BootsnAll Travel Network

Fin… Or A New Beginning?

January 4th, 2006

29 December 2005 – 1 January 2006 (Thursday – Sunday) – Buenos Aires, Argentina

My good luck continued on the next night where Cintia, this lady whom I met through Claudia, brought me to a tango dinner show. This is a famous tango dinner show, where tourists pay US$100 for a 3-course dinner and a traditional tango performance. US$100!!!!!! Good gracious!

As for me, I know someone who knows someone who knows someone, heh… and so, with some promotional voucher thingie, Cintia and I got in for 25 pesos each. That was about US$8. For this price, we had an appetizer and a main meal of our choice included, we only needed to pay for drinks and dessert. OK, the voucher stated clearly that it is only valid for residents of Buenos Aires. So, I had on my most porteña look, ahem, and pretended to understand every single word spoken by the waiter and the tango song lyrics.

There was not only amazing tango dances. All the Argentine cultures had a part in this show. There was a spectacular performance by 2 macho gauchos (cowboys) who played drums and swung the boleadoras (the balls on string used by the gauchos to hunt rheas in the pampas) around in fancy rapid movements, creating music with them!… and another performance by an Andean panpipe-cum-guitar musician from the north. But the tango here was absolutely incredible, the best of the best I had ever seen. I was many times stunned during the show, holding my fork in the air and watching with my mouth gaping. I mean, some of these ladies were literally flying through the air!

Well, I had truly come to the end of the trip. No matter how long I stay in Buenos Aires, I can never get enough of it. When I realised I just had only a few days left, and as most shops would be closed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and it suddenly occured to me I still had not bought enough presents for my family, I had to make a mad rush all over the city on Friday to get everything. Geee… after 7 months of travelling, I still felt there was NOT ENOUGH TIME.

That Friday was also a sad day in Buenos Aires. 1 year ago, while the whole shocked world was bombarded with news of the tsunami in Asia, a tragedy had struck here in Buenos Aires. A fire had broken out in a discotheque in the wee hours of the morning of 30 December 2004. There was a blackout and with not enough exit, the mad chaos led to the deaths of 194 youngsters. Surprisingly, there was a huge number of children as well, children as young as 4 years old, as there had been no control over the admittance of underaged (even VERY underaged) clients. The New Year last year had been a very sad event, here in Buenos Aires, as well as for the whole world. Today, there was a huge but orderly procession back at the area near the discotheque in Once, commerating the anniversary of this sad tragedy.

Cintia invited me to her parents’ home in Del Viso to spend New Year’s Eve. Del Viso is a small town, far up north of Buenos Aires. Although it would mean missing out on the party scene here, I was happy to accept the invitation. I spent a quiet New Year Eve chatting with her parents and learning more about Argentina. When the clock struck 12 midnight, the whole town burst into fireworks! Cheers to a New Year, new hopes, new dreams, new achievements, new life!

The next day, New Year’s Day, I returned to Buenos Aires just in time to pack up a bit. I bade a almost tearful farewell to my hosts – Claudia and her boyfriend Leonardo, who had helped me a lot during my stay here, (sorry for forgetting to switch off the lights!) and made my way to the airport.

Farewell to Claudia and Leo

How poetic, to end my trip on New Year. Is this the end or the beginning? I guess, it is never an end. For an end begets a new beginning as everything is a cycle. My heart is saddened that I have to leave South America and Buenos Aires, in particular. But this has to happen, for something else to begin in my life.

I thought back at this entire trip – the ups and downs; the wonderful people I had met and shared the trip with, especially the friends I met through Hospitality Club; the dodgy people I had met as well; the stories, laughter and experiences everyone had kindly shared with me; each border crossing; the art and culture I had been exposed to; the spirits I had gotten in touch with, from Bahia to the Andes; the music I listened to and the dances I participated in; the movies, theatres, football matches, whatever performances, handicraft fairs that had wowed me; the gifts I received from everyone, be them tangible or not; the traditional food, drinks, ice-cream I had tried, whether willingly or not; the mountains, glaciers, canyons, waterfalls, highlands, beaches, mineral baths, volcanoes, markets, jungles, cities, museums, ruins, etc… which, I should be so lucky, had shared their magic with me, and the unquestionable friendship and hospitality shown to me by everyone…

Everything, no matter how small, and everyone had left tracks in me and most had touched my heart. Gosh, what did I do to deserve them? Well, in turn, I hoped I had left tracks and touched a bit of their hearts as well. Also, I cannot exclude the people who had somehow found my blog and had read them, some of them, continuously over these months and had left comments on my pages… Thank you for reading and for your feedback. I guess, in the end, it is the things that you did not plan for, that, when appeared, prove to be the most touching… it had been wonderful and yes, terribly touching to know that there are people who read and enjoy my blog. I appreciate it.

So, at the end of all these travelling, these questions may pop up again – “What is it that I am searching for? Have I found what I am searching for?” Again, I have to say… gee, whatever it is, I hope I never find it, so that I can go on travelling. I recognise that travelling is a part of my life now, there is no need to justify for it.

My 5 elements based on my Chinese birthdate had been calculated by a Chinese fortune-teller one week before my departure, my palm and my future had been read and seen by my psychic friend, Rene, in Ecuador, my coca leaves had been analysed by a witch-doctor in La Paz, my birthday sign – The Skywalker, according to the Mayan calendar… had all confirmed the same thing. And so, the travel continues… ¡Hasta luego, mis amigos!

Tags: ,

Countdown to…

December 29th, 2005

24 December 2005 – 28 December 2005 (Saturday – Wednesday) – Buenos Aires, Argentina

I have a very good friend, Natalia. She is from Buenos Aires, but has been living in Singapore for more than a year now. That was where we knew each other. We live just 10 minutes from each other and had spent quite a lot of time together just before I left Singapore. And to my most pleasant surprise, she was coming to Buenos Aires this Christmas holiday to spend some time with her family. And I would be spending Christmas Eve with her and her sister’s family tonight.

I had a little present for Claudia and her boyfriend, Leonardo and left it under the tiny Christmas tree. I also had presents for Natalia and her sister, Raquel. I bought a bottle of sidar (cider juice) and pan dulce (Christmas cake) for the party. I was ready to go!

Gosh, Raquel’s family was really welcoming to me. And it was absolutely fantastic to see Natalia again! I was introduced to everyone, relatives from Raquel’s husband. It was a very Italian affair, everyone was joyous, loud, laughing, joking, arguing, gesturing, passing the dishes around. This scene looked almost surreal to me, as I amusedly recalled those movies involving Italian family dinners. So, it is all real here.

With Natalia

Feliz Navidad!

I had spent Christmas Eve last year at Natalia’s house. Then, I had my own Hospitality Club guest, David from Spain, whom I brought along for the party. David speaks English, so it was not a problem for communications for then, I could hardly utter one word in Spanish. And yet, one year on… I am spending Christmas with Natalia and her family again, and I was talking to everyone in Spanish. How things have changed!

At the point of midnight, everyone toasted merrily with champagne and sidar. We climbed up to the roof and watched fireworks all over the city. People lit paper balloons and let float in the sky. One actually fell right into our backyard. Raquel’s husband, Alfredo, pointed out to me an area which was very, very poor and dodgy. It was right outside the Distrito Federal, in the Provincia. And it had the most sprouts of fireworks. It is always like this, the poorest has the most inclination and money for joyful celebrations.

Raquel and her sister-in-law later hooked on me to tell me stories after stories. At the opposite spectrum of what Elisa-Maris had told me yesterday, these ladies lamented to me about the tough life of the middle-class, living here in Buenos Aires. The stress, the long distances to travel, the need to hurry all the time. With the fall of the economy a few years ago, they still had to feed, clothe and educate their children in whatever means they can, often, they have to hold more than 1 job. Although education in the state university is free, it is really tough to enter, these kids had to study really hard, and if they fail, they had to repeat the year again and again. Many, to pay for books and photocopies, had to resort to working while studying. In fact, as it is the trend that nearly all of the students work and study at the same time, most courses are held 6am-8am, before work, and 7pm-11pm, after work. Then, depending on whether they have exams, they either go partying til 3 or 4am… heheh… or they study in a late-night or 24-hour cafe til 3 or 4am. And up they go to work the next day at 8am. No, it is not easy living in Buenos Aires…

True, to every side of the coin, there is the other.

Naturally, by 2am, 3am, 4am… I had immense difficulty keeping up with the conversations, especially those long grandmother stories of utter irrelevance suddenly recalled by Alfredo’s mother… stories of her second-cousin, the son of the brother of her brother-in-law… people who had long died and whom we absolutely do not know nor care about. I just switched off totally, smiled genially and nodded vaguely.

The next day, we groggily woke up at noon. I thanked the family profusely and headed home for a wash. I was to meet Monica today, this Polish tourist whom I met in San Pedro de Atacama. At that time when we parted, we promised to catch up again in Buenos Aires. I had enjoyed talking to her, and looked forward to meeting her again. As everything would be closed today, Christmas Day, we more or less arranged to go to a park today to sun-bathe.

I called her hostel and left a message that I would be there by around 4pm. To be honest, while we had vaguely made this appointment to hang out together today, I was latina enough to know that plans always change. If I find her at the hostel and she is still keen to go, great, we would go. If she is not at the hostel or is sleeping, I don’t care, I don’t mind, I would still go to the park.

When I arrived at the hostel, I asked for her at the reception. Gosh, to my horrors, instead of telling me that Monica was still sleeping, they actually dragged her out of bed. Monica looked a mess. She could hardly focus her eyes on me. She had been partying for 12 hours straight, from midnight last night to noon today. She had just crawled into bed! She had been in Buenos Aires for 9 days and had spent all 9 nights partying and sleeping in in the day.

To those who enjoy partying, perhaps, this was normal. But to me, it sounded excessive. Partying is fun, but for 9 nights in a row? I asked Monica if she had seen any parts of Buenos Aires. She kinda muttered vaguely, “Oh, you can do tours… you know… if you want.” Well, that sounded like she had not gone anywhere else. For a moment, I wanted to ask her to stop partying just for one night, so that she was sober enough the next DAY and we could do something together. I really wanted to share with her the Buenos Aires that I love.

But wait… Why do I want to do that? How can I do that in one day? I could only show her buildings, parks, streets and monuments. To experience and love Buenos Aires, it is not done this way. These things would mean NOTHING to her. The magic of Buenos Aires has to be sensed, to be lived. The magic first dawns on you as you experience the street-lives, then, it engulfs and envelopes you as you walk around in half disbelief and marvel at what is going on around you and as you begin to learn about little idiosyncrasies of the people here, finally, it grows and sinks right into your blood stream and you just cannot get enough of the incredible city. I would not be able to share THAT with just about anyone. The person does not only need to have open eyes, but an open heart, an open mind, open pores to soak everything in. Let Monica enjoy Buenos Aires in her own way.

I packed Monica back to bed, and headed to Plaza San Martin. I had always loved doing this – walk barefoot on the grass, find a spot in the sun or shade, lay down, stare at the blue blue sky, sleep, read, people-watch. Absolutely fantastic and tranquil way to spend Christmas Day.

Plaza San Martin

Henry, my travel buddy from Isla del Sol to La Paz in Bolivia, was also in Buenos Aires right now. He had called me late at night on Christmas Day to tell me he would be heading to Uruguay the next day, Boxing Day. He would spend New Year there. What?? Gosh, we really wanted to see each other again in Buenos Aires, but there was just not enough time anymore. He had to leave, as he had already exceeded his 30-day visa here.

On Boxing Day, as there was no other way to meet, Henry asked me if I could go to Tigre as he would head there to buy his boat ticket to Uruguay. Well, why not? I would do that. So, I took a bus, 1 hour, all the way to Retiro Train Terminal and then, grabbed a train, 1 hour as well, all the way to Tigre. Hahaa… just to see my dear friend Henry! Once again, it was really wonderful to see him again!!

Henry had found a job here easily. He is a film-maker and even filmed Maradona recently at the Clarin (a leading newspaper of Argentina) Awards. But he really needed to find an apartment. He desperately wanted to get an apartment to have his own kitchen, so that he could start cooking his own meals.

Ha… Henry and I are both foreigners here in Argentina. To us, there are just the following food categories – meat, milanesa, pasta, pizza – here in Argentina. He missed Peruvian food very much. He missed the variety there. He said he could eat one different dish a day and would not have to repeat for at least a month! I understood him perfectly. The same can be said of Singaporean food, I could probably last 2, 3 months without repeating our local dishes. We are always fondest of the food we grow up with.

OK, the average Argentines could argue that there are DIFFERENT kinds of meat and DIFFERENT kinds of pasta. But to us, they are the same – meat and pasta! They are delicious at first, but after a while, please… enough. Thank goodness, these past days, I was able to use Claudia’s kitchen to prepare my own lunch before I head out for the day. I love Claudia’s kitchen. I love Claudia’s pots and pans.

Finally, Henry had to go and I wished him all the best for his career and new life here in Argentina, and perhaps, in other countries next time, who knows. Sob sob, bye bye.

One major item I wanted to buy was books. Spanish books, of course. I wanted to try and read them. There is no way I could get them back in my country, so I had to get them here. I also did not want to be over-ambitious, what is the point if I could not understand a word! Nothing too political or philosophical, just short stories. I walked up and down Av. Corrientes for up to 7 hours on Tuesday, browsing at every bookshop between Av. 9 de Julio and Av. Callao. Fantastic avenue, this.

I left a bookshop with 2 books that cost me 27 Argentine pesos. I thought, in Singapore, I would have to pay for ONE book (and not even in Spanish) for more or less S$27 (that’s about 50 Argentine pesos). Great bargains here.

As I had repeatedly said, there is a wide wide range of topics here. To narrow down to Oriental topics, for example, I found many books on Tao, Buddhism, Qi Gong, I-Ching, Akido, Reiki, Tai Ji Quan, Ayuverdic, Acupuncture, The Art of War by Sun-Tzu, Feng Shui and well, for that matter, Kama-Sutra. Raquel, Natalia’s sister, seeing that I am Chinese, had wanted my advice on Feng Shui! Gosh, how embarrassing, I know nothing!

I mean, I actually learnt how to use I-Ching here in Argentina, I had my first proper experience with a Reiki maestro in Ecuador. Here I am in South America, buying talismans from the Tiahuanacu culture in La Paz, having my future read with coca leaves, sinking my paws into South American literature, lusting after the Argentine movies DVDs in MusicMundo (a CD/DVD megastore), dying to be able to watch them to understand more about Argentina people but not able to afford them… And yet, people here are absolutely fascinated with the Oriental ideas, practices and mysticism, many are learning Mandarin, reading up whatever they can find, going for acupuncture or Reiki and practising Qi Gong, Tai Ji Quan… People are always like that, aren’t they?, we are always drawn to whatever that is opposite and unfamiliar, and thus, exotic.

The other thing I really really really wanted to do was also to watch a function in Teatro Colon. I had tried to do that with Pablo back in June, but there was a strike on the evening we went. On Wednesday, I was determined to watch the ballet called ‘Giselle‘. This is the last function of the season. I had to watch it, for I had so few days left.

I want to watch a function at Teatro Colon... by hook or by crook!

I arranged to meet Natalia at 8pm, to buy the tickets for the 8:30pm show. I arrived at 7:45pm and waited. Natalia, being Singaporean-trained, arrived 5 minutes later. Both of us were way earlier than our arranged time. Unfortunately, she told me there were no more tickets left! What?? I was horrified. We wanted to get the cheapest tickets – all of 3 pesos, standing tickets right at the topmost floor where you could see nothing. We did not care, we just wanted the experience of being in Teatro Colon. I thought there would surely be standing tickets!

But all was not lost, she said that there was a guy who told us to meet him at the entrance at 8:20pm to 8:25pm. He might be able to bum us some tickets. That was great! We waited for him there, and soon he shoved us 2 tickets almost furtively.  Hmmm… both had already been ripped. Used tickets? Where did he get these from? These were the portions normally given to the guests. Anyway, we did not have time to ponder and puzzle over it and we hurried to the ticket-guy and gave him the tickets. He asked us why were these already torn. I wanted to l-i-e, to tell him that we had entered just now, but came out again. And now we were going in again.

But before I could do that, Natalia, again being Singaporean-trained, honestly told him – “A guy gave us these tickets. I do not know why they were already torn.”

Now, where is the hole? I seriously need to crawl into it to d-i-e now!!

The ticket-guy fingered them suspiciously and informed us we could not enter the function with torn tickets. OK, shoot me right now. But wait… another guy, you know the older heavier-set guy who stands a little bit behind, with a walkie-talkie, told us to wait, he would talk to someone.

I drew Natalia aside and contemplated our situation. Have we gotten that guy who gave us the tickets into trouble? Is this how I die? Glamourously here in Teatro Colon?

“Pasan, señoritas… pasan…” (Pass, ladies… pass), the older guy beckoned at us after a few minutes. What??? Gee, thanks! We breezed right through as sweetly as we could, but I was still waiting for the bullet to hit my back. We checked the tickets. I thought they were standing tickets, but no… these were box tickets!! We had a box!!!!! You know, like where the two old men in The Muppet Show sit and snicker at the performances! We had a BOX!!!!

There were already 3 guests at the balcony, so at the back, we could see nothing if we sat down. But we could stand, no problem. We were ready to stand and watch the performance right at the ceiling! And gosh, could our luck be furthered?… One of the guests was a middle-aged lady. She got up and told me to take her seat by the balcony. She had seen this ballet 4 times. No, seriously? She explained that for 50 years, she had been coming to Teatro Colon. For the good performances, she would snap up several functions. She just loves all this. Unbelievable! Natalia and I alternated and shared the seat. Gosh, it was such a beautiful performance… all about love, love, love. We later learnt that the other 2 guests paid 64 pesos for these seats. 64 pesos?? And we slithered in for FREE!!  Lucky bastards we were.

After the ballet, we headed to Kilkenny to meet Natalia’s brother, Rodrigo and his friends. It was close to midnight now. As we walked along the dark streets towards the bar, Natalia, again, being Singaporean-trained, was crying out at the amount of rubbish on the streets. Rubbish? What rubbish? Oh, you call this rubbish?? I know of other streets and avenues with even worse rubbish.

From around 8pm onwards, especially around the centre, the disembowelment of rubbish bags begins. All over, the rubbish people would cut open the rubbish bags discarded by the shop-owners and residents. They would go through everything to see what could be recycled – cardboxes, glass bottles, aluminium cans, cloth. So, at night, things can get really foul along some streets of Buenos Aires as rotten food scattered, paper flew and plastic bottles rolled.

After more than a year in Singapore, Natalia had gotten used to all things being clean, ordered, functioning, nothing broken. She really appreciated these qualities of Singapore, which perhaps were not so commonplace here in Argentina. Heh. Well, a friend of Claudia, Cintia, had told me that there was a 5-metre deep hole in front of her apartment right in the middle of the road where all cars had to drive around it gingerly.  The nearby residents recently placed a candle there to celebrate the hole’s first birthday. Things just do not get fixed. But in Singapore, that hole’s existence would not last 2 days.

Meanwhile, I had reached the complete opposite end. I had gotten used to the latina way of life, to all these rubbish everywhere now, to all the things that do not function and yet, somehow still function, to all the unexpected surprises and delightful discoveries.

Kilkenny is a great bar with great music. I had a thoroughly enjoyable night, chatting with Natalia, Rodrigo and his friends. By now, I was not even yawning and was still quite perky at 3am. But Natalia was yawning her eyes out, eager to get back home. Previously, during her youth here in Buenos Aires, she had thought the nocturnal life of Buenos Aires to be normal, no biggie, she had grown up in this culture and knew of nothing else.

In my previous trip here and in my previous RTW blog, I had written about this aspect of Buenos Aires as being something rather unique. I saw it through the eyes of a foreigner. Natalia had read that blog of mine and now, having been to other parts of the world, she was also seeing things through the eyes of a foreigner. Yes, she agreed, the crazy nocturnal life of Buenos Aires was indeed very unique. As we discussed this, we saw more taxis pulling up by Kilkenny, dislodging freshly-arrived party-goers. It was 3:30am.

Well, if I kept this topsy-turvy timing on, I probably would not have much problem adjusting to the jet-lag time differences when I get back to Singapore, where night is day and day is night compared to Argentina.

Tags: ,

A Break from BsAs

December 28th, 2005

19 December 2005 – 23 December 2005 (Monday – Friday) – Villa Elisa, Mar del Plata, Argentina

Well, as I said, much as I love this city, I needed a short break from Buenos Aires.

Raquel, whom I met way way way back in Salvador, Brazil, lives in Villa Elisa. I had pre-arranged with her that I would like to spend a few days at her place and she welcomed me with open arms. At the point of packing for the little trip, I also had the sudden idea to go straight to Mar del Plata after that to spend a couple of days on the beach before returning to Buenos Aires. Great to be travelling alone, as you can just make and change decisions just like that. Left a hurried note in Claudia’s apartment to tell her I would only be back by Christmas Eve.

Fantastic to see Raquel again. She has 2 children – Salvador, turning 11 soon and Carmen, who had just turned 9. She is about 10 years older than I, but she is such a cool lady, with many similar ideas as I, so we just had tonnes to talk about. And she is a great mom too, yes, to me as well, haha. I did not have to do anything at all in my 3 days with her. I just waited to be fed and got fed. OK, I did the dishes, perhaps the one household chore I am good at and which my hosts allow me to do.

As it is summer and the children had completed school for the term, we just spent our days going to the club, where the children ran off to swim or play racquet games, while Raquel and I, together with some of her friends, relaxed on the grass under the sun. We chatted, drank mate and played ‘Scrabble’ in Spanish. I had the dictionary clasped to my bosom the entire time, and at the end of the game, to my utter surprise, I actually won the game, heh…

Grimacing from the bitterness of mate, but still I drink it

With Carmen, Raquel's daughter and Fernanda, Raquel's friend

Raquel even brought along her I-Ching coins and the thick Book of Change and we asked several questions and consulted the book. I really had to laugh at myself. I-Ching has Oriental origins and I learnt how to use it here in Argentina. We also went for a short African dance practice, taught by Fernanda, Raquel’s friend. Fernanda is a Physics and Mathematics teacher in a school, very scientific-minded, yet she is also an artesana, making Mapuche weavings and other crafts and teaching African dances.

Villa Elisa is merely 45 minutes to 1 hour away from Buenos Aires on the bus towards La Plata and gosh, it is a completely different world. Just out of Buenos Aires’ provinces, are lands and lands of pure greenery. Villa Elisa is a residential area with big lovely houses, pretty gardens and lots and lots of shady trees along the streets. Just lovely to spend a couple of days here surrounded by chirping birds and pollution-free fresh air.

Raquel’s children are also incredibly intelligent and creative. They are drawing and drawing all the time and there are pictures pasted all over the house. I was amazed by how artistic they are, again they are the seeds of Argentina’s creativity culture. Raquel also shared with me the same theory, that Argentines must be ingenious, resourceful, creative to get around their social and economic situations. For her age, just 9 years old, I found Carmen really mature. She would sit there and give her opinions about the social class differences in Argentina and the bad education of the people who dirtied the streets in Buenos Aires and the beaches along the coasts. She over and over again expressed her love for nature, greenery and animals. Hahaa, this girl truly belongs to the countryside, like here in Villa Elisa.

I took the bus to Mar del Plata on Thursday morning and when I arrived at 2pm there, I was taken aback by how freezing cold Mar del Plata was. Gosh, this is the top summer resort of Argentina, where in perhaps 10 days’ time, hoards and hoards of porteños would descend upon this beach city like ants to bake under the sun. But with the strange topsy-turvy weather of Argentina, it was like 18C in the day and 12C in the night that ‘summer’ day.

This year was really odd. When I was here in Buenos Aires in autumn, back in May and June, the temperature reached a hot 28C. Now that it is summer, it actually dipped down to 12C. I had only brought along skimpy summery tops and a jacket which was basically just a shell where the wind blew right through me. Brrr….

The next day, I wanted to take advantage of the noon sun to head out to the beach, but at the hostel, somehow or other, I had to be sociable, stopping to chat with this and that person as I made my way from the bed to the breakfast table.

The lady who talked to me for more than 2 hours at the breakfast table was Elisa-Maris. She is an Argentine who had just returned from United States after more than 20 years there. She wanted to move back to Argentina and change her career. As she is still sorting out her things between Argentina and United States, she is currently living at the hostel.

I found it strange. Most people here in South America, including in Argentina, are planning and plotting their ways to work in United States or Europe. Yet, to meet a lady, who actually wants to leave United States to return to her home country, why?… I was curious.

Elisa-Maris explained that here in Argentina, compared to United States, people are very open-minded, there is indeed a huge cauldron of cultures and ideas here. For example, she explained… in United States, an average person listen to a few kinds of music, say, Country Music, Pop. But in Argentina, many people listen to ALL kinds of music, from Celtic to African to Arabic to Indian and people here read a lot about all topics around the world. I thought back… true, my friends here, Pablo and his friends, Raquel, Natalia, etc… indeed have music collections from all over the world. For sure, having scanned the bookshops here, people do read everything, bookshops are opened til 10pm or later, and often, on the bus or subte (metro), I would see people reading. Some artesanos in Plaza Francia, I was told, are doctors, radiologists… and Fernanda is a science teacher, yet, they also swing the other way – art.

Art, dance, music, literature, poetry… Argentina is indeed the place where cultures are cultured. This is what she misses here in Argentina, this is what she loves and wants to return to. She used to be a highly-placed teacher, a specialist in some kind of education, but now she wants to start a film company. Look at that! What a complete change! It was really refreshing to chat with Elisa-Maris, as she encouraged me to open my mind to all the options and changes in my new life when this trip ends.

I finally hit the beach and got myself nicely baked, both sides, for 2 hours or so, before the clouds closed in. The beaches of Mar del Plata are lined with rows and rows and rows of umbrellas and shady canvas cabins that stretched as far as the eyes could see. At this point, most of them are empty, although there were scattering of tourists all over the beach. But, gosh, I can just imagine, how horrifying it would be in January and February when nearly the entire population of Buenos Aires relocates itself here. I also noticed, to my amusement, that true to what Javier and Cristian had told us back at the beaches in Icapui, Brazil that Argentine guys do not wear swimming trunks, they just wear beach shorts.

I walked up and down the shopping streets of Mar del Plata, joining the last-minute shopping crowd. Yes, there is indeed a sense of urgency now. It’s the day before Christmas Eve! I could sense the desperation of some of the people as they browsed and picked. They were obviously buying things that they previously would not have bought, if they had had time to think long and hard at, ha. Whoops… I just realised I am one of them! I need to get presents for my friends back in Buenos Aires right now!


The Days And Nights Are Just Packed

December 23rd, 2005

14 December 2005 – 18 December 2005 (Wednesday – Sunday) – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thanks for giving me the break from updating the blog. I sure needed it!! To those who had been reading or polling… well, forgive me.

I spent the first 2 to 3 days back in Buenos Aires walking around different neighbourhoods all by myself, without any contact with any friends at this point, just breathing, just sensing, just feeling, just thinking. I wanted to recognise this incredible city all over again… by myself.

Majestic statue and ornate lamp-posts

Broken bench...

Gorgeous Aguas Argentinas building along Av. Cordoba

As I had again and again said, this is a city that NEVER sleeps. Never! There are so many activities going on at nearly every street and corner at all times, so much to see and experience and live. I also wore myself out with shopping these days. Yeah, just to get the need out of my system first! Although I wonder if it will ever really ‘get out’, haha!

After a few days, I moved from Pablo’s apartment to Claudia’s (my ex-Hospitality Club host) apartment because Pablo had to leave Buenos Aires for work soon.

I was walking along Av. Corrientes on Friday night when I was shoved a few brochures for theatre shows. Well, why not, although they would speak way too fast for me, I would catch one of these, just to experience the theatre scene of Buenos Aires (the cheaper ones, at least). I selected one ‘diva’ musical show because the actresses handing out the brochures had the most outrageous costumes. I had the most amazing fun that night, guffawing away. Although I did not understand 100% of what was going on, it was just downright funny. And when I tried to make my way home at around 1am, many of the restaurants around here were more than half to completely full. Only in Buenos Aires.

Of course when I returned home to Claudia’s apartment, she still had some friends over at her place, Cintia and Gustavo, and so I stayed up some more and chatted with them til 4am or so.

By Friday morning, I had also contacted Javier and Cristian, 2 Argentine guys whom I met in Fortaleza, Brazil. We had spent a few crazy days together with our host Isabelle, suffering around the beaches up north of Brazil. Gosh, the unbearable things we had to do then… lazed around the beaches, gobbled up damn delicious and cheap lobsters, partied til sunrise.

The boys drove by where I was staying to say ‘hola’ but they could not stay for long as they had to run off to work. Oh, it was so nice to see my little brothers again! They invited me to a bar on Saturday night.

That Saturday night, I arrived at 11pm or so and realised that Javier actually worked at this bar. He introduced me to his friends Yamila and Claudia, but he himself was busy bar-tending. Cristian never showed up. Although complete strangers, Yamila and Claudia were excellent with me, very interested in me and very interesting themselves. I mean, it had happened to me before, when my friend introduced me to his or her friends and then left me with them and everyone just talked amongst themselves as if I did not exist. Well, if this happened, so be it. I did not expect too much from them, for they are not my friends and I am a stranger from a foreign land. But Yamila and Claudia were nice.

Yamila was another semi-witch, this time, one who had self-studied the Mayan Calendar. I later calculated my Mayan sign and learnt that I am a Skywalker. Sounds a little like ‘Star Wars’ but it is exactly what it means – an explorer of time and space and there is more – messenger between Earth and Sky, anxious for peace and harmony, fighter for principles, born of superior mind, blah blah blah. Not sure about the superior mind but the rest does not sound that far from me, haha!

We yakked til 3:30am or so. I was totally knackered by around 2am, but the night owls that are the Argentines only started to seriously show up at the bar from 1am or 2am onwards. And when I managed to catch a bus home at 4am, I was shocked to find so many people on the bus… not just young adults returning from a party night out, but there were elderly men and women and even families with children too! Only in Buenos Aires.

I also visited a couple of ferias over the weekend, the one at Plaza Francia, Recoleta and another one at San Isidro, a posh neighbourhood up north, as recommended by Yamila. Both were really very good, indeed.

Hippie Fair at Plaza Francia

I tried to understand from the artesanos themselves there, why do they think Argentines are so creative, making these hand-made products, many of really high quality, with such amazing originality and creativity. One lady shared that because of the country’s shaky political and economic situation, people have to learn to think out of the box, to be more ingenious than their fellow neighbours, to be more resourceful, in order to be able to survive better. Another explained there is a huge mix of cultures here, with immigrants from all over the world, living together in a relatively young country, trying to form something to call their own. Interesting. I don’t know. But the number of ingenious writers, the number of excellent movies this country has churned out all came from these highly imaginative and cynical minds as well.

With so many things to do day and night, I must say I actually felt exhausted here in Buenos Aires after less than a week and I am just a tourist! I don’t understand how the porteños sustain the energy. They have to work in the day (sometimes they need to hold several jobs), many have to study as well, but they still have to go out, meet friends and party in the night til 4am or later. How?

When I am walking along the streets and feeling tired, I feel it is a shame to head home, as there are still so many shops opened, so many people walking around, eating, reading, chatting. When I have difficulty waking up in the morning, I feel it is a shame to rest and sleep-in, as outside, the sky is so blue and perfect, and yes, again, there are so many activities going on, how can you stay home?

But as I am not an Argentine, I need a break from my holiday!

Tags: ,

Mi Buenos Aires Querido

December 14th, 2005

13 December 2005 (Tuesday) – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ah, mi Buenos Aires querido… (My dear Buenos Aires)! I was very happy to see it again – in perfect summery weather this time – when the bus pulled up earlier than expected.

My friend Pablo had said he would pick me up. I looked around and realised that gosh, Retiro bus terminal is so immense. How in the world could we find each other? I did not know if it was best to go search for him or to sit put and wait. I took the easy way out and sat.

Ah, hello… there he is!! Hola hola hola hola… we greeted each other happily, rushing to ask each other how the other had been. Great to see him again. He said I looked thinner. Well, lost about 5 kg. I had no appetite for food since Bolivia, don’t know why. I just ate one main meal a day… the rest are bits of snacks and bread here and there. But I kinda like my slimmer self. At least, I look better now in the new clothes that I had just bought. As for him, he looked a bit tired, as he had been working very hard for his job, earning money for his next big trip.

After leaving my things at his apartment, we headed to a supermarket to buy things to cook. “So, Trisha, ¿que querés comer?” (What do you want to eat?) as Pablo scanned through the vegetables and meat sections. “Sushi”, I replied. He rolled his eyeballs. He tried again, “So, Trisha, ¿que querés comer?“. There is only one answer – “Sushi”.

Into the basket, Pablo tossed ingredients for pasta and lasagne.

What? No sushi?

As Pablo is leaving Buenos Aires in a few days’ time for his job, he was a little stressed and busy now. No biggie, with Guia ‘T’, I can cruise around Buenos Aires all by myself. I went to the city centre and wandered around Calle Florida. I spotted the usual tango performing couples and popped into each of the bookshops I came by. Everything felt so familiar. I felt really at home. And I also felt a little sad that I would be leaving soon. I guess, over these two plus weeks, I just had to treasure each and every day I have and enjoy all the city has to offer as much as possible.

(As this is the tailend of my trip, I have to confess I am a little tired now of updating the blog. I may take a break from writing my blog and will only update occasionally when I feel like it. So, don’t worry if you see nothing being updated. I am still alive.)

Tags: ,

Shopping Time

December 14th, 2005

12 December 2005 (Monday) – Cordoba to Buenos Aires, Argentina

As I leave for home from Buenos Aires, Argentina, one of my missions here is to shop shop shop. Coz afterall, I am leaving and I have no idea when I would come back here again. Well, I know… I bitched about having not enough money, but truly, I was ‘saving up’ to spend my money here in Argentina. The things here are comparatively cheap, if you know where to look, and can be rather fashionable. They are not tacky like in Brazil, or expensive like in Venezuela and Chile, or over-ethnic like in Peru and Bolivia. Shopping is truly best done here in Argentina. Travelling Trish turns Trendy Trish? Well.

Nadia informed me that the cheapie clothes stores, inadvertently many are run by Koreans, are found along Calle San Martin. I spent hours along that street, sinking my hands deep into the jungle of clothes and snapping up rather good deals. Very happy. I was, at one point, mistaken for one of the Koreans working at the store, as a lady came to ask me how to use the locker. Sorry, wrong Asian… ask the other one.

In the evening, Nadia and I, together with all my backpack and stuff, took a taxi to pick up her friend Daniel and a Hospitality Club member from Lithuania called Gedas. We went to Parque Sarmiento for some choripan – grilled chorizos (thick sausages) clasped between bread, laced with whatever sauces and veggies you want… wow, truly the BEST choripan I had ever had so far! The view here, especially at night, was rather nice as we could see a bit of the twinkling lights down in the centre. We chatted a bit but could not stay long as I had a bus to catch.

The trio accompanied me to the bus terminal and saw me off. This would truly be my last bus ride and my last time sleeping on a bus (at least for a while before the next trip begins!) as I cruised towards my second home city, the last point of my trip – Buenos Aires. It is time to connect the final dot!

Tags: ,


December 14th, 2005

11 December 2005 (Sunday) – Córdoba to Alta Gracia to Córdoba, Argentina

I actually had quite a lot of difficulty tearing myself away from Nadia’s house. Although Nadia is much younger than I, I found her very mature, intelligent and a very, very, very nice girl. I am actually glad that Marina did not give me proper instructions (and neither did she contact me anymore). As such, I got the opportunity to meet Nadia and her family. We had so much to talk about, so much to share, so much to laugh about.

After lunch, I finally managed to peel myself away to enjoy the beautiful summer day. I had a vague idea to visit a nearby town like Alta Gracia as today in Córdoba, being a Sunday, everything would be closed anyway. When I arrived at the minibus terminal near Mercado Sud, there was a bus just about to leave for Alta Gracia. Just in time!

When I arrived at Alta Gracia, I was not surprised to find the Tourist Office closed. So I was kinda lost now. What to do and how do I get to the town centre without a map? I relied on my instincts and my nose and wandered away from the bus terminal. I figured if I got really lost, I would just take a taxi back to the terminal later when I ran out of ideas on what to do.

The houses here are really grand and beautiful. I wandered around, admiring them. How gorgeous and spacious some of them are!! Love them love them love them. Oh, how I wish I could live in one of these!

Well, sorry if I sounded a little repetitive about my hopes to obtain an apartment… haha. In Singapore, apartments are small and expensive and those ‘cheaper’ ones built by the government are only sold to married couples and singles above 35 (when the government thinks that you are obviously unmarriable by then… yep, they scornfully C-R-U-S-H all your hopes… MUHAHAHHA). The rich singles who can afford it can buy any apartment they want, private apartments with swimming pool, gymnasium, etc… or second-hand apartments, usually much more expensive. The rest of us peasants just have to live with our parents, or perhaps, rent a place somewhere.

There used to be 8 people living in my parents’ apartment of 3 rooms. Now, they are 4. After 30 years, I finally got my own ROOM… what a laugh! To Nadia, when I told her the situation in Singapore, her eyes turned all wide and surprised. For them, they have all the spaces here in Argentina, they certainly could not imagine sharing a room with a sibling, much less with 3.

I happened upon a sign with an arrow towards Museo Che Guevara. Ah, I read something about Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara living here in Alta Gracia during his childhood. That would give me something to do. The museum was actually the house rented by his parents during his childhood. There is a collection of photos and some items around the house. They showed 2 short movies about Che, one of his childhood and one of this last days in Bolivia before he was killed.

The one of his childhood was particularly interesting to me, as musings from his old childhood friends, his cook, his teachers showed how contemplative, sensitive and generous Ernestito (as he was known then) was as a child. He did not just read books, they said, he devoured them. And whenever he had anything, he always shared with his friends and family. He never hurt anyone, not even birds and animals. Even as a little ‘un, he had the charisma and leadership that he displayed later, as he was the leader of a neighbourhood gang. There were more photos of his usual guerilla self, smoking a cigar, standing amongst soldiers in the middle of the jungle, grinning away and one of him with nearly all his children. In a way, to me, ‘Che’ is no longer just a legend with the famous frozen image of that mid-distance heroic gaze, topped with a beret, etched on the side of a building in Havana, Cuba, on the 3-Cuban peso coin, and on countless T-shirts and badges. This museum showed how human he was.

Every bits of his childhood and travels in his youth left a seed in him, shaping him to become the man that he was. His early trips took him around Argentina and South America where he saw the various cultures and richness this continent had to offer, and yet all the injustice and poverty amongst the people. Whether you agree with his revolutionary ideas is a different story. I guess my point is that many things in his life left seeds in him, groomed him, shaped him. Can the same be said of many other people?

Also, HE left many of his tracks behind… OK, some teenagers may just like his face on their T-shirts for fashion or rebellious purposes, or even without a clue who in the world he was… but when I was in Cuba in 2003, I could truly feel amongst the people there, how admired and beloved he was. While it is impossible for everyone to end up like a legend such as he, at least, one should try and leave his tracks behind, his impact, his guidance, his ideas, his wisdom, his love… amongst the people he loved, the ones closest to him. It would be great to know that when I am gone, I was at least signficant to someone.

Tags: ,

Paseo de las Artes

December 11th, 2005

10 December 2005 (Saturday) – Córdoba, Argentina

No Marina when I arrived in Córdoba. I was not surprised. I stuffed my backpack and haversack into a locker and tried to figure out what to do next. Suddenly, I realised I did not have my small camera in my bag. Shit, where did it go? I realised I had lost it!! W-h-a-t t-h-e h-e-y??!!!? Forget about asking HOW, because if I knew how, it would not have been lost. I tried to figure out the chain of events.

I had it with me when I went gallivanting around Mendoza but I did not take it out of my sling bag. In fact, I forgot about it being in my sling bag. My sling bag had no zip and I had left it near my feet on the bus. In the middle of the night, the bag had overturned in my sleep. Groggily, I picked up everything and I even checked with my torch. There appeared nothing left on the ground. But to be honest, at that time, I did not remember about the small camera, so I did not note that it was missing then and did not search specifically for it. Shit, now that it is missing, I think it might have been left on the bus!

I obtained some telephone numbers to call, but I seriously doubted that I would recover it. OK, it is a US$30 camera – without zoom, without anything. I had bought this as a quick-snappy-snap when I was in Manaus, Brazil to replace my stolen digital camera. Frankly, at this point, I was very tired and did not fancy taking any more photos of anything. But gosh, I felt a little pissed with myself for being so careless and for having lost the birthday and barbecue photos of my Viña del Mar family.

Anyway, I checked my email and again, no reply from Marina. OK, let’s forget about her! So strange to invite someone to visit you and then, happily awaits your arrival without giving clear instructions and then, completely forgets about you.

I took some hostels’ brochures from the Tourist Office and called them to ask about prices – about 17-18 pesos but nah, I really don’t fancy the gringo party scene and the tourists’ usual banter. Sure, occasionally I do get along with some tourists rather well, but… I am at the end of my trip now and I am feeling tired, and frankly, I feel rather antisocial towards tourists.

OK, I searched in Hospitality Club and noted that there were about 100 members here in Córdoba. That was quite a lot. Perhaps, I should try and contact some to see if they welcome a surprise guest now. Only when I have exhausted all options with Hospitality Club, would I go to a hostel. Usually, I tried to look for members around my age because I felt I would have more things in common with them to chat about. But this time, I decided to search by the most active members, i.e. the one most likely to welcome an unexpected guest, I figured. Some of them left their numbers and I noted down several of them. The first one I called was Nadia. I quickly explained my situation to her and to my surprise, she said, yes, come over, here’s the address. Wow, what luck!! I thought I had to shamelessly call up a few more to get one success.

When I reached Nadia’s house, her whole family received me with an amazingly warm welcome. I explained the whole story with Marina and really had to apologize for this unexpected arrival but they shushed me up.

I realised I was once again talking normally with them. Great, I can speak and understand Spanish again. When I complained to the Chileans that they speak too fast and unclear, they in turn bitched about the Argentines, insisting the Argentines were even worse. But no no no no no. For me, I understood every, or nearly everything that was said to me.

I spent the afternoon resting and trying to call the bus office of Mendoza and Córdoba about my camera. We were transferred to a huge number of people who kept on transferring us to someone else. Finally, they told us to call back at 10:30pm when the same bus prepares to leave Córdoba for Mendoza. If they found anything, they would have to report it by then.

Alright. Finally, I decided to head to town. It was around 5pm now, and I heard the feria de artesania of Cordoba – called Paseo de las Artes, is really huge and really good. My eyes lit up in delight and anticipation as I headed to town.

I was a little too early, as the stalls were just setting up. I wandered around the city centre a bit and returned by around 8pm. Wow wow wow wow wow!!! Truly, Paseo de las Artes of Cordoba was the BEST handicraft fair I had ever been to in my entire life!!!! There were just tonnes and tonnes of stalls everywhere! It was not the biggest, but it was certainly the most creative one I had ever seen, I think even better than my favourite handicraft fair in Buenos Aires! Wow, I was surprised by many of the hand-made items, wondering what was going through their minds for them to think of creating such amazing things. OK, a few items resulted in queries of ‘what was going through their minds’ in the bad sense. But, most of them… were just lovely, lovely, lovely. My eyes were round and gleaming. My jaws were half-opened. I walked around the fair in a manner to make sure I did not get lost amongst the stalls and yet, would not leave a stall unviewed as well. There were so many items I wanted to buy. All for my apartment, I declared! One tiny problem. I do not have my own apartment! Just a tiny problem…

By the way, no camera was found, they claimed. Blah, as expected, why would they return a camera, even a lousy, snappy-snap camara?

Tags: ,

Through the Andes and the Pampas

December 11th, 2005

9 December 2005 (Friday) – Viña del Mar, Chile to Córdoba, Argentina

Jessica and I bid farewells and I climbed onto the bus to Mendoza, Argentina. There were just 5 passengers on the bus. I guess, many Chileans were not travelling because they have to vote this Sunday. We were given Argentine’s favourite snack – alfajor – to munch and the bus proceeded towards the Andes mountains.

The bus assistant soon prepared mate and shared it with the driver, as the bus careened down beautiful flat lands of farms and vineyards. Hmmm… here’s a riddle: What is skinny, has huge, dark, smothering eyes and drinks mate? Yes, an Argentine. Or at least, the bus assistant and the driver have huge, dark, smothering eyes… sigh, I’m in heaven.

I remembered that this route up through the Andes was spectacular and so, I refused to fall asleep and kept my eyes peeled at the scenery outside. After about 4 hours of travelling, the Andes mountains with the snowy peaks started to come up really near to us. We climbed up a windy road with numerous hair-pin turns. Each time at the top, the view looking down at the ribbony road was just drop-dead breath-taking! And gosh, the mountains the mountains the mountains!

We cleared customes easily. No one seemed interested in checking our luggage and by 4pm, had pulled up in Mendoza’s huge bus terminal.

Previously on Isla del Sol in Bolivia, I had met Marina, from Córdoba, Argentina. She had asked me that if I was going to Córdoba, I should contact her and stay over at her place. She said she has a house in the mountains and perhaps, we could go there as well. I thought it was a great idea. Although I originally did not plan on visiting Córdoba, I decided I would make the detour there. I had advised Marina my estimated time of arrival. Instead of providing her telephone number or her address, she wrote a very happy email, claiming that I should stop at Rio Cuarto, a couple of hours before reaching Córdoba and ‘¡Te espero!’ (I wait for you!).

OK… but HOW?? How can I contact her when I arrive? Am I supposed to assume she is at the bus terminal of Rio Cuarto waiting for me?? What is her number?? Where does she live? Yesterday, when I received her happy cryptic email, I wrote again, telling her to be clearer – am I to buy a ticket to Rio Cuarto and wait for her at the terminal? Please please please give me your number, I wrote.

Now, at Mendoza bus terminal, I had to make a decision – bus to Rio Cuarto or bus to Córdoba? I checked my email. No reply from Marina. Sigh… And buses to Rio Cuarto all arrive at 3am or 4am. I seriously doubt Marina would be at the bus terminal waiting for me at 3am or 4am. I have no information about Rio Cuarto and I really did not fancy arriving at 3am or 4am there. I thought long and hard and bought a ticket to Córdoba. I informed Marina about my bus details. If you read this email and can meet me at Córdoba at 7am-8am, great. If not, send me some information on HOW to contact you!, I repeated.

I wandered around Mendoza a bit. I really think it is a lovely city, with these tree-lined avenues, lovely squares and really nice ferias de artesania (handicraft fairs) at Plaza España and Plaza Independencia. Gosh, artesanias here in Argentina really take the cake! The crafts are the most original, lovely and stylish compared to any handicraft fairs in South America that I had ever been to. And gosh, being back in Argentina, sure felt familiar and g-r-e-a-t! OK, my first meal here was not nice, but it was the restaurant’s fault. But look at the bookshops, the newspapers and magazine stands, the flower shops along the avenues, the kiosks selling snacks and drinks. I just love everything here!

That evening, I again sunk myself in a luscious seat, watched a nice movie on the bus, and slept pretty comfortably as the bus flew… this really flew… across the pampas towards Córdoba.

Tags: ,

Ceferino Ceferino Ceferino

December 9th, 2005

8 December 2005 (Thursday) – Viña del Mar, Chile

Today is a public holiday and so Jessica did not have to go to work and was free to show me around. She drove me to Concon and we stopped by Playa Amarilla for a while. The sun was really strong, and the wind was not crazy like in La Serena, so we spent some time basking on the beach. Very nice…

Basking under the sun

Then, she spun me around Reñaca and Viña del Mar, showing me all the posh condominiums and lovely apartments. Gosh, everything looked really nice and modern here. I was curious how much an apartment facing the coasts cost. Perhaps about US$400,000. About the price of private apartments in Singapore, I think, but WITH the amazing view!

Apartments built on the side of the hills that stretch right to the coast

The coastline alternates between rocky outcrops and small sandy beaches. People were cycling and jogging along the coastal road. It was just absolutely lovely. I craned my neck and looked everywhere, searching for the perfect apartment. Ahem, who knows… one day, I may be able to live in one. Jessica and I decided we would post classifieds – “Busco Viejo Rico Para Casarse” (I Am Looking for A Rich Old Man to Marry).

A house built right at the rocky coast... what a location!

Stunning coastline of Vina del Mar

With Jessica

In the evening, as it is a public holiday and it is the day after Fabiola’s birthday, the family gathered for an asado. Ah, great meat has arrived even before I left for Argentina. As the family enjoyed the usual bantar and constantly laughed at my puzzled face whenever Enrique tried to talk to me (He was the worst! I did not understand ONE word from him at all. We were better off speaking French!). Still, when they remembered my presence, they tried their best to moderate their speech for me, I know.

Later, 2 jolly aunts of Jessica arrived to join the party – Aunt Maria-Lilias and Aunt Suli. According to them, Aunt Maria-Lilias is the family witch. My eyes lit up! Wow, if I learnt anything about myself on this trip, I learnt that I want to learn how to be a witch. I felt an instant affinity with her. She too seemed quite taken with me.

She showed us a way to get our questions answered. She needed a white, black or red roll of cloth. Jessica gave her a long sheet of white toilet paper. Well, that would do. She folded the toilet paper into half and put a match-stick inside the folded end. I was absolutely sure it was in between the fold. Then, she rolled the entire toilet paper. You have to hold it in your right hand and chant, “Ceferino, Ceferino, Ceferino” to call this young Indian boy from Argentina Patagonia… some legend, she said, and ask your question in your head. If the answer is ‘no’, the match-stick remains INSIDE the fold. If ‘yes’, the match-stick will appear OUTSIDE the fold when you unroll the paper/cloth.

Kathya tried. We unrolled the toilet-paper and the match-stick remained inside – a ‘no’. I tried. For mine, the match-stick magically appeared OUTSIDE the fold – a ‘YES’!!!. I was absolutely stunned. I could not figure out how the match-stick could appear outside. Must be magic! Jessica’s answer was a ‘yes’ as well and for Kathya’s second question… sigh, it was a ‘no’ again.

I need to learn some witchcraft, I tell you.

Tags: ,