Saturday Money

After another night that bled into the tomorrows, the sun came up (a bit too eagerly for my taste) and forced me out of a friendly stranger’s bed and into the streets of Micro Centro. Along the way home, I noticed an overwhelming amount of cards that featured huge asses and a tiny number to get to those asses glued everywhere.  On every wall, every light post and every dumpster for at least 9 blocks. I stopped to observe two working men who had the task of updating these sex cards plastered on everything. I watched as they scraped off the old cards and tossed them to the heavens, leaving them flying in the grimy city air as they glued on new ones.

Here is their story.

Well he ain’t no Jack, but some radicals call him a lustful sinner. Making an honest living, unlike those boys next door who’ve never even shaken a man’s hand nor looked a mighty woman straight in the eye. He spends his Saturday afternoons scraping the blue hooker cards off every inch of this barrio, has his buddy lather on a fresh layer of virgin glue, and talks about inflation – how the bread costs three times as much as it did last week. They effortlessly paste newer, better, yellow call-girl cards in every nook and cranny of Micro Centro.

For something like 22 pesos an hour, he makes an honest living on these Saturdays. What’s it to us what he involves himself in on Sunday? Or Monday to Friday for that matter.

A darker complexion reveals his humble upbringing in a Latin town full of the paler variety. Fate set his Saturday’s up this way, or maybe it was his father and his numbing 24 hour drinking habits.


The Dark Girl and the One-Eyed Bottle

FullSizeRender (1)She was absolutely mesmerizing to watch at the dinner table.

A girl from the country who knew how to handle a plow in more ways than the average Argentine macho man. The loud scar that stretched from her wrist to her elbow spoke about that, and clumsily disguised itself along her forearm with traces of thin skin revealing her green veins.

She protected her long black hair with a scarf which she wrapped around her head, bringing a buried piece of her great grands’ customs to life in this small and forgetful German infused Argentine town.

After a bottle or two of wine, she shared her opinions on the strugglin’ folk of Santiago de Estero and sex education in general. A bright and courageous mind seeped out from behind her veil with each word. More and more, still, as the red wine took hold of us all.

The bottle carried a single eye on the label situated in between the glassy neck and the heavy bottom full of juicy fermented grapes. An odd body, made fragile and potent. With a glass eye staring at the whole dinner table, hypnotizing the girl with the veil and her audience to give in and open up, as it had done for us.

So we did.

Her permanently swollen lips told us colorful stories that her eyes had seen, that her fair and stubby fingers had touched, and that her battle wounds had conquered.

She prepared a tasty meal, fish and vegetables. Gave advice and listened intently to the new black sheep in the room. Me. She was no longer the rare breed trapped in between two local natives, even though some might consider her more native than most. After all, her great grands were a “mixed cocktail” as she coined it – a runaway African slave and an Arabian man on one side, a Native American and a Spaniard on the other.

Every now and then, we’d share a familiar beat between our eyes, and I no longer felt misunderstood.

The country girl with the scarred arm and the swollen stories brought home to the table.

And for a few moments, I no longer felt homesick.


It Takes A Vintage Spirit

It Takes a Vintage Spirit to Get Across the City

First leg across town.

The D Train, or, Subte D.

The smell of mildew and overworked business men in sweat stained suits hits my face in the semi-crowded subway. Several faces float about over tired city bodies and wait for their stop to come into view:

Aguero Stop

Bulnes Stop

Scalabrini Ortiz Stop

Plaza Italia Stop


Here, I am not seen as a monster so much…

Maybe because no one cares to make contact underground.

Perhaps it’s too hot to care.

Or maybe everyone is sleeping with their eyes open.



The second.

Bus number 118, or, Colectivo 118.


I spy,

Buildings smashed together.

Beautiful slabs of unnatural concrete

That crosses your eyes and turns the fellow bus-goers blue in the face.

Graffiti that seeps into chunks of stoic marble and painted cement,

And textured garbage.

They give us a schoolboyish lesson every few blocks, until our stop comes.

We sit with ourselves and interpret the world through spit smeared window glass on the 118.

I spy,

Monkey Faces

La Presidente Cristina is a Monster


Moguls of Yesteryear

RIP Dates of Honor

Flying Mermaid Men with Diamonds for Eyes

Cats the Size of Penthouse Apartments

Tags Over Murals and Murals Over Tags


Tattooed on buildings.


And then I arrive, a touch wiser than before.

FullSizeRender (5) graffitii graffitii3 graffitii4 IMG_4045

NY Girls Don’t Know Shit in South America

Perhaps she was of the privileged cloth…

Yes, no doubt about that.

About her:


5th year living in South America (Santiago → Buenos Aires).

Originally from Rochester, NY.

30 something years old.

Reluctantly teaches English these days to Argies while simultaneously working on building her inherited, and seemingly uninteresting, Santiago Tourist website. Lawyer turned sour, occasional English teacher.


She interviewed me to write for her adopted project. But something


More about her:

Doesn’t believe in free education simply because she and her parents had to pay for her education.

“I had to pay a LOT for the brain I have today.” -She says after speaking about the all too common and mostly inconvenient Thursday student protests in Santiago, which taught her how to lock herself inside to avoid the pile-up along her street.

“They [Chilean and Argentine students] get lazy” she comments as I use my spidey powers to get her sugar injected coffee to burn her tongue and fill her mouth with pompous cavities.

“They should be in class, not protesting.”


The freight train of swears and curses crash and tumble out of my ears and play in the background, drowning her out, as she continues to disgust me.

But she’s unhappy, or confused. I can smell it.

So I keep a pleasant smile on my face and nod and squeeze my eyes into focus to make her as small as I can. She babbled on luxuriously and hadn’t asked me a thing about my background for the position 35 minutes into the interview.

I wanted to call her a Blind Bird. A Bird-brained Chatty Cathy. An unjust neo-hippie pretender…

Traveling the world in a box.

How unfortunate.

But I didn’t. Instead, I listened to her intolerance as she considered me a possible contributor for her advertised-as-a-paid-writing-gig-but-was-in-fact-a-passion-project project.
At this point, and especially when I discovered she couldn’t pay me with that smart and expensive brain of hers, I tuned out. To avoid a battle royal between two American girls warring with their tongues on South American territory, I simply sipped my perfectly bitter black coffee, closed my ears with my sort of expensive, but more humble brain, imagined my coffee was spiked with whiskey, and got pretend-drunk while she pretended to be human. FullSizeRender (4)


Prelude to Paradise

IMG_1973I left The States and did what any intelligent person would do. I went directly into the jungle. Not the concrete-jungle in Buenos Aires, rather, the actual trees and spiders, and creatures and heat, and nature for miles and miles miles oh-my! jungle in the North of Argentina.

Oberá Misiones, to be exact.

I went in a city girl, and although I’d like to say I came out a warrior, I actually came out a city girl with her tail between her legs. A lot more appreciative of Mother Nature, and thankful to be alive and in close proximity to a taxi.

My extended time there started off as a rocky transition into life with no modernisms – bathing in the river, building fires to cook, strategically sleeping next to cats to attack nightcrawling spiders the size of linebackers’s hand and covered in fluffy brown fur. Good God.

Nevertheless, I found something beautiful. A piece of myself lost and found in the labyrinth of wildlife. I found treasure, in fact.

I tried to capture that gold with a few poems. 


The first:


Wildlife everywhere

And life continues to come

Leaving tiny little honey-filled lessons at the door

The morning brings a pulsating day of mystery

And in these jungles, inspiration sprouts and spreads like a wildfire, and makes beautiful creatures out of us.

There’s a sensation of rain to come.

This deep in, the pause before the rain is overwhelming.

My breath turns deeper because of it.

The moment before the sky opens up and shares a piece of what’s in store is a beautiful belly-filling feeling.

We all want answers now, and not a moment later.

The insides of these jungles teaches us to



And that we already know.


The second:

Morning Breath

Below my feet lay misunderstood riches.

I balance myself on a world of mysteries, feeling all of the answers to our never-ending questions absorb and massage themselves into my feet.

My eyes are open to it, yet I still question the morning dirt of what’s to come.

All the while, the loud green day unfolds itself into me, right into my toes.

I feel welcomed today,

Encouraged to take that melting pot of answers below my now tingling toes and ignite a flame.

My hopes and freedoms enter my lungs and shower every inch of my skin with a smiling sensation.

My fears and confusions are encouraged to leave as I exhale deeply, returning those questions to the earth for another to contemplate.

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The 50th:



The green is the most alarming part,

I am surrounded by green hues and feel a bit naïve at times, others not so much.

The greenness envelops almost everything in sight,

Making us all second guess our very existence.

Looking for answers that lay buried in their roots.

Every now and then a blue or a white will come into view…

When it does, its presence is strong.

More noticeable against its green-screen backdrop – the white butterfly emerges and reminds us to breathe, the blue flower sways in the breeze, reminding us to dance.

And I am reminded of a time a lifetime ago, when I might’ve been a different shade of green amongst the greenery.

Finding Nothingness

I must say, I love these United States of America. And after a quick trip home to show everyone I was alive and sane, my love was fortified tenfold.


However, I’m sad to say that I discovered a few red, white, and terribly blue faces that challenged our beautiful, deadly, and inspiring American Dream. Faces that shown heavy wrinkles, revealing tornados of over consumption and black holes of debt. These observations were usually taken from bar seats around Houston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles – over the bar, where we share our fears of nothingness.


I later realized that staring at us all in the face was the banner of courage in different fabrics. Sometimes, one needs courage just to keep alive, others, courage to for the sake of peacocking their feathers and saying “hey look, I’ve got courage!”


I had the courage to leave my family, friends and US addictions behind to travel the world. To Discover my own American Dream.


Which form of the thing have we all been pursuing? Or are we all cowards?

Finding Nothingness


Seems like we’re all in pursuit of somethingness, and are either lead to discover that on our own will or by circumstances which lead us to it. Some never have either chance to start their discovery, and are therefore stuck in a loneliness that feels like nothingness due to its monotony and self destructive qualities. Those unfortunates stay in their SmallorBig sized homes, drive their OldOrNew modeled cars, cook their FattyPerservativeFilledFoods or HealthyWholeFoodFoods.

They WorkorDontWork in their LuxuriousAndChaotic or SoulKillingFormof Labor and they never try to seek somethingness.


Others will, unfortunately have the gumption to leave their nothingness in pursuit of the somethingness that waits ahead…

These people will never reach their somethingness because they always want more of something… something more, something better. They want to exchange their green something for something blue and with some different features.

Every time these people get to something, they will feel unfulfilled still, and will consequently want more of some different kind of thing.


The rest will know that they have always had something special, listen to it, and begin their AlwaysForwardSometimesBackwards journey to living in the sweet spot of somethingness. And grow exponentially in it.


*Artwork by Argentine Artist, Antonio Berni.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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…


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!



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.


They filled up a darksome pit

With water to the brim;

They heaved in John Barleycorn,

There let him sink or swim.


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.



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…



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.




‘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.


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.