Barack Obama Shirtless Monday, Dec 22 2008 

barack_obama_shirtless

Barack Obama Shirtless

Barack Obama shirtless on vacation in Hawaii.

I just saw this incredible picture on the Huffington Post, courtesy of Bauer-Griffin Online.

The best part is the Huffington Post’s headline:

 

Barack Obama Shirtless

Barack Obama Shirtless

 

O, indeed…that’s what straight women and gay men are saying all over the world after seeing this shirtless Barack Obama picture!  Damn…Michelle Obama is one lucky woman!

Who knew that seeing Barack Obama shirtless would be the highlight of my Christmas week?

Look at that six-pack!!

He’s got two full weeks in Hawaii…let’s hope we can see more of Barack Obama shirtless through the new year — and the next four years!

The Most Argentine Night Ever Friday, Dec 19 2008 

My Sunday night in Buenos Aires was probably the most quintessentially Argentine night of my trip, and it was one of the best nights there.

Because of that, I’m only going to blog about this night in depth.  I’ll skim over everything else lightly.

After a morning (well, in Buenos Aires, the morning begins at noon) shopping and enjoying the market in Plaza Serrano in Palermo Viejo, right down the street from my house.  Later that evening, I hopped down to San Telmo to go see a band called Rosal perform at Bar el Nacional.

Rosal was FANTASTIC.  Two (or three) acoustic guitars, and I LOVE multiple acoustic guitars, and the girl had a wonderful voice.  Here they are:

Louis, my Couchsurfing friend from Chicago, found out about the band and invited us.  Christian, our Couchsurfing friend from Los Angeles, came as well.

Christian (check out his blog, Aimless Wanderers) is traveling around South America for nearly a year.  He had spent time in Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, and is planning to spend more time in Argentina, then Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and I believe Costa Rica, then heading home.

Louis was in Argentina for about a month — he just got back.  He rented a pretty amazing apartment in Palermo SoHo (oh, yeah — and this is weird, but YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF THE BUILDING without a key!!!  FIRE HAZARD!!!) for two weeks, then went down to Bariloche and up to Iguazu Falls before returning to Buenos Aires, then home.

I love these guys.  🙂

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ños there, and that was perfect.

After that, we walked around and decided to go to a parrilla — pronounced pa-REE-sha by Argentines — and sample some legendary steaks.

And wow, was that ever a meal.

We started out with sausages — Christian looks eager to dig in — salads and prosciutto.

And some FANTASTIC papas fritas!

Poor Louis was fighting off a bout of food poisoning.  He ate as much as he could — it was all about the experience, he said.

Christian, on the other hand, spent most of the meal like this.

I believe that’s Christian’s pork.  Some of the steaks are so tender, they CARVE them with a SPOON.

Our delicious spread.  That’s my filet in the front.  (Yeah, the vegetarianism kind of went out the window in the name of experiencing Buenos Aires to the fullest.)  What I love — that was one of the most expensive cuts on the menu, and it cost about $15.00.

Self-portrait!  Christian’s got a better one…

We also enjoyed a bottle of Malbec.  It was lovely.

Awww.  Poor Louis.  I felt so bad for him…he wanted to enjoy the food so much…

After dinner, I grabbed a cab back to Palermo Viejo.  (30-minute cab — $10.00.  Love it.)  And sadly, I had to say goodbye to Louis, who was leaving for Bariloche.  Christian and I made plans to meet up the next day.

After getting back to the hostel, a group of backpackers, including Sarah from Boston (she used to live in Southie!) decided to go out.  I thought we were going to a club.

We ended up at a tango milonga!

Now, this is the most fascinating people-watching I have ever seen.  Dozens of couples fill the dance floor.  The men are in jeans and button-downs of all levels of style.  The women wear everything from leggings to short denim skirts to casual dresses — but all of them wear gorgeous tango shoes.

Everyone dances perfectly, intricately, not missing a beat.

The most fascinating thing is that everybody who dances like this appears to be so passionately connected, so deeply in love.  And then, often, they switch partners.  And it begins all over again.

What a great night — it was truly unforgettable.

It’s ironic, though, that I glorify this particular night, considering that I missed the ONE thing I hoped not to miss and tried not to miss, but missed anyway.

Hmm.  How do I put this?

Of all the lessons I learned from my college creative writing advisor, Dr. White, one stands out the most: “Just because it happened that way, it doesn’t mean it makes good fiction.”

But sometimes, the opposite happens.

Things happen to you in life that you don’t expect.  Things that hurt badly.  But you know what?  This experience would make FANTASTIC fiction.

And I lived that.

God, that’s pretty fucking poetic.

Cementerio de la Recoleta Thursday, Dec 18 2008 

It’s the #1 tourist attraction in Buenos Aires — and Cementerio de la Recoleta, or Recoleta Cemetery, is where anyone who’s anyone in Buenos Aires rests for eternity.

Evita is here.  So is every Alvear you can imagine.

I like cemeteries.  Perhaps it’s a bit macabre, but I’ve always felt a strange connection with them.  To me, they’re fascinating.

And when you come to a cemetery as ornate as Recoleta, even if you’ve never held a camera in your life, you instantly become a master photographer.

Here are my favorite pictures:

This is so sad — a little girl who died…

…but it wasn’t nearly as sad as this heartbreaking poem, in Italian, that her father wrote for her, crying, “Why, why, why?” at the end.

Evita’s sarcophagus.

The whole time I was there, I kept thinking about how much my photographer friends Kelly and James would love this place.  It casts a spell over you.

Stories like this are why I need to stop drinking. Monday, Dec 15 2008 

This story is so weird…

Well, yesterday, my friend Josh and I went to go see The Slutcracker in Somerville.  It’s a burlesque version of The Nutcracker, and it was fantastic.  It used the same music, but had a different, much more sexual storyline.

Here are just a few tidbits:

  • Drosselmeyer is an eccentric old lady, and instead of a nutcracker, she gives Clara a dildo.
  • Instead of a Christmas tree growing, a giant red-and-white-striped peen appears.  Predictably, Clara licks it nonstop, and it then shoots snow out of it.
  • The Russian dance is done by three dominatrices with whips.
  • There is an AWESOME pole dance.
  • The pasties!  The pasties!

After the show, we had some Indian food and martinis at Diva (the show was in my former ‘hood of Davis Square in Somerville), then grabbed one of those beer-slash-energy drinks from the liquor store (AND some beef jerky — goodbye, vegetarianism for us both!), then hopped on the T to go back downtown.

We went to one of my favorite bars in the world, and due to the nature of this story, I won’t be revealing the name of it…but if you live in Boston or know me well, you can probably guess.

At the bar, which is hopping on Sundays, we each grabbed a frozen Bellini and hung out.  Before long, one of the bartenders came up to us and asked us how we were, started chatting.  We talked for a few minutes and he went back to the bar.  Josh and I looked at each other.

“Do you know him?” I asked.

“No.  That was kind of weird — he acted like we were friends.”

“I know!”

After a bit, I went up to get the second round.  I ordered them from the same bartender who came to chat us up earlier.  Expecting to pay well over 10 bucks a pop, I took out my wallet.

“No, it’s all set,” he said with a grin.

“Really?” I was dumbfounded.

“Yeah.  Enjoy them.”

I tipped him and went back to Josh.  “Um, he gave these to us for free!” I crowed.  “I LOVE free drinks!  How awesome is that?”

“That was your cue to introduce yourself,” Josh chided me.  “He’s straight.”

“Are you kidding me?” At that bar, most of the bartenders are gay.  And hott.  But gay.

“No.”  Josh nodded at the guy.  “That guy’s definitely straight.”

Well, after that, we drank our Bellinis a bit faster than usual.  I then went up to the bar again.

“Two more, please,” I said to my bartender with a smile.  “I’m Kate, by the way.”

“I know,” he said.  “We danced together for about three hours at [our mutual friend]’s birthday party.”

I NEARLY DIED RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

Yes, I remembered this guy.  And maybe it wasn’t for three hours, but boy, did I do a lot of dancing with him at a club downtown.  And yes, I was hammered out of my mind that night.  I don’t usually get that bad, but that night, I had been on a date and had gone through a lot of wine before even arriving at the party.  The birthday became as muddled as the mojitos we were drinking — one of my very few blackout nights of recent memory.

Oh, God — yes, I remembered this guy.

You think that that would be enough of a lesson to stop drinking then and there.  Well, I was with JOSH.  Do you know what happens when I go out with Josh?

Here are three typical nights out for me and Josh:

  • The first time I meet him (the weekend before I started at my current job, where he also works), I go to a party in Jamaica Plain expecting to have one drink and drive home.  I end up playing (and winning) Beirut with him for hours before passing out in a recliner, bag of chips on my lap.  I wake up next to Josh on the couch with a giant picture of my ex’s naked centerfold in Playgirl (seriously) on the laptop.  In a house full of lesbians.
  • After deciding to go out for a veggie burger in the Back Bay, we end up drinking for hours, picking up college students and then getting lost in Beacon Hill looking for John Kerry’s house so we can play Ding Dong Ditch on his door.  Thankfully, we’re too drunk to find Louisburg Square and instead go to another bar, getting a pitcher of Sunset Wheat for each of us.
  • When taking out a new coworker for dinner, we end up hopping from bar to bar to bar…and out until 4:00 AM.  On a Tuesday.  On his first week in the office.  On an earlier date, we take out a visiting coworker from our UK office, end up having two oysters and three martinis each for dinner, and I end up inviting the whole bar to “the after-party” at my Somerville apartment.  Nobody came, thank God.

Combine that with free drinks from the bartender all night, and even some free food, and you have a recipe for disaster.  Yep, before long, Josh and I have had six Bellinis — EACH.  I’m chatting up the whole bar and telling stories that would make the cast of The Slutcracker blush.

And even after all that, I get a text message from the bartender late that night, telling me he’ll call me tomorrow.  (Apparently, I put myself in his phone as “Kate McIS SO HOT”.)

And he called me just now.  According to the context of the conversation, we made plans last night to hang out today…yeah, I have no recollection of that.  I told him that I couldn’t believe that he wanted to talk to me, ever, considering that the two times I’ve seen him, I’ve been shitfaced and making an ass out of myself.

But he didn’t care.  He doesn’t care at all.  He wants us to hang out.

The moral of this story is pretty obvious…STOP DRINKING, KATE.  Stop drinking to the point of blacking out.  Stop trying to match Josh drink for drink — he’s a guy, and that’s a contest you can’t win.  Free drinks do not equal a challenge.  Especially when alcoholism and addiction run in your family.

My company party is Friday (Lord, help us all), and I plan to go easy on the drinks there.  It won’t be easy — the venue has FABULOUS cocktails and there will be an open bar.  But it will probably be more entertaining to watch everybody else, and God knows that that’s probably what I need the most right now.

A Buenos Aires Thanksgiving Saturday, Dec 13 2008 

I’ve done Thanksgiving in a few different places — Florida was nice; Florence was AWESOME — but my Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires ranks among the greatest of all time.

Buenos Aires has a great group of Couchsurfers, and two of them, Romi and Belle, put together a great gathering at Romi’s house — which happened to be right in Palermo Viejo, a quick walk from my hostel.  The BA Couchsurfing group always has events going on.

We had dinner, everyone was SO warm and welcoming, I made friends from Argentina, Ecuador, Sweden, Colombia and all over the US (there were three Americans in our group!), we hung out for a while, and we went to a club (at 4:30, which I WISH you could do in Boston!!).

Here are the best pictures:

Andres (Ecuador), Louis (Chicago), Jorge (Colombia), Maxi (Buenos Aires) and Romi’s dog!

Christian (LA), a sunburned Kails and Belle (Buenos Aires)

The beginning of odd pictures with Maxi.

I LOVE THIS PICTURE.  Seaman (Sweden), Belle, me, cruisazy Christian and Romi (Buenos Aires) — I think Romi looks just like Lily Allen.

Seaman, Fanny (France) and Elia (California).

Yeah, I don’t even know…I thought we were taking a normal picture!!!  (I do love this guy.  So crazy.)

Club time!

What a great night.  This evening is testament enough to why you should sign up for couchsurfing, no matter where you’re headed on your next trip!

So, how was Buenos Aires? Saturday, Dec 6 2008 

Buenos Aires was fantastic.

It was so much fun — such a wonderful trip.

I met wonderful people, saw beautiful things — met beautiful people, did wonderful things…it was just such a great time.

It was a microcosm of my life!  This trip had everything — very high highs and very low lows…friendship, parties, some loneliness, awkwardness, romance, triumph, tragedy, wine, affirmations of what I know about myself and so much learning — learning new things about myself.

This trip also made me realize how amazing Couchsurfing is.  I hear it’s stronger in Buenos Aires than many other cities, but WOW!!  I met SO many new friends from there!  I went to dinners, parties, bars, you name it…and that doesn’t even include the time that I spent with people from the hostel and other friends.

There’s very little that I would change.

Wow.  I’m trying to figure out the best way to chronicle the trip on here, since the thought of putting up every picture, or even chronicling each day, is freaking me out already.  It’s that kind of stuff that puts me off blogging in the first place.

But if you want to see the pictures in their entirety, they’re on Facebook.

Get on Couchsurfing!