Sunday, January 30, 2011

¿Tiene Paz?

I think I caught backpackers disease--- the desire to GO GO GO SEE SEE SEE DO DO DO
(not really triple times the normal desire, just trying the make a point via cyberspace.)
But I also know the answer.

il bel far niente.
the art of doing nothing.

(i love pictures because they help to display the story. feed our senses if you will. now the computer at this hostel is not allowing me to add pictures for whatever reason so... paint your own. use your imagination and fill in whatever blanks there may be with your own creativity)
NOW I´ve added some :)

Jan 25
Today we roamed the town and found a beach where there appeared to be more locals than tourists (always a good sign) and just laid. Laid looking at the hills, the clouds, the water, the people. And it was so nice. Adventure tours are wonderful and absolutely have their place but my favorite pass time is PEOPLE. Just being at one and delighting in the universe to provide the adventure for me (and often that cant be surpassed by a tour guide ;)

Once we had our fill of resting on the beach we wandered down a road. We walked and walked until we saw a big machine that intrigued us. What is that? We stepped closer to find that it was propelling what appeared to be a ski lift. I WANT TO TRY! So we stepped on up and paid 25 pesos (about 6 USD)  and jumped into the chair with no idea as to what would happen next...

A GLORIOUS VIEW overlooking the lake and the town of bariloche. No seat belts of course as we hung hundreds of feet above solid ground. We landed on a platform where we quickly jumped off before the chair knocked us off and followed the trail to a little cafe. THE best FRUIT SALAD ever! I´m not usually so excited about fruit but when ones diet is consisting mostly of pizza, pasta, ice cream and chocolate... (not complaining) some fresh fruit is good for the soul!

Then we wandered down into a magical forest. A whole garden devoted to the worship of GNOMES! They were everywhere in all sizes and each had a different fun fact about the life of these sweet short people with funky hats. My favorite part was a box where you wrote a wish and inserted it, only then to trust the gnomes would work night and day until it came true. I certainly hope so...

After that we continued down the path and realized the only way to get to the bottom was by TOBOGGANING! No snow, just a small piece of plastic with a "break" and down a big slide you go!

Best 6 dollars spent thus far. I think I´ll try the whole ¨let the world work it out approach¨a little more often. Who can top gnomes and big slides?

To continue along our delicious day we went back to our favorite pasta place in town and I kid you not I got the most incredible cannelloni pasta that was so pleasurable it must have been a cardinal sin to throw any away- so i didn't. I savored every last drop. Mmmm...

Our hostel is currently made up of a huge vibrant crowd of young travelers who want to have fun. So that night we went out to a club with free pizza and crazy drinks. Lemon Champ anyone? Lemon ice cream with Champagne...Wow. Pizza followed by drinks followed by dancing dancing and dancing. Not once did I feel in danger or did I have a stranger get too close for comfort. Our group in total was beautiful and diverse made up of 16 people from 16 to 41 years old to homelands of USA, Israel, Argentina and more. Great way to top off our final night in this incredible town.

One day I will return again.

PS; I have this great obsession with "luna" and today I met a dog named luna...

Monday, January 24, 2011

la vida es bella

Wow. Where to begin? Maybe right where I left off...
Our first day was spent re-adjusting to a new continent by exploring a small part of Buenos Aires. Katie and I wandered the streets and soon began to walk like the locals. The cars wait for us, we do not wait for a "walk" sign, you just wander into the street when your ready to cross, similarly no seat belts are worn, and if so it is just for style. Porteños are very stylish.

That night I kid you not, we walked around the corner of our hotel to fall upon (perhaps the only) entirely vegetarian and organic restaurant in BA. Mmmmm.... a HUGE fresh salad with all the colors of the rainbow, wild fruit juice, and vegetable curry. Not your average meal for argentina but just the comfort and soothing flavors we desired. After we did as they do and headed to the heladeria! Our first ice cream in Argentina and those guide books are not kidding- this is the best. Fresh, smooth, creamy, sweet, decadent...

Jan 21
One 20 hour bus ride yesterday and aloha Puerto Madryn! Three words: Flat, Hot, and Animals. We spent three days at a beautiful hostel called La Tosca that felt so much like a family welcoming us into their home.

That day we hit it off and went snorkeling with Sea Lions! There was at least 20 sea lions playing with Katie and I literally swimming along side me and play biting me! A little frightened at first by these creatures just as big as I, but then the look in their eyes as they stared at me was pure joy and curiosity. What an experience.

We closed the night off by going to our first discoteca! The locals usually go out around 3am and stay till about 6am and if it is a really wild night, they are known to go to after parties that could last till 2pm! Since we are new at all this, we went out early and came home by 3pm...I am sure we will improve with time :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

¡Hola Buenos Aires!

I have arrived. Safe and sound today Wednesday January 19 at 10:37am. The city welcomed me with a rain and thunder storm (special I think, seeing as it has been blazing in the upper 80s here recently) and I welcomed the city with flight fever: a dizzy mind, oily hair and a tummy craving some food made with love.

Luis (a friend of a friend) is "el mejor taxista en todo el mundo" and greeted Katie and I at the terminal with  wide arms for a big hug and a happy voice that kept saying "Muy Bien! Muy Bien!" Back up... Who is Katie? Katie is a fellow UCSB student who is doing the same Language and Culture program as me and also has a burning heart for travel. We met each other briefly a few months ago, both expressed an interest in heading to Argentina before the actual program start date (February 1st) and decided the other had good vibes so yeah, I'm down to travel with a brand new friend. Gives us plenty of time to get to know eachother :)
HERE WE ARE! She is a wonderful traveling partner: positive, go with the flow, adventurous, responsible, smart and also... ella es una vegetariana también! Makes me feel a little less like a fool traveling to the meat capital of the world when I have a friend who won't be distracted by all the asados!

All in all today is DAY ONE. Katie said it perfectly "everything is a challenge." And it is.
From retrieving your luggage with a broken handle, your backpacking backpack with a missing pole, pushing the elevator button, trying to find a store who will break your 100 peso bill, not stepping in dog treasures on the street, finding your way back to the hotel with no street signs, realizing I'm not in Kansas anymore and shouldn't look each person in the eye and say "Hola!" with a big giddy smile, to simply crossing the street and most basically: talking to people.

But that is also why I am here: to be challenged, figure it out, grow stronger, seek adventure and embrace in each opportunity to live life. This is part of the adventure. It's a wild time of emotional, physical, and mental transitioning, but I feel that soon enough Argentina will begin to feel like home too.  Leaving home I felt pretty ready for this, now I realize this is a whole new world and all I need is hard work,lots of love and a little faith that it will all work out as it should.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's the final COUNTDOWN...

I leave the country in 8 days for Buenos Aires, Argentina. I will be there for 7 months. Part of me feels like nothing is changing and the other part, well the other part knows that EVERYTHING is changing.
With that said I am so very excited for the many adventures, joys and lessons that await for me 6,170 miles away. I came to terms with the realization that I simply need to fully live and enjoy these last few days I have at home. Yes, I could have studied more Argentine history, memorized more spanish vocabulary and ordered the Backpacker’s Guide to the Galaxy but… I didn’t. And that is just fine.
Like anything in life, we can ALWAYS be more prepared, but sometimes the best times come when we just trust and LIVE. Go with the flow and allow yourself to be One and be affected. Also, it is comforting to know I would survive and be perfectly happy if I hopped on a plane today with absolutely nothing other than some cash and a genuine smile. Everything else is extra and will make my stay all the more comfortable.
I love home and I know I will love being away from home as well. It is a different chapter in my life and being in a new environment, experiencing new challenges will open up my eyes to a new way of Living Life. And a new side of Kyria as well.
Buena Suerte.