I’m listening to Kate Bush’s new album 50 Words for Snow and I’m really getting into it. Misty, the albums third track, is a song about a woman who makes love to a snowman. Classic. But this video is a 2 minute 33 second animation segment for the first single, Wild Man.
Archive for November, 2011
Living in Argentina and being Canadian I’m lucky. Both countries support marriage equality and gay people are afforded equal rights. The way it should be.
This is not the case in countries across the world, including Australia and America where homosexuals must fight for legal inclusion. Let’s remember that it was only five years ago that George W. Bush was going to legalize discrimination by amending the American constitution to ensure that gays were forbidden from marrying and adopting children. A case for inequality would have been written into the constitution. A first, in American history.
That is how deep rooted hatred is for homosexuals in a country that loudly proclaims each of its citizens is born equal. Unless you happen to be gay. In the United States, gays are not permitted to visit their dying partners in the hospital because they are not considered family. A country fraught with contradictions indeed.
America may not be the civil rights leader it thinks it is but it can use some support from commercials like this to embrace equal rights for everyone.
I have no idea what the gay lifestyle is, but I can tell you one thing: It looks just as boring as the straight one.
When I meet people I find interesting I want to know everything about them. What their daily routine is, who their friends are, where they went to school, their favourite vacation destinations, etc. It doesn’t occur to me that most people would find all this boring, but there is such purpose and beauty in the tiny mundane tasks we carry out everyday that shape our personalities and make us unique.
It’s fascinating how uniform the human species is. Unfortunately too often it’s our differences that set us apart. I’ve always found the diversity of Earth attractive, an energy rich with colour.
There are times where I wish I could experience more, know more people, communicate more effectively, but my ageing body prevents me from escape. One day, when I have no choice but to leave it, I hope to learn the colours of Africa, to transform myself into the spirit of a Cheetah or Lion, or whatever.
To gain wisdom from a creature unlike a person is divine.
Our bodies limit us, but our minds are free to dream.
I have read almost everything that Margaret Atwood has written. These days I’m interested in her short story collections, having begun reading Bluebeard’s Egg I marvel at the intricate tales she has woven within its pages.
Atwood has been lauded enough, and there are many young writers in Canada today who require attention; I will not argue, like many of my peers, that there is currently a black hole of talent, because that is simply not true. If you look for talent, you will find it.
What Atwood demonstrates when I read an opening line of a story is the lost art of dry humour. In her body of work that spans almost five decades, she masterfully parallels wit with prophecy, eloquently displayed in her dystopian novels The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood. As she ages, her work progresses to other-worldly realms.
In Bluebeard’s Egg lies a short story called Betty, that reminds me why I love reading. Betty, observed by the young narrator, is a meek, sweet, unthreatening woman. In less than 30 pages Betty transgressed from a wife, to a divorceé to a singleton, to a woman dead from brain cancer.
What Atwood did was make Betty believable, in part because we have all known a woman like her. For me it was Lorraine, my mother’s best friend who I remember fondly, in spite of her many forgivable flaws.
But it’s not just a familiar character, it’s the gentleness of Atwood’s pen, the unflinching attention to detail and the unsentimental humanity of her prose that sets her a part from her contemporaries. She approaches her world with intricate observation, whether good or bad she reserves judgment.
Reading a good story is as comforting as cuddling up on the couch during a rainstorm and enjoying your favourite pinot noir.
It is, I’m telling you, it is!
Up until Friday I managed to escape Plaza Dorrego, a major tourist attraction in San Telmo. In the 19th Century, San Telmo was the main residential barrio in Buenos Aires, with Plaza Dorrego serving as its centre piece.
Nowadays it’s full of coffee shops, bars, pubs, and of course, several antique stores. Musicians and dancers frequent the square, and in fact Friday night was my first exposure to the Argentine tango since arriving in Buenos Aires almost three months ago.
To top it all off I had a lovely Egglpant Milanesa. My favourite!
I traveled a total of ten hours to Cariló this weekend. It was long and tiring but eventually worth it. Until recently access to Cariló was strictly controlled by its owner, a wealthy businessman who one day decided to convert the land into a beach town. Today Cariló is publicly accessible and situated in a man-made forest on the atlantic coast of the Province of Buenos Aires.
For those back home in Ontario think of Wasaga Beach. Cariló maintains a lot of pride in it’s clientele. High prices ensure that it attracts only Argentine elite, and expats like myself. Fancy.
The weather was hot and I was able to enjoy some time in the sand and went swimming in the pool at my hotel, Cariló Quimey. I was unable to find a compatriot though; I knew it was unlikely.
The one complaint I have is that it was too loud, although I’m beginning to think that’s what life is like in Buenos Aires in general, inside or outside Capital Federal. Noise pollution often ruins the tranquility of a lot of my adventures. There were many cars on the sandy roads and I would have preferred something more quiet, but overall the experience was worth it.
I highly recommend a summer weekend trip to Cariló.
Taking Line A on the Subte in Buenos Aires is like stepping on to the Orient Express, or as I like to call it, the 19th Century.
Linea A was first opened to the public in 1913, one year before the Titanic sunk off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Since then it has received few upgrades. At the time it was the first underground transportation system in South America and the most comfortable and modern.
Today it’s like taking a ride of death through Buenos Aires; there is nothing safe or comfortable about it. When the train reaches one of its 16 stations, passengers must open the doors themselves, and jump as it doesn’t always come to a complete stop.
Porteños refer to Linea A subway cars as vintage; I like to call them dangerous.
Remember about a month ago when I was complaining that I couldn’t find a good barber in Buenos Aires? I even contacted this man, an expat from America, who wrote a blog post about his haircut misadventures in the Paris of South America. I have yet to meet an expat who hasn’t a haircut horror story to share with me.
Sometimes I think that Buenos Aires is where good taste goes to die. Here’s why:
1. Facial piercings. There are more people per capita with bad facial piercings in Buenos Aires, than anywhere I have ever visited. It’s a rampant epidemic. I don’t get how the porteños don’t recognize how stupid they look.
2. Denim on denim. Argentines love denim. It is not uncommon to see a porteño man wearing, in combination, denim jeans, with a denim jacket and a denim collared shirt. They fucking love it. I don’t know why, perhaps denim is cheaper to own or maybe denim represents one’s higher socio-economic status? I have no freakin’ idea. All I know is that it’s gross.
3. Warts. A lot of people here have warts. On their fingers, on their chest, on their face, and I’m certain, based on their sexual proclivities, on their genitals. I don’t know why it is. The water? I don’t get it. One day I was on the subte and everyone in my car had a wart. It was the freakiest thing I have ever experienced in my whole life.
4. Brain viruses. Every porteño I know has a friend who has been hospitalized because they contracted a brain virus. Granted this has nothing to do with bad taste, but I wanted to bring it to the attention of my readers in the event that you never hear from me again. I may have contracted one of these mutant viruses and am in a coma in a shitty public hospital.
5. BAD HAIR. The mullet is alive and well in Buenos Aires. The most coveted hairstyle is the mullet with dreads. When you find someone with multiple warts, who has a mullet with dreads, wearing nothing but denim, you have achieved the trifecta and are free to return home to your native country. If they also have facial piercings and collapse in front of you from a brain virus, I would suggest you commit suicide. You’ve experienced all you need to in this life. You will be rewarded in heaven.
So I’m rambling. The good news is that I found a good barber. His name is Federico and he works at Style Haircuts in Barrio Norte. You should call and make an appointment first though as he’s very popular and, entirely unrelated, not too bad to look at.
1. Take Subte D and get off in Callao Station.
2. Walk from Callao to Santa Fe Av.
3. Turn right from Santa Fe Av and keep walking until you reach Rodriguez Peña
4. Make a left on Rodriguez Peña and Spray is on your left (I think)
What I love about Federico is that he can understand English but refuses to speak it. Last night we had a lovely conversation in Spanglish. What I gathered was that he thinks he’s a magician, and compared himself to David Copperfield. Whatever. I just smiled and nodded and every now and again would say “dale” which means “okay” in Spanish.
That’s all folks!
I wrote a blog post about being grateful earlier this week. I recently found this video on Keith’s Twitter page and I’m sharing it here for everyone to watch.