A Travellerspoint blog

Clown Town

As you might have guessed from my rant about Raquel, my living situation wasn´t the greatest. I truly got lucky to have Victor take me in on good faith because under normal circumstances renting an apt is freaking hard and expensive in Rosario. At the same time I was living with two older men, two dogs, and a crazy lady. After a month in the devil´s lair I started looking for a way out. By the end of month 2, it looked like I had portentially found that way.

My Portuguese teacher was going back to Brazil for teh holidays and was going to be vacating her room in a house. I had been to the hosue before and it was where I had my first lesson. THe room was interesting to say the least.....it had no windows, a very old and VERY discolored mattress and a door connecting it to another room. The person who lived behind this door didn´t have a door to get to the rest of the house, so they had to come through this room or a different one.....not exactly the best design for a house. Mi, my teacher, didn´t even sleep in the room. She slept in a tent on the terrace.

Taking over her room sounded too good to be true because I would be living with people my age, and I´d get a chance to really dive into Argentine culture. See what they see(soccer), eat what they eat(steak), drink what they drink(mate), laugh, cry, the whole nine yards. The cherry on top........no dogs!!!!!!!!

Of course me moving in for me was easier said than done. The application process required me to meet the other three inhabitants to see if I would be a good match. Oh, and there was one, small, tiny, serendipitous detail that threw a jazzy twist into the mix; they were clowns.

All this time I thought Clown College was a joke. Straight up Joe Pesci style from Goodfellas, am I a clown, here to ammuse you shi.......but no, it is real, and it is no laughing matter. The interview process was five fold. They had prepared a series of tests for me to complete. In order for me to get Mi´s room, I needed to pass three out of the five categories.

Test 1: Juggling- The core of clownism
The foundation of everything just and holy. Three balls slightly larger than baseballs had to be juggled for three consecutive minutes while singing your favorite clown jingle. I chose the doot doot dooodoooodooodooo, doot doot dooodoodoooodoo one. You know, the one Homer sings to himself when he thinks about the ballet. He says how he loves the ballet and imagines a bear in a leatard driving a car in a circus with the doot doot music in his head. Regardless, I was permitted two drops, and since I hadn´t juggled in years, they were kind enough to not reset the clock after each drop. Although I was rusty, and used up all of my drops, juggling really is like riding a bike and I passed. If only it were like riding a unicycle......

Test 2: Unicyle- A clowns transportation
A San Franciscan to their Prius. A Cowboy to his horse. A criminal to their skateboard. A clown to his unicyle. My task was to ride 4 meters down the hallway unassited. Failed. I couldn´t even balance on it, let alone take two pedals without falling. My pride definitely took a knock. Who knows, maybe I wasn´t meant to be a clown. Maybe it was all the beer they fed me.....Maybe it was my natural lack of balance. Maybe I didn´t try hard enough. Maybe I didn´t have the courage needed to accomplish such a simple task. I mean, I´ve been to many a duck basketball game where I´ve seen little kids. I mean kids so young they can probably barely speak, or use the bathroom by themselves, but one thing is certain, they can ride a unicycle for 4 freaking meters!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Test 3: Balloon Animals- A clowns pet
I was given a mixture of ballons and needed to make three different animals. Now, these guys had no idea that my grandparents are in the balloon business, and that I spent summers working in their balloon store. During those long summer days, slaving away in the shop, I picked up a thing or two about balloon handling. My animals were very thought out, the characters well developed and perfectly executed. I made an earthworm, a snake, and a legless salamander. I thought it was creative, unique and that the most important part of the task was to use your immagination. Apparently not. I was told that in the old school clown communities people have been tickled to the point of self defacation for similar assumptions. Like I said before, this was no laughing matter. Failed.

Test 4: Mimery- A clowns companion
By this time I was getting a bit sweaty. My juggling skills were top notch, but after bombing the next two tests, I was stuck inbetween a rock and a tight spot. I felt like the first clown that got into the car and then ten or twenty more piled in to perform the hilarious stunt of 11 or 21 clowns coming out of a normal looking car. My task was to do two minutes of my best mimes. Advantage Scott because I had recently watched BASEketball and there was a part when Coop gets the psych out as a mime. My routine was simple. I did the trapped in a box, the pretend to post up and chill on a wall, but you are actually leaning on nothing, the two fists over the eys that immitate crying, rowing a canoe, the robot with dangling arm, I yelled at someone across the room but did not make a sound and my grand finale was getting stuck in the box, again. My immitations were poor at best, but where I lacked in skill, I made up in determination. I WASN´T going back to Victor and Raquel´s joint. Passed.

Test 5: Mind bullets- A clowns power to move you
The last test, not one of brute force or power.....which would have easily been surpassed, but a test of wits. The modern day clown is a thinking mans clown. You can´t rely anymore on the old slip on a banana peel. Those days are long gone. Sensless acts of self destruction are dead and nowadays you need to be three or four steps ahead of the audience. You MUST rely on all of your five senses, sometimes your sixth or seventh. Clown law states that a good clown doesn´t really know why he does anything. Which brings us to my last challenge; a test of wits. I watched with anticipation as my three potential roomates filled three pie tins full of whipped cream. Apparently if I truly wanted to be a part of the house, I had to stand still while one by one they went up and slammed a pie in my face. 3 pies for the three L´s: laughter, love, and life.

My tryout was almost complete. I´d experienced earth shattering highs and back breaking lows. Even though I was pumped and thinking positive, you can´t let your emotions get the best of you. Not when you´re dealing with clowns, cause they are so unpredictable. I had a little convo with Pablo, the top clown and master of my fate....

´People are going to laugh at you. People are going to think you´re funny. Can you handle this? Are you ready to be a clown? It isn´t too late to give up. You won´t be the first and you certainly won´t be the last.....´

`I told you I´m not going back there. You don´t know what happens in the dark. I´ve been to hell and back. I know I have what it takes. I believe in myself.....´

`That´s all I needed to hear.´ And then one by one I got lit up by whipped cream pies from each of my prospective roomates. One put powdered sugar in it too, the lice hate it, and yes, it was delicious.

The tests had finally come to an end. I was still standing, fairly contious, and had all of my clothes on. So, in many ways, I was victorious......even if I wasn´t offered the room.

And you want to know a funny thing about that fateful night? It didn´t happen anyway close to how I just described it. This is just a tribute, to how a real clown interview should have gone.

They did however ask me if I wanted to eat a stuffed monkey and then made a whole bunch of weird communal noises and started stomping their feet and yelling and told me that if I was to move in I would need to bring a stuffed animal. What can I say? They are clowns. That was no joke. All that is left to do is hope that I will be living with the people who juggle and do other random tricks for cars at red lights......

Posted by escot 10:01 Archived in Argentina Tagged boating Comments (0)

Raquel

From Three´s company to a foursome.....definitely not cool

It is time for me to delve into my living situation. I know that I mentioned that I was living with two older men, Victor and Cesar, and that only every blue moon would Victor´s wife come and stay a couple of days. Well, this time the ¨staying for a couple of days¨ has been ¨living for two weeks¨ and I am starting to lose my mind. And the worst thing about it is I think she is starting to like me. Not like like me, well, who knows, she is crazy. So I think I mentioned before that she sleeps in a closet full of junk. There is her cot, Victor´s hunting crap, dog food, and two smelly dogs....sara´s sister is crazy too, freaking barks at me all the time and stares at me with bad intentions. I do not like the dog.

In our time together, I´ve had some interesting run-ins with Raquel....Run in numero uno: One day I was brushing my teeth, getting ready for another riveting day in Rosario, and I was standing outside the b room, brushing away, when the two dogs just start barking at me for no reason. Obviously it all was started by Sara´s bitch of a sister, and Raquel was in the kitchen. As she comes out to yell at the dogs, she turns and sees me standing there and throws her arm to her chest and yells, ¨Oh my God! You Scared ME! You are like a ghost¨ I immediately appologize and tell her that I was just brushing my teeth....aka calm the fuzz down...Run in numero dos: I was in the kitchen washing dishes and talking with Victor. Raquel enters and walks directly behind me and asks me to move over while she grabs a plate from the dish rack immediately to my right. As soon as she grabs the plate she turns and looks at me and does the same thing all over again. She grabs her chest, makes a backwards fainting motion, and says ¨YOU SCARED ME!! Where did you come from??? You are like a Ghost!¨But the worst thing was her eyes....they were twisted. She had this soul piercing stare that almost broke me. It was like she was mad at me, like I was intentionally trying to hurt her. I appologized again for her not seeing me, and I asked her how it was possible if she asked me to move to get a plate that she didn´t see me. She said that she aske Victor to move. I have no idea. All I know is that she is crazy, and Victor was no help in the matter. He was just laughing his ass off in the background saying ¨OOOHHHHHHH ESCOT......yeah yeah, she was talking to me, she didn´t see you, but it´s alright now ahahahahah etc etc etc¨Whatever, it isn´t cool being called a ghost, have devlish eyes pierce your soul and have a dog barking at you all the time.

Victor is a good guy, he really hooked me up. The spot is chill enough, but I´m hoping to get into a differnt place. I can see where Raquel gets off calling him crazy, but in a kind gesture both Victor and Raquel asked me if it was a problem if she stayed with us. Who knows what would have happened if I had said yes it was, but I definitely shrivelled into a tiny ball out of cowardice and said no problemo me gustar mucho. But what was I supposed to do? Say yes, Victor, even though this is your house and your wife, and you hooked me up by taking me in, I hate her dog and she makes me feel uncomfortable and I want her gone???? No wey Juan Jose.....not gonna happen. Shortly thereafer I made the mistake of telling her that she was in her house, that I wanted her to feel comfortable, and here I thought she would say thank you, I´m glad that you want me to feel comfortable....but no, instead she told me that she wasn´t in her house, that she had an outdated marriage, that she has her own place, and only stays for a couple of days at a time because she can´t stand Victor for much longer than that and the closet gives her the freedom to come and go as she pleases. She told me that Victor Hugo is an amazing man, he has a heart of gold, but he is a crazy bastard that can be a real asshole when he wants to. Apparently he gets pretty jealous and possessive and flips on the macho switch real quicklike when they go out in public. He bosses her around, which she doesn´t like, and all he wants to do is watch action movies and channel surf and she doesn´t like that. I guess he doesn´t let her handle the remote, and i´ve come to figure out that men controlling the remote and channel surfing spans many cultures.

To give you guys an idea of Raquel, she is fifty-two, between 5`8¨ and 5`9¨, gotta be bordering on 200 lbs, large feet, muscular calves that make me seriously freaking jealous(i´ve got the most chickenest legs it´s ridiculous), a healthy belly, round face, a pointy nose with a downward twist, and a mat of black hair that is haphazardly thrown into a bun at all times. She looks like she has just gotten up from a nap at all times of the day, even after she showers. It is quite remarkable. She plays dishevled to a T, and only wears athletic shorts, sweats, black t-shirts, and flip flops. The woman is built like a linebacker and has a voice that penetrates to the bone. Oh, and did I mention that she is crazy. Not like crazy ha ha wow you so crazy, but more like a couple of screws loose/bi-polar crazy.

So long story short you could say our relationship was on the rocks, I wasn´t too down for much interaction, and yes, the dog still barked at me. I was finally told by Victor and Raquel to hit the dog if it barks and they showed me the newspaper covered in tape that I should use to give her a few light slams when she misbehaves. So far so good...for the last couple of days the barks have been at an all time low, which makes me a happy camper.

My favorite Victor and Raquel times are when they start to argue with eachother in the early morning before Victor goes to work. Her voice hurts my ears and haunts my soul. She also yells at the dogs non-stop. ¨FUERA, A LA CUCHA!!! NO!!, EH!!! BASTA!!!!¨ Over and over and over again she yells it to the dogs in a high pitched, fervor. All the yells are NO, Stop, Go to your bed. For the love of everything holy, I GOTTA get out of this place, if it´s the last thing I ever do!

Things just keep getting more awesome by more awesome. A while back I was confronted by her because she needed to appologize to me. She ate a cookie I had and wanted to let me know that she was going to replenish my supply. I told her that it was no big deal, and it wasn´t, and that she shouldn´t worry about it. That being said, a spark was lit to share a lunch together. Call it a dream come true. ¨ Yeah, sure, that sounds nice......(thinking god no, this is terrible!) What should we make?¨I begrudgingly questioned...¨Well, today is Thursday, and that´s pasta day¨....it worked out pretty well because I had an open bag of ravioli that I needed to finish. Raquel said she would go to the store to get some meat for the sauce, and that she´d be back in a jiff. I started the prep work, cutting veggies and what not, and Raquel gets back with what appears to be the spinal cord of some unfortunate animal. Lots of bone and fat surrounding traces of meat. I´m looking at this thing like, please don´t mix this with the pasta, and without hesitation she throws it all into the sauce, and says that it will cook with the sauce.....I certainly hope so! Things are going ok, we´re talking she´s serving me orange drink and I´m starting to think she´s not that crazy, she´s nice, and then she laughed. Straight up Young Frankensteined me aka scared the hell out of me. Lucky for me we weren´t going to be dining just the two of us, Mix Masta himself came back to Rosario from his travels because he missed his big bro so much and he just happened to come by the spot as the pasta was finishing up.

I know what you must be thinking, how could Mike come up if no one is allowed to visit. Well, Victor was gone for the day hunting and Raquel said she didn´t mind if Mickey joined us. She was at her finest during lunch, and I´m glad someone else got a glimpse into a day in the life of San Lorenzo 756 Piso 2. We would be talking about whatever, something not that funny, but she would bust out her crazy laugh, ¨Heeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhh, ehhhhh, ehhhhh, eh¨and she was talking about how she rode a motorcycle past a bus and gave them the finger, all while making motorcycle noises and lifting her shirt up to just below her boob. Not sure why she did that. It was really weird. I guess props to her, she successfully Young Frankensteined us again and almost had Miguel clawing for the door. Then, out of nowhere, Raquel lets us know that Mike is hotter than me. No warning to I want to change the conversation to sexy time, nope, she just comes out and says it. This time I was willing to relinquish the title of sexiest brother because it wasn´t me who she wanted the kiss from. Mike managed to weasle his way out of it and she settled for a love note. She was exstatic, and while she was stuck in the tractor beams of soliloquy from Michaels poetic justice, we got the hell outta dodge. PS. the note went like this.......Thank you for lunch. It was nice meeting you. You have a nice house. Mike Read. All in ENGLISH mind you.

Would it ever stop??? The next night I got home roughly around 10 with some groceries, ready to cook some grub and low and behold Victor and R-quesy are sitting at the table sharing a pizza. I couldn´t believe it. They generously offered me a slice and I sat down and joined them. Then came the drink. Victor was mixing box wine with orange drink....and then pineapple drink when the orange drink ran out. I´m not a soda man particularly, Coke down here is bomb, but THIS soda was not good. It actually tasted like cardboard. But I couldn´t refuse anything, and like Raquel says, when Victor invites you to something, you take it. So I kept eating pizza, which was bomb, and kept drinking the cardboard soda. I didn´t think to not drink the soda, so he couldn´t refill the glass until i was three mugs deep. Victor and Raquon were sharing the wine connection and getting toasty. More convos, more laughter, more me getting young frankensteined.....

As I´m eating, Raquel pulls out Mike´s note and wanted to know what it said. I say, well, If you let me take a look at it, I´ll translate it for you. She immediately withdrew the paper and clutched it to her breast. `No, it´s MINE!!!´ `Yes, I know, I don´t want it, I´ll just tell you what it says.´ Nope.....not having it. Then Victor asks to see the note and she unwillingly complies. As he´s looking at it he says, `Shit! It´s in English! Scott, what does this say?´ He hands me the letter and I translate the three sentences. Why couldn´t that have happened in the first place......no one will ever know. But you guys should have seen the smile on her once she figured out what Mike had written......CREEPY!!!!!!!!!

Later on during dinner she was sitting and laughing about something, probably about how she chopped up and ate the last person who was living in my room, when all of a sudden her dog jumps up and bites at a fly that was on her back. Her face freezes and her mouth drops. Eyes as cold as ice and staring into space. `That SCARED me´ And here´s Victor laughing it up next to her saying, `You´re ok, she was going for a fly that was on your back. You´re ok, she didn´t bite you.´ `I know she didn´t, but she scared me, why would she do that?´ Victor´s response... `You´re fine, nothing happened, look Escot, crazy owner for a crazy dog, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA......Raquel stands up with fire in her eyes.....

`DON`T CALL ME CRAZY you ASSHOLE!!!!´

`You´re CRAZY!!´ Victor says without hesitation.

`I said DON`T call me crazy you jerk.´

The back and forth went on for a moment and then out of nowhere Raquel bursts into laughter.......AHHHHHHHHHHHH HEEEEEEEEEE, EHHHHHHHHH, EEHHHHHHH. And they both thought the other was a riot. I was wishing I WAS a ghost.

Dinner ended up with Raquel telling me she felt like my mother and wanted me to give her my mom´s address so she could write a letter, letting her know that her son is being taken care. So now Victor has told me that I am like his son, and Raquel has told me she feels like my mom, now all I need is for their real son to tell me he thinks of me as the brother he never had and my journey to hell will be complete!

They are nice people, sort of, and not intentionally crazy or malitious. But they are crazy and the vibes in the apt are twisted. I spend a lot of time not there, and if I do wander into the dragon´s lair, it is straight to my room to avoid any more family time.

Posted by escot 23:05 Archived in Argentina Tagged events Comments (0)

Las Colectividades

Every November Rosario has a huge festival called las colectividades. It is a gathering of maybe 30 different clubs that represent countries throughout the world. For example, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Cuba etc all had tents with information about the country, and traditional food and drink. At some tents they were selling artesanal gifts too, and almost every country played typical music and had dances. The best tent, hands down, blew everyone out of the water......BRAZIL......SAMBA! It was an all out party every day of the week. I never tried the food, it looked bomb though, lots of BBQ, but I did however manage to sample the local drink. The flava flav was the caiparinha, simple and delicious. Sugar, lime, ice and cachaza or something like that, which is a cane sugar alcohol. Very sweet and packs and uppercut you never saw coming. There was a big stage that had groups of people dancing for hours. Pure samba. All night long. And then there´s the special trick the ladies do, where you put an empty bottle, can, cup, (pretty much whatever you want) and the women step up to it and start getting freaky over the bottle. Those hips DO NOT lie. Right then and there I knew that I HAD to go to this country of pure joy and happiness and sexy moves. Ridiculously(sp?) awesome is an understatement. All this fun came from one little tent stand and a stage full of half naked women dancing all night long. I can´t even begin to imagine an entire country filled of the sort. This festival went on for ten days and was right next to my house. The weekend was way more cracking than weekdays and I managed to make an appearance four or five times.

While kicking it at the Brazilian tent one night, lady killer in the flesh, aka ´ol blue eyes Jeff Klatt was at it again. Just being all nice and talkative and funny, you know, all of those disgustingly anoying personality traits.....anyways, who knows how but he starts macking it up with a dancing queen, and yes, she most def pulled out some tricks over the empty caiparinha cup. It was unclear whether her mom was there, aunt, or just an older friend, but she took the cup out of my hand and put it on the ground and pretty much forced the girl to do the sexy dance in front of us. Another older woman we met was Jorgina, a native of Rio but had been living in Rosario for over ten years. She was genuinely the nicest woman ever and it was very obvious that she was having a great time. We were all hanging out in a circle dancing, drinking, and singing. She had a partner in crime, Beatriz, who was also just as nice, and just as tossed. They also really loved Jeff, and even though we ALL introduced ourselves, they just called us Jeff the whole night. A buddy from Buenos Aires was in town for the weekend and he got a funny video.....hope the link works!

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11518623&ref=name#/video/video.php?v=576332233536&subj=11518623

If you can´t watch it, you´ll have to be my friend on facebook, and let me be the first to say, it´s a pretty selective club. For my friends there is a small application process....I´ll need a written letter requesting a ¨friendship¨, correspondance through electonic mail will suffice, and if you pass phase one, the only thing that stands in your way is a brief phone interview and we´ll be set.

Back to las colectividades.....we ended up seeing the dynamic duo a couple nights later, and they invited us to a Brazilian party celebrating teh end of the school year for the university students before everyone bounced back to Brazil for the holidays and vacation. Oops, they did it again those dang Brazilians. They managed to throw a sweet despedida or going away party. Ian, Mike, Jeff, and I all rolled together, but as mentioned earlier, we could have all been named Jeff for all they cared. I was feeling under the weather....I´d gone to the b room six times, SIX TIMES, before everyone showed up to my spot at 1pm. The culprit, a hamburger from a semi-shady joint. Let´s just say I haven´t gone back since. Terrible timing too because I´d been looking forward to this day for the last week, and I didn´t want to samba so hard that I caiparinhad all over myself and make a mess... if you hear me. Before heading down here to Rosario I always had the idea to go to Brazil and learn Portuguese. This being said, I was super pumped to potentially find a brazilian hook-up or better yet, hook up with a Brazilian!!! We came into the spot to find a large room with tables set up and people sitting around hanging out. They found a spot for us to sit and as we were getting situated Jorgina came up and greeted us. ¨Oh Hellooooooooo Jeff!¨ she said with an alarming ammount of enery for my weary, bathroom scarred body. ¨No, I`m Scott¨.....JEEEEFFFFFFFFFFF....¨No, I´m Mike¨, then, save the day, the real Jeff swoops in and gets the smile from ear to ear from Georgy YYEEEFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!! The j is really more of a y sound.

We sat down for lunch, which was bomb. Rice with bbq meat and beans with some kind of garnishing that I didn´t know, onions, and lettuce. I was a little apprehensive but the food stayed down and was phenomenal. Almost immediately after people ate, tables magically were wisked away, the drums and instruments were brought out, and the dancing began. A group of maybe 3 guys had drums, there was one string instrument, and a shiza ton of singing traditional songs accompanied by rabid samba. I am always so amazed by people who dance well. I can´t understand how their bodies move so fluidly and mine so does not. Apparently the bottle trick was universal and before I could even think to myself, man, it would be sweet if someone put a bottle down so girls would dance over it, someone put a cup down, and we had what must have been the brazilian version of two girls one cup.

The 4hrs we spent all but solidified my desire to go to Brazil. It became more WHEN I go, not IF I go. I mean, there were maybe 100 people there, maybe less maybe more, but the raw energy and happiness was unreal. It was like a real life Mastercard priceless commercial, just like the kids walking up the steps of a baseball stadium and getting to see their first major league game......a moment like that. I can´t even begin to imagine an entire country full of it. I got a Fala Brasil book to help me learn a little Portuguese, but I´ve been a bad student....new year´s resolution is to study for one hour a day......everyday......well, let´s say five days a week........for sure 4, no questions asked.....so far I have definitely NOT walked the line, and I just tell myself that I need to be immersed in the culture to really learn......QUE BOLUDO YO!!!

Rosario has treated me super well. It was great being down here with Mike, and I´ve met a lot of cool people. But I got the itch, and no, it isn´t yellow fever, I got vaccinated BIATCHES!!!!!! Get ready Salvador, Scotty´s heading your way for a little event called Carnaval..........to be continued.......

Posted by escot 19:59 Archived in Argentina Tagged women Comments (0)

ASADO

Their Satanic Majesties Request

After soccer comes the asado aka bbq here in Argentina. It may be a distant second, but nevertheless a pillar of the culture. The meat here is exquisite. There really is no comparison to give. Who would of thought that local, grass fed animals turn out butterly delicious! Especially when you put the little ones in a cage and feed them until they can barely walk, so that meat stays nice and tender. My favorite spot to have an asado is club Mitre which is down by the river. You pay 5 pesos to use the facilities, and you have a TON of grills, bathrooms, sinks, tables, a beer and ice vendor, pretty much anything you could ever want in life. There are two parts to the complex, an outside sick as f*** part and an inside pretty sweet still part. First come first serve, so get there early. I was usually in charge of reserving the area...and yes, I held it down.

With Mike and the Oregon crew we had five asados, all BOMB as fuzz, but after trials and tribulations we figured out that the outside is way better. My inaugural asado was great. It was 10:30 pm on a friday night and I was caught napping, charging the batts for the night to come. I get a phone call from Jeff saying ¨Scott, I am at an asado down by the river. I looked around and thought, wait, why isn´t Scott here. So I`m calling you to get down here.¨ What a guy. I told him I was almost ready....just had to put my shoes on, and with two shakes of a lamb´s tail I was off.

As I made my way to the group my nostrils were inundated by the sweet sweet smell of flesh on grill action. It was like I died and went to an all meat products go to heaven. There were a ridiculous ammount of people and an even more ridiculous ammount of mean that was being flame kissed to perfection. Now all the merryment wasn´t just being had by our group oh no, the party went deep into the haunted swamp where stray cats play with empty beer bottles and howl at the yellow moon. I`d say there was anywhere btwn 150-200 people, celebrating anything from the sky being blue, to another year of life. Drinks and eats as far as the eye can see. By far the best thing to do in Rosario is come down to club Mitre here in Rosario. Everyone is in a great mood, impossible not to meet a ton of peeps, music, cards, games, makeout sessions, owl fights, anything is fair game. It`s one big party and everyone`s invited!!!!!

Asado numero uno was organized by a guy in Mike`s group and I`d guess roughly thirty gringos showed up. An awesome time, but you know me, I get stimulation overload, too many things going on at once, very hard for me to focus....Asado dos was a different story. Mike, Jeff, Dane, Ricky Rico, Brian and myself were the only ones in attendance. We made a reservation, but managed to misunderstand the reservation process and got there too late and had to settle for a table that was inside. We then bounced to the store to get the fixins.....ribs, chorizo, steaks, salt, chimichuri, quilmes, and old smuggler. One part meat, one part salt, and one cup of beer are the ingredients for delightfulness.

After the shopping spree we got back to Club Mitre and went to find our table....apparently it had our name on it. By this time it was pushing 9ish and SHI was getting packed. Of course my name was nowhere to be found, and all of the tables were either filled or reserved with OTHER peoples names. We were walking in circles with bags of food in hand and the lost puppydog faces in full effect. I was ordered by our posse to right this wrong, and find someone in charge to help us the fuzz out. I came back with the cavalry and he got us all situated, pulling a table from who knows where, chairs and all. The next step was finding space on one of the grills, because again, it is first come first grill. A simple question....¨Can we grill here?¨ This grills taken, next one, taken, taken, taken, can´t sit here, and then like an angel of death, a sweaty, hairy, potbellied, shirtless beast of a man with skull and demon tatooes, swirling with fiery mayhem says, ¨You can grill here if you want¨ And it was like old times again, we were like peas and carrots this death metal savior and I. He had a gigantic mug of frosty brew, sweat dripping down his face, and pierciengs everywhere...and i mean EVERYWHERE!

The charcoal situation is a little different down here...not that tame, weak ass Kingsford that`s used in the suberbs. I`m talking about snap, crackle and pop hot ashes in your face man charcoal like what we got down here. An old argentine asado saying is ¨if you aren`t getting burned, you are using the wrong charcoal¨. The marketing scheme is ridiculous, ¨second degree burns, or your money back¨ That`s cooking with fire....and so were we. Every time the coals errupted, Slayer would squint his eyes, rais his right fist into the air with his index and pinky fingers flying high, wolfpack style, stick his tongue down to his chin, and headbang and hiss at the fire.....probably offering his soul to the fire gods and loving every second of it.

By this time my shirt is off too, chest hair singed, and sweat making the ever so gentle run from head to toe. Unfortunately we have a very minimal ammount of coals, and no newspaper or wood to get things going and the lost puppydog faces came back with a vengence. Definitely out of our element. If this had been Salem, Mass 1692 we would have been burned at the cross for witchcraftery because only the truly damned would dare to venture into a setting so fiery and savage armed with insufficient commodities holding on to the hope that their love for BBQ and Beer could tame the beast of an argentine asado.

Lucky for us the fire eating slam dancer was more than hospitable, down right friendly, and took us under his wing of demonic pleasures. It was now his goal to master not one, but two asados. When I told him that I would be happy to help he stared me dead in the eye, venturing into my inner-most being, and said ¨No, this is my calling.¨ So I let him be....besides, who am I to argue with a large man, holding an iron prod, making their satanic majesties request to the fire. He was handling the meat for a group of 25, so in all honesty, what was a kilo of ribs, some chorizo and steak gonna do to this guy? That´s right, it is exactly what Hirosan had in the box........NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The food turned out fantastic, the gringos had been saved once again, we got our smugg on, and would live to see another hot asado day and another steamy asado night.

Weeks later, we got the asado itch again. Call it a fever. I went down to reserve a spot, and this time I felt like I knew a thing or two about hot to have an asado. I got lucky and found a spot, just so happened to be 5 ladies mobbing on a grip of tables right next to mine, and they kept telling other people that they were going to be a party of 40! Of course my immagination was running wild.....As I was holding down the fort, I sent my minions to get the preparations. The usual bounty was coveted. By the time night had fallen we were rosy cheeked and getting our grill on, chatting it up with some dudes next to us. The couldn´t have been older than 20, but turned out to be super chill. Once their food was ready they went back to their spot but told us to Price is Right that SHI and come on down after we ate.

A little while later, after we ate, Mike and I ventured into the heart of darkness....and it was this decision to join the 20 somethings from the grill next to us that turned into one of the most hilarious things that has ever happened to me. As we walk up to their table we are greeted with drunken shouts and yells. I jump into their drinking game of ¨Have you ever¨ and go around the circle for a bit. For those of you who aren´t familiar with the game, you go around in a circle with each person saying a ¨have you ever¨. For example.....have you ever cheated on a test.....and then those who have done that have to drink. simple. So we are playing the game for a bit, and as the game starts to fade to gray, one of the guys says, ¨hey, do you want to make out with a blonde chick? I just did and it was awesome.¨ Let´s just say that I was reluctant to say the least. I knew something wasn´t right. I could feel it in my sixth, or maybe even my seventh sense. But before I could say no, the guy gets up from our group and walks to a table of older women. And when I say older women I`m not talking about 30´s or 40´s....i mean, it is rude to ask people their age when you´re unsure...but we´ve all seen the Golden Girls, right? But anyways, Chucko goes over to the table and starts chanting KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS...this snowballs from table to table and person to person and soon there is an entire section of picnic tables yelling KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS. My face is petrified. I can´t move. It is like one of those nightmares where you are being chased by a guy with a flamethrower through a forest and you are running in super slow mo, and the only way to escape is to wake up. Sucks for me cause this was no nightmare, I was already awake, scared me sober after checking out the blond bombshell. I did nothing, and it seemed as if my hesitance just might actually have been for the better beause a middle aged man stands up from one of the tables and says, ¨I´ll show you how to kiss a woman¨, walks over to Blanche and lays one
smack dab on the lips. CHEERS!!! HIP HIP HOORAY FOR THIS GUY!!! I think to myself what a lucky SOB, me, not the guy because I DIDN´t have to kiss her, but not a moment later the guy turns to me and says, NOW YOU!

The chant starts building up slowly, kiss, kiss, kiss, but with every second the force hits louder and louder, KISS, KISS, KISS, KISS, the electricity is vibrant and running rampant with only one way to defuse this time bomb. What do I do? I stand up to adversity, rise to the challenge. I did what any God fearing man would do and I walked up and planted a big ´ol smooch on that sexy seductress´ sweet lips. What a woman. I could have used less tongue, but in no way was I complaining. I never thought my first kiss in Argentina would be so perfect.

Who would have guessed, but perfection came in two´s that night, because immediately after my baby bro walked into the scene, lost puppydog face on.....so what do I do, I ask him if he wants to make out with a blonde argentine woman. A saavy cat, little Mick, he is hesitant as well, but I give him no choice. I´m a big believer in sharing...The chants start once more, KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS, and Mike being the young buck that he is, mans up and walks over, grabs the woman with both hands, dips her slightly to the right, and lets the besos fly. Jubilation errupts from the masses and you can see a sparkle in the young couples eyes. I thought it could have been a blossoming love, but maybe it was the glare of the flourescent lights.....or the beer.....The saddest thing is that we´ll never know her true feelings.....or even her real name....because in our excitement we forgot to ask for the digits. She will however continue to live in our hearts as the one classy dame who got away.

Our wild acts of passion must have set a small fire under the pants of the younger maidens because they were chomping at the bit to have dessert. Sugar lipped Read boys......Our buddy tried to get more chants going between me and a my aged lady, but I politely declined and told them that I felt uncomfortable with them using me for sexy time makeout sessions. Yes, hearts were probably broken that night, but I´m only one man, and I am trying to use my powers for good........

So, long story short, Asados are great. It is impossible to go to one and not have a good time.....except for the one we had at thanksgiving where it was HOT AS FUZZ, muggy as all get up, and our table was under the lights and bugs and mosquitos and beetles were attacking us, and then it POURED on us, but I still had a great time......but the easiest thing to do could be to think of it like a Mastercard commercial:

Now you know the general theme, but to get a better idea, imagine a dashing young man, chestnut hair that falls gently over a five o clock shadow. Rugged features highlight his unique swagger. Dark, almond shaped eyes, a delicate, slightly upturned nose and a mischevious smile. He walks down a gray, uninviting stairwell in anticipation, pays his entrance fee(The voice comes on and says Entrance: 5 pesos, with the little white letters at the bottom of the screen) and then almost like the gates of heaven, he walks into the middle of a bright white light that slowly dims to show the outlines of a huge group of people with grills, tables, and food all around(and you hear the voice and read Meat: 43 pesos)....then someone hands him a cold beer(up pops Beer: 15 pesos) and the commercial fades as he is approached by one of the smoking hot seductresses of the asado(with the Mastercard logo appearing and the dude saying ASADO:63 pesos, Making out with hotties and kicking it with your buddies, PRICELESS)

Posted by escot 00:25 Archived in Argentina Tagged food Comments (0)

Just For Laughs

Valentino

A while back I met Victor´s grandkid Valentino. Big Tino is 5. Kid is a crack-up. I had just finished jumping rope and was sweeping my room when they got home. I had my tunes blaring on my 1¨ mega blaster speakers and homeboy was just gawking from the door. I introduced myself and Victor told him that I spoke English. I was making some breakfast, oats and milk, and as I was doing this Valentino was chatting me up. It was hilarious, he would ask me how to say dad in English, I´d tell him and ask him to repeat it back to me, and he´d just look at me for a couple of secs and then continue talking as if I never asked him anything at all. I saw his mind at work, and it was on to the next word he wanted me to translate. Sometimes he would say, yeah, my teacher taught me that word in English class, or yeah, I already knew that one.....and every time I asked him to repeat a word he gave me that crazy stare into nothingness, pause, and then start rambling about god knows what. Something about some guy with 4 arms, i thought dr. octopus, but who knows with kids nowadays, all the garbage they watch on tv, i was lost, but the beauty of kids is that you just smile and nod. you really don´t need to say anything intelligible, they are just happy to have someone notice them.

After the small talk, Valentino showed me his true Argentine colors and he instinctively changed the topic to soccer. He told me he was a fan of Independiente and asked which was my team. I said Newells and he didn´t understand, but it didn´t matter because I had a surprise for him....

A couple of weeks earlier I went to a costume party as Duffman.....Ooooooohhhhhhhh Yeeeaaaahhhhhhh.....looked pretty fly if you ask me. White knee socks, red shorts, turquoise belt, blue tank top, a handwritten Duff sign on paper pinned to my shirt and to my red hat. All I was missing was the cape and beer studded belt. The costume party was at a bar, here it is normal to reserve a bar for a bday party or some type of special event.....so I showed up with a couple of buddies and was expecting to see the entire bar filled with peeps in costumes. Turns out only a section of the bar was reserved for the party, and there were two dudes dressed as french maids, one flogger which is maybe a hipster of south america, a pirate, zorro, belly dancers, and Duffman......OOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhhh Yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!! The majority however were random peeps, trying to get faded in a bar. Surprising how it is always a little awkward being one of the few in costume....imagine how I felt on the bus ride over! For the record, Duffman´s powers were impervious to the sinister forces of the bartenders.....After running out of money, I went to the bartender and said, ¨Do you know who I am?¨No- well I´m El Hombre Duff an and I could really go for a cold, frosty, wonderful Duff right about now Ooooooooooooooh Yeeeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh but the dude wanted to charge me and didn´t think it was cool that Duff Man got to drink on the house. WEAK!

But back to the story at hand, the hat I bought for Duffman just happened to be an Independiente hat, and due to the fact that I was never going to use it again, and because it was HIS team, I thought Tino might like it. He did, and like a true gentleman he walked into his grandpa´s room and pulled out his prized possession....a 2yr olds faded yellow spongebob hat in return. What could I do besides accept such a generous offer??? I was quick to say no backsys too, so he better not come crying back to me when he realizes what he´s done because he will surely be disappointed. I don´t care how young you are, rules are rules. I stamped it, and touched blue to make it true. He tried to triple stamp my double stamp, but EVERYONE knows you can´t triple stamp a double stamp.

Next, Valentino dives into an extremely detailed account of a recent soccer match he was ¨sneaking¨at his house. Apparently Mom thought someone was sleeping....he had both hats on either hand and would mumble more gibberish and then would crash them together with a fantastic yell GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLAZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.......more gibberish......crash........yell.......GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLAAAAAAAAAZZZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. He told me the history behind the passion, how soccer was brought to Argentina by railroad working Englishmen, how he didn´t like how the game has evolved into a ¨hollywood¨style of play, too much emphasis on the theatrics instead of team unity and solid defense. He told me how his grandpa was a fan, how his dad was a fan, and those influences helped mold and define his feelings for Independiente as not only a soccer club, but as a true love.

He got so worked up over things that he was ready to show me a couple of moves he´d been working on and lucky me the ball was locked in the car, it was raining, and Victor didn´t want to go downstairs to get it. Another day....probably better for Valentino and his confidence, because I would have wiped the floor with his small, weak, childish, 5 yr old frame. He probably wouldn´t even score a goal on me. If the day comes, we´ll see what kind of morals this kids got, does he rise to the occasion like Independiente ¨does¨, or does he get folded like oragami. Regardless, a game for the ages no doubt.

After kicking it for roughly two hours, introductions came and went, food had been prepared, eaten, (i offered him a carrot which he surprisingly accepted.....he conned me into ¨making it like his mom does¨ which means peeling it...but the kid ate the whole thing!) dishes washed, room cleaned, I told the little tike that I had to run some errands, but that I´d see him later. We parted with a vicious session of high fives......he kept saying harder and laughing.....so I kept taking it up a notch..... level 14 was where I found his breaking point.....apparently 5yr old boys and 25yr old MEN have different thresholds of pain.....i easily withstood his levels 10-13 and probably could have lasted up to 24 or 27......no big deal....and i thought he was tough.

All in all the kid was super cute and could literally talk to a wall. I saw Victor later that day and he thanked me for the hay saying that Valentino liked it. I told him the reason why I gave it to him and he burst into laughter. Apparently Victor had no idea Valentino liked soccer. Victor and Valentino´s dad don´t like soccer, never watch soccer, so it seems as if Tino´s immagination has had something to do with his fascination for Independiente. Poor kid is so soccer deprived his life force need to be energized and seek refuge to immaginationland to get his fix.....i told you Argentines will go to extremes for soccer.....this kid is 5, imagine how grown adults feel/and or act. I just hope the hat will one day make his dreams a reality.

ps....i didn´t take the spongebob hat because in all honesty it didn´t fit. I didn´t make him cry, even though we did end our hang out sesh with high fives. and if we ever play soccer I would let him score at least one goal, maybe two, but he definitely wouldn´t win....and that is something that i´ve never been more sure of

Posted by escot 02:23 Archived in Argentina Tagged educational Comments (0)

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