a song from the viv to all of you out there ❤
Wednesday was good. I woke up and headed to the city museum. A cute old museum with few but important things. Not historically, but they displayed the life that the citizens once had in a way that was new and exciting to me. I saw patterns, toys, pictures… very cool. But I’ll just show you all I saw that day. On the way I managed to get some snaps along the way. This city is one big museum, there’s no entrance or exit, you just have to be looking instead of just seeing.
And now, How Vivian Breached National Security. A short play in 3 Acts.
So I was walking around Casa Rosada and I saw el Banco de la Nacion Argentina. The light reflecting on the tarnished copper of the front doors was very inviting, so I walked up the steps to take some pictures and look at my map. I tried to go inside but there was a sign saying something about it being closed for security reasons and to use the door on a different street. So I walked around to find the other entrance.
I found the other door.
So I go inside, walking by a security guard with my camera out (my camera is gigantic…) and find myself in a very old long hallway with people bustling about. There were business men smoking and walking around harumphing about this and that and people exchanging money. But I was more interested in how to get to the large domed area I had seen through the front door. I found a beautiful staircase and went down. Nothing down there but a weird old trophy case so I went back up then up one more while stopping to take pictures.
Beautiful staircase right? It reminded me of a vanilla cone at McDonald’s. Finally, success! I take the last step up the ice cream steps and find myself in the large domed area I saw before. There were more security guards up here and I saw no photography signs, so I clicked off my camera and slung it over my shoulder. I walked through the giant room and found a small gallery of art by the entrance. I love that this city squeezes art into every open space available. The artist’s name is Edgardo Manry and I can’t really seem to find him anywhere online. His bright art spoke using themes of floklore, and the mystic creation of life. They were very happy, beautiful pieces and each one made me smile. here’s what it said in the program, “Manry selecciona elementos tomados de la naturaleza y los elabora con el propósito de crear una fantasía casí de cuentos de hadas. Manry selects items from nature and produces with the aim of creating a fantasy about fairy tales.” It sounds so beautiful en Español. As I walked by the last photo two security guards who were sitting and chatting finally decided to notice me and yelled, “A donde sos?” I didn’t quite understand so I said, “California, los Estados Unidos.” They looked at each other and laughed then he asked me, “No, where did you come in here? How are you here? The bank closes at 3pm and no tourists allowed.” I apologized and told them how I came inside and showed them that my camera was off, “I haven’t taken any pictures in here,” I pointed to the big dome so I wasn’t totally lying ’cause the staircase wasn’t a part of the larger room. One was wearing a security uniform with bright gold buttons, the other had on a faded grey janitor kind of outfit with large abuelo glasses. The walkie talkie squaked on the belt of the younger one and he said something very fast (most likely, “Sin ella es sólo un turista tonto, no hay problemas aquí. Ella no es un terroristay no ha violado ninguna forma de seguridad nacional … pero mantener un ojoen ella. No she is just some dumb tourist, no problems here. She is not a terrorist and has not breached any form of nation security… but keep an eye on her.”) and then began to walk me out of the room, “You cannot be here. I don know how you get in but go now and no photo. The cameras everywhere see you.” He pointed up and around at the ceiling. For a split second I wondered whether I should tell him about the staircase photos I took but then he said, “Take this door, go down las escaleras. Stairs, entiendes?” I nodded and walked quickly back the way I had come in.
I’m sure we all wrestle with internal issues, but none is worse for me than the feeling when finishing a good book.
I hate it and I love it at the same time, I wan to rush down the street while “I’ve got a golden ticket” plays from some unseen loudspeaker. But at the same time I want an Evita like funeral procession for the loss of my newest and most treasured friend. It’s these moments in life that make me happy to be sentient. I think not being able to agree, even with myself, about how I feel is one of the most beautiful mysteries in life. Why is it so sad and yet so wonderful? The characters I have come to know so intimately will live on forever in the printed word, yet I will never know the joy of reading it fresh again. Never again will the death of the professor or Luna’s freedom make me feel so much at once.
And again I am happy, because only our species can feel such passion for something that has never tangibly existed. Yes the ideas and even efforts of Libertarian revolutions have coded, sliped down from balconies and through back rooms; and yes, real humans have expressed feelings and died for more than the words in on the pages of my recently departed friend… but to be able to feel for something that exists in only the metaphorical sense of the word is something that I feel truly blessed (blessed in an unreligious sense) to be able to experience.
When was the last time you felt like that? When was the last time you mourned so loudly that your heart grew larger? Or you touched something so cold that your flesh burned?
Thanks Heinlein, (I grok you) for filling my spirit to the brim by using your words as a tool to carve the most beautiful images into “realities.” I will go out today, head filled with visions of star freedom, blood secured and eyes shut forever with such resonance that the Earth will echo cold when it is dimmed.
“There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!”
first of all… my dreams have been absolutely NUTS since I’ve been here. In one, I was eating a shit load of candy with all of my comedy sportz friends. One of them, Reuben, and I were stacking purple candies and when I told him about it he busted this sweet rhyme:
MC Jellybean rockin the spot, with DJ Viv who keeps the chocolate hot. Were so damn sweet, we could give you diabetes but then we’d find a cure since we smart like Archimedes. So I wrote this part: “he’s got sweet lids an I got sour patch kids. I’ll take em home to bed and eat a lemonhead” I guess it’s a little dirty, but I mean… it’s no neck back pussy crack ridiculousness!
Anyway, I woke up on Monday and it was raining! Sigh, I wanted to go to la bomba de tiempo but I didn’t want to get all wet… plus it’s every Monday so no rush. No sun + homesick = unhappy viv, so I decided to get myself outta the house and out into BA. I took the bus to the Galerías Pacífico for a look into the fashion they’ve got going on here and to get some exercise by walking around. I would walk, look, eat dinner then return home to write and relax. I even updated my “novel ideas” (HYUCK) list.
I arrived at the mall without any problems thanks to my lucky compass, which points south here… super cool. It was exactly like any nice mall you’d find anywhere in the world except for two things…
1. Not only was there an amazing glass chandelier thing going on in the high domed ceiling in the center, there was an art installation directly below it that used the reflection of the glass on the painted dome ceiling to make for some very interesting visual art.
Que suerte! Guess I’d get to see some cool shit anyway… I walked around looking at all the installations and was almost herded into a touristy looking tango show. On the way out of the mall I snapped some fashion photos from my ladies in the fashion game back in LA.
The report is thus: BA’s fashion is as mixed as it’s people. It takes from the cowboy culture, the country peasant, folk art influences and various cultural patterns that make up the city. There was lace and leather, beads and feathers, zips and snaps and riding hats, knits and shoes and flowers and booze lol. Yes, you can drink in the mall… pretty sweet.
After the mall I went to a hole in the wall place and had a small dinner and a beer for about $4USD… man I love it here. I began walking home despite the rain. I was getting pretty wet so I decided to look for a place to stop and get a drink. But instead, I crashed into a kiwi.
A nice New Zealander actually, haha. He was coming out of his hostel and we bumped into one another. He said hello, I asked if he spoke English, he asked what I as up to, I told him I was going to get a drink and he asked to join. I was so excited to have a friend to talk to. We walked around for a bit looking for this stupid bar that turned out to be closed… very wet we decided to to the next place we saw. A nice place, very quiet and bright. We had a bottle of wine and talked politics etc. it ended when he accidentally knocked his glass of wine onto me and my journal AND my guidebook. Ay dios! My guidebook is still totally wine stained. Luckily I was wearing a black sweater so it didn’t stain. He was really embarrassed, but then he paid so all was well. He’s lucky I’m a forgiving person… I’m just glad I didn’t spill wine on him, haha. We went to another bar and had another bottle of wine and talked until early in the morning.
I was supposed to meet him the next day to go to Recoletta cemetery but I slept through my alarm and was very hungover when I got up. I’m sad I didn’t meet up with him, but it was a bad day for picture taking anyway… wherever you are kiwi man. I wonder if you missed me that day. I hope you didn’t wait to long at the front gate for me, and I hope you think of me fondly. I deff think of you everytime I pull out my wine soaked guidebook.
Saturday wasn’t very exciting, I wrote some thoughts I had on feminism (feminism being an umbrella term which I’m currently using rather than going into details right now.) But I’ll post those thoughts separately when I’ve fleshed them out a bit more.
SUNDAY: I was still having trouble adjusting to the time difference and woke up at 4pm, whoops. Most of you who know me probably aren’t surprised that I woke up so late, however before I came here I had adjusted back to a normal sleeping schedule. I swear! So I grumbled, got up, took a shower, ate some food, played “how do I get you outta my room” with the cat for a few minutes and ventured into the emerging twilight to check out the San Telmo sunday market. I took the “subte” part of the way. The cool thing about the subway in Buenos Aires is that it’s the 3rd oldest system in the world, and the ONLY one with the original cars from 1913 still running on the track. I didn’t get a good picture (I didn’t want to scream tourist) but here’s one online. I got off and happened to walk down a street with some outstanding examples of the enchanting street art here in BA. Que suerte! This is the whole album, and here are two of my favorites:
absolutely gorgeous… and literally everywhere. The porteños have no qualms when it comes to where they’ll put their graff. Some monuments are respected and kept clean, but most aren’t. I was astonished at first and thought it was really disrespectful, but when you take a look back, even 7 years, into the history of Buenos Aires you see why it is such a beautiful thing in theory. Insubordinate would be a more appropriate word… each splash of paint across a monument represents a day of struggle. Their freedom of expression is more important than their past leaders, I get that now. However, I will say that obviously not all of the graff is poetic and metaphorical, some of it’s just trash; but there’s a dark and a light to everything.
Tough to get a pic in focus with the dim light, but there’s a video. This is what I wrote in my journal, “The plz filled with dancers of all backgrounds and levels of experience. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. The tiny yet integral and intense steps, the small movements with huge volume and intention, the improvised rhythm with no rhyme… que preciosa.” I had a stupid grin plastered on my face the entire time I was shyly snapping photos.
I sighed and wished I had a tango partner but then straightened up and began looking for something much more realistic… a snack. All that walking had made me hungry. So I checked my guide and found a café close by. Bar el Federal was only a few blocks away so I headed there, but something stopped me.
A long forgotten string attached to my heart suddenly became taut and jerked me towards the closest collective primal expression of life. I could only describe it as soul. Which made me think, perhaps none of us have a soul… but there is one large soul that we are all connected to. Be it karma or soul or ideas or rhythm or ether… it connects us all together. You borrow from it and give back to it throughout your life and when you die, your energy feeds back into that large group in order to shoulder the burden of those who need to take when they cannot give. It’s the space between the space, the feeling that someone is looking at you and the reason you laugh. When you hear music like I heard… you can’t help but feel the need be part of the bigger collection. I was pulled to the sound out of some unconscious thirst… or maybe I’m just a curious Latina. Either way, with only the map of my heart, I found a street plugged with people dancing in praise of our collective soul. I couldn’t have left the sound even if I had wanted to. We danced, baby, abuelo, chica, wretch and tourist- there was no color age or nation, only the need to be. Once again, the pictures are kinda crap (plus I put my camera away after about a minute so I could raise my hands up to the moon) so here is a video.
Finally I was sated (soul-wise) and headed to snack town. I was REALLY hungry at this point. I sat down and wrote this in my journal, “I’m at a café called Bar el Federal, apparently it’s famous and I’ve yet to see a waiter. I guess they don’t come outside. ok I moved inside, I think it’s ok to sit wherever. The waitress just smiled! I’m in! …I think I just ordered a turkey sandwich… OMG I’m so hungry bring me some bread!!! The people here are mixed together in a way I’ve never seen before. It’s quite extraordinary. I cant tell the tourists from los porteños. The table next to me just got a shit load of food, I wished we lived in a world where it was acceptable for me to ask if I could possibly eat the rest of their bread or, better yet, that they would find a need to be as compassionate as we’re all supposed to be and
fe give me their extra bread out of fear of being rude, that’s be nice. True communism I guess. A society in which you were punished or shunned socially if you aren’t crazy actively compassionate and conservative with your materialism (GIVE ME YOUR FUCKING BREAD!!) Why don’t I get some bread?! Perhaps it’s because she can assume from my outfit that I don’t like bread- or maybe this is some kind of secret ‘we don’t give bread to fatties’ thing. All I know is that I could be nommin’ some bread right now and am (w/o reason) offended by this outrageous secret bread law. To top it all off, the table next to me just got ANOTHER basket of bread and are stuffing their faces with it. QUE PASANDO AQUI!?!” …I stopped writing there because I got my sandwich. I was pretty hungry, lol.
So onto my next fail, trying to attend the celebration of the Chinese New Year in Buenos Aires’ small Chinatown. I took a cab because I couldn’t find the right bus and found myself at the end of a long day of festivities. I was upset and tired so I returned home, read some more of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and slowly fell asleep in the orange glow of the street light outside my window.
For all the pictures from my day, please click here.
As I began this post Dry County by the B52’s came on… oh iTunes… how you swell my emotions.
Anyway, it’s very windy today so I decided to stay in and be hungover. Well… ok so I was hungover and then I decided to stay in today.
Last night I started my evening (at midnight) at a restaurant called Chiquilin. I had an AMAZING steak (bife de chorizo especial) some great wine, un enselada con palma. They even brought me pate for free! I’ve only had pate once in Florence and I almost spit it out, but this was pretty good. On the way to dinner, a man stopped and started talking with me. He said he was a journalist and he deff seemed like one, I mean he knew enough English and spoke about Los Angeles and New York like he had written about it. Anyway, we got to the resteraunt and I said, (this was all in broken Spanish but I’ll type it in English…it’s better for all of us this way)
“Well, thanks for walking with me, bye!” to which he stuttered, “I ate already but I could get a beer, it’s strange for a woman to eat alone” I smiled and said quickly, “Not for this woman” and walked away. He seemed nice but forcing small talk is very hard and annoying for me. I was never very good at it.
After dinner, nom nom, I went to a bar called La Cigale which was really cool. I walked up some stairs to the bar area on the second floor. There were blue lights everywhere and a bar made of mosaic glass… very pretty. Up another flight of stairs I found a bunch of kids smoking and watching a band… I think the name was Deens… but I’m not sure. I couldn’t insert the video, but here is the link. The video is pretty crappy… but the band wasn’t so great either.
During the show I made friends with a group of guys who were smoking weed. They were engineers! So we talked nerd talk and they invited me to go to a club with them called Barhein. We were mostly downstairs where they played loud house music, which seemed kinda behind the times in Los Angeles standards. Either way, it was really fun to just dance around and look at the crazy lights. This is deff a place where you could wear sunglasses inside. Barhein is an old bank so we were dancing in the vault, super cool. Around 6am I said thanks to the guys and went on home in the pink, stary dawn.
At around 6:30am I got a piece of pizza and the pizza guy asked if I had a boyfriend, oy! I managed to half say in spanish, “Just gimmie my pizza!” and walked home happily.
Ok, so I’m here… this shit is for REAL.
(pic on the right is my room)
So far my impressions are thus:
-this place is gritty as fuck
-the spanish is very mushy and some key words are very different, for example “chorizo” is steak here!
-the pizza has no sauce, wtf
-I am the tallest person in BA
-this is deff a fight or flight city, you gotta learn fast or else get pushed off the bus by a woman with two kids screaming for “paletas”
-the sidewalks are crap, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve almost broken my ankle… and I’ve only been here two days!
The people here (portenos) are intense, I feel as if the city is about to become one big riot. I’ve never seen the homeless and poor mixed so blatantly into the bourgeois of a city. The decadence of the past is crumbling into piles which the poor placidly sift through in front of cafes. It represents a future that Los Angeles could definitely find itself in. Do people see each other here? Do they see the the graffiti written on every wall, statue and poster, or has it become the backdrop to their city? I’m not sure but I’ll continue to observe.
Thankfully, the coffee, wine and carne is amazing. Most of you who know that I recently became an honorary vegetarian, however, here in Buenos Aires I have been eating meat most of the time. Veggie options are few and far between here and I have yet to scout out the veg locations. In the meantime, I’m not denying myself the tasty tasty meat they have here. Life’s too short to give yourself limitations.
As for where I live. I am staying in a house called “Casa Los Angelitos.” It is a very old house in the barrio of Congreso. This area isn’t the richest of barrios, nor the poorest. I like it, it makes me feel like I’m in some sort of London Mexico hybrid with mushy language and great vino.
On the way here from the airport I saw my first illegal protest. A group of workers blocked the highway so we decided to drive on the grass, just to the side of the highway. Muy extrano…
Here’s some pix of the protest and La Casa: