Monday, May 26, 2014

Quick Update

I had a post written up for the transition from Santiago to Lima, but it does not look like there is enough wifi for me to send it from my tablet, sooooo here is a brief update on where I am in life.

The bus from Santiago to Arica was 33 hours approximately, almost all along the Chilean coast. The landscape was quite impressive and it gave me a lot of time to read and speak some spanish. When I got to Arica I tried to arrange a bus to Cusco where I was planning on WWOOFing, but apparently nobody travels from Arica, but rather Tacna which is just across the Chilean border in Peru. So I stayed a night in Arica which is a pretty neat coastal city. Really any place in Chile is cool. I will not go into the details but after arriving in Tacna and a bit of a fiasco I got boarded a bus to Lima which was another 24 hours the next day. The last couple days sleep has been rather limited and I am excited to finally have made it to a destination. I should also mention that the bus from Tacna to Lima was quite a different experience than from Santiago to Arica. It was serously like everyone on the bus were old friends, joking and laughing the whole way. Even crying. We watched 12 years a slave and a lot of people where crying. I also learned how much desert there is between Santiago and Lima. A lot. A buttload. So much desert. Sandy dry desert. And there are little tiny houses that appeared to me just in the center of it. I do not know how those people survive in a tiny one room house in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, nobody could explain it to me.

Right now I am waiting to get picked up to head to a farm. After the fiasco in Tacna I was put under a lot of pressure to come home early, which may happen. So that is where I am at right now. There is a whole lot more I could say, but at the moment I lack the time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Valpo, Viña, and Videla

After crossing the Andes mountains and avoiding a 200 dollar fine for smuggling a banana into the country I found myself in the house of an old friend Ivan Antivilo Videla. The Videla family graciously invited me into their home where I have been staying for the last week or so. They also made the mistake of saying I could eat whatever I wanted in the kitchen. Actually I am not even sure that they said that, but regardless I have been eating a lot. And sleeping a lot. I did not realize how tired I had been from BA and from travelling Mendoza, during the first couple days in Chile, about half the time was spent in bed.

So, what is Chile like? How is it different from Argentina? Similar? Well, one week by no means makes me an expert but there are certain marked differences. The language, for example, has some distinctions. In leau of boludo they use huevon, and the expression concha de tu madre is also heard a lot. The pronounciations of calle, and playa are also different. People also speak with their hands. Even that is different, although it is more difficult to explain. The people also seem a bit more open, but that may just be the contrast of big city to town. Chile is also more expensive. However, and I am sorry for the betrayal, Argentna, the empanadas are better. Big more flavorful. I even tasted SPICYNESS for the first time in months, a flavor consistently lacking in the Argentine palate.

Viña del Mar is the fourth largest city in Chile with a population similar to Milwaukee. It is about two hours from Santiago de Chile and about 20 minutes from Valparaiso. The long stretches of beach attract many people, but at this time of the year it is not so populated. The water is bone chillingly cold. It could be refreshing if autumn was not already well settled in. It is also known as the Ciudad Jardin or Garden City for the many well tended parks and gardens.

Valparaiso, a short busride from Viña is a busy port city in a bay area. Hills encircle the bay lifting up up and away from sea level. The area of immediately surrounding the port is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On these large and numerous hills things get colorful. Literally. I have never seen a city as colorful as Valparaiso. Thousands of enormous street art works fill the walls. Houses and apartment walls fill all ends of the rainbow. That combined with miles of narrow stairwells and cobbled streets make it a good place to spend hours walking.

During the week I have quite a bit of time to explore. The Videla family is understandably busy with work and study, so that leaves me to do exactly what I please and when. I will eat lunch at 4 pm, thank you very much! I more hours reading but fewer writing. I found that writing kind of worked against me in a lot of ways, especially in the cramped cell of my room in BA. The pages and pages that I wrote were almost entirely free writing with no filter, or punctuation. I finished over half of my journal in just the final month. I just began a new one as I was leaving Argentina, and this time, when I put pen to paper, there will be a little more calculation involved. Looking back at some of those earlier journals from only a couple weeks ago I sound like a raving madman. Anyways, it is good to be out of that room. It is good to be with Ivan and good to be in Viña. Chile is a great place, and while I dearly miss my friends and family back home, I know I am in a good place physically and mentally.

A change is once again coming. The journey north, to the final destination: Peru. The final goal: WWOOFing. My leisure days of school in BA are long past, as are the intense leisure of Chile. Friday I move from Santiago to Arica, which is still in Chile, but on the border. From there I will make it to Cusco, and from Cusco to the farm. By Monday I should be settled in. It is time to get the hands dirty, and remind myself what hard work is. It is time to clear the head even more, and live without some of the things I percieve as necesities (internet, electricity, hot showers).

I will update as often as I can, so be sure to tune in. Peace and love to all corners of this beautiful world. Thank you so much Videla family, it has been an amazing few weeks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


So I meant to post this only a couple hours after arriving in Chile, but it has been a couple days:
As I write this I am traveling on a bus from Mendoza to Santiago de Chile. Over 800 bodegas encircle the flat outskirts of the city, stretching miles into the foothills of the Andes mountain range. Some are big, some small. For the most part Argentina feels like quite a flat country, so it is quite exciting to have the horizon filled with jagged and snowy peaks.

My stay in Mendoza was rather brief considering the wide range of possibilities it offers. Most of te activities outside of the city require a car or a tour company, and I am someone that likes to do it myself. The city has some very neat places, such as the Parque San Martín. The park has hundreds of native plants from the Andes plains, an enormous statue commemorating the army San Martín and the unified Argentine/Chilean army he raised here, and a hill from which one can see the expansive mountain range on one side, the city of Mendoza on the other, and the hundreds of vineyards in between.

As we begin to weave a path into the mountains I feel quite a mix. It has come down to the last couple hours in Argentina. It is difficult to find the right words to describe my time here. The best and worst moments of my life have occurred within these borders. Some in Buenos Aires, some in Jujuy. I feel very fortunate to have been able ro travel so much of the country, and to have met so many amazing people. I can’t help but think that my memories of Argentina will be complicated.


I am on my way to Viña del Mar where I will spend the next week or so with Ivan. I don’t have other plans in Chile other than seeing Valparaiso.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Final Days in Buenos Aires (and an exclusive sneak peek into the future adventures of the audacious Daniel Martin Crowley ¯\(º_o)/¯ )

Tick, Tick, Tick

                     “How did it get so late so soon?” 
                                   -Dr. Seuss

I started this blog a couple months ago with the same words. This is a different ticking. It isn't frustrated anticipation. It is something else. Something I don't fully understand. Nostalgia, perhaps. Sadness. Now that time is limited, things feel different. Without a camera, I find myself taking mental snapshots of familiar places and moments. Tick, tick! Don't blink!

Unfortunately this week has begun in a haze of sickness. A cold attacked quite suddenly, meaning every minute I wasn't in class it was in bed leaking and dying. Hopefully I can battle through the next few days and explore some parts of the city I haven't yet.
Goodbye Dulce de Leche

"Goodbye Buenos Aires"
Goodbye sweet Dulce de Leche, my love forevermore.
Goodbye awesome choripan place on Olleros and Libertador.
Goodbye rock stars Delta Venus and Hippidons.
Goodbye to the park and the swans (Not actually swans, they are geese, but at least they don't bite)
Goodbye barrio Chino
Goodbye cheap vino
Goodbye Spanish CLASSES
Goodbye flower wallpaper that sometimes dances.
Goodbye platform shoes, tall and fancy
Goodbye pretty ladies, I know you'll miss me.

Well I can't be too sure about that last part, but that's a poem. In my final weeks on the transit system I would write poems, dialogues, short stories, drawings, and a mix of all those to hand out to people. I can't take credit for the idea, I was inspired by a wise Colombian man. The experience of doing this has been so fulfilling, even though my poetry and art cannot possibly be any good. Still, it makes people smile. God knows, we all need to smile.

What will I think of, when I think of my time in Buenos Aires? I will think of hip-hop Thursday at MOD. I will think of all the students from California in my class. I will also think about the hours spent reading and writing, trying to make sense of life.  I will think of the naturally friendly Argentines that invited me into their homes and foods. I am more grateful than you can ever know.

 For the most part, time melts solid memories. What will will eventually remain a year from now or ten years from now will not be specific days, it will be a feeling. What will that feeling be?

A little over 3 months is a weird amount of time to be in one place. You can only sink your roots in so deep before you get pulled back up. As much as I love this city, I am ready to keep moving. Time for this tumbleweed to keep on tumbling.The wind blows in the good airs. A change of direction is imminent. 
To the east! 
To Chile! 
To Viña del Mar and my brother Ivan Alejandro Antivilo! 

Through the vineyards of Mendoza, and the great Andes lies Valparaiso

From there, plans are not yet concrete. My flight leaves from Peru July 1st, so I will eventually get there. What happens between now and then is a story not yet written. WWOOFing is the hope. At this point the blog will also take on a more narrative than information.

Friday, April 25, 2014

El Arte Callejero (Posgrafiti)

The following is a school project revised for this blog. If anyone wants to start doing street art in July, let me know and we can throw some ideas together. All of this art in this post are works in Buenos Aires that  I have seen. There are probably still mistakes in this post, so let me know if you find them. Enjoy.

Las paredes porteñas
“Algunas personas se convierten en policía porque quieren mejorar el mundo. Algunas personas se convierten en vándalos porque quieren mejorar la apariencia del mundo.” -Banksy
“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.” -Banksy

El motivo es entender la historia y el contexto del arte callejero, lo que veo cada día.  Me interesa explorar los asuntos legales y también la controversia. La policía no influye mucho este arte entonces las reglas quedan más entre los artistas. Voy a hablar más sobre la era posgraffiti que graffiti.
hebe-de-bonafini-madres-de-plaza-de-mayo-buenos-aires-street-art-argentina-buenosairesstreetart.com_.jpgLa historia del arte callejero en Buenos Aires, en realidad, nació en un movimiento Mexicano hace casi cien años. El muralismo. El movimiento Mexicano era muy político y el clima político en Argentina no permitía que los artistas dibujen grandes murales. En consecuencia, el uso del stencil reemplazó mucha de las formas más usadas. El arte en la calle ha cambiado mucho en cien años. Es una reacción de la sociedad. En 2001 tras la crisis económica, las calles estaban llenas de murales políticos y negatividad. Algunos artistas decidieron responder en contra de esta negatividad. Pintaron lugares alejados del centro, abandonados y sucios, para pintar con muchos colores e imágenes felices.

Street art is playful
¿Es legal el arte callejero? Más o menos, sí. Es legal pintar la pared siempre que el dueño lo permite, y casi siempre lo permite (¿quién no querría arte en la pared?). Los murales políticos son desalentados y por eso tienen que ser plasmados en lugares públicos. El arte en lugares públicos, sin permiso es muy común, pero menos legal. Dibujan de todos modos, porque la policía no hace mucho contra el arte. La mayor parte del tiempo la policía diría que el artista tiene que irse, pero no llevará el artista ni la pintura. La indulgencia de arte significa que los artistas pueden usar mejores materiales y tomar más tiempo en una obra. En consecuencia, personas de todo el mundo viajan a Buenos Aires para pintar o mirar. “No conozco otra ciudad en el mundo que tenga esta ‘zona gris’ en términos legales,” dice un artista de Frances. Acá en Buenos Aires lo único que se necesita es la aprobación del dueño de la propiedad para hacer arte. A pesar de que haya reglas relajadas, muchas personas quieren ser más libre con el arte. Por ejemplo, algunos artistas quieren que los alementos, herramientas e instrumentos de trabajo no puedan ser secuestrados, o retenidos por autoridades aunque estén pintando en un lugar donde no es legal.

En los EEUU el arte callejero es ilegal en la mayoría del país. Algunas personas piensan que es un delito porque es vandalismo, destrucción de propiedad privada y allanamiento. Es ilegal hacer arte aunque el dueño de la propiedad dice que está bien, si es visible desde otra propiedad privada O pública.
It is in your face.

Pero, hay un problema en todo eso. No es con la legalidad, sino con el arte en sí mismo. Cuando los extranjeros vienen a Buenos Aires y dibujan obras políticas a veces hay problemas. Por ejemplo, el artista ”Blu” un muralista, dibujó una obra en la que hay una multitud de gente con la bandera de Argentina a través de su boca y ojos, y en el fondo, un político. El mural es gigante. La idea es que los argentinos tienen una fe ciega en su país y los políticos. El artista es italiano, no argentino. Es ofensivo para algunas personas, porque no piensan que los argentinos son así.  En la Plaza de Mayo hay pintado un billéte de cien pesos con la cara de Hebe de Bonafini, la líder del Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo. Había muchos problemas en esta organización con la malversación de dinero, y cosas ilegales. El artista ”No Touching Ground” es de EEUU. Entonces, ¿es apropiado para los extranjeros comentar los problemas políticos en Argentina, o sólo deben pintar afuera de la controversia?
El arte callejero es arte público. Cualquier persona puede disfrutarlo. Hay leyes acá en Buenos Aires para asegurar que los artistas respeten los derechos de los dueños, pero en general, la población es muy abierta con el arte. Lo quieren en las paredes. En los Estados Unidos no es así, pero en cualquier parte hay reglas, y algunas no son de la ley. Hay reglas y leyes entre los artistas y hay controversia entre el arte.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Papa Francisco and other religions of Buenos Aires

Hello all, it's been a while since my last blog post, so I figured I would do a brief one just to get back into it.

A quick update on general life: Things are going well. My mornings from 10-1 are spent at school, and usually after a lunch with classmates the afternoons are spent reading/doing homework at a park close to my house. At times, I know I should be spending the afternoon to go see more of the city, but it's just so nice at the park, and I have met some cool people there.The nights either last until I finish my homework, or until the sun comes up. Earlier this week I was at a friend's house and it was 2:30 am. Some people were trying to mobilize for the boliches, but others were insisting "It's still early, the night is young!"

So after a full night of sinning, where do you go to cleanse the spirit?

Argentina is mostly Christian (67%), but has a significant non-religious population (15%) and Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism also enjoy a strong following. Judaism has the largest following in Argentina than any other Latin American country.required the president to be Roman Catholic. Citing the text from 1853 it was "to keep a pacific relationship with the Indians and promote their conversion." Buenos Aires is the old stomping grounds of the current Pope: Papa Francisco.
The seventh largest congregation of Church of Latter Day Saints can also be found here (shout out to Keaton). They estimate only about 20% of these religious folks are regular church goers. The numbers are rough, and I always suspect that the percentage of non-religious is higher than surveys really show. The most popular style of prayer here is Roman Catholic Christianity, and the Argentine Constitution requires the government to support Roman Catholicism economically. In fact, before 1994 the Constitution

Who is this twitter friendly, selfie taking, dare I say: hip Pope?

Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the first Pope from the Americas and upon his election chose the papal name of Francis for Saint Francis of Assisi who did some important church reorganizing, dabbled in poverty, and worked to bring an end to the crusades in the early 1200s. He was also the first person in recorded history to receive the "stigmata," a grisly demonstration of devotion. Pope Francis is known for his humility, concern for the poor, and his non traditional stances on homosexuality. To clear things up, he still affirms all of Catholic doctrine on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality. He maintains the doctrine against homosexual acts, but says gays should not be "marginalized." So he's not that progressive. I mean he's still Pope, right?

Still, the world is excited about this Pope. Time and Fortune named him person of the year.

And to think he used to be a nightclub bouncer.

So yeah, that's a little something about the Pope. Hope you enjoyed it, and I will continue writing some more this week. I would really like to do a post about Argentine music, art, and film but it's going to require some collaboration with Argentines because those topics are so involved I don't want to misrepresent them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The North: From Jungle to Desert

As I type dried skin I can see dried skin fall from my forehead and onto my white t-shirt. There is a pretty good pile hanging out there, because I've been on the computer for a while catching up on internet. I find it more fascinating than disgusting, especially when I rub it and flakes shower onto my clean cotton. Ok, *wipes off shirt*, what have I done the past week?

 (First three pictures are from Tilcara, the ruins of Pulcara)


7 days ago I was in the city of Salta, in Salta province in the far northern part of Argentina, with my buddy Corey Hinden. It's about a 20 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires. I felt more prepared having spent 40+ hours on a train in China, with far less comfortable conditions. We stayed only one night there and went right to Jujuy, which is the northernmost province bordering Chile and Bolivia.

 First, let me just add a tip for people travelling: go over land if you can. It might take longer, be less comfortable but you see the countryside, and understand the distance more. There are also people to meet. People are often the most intriguing aspect of travel. If it weren't for a person we met at the hostel we might never have gone to Jujuy, and just stayed around Salta province, hovering around the capital.

We get to San Salvador de Jujuy, the main city. "So, what is there to do?" 
"I don't know this town sounds cool, lemme look online.. there's a national park in a place called Calilegua. Could be cool. Bus goes to San Martin, from there the national park is close"

Day one: The bus is slowing down and making turns so I open my eyes to see where we are. Nowhere. A tiny town. Probably just a stop or two before we get to the "city" of San Martin. The bus stops. I hear the bus driver yell "San Martin." I maintain my cool. Corey looks less than pleased. We get off and hop onto one of the many taxis that run between San Martin and Calilegua for 8 pesos. Calilegua is much smaller, with maybe two paved roads, the rest, just gravel or dirt. We ask for a hostel. People give us a couple weird looks until one guy shows us a place. The owners tell us that we are lucky and that there is only one place left. I find this kind of funny, because it's completely empty, and even if it was full couldn't house more than a handful of people. So we set our things down and have a look around. 

Calilegua has one school, a dance hall, a couple convenient stores, and plenty of stray dogs. It's in the middle of a jungle essentially. I spent the relaxing afternoon writing in my journal watching the dozens of toucans outside my window play around, as the clouds gathered. Seriously, so many Toucans. Afterwards, we ate some amazing street food. I don't remember what it is called, but it was basically a brat with all sorts of different flavors added. When we finished, we decided to go see what San Martin was about. It was Carnaval celebration weekend and despite the rain, it seemed like the whole city had gone to the outdoor theater to dance in the mud to cumbia, salsa, bachata, and anything else the live band played. We arrived late, so we only saw the families, couples, and friends walking around drenched and covered in mud. I won't forget that it felt like everyone was laughing. We sit down and buy a round of drinks for some kids that look our age at a little hole-in-the-wall place, and they go crazy. "Whoa Americans! This girl LOVES Americans!"(poor girl, they didn't stop making inappropriate jokes about her)

It was here Cory and I were taught how to use the coca leaf. Don't worry it's totally legal, and everyone does it. However, I won't go as far as to say it's healthy.. You put a half a handful into the side of your mouth, chew maybe a little bit, and just suck the juices. They also add bicarbonate to increase the speed of the reaction of the leaf. Usually you put it into your cheek for about 1-1 1/2 hours. The affect is surprisingly subtle for a plant that can become cocaine. It's good for altitude, appetite, and energy. After some bad jokes, mistranslated words, and plenty of laughs we headed back to Calilegua to sleep so that we could spend the whole next day in Parque Nacional Calilegua. I'm glad to see the the worried and regretful face of Cory has disappeared. We aren't lost. 

Day two: The rain had passed and the sky cleared up for a pristine day in the park. I think the pictures can tell the story a bit better than I can. It was like my eyeballs were being massaged after spending so much time in the city. Green everywhere. Birds, bugs, but sadly no more Toucans. We returned to Jujuy, to spend a few hours sleeping before taking a 6am bus to Purmamarca, which was also decided after a conversation like this:
"So, where do we go now?"
"Hmm, Purmamarca sounds cool. It's not too far, and has the 7 colored mountain."
"It's in like a desert area, we could probably camp there."
"Yeah, definitely. I wonder if it gets cold at night"
Day 3: The day started early. Five thirty to be exact.We hopped on the bus and drank our Mate as the landscape began to really transform from jungle to desert. The elevation also increased, but mate and coca leaves can cure anything. It's still dark when we get off at the dusty village. There's more of a tourism industry going on here, that is clear. We follow some camping signs until we get to a nice place about a kilometer outside the village and briefly set up camp before going right out onto the trail.

Now, I'm going to describe the rest as best I can, but words will always fail in describing Purmamarca's Cerro de los Siete Colores. It's not something that can be captured in photo or video. Being surrounded by so much beauty, I felt a heightened sense of existence. 

We probably hiked for 14 hours through this place. The path itsself is only 4 km, we arrived at 7 in the morning and had to explore every crevice and invent our own paths to see the landscape. Early on we climbed through a path cut by a dried up stream and found an amazing view of all the seven colors layered in front of a breathtaking mountain view. We sat down to rest, and put on Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon on Cory's portable speakers. We sat together in awe and silence as the morning's clouds parted above the seven colors. The album finished about the same time as the sun was finally revealed, and we continued our journey. On the trail we met all sorts of people, mostly Argentine tourists, but also some locals, families, and of course other backpackers. There was also a dog that followed us around for a while, hanging out and performing some amazing feats jumping from rock to rock on the cliffs.

 The village of Purmamarca was also small, (only a couple streets) but more touristy, so we only went back to get water or food. The one part that was really cool was the cemetery. Most people who are buried are buried above ground, on the side of a hill on the outskirts of the village. There were all sorts of decorations, reflecting high and low status, putting a solid mark upon the earth where the remains of the village's most important people lie. Upon reflection, maybe it would have been a good idea to stop midday, evaluate the sun, high elevation, dust, and wind and said, "Maybe we should get sunscreen." Nope. 

It only makes sense that a day of bliss is followed by a night of pain. In this case, our faces had burned so bad when I touched it skin came off and pus flowed out of the cracks. Another important thing when camping, no matter where you are, bring a sleepingbag. You might say, "Oh, it's the desert! It's hot all the time." There is no humidity to shield you from the hot air during the day, and no humidity to soak up the day's heat to warm you at night. It was a sleepless night.

Day four: We took the first bus back to Jujuy, found a cheap hotel slept, ate, and felt the real pain of forgetting sun screen. This was not a great day.

Day five: Took a bus to Tilcara in the morning, still delirious from pain but managed to check out a sweet botanical garden with different flora from Jujuy followed by the ruins of the native people who once lived in Tilcara. The first people date back over 10,000 years ago in this area. Maybe back then it was a fertile land or something, but what I saw was a harsh highland desert/plain. Yet, people thrived there before even the Inca Empire. An employee gave a free tour of the ruins, showing important political and religious buildings. There was also a free museum that displayed pots, utensils, and explained certain customs of the native people. The guide mentioned the indigenous tribes still live outside of Tilcara, something I saw from the bus on the way in. It made me wonder what the state of native peoples is in Argentina. Maybe the next time I travel it would be worth asking around to see if there are reservations and if it's possibly to enter to hear the story of their people.

Tilcara was cool, the local dishes were superb, and the landscape was expansive. Another travel tip: if you are in a small town ask what the local dish is, or what the cook recommends. I was close to getting milanesa, but then I asked and they gave me a huge yellow stewy goodness that comforted every nerve in my belly. The hostel had some real chill people and during the evening I sampled some llama meat while listening to folk music from some mixed native/Argentine musicians. They had a really good sound, but didn't play late into the night. That was fine with us. Our faces were melting, and another day in the sun and dust of Tilcara did not help. 

Day whatever: It was Friday and our bus left from Salta Saturday afternoon, so we decided to get back to Salta. We ate junk food and watched the new 300 movie, which served its purpose to distract us from our physical discomfort. Not much else interesting to note from here on out except if you go to Salta the owner of the Backpacker's Home Hostel is insanely beautiful. I think she loves me, too. Her name is Mariana, I think.


From there our next day was 20 hours of travel. Now I'm here, scratching at my face and watching the dead skin pile up on my clean white t shirt.With each new person, each new place, and each new experience there is something to be learned. I learned that sun screen is something I should use, not because my mom is telling me to, but because my face will burn off and children will cry when they see me. The skin continues to fall, and I can't help but think that I myself am crawling out of my old skin and starting a fresh. 

So there you have it. Jujuy and a little bit of Salta. We stayed about a week and only scratched the surface of this crazy place. If I ever go back I'm coming for you Iruya and the salt flats. Thanks for sticking with me through this story, there are plenty of details that I didn't include (I could talk all day about the stars outside the city), but I hope it was fulfilling to read.

This week Tanghetto, Mac DeMarco, some more museums, and hopefully some soccer. Saludooooosssss