few hours

More.good.booooooze…More.good.booooooze!!

On edge, wandering about the anxious city, we ditch the mad crowd and give way to a deserted back street in the heart of San Telmo. The path least taken. We took it, and happened upon an empty bar where we, by fate once again, discovered a little piece of heaven on earth. The land of Oz. Oatmeal Stouts and Honey Beers pouring out of the ceiling, muting the wildfire call-and-response happening outside, just a few feet away. We walked in to find no one there except the barman, the cook, and a wall full of imaginative, unemployed, mouthy beers. Luck or fate?  Giving them an ear and a dry tongue seemed like the best thing to do, or at least thats what Fitzgerald began to whisper in our pockets. So we select a lonely table for two by the door, employ those talkative beers, and begin our ascent to the land of milk and honey.

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“On Booze” served as the ultimate teaching doctrine in these moments of ascension. You must find a copy and glue it to the backs of your eyelids, if a man is what you aim to be. Fitzgerald painted the picture Messi was at that very instant giving life to as he scored goal after goal after gooooooooooool the best soccer player in the world indeed. Two of the greats teaching us how to master ourselves, how to outwit our opponents and bring those sneaky yellow-bellied dingbats to their knees.

We spent about half a day at “Rosa de los Vientos,” a full afternoon and good part of the evening, drinking at a slow and steady pace, chanting on with the chorus, reading on with the musky soul of Fitzgerald over us.

Finally, after a hearty win thanks to Messi, no voice thanks to Messi, and a new off-balanced walk thanks to the barman, we headed to the bus station to take a 7 hour journey to the next town.

We left that place good and liquored up like any respectable literary soccer fan would have.

Argentina made it to the semi finals, and we in turn make it to another day.

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From “On Booze”

We don’t want visitors, we said:

        They come and sit for hours and hours,

They come when we have gone to bed;

        They are imprisoned here by showers;

They come when they are low and bored –

        Drink from the bottle of your heart.

…Long talker, lonely soul and quack -

Found us alone, swarmed to attack,

Thought silence was attention; rage

An echo of their own home`s war -

Glad we had ceased to “be upstage.”

- But the nice people came no more. 

Without Saying Much

Without saying much, we enter a Russian soiree. Well, it was more like a house party, and there were only two Russians to my knowledge. The first was the host, and the second the host´s body guard named V —-sk—r—d something or other; for our sake they´ll remain unnamed. So we´ll call it a soiree. We are the openers to no surprise. You and I, a couple of Canadians, another American, a friendly gal from Ecuador, an Englishman, and the two Russians. The night begins at a slow pace of about a liter and a half of beer per guest. We weren´t the only eager ones apparently, but our eagerness failed to fill the space enough to call it a gathering, much less a soiree. So we clump ourselves about the loft and make polite with everyone. Again, not saying much, I immediately make eye contact with the bigger Eastern European, who wears a nice enough smile and seems to hold a magical glasshalffull of vodka on ice in his hands. With my eyes, I inquire if he could lend his talents to us if things get messy, because I have a feeling that this night won´t be conquered without a push. And I´ve seen enough pictures to know how persuasive a Russian full of vodka and complicated words can be.

I´ve got my game face on, not knowing where the night will take us. And then that damn Canadian DJ makes his move. He seems to know how to encourage the unreasonably mixed Quilmes, red wine, and that which is not yet legal in Texas so we will make no mention of it, to move our feet. Those Canadians can be persuasive as well. And so we dominate the dance floor. Good news is, hardly anyone has arrived, so we are content with making an arse of ourselves alone, without judgment. Not the first time we´ve penetrated what was once a clean, useless wooden floor and turned it into hot lava from our liquored up movements we too often call dancing. That was our counter move, to show the Canadian our God given right to two-step however and whenever we damn well pleased, audience or no audience.

Just then, a flow of people enter the loft, and here begins the infectious foolery.

There is an oily mixture of people from all corners of the world, hiding in different corners of this huge space. A clan of Swedes wearing mostly black take over the balcony; a few more Northern Americans come and congregate about the makeshift bar like zombies at a high school reunion; loads of stone-faced Latin Americans integrate themselves into the clusters.

I immediately realize that with this carousel of small talk, and mixed idioms with broken English, that body language is key. As the flood of people continues to ascend from the narrow marble staircase into the Russian’s loft, a thickness fills the air, and all at once we all wear a face of intrigue and bewilderment. Why has the Russian invited us? And why on earth would he need a body guard? Eyes are roaming about and glasses are either full of cheap vodka, decent whiskey, or loads of cold beer. Someone whispers into their glass, “why wouldn´t he just bring Vodka from Russia?” Maybe they are saving it for a select few. I wonder. Another person asks the smaller Russian what he does for a living to be able to come to Argentina on a whim and throw a soiree full of strangers in this magnificent loft. “I´m in Internet Advertising,” he responds and gives no detail as to what the heck that means. Too many questions are being made. I keep my mouth shut, perhaps to avoid hearing a response that the concoction I recently swallowed wouldn´t be able to push down. Small talk buzzes around and around the room, making my head spin. Some offended, others annoyed, most too drunk to care. A fine rendition of the Russian roulette. And so as to not offend anyone, we pull the trigger. We dance. Too much talking and not enough dancing is how wars are made. And we didn´t come this far to start a war, at least not without a cold bottle of Wild Turkey 101, which has yet to be discovered down south. What a loss.

And so more time passes, vision blurs, messes are made and men are turned to mice. Not to give away too much – for the ending turned out to be a bit embarrassing –we sneak out the back door and make a zig-zagged path home before the sun rises so that our footprints and recent atrocities could fade away with the sunrise.

There were no casualties on this night. Talks of a second round are stirring. We can chance our luck and have at it again, or we can discover the next adventure to be conquered.

What do you say faithful squire?image (14)

On the hunt for better beer.

image (2) I´ve become rather comfortable here in Argentina. The locals have welcomed me into their homes and have shown me the many faces of this beautiful land. I can say with confidence that this has become my second home; nevertheless there are a few things that make me homesick. For example, the sadsad fact that my beastly romantic relationship with Tex Mex is now nonexistent; that there is no such thing as Kentucky Bourbon in bars, clubs, nor in the markets; the desperation I feel when I can´t find a place to have breakfast for dinner; the emptiness I experience when I realize micheladas and bloody mary bars have become a distant dream; the lack of karaoke joints and therefor no opportunity to scream 90s tunes to an encouraging tipsy audience;  and… well the list goes on. image (7)

It seems to me that beer is our only hope to wash away this sickness, this desperation, and to feel more at home. So begins the hunt for better beer. Not to say Quilmes and Brahma don´t do the trick. I can find these brands ev.er.y.where, and I´ve grown completely tired of them to be frank. They hydrate but they fail to quench. Even Stella Artois and Heineken have unfortunately become house hold and restaurant staples. I feel incomplete.  WHERE IS THE GOOD BEER? How can I make one beer turn into 7 or 10, and all of different delicious varieties?  Is there better beer in Argentina?

I found myself at the end of my rope, until I met a stranger who led me to the light.

image (8)

Along came a Stranger.

American:  Excuse me, do you know where I might find beer?

Stranger: aoimsdf

American: No, not that beer. Better beer. I say, do you know where I might find better beer?

Stranger:  jdfnksjdnfionv

American: Ok so turn right at this light and then keep straight?

Stranger: sdnfaifio

American: Fantastic. Thanks for the help.

Stranger: sjifoaijfsnkjas?

American: Sure, you can join us. That would be nice. We never turn down a drinking buddy. Do we? Especially one who knows how to get to the pot of gold.

They walk.

Stranger: gfmnsdm kvs

American: Oh, nothing really. By better beer I simply mean, beer. It’s just that we´ve been here for a few months now, and have run out of holes in the ground to burry your Quilmes and Brahma.

Stranger: sdknadciodifijasdoasicasio

American: Oh sure, sure! They are definitely good beers, for sure, without a doubt. I didn´t mean to offend your taste. However, we are looking for something that doesn´t taste like….water going down.

Stranger: asdhifaiochaiosdfioahioahsinkdhasiodhasdnaiosdnaoisdaklwehniahsdfoaisnaklsndaish…

American: Water was a bit exaggerated. You´re right. I´m sorry, I apologize. What I meant was, spiked water?

Stranger: ….

American: Better?

Stranger: ksjd

American: I tell you what, if you show me where this place is, you´re first one is on me.

Stranger: ngfid asj

They arrive.

American: Heaven above. It´s an artisanal beer bar! And they have their own brewery by the coast! We´ve struck GOLD.

2 hours later

image (12)American:  oooooooohhh nsdoij nasdfiasdfnio dsndnnfd ooooooooooooo sdkjnfosoooooo  sdfnnooinsdfnionklpe sdfouuuueuufuuud sdjknnueeee ufffff asdlkijo uffeee asdfljj uuuufff

Stranger: That, my strange friend, is how you drink a beer.

American: diodenfie

Stranger: Shall we go for another? Or do you prefer the spiked water?

They close the bar, and decide to become friends.

The night progressed as such… with several Barley Wines, to get rid of the water residue. photo 2

37 Degrees Celcius Below the Equator

imageA belly full of coldhotair and nothing more.
A mind crowded with empty lusts and dried out libations from the night before.
The winter winds from back home miss their opportunity to reach the lost ones below the equator.
They’ve just missed us.
And so we sweat in silence and misleading solitude in this summer nonsense, waiting for a piece of yesterday’s home to find its way here and settle on our parched coffee flavored tongues. The taste of freedom. I sort of remember the feeling from a middaydream in Pearland.

Now half a world away, there’s no electrical power in site, no running water to inspire us, no cool breeze to forget about the skeletons. This is South America in the summertime it seems and the people are turning. Some for the coast and others stubbornly root themselves in this cloud of intense heat.

An orgy of men mixed with women and men too hot to speak and too proud to shed their heavy layers of clothing pass by in sweltering silence.  And so we stare straight away, gnawing on our espresso stained parched tongues. Unvoiced, unheard and thirsty for a cold one.
image-1
Have you looked up lately?
We are perfectly enveloped by misplaced beautifully schizophrenic concrete constructed buildings. An unplanned mixture of architecture from an ancient age of kings, and the queens of the 80′s. Evita there. The Artist Formally Known as Prince there.
I search WebMD to make sure I haven’t turned completely sour. Turns out, there’s no telling until its too late.

Now its the hot darkness of a latin summer that tickles our minds, now full of locked up courage and important things to say,  but no ear to make it out.
Yet there’s a numbing comfort that unapologetically squeals in my head, just behind the place where no one can make it out except you now.

We find ourselves in a lost kingdom of ruins. Hot, hot even still. And it’s only January.

The best part of it all, of all the absurdity, is the journey towards the beer. Back to freedom.

And so I leave a trail of thick sweat stains planted in the concrete jungle of Buenos Aires to encourage the thirsty misplaced youths towards the great and powerful boOZe.

Towards our freedom.

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