marzo 26, 2004

Knives (e-mail to Ben)

Hi, Ben -
It was good talking to you the other day when you were at mom's house; sorry I had to run so fast, but having gotten onto Argentine time, I was going to be late for class. All my professors fight hard against "argentine time," saying things like - class starts at 3, at 3! and - let's take a ten minute break; ten minutes isn't half an hour!
Yesterday I went to my politcal parties class and the room wasn't big
enough for everyone registered, so we moved across the street, but then had to find fifteen more chairs, so that whole process took about half an hour or fourty-five minutes of the class. I'm pretty worried about how much reading I have to do for all my classes - about a two hundred photocopied pages per month, per class (4). Truthfully, I should probably be reading right now; probably should have been reading all day and not stayed in bed until almost five! But I don't have class on Fridays, so the incentive just wasn't there.
I hope that your wootz project is going better now, that you've gotten the clay to cooperate better. I'm attaching two pictures I took of a pattern
welded knife at a rodeo in Junin. He also had some made from bicycle
chains and other used metals, but I thought this one looked nicest.
Randy's parents are back in Oak Ridge now and have tons of pictures, and your cigar. When you go to OR, you should look at the Juras' pictures (once they've pared them down to a hundred or so; they took, god, probably thousands of pictures), and the CDs that I sent to our parents. Write to us if you get the urge!!!


marzo 23, 2004

E-mail to Cara

Hey, congrats on making the upside down ! - I still don't know how to do it on a laptop because it doesn't have the extra number pad...
So, clearly, I am checking this email address, but I've been kinda lax about writing the last week because Randy's parents were visiting us. They left this afternoon, and it was very sad. I think some more visitors from the US would cheer me up!
They have TONS of pictures from their trip alone (really, really, lush) and from here. If you come visit us, I promise we'll do cool stuff - just look at their pictures. We went out to awesome restaurants, saw the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, went to Uruguay, shopped till we dropped at the craft and antique fairs, contemplated in Japanese gardens, drank mate in the park, petted feral cats - a good time was had by all. But a good time won't be had by Torpe if you tell her I've been slutty with the homeless kitties.
Oh, yeah
- last night we smoked (mostly) Cuban cigars on our balcony as a
after we got sloshed on $1 wine.
:: Ben - there's a cigar with the Juras' for you. The brand name is
Juwel. It's pure cuban tobacco, but not technically a cuban cigar because they
import the leaves from cuba and are rolled by Argentine cigar-makers. The guy at the
store was telling me they're fourth-generation cigar-rollers, and not
even being a cigar smoker, it was still pretty good to me.
I also sent back CDs of our pictures to my mom and dad so you can see
the parts of our trip down south, except the coolest parts because our
camera had been stolen by then...
Finally, classes started yesterday just as I was really getting the hang of
the months-long vacation. I can understond *most* of what's going on the
lectures and feel pretty good compared to the other international students
(except those damn latinos!) But mostly the students I know are other
international students, mostly from the US. I'm trying to branch out, but I
see how exchange students in the states get sucked into little enclaves of
exchange students. Quick, go now and befriend some foreigners at Tech - they
WILL appreciate it, I promise... But today was only my second day of class.
This morning I had history of Precolombian art. I don't think it will be as
bad as history of craft, or other art history classes because there's not a
slide projector in the room!
Randy says hi as he's on his way to read bilingual ee cummings poetry.
So, I could go on for hours about every little detail of what happens here, because after a couple of months, I'm not at all tired of it and not at all homesick. I'm only sick for a couple of people and Torpe. I have no desire, whatsoever, to have to come back to UT for another full year. But these are the prices we pay to finance more trips overseas!

much love,

marzo 08, 2004

Tango Y Tramites

Hola, todos -
Now that we've been in Bs. As. a couple of weeks, we've picked out some of the choicest meat and chewed some big, bureaucratic gristle. We were lucky enough to get here during the VI Tango festival of Bs As and got to see a free concert, take some lessons, stand in a bunch of lines to get turned away for tickets, saw an incredible musical, and the salon tango championship. The tango finals were awesome - it was like watching 25 tango shows in a row. And Maria Nieves, who is an old, venerated tango star (also in the musical we saw, Tanguera) was there and gave a little free performance. My, god, if only I could be that talented at any age, no to mention 65!

Living in the big city is great in that there's always something to do, and usually something free. What kind of bites is spending two hours a day on the subway/bus, walking 2 or 3 miles in addition and standing in huge lines all the time. Basically, Argentines hail from Italy, which means nothing here works efficiently - or on time - and no one is really concerned about helping you out much. Yesterday on the way to the tango finals, our bus driver just decided to stop the route halfway through. There had been a futbol game in the neighborhood so approximately 60,000 people were trying to get back from that and approximately 10,000 were trying to get to the tango finals. Instead of sending out more buses, their solution was to cut bus service to that part of town entirely. Also, we've learned that if you're involved in a traffic accident, you must PAY THE POLICE to give an incident report - not for a copy, but for the privilege of waiting three hours in a sweaty line to tell your story about being mowed over by a taxi. This didn't happen to us personally, but it was going on while we were at the police station during one of our many hours of errand-running to try to get a bank account.

So, there are also things we love:
- being able to meet an old guy in a park in the middle of the night and having him teach us how to dance Argentine folkloric dance. Then he took us to a folklore show with bands from different parts of the country, shows, and couples of all ages dragging us out on the floor to learn more folkloric dances.
- being the only english-speakers within a ten-mile radius of the folklore show.
- going to a bar at 2 am and seeing five year-olds eating dinner with their parents.
- waking up at 8:30 in the morning and hearing people finally crawling home from the bars.
- buying a decent bottle of wine for less than a dollar.
- seeing no less than five couples making out in the park every time we go.
- huge craft fairs and free museums
- summertime!
- buying two humongous steaks for a dollar
- hanging out on the top of our 8-story apartment building (and not being able to see more than two blocks in any direction)
- also, Randy loved it when we saw a play with naked chicks mud-wrestling. I also thought, 'hey, not bad...'

I (Anna) am looking forward to taking only four classes this semester, and only having one of them per day. One of my fellow students tells me, though, that some of the classes can be from 8-11 at night. I'm hoping to avoid those, especially if it were followed by one the next day from 8-11 in the morning.

We have a lot more to tell you, but it's impossible to condense three dimensions of constantly new stuff into a few email lines. Sorry for the mass email/form letter thing, but if any of you write back, I promise a real letter!

anna (with snide comments from randy in the peanut gallery)