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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Making Sense of it All in Buenos Aires...

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014


Writing this from a small cafe near my apartment on a rainy Saturday.  I'm here every morning, sit in the same place, and order my usual cafe con leche y tres medialunas.  In fact, they bring it now without asking, which I've come to enjoy.  I'd forgotten I'm a creature of habit, and have enjoyed having order and routine in my life the past few weeks.  I also jog every day after my lazy breakfast/coffee, and it's felt great to get back into an exercise routine.  I've gotten to know the neighborhood, speak with shop owners, have a favorite piece of street art nearby, and feel like I really 'live' here.  Tacking on this portion of the adventure at the end has been really nice.  I've grown to enjoy BsAs, and can see why so many people end up here permanently. 

While being stationary after a trip like this can be relaxing, there can be a downside too.  Along the way I was moving fast!  I saw so many incredible people, places, and things that I really didn't get a chance to come up for air.  The first week of being here I felt a bit 'off'.  I couldn't place it, but it dawned on me that I was alone in a big city, and for the first time in almost a year have been able to stop, reflect, and simply sit with my emotions.  There are no distractions, and at first that felt strange, and at times bad.  I tend to avoid negative emotions and feelings by masking them with clever techniques I've learned over the years (motorcycling, adventures, booze, parties, women, work promotions, excessive exercise, etc).  Once I allowed myself the 'OK' to simply feel, and started thinking and writing about the emotions and memories that came up, I was able to work through a lot of disquieting things, some of which were main motivators to take this journey in the first place (divorce, loneliness, fears/worries about future, death, etc).  Amazing what happens when you allow yourself to do nothing.  In that regard BsAs has been a very therapeutic resting point for me, and a very powerful way to wrap up South America.  

Ok...  feelings, emotions, butterflies, and bunnies aside, what the F have I been up to here in BsAs?  Well I'll tell ya...  First off, I loaded my bike at the airport the other day.  Again, I'm using the help of Sandra and Javi at Dakar Motos and would HIGHLY recommend you follow suit if you find yourself in need of shipping.  Everything went smooth at airport/LAN Cargo facility.  Sandra had a 'handler' waiting for me.  He took care of all the paperwork while I worked to get the bike wrapped up.  Within an hour we had the bike 'packaged', weighed, and ready for shipment.  Everything mint until a semi-retarded fucktard of a forklift driver plowed into the back of my bike breaking the rear light assembly.  Whatever, Sandra worked with the shipping company to have them deduct a few bucks off the shipping cost, so it's all good.  If that's all that happens I guess I could consider it a success! 

What else?  Let's see...  Last Monday I went to a show called La Bomba de Tiempo at Konex Cultural Center.  There were hundreds of people in the crowd to witness what can only be described as an Argentinian 25-man powerful drum circle on steroids.  It was recommended to me, but I didn't really know what to expect.  The show is about two hours and features some amazing drumming, rhythms, guest artists jamming, dancing, and of course drinking.  Afterward the party spills into the countless bars and discos where locals and gringos alike continue to slam Quilmes, Fernet y Coca, and dance the night away (seriously, this city never sleeps - no wonder the economy just went into default for a second time).  

Tuesday nights have provided a few options.  First, there is a free language/cultural exchange event called MundoLingo.  They have multiple events per week in different parts of the city.  Upon arrival you are given a sticker of the flag where you're from (native language), then another flag of the country/language you want to visit/learn respectively.  It's a really cool event, but if you expect to simply practice language skills be forewarned.  Let me break it down for you.  9pm-10pm is language/cultural exchange, 10pm-12am the drinks flow heavily and the event becomes more of a multicultural meat market of sorts, 12am-1am the crowd thins and leaves remaining culturally diverse new 'couples' practicing their international make out skills.  After all that the crowd disperses and 'cultural exchange' is moved into nearby telos.  Telo = hotelo, a 'by the hour' hotel set up exclusively for twenty/thirty somethings who still live with their parents.  Some with themed rooms (think Zeus w/ heart shaped bathtub, or Love Boat w/ miniature cruise ship bed).  Some are five star, some of them you'd be ashamed to tell your mother about, and should provide Purell at the door.  Another option is HYPE at Kika Club, which is a very popular weekly event playing bass, trap, hip-hop, and dance music.  It gets absolutely packed in there, so a tip is to add your name to the list on FB for free entry, and to skip line.  Again, all that on a Tuesday night.  When do they sleep???

Other notable nightlife options include a drink at Frank's, which is a hip speakeasy at ArĂ©valo 1445 where you have to enter a phone booth and input a code to gain entry.  There's also a great monthly event every last Friday called +160 Suite at a cool club called Bahrein.  160+ provides driving, forward thinking d'n'b, and bass music upstairs, along with thumping underground minimal house downstairs.  Again, add yourself to guest list on Facebook (you can get in essentially anywhere in the city free this way - thanks for the tip Nicole!).  Finally, if it's in town, and you can manage to get tickets, I would highly, HIGHLY recommend hitting up Fuerza Bruta.  It's a postmodern theatre show held in a lofty warehouse space.  Surreal, ethereal, full of energy, and amazing, the show interacts highly with the crowd and creates an experience like none other.  Really, it's hard to explain, but if you have a chance check it out for yourself.  It's like a 'cooler' version of Cirque du Soleil (pre corp sellout) w/ less acrobatics and more emphasis on theatre, dance, and music.

Although the city thrives after dark, there are also amazing things to see, visit, and experience during waking hours.  Some of my favorites include strolling around Palermo, searching out stylish cafes, exploring and enjoying San Telmo and the plethora of street art and musicians, getting lost in Cementerio de la Recoleta, perusing Sunday markets, and visiting MACBA (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Buenos Aires) and the surrounding galleries.  BsAs is hip and stylish, and full of art, culture, good food, and energy.  I've grown to really enjoy it here.  

From here things have changed slightly.  Before I left Denver I met a girlfriend named Dyann.  We got along well and had a lot in common.  However, since I was headed out, we fell out of touch.  Somewhere along the way she has gotten inspiration to do a similar motorcycle trip to mine.  That said, we've reconnected and I've been answering questions, and giving her my $.02 about motorcycles and traveling.  She now has a black KLR all farkled out for adventure (she named it Black Betty, I've renamed it Black Barry).  A job opportunity has delayed her 'big trip', but she is taking a ride from Denver out to Sonoma for a wedding on the 16th.  She knew I was landing in early August, and asked if we could ride together.  That's when we came up with the plan to meet in LA and ride together from there.  That said, Dyann left today and is on day one of her first ever motorcycle adventure.  We'll meet in LA on the 6th, and stay a couple nights with a friend.  Then shoot up the coast to Big Sur, and over into Yosemite area.  From there we'll meet up with fellow ADVrider Arlo, and after sharing beers and swapping stories, will continue up through mountains and forests to the N CA or S OR coast, and then ride down the PCH into Sonoma.  After the wedding in Sonoma we'll ride east through several national parks back to Denver...  Home.  The end.  Fin.  

It's a crazy thought this chapter coming to a close.  One one hand it feels like I was leaving yesterday scared and anxious, on the other it feels I've been on this adventure for a lifetime.  So many experiences, memories, interruptions  and lifelong friends met along the way.  While I'll be sad for it to end, I'm equal parts happy and excited.  Happy I'll be able to see friends and family soon.  Excited to see where life takes me over the next few years.  Somewhere along the way this trip has made me much stronger.  It's gotten rid of a lot of fears and anxieties that I had.  I watched 'Why We Ride' randomly the other night, and the section with Ted Simon (watch here) moved me deeply.  He sums up how powerful this experience has been for me.  I too "tasted the world, and that was when everything in my life changed completely".  Interestingly, when it pans to the shot in LA and he talks about being out of place back home, well I'd be lying if I said that didn't concern me.  But, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  Like the countless seemingly impassable bridges that I crossed on this journey.  "You're alive, what else do you need?"...  Preach on Jupiter!  

I think that's a wrap.  It stopped raining, so I think I'm gonna take a random bus, get lost, and jog back home through the city.  I've only three more days, and feel like there's much more to explore.  So with that, I'm out!  

Will write more soon...  Thanks for listening to/reading my ramblings.  ~ D

PS...  I wrote most of this yesterday, and got some troubling news afterward.  That said I wanted to add a quick update, my step-grandma (aka 'Granny') passed yesterday peacefully surrounded by loving family.  She lived an amazing and interesting life.  I remember telling her a couple years back about my dream to take a motorcycle trip someday, and she said "follow your dreams, you shouldn't have regrets when it all comes to an end".  She then proceeded to regale me with tales of her own travel adventures.  It was a sweet moment.  RIP Bette H.  You lived an amazing life, and raised an amazing family.

1 comment:

  1. David,

    It’s been great following your journey. When you do wrap it up, I'll miss having the anticipation of waiting for the next blog post. I know it's been an emotional roller coaster at times, but your writing always comes across as lucid and honest. Powerful and inspiring stuff, brother. You've kicked off much contemplation for me. Catch you for a beer when you're back in Denver.