Friday, February 29, 2008

South America 2008 #4

Cody in South America Telling Stories (2/29/08):

hello everybody,

i guess its been a while since i've written you all... i think i was in rosario, argentina last. well.... ive got quite the buildup of stories since then, but sadly none of them are of me eating any more pig colon.

first of all, for those of you who dont like reading, here is a link to my recent pictures:
and for those of you who wanna know a few stories behind them, read this:

i left that town rosario for another one in the middle of argentina called cordoba (yes, like my town in spain!) and i really liked it. i dont know why, it was pretty similar to rosario... ie not a ton of things to actually go do, but just a cool place to be and hang out. unfortunately, we stayed in this hostel that was infested with extremely stupid australian guys. they slept about 3 hours a day, then woke up and got drunk while watching movies, then stayed drunk the rest of the day, while taking illicit drugs every so often (although sometimes hot dogs would suffice if they couldnt find any), and then finally would leave around 2 AM. unfortunately, theyd come back around 5 and stay awake til about noon so we didnt sleep much either. we saw a really cool tango show there, and also amazed some of the locals with our frisbee skills again. we spent much of the 4 days there trying to enjoy the kilogram of yerba mate that we bought, but could not really get there (its an extremely strong and bitter tea like drink). one night, there was a hostel party and afterwards noel, ed, and i went out to a bar/club thing. it was really impossible to talk to people in spanish there, but watching ed get denied by an argentine girl (on my behalf) was well worth the ear splitting madonna remixes.

after cordoba, we headed to buenos aires... which i enjoyed thoroughly. there is a ton of things to do and see in the city, but since its such an international place, we didnt stand out as badly as we did, meaning we no longer got stared at as we walked down the street (which i have grown accustomed to). first off, the steaks were delicious... i was sad that shaunak is vegetarian cause he didnt get the wonderful explosion of flavor that we got. we did some touristy things there, but one of the highlights of the city was an empanada eating contest between noel and i. we decided one evening in a park that 30 empanadas each would be a decent goal over the span of an hour... but we were wrong. when we actually went and bought 60 empanadas, the bags were really heavy and we realized it was gonna be pretty impossible and how stupid we were for actually trying to go through with it. we also kind of changed it from a contest to a challenge against ourselves... anyways, we took our seats on the floor of our hostel room, and started chowing down. we kept pace with each other til about 10, at which point we were absolutely sure we were not going to get to 30. i decided i didnt want to be super uncomfortable for the rest of the night, (like that time where i accidentally ate a kilogram of pasta in croatia) so i stopped at 12 which was plenty. noel on the other hand... he went big. or, he manned up, as he likes to put it. he ate 18, and was rolling around on the floor in agony by the last one. probably not our best moments in life. a few days later we went to a soccer match at the home stadium of the boca juniors from buenos aires. supposedly, theyve got the rowdiest fans down here, but it didnt seem too bad to me, but maybe cause their team won 4-0 and everybody was happy.

aside from that, we played some ultimate frisbee with the argentine team twice there too. one day was just for some random tv segment and since the 4 of us were the best players there, they had us layout a whole bunch and stuff... so if youre in south america in a few months, try to catch it on fox vida or soemthing. the 2nd time we played with them was more fun... but they were so unorganized that we found it difficult for us to actually play well. it was cool either way, we taught some of them some new throws, and as always the ultimate frisbee community was really friendly.

after buenos aires, we headed down to the southernmost city in the world, ushuaia, argentina. it was kinda touristy, but really pretty. the closest ill be to antarctica without actually going there i guess. i went scuba diving in the freezing cold water there, and saw a whole bunch of king crabs and other weird cold sealife doing things down there. i think my favorite was actually a giant snail... imagine a garden snail like a foot long creeping around in 40 something degree water. i also went hiking and ALLLLmost saw antarctica... but not really. i looked in the direction and just saw ocean and a couple islands. its like 600 miles from there so there was no way that i was gonna actually see it. curvature of the earth plays a BIIIIIIIG effect in that whole thing. we also took a boat to a pinguinera which is spanish for penguin rookery. we watched the penguins do their thing... which was waddle, swim, squawk, and lie on their bellies... it was pretty awesome actually, they are really awkward walkers. look at my pictures.

oh. this is great. i am currently in this town with not much to do, waiting to take my flight outta here and I JUST REALIZED IT ISNT TIL TOMORROW!!! i guess ill put extra pictures up with my extra 24 hours here.

anyways, from ushuaia, we crossed into chile and went to torres del paine national park, where we did a 50 mile backpacking trip through the park. its a really beautiful place, home to some amazing rock towers. we didnt have the greatest weather, but it was superbien nonethless... and i wish i had spent my newly discovered "extra day" there rather than here. check out my pictures for a visual description of the park. we met some pretty cool people in the 5 days that we were hiking, and a few of them live in santiago and might hang out with us there.

thats about it... i guess ill go book my room again tonight at the hostel owned by the oregonian guy who will let us borrow anything if we buy him a beer (i have yet to buy him one, hah!). maybe ill go get a six pack and see if hell trade me for a bed tonight. if not, then i guess i could drink away my woes and just watch one of the many vhs tapes theyve got in stock here.

anyways, i hope all is well back home... write me and ill write back if you want


PS: i am thinking about staying down here in south america for the next 3 to 6 months to learn spanish better... and i gotta decide within the next few days. if any of you have any advice about where to go or anything like that, it all would help. seeya.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

South America 2008 #3

Photos and Some Other Stuff (2/6/08):

hey all,

well, i finally posted some photos here. if you click on slideshow, its prettier. also, you can push the little i on the photo to see the description of where or what it is.

since i left brazil, i met up with my friends Ed (biclops), Shaunak (sideshow), and Noel (kobe) in Montevideo, Uruguay while sipping on banana juice on the corner of avenida 18 de julio and concepcion. it was too easy. on our first day there, there was an epic 6 hour long parade in the street for carnival with a ton of crazy bands, costumes, dancers, and drummers. we were all jetlagged a bit from our voyage to the city (them from LA and me from Brazil)... but we managed to stay out the whole time and not really understand much of it.

From there, we went out to a beach town on the coast, where there was an ocean of brown water... mmmmmm.. but we decided to embrace the weird looking water and swim. that was about a week and a half ago and im still alive, so that makes me happy. we mostly just got caught up with our sleep and lougning there for a few days.

after that, we went back to montevideo to see more of the city, and the highlight of that trip was a soccer game. we saw the biggest match in the country between division 1 teams... they were rivals from the same city, so there was lots of passion (swearing) in the stands. before the game even started fireworks, dynamite, toilet paper, and water bottles were launched from the stands.

after that, we headed out to a little colonial town from the colonial era called colonia. its colonious to the maxxx. its actually really nice there. along with montevideo, we met lots of other foreigners (but only a couple united statesians) there, and had fun hanging out with all them. we taught an irish girl what a n00b is, and we also met a girl who is roommates with the ex captian of the UCSD womens ultimate frisbee team, who ed knows apparently. small world. one day we rented a little golf cart and took it really far away... probably outside of our boundaries, but we got to explore quite a bit of the city. we got some pretty strange looks though when 4 out of place guys cruised by on a little golf cart.

we passed some time in a few smaller towns, which was a lot of "why are you here" looks, but the people were actually really nice once we would talk to them. actually... AHEM, being the most experienced with spanish out of the four of us, i am the usual nominee for figuring everything out when it involves talking to people, so ive gotten some extra practice. shaunak and ed took high school spanish, so they can say basic things... but understand less when people speak to them. i can usually understand half the people here, its a weird accent.

another big highlight of the trip thus far has been the carnival parade we saw in gualeguaychu, argentina. there were some pretty big floats, and lots of scantily clad women (and less notably, men) dancing around in the corsodormo for like 4 hours... it was really fun. shaunak and i snuck into the front row at one point, so we got to get some prime seats. after the last set of drummers, the crowd piled into the street and we all followed singing about some political thing thats going on with uruguay about a paper factory polluting their river. i met 3 guys then... one from italy, one from switzerland, and one from buenos aires, and they really liked me cause i said id email them a picture i took of them with one of the dancers, so they kind of adopted me as theirs... buying me drinks and telling me theyd give me a ride to this club where the italian had 17 gorgeous yoga instructors waiting for us. so ed and i ended up hanging out with them for a while and ended up goign to that place which was dark, crowded, and 6 am so we didnt stay long.

the next day, we were playing frisbee near the river, and everybody was amazed with the things we could do with it. one group of people started talking to us about it, and we let them play with us. lucas threw it in the river 2 times. they were really friendly, and called their friend to bring a guitar there so ed could play us some songs... he did, along with some mate (this drink that theyre obsessed with... kinda like tea). so, we sat around with them for like 4 hours and we might see them in a few weeks in buenos aires.

and now im in rosario. its quaint.

hope everyone is doing stupendously,