Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Restored Democracy in Honduras?

Well hot damn. After months of shenanigans (including the take over of the Brazilian Embassy and making it a camp ground), it appears that the Honduras situation may be soon resolved.  Don't get too excited, this only refers to a "unified text" that has been reviewed by both Zelaya and Micheletti, but not approved by either party. 
This is hopeful however, as this is the closest brokered agreement that has not set either side stomping off like two year olds.

The saga continues...

No more camping for Zelaya

Well hot damn. After months of shenanigans (including the take over of the Brazilian Embassy and making it a camp ground), it appears that the Honduras situation may be soon resolved.  Don't get too excited, this only refers to a "unified text" that has been reviewed by both Zelaya and Micheletti, but not approved by either party.  This is hopeful however, as this is the closest brokered agreement that has not set either side stomping off like two year olds.

The saga continues...

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Despite all the travel that I'm doing I am actually here to work. I'm working in the Political Section and they are one of the more "intense" sections of the embassy...meaning they always work and never talk. What fun. Unlike the Hill, I don't feel like I'm getting to do anything ground-breaking or exciting or independent, but I'm hoping that this is just bad intern luck and not indicative of my future...remember I owe the U.S. Government 3 years of my life after graduation. I'm thinking at this rate to just be happy, do a consular tour, pick a great location, and call it a day. The consular section is one of the more social areas of the embassy and they work from 8 and leave promptly at 5. I like that. Especially when you consider that I left work at 7:30 one night. No. I mean maybe I'm not cut out for work in general, I think I'm too rebellious, maybe I should start my own business or something. Everyone I work with pretty much keeps to themselves...until they want me to do something...and most of the time that something is something that insults my $60,000 (and counting) GWU education and debt. Oh well, I pass my days being their monkey and wondering how quickly three years can actually pass so that I can start my life an my family...for real.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend at Foz do Iguaçu and Cataratas de Iguazu

So, after a rough period of adjustment, living at a friends house for a week because I thought I was going to crack living in the creepy house in the suburbs, moving into our new sweet and amazing apartment that we've been moved in, and a long week at work I embarked on my first side trip: Iguazu Falls. You've seen it in movies, you know the Jesuits were there, and you know its somewhere in South America...but I went and it was amazing.

I left smoggy, rude Buenos Aires at 11:30 AM on Saturday morning and arrived in the tropical beauty that is Misiones, the town that is responsible for the holding of the treasure that is Iguazu :) At the airport, our driver (yes, driver) Hugo greeted us with a smirk and a printed sign with our names on it (very professional for Argentina) and we were off to our hostel, Los Troncos. Troncos is HANDS DOWN the best hostel I have ever stayed at. Our room and a mini bar, 3 beds one the lower level, and a full size bed and balcony on the upper level--the room was loft style and amazing. In DC it could have easily been an apartment that went for 3 grand, easily. There was all this exposed brick, polished cement, and wood...very natural yet modern. The hostel owner Sofie spoke English but respected my request to only speak in Spanish, needless to say I got a lot of practice speaking this weekend, something that was long overdue. We were only at the hostel long enough to drop our stuff and jump back in the car with Hugo, because we were off to Brazil. Yes, Brazil. About 20 minutes later, we arrived at Foz do Iguaçu. The Brazilian side of the falls was panaoramic, and its what you think about when you think about the falls. This side does seem a bit far away, and gives the illusion that the falls are smaller than they are...this is an illusion. I found out that this was an illusion on Sunday when we say the Argentine side, but more on that later. Anyhow, in addition to the amazing views, the Brazil side also offered some shopping, friendliness, and diversity...things lacked by its western neighbor. People were coming up to me speaking in Portuguese, I was flattered; better than people walking up to me speaking English...which just annoys me. Hugo picked us up (late) from the Foz do Iguaçu and back into Argentina we went :) Upon returning to our hostel, we ordered food and were treated to capirhinas by Sofie (the hostel owner). Our food came, it was okay, and then we went to bed...early, earliest I've gone to bed here actually...I mean we did have a big day ahead :)

Sunday morning, peaceful, tranquil Sunday morning. I woke up earlier than everyone else and took that opportunity to just enjoy being with myself and not worrying (a rarity for me). I had a cafecito and medialuna, read the paper, dreamed about travelling to Brazil, and thought about how beautiful Misiones is compared to Buenos Aires and how much nicer and simplier and less fake the people are in Misiones compared to the "Paris of South America." Oh, another plus of Misiones...I didn't spend my days walking with my head down to avoid dog sh*t. After breakfast, dos besos from Sofie, and a new confidence in my Spanish we went to Las Cataratas de Iguazu...aka the Argentine side, which was a different and even more amazing experience.

Unlike the Brazil side, the Argentine side gets you close enough to drink the water, if you so choose. I mean really, there are cat walks across freaking waterfalls and boat rides into them...yes, and I did it. Video and photo evidence to come. But yeah, what looked like a trickle in Brazil was a thunderous roar from the Argentine side. This is the Iguazu I expected to see. I hiked. I hiked all freaking day, lower and upper circuit. I got wet, soaking wet in a boat the drove me UNDER a waterfall, the second largest one to be exact. I'm happy it didn't take us under the largest one (the Devil's throat) as that would have surely meant dying. We did however get SUPER close. Wet, refreshed, quenched of thirst, and happy to be alive I kept walking, saw a toucan, walked some more and saw honeymooners, walked even more and realized I'm walking in the jungle--how freaking cool is this?! To end my amazing day I had an amazing meal in the park...full of blood sausage (which I think I kind of like?), steak, veggies, and yup, wine. On my way out I bought some cool gifts from some Guarani Indians, which I thought was cool since Argentina, according to them "doesn't have an indigenous population." Hugo, was on time to pick us up and take us to the airport and when he dropped us off it was like saying bye to an old friend. That is how warm he and Sofie were to us. Dos besos, chao. He said to come back, I told him I would, its a small world, and I never realized exactly HOW small it was until I started traveling. So cuatro besos from dos personas that I hope to see, por nuevo.

The airport is tiny, everyone in there is either coming or going to the falls. On the plane I finally had time to reflect, enjoy the sunset, wonder how life is sweet, and how small you are in the big picture. Ipod in, eyes closed, thoughts racing. I felt like I needed a release and the journal just wasn't cutting it, so I think I'm going to buy some paints tomorrow and see if I can channel all of this new found energy. But, that's all for now :) I will soon write about work now that I've had my first real week but I just had to get all of this out first. Un beso!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The most amazing 20 pesos I have spent yet...

I spent 13 pesos on fruits and vegetables...this gringa needs her healthy food. Let me break this down for you. For 13 glorious pesos I purchased:
1 Pear
1 Tomato
1 Avocado
1 Tangarine
1 Lemon
3 bananas
Let me take it further. Today, according to, 13 Pesos is equal to 3.47. For a paltry 3 dollars I am in verdura paradise, in fact as I type this entry I am kicking myself for not buying a few more pears, I've already devoured this one...the lady did tell me they were muy rica, always listen when they tell you something is muy rica, they're right.

As for the other 7 pesos, I bought a Mini Guia. Now for all you extranjeros, a Mini Guia is my savior, it is my primitive GPS system for Buenos Aires and each of its is my Argentine Anado (related to my American Anado...thats my GPS for those lost right now). Anyhow, in this tiny pocket sized booklet are maps, metro lines and schedules, train routes and schedules, Colectivo (thats what they call the bus here) schedules and routes. I'm not focused on the schedules because everything is late here. I care about the routes. Since Thursday I've felt like they dropped me off in the middle of no where, which is kind of true. With my amazing mini Guia I have achieved emancipation, when I feel like leaving the house that is.

So there, these have been my most prized 20 pesos spent so far and that was the best pear I've ever eaten. Hands down.

Day One, or two,,,depending on how you look at it.

So this is my second day in Argentina and I have yet to meander out of my nice, quaint, quiet suburb but that will soon change. But first a little update.

Yesterday I arrived at this house that would go for a fortune in the U.S. and is super upper class by Latin American standards. We have 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a maid room, a guest house, a pool, and heated floors so the house is always warm, a rarity in Southern Cone winters. But what did I guess it take a nap. A glorious nap. Then I hijacked some glorious internet, and decided hey, maybe I should eat. So I went to Carrefour. 177 pesos later I only had a handful of items and was confused as to how people around me were spending a mere 40 and 50 pesos, I must learn their secret. I made an Argentine-esque dinner at home of milanesa, pasta, and some kick ass pasta sauce and called it a day with an amazing $3 bottle of Malbec by my side. Yeah, be jealous...that wine was delicious.

Today, I had all intentions of waking up early and heading off for a run then seizing the day and that kind of happened. I woke late (my phone was on silent, so the alarm didn't go off) and was almost deterred to run, but the fact that I've done nothing but eat here lately motivated me to strap on the ipod and put on the running tights. I'm glad I did. On my run, aside from an in traffic marriage proposal, I found the train station, Santa Fe Avenue, which has all the buses, a fruit and veggie stand, and for the bad days that will inevitably come...a chocolatier. So my run paid off and I burned a few calories.

I have the following goals for today/the weekend, I'll keep you posted on their attainment:
1. Buy juice, fruits, and veggies
2. Buy a cellular
3. Find the water front
4. Venture to the microcenter
5. Make a decent dinner under 20 pesos
6. Maybe go to the movies, I'm still so tired from my flight

Next week I think I'll go to Uruguay on Saturday...its like a 50 minute bus ride. Insanity.

Miss you Kiss you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Blogging Blind

Because I feel that paying 7.95 for internet in an international airport is ludicrous, I’m blogging blind (a la Yoani Sanchez’s Generación Y blog…check it out) and will post tomorrow. So despite what the blog says, this entry is for May 27th, my day of departure. How exciting is that?! So, I’m actually amazed by the number of people of color that are in my little terminal area! I think they’re all Brazilian, but whatever…hooray for melanin.

So I find it amusing that my flight had a 17 minute long tarmac wait in COLUMBIA, yes Columbia’s Metropolitan Airport with a whopping 16 gates had me sitting on the grey for 17 minutes waiting for clearance. What a way to start my trip…So on the flight I got an exit row (score! Extra legroom) and no see partner (score! No pointless conversations); the one downside of my journey was the screaming British child behind me who made plan noises the entire 44 minutes of the flight. After arriving in Atlanta, considering I have 2 hours to kill, I have actually walked the concourse instead of taking that metro thing. There’s actually some pretty cool artwork in there…NASA photos of the universe to be exact, a very odd thing to have in the airport but I guess we’re just going for an overall sky theme.

Sidebar: Listening to an Argentine woman ask a Japanese man “Esta chino”…shakes head. I look forward to the political incorrectness of Latin America.

Back to my blog entry, passing through the Concourse there was a ton of troops in uniforms, and I mean a TON…they occupy over half of the concourse. I guess they’re off to you know where as well as Korea, which may be the next “you know where” at the current rate. That depressed me but they’re in my thoughts.

So, what to expect in Argentina. Clearly more fanny packs, bad hair cuts, and puffy pants form judging from my waiting area. And…of course. Conversation, as strangers chat up one another, I’m always amazed by the openness and simultaneous conservatism displayed by Latin Americans. Anyhow, enough blogging. Off to talk to my darling, have a glass of vino tinto, and give one last beso to the U.S. before getting on my flight.