out of the pressure cooker and into the glaciers

Hola todos,

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written last. Even so, this
correspondence will be the abridged version since a) I’m tired
and sleep-deprived due to not having anything resembling a normal
schedule in the past 4 days and b) I’m rather annoyed that my
last attempt at emailing ended in dismal failure after my
connection died one hour into the composition. So now, dear
reader, we must both sigh and wonder at what might have been.
(trust me, it would have been *awesome*).

In any case, Buenos Aires is now but a fading and distant memory.
We spent a few crazy thirty-six hours painting the town red with
our friend from Ft. Collins, Rob Knapik, who is a great guy and
one who makes you think, upon meeting him, “Gee, this fellow is
going to go places. Like jail, perhaps.”

Ha ha! Just kidding of course! Knapik is good people, and is in
Argentina to study cosmic rays in the Mendoza province (and if
you know anything about quirky queerness of quantum physics, you
will not be at all surprised to learn that Mendoza is where all
the Argentinian wine comes from).

We spent a bit sweating on the subway (called Subte) and a few
hours lazing about throwing a disc in the botannical gardens.
After a short siesta we were ready for dinner — at 11:30 pm.

The food situation deserves some discussion. Most Argentines
don’t eat breakfast, have a mid-morning snack of empanadas, eat
lunch around 1 or 2, and then are ready for dinner in the late
evening. Nine pm would be considered an early dinner and 10 seems
to be about the average. Portions are ridiculously Brobdingnagian
in size and seem to be divided equally between actual food and
butter. It’s a coronary surgeon’s delight down here; in short, my
type of folk. Even so, at times it can be a bit much, and this is
coming from a guy who once tried to eat every item on the Wendy’s
value menu in one sitting (and failed in a spectacular shower of
vomit, but that is not the point here).

Regardless, we left the restaurant at one in the morning, bloated
beyond belief, and proceeded directly to a nearby Irish bar with
the intention of stalling for time before heading out to the
discoteques. Unfortunately, it turns out that there have been
several horrible night club incidents where multiple (like 200)
people have died due to lacking fire precautions. Nowadays, all
the discos are closed while the city tries to figure out how to
prevent this from happening anymore (here’s a hint: less
corruption).

Since the discos were closed, the next obvious solution was to
befriend the waiter and get ourselves invited to his apartment
along with all his amigos and continue to dance and drink and
blast ear-shattering music until 6:30 AM until realizing that
taking a flight a mere nine hours later with a hangover would
suck royally. With some reticence, we bade them adieu, and slept
in a ridiculous sweaty pile, three of us on two chiclet-sized
beds pushed together, all with feet hanging off the edge.
Fantastico.

We’re in Calafate now, and leaving tomorrow to hike in el Parque
Nacional Glaciares. Calafate is a lovely town with a dash of
village and a hint of city, and booming like no other.
Construction is everywhere, and every third shop is for the
turistas. Think Aspen or some other idyllic mountain town before
it got infected with Xtreem Capitalism (coming soon to ESPN 4).
Still, I like it better than B.A. The ratio of windstopper fleece
and goretex to leather has increased dramatically, and dazed
wind-burned gringos tottering about with backpacks large enough
in which to smuggle a small Guatemalan family abound. We’ve
embraced the hostel scene, enduring cubic metres of cigarette
smoke and filthy Euros who seem never to have heard of “soap”.
Regardless, it’s a good time had by all, and it wouldn’t be fun
if it were fun all the time.

we’re about to lose the ability of harnessing electrons to do our
cruel and merciless bidding, and thus you shant hear from me for
a while. Until then, yours truly is over and out.

ciao,

/Alex

ps, as always, to get Jules’ side of the story, be sure to check
out the blog at: http://www.chizang.net/alex/blog/