Adios Argentina

Nine weeks ago I arrived in Argentina. The trip I’d been preparing for since February had finally arrived. This country was going to be my home for over two months and I had no idea what to expect. But now I’m on the other side of the journey and all the “what ifs?” and “maybes” have become epic stories that I will get sick of telling and quiet moments I will eventually forget. Thankfully, this blog will do some of the legwork for me on the story telling end of things, not to mention helping preserve the memories I’ll eventually binge drink out of my brain. Anyways, here are my final thoughts on this trip with random ass photos from whatever-the-fuck that I haven’t posted before.

The Good

1. Hands down the best thing about this trip was staying long enough to actually get to know some people. Not just spend one good night with folks I met in a hostel and then going our separate ways, but actually having friends that I felt like I was “hanging out with” and not “getting to know.” Today I even ran into my friend Paula randomly while going to the park to drink mate with my friend Vick and it was the coolest thing ever. Getting to know all the amazing people I now consider friends, but who I didn’t even know existed two months ago, was incredible.

2. Language acquisition is a tricky bitch because no matter how greatly I improve, I am always confronted by how much I don’t know. And so while I still constantly feel frustrated by my inadequate mastery of the Spanish language, I have spent nights in this city talking in Spanish with friends without resorting to English. I have gotten around town, ordered food, asked for directions, given directions, made friends, sworn at cab drivers, and essentially lived in Spanish. Of course, all of that will probably go to seed once I get back but it was awesome while it lasted.

3. I’ve done a ton of awesome unforgettable stuff. Being forced to live in a city where I didn’t know anyone or have any idea what to do forced me to meet a lot of people and do a lot of new things. I’ve hung out in VIP at huge clubs, seen more than half a dozen bands, killed time in parks, cafes, and book stores and just wandered around different neighborhoods. Basically, I’ve spent two months outside my comfort zone and that’s been a really positive thing.

4. On that same note, just being outside of my normal Austin routine made me really excited to get back to it. But now I feel like I have way more purpose and understanding of what I want to do with my time in that city and a greater appreciation of precisely how many things I love about where I live. Fuck, this is getting cheesy. How about some quick bragging and then some complaints?

5. I realized that I kick ass, take names, and am better than 98% of the half-witted goons that go to UT. Okay, that’s an exaggeration (97% maybe?) but I am proud that I am an extremely adventurous person that can show up in a new city, find awesome stuff to do, and make connections like a motherfucker. And I can get way crunk as fuck and party till the break of dawn. I can seize the day and understand that sometimes when you’re so tired you feel nauseous, you just gotta keep partying and drink some wacky 3rd world energy drink because there is way more fun to be had that night.

6. Finally, obviously there are a million great things about Buenos Aires and Argentina. They party late, they keep it chill, they drink mate, they value friendship, they’re super friendly and considerate, the street art is incredible, the food is kind of good sometimes, the croissants are definitely tasty, there are beautiful parks everywhere, and it’s not 100 degrees right now like it is in Austin.

The Bad

1. Being away from any sort of recognizable social circle sucked for me. I felt like I was either sitting inside flatlining with Facebook or downloaded TV shows, or I was out going to a hundo (aka partying hard) and pushing my social skills to their limits. There was no in-between equivalent of passive yet social activities like watching a movie with friends or making dinner with my girlfriend. It was either going hardcore or doing fucking nothing. That got old, especially once my energy reserves for socializing and meeting new folks started running dry and I found myself just absolutely not caring about meeting some new person and remembering their name.

2. The food. It was sometimes good but more than often it sucked. I miss spicy stuff. Also, meat with sauce. I will be eating that real soon. I am probably over empanadas and disgustingly sweet desserts forever. Okay, maybe empanadas I’m over for like three months but dulce de leche can suck it.

3. Boliches and club culture just isn’t my scene. I’m glad I got to experience a different aspect of modern urban life but I’m even more glad that I don’t worry about cologne or VIP or any of that shit in real life. At the end of the day, standing in line for clubs is dumb and being “cool” is more often than not a disguise for being a vapid douche. However Thomas’ DJ sets were amazing and I obviously had no complaints about getting free alcohol while I was in VIP. I guess VIP isn’t the problem, it’s the wanting to be in VIP and the culture that surrounds it.

4. The weed sucked. Hiram Walker and all of the domestic whiskey sucked. Drink prices sucked. However, that’s not exactly a fair statement since living in one of the cheapest booze cities in the States and knowing all the angles really spoils me on drink prices. Not being able to pre-party in a house where I lived also sucked. I’m fine with going out till the break of dawn, but having to wait at home until 1 a.m. to go party, without being able to invite friends over to drink and get amped, was annoying.

5. I don’t want to live here. As many positive things as there were in Buenos Aires, and as many awesome people as I met, I didn’t connect with the city in a way that made me want to make it any kind of semi-permanent home. And living abroad has been my general post-graduation game plan for the last few years so now I gotta figure out something else. I can’t really pinpoint the one reason why I wouldn’t want to live here – though the crowding, the food, and the economic turmoil are all key factors – but I think it’s that I just never felt like I could fully connect, whether that was the language barrier or just the anonymity of being new in a big city for only two months, I don’t know.

6. Fuck that shitty I lady I lived with. God, she was such a rude jerk. Mala onda all the way. At least I can enjoy the fact that I probably had more fun in these last two months than she has or will have in her entire life. Have fun with your cats and boat photos Maria Luz. I’m going to go do awesome shit.

The Random

1. Not really sure what to do with this category but felt like I need more than “good” and “bad.” Today, a bunch of my Argentine friends have been asking me, “When will you come back?” Well, I have no idea. It’s expensive to come here and honestly, if I had the money, I can’t say that I would come back here rather than explore someplace new. And that’s a bummer because now that I know people here, I feel like a second trip would be an entirely different experience. I’d start with the connections I had to fight so hard this time around to gain and maybe this city is an entirely different animal when you have rad friends the entire time. It’s a weird taste of mortality leaving a place and realizing, “Wow, I might never, ever come here again.” But then again, who knows? The future’s not ours to see and so maybe one day I’ll return for some now unknown reason.

2. I have to wake up tomorrow at 8 a.m. and spend all goddamn day traveling. Not looking forward to it but 19 hours isn’t a bad price to pay for going from one end of the world to the other when you think about it.

3. Austin readers, stay tuned. There is one final update to Blargentina to come. It will be awesome and you won’t want to miss it.

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Casa De Su Padre

This is my friend Nico (on the left, like the chick from the Velvet Underground album) and his brother Gaston (on the right, like the dude in Beauty and the Beast). Last weekend I hung out with Nico and while we were sippin’ coffee in McDonald’s, like fucking bosses, I mentioned that I was bummed I hadn’t gotten to see more different zones in Buenos Aires. We talked about what neighborhoods are cool, which are hella sketchy, and where Nico lives, in the southern suburbs of Buenos Aires. I dropped some overt hint like, “Wow! I would really like to see that part of Buenos Aires *cough cough* one of these weekends maybe??” and Nico was a saint and picked it up and was like, “Yeah dude, come to my house for an asado sometime! We do it every Sunday.” Thus, the following Sunday, I took the little bus/van out to Monte Grande to visit the home of Nico and his family.

In case you’re an idiot and didn’t figure it out from the above picture, Nico and Gaston and their entire family FUCKING LOVE MUSIC! The picture above is in Gaston’s room (sweet records, obviously, but did you notice the dude is wearing a Sonic Youth “Goo” shirt?! His hair is also like that cause he loves Morrissey) and Nico’s room is the same. Just wall to wall records. But the real triumph is the special room their dad, Charlie, has out back. It’s like a music nerd’s bat-cave! Wall-to-wall vinyl and Stars Wars toys and all kind of bad ass shit. Here’s a goddamn gallery since one photo just isn’t enough.

In between checking on the grilling meat, Charlie showed me his record collection and played me a bunch of country and rock-a-billy, stopping to ask if I knew who they were each time he put on a new record. Unfortunately, my knowledge of country is worse than my grasp on Spanish, but this is what I understood, more or less. In Argentina, vinyl records are super expensive. Also, the culture of dudes that dig country/rock-a-billy is a lot like American hip-hop DJs. They cover up labels and invent new names for song so people don’t know what they’re playing. And then they adjust pitch and speed to get the rhythm right for dancing. And then they have crazy dance contests which are pretty much what you’d get if swing had tango’s illegitimate child! Like this:

After Charlie showed me the above swing video, I figured I’d show him a song from my favorite rock-a-billy warrior of all time, Hasil Adkins. Hasil Adkins was one of the original outsider artists. Sometime in the 50s he discovered the music of Hank Williams, but Hasil lived out in the middle of nowhere and so all he knew about Hank was what he saw on the cover of the LP. And since Hank was the only hombre on the cover, old Hasil figured Hank was the only guy making all this divine noise. So Hasil taught himself to play drums and guitar simultaneously and self-recorded about ten mcbillion songs. When I showed Charlie the song “She Said,” he freaked out and ran away and then came back with this photo from his record cave. It was the photo of Hasil holding two records seen in on the “Out To Hunch” album cover. Apparently Charlie had had this photo for years but always assumed it was the guitarist for the Stray Cats. He was stoked to learn it was actually Hasil Adkins, who he had never heard of.

Did I mention grilling meat? I believe I did! When we weren’t geeking out about records, Charlie was running an “asado” aka Argentine BBQ. I had a good one at Mario, the boss of my study abroad program’s, house and then I had a shitty one at a restaurant. Well, I’m pleased to report that Charlie’s asado ranks on the not-shitty side of things. He showed me all the different kinds of meats and explained how you want to be able to wave your hand in-between the coals and the meat without it getting burned, because if your hand burns your meat is gonna burn. I explained how we do BBQ in Texas and he was nice about it, unlike evil bitch host mom who interrupted to say, “No. Argentina is better. Our meat is better,” like a rude fucking troll. God, I hated her. Anyways, Charlie was awesome and I even showed him a video on YouTube of the time Man Vs. Food went to Salt Lick. Here’s a picture of the delicious meat.

For you meat aficionados out there, in the back you got beef ribs, then some cut I can’t remember, then a chunk of chicken breast on the left, sausages, and then some chinchulín, which is a kind of tripe. I had it at a restaurant and it was nasty but this time it was better. Gaston only eats chicken because he’s a picky bitch, Sol (Nico’s girlfriend) doesn’t eat meat, and Nico doesn’t eat chinchulín or any of the weird stuff. So basically I kicked everyone’s ass and ate more meat than any of the other young folks, both in terms of type and quantity. Texas for the win! Also, here is a picture of Charlie posted up beside his excellent grill. Notice the two dogs underneath. These are two out of the SIX dogs that live at Nico’s house. All of them have their different zones though so it’s cool.

We ate asado while watching Los Simpsons and that was awesome. There were these condiment dishes with pickled peppers that I liked and this really tasty pickled eggplant thing. Like I said, Nico, Gaston, and Sol are picky and don’t like a lot of the classic Argentine dishes but I ate the hell out of everything and it was all super good. Except for this one weird blood sausage thing that I don’t like much. It’s real pastey and nasty and made out of blood, so yeah, pass.

After we ate, Charlie and Nico’s mom (Elisa? I forget. Nico, if you tell me I’ll correct this!) and I drank mate and relaxed. Nico and Gaston don’t like mate. I made a lot of jokes to their parents about what shitty kids they are and how they should adopt me. For the first time ever I tried mate “dulce” (with sugar) and it was actually really good. After a minute, they served this dessert that only Charlie and I had because nobody else likes it. It was this weird jam loaf that I guess was made from sweet potatoes, but it was a lot like the filling of a Fig Newton, and that was sliced thin and layered on top of this cheese, “queso fresco” they called it. It was kind of like jam on top of less creamy cream cheese and I really liked it. I guess Charlie and I are just cooler than everyone else.

After Charlie and I finished dessert, we stopped eating for a minute, but then twenty seconds later it was time for more food. Charlie cooked up these things, “tortas fritas” which are exactly like fried dough. We all kicked it around the table and munched on fried dough and I drank a bunch more mate. They had this plastic tupperware container, like for breakfast cereal, but it has two compartments. The big one is for yerba and the small one for sugar. I would have taken a picture of it but I didn’t want to be the creep who comes to your house and takes photos of arbitrary stuff like salad bowls and forks, ya know? At some point we finally stopped eating and I took a photo with Sol and Nico and then went to the bus station so I could go back to Buenos Aires and go see Night of the Hunter at the modern art museum.

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Buscando Mates Con Mis Mates

[EDIT: This is a shitty stock photo of a mate gourd because I don’t have a photo of my actual, awesome mate gourd right now. I’ll fix this later. But I’ll leave this text here. So if it’s a tight zebra print one, it’s been fixed.]

[DOUBLE EDIT: Okay, I finally uploaded the photo of my actual mate but that original stock photo grew on my after a while and I couldn’t bring myself to delete it. So now both are in this post. Deal with it.]

On Saturday, I met up with my friends Paula and Lucia and Paula’s boyfriend Leandro, who is also my friend but this was the easiest way to introduce him in the context of how I met him. I met Paula and Lucia out front of the first Banda De Turistas concert I went to and you might remember them from this first half of this post. Since I live right above Plaza Serrano, which is a pretty awesome part of town, they met me there and then we went a few blocks over to this restaurant that I guess is owned by the daughter of the host of that awful, awful TV show I went and saw. Palermo SoHo, as my ‘hood is known, is a hip little spot on the weekends what with everyone being out and about shopping at the boutiques. And if that wasn’t trendy enough, this restaurant was straight out of Williamsburg.

Our facial scruff and mustachioed waiter looked like every dude on a bike in East Austin ever, though I guess he was from Spain. The food was good though and my only complaint was that we weren’t actually in New York so it wasn’t a sweet brunch special that had eggs benedict, coffee, and a bloody mary or mimosa. I tried to explain mimosas to everyone and was like, “Yeah, it’s champagne and orange juice” but then Lucia starts talking to me about actors and I’m like, What? “Champagne, champagne, el actor!” she says and I’m still like, Girl, I am not picking up what you’re putting down. But then Paula says, “De la pelicula Milk!” and suddenly it clicks and I’m like, Oh, SEAN PEAN! Yeah, those don’t sound very similar when you say them in English but I guess with Spanish pronunciation I get it. Then I went to the bathroom there was a picture of Terry Richardson on the men’s room door and I pretty much lost my shit.

After brunch/lunch, Leandro had to go do something with his band so Lucia and Paula and I went to the market in Recoleta so I could look for mate gourds. Have I written about mate already? I can’t remember. Anyways, yerba mate is a big thing in South America and lots of different countries claim to be the REAL mate drinkers, but so far I think Uruguay wins. They sip hard over there. In the States, we just say mate to mean the tea but here the tea is “yerba,” the gourd you drink it out of is the “mate,” (pronounced mah-tay) and the metal straw is the “bombilla.” You fill the gourd up with the yerba, and then pour hot water on it. You can drink it “amargo” (bitter) or “dulce” (sweet) and one gourd full of yerba gets you 10 or so pours worth of hot water. I like mate a lot and since I’m generally horrible about buying decorative crap or touristy souvenirs, mate gourds are the one object I’m buying a shit load of before I head back home.

So Paula ate cotton candy and we all walked around the fair while I sucked at shopping and went, “Mmmm…. no,” to every mate vendor we passed until we finally found the one I’d been looking for and I bought an awesome one. An awesome one whose photo you can see above once I fix that shit. But I’m not going to change this text either so this is going to be kind of a confusing entry, I guess. Oh well.

Aside from the one mate, I didn’t buy anything else because I don’t need a carving of two people doing tango. Actually, I think tango stuff is stupid and I don’t care about it at all. They also had other stuff like melted glass beer bottles that had been pressed flat and turned into clocks, but I’m thinking, “Yo, that’s basically just a half-recycled bottle, why should I pay money for that? Also, who uses clocks? I’ll look at the time on my cellphone like a normal person, thank you very much.” So yeah, if you’re reading this and thinking I’m going to be bringing you back some cool Argentine souvenir, think again. I’m bringing back two Batman comics in Spanish, a couple of mates, and any free space left in my luggage I’m going to cram full of yerba mate packages from the grocery store. So it’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just that I don’t love you enough to bring a wooden plaque with the words “BUENOS AIRES” and some tango crap craved into it back with me. I hope you understand.

After shopping, I explained the classic Sesame Street “near and far” skit to Paula and Lucia and then I was tired so I went home and didn’t do anything because I wanted to save my Spanish speaking energy for the next day when I did some really awesome shit I’ll write about later.

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¡Arriba Los Punks!

The main reason I wanted to spend my free time post-study abroad program still bumming around Buenos Aires is that after 6 weeks, I figured I would just be reaching the point where I knew a few people, had a couple bars I liked, and felt like I almost sorta lived here. I didn’t want to give all that up to ride buses for 12 hours so I could hang out in hostels on the other side of Argentina and smoke shitty pot with Belgium backpackers. I wanted to make friends and then hang out with them, not just continuously meet new people. This weekend confirmed that I made the right decision by staying in B.A.

At the start of my trip, I tried to go on CouchSurfing to find some friends. After browsing several dozen profiles where people vapidly described themselves as, “I just love living life and meeting new people. My favorite things are art, music, movies, and having fun!” I wanted to fucking kill myself at a CouchSurfing potluck just to rain on their insipidly upbeat parade. But rather than blow my brains out at a game of disc golf in a park, I used keywords like “punk,” hardcore,” “sex,” and “hate” to find someone who wasn’t just a hippy on a permanent, yoga induced MDMA high. That’s how I found my friend Vick. She invited me to go see this band Los Valientes, but I was already committed to seeing this noise band Travesti (remember that post? Waaaaay back) so I couldn’t make it. But since then we’ve met up for dinner several times and become friends. And last Friday, Los Valientes were playing at this punk bar, Salon Puyrredón, so Vick invited me to eat dinner at her house and then head to the show together.

Over shawarma wraps and”purée de garbanzos con pan arabé(Spanish for hummus and pitas), Vick and I talked about Buenos Aires punk culture. I learned that the Argentine equivalent of what are called “drag rats” in Austin and were “pit punks” in Boston, are known as “obelos” here. What all of these terms are referring to is the shitty crusty street punks who gather someplace touristy and try to beg for enough change to get drunk. In the center of Buenos Aires’ downtown there is a big obelisk, and since that’s where these shitheels congregate, that’s their name here. In Boston it was “pit punks” because they hung out in the pit outside of the Harvard Square T station.

When I mentioned that after the NOFX concert, one of the punks I bought “pan relleno” (filled bread) from outside the show asked me if we had to fight skinheads in Texas (the one in the center, who had “PUNK” tattooed on the side of his head) I learned that most of Vick’s friends are actually more part of the ska/old-school skinhead scene. Obviously they’re not neo-nazi racist skinheads, but SHARPS (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice) but that still puts them into frequent conflict with ignorant punks who like screaming “Fascist!!” at anything that moves. She told me that the skinheads have a saying here, “¡Oi y siempre! while the punks have their own counter-slogan, “Ni oi, ni nunca!” which I thought was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. For those of you who don’t get the joke, “oi” is a style of punk music popular with skinheads, but it sounds like “hoy,” the Spanish word for today. So with the play on words, the first slogan means, “Today and always” while the second says, “Not today, not ever!”

After dinner, Vick and I rode the bus to the show which is where I spotted this guy earnestly searching for Waldo in a Where’s Waldo? (¿Donde está Waldo?) book. I don’t know why but this was fucking hilarious to me. At Salon Puyrredón, which is where I went to that punk book fair a while back, we practiced English and Spanish and waited for Los Valientes to go on. With punk bands, you don’t need to go to their page to find similar artists. You can just look at their patches. So the singer was wearing a Black Flag shirt with a 7 Seconds back patch on his vest, and the bassist was sporting a Bad Brains tee. That gives you a decent idea of their punk style, but if you want more, here’s a video I took with my phone. Thanks iPhone for being a video camera that fits in my pocket. Fuck you iPhone for the shitty sound quality!

After Los Valientes, Vick’s tummy hurt so she headed home and I didn’t really care about watching more bands in a loud bar where I couldn’t talk to people, so I went to some other neighborhood and met up with my friends Paula and Lucia who I’m going to write about in the next post!

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Mi Casa es La Casa de Un Super Estrella

Hey everyone, meet Thomas! When I mentioned to him a few weeks ago that I needed to find a place to live after my homestay ended, he invited me to crash with him for my final few weeks in Buenos Aires. In addition to being one of the fucking nicest guys I’ve ever met, Thomas is an ultra bad-ass superstar DJ who gets paid to fly all over the world, rock giant parties, bang super hot fans, and do remixes for Maroon 5 and shit (check it out!). But that’s just a side gig since, like I said before, his primary occupation is being the nicest fucking dude ever and a welcome change from the shitty shrew I lived with before. Thomas has lived in Buenos Aires for the last two years since he is more popular here than in the US, so it’s easier for him to make money and tour, but he moves back to the States at the end of July so he’s been selling off his furniture. So right now, we are two dudes living in a loft – Thomas on the main floor, me upstairs – with two beds, a TV on the floor, this desk, and an awesome bulldog named Mackey. This is my bed. I paid 150 pesos ($40-ish) for it.

Pretty pimp, right? Despite the fact that we’re sharing somewhat cramped quarters, living with Thomas is awesome. He speaks no Spanish… well, okay, he speaks some Spanish but it’s really just a couple of words, like “chicos” and “dinero,” thrown in for flavor. But I get to talk in English without feeling guilty about how I should be practicing Spanish, so that’s nice. And Thomas is a self-admitted TV junkie – he has it on in the background while he makes sick house music on his laptop all day- so every night at 7 p.m. we watch two episodes of Seinfeld which rules. It might sound stupid to be excited about watching American TV when I should be out doing awesome shit in Buenos Aires, but fuck you, I do awesome shit all the time here and I need time to relax. Plus Seinfeld is amazing and I can pretty much watch it forever without getting tired of it.

As awesome asSeinfeldis however, the best thing about Thomas’ loft is its location. We live right above Plaza Serrano, which is a super cool hip part of town with a million bars and restaurants and every weekend there is a fair that sells mate gourds and jewelry and stuff. It’s only a few blocks to walk to my internship and we’re close to a really cheap, good Chinese food restaurant that delivers. Also this place called La Fabrica Del Tacos (Taco Factory) which is delicious and actually has hot sauce which is pretty much unheard of in Buenos Aires. This view is from our terrace where I would totally hang out all the time if there was patio furniture and it wasn’t, you know, winter. So although my bed is uncomfortable and it’s basically lights out by midnight since Thomas keeps old man hours (aka not staying up till 6 a.m. and sleeping in past noon like yours truly), this living situation is a million times better than my old one and I’m really glad that I lucked into it, because the two places I checked out on Craigslist were expensive rooms in gross flophouses.

Also, Thomas will probably be playing a show in Austin in August when he drives from Miami to Las Vegas, where he’s moving, so if anyone wants to go rock out to electronic music, get at me.

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Lo Peor Que He Visto En Mi Vida

I’m starting this post with this image from MALBA (Modern Art something something Buenos Aires) because this is what I kept wishing would happen to me on Tuesday night. I was wishing that I would be shot and killed because then I could have escaped the hellacious anti-brain monstrosity that is Showmatch, the number one program in Argentina. Let me explain.

Thomas, my roommate/superstar DJ, has an agent whose day job is doing sound stuff for Showmatch. The agent gave Thomas some free passes for the live taping so he invited me to come check it out with him. Even though Thomas described it as like “Dancing With The Stars with less dancing,” I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to visit an Argentine television studio and watch them tape their top-rated program. Even if the show sucks, that’s not an opportunity that comes along very often. But oh dear God, does Showmatch suck. Suck doesn’t even begin to describe it.

So you know when you’re up late and channel surfing and you come across some wacky crap on Univision? There’s midgets in monkey suits running around and it’s maybe a game show but you have no idea because it’s in Spanish and there’s just a lot of noise and it looks really stupid? Okay, so Showmatch is like that except more boring and much worse. So much worse. It’s like Dancing With The Stars in that there’s a little bit of dancing, but mainly it’s this really rich dude named Marcelo or something who is not only the host, but he also owns the goddamn building where the television studio is. So Marcelo is this rich dude and he talks with the dancers before they do really boring, uninventive routines and then he kills time and talks to the audience. And the show is like 3 hours long. And that’s pretty much it.

When we got there, Thomas got pulled away to sit in the control room because that’s what happens when you’re a superstar DJ. Artur, the husband of my boss at my internship, and I were left in the studio where there are no seats, just crappy bleachers where you stand, and so we stood in the back behind excited Argentines that had brought signs to wave in case the camera showed them. The show started with a lame dance routine by the back up dancers, and then there were two routines by different couples that used the metal ball you see in this photo. Well, actually it’s the metal ball hanging from the ceiling with the black cloth over it but they’re the same thing so you get the idea. But the dance routines were unimpressive. I’ve seen better dances in burlesque routines and I’m not even talking good burlesque routines. I’m talking shitty ones. Showmatch = worse than bad burlesque. That’s saying something.

After the dancing, Marcelo talked to two babes who I think were mother and daughter – the room was echo-y so I couldn’t understand any of the Spanish – and then some random 18-year-old kid who didn’t speak Spanish and just stood there with his arms crossed. Marcelo talked to this kid for literally 45 minutes while the kid stood there and did nothing. I was so bored I played Sudoku on my phone because there was absolutely nothing worth paying attention to. And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, they did a “Marton de Gay.”

I don’t have photos, but basically they brought out some pink ramps and dog agility obstacles and then Marcelo and some of the gay judges put on really ugly sparkly high heel boots and wigs and ran around on them. It was the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen and not in a making fun of gay people way, but in a so excruciatingly inane and stupid that it’s an affront to human culture way. It was worse than the fake TV shows they watch in Idiocracy. And after they finished, confetti fell from the ceiling and all the judges and Marcelo and everyone had a dance party. It was the biggest, weirdest zoo crew I’ve ever seen. There was literally a Michael Jackson impersonator, a Spiderman, a ton of random babes, and other people and they were all wearing novelty sunglasses and big sparkly Lollapalooza hats and just whatever garbage you could find at a Spirit Halloween store. It made Of Montreal’s stage show look like high art.

I assumed this dance party scene was what they did while the credits rolled, but after three songs Artur and I realized it was actually just another part of the show and was probably going to go on for half an hour so we left. Oh, and the music! I forgot about the music! For 85% of the show, they played a 30 second loop of LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It” with the sound guy rapidly raising and lowering the volume like an annoying kid fucking with the radio. That was just happening in the background the entire time. They changed the music to actual songs for this “fiesta.” Also in the zoo crew were two middle school age kids with down syndrome, a boy and a girl, wearing nice church clothes. When I mentioned to Thomas later that these two kids were the only people who had a legitimate excuse for liking Showmatch he told me that Marcelo and everyone got them to make out after I’d left. Fucking Christ.

So in conclusion, I’m well aware that America has some low-brow trash we try to pass off as television but even Rock of Love:Teen Mom Edition or whatever is better than Showmatch. Sitting through Showmatch made me lose respect for Argentina as a country and a culture and the only reason I still have hope is that all of my Argentine friends that I’ve told have reacted with utter horror, confusion and dismay as to why I went. They don’t get Showmatch either, thank God. I would rather get kicked in the dick than see Showmatch again.

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¿Estas listo por Poncho?

On Sunday, Coca-Cola threw some big free concert in the middle of downtown Buenos Aires for reasons I didn’t understand. Probably to sell more Coke. Anyways, my Argentine friend Nico told me about it because Banda De Turistas was playing and we’d met outside of their concert so obviously I liked them. I met Nico, his girlfriend Sol, and his 15-year-old brother who loves Morrissey downtown and then we watched Banda De Turistas, who are awesome but I don’t need to describe them because I already have. After Banda De Turistas was some group called Poncho, which at first I heard as “pancho” which is how they say hotdog down here. But no, the group wasn’t called Hotdog, they were called Poncho and they actually wore ponchos while they played. Nico had described them to me as “buenismo!!!” which means “super good” and is a word Nico likes to use a lot. However, I assumed they would be another rock group like Banda De Turistas until I saw them set up a whole mess of laptops and Nico told me they were an electronic group. Hmmm… interesting.

Damn, I was not expecting to have my ass rocked so hard on a Sunday afternoon at a Coke sponsored free concert. Poncho were more than “buenismo,” they were… super fucking “buenismo!” I almost want to call them the Argentine Daft Punk though they’re probably a bit more similar to Chromeo, though I’d actually say they’re superior (Chromeo is kind of annoying). It would have been amazing to see them play in a dark club filled with sexy Argentine techno-hipster babes having a crazy dance party instead of during the day at a corporate concert where people have their kids on their shoulders. I could post another lame photo of tiny human beings on a faraway stage, but that would be lame so here’s another Poncho video, featuring Banda De Turistas!

After Poncho finished, Nico informed me that the next two bands were, as he put it, “malismo,” which is the opposite of “buenismo,” and after watching one song I agreed so we bounced to get coffee. I can’t remember the name of the dude that played after Poncho, but it was sort of like Billy Joel (except shittier because I really like Billy Joel) and was definitely what the people with kids on their shoulders were there to see. Argentina has this thing called “rock nacional” which is more or less the equivalent of the music they play in the States on radio stations with names like 102.4 The Eagle (every city always has a gay bar or a classic rock station named the Eagle. Why is that?).  I haven’t had too much experience with “rock nacional,” but I get the impression that Argentine dads sing along to it in the car when it comes on the radio and their kids are like, “Ugh, papa, porque!?”

For coffee, we went to McDonald’s which was actually the second day in a row Nico and I went to McDonald’s. Not because Nico loves Mickey Ds, but because there aren’t a lot of good cafes downtown and McDonald’s is cheap and actually has a shitload of coffee and dessert options down here. The menu is pretty much the same as it is in America, no crazy Argentine options, but I saw this Chicken-Bacon-Onion concoction which looked tasty so I will probably sneak back to McDonald’s by myself one of these days when I don’t feel like eating shitty pizza, empanadas, or plain meat and shamefully eat one by myself. Fuck you, don’t judge me.

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