Friday, March 4, 2011

Que Alivio! Off to The Andes

"Este es que duele." -This is what hurt. I was looking at Sergio, a Pathologist whom just clipped a shark-tooth of an ingrown toe-nail from my big-toe. Oh the relief. Most of you know how odd my feet already appear, add one fully purple big toe-nail and you have some large ugly feet. I was able to comprehend some of what he said, the rest he drew on a piece of paper for me. He pointed to my short too nails and said "este, no- mas larga." I asked if he had ever been to the Andes, and he said no, obviously never having worn ski boots of climbing shoes. I found myself there after a wild-goose chase around my neighborhood, it was only when a women named Helga came to the rescue. Earlier, in the Traumatologico while explaining my situation to the receptionist, Helga spontaneously appeared and saves the day. "I have Pathologist I go to and he is great." She even called him and set up my appointment, what a Goddess! Helga hails from Germany but spent some time in California, and is now retired here. It is small things like these that make so much difference in my day.

Two nights earlier I saw LCD Soundsystem play the best set I have ever heard, hands down. For those that haven't heard them, look them up. "Psychedelic punk" is a category they are placed in, real up beat and very conducive to wiggling. Pre-show I had a set list in mind, and they started it just as I had envisioned it! Dance Yrself Clean started off this Wednesday night and I was maybe 5 rows back right in the middle, taking it all in and loving life. That was their seventh last show. Ever. I had no problem staying close to front and center, what an ideal venue!

More of this city unfolds itself each day. Upon finishing the first month of Intensive Spanish today, some friends and I ventured to Barrio Chino where we found THE market. Peanut butter, coconut milk, Srichacha, quinoa, immaculate baked goods, oh boy! I have been wandering these streets for a month now, each day less is new to me but at the same time I uncover places like this one. I can find my way around by Colectivos now, which is a money-saver. Colectivos are buses that can take you any where in the city, the trick is to use your GuiaT (map) correctly and find the right one. Upon taking one across town to La Boca with my friends Brian and Elaina yesterday, we encountered one of those rides that seems to never end. Traveling on these can prove to be tour all on its own. We caught the ciento-sesenta-ocho, the 168 that would bring us back to Belgrano. Tired from another day we all rode contently, silently pondering the future. Time blended together as we weaved our way through seemingly endless gridlock, towards the blaze of the setting sun. Brian and Elaina end their two-month stay in Buenos Aires today. They are off to Bariloche and then home to the states.

My adventure, on the other hand, has just begun. Tonight I am catching a bus west, to Mendoza, where an Argentinean friend of my friend Peter Ramos is waiting. This is my spring break, and in my stuffed pack is climbing shoes and harness, just enough clothes and full camera gear for 10 days in the Andes! The climbing valley is named Arenales, 130 km south west of Mendoza Capital. Sweet jubilation, mountains here I come!


Ned Gall
El 4 de Marzo, 2011