Friday, April 2, 2010

Siempre Arriba

Okay! We are back in Buenos Aires, it's Cap's birthday mañana, we're back with the Doub, and we have my dear friend Ms Sarah Zellweger in the mix with us, which is nothing but the best kind of trouble. Indeed, the view is steadily improving.

Where did I leave off? Right okay, the NaviMag. The NaviMag is a boat, or rather, a large cargo ship that some time ago was converted into a cruise vessel. It accomodates several hundred passengers on its journey from Puerto Natales, Chile up the coast to Puerto Montt. The ship cruises through the fjords, past glaciers and through fog-ridden passes barely wider than the boat. We were on the boat for 4 days and 4 nights. We brought 18 bottles of wine (6 white, 12 red) and 2 books per person.

Kier was reading The Power of Now, his first venture into the self-enlightenment genre. I was working my way through The Power of Silence: Further Teachings of Don Juan, by Carlos Castaneda (hardly my first exposure to shifts in the assemblage point), and Dune Messiah, the second book in the Dune series, which I absolutely loved, but have heard that there is a steep drop off in the quality of the rest of the series. I cannot remember what Cappo was reading, but he will walk past me in a minute here and I'll be sure to let you know.

This was St. Patty's Day, clearly:

So we drank, and read, and played innumerable games of chess. There were some real battles, some unbelievable blunders and no shortage of bad language. As Michael Chabon puts it, chess is "a cruel and pointless game". We're getting better though. We've been reading a lot about basic theory and strategems, including the Queens gambit, the Nimzo-Croation Defense, Fianchettos and Zugzwang (a German word meaning "obligation to move"). If nothing else, there is some amazing new vocabulary to be gained from this fresh obsession.

At night I involved myself in several games of charades, providing ample opportunity to display my theatrical talent and therefore make a fool of myself before all the lovely people assembled in the bar on the top deck. Could have been worse. I could have been one of the winners at bingo on the final night aboard and been forced to dance, alone, in front of literally everyone on board. Plus, they would then have given me a NaviMag baseball cap which I might have felt obligated to keep.

Cappo was reading Divisadero, by Michael Ondaatje. It is a very literary tale of intersecting lives and the divides we create, for self-protection and otherwise. It is mellow, almost loping, but with flashes of poignant violence. I loved it; Cappo came around by the end.

Here: insert 15 hours of socializing.
Here: the catching up continues.

So like I was saying, we got drunk on boat. Just attempting to relax for once in our lives. Soy furioso.

Patagonia is full of gringos. Everyone speaks English. This is unfortunate por que quiero practicar mi español. Es porque estoy aqui. Pero, cuando todo la gente hablan ingles, y quieren practicar, es imposible que practicar mi español! Entonces, no es importante por que todavia estoy apprendiendo. En verdad, es un idioma muy facile, pero hay muchos significas para todo los pallabras. Un pallabra tiene dos o tres significados, quando en ingles, tenemos dos o tres pallabras para unos de los significados. Ingles es toda acerca de la especificidad, mientras que el español es perfecto para elusion y la metafora.

English again: sorry for my broken Spanish.

We arrived in Puerto Montt, a nothing town we were advised to escape immediately, but which we were able to explore un poco while we waited for our bus to Bariloche (Argentina). We ate at McDonalds. I hate 10 McNuggets and a Big Mac, plus some stale Sprite and soggy fries. Delicious. For some unknown but entirely justifiable reason they were blasting "The Final Countdown" in the central square, a reality which inspired Keir to dash off, leap over a bench in victorious ecstasy, then sprint across the street and half a block down before the music faded with the inspiration. Sensational.

The only other interesting thing that happened in Puerto Montt was when I put a book in Cap's hand that he ended up buying, called "Boss", all about former Mayor of Chicago Richard Daley, and his various exploits. It is rather scathing, though accurate. Basically, we learned that Dick Daley gave everyone the business, just to see if they liked it, and they did. Corruption was rampant, but everyone was winning (except for the blacks, who continued to vote for him for some unknown reason; like super-poor folks supporting tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%). Incomprehensible, but the manner in which he wielded power was nothing short of astonishing. One of the most powerful people in the world, for 20-plus years. He spent his time demanding that people "make sure That gets taken care of", and passing down advice like, "never take a dime, just give them your business card". Genius.

That reminds me: Cappo and I are in the process of starting a company. It is called The Business Corporation (or BizInc, for short), and our motto is, "They want your business. We are prepared to give it to them." I think we consider ourselves consultants, people willing to engage in any and all negotiations in the interest of procuring everything good and nothing bad, not to mention at least the maximum. We are struggling to see how this could ever possibly go wrong.

As has been mentioned, we spent my birthday whiskey go-karting in Bariloche. Great races led to minor injuries, followed by silly little stories I do not care to repeat in this space.

Basically, we told some British dude to leave us alone because we were at a club full of beautiful women and were not in the mood to discuss the imperial tendencies of the United States, especially not with a Brit who is implicitly implicated in damn-near-everything 'we' do; so he spent the next hour asking us why we were threatened by him and hoping to reconcile all (imagined) hostilities between us and simply could not understand why we did not want to discourse on international politics tonight, right now, be we American, Dutch, Hawaiian or Chilean. So as I said, nothing to discuss really.

All in all, a very happy birthday. Cappo bought me a sexy silver corkscrew. Keir bought me a bottle of Malbec I chose all by myself. What else could anyone ask for?

Oh whoops its 8 am on Easter Sunday. I will now consider sleeping. Peace.

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