A Travellerspoint blog

Newell´s Old Boys

The beezy fo sheezy

So a month an a half was as long as it took for me to taste the forbidden fruit of Argentina......soccer....It is hard to explain what soccer means to people down here. It is way more than a way of life. It is life. I feel like if soccer was for some reason banished, lots of people would kill themselves. Gruesome but true. I have no real allegiance to an Argentine team, but the NOBs are growing on me. Brad and Mike are newells fans, so I naturally lean towards the red and black, but I really don´t care.

Watching a game in person was a highly anticipated event for me. I had heard it all, people get rifle butted in the face by cops, riot police are stationed around the stadium for protection, fans of the opposing team have a separate entrance and exit to the stadium, fans will shank you if you wear the wrong colors or don´t sing, yell, and jump around for the entire game, etc. Locals don´t even wear clothes affiliated with the team because it is dangerous. All these warnings led me to believe I could potentially die going to a game, at the very least see a knife fight...and we all know I´ve got a wild immagination...for example, when I was told that Buenos Aires has the biggest street in the world, I expected to not be able to see the other side of the street. I mean, the street was big, but not THAT big. Let´s just say my imagination over hyped the reality. Same with argentine soccer. Now, don´t get me wrong, people are crazy for soccer like I mentioned, there is barb wire fencing around the field for a reason. Fireworks are set off throughout the match, and sometimes teams play in empty stadiums because the fans are too crazy to have them be at the game in person. So the game was crazy, just not knife fight crazy.

Back to it though, the group of gringos was large....Mike, myself, Jeff and Brian Klatt, Ricky Rico of the dream team, Dane, Brian and Alex. For those of you who don´t know the fellas, it was the group from beerfest plus Rico and the Klatt bros. After an intense cavity search to enter the stadium, we swooped on a section in the upper deck. This game was important because San Lorenzo, a team from BA, was in 1st place, and NOB in 4th or 5th, so basically they had to bring it. This is OUR house, and nobody, and I mean NOBODY, comes into OUR house and tells US what to do!

The game started with passion. Fans from both sectors were singing and jumping. All songs have to do with we need to win, play hard, F the other team those c sucking bastards, we´re the greatest and we just had sexual relations with your mother etc etc etc. I´ve never heard more swear words in one place....made me crack my shiz up each time. Everything was going great though, good ball movement, good energy, but out of nowhere disaster struck. A break in the defense and a quick goal was scored by san lorenzo. the collective sigh by Newell´s fans could have killed a thousand kittens it was so sad. The half ended 1-0 and luckily I was warned by Dane to sit down immediately after the whistle blows, because if you don´t you are forced to stand for the entire half because everyone is packed like sardines. After an amusing halftime filled with a fight and some beauty queens walking around on the field, the second half got underway. The crowd really tried to pick the team up on their shoulders, and the whole section started moving. The concrete was literally bouncing and it seriously felt like we were going to humpty dumpty the mo f´er. The stadium had been remodled 10 yrs ago, but it looked like it had been built in the 30´s. Rusted chairs, faded paint, i was told the bathrooms don´t have lights and you just have a giant hole/vortex where you do your business. Lucky me I didn´t drink any water!

But despite the heavy cheering, San Lo got another quick goal, sending us straight into despair. That´s when things got dirty. The ref had been f´ing shiz up the entire game...not even giving the home team calls, but fights started breaking out in the second half. I´ve never seen more drama, or cards given in a sporting event...except for one san jose sharks game I saw where both penalty boxes were filled with players to the point where no more people could go in. But there is a difference btwn hockey and soccer, right? These guys were some of the best actors I´ve ever seen....straight up beverly hills....every fall was bone shattering, writhing around in pain, ankle grabbing, knee twisting, like limbs had been dislocated or torn from their bodies. Game stops, trainers come out, so does the golf cart, they get carted off, and two seconds later they´re back running full force. One guy ran into the goal post on a corner kick, looked like he really got messed up, I felt bad for laughing at him messed up, nope, same drama and back in the game in no time. Red cards were given to both teams and NOB´s coach got ejected. I´ve never seen anything like it. Newell´s was down 3-1, both teams playing with ten guys, and the coach gets tossed. He walks to the corner flag, and then runs diagonally across the field waving his hands in the air. The crowd gets up and everyone loses it.

He officially set a fire under his players proverbial pants. NOB starts to dominate. The ball rarely crossed into their half of the field. BOOM, they score another goal. Now we´re only down 1 with maybe 10-15 mins left. They keep pushing, we keep yelling, and then there was a defensive collapse on san lo, one on one, forward vs goalie, and smash, ball rockets to the bottom right corner of the net.

GGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The stadium explodes. I turned to my left immediately after the goal, and I looked right into the eyes of the dude next to me, and do you know what I saw? Pure happiness. Honestly I´m not sure if I´ve ever seen someone´s eyes like this 50yr old man´s. We instinctively embraced and kept screaming and jumping in disbelief, not wanting the moment to end. So newell´s came back from the brink of extinction to muster up a tie. Not too shabby....not to mention that one of san lorenzo´s goals was a terribly called PK....but what more can I say, it was one hell of a game.

Posted by escot 19:49 Archived in Argentina Tagged events Comments (2)

A Day In the Life

So now it´s been a month and a half down, and I´m sure everyone is asking themselves, what the heck does Scott do with himself all day long. Allow me to elongate. So to recap on the job sitch, as I´ve mentioned before, teaching in an institute appears to be a pipe dream, so I changed up the game plan. I made up a flyer that says -Native Teacher from the US offering tutoring or conversation classes- and the last couple of weeks have been walking around the city and handing out the flyers. I´ve gone to hostels and hotels with the idea that their staff might want to brush up on some English. I´ve gone to Universities and schools to hang up flyers. I´ve gone to tourist agencies, and even made a post in the classifieds. So I´ve hit the pavement you could say, and the calls have been few and far between until this last week, where a hostel called me up. I went in to talk to them, and they offered me a job! The hostel is opening up this week and I´ll be manning the front on Fri and Sat from 1pm to 10pm. I´m pretty stoked because the job will a great way to meet people, and I doubt it will be tooo taxing. I´ll keep yall posted on the details.....

The job as a call center attendant won´t be happening for many reasons. One, getting my papers to be legal here in argentina is a pain in the ass, and I don´t want to do it. Two, I have a friend down here who works for an Argentine who is looking to hire a native English speaker come January. Not sure what the job really entails, but it would be roughly 30 hrs a week, and I would make enough to get by. Which is exactly what I´m looking for! Also considering that the call center gig looked like a horrible job, I´m stoked to have more options. I went out with my buddy and his boss a couple of weeks ago and the bossman said to me that he pretty much needed to see that I wasn´t crazy, and that he would probably need help come Jan. Three, the job looked absolutely terrible. People calling and bitching at you all day long....omni life looked like the best job ever compared to Teletech!

So besides getting shot down on all other job fronts, I did manage to fall into a teaching gig too. I am working for MOVE-UP, which is a company that trains business people in English. They have a variety of clients that ask for translation and English training services. I´ve had two weeks with a client from Accenture. We have class two times a week for an hr....it´s supposed to be an hr and a half...but i´ve also gotten invited to sub for other classes and to be a guest. It looks like a sweet work environment, and it is cool to finally start some work. I´ve given my client a skills test, and the fool is freaking smart. I´m pretty much screwed because he speaks English pretty much fluently, and is in the internet something or other business.....stuff that I will never comprehend. He gave me a presentation about his job, and I was completely stumped. Didn´t get a single thing. I´m going to be a great teacher! Accenture for all of you who don´t know is a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company. Whatever that means! I really don´t know what I´m going to do with him because I gave him a practice test for a certificate he wants to obtain and homeslice passed with flying colors. My job will be to prepare him for the test, but I don´t think he needs any help.....it should be interesting.....

That is the news more or less on the job front, so things are on the up and up...it will be nice to have a regular work schedule. I have found out that even though I don´t mind not having any real thing to do during my day, I do enjoy the feeling of being semi-productive. who knows, maybe I´ll start writing a book! But lets get back to my daze....Waking up can sometimes be the high point of activity....jk...maybe.....but no, I go running, jump rope, make tasty dishes, I´ve yet to give myself food poisoning, so that´s a positive note. I´m ready to start experimenting with my cooking skills, but there aren´t any spices in this country besides mayo, salt, and pepper. So I´m SOL. I kick it with Mike and the other gringos in the program. Mike got lucky because there are a lot of cool people down here, so it´s been fun. Also, in an attempt to make my days semi-productive, I have started Yoga and Portugues classes. Yoga is the shi. I love it. It is so very difficult, it is also hilarious becaue i am so very inflexible and get all swirly with my mat at times that the teacher asks me -scott, who are you fighting with back there?- I´m doing it anywhere between 2 and 4 times a week, and word around the block is i´ll be cracking coconuts jean cleaudde van damn style in no time. I also hope to do the splits like him too. And roundhouse fools to the dome like he does. Pretty much my goal is to become juan carlos van dique (spanish translation for all you monolinguists) when I´m down here. I´ve already got the mullet, and some may say that that is the hardest part!

Portugues is coming along more or less. We spent the first couple of classes going over pronunciation....which is ridiculously difficult if it ends in an o it makes a u sound, if it ends in an e it makes an i sound, if it ends with an l it makes a u sound etc etc etc....lots of nasal words that are hard to pronounce....and let´s not mention the alphabet that I still don´t know. My teacher wants me to speak in Portugues even though I don´t know how to say hardly any words, or verbs, and that I really have almost no understanding of the language. If she talks slow I can understand some things, but she better cut me some slack or I´ll samba her to death. She is from sao paolo and living here in rosario studying to be a clown. No joke. there are a lot of people who are going to clown college here. you might have thought that it was just a hilarious simpsons episode, which it was, but i swear I´ve met a grip of fools who are trying to make it a profession. She´s nice though and is patient, so that is good. We´re doing an exchange.....English classes for Portuguese....so it´s a win win. She´s leaving though in December, which sucks, but it means that the place where she lives will have an open room aka I might not need to live with two miserly dudes for much longer!! I need to meet some of the roomies before things get finalized, but I´m optomistic!

I hope all doubts have been erased, and that all questions have been answered about the daily happenings. If not, please contact my secretary for further inquieries!

Posted by escot 18:34 Archived in Argentina Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Just For Laughs

Oops, I did it again!

Going out in Rosario is interesting. I went to Berlin....bar...again, you may remember it as home of the coldest womenz. I had another wild experience in what turned out to be one of the best nights in Rosario. I was talking to a couple of people, surveying the land, when I spotted a lovely gazelle grazing amongst a herd of water buffaloes. Like a elephant I stood still, calm, quiet, waiting for my chance to stampede. I noticed that no one was even talking to her, and I assumed that to mean that she was amongst a group of friends. We then spend the next ten minutes or so playing the eye game, I look at you, you look at me, etc. Finally I have enough, so I go for it, put my head down and start running. As I get to the circle I encounter the full body block by one of the dudes to her left. So I reach my hand out and tap her on the shoulder. She turns around, looks like she is going to die of disgust, and quickly turns her back to me. So here I´m thinking, great, here we go again, and I ask the dude what the deal is, can I ask her a question? No. Why not? She has a boyfriend. Of course. They all have boyfriends. I just happened to pick the ideal time to walk up because the BF was in the pisser. Lucky me he made it back in time to see me talking with his friend. Immediately the friend says, hey, this guy wanted to talk to your girlfriend. GREAT! hopefully this guy is really drunk, aggressive, and wanting to get into a fight......because that is excactly what I want. I explain myself, that it was an honest mistake, no mal intent was to be had, and by that time they realized I wasn´t from Argentina, and we ended up kicking it till the bar shut down, then going to grab some super panchos aka hot dogs at 6am. So it turned out to be awesome. I was messing around with the girls boyfriend the entire night once I realized he wasn´t going to kill me. They were all really chill and we hung out a couple of days later, frequently referring to the fact taht we all met was because I thought Catriel´s girlfriend was hot and wanted to talk to her.

Posted by escot 18:16 Archived in Argentina Tagged armchair_travel Comments (1)

Just For Laughs

FADED

As you can see from some of the pics that I´ve uploaded, my hair was somewhat long and in need of an Argentine fade. Never before have I seen so many goofy looking haircuts in my life. The mullet isn´t just accepted here, it´s revered as a prestigious look. Argentines have taken things to another level. The dew is called a cresto, and it is a mullet, but the sides are faded up like a mohawk w/o gelling your hair into spikes. So you have buzzed hair on the sides and long hair in the middle and back. It looks ridiculous. I might get it one day, but I´d have to be enibriated to the point where I had no shame and I couldn´t see straight. That hasn´t happened yet, so I went for the mullet. I walked around the city and found a hole in the wall establishment. It was literally inside someone´s house. One woman was finishing up a dye or a wash and told me to come in and have a seat and that it would be no time before she got my fade on.

After 10 or 15 mins another woman came in to get her hair cut and the woman who I thought was going to give me mine went into a different room, probably the kitchen or her bedroom, and came out with a mystery woman. Sister, business partner, friend, cousin, who knows, and who knows if she cuts hair as a profession. Hopefully a hobby at the very least! but you can´t mess up a mullet right? that´s what I thought until this fateful day. I expain to her what I want, cut the sides and the top short, and leave the back long and majestic. Simple enough. She only had scissors, which I thought would work out to my advantage, can´t get too short.....how wrong I was...

The woman starts cutting and is literally taking off milimeters of hair on the sides and top, taking her sweet time, and goes for the big clips on the back. As she´s hacking off my masterpiece, I remind her that I want the back long, and the sides and top short. Then she randomly says - I´m just so nervous, I don´t know you.- WHAT?!?!?! first off, why would a hair stylist be nervous about cutting someone´s hair if they don´t know them? Isn´t that a pretty big piece of the job. Random people come in to get their haircut. Then they cut their hair. Let´s just say her nervousness came out in her work.....my fade got torn to pieces. Not only did she not cut the sides or top even, she took a TON off the back. Every couple of minutes she would stop and ask the other woman if it looked ok and the other woman would come in for a snip or two and say, -Oh fabulous, looking great- She loved it so much she had another mystery woman....I think daughter....come out of the shadows with a camera to take a picture of me. So I left defeated by my stylist, hair still long over the ears because she didn´t want to cut me, and sort of a backwards rat tail into a mini-mullet.

I came home and showered and was making dinner when Victor came home and we started talking. Midway through a sentence he stops and realizes I cut my hair. The man bursts into laughter and asks -What´d you do!- He thought it looked hilarious, and very american. Who knows, but by judging from his uncontrolable laughter it must have been one of the best -jokes- he´d seen in a while. And this is coming from a man who is balding yet wears his hair in a pony tail. My theory is the haircut looks extremely argentine, because I don´t even get double takes on the street! And if I am getting double takes, it´s usually at my bunz o steel..... Beautiful!

Posted by escot 17:51 Archived in Argentina Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

3 weeks deep.....

and sweaty as hell

The hunt for red jobtober continues. I have yet to find even a glimpse of hope with teaching. There might be a diamond in the rough with conversation classes, but that is in the beginning stages and won´t be a fully functioning death star, capable of wiping out entire planets for some time. I made up a flyer at an internet spot, and two girls were peeping my shiz, and they said they wanted classes because they are studying hoteleria, so we´ll see. I got their information and sent them emails, but nothing yet.

So with prospects low, and looking stale, I busted my wild card, the ´ol call center ace in the hole. I filled out a resume online and within two hrs of posting my CV I got a call from the company. The next day I went in for an interview. our of us got interviewed and it looks like they (Teletech) is hiring a grip of fools. Something about a big contract with one of the biggest companies in the world yada yada yada.

I went to the call center main office where a group of 4 of us were interviewed. To start, they sat us around a table and described the job to us. I was hoping for 4hrs a day, 1500 pesos which is what a couple of argentines had told me was possible…..WRONG! The gig would be six hrs a day, six days a week. Whatever, a job´s a job, right? Well it gets better. The hours would be from 5pm or later to six hrs after you start. You do get compensated rather nicely though….2200-2400 pesos monthly aka officially making me a king in this country. With rent being less that ¼ of my net intake, i´d be taking nightly peso baths, straight up duck tales style. So we getting the one over from the HR señoritas, they´re telling us how great it is to work in a call center, that Teletech really values their workers, that they have pizza parties and give out prizes every month as incentives to come to work. Get this, you get rewarded for coming to work on time every day. Wow. If I worked here they wouldn´t know what hit them. I´d go risky business style on them and show up 10, no 15 minutes early one day. Granted this could potenially cause an internal breakdown in the company and as we´ve seen the economic crisis cross oceans, I should be carefull not to add to the world´s problems. I must use my powers for good, and not evil.

But back to the interview, after telling us their company´s intermost secrets, they asked for our input of an ideal workplace, our input, etc etc. After we realized how awesome it would be to sit in front of a computer for 6hrs a day and have people bitch at us from far away, we went upstairs for the language assessment part of the interview. I had a riveting convo about weather, likes and dislikes, colors, and hobbies. Then I took a customer service quiz. This was to simulate a real work scenario, and in order to bring up a client you need to write down their last name and account number. It was an automated test, and you had six minutes to answer various questions for different clts with different problems. For example, Susan Bosco called wanting to know why she was charged a late fee for her last payment. Susan doesn´t speak clearly, so I had to ask her to re-spell her name before we could even get things rolling. Then she claims that she paid on time, she just forgot to put a stamp on the envelope. Yeah right honey, you can´t tell over the phone, but I´m rolling my eyes and making a funny grin. You see, normally this wouldn´t be a problem, but unfortunately for Susan she has a history of late payments, so she´s pretty much SOL. Susan has been waiting on hold now for 35 seconds and she has gotten rather irritated and has made some very explicit and derrogatory comments towards me and my family. One of my choices to respond is the following- I´m sorry for the inconvenience, today we are expecting an unusually high number of calls. Even though you are completely out of line and psychotic, you are totally right and I will bend over backwards and help you through your problem. AKA Will you please take a bat and smash my head to end this torture. Some of the answers were great, like Sir, if you don´t calm down and stop yelling I will cut off this call. Apparently you don´t disconnect the call…….EVER, but I can´t even begin to imagine what some of the people say.

Next I took a basic computer knowledge test, cut and paste this, delete this, open microsoft excel, type this paragraph, look this up on the internet. There was however some confusing vocab like search engine, but whatever, you only needed to get a 65 to pass. I did. My fellow comrades weren´t as fortunate. After all the tests came the grand finale. I had a test that judged the accent of my English, how authentic it sounded. I repeated sentences like, Your order is being processed, or I appologize for that, and the last one was Have a good day! So I pretty much got offered the job straight up…pretty sweet, because it is a job, and it will be ridiculously easy speaking my native language all day long, and when fools try to get all pompous on me, there will be no intimidation factor. My one real problem is this company is legit and doesn´t pay people under the table…..so I need to go to the immigration office and figure out how I can legally work in this country. Sounds like shananigans if you ask me.

The job doesn´t start until Nov 17th, so I’ve got a while to keep looking for things and hopefully by the 17th I can politely decline the job. If not, I´ll have 7 wks of training. Apparently the call center tecnitian is real complicated shiz that we need 7 weeks, 6 days a week to learn. There are a lot of young people that work there, and who knows, it could be fun! I´m always down to try something new, and then later say skeet skeet skeet I´m out if it isn´t a good fit. So no complaints here, life is good, the river wild, and the sun is shining.

Posted by escot 13:38 Archived in Argentina Tagged travelling_with_pets Comments (0)

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