Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Perhaps a great irony in my young life.

I turned 21 on Sunday, June 28. Election day here in Argentina. When to sell or serve alcohol is illegal. Just for one day.
In the country in which I have been drinking legally since I arrived, I could not have a drink on my 21st birthday.
Ah bon. C'est la vie.
I did receive some beautiful flowers from two lovely friends.
aren't they pretty?

My head is anywhere but here. It is in the Andes of Northwest Argentina, sipping wine beside a friend. It is sitting on the dock in Harrisville, NH, scratching old, grey Emma's ears and deftly avoiding the affectionate licks of my darling Trot. It is in the kitchen of a cottage in the French countryside, in Provence with Peter Mayle, and in Paris with AJ Leibling.
I've been reading so much since pop left me with a big stack of books before he left. If you're looking for two wonderful reads, Toujours Provence and Between Meals both just blew my mind and made me chronically hungry.

Bueno. A shower is in order after a workout and a yoga class this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When there's nowhere else to turn...

Ok I have something to admit. I'm not totally proud of it. But it needs to be said. My new favorite place in Buenos Aires is... uuuh I can barely bring myself to say it.

It's Starbucks.

So it's not a terrible thing. Starbucks did a great thing in making quality coffee a norm, though I'll never forgive them for their bastardization of the meaning of "machhiato". I just usually pride myself on seeking out the smaller, local places like Boutique del Libro or Lentas Maravillas. But it's only one particular Starbucks in the city. I mean, I've only been to one other, the one in the Alto Palermo mall so I really can't expound on all the Starbucks in the city, but the one I'm at, in Belgrano on Federico Lacroze, is really the only place I want to be right now. Since I got to Buenos Aires I've been looking for that one cozy place, walking distance from my apartment*, my Haymarket away from Haymarket, you know? Boutique del Libro came close, but it's a haul to get there and they lack comfy chairs. But this Starbucks is really great. It's an old converted house so it has a sweet upstairs with 3 rooms packed with comfy chairs and work tables and some beautiful stained glass windows that open like french doors. And they even play decent music. So I'm here to stay. I'm sure I'll make up for it when I'm back in Northampton in 61 days.

*"walking distance" for me, I learned while my family was here, does not equal walking distance for most other people. I now also know why Becky used to get mad at me for walking too slow whenever I visited her in NYC. Believe it or not, I myself have developed my own "city walk". However, I plan to happily abandon it as soon as I'm back to wandering in the woods.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Escape from the city

A post on how much I love Colonia, Uruguay is long overdue. I’ve been there three times now, and am looking forward to one last ferry ride over there in a few weeks. If you’re into quaint, sleepy, almost even deserted, but absolutely beautiful towns, Colonia del Sacramento is the place to be. It’s right across the river, and the barrio histórico, full of shops and so-so parilla and seafood restaurants is right on the water (some times if you squint real hard the water even looks blue). There’s really nothing incredibly remarkable about it all; but the architecture is beautiful and the fact that I can spend an entire afternoon without hearing a single car horn or alarm is a simple salvation. The sun shines through cotton ball clouds and the breeze off the water rustles your hair and fills the boat sails as they drift lazily in the harbor.

Something that IS remarkable about Colonia is a little café called Lentas Maravillas. I love this place so much; I selfishly don’t want to share it with anyone else! It’s literally in someone’s living room—take a wrong turn going to the bathroom and you end up in a bedroom! They’ve got good coffee, especially on a breezy day, and a fun menu that includes 5 o’clock tea with chocolate chip cookies! When I took my family there, another family with 2 younger girls had just ordered the last 3 cookies (heartbreak). But they were just about to bake another batch, so we lounged and checked out the library full of cookbooks, travel books, books on film theory, fiction and non-fiction, (tons of books in English!) while our cookies were baked to perfection and served warm and melty, next to a cup of Illy coffee. Did I mention they have a fireplace roaring in the corner of the room? And a wall of windows with a view of the river?

Jackie and I first went there together during her visit. We noticed the sign outside the door as we were walking into the old town and decided to come back later if we had time to kill before getting back on the ferry. When we were there we sat by the fire, drank coffee, and deliberated heavily on whether or not to order dessert. The discussion was cut short when a local journalist came in to interview the owners and snap some photos for a review. She ended up taking quite a few of Jacqueline and I. Our previous dessert discussion was moot when we were served a free chocolate cheesecake with raspberries and fresh whipped cream for the “inconvenience” of being photographed for a magazine while sipping coffee and reading our books.

(my photo shoot of Jackie)

Lentas Maravillas is a place of delicious inconveniences. I’m not giving you the address. I don’t know it. It will be better to discover it for yourself. But I know where to find it and I can’t wait to go back.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I think my neighbors on the floor above me have joined a marching band--the drumline to be exact. I'm not even kidding. I awoke this morning to the sound of at least 2 deadened snares slammin away. What?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I was not aware.

No one ever told me how easy it is to make scones!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Contigo Peru

"El aji de gallina... puede ser muy picante? extrapicante?"
--"You from Arizona? Texas?"
laughing, "No."
"Massachusetts." world's hardest word to attempt with a quasi-Spanish accent
--blank stare "Ah, sí... Masatuses."
"Pero viajé mucho en Americalatina!"
--"Bien picante!!!"

And then I ate a deliciously spicy meal of chicken stewing in a sauce of yellow aji peppers, ground walnut, milk, cheese, garlic, onion, and happiness. Great Peruvian restaurant in Belgrano! Wooo!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day 108: pelotas

I am being completely unsuccessful at everything but eating peanut butter out of the jar. Why are the last few pages of a project always the absolute worst? Maybe making more coffee will help.

Wish I was back here...

Paper done in 1 day.
Family comes in 10.

So close.