re-entry

Friends, family, other sundry folk —

This email is brought to you by the letters “U”, “S”, and “A”.
That’s right, I’m writing from Stateside right now, having
survived a rather hectic six straight days of travel.

I’d like to write a brilliantly funny and coherent email. Alas,
that’s a bit beyond my mental capacity right now. Plus, I
finished reading Don DeLilo’s “White Noise” during my trip, and
now my brain is polluted with postmodernism. (btw, for those of
you out there looking for a new book to read, I *highly*
recommend it. Hard to describe, but for our generation, think of
a more intellectual version of Seinfeld in book form.)

So, a collection of a few disjointed thoughts is what you get.

First, thanks to all those who replied to my mails (and even more
thanks to those who told me they actually enjoyed them… ;).
Your travelling friends look forward to news from home (and for
those with fragile egos like me, they need to be constantly
reassured that they are missed). You might not get an (immediate)
reply (such is the limited time of a backpacker), but trust me,
they are much appreciated. So keep this thought in mind next time
someone you know embarks on a major journey.

Being home is odd at the moment. Things never really change much,
especially in a short a time as a single month. As I left the
airport today, I was immediately stuck on a traffic jam for 1/2
an hour on I-70. The absurd surreality was delicious, and made
me wonder if I’d just been in a dream for the past month. Only
two days ago, I was in Tierra del Fuego.

From the department of too much information… I had the pleasure
of taking my morning constitutional today on my flight from
Buenos Aires to O’Hare. Of course, in America, we simply toss our
toilet paper into the toilet. This is not the case in Argentina
(indeed, most of South America), where almost all toilets have a
small wastebasket next to the toilet to hold the used TP.
Somehow, watching the poo/tp combination get sucked into oblivion
and knowing that even our airplane toilets are stronger than the
plumbing of an entire *country* made me feel strangely patriotic.
It was all I could do to stop myself from screaming “U-S-A!
U-S-A!”. Trust me, this would not have gone over well at 5 AM on
an international flight. And from the department of *way* TMI, I
was the master of my own domain for an entire month. Beat that.
Seinfeld fans know what I mean. Everyone else will just have to
wonder what the hell I’m talking about.

By this time, Jules should be done with her 36 hour bus ride to
Bariloche. After spending a month in constant contact with a
single person, I can certainly feel a void right now. Let’s all
wish her “buen viaje” and “mucha suerte” in her travels.

Jules — I’ll miss you, kiddo.

Speaking of which, let me put one last plug in for my blog. If
you got added to my email list late in the game, or were left
wanting for more details than I provided and wanted to get Jules’
side of the story (since she did play by play and I was the color
man), you can read the archive of all the mails the two of us
sent back to our respective collective friends:

http://www.chizang.net/alex/blog/archives/cat_patagonia2005.html

I do update the blog on a semi-regular basis, and in the next few
weeks or so, I’ll probably have some more thoughts on the trip
that weren’t worthy enough for mass email.

I’ve been blasting Radiohead throughout my house for the last
hour or so, and am realizing that I’m nattering on. So with that,
I’ll draw to a close. Thanks again for reading along. I hope you
had as much fun reading as I did writing.

This machine will
will not communicate these thoughts
And the strain I am under
Be a world child form a circle before we all go under
And fade out again and fade out again

— from Street Spirit, by Radiohead

signing off,

/Alex