The mighty icebergs of Patagonia grind their way through the gray sub-arctic wasteland, momentarily dusted with ash spewed from the boiling bowels of the Earth, on their epochal flow toward their infinite mother - the ever-waiting icy sea. Or at least that's what I THINK is going on since I'm still here in BUENOS AIRES.
Actually, don't cry for me, Argentina (you KNEW that was inevitable.) I'm still having a very good time. Before I knew that El Calafate was out, I was in a pretty big rush to see everything I wanted here. Now I'm going at a much easier pace.
I got up and out really late, having had a little difficulty sleeping with all the "what if" and "maybe but"s doing donuts in the lawn of my dreams. After breakfast it was determined that it really was a done deal - no icebergs. Everything canceled. I actually felt OK because there was a finality to it. Unlike the poor folks who were here for a whole extra week trying daily to get home through Mother Nature's fart.
So I hoofed it on down to the cemetery and just wandered around taking pictures that I was liking. I'm hoping they're good enough that high school goth bands will want to buy them for their CD covers or websites or phone backgrounds or whatever. Is Marilyn Manson still touring? Some of these could make for awesome bootleg t-shirts.
I had done a good hour and a half when one of the guards was walking by and tried to teach me the Spanish words for "no" and "tripods". What is up with TRIPODS? Why does everyone get so weirded out about me using a tripod? It's like "Hey - you can take all the pictures you want, as long as they're BLURRY." I'm actually thinking about getting some crutches when I go take pictures and see if that works. Screw you man, I AM a tripod! (I wish).
Next, I went to a thing which is another reason I'm OK with having to stay here. There's this "emerging culture" event going on this weekend which I was thinking would be extremely cool to go to but I had already planned on El Calafate.
I don't even know what it is, exactly. All the info is in Spanish, but the gist of it is a bunch of cutting edge art, music, and even animation among other things. So it was starting this evening. They were still setting up a lot of it but some stuff was ready to go.
I've said it before, but being immersed in a completely unfamiliar culture and being unable to communicate with anyone for most of the time is an anxious, sometimes maddening, but really rewarding and mind-expanding experience. It's kind of sad that I've spent about half my life without experiencing that, because it really is opening up my world a little more. This is what traveling is meant to do in my opinion. I'm so glad I'm not on a tourist bus with a lot of other Americans looking through the glass as if it's a tv and being guided by the hand through a scripted and guaranteed comfortable experience. It's not like I'm pushing the envelope or anything, but I feel like by being on my own I'm getting more out of it.
So going to this event was all that, but up a few levels because there was so much going on all around me. This was not a museum environment where I only needed a handful of gestures and Spanish words to get by. It's all slanted toward the whippersnappers, so the energy level was hyperkinetic, and chaos reigned. People setting stuff up, hanging pictures, talking on walkie talkies wearing hard hats, TV news cameras swinging around, "federal police" dudes looking nervous and tense, all sprinkled with important-looking signs I couldn't read.
There were a few times I could duck into some art exhibits, which were pretty good. One that was a total surprise and extremely good was of the photographer Robert Doisneau. He's Frawnsh. You've probably seen one of his of this couple kissing in a busy street. My Ex had a big poster of it. So it was strange to see it as one of about fifty of his photographs without special focus on it. This guy really had a gift for capturing people's emotional responses to things going on around them. Really good.
Back outside, it turned out that the music part of this festival is really huge. They had the typical professional outdoor stage with a jumbotron in the back. Very top-notch don't you know. Then the band came on and it was like one of those Beatles responses. Lots of girls screaming. The audience knew all of the words and sang along. Of course I had no idea who the band was or any of the songs, which made the weirdness notch up one more level. I was really expecting the "emerging" music to be like robot music with bad rapping in the corners of the galleries, not a six thousand person concert. Well, at least this thing will be a big deal and hopefully the stuff coming this weekend will be top-drawer.
I didn't stay for all of it, since I'm starting to get annoyed at hearing the phrase "me corazon" over and over. Not to say that American music isn't guilty of saying "love" too much, of course. It's just when that's the only phrase you understand, it calls attention to itself. (At least "corazon" has way more rhyming options than "love".)
Now it's time to sleep on my crutches idea. It's so crazy it just, might, work.