Friday, December 5, 2008

Instant Fun Thanksgiving

Hola! The past 2 weeks have been super fun. Main reason – Mari Katherine came to visit me! We had so much fun. Only bad part was that Buenos Aires was having a little heat wave and was the hottest it has ever been in November (over 100). This made for a hot Thanksgiving and really hot sightseeing but that couldn’t stop us. We’re from Louisiana – heat and humidity, bring it on. But city heat is different. And few places have air conditioning…

I picked MKB up at the airport and we had a lovely cab ride into the city catching up. Then we found our hostel, checked in, and took off to see the sights. We did some Plaza de Mayo, 9 de Julio, Congreso, and came to my residencia. That night we met my Santa Barbs for dinner at my fave resto, Cumana. It was delicious as always. Then we went home to sleep.

Day 2 was a blur of fun. We started with trendy brunch on the terrace of Quimbombo and then checked out Recoleta. We cabbed to La Boca (where MKB saw people she knows. Really? How is this possible? There were 5 guys all in LSU shirts.) Then we went to San Telmo and sat in the plaza and drank many a beer. We made some friends with some adults at the table next to us that we continued to run into the rest of the week. That night we went to a tango show at the famous Café Tortoni, which was super fun. A combo of singing, dancing, and odd jokes in Spanish that no one got.

The next day was Thanksgiving! We went to the mall and had lunch under the Christmas tree. Then we went to my fave café and shared a big piece of the best dessert in BA. We lounged for a while and then went off the best dinner I’ve had in the city. We went to La Cabrera, the “it” restaurant of the moment in Palermo. WE had to wait for a while but no probs – they give you free champagne while you wait. Then we ate maybe the biggest steak in the world that came with like, 20 little sides. It was amazing. A good substitute for turkey and dressing.

The next day we went to Colonia, Uruguay, a little town only 50 minutes away by ferry. The morning was super stressful and miz and confusing but after getting up at 6 am, going to the wrong port, taking a cab that got lost in the ghetto, and finally getting to the right ferry, we were fine. The weather was horrible but it was still fun. We rented a golf cart and drove around all day. We had a hysterical run-in with a man on a doon buggy. We went to lots of different bars and restaurants. When bored in Uruguay, drink beer. Or so we did. We got back and ate delicious Armenian food for dinner.

The next day we shopped in Palermo, went to the Recoleta fair, and ate at my fave pizza and ice cream place. Then MKB was off to the airport. Such a quick trip! It flew by.

I hung out in BA for a day or 2. Brie went home to Cali. Muy triste. The other 2 Santa Barbs took off to travel. I was alone. So I went to see High School Musical 3, which was maybe the best thing ever. It was in English with subtitles. Simply amazing. Then I went to meet the girls in Mar del Plata, a beach city about 5 hours away. It was pretty quiet there. Also a bit chilly still. We walked around, laid out, read, etc. I spent 2 nights there and now I’m back in BA. I got super sunburned. Those overcast days always get me.

I Christmas shopped today, and tomorrow I’m off to Salta in the North to travel for a week or so. I’m super excited. It’s supposed to be a whole other world up there.

Hasta la vista.


No clue why everything is underlined.

Mari Kath's arrival

Jamming out to the HSM3 soundtrack in Mar del Plata while pondering life over the rock cliff ocean lookout thing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Real District

Now I know that “the district” is frequently used to describe the fun that is Washington DC, but I beg to differ. “The district” is by far more suited for the Lake District of Argentina. Not sure if that’s the official name, but that’s what my guidebook calls it, so be it.

Since I’m such a rugged traveler, I decided a semi-cama bus would be fine (and it cost almost a hundred pesos less). All I needed was to get from BA to Bariloche. I could make it without the pillow and blanket and 30 degree extra recline in the seat. Well, I got to Bariloche but it wasn’t a super pleasant trip. A lovely Peruvian man straight from the farm sat next to me and wrapped himself up tortilla style in this dirty blanket that smelled like horses. The movies were lame. The food was bad. But my goal was accomplished and I made it to Bariloche. Plus, the scenery on the trip was unreal. Once we got close to the mountains (oh say, 20 hours into the ride) I forgot all about horse blanket and just stared out the window for the rest of the trip. It was amazing.

I hung out at the bus station waiting for Brie to meet me. Her bus from Mar del Plata was going to arrive about an hour later. However, the time is an hour off in the Patagonia and I was all confused about what time her bus was coming or had it already arrived, etc. So I took a cab to our hostel, 41 Below, checked in, showered, and read until she arrived.

Brie came in after a long day of traveling including a 3 hour layover bus transfer in Neuquen. Then we headed off to find some food and beer. We ended up in this pub that many ads and books claim is the “party place of Bariloche”. Also written about it was “Come early to snag a booth and bring your best pickup lines.” Well, we got the booth but never got to use our pickup lines as we were the only people in the whole place. Oh well. Timing is tough in Argentina. We walked around Bariloche which is another cute and picturesque little mountain village town. Bariloche is famous for it’s chocolate and a chocolate store occupied every corner. We were still craving something sweet and ended up super splurging on a chocolate fondue at this cute little restaurant. They brought bowls of all different fruits and the fondue thing. It was so good. I’d never had fondue anything before. It’s quite fun and delicious.

We awoke the next morning ready to do some adventure trekking. We took off to scale Cerro Otto. Well, we found what we thought was the trail. We hiked it for about an hour, saw some awesome views, took pics, loved it. Then we saw that the top lookout point was waaaay to the east (maybe west, who knows. I had no compass.) So we decided to hike back down and try to go find the other trail. Another way to go up Cerro Otto is in a cable car gondola thing. Of course it was closed the one week we were there. We asked around for where the trail starts and ended up basically scaling this mountain going straight up under the gondola trail. It was impossible. We ran into this dude who let us cut through his back yard. It was serious off road trekking. Suddenly, about ¾ to the top, the “trail” ended. We were kind of silent for a minute or two contemplating what to do. I had already decided in my mind we were definitely going to die and at the very best, I could just maybe end up with a broken leg trying to get down. I could already see the News Star headlines of “Mintz Dies Hiking Off Trail in Argentina”. Brie however is much more cool, calm, and collected. Climbing straight up was hard but trying to go straight down was even harder. I basically crab walked. I scooted. I slid. It was pathetic but we did eventually make it down. I ripped my shorts on a rock while scooting. I was covered in dirt and humility. We went to the first store we could find, bought 2 beers, and sat in someone’s front yard and drank to our success. We survived.

We made it to the hostel, showered Cerro Otto off ourselves, and went to the main plaza to read and chill and just stare out at the lake. We both fell asleep, looking very hipster travel girl-esque. We went to an amazing restaurant for dinner for a well deserved feast. It was a “parilla” which is basically a meat palace. The menu consists of about 10 cuts of meat and 10 sides. We ordered some meat and a salad. It was the best ever. They brought us 3 huge fillets that were fresh off the cow farm. A huge salad. We ate every little bit. It was the best steak. Of course we went to get ice cream after at one of the chocolate stores. A complete meal.

The nest morning we slept in, ate hostel breakfast, talked politics with our Irish roommates, and then went to the plaza to wait for Mauricio.

What a character to introduce.

Brie’s family had an exchange student in high school. His name was Facundo, he went to Truckee High, played basketball, was the prom king, etc. Brie still keeps touch with him and one of the reasons she came to Argentina was to get to meet his family and see where he’s from. Brie set up for Mauricio, Facundo’s dad, to come pick us up and take us to their house for a few days. They live in Villa la Angostura, about an hour from Bariloche. It’s a ski town that is absolutely beautiful.

So we wait for Mauricio, never having met him or knowing at all what he looks like, and then suddenly this huge white tourist van pulls around the plaza and we see this man yelling out the window, “Briiiiiiiiie!!!!”

Mauricio had arrived.

He gets out of the car, all 6’7 inches of him. He wears a formula 1 racing hat, a navy sweater vest, and some hippie jewelry. There was a fanny pack. He basically smothers Brie with a huge hug and we all introduce ourselves. We pile in the van that seats about 15 and go to lunch at a cute restaurant overlooking the lake. We got ice cream. Then went on errands with Mauricio all afternoon. We went to the hardware store, the grocery store, the mechanic, etc. Then he drove us to Traful. The drive was stunning. We saw Ted Turner’s estate. Then we stopped where Mauricio owns this hostel by the lake. There were about 50 13-year-olds there on a retreat. Brie and I fascinated them. They surrounded us and asked us all kinds of questions from “What’s your favorite color?” to “Do you know Britney Spears?’ I eventually asked them what they thought about High School Musical and that got the crowd going. One girl had some little teeny bopper magazine and she brought it out and we went through all the pics of Zac and Vanessa. It was great. Like we crashed the church lock-in and got to see all the drama. Loved it.

Finally we were off to La Angostura. After a rough and bumpy ride, we arrived to the Walter’s house. We were greeted by Liliana, the Mrs., and went to a nice dinner at this great place outside. Finally we got to sleep. Quite a day.

We slept in and woke up to an empty house. Mauricio came home and then took us to lunch. Then it was off to see every pretty lake and view in town. We came back home late afternoon and had mate (tea) with Liliana and her friend. Liliana took us on a drive of this beautiful neighborhood. We went and used the internet at Mauricio’s office. We went home and ate dinner. Another great day.

Day 3 in La Angostura started with a bang. Literally. On the door. We thought Mauricio was taking us to this ski resort but it turns out one of his employees was taking us. Which we didn’t know. So when some dude comes banging on the door of a house we don’t live in, we instinctively hide. Hide. We hid. Then after about 10 minutes of total awkward “I don’t know what to do” action, Mauricio called and said that dude boy came by to get us and we didn’t answer. We faked that we “didn’t hear him and were asleep” and timidly went outside to get in the car.

He took us to Cerro Bayo where the chair lifts were still running (kind of like summer trip to Aspen). It was like we had the whole place to ourselves. We got on the lift to the top and then hiked around, took pics, found some snow, etc. I don’t have the best chair lift history but I played cool. Brie is like a snow bunny machine and is one of those cool kids that doesn’t even pull down the bar. I didn’t dive off. Success! It was so great. Highlight of the trip.

Mauricio or “Dad” as Brie is calling him by this point, picks us up at the bottom and takes us to lunch at this great place by the lake. We ate bomb chicken milanesas and had some beer. Then he sent us off on a boat excursion to the some island forest. The weather takes a turn for the worst as it always does when we get on a boat. We went celebrity status again on the boat with some teenagers from Argentina asking us 100000 questions. We got off the boat and went through the forest of Arrayanes in the rain. By this time we are so over the tour. We had also planned to hike back instead of taking the boat but the weather said no. Finally the tour ends in a tea house. We got hot chocolate and an alfajor. Then it was back to the boat and to the pier where Mauricio picked us up. It was raining and freezing. But when we got home, Liliana had crepes with dulce de leche waiting on us. Then we went to one of their friend’s houses (whose kid had a Barbie with dreads), came back, and had a little party. An asado!

Some friends came over and we ate and ate. Meat meat meat. We told our life stories for the 6000th time. We tried to explain how no one actually takes the Greyhound. It was a lovely, tiring, night. These adults kick it at the dinner table til 2 am. No joke.

The next morning we got up to go on a little family road trip. We drove to Chile (not far) but got rejected at the border bc Mauricio only has a temporary passport bc his got stolen in Brazil. So we drove back, had lunch at the house, and then went into Bariloche.

It was really like we were on a family vaca. But instead of a cooler full of cokes and sandwiches, we had mate and crackers. We went up this other chair lift to a lookout and got coffee. We went to Hotel Llao Llao, the most famous hotel in Argentina, we drove through the Swiss Colony, we went to another ski resort, we stopped and got snacks, and finally made it home. Friends came over for a pasta dinner. Lovely day again.

By this time, it was time to go back to BA. I had to meet MKB at the airport Tuesday morning. The Walters really didn’t want Brie to leave them but we achieved the impossible dream and got off on a bus to BA. Taking with us 10 jars of homemade jam, herbs, and whatever else the Walters could find to send with Brie. They were so hospitable and nice to us. And they fed us every 10 minutes.

The bus home was the usual. We got back to BA, which turned into a sauna while we were gone. I did laundry, fasted, slept, and tried to recover from an interesting, fun, and full week in the Lake District. Enjoy the pics.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oops I did it again

I'm a bad blogger. Mari Kath just left after a week of fab fun. Will elaborate soon. 24 days til Christmas.

Friday, November 21, 2008


So Im off traveling again. Went to Bariloche and now Im in Villa La Angosturea with a family that Brie knows. Its so beautiful here. Lakes and mountains galore. Many good tales to tell. Will post soon.


Thursday, November 13, 2008


Hola readers. How’s it going? Good here! Just sitting in the Coffee Store doing some internet stuff. Tragedy occurred and our fave internet connection “Apart 6” now is locked and we can’t get in. Muy triste. Now using the internet is a little difficult in the residencia. Probably a good thing bc I spend way too much time online.

So Maroon 5 concert in 3 words: frolic, feminine, fans.

We got down to Luna Park (also where Eva met Juan Peron, sidenote of history) got in, climbed up to our cheep seats and sat down. And not much changed for the next hour. I kind of expected the concert to be literally insane. Most of the time here when you have some big event like a soccer game or protest or whatever, the people go nuts. This was more like – oh let’s sit and watch these little pansy boys play some songs.” Which was fine by me. We stood and sang for a but then really just sat and watched. They played for a little over an hour. All the standard hits. I saw them play in high school and it was basically the exact same show – and that was almost 5 years ago. I’ll bet they are quite tired of “This Love.” We had a lot of fun.

I found my mind wandering during the show and thinking of sad things like – ”I wonder how good the health insurance these performers get is? Who employs them? Do celebrities get benefits?” Which kind of tells you where my head is these days. Worried about grownup things. Lame.

Yesterday I once again slept in til about 2, went on a walk, ate lunch at a cute café, got some ice-cream, bought a theater ticket, and went to dinner with the Santa Barbs. Typical day. Lovely.

I’ve turned into an insomniac as well. I stayed up until about 5 am last night. So then of course I slept til 2 – it’s a vicious cycle.

Tonight I’m taking myself on a little date to the theater and to dinner. Then tomorrow who knows?

I’m taking off Sunday to go to Bariloche to meet Brie. I’ll lay over there for a week til MKB comes. I’m going crazy just waiting on her to get here!

Peace out bean sprout.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Roxy, Rosario, Radical

It was a fabulous weekend in Argentina.

Friday, Brie and I walked down to Puerto Madero, sweated, drank a licuado (like a smoothie but better), lounged. Then around 10 pm her friend Marge came over and we had a little preparty. Then we went to Roxy. The coolest place ever.

Brie is from Lake Tahoe and tons of Argentina people go there to work for ski season. One girl she met there, Guille, who I’ve met many times here ahs a best buddy Carolina (cutest little cool girl ever) who is in a band called La Costa or something. They were playing Friday night. The venue was cool, the people were hysterical, the band rocked. We stayed out until about 6 dancing and drinking and having a blast. We contemplated a super pancho (hot dog) on the way back but decided against it. It was awesome.

Band website -

The song “Someone you can count on” is quite a hit. I recommend a listen.

At one point, a boy wearing only jean shorts was jamming out on his guitar while 2 boys had a rap-off in each other’s faces. It was great. And Carolina just hums along pretty melodies. It was great.

Many frisky men were in attendance. Lots of crazy dancing. It was a night to remember. If only we did…

So Brie and I got up magically on Saturday around noon and headed off to Rosario. First we went and got awesome food at Café Los Angelitos. They have this revuelto gramajo thing I love that is basically an Argentina substitute for a breakfast burrito. It’s toast covered in eggs, potatoes, ham, and cheese. I predict Mari Kath will love it.

So we got on a bus, slept, and woke up in the outer barrios of Rosario. We had no idea if there was a real bus station or if we needed to go get off as the bus was continuing to Cordoba, about 14 hours away. Finally we got to a legit bus station and got off. We found a cab and headed to Freedom Hostel.

Oh the hostel. That’s a whole other story. Let’s just say at one point I was walking to the bathroom and felt water on my head. It’s because there was no ceiling for that part. Odd place.

Rosario was great. It’s a small city with great parks and plazas. We also happened to be there during their immigration celebration. There were all of these huge tents representing every country from Slovenia to Russia to Greece. It was very cool. We walked around there for a while. We saw some lovely Mexican dancing.

The highlights of the trip would include a lovely lunch outside at a café overlooking the river and a dinner complete with musical entertainment and about fifty or so dancing middle aged Argentinians. It was hysterical. Brie and I were the only people there under fifty. And then everyone started dancing. It was an interesting dining experience from our little waiter who was in love with Brie, to the hostess who screamed when we came in that she spoke great English and extranjeros (foreigners – and this word I hate. It always has a negative connotation) were welcome.

We had an OMG moment on the bus on the way back involving me yelling "welcome home" not realizing how loud my music was and how loud I was talking. Guess you had to be there...

I lounged Monday basically. I went to California Burrito with Monica and Danielle and ate a huge chicken burrito. I then went to Café Martinez to read and ate a piece of a torta bomba. It was a food day. You know how it is.

Tuesday I lounged again. Went to La Americana for lunch and played online all afternoon trying to get Gossip Girl to download. Now I’m getting ready to go to a Maroon 5 concert. Who knew they were big in BA? I’ll give you a full update later on the concert.

14 days til Mari Kath comes here.
17 days til High School Musical 3 comes out.


Brie y yo at the concert in Roxy.

In da club

Beautiful Rosario

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Holiday season

Hola. How’s it going up north? Below the equator, it’s hot. Like Monroe in the mall parking lot in July.

Since I got back, things have been nice. We celebrated Halloween. We went on the pub crawl that started in a plaza in Palermo. Santa Barbara and I didn’t invest too much into costumes. We were very disappointed in ourselves. We all put on headbands (theirs were bunny ears, mine Minnie mouse) and called it a day. I also wore a cute black dress and tights and heels so I was also dressed as an Ole Miss girl which is a whole other costume indeed.

When we first got to the plaza (early, as always, go American punctuality) we were kind of sketched out because all we saw were these thug looking guys in the plaza. Turns out they were just some dudes on the pub crawl dressed as Mexican gangsters. We thought they were real gangsters. Well done on the costumes hombres.

Then we sat and ate pizza and drank beer for about an hour. Then we crawle don tot the first bar and greeted with a shot that turned out to be beer. Then to another bar and then another and then a disco. We lasted about 6 minutes in the club and then said adios. We jumped in a cab to the residencia. Then Danielle and I went to McDonald's across the street in our “costumes”. I’m sure we looked insane. Our cab ride back was fun though. Our driver put on a CCR cd and we sang along together.

Since then, I don’t even know what I’ve been up to. Sitting in cafes, walking around. I went to the grocery store like 3 times in one day. Oh I went to lay out in a park one day – that was productive. I learned how to use the bus. I went to the gym one time and I even went to a museum. Life is tough here in BA.

I got my hair. That was an experience. It looks fine though.

I went to see a play with Brie the other night. Her friend from home Erik’s roommate was in it. It was called “Jazz Slayers” but it was “Chicago”. It was awesome. It was in English. The dancing and singing were great. I loved it. It was like community theater fun. It was better than the Broadway tour version I saw in Memphis a few years back. And it was a really fun crowd. Plus, the Spanish accent made it comical at times.

We went to a bar to watch the election results. It was very patriotic. We didn’t stay too long as it was slammed and we couldn’t really see or hear so we came back and had our own little residencia party and watched it online with some wine. Everyone here is so thrilled. Like tears thrilled. Gobama Buenos Aires. Ron Paul received almost 10,000 votes in LA.

Today I went to get breakfast with Danielle, her friend in town Monica, and Brie at Café Tortoni. Always a nice time. Then we went shopping on Florida. Now I’m cooling down in the one air conditioned room on our floor. It is hot. At the mall, Christmas decorations are up! Ho ho ho. More like hot hot hot. But I do love Christmas. 48 days!

Brie and I went to get dinner at my fave restaurant Cumana. I got this pumpkin squash meat casserole thing. It’s so good.

Off to try to download the new Office and Greys. Love to the USA.


Merry Christmas!!!

A lovely sunset in San Telmo

Our fave bar, Bellagamba


Me and Norway

Pizza and beer in a plaza