My two weeks of holiday start today.
Last year, these two weeks were marked by the loss of Emma. As such they were recovery days rather than holidays.
This year things are different, though strangely similar. Gaby’s again pregnant, over six months now. We’ve been lucky. The kid’s a kicker, and so far he’s passed all the hurdles that come with a pregnancy. His big sister, no doubt, is watching over him. It looks like, three months from now, I am going to be a dad. I’m elated, scared shitless, and anxiously awaiting the month of November.
Yesterday, we got news that Gaby’s dad is not doing well. As in: “this may well not last too long.” Cancer is an ugly son of a bitch. Treacherous. Vile. Merciless.
As my two weeks of holiday commence, we find ourselves hunting down cheap airplane tickets to Argentina. To be there and, perhaps, to say goodbye. And with every new belly kick, we are reminded that there is new life awaiting us. Coming back.
A picture taken mid April 2007. Temperature was 25Â° C and rising. We had a wonderful day out in the field, but something doesn’t sit right: it should, at this time of year, be raining.
I’ve talked about it there, so I may as well write about it here: I had this idea of a collaborative sketchbook travelling around the world from one Frank Zappa fan to the next, where each participant gets two pages to doodle, write and/or glue in whatever as long as it’s Zappa-related. Now the book is about to hit the road, as Gabriela’s contribution and mine (the cover) are finished.
More on Flickr. I can’t wait to see the kind of stuff people are going to come up with! Which will be some time next year probably, with some 30 participants already lined up. Let me know if you’d like to join in…
Back from a wonderful vacation in England and Ireland. We visited London, Dublin, Galway and one of the Aran Islands. Good times!
See Flickr for more.
To my devastation though, upon arriving back home, I seem to have lost my sketchbook. It was in a bag together with my leather jacket and a Woody Allen biography — all of which are now missing as well. I don’t care so much about the book or the jacket (both are replaceable items anyway), but loosing my sketchbook, well, that makes me kinda sad. There’s all sorts of stuff inthere; sketches from Buenos Aires, imaginary doodles, little ideas and scribbles, and of course my Dublin/Aran/Galway drawings… I’ve called the railway’s lost & found department to see if they had recovered it, but to no avail.
The plan now is to spread some flyers around the train station as well as around my neighbourhood (may well be that we left the bag outside my front door, thus allowing anyone to take it with them). But frankly? I don’t think I’ll ever see it back again.
Because it was hard for me to write a coherent post about my stay in Buenos Aires I decided to go with a random list of things that struck me about the city. Bear in mind when reading that I come from a town which is the size of one single real-estate project of said city.
- Every cabdriver has some religious item or other dangling from his rearview mirror.
- Trafic is directed not by trafic lights, it is directed by the car horn.
- Trafic flow will scare the bejeezus out of you.
- Beer is sold in liter bottles.
- Beer is mainly sold in shops owned by Chinese people who speak something which slightly resembles Spanish.
- Men will kiss eachother when they meet — in fact they will kiss you when they meet you. Thankfully, so will women.
- Cigarettes are insanely cheap.
- Yet hardly anybody smokes.
- There’s a bizarre infiltration of German culture. Leverwurst. Warsteiner. Isenbeck.
- When walking the streets, avoid speaking English, lest you have a desire to get mugged.
- Blond is the ideal, unless it is accompanied by an orange beard, in which case it is considered hilariously funny.
- Get used to kids rummaging through garbage bags at 10 in the evening.
- The botanic garden and the zoo are wonderful places to dwell.
- Cats and dogs.
- Turds on the sidewalk.
- Any profanities uttered must not be of religious nature; they must however include the words “puta”, “madre”, or both.
- The streets are one-way and adorned with big trees whose foliage provides shelter from the heat.
- The Apple-store is every inch as expensive as it is here in Belgium. And the people that work there have cushion jobs, too.
- Ignore the glue-sniffing guy to your left.
- Wearing T-shirts without prints on them is like wearing a badge that says “I’m foreign, please gaze awkwardly at my composure” (as is sporting an orange beard).
- The police is not your friend.
- Football, football, football. La Boca versus Gimnasia.
- The food is delicious and not expensive at all.
- Do not bring up the IMF in any conversation.
- Yerba Mate. You don’t drink it, you’re not part of the tribe.
- Asado (the famous Argentine barbecue), during which you must eat at least 2 kilo’s of prime roasted Argentine beef or you are not a man. Having veggies on the side is considered “sissy”.
- There’s an internet cafe every 300 meters, and they all have Keyboards That Suckâ„¢.
- Never leave the internet cafe complaining about how much the computer you were using sucks: you may have to re-enter the place because 2 Bolivians on speed are trying to get your wallet right in front of the place.
- About 20 stamps, documents and stickers are required to be allowed into the country.
- About 70 stamps, documents and stickers are required to be allowed out of the country.