All posts by Roosh

Christmas In Punta del Diablo (Uruguay)

I figure if you are going to spend Christmas alone, might as well do it from a quiet beach. Without cars, internet, malls, christmas trees and music, turkeys and hams, tinsel and static electricity, it wasn’t too bad.

View from my canbaña…

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For more on Uruguay, check out my Uruguay travel guide.

Listen To Me, Not The NY Times

With great interest I checked out the Times 53 Places To Go In 2008. Cool there is Buenos Aires, which is fun but not the best city in Argentina. There is Easter Island which I lie about going to with the help of my travel buddies. Oh look there’s Quito…. Quito?!

While Quito has a couple interesting sights, it’s a polluted, dangerous shithole. The most robbery stories coming out of South America are from Quito and Rio. The NY Times wants to get you robbed.

Quito, the colonial capital perched 9,200 feet up in the Andes, is no longer just a whistle stop. The city’s crumbling historic center, one of Latin America’s least altered, has been reborn after a seven-year, $200 million renovation. And a crop of upscale hotels has arrived, including a JW Marriott, making Quito a glorious new center in the so-called Middle of the World.

“glorious” :laugh: :laugh:

JW Marriott or not, go there if you want to see abject poverty with 5-year-olds covered in soot asking to shine your shoes.

For more on Ecuador, check out my Ecuador travel guide.

How To Get A Paraguay Visa In 9 Easy Steps

1. Show up at the Paraguay Consulate in Buenos Aires at 5pm. Notice they closed three hours ago.

2. Come back at 12PM the next day. Get told to fill out two forms and return with a passport photo the next day at 8am.

3. Find a photo place after 30 minutes of asking random people. Tell the photo guy you need 2×2 photos. Wonder why the photos he gives you are so tiny. Ohhh I mean inches not centimeters. My ruler doesn’t have inches.

4. Show up the next day at 8am to at least two-hundred Paraguayans waiting outside. Bypass that mess and be first in the visa (gringo) line. That’ll be $65 US. Argentine pesos not accepted. The money exchange place opens at 10am. Seriously consider if you want to go to Paraguay.

5. Mill around until 10am, get the money, pay the man. It’ll be ready Wednesday. But it’s Friday and you’re going to Uruguay the next day. Okay come back in three hours. Awesome.

6. Find something to do for three hours.

7. Come back at 1PM. Still no other gringos in sight. I guess there is a reason you have met only one or two people who have been to Paraguay. Paraguayans are giving you dirty looks. It’ll be ready in one hour. Wait here. Start losing hope as you wait past closing with a group of Paraguayans ready to explode in violence.

8. At 3PM, get called to the desk. Can I see your receipt? You didn’t get a receipt. Sir we need to see your receipt. You didn’t give me one! Okay let me see. Five minutes later… Okay no problem. Sign here and here and write a sentence saying you received the visa. Mil gracias!

9. Walk away with a huge grin on your face, staring at your seven year visa. At least it’s nothing like getting a U.S. visa. Plus now you have a safehouse if things get too hot in the States.

For more on Paraguay, check out my Paraguay travel guide.

Patagonia

I was getting used to the travel writing thing until I sat down to write the article on Patagonia. I realized that it’s so much easier writing about people and events than frozen water, so I had to do massive growth as a writer. Read it here. It has the best pictures I’ve taken in South America.

I set out on the clearest of days towards Lake Capri to get views of the main attraction, Fitz Roy, a sharp mountain named by our man Francisco Moreno. I found out why so many hikers I passed on the trail were decked out in serious hiking gear when the wind picked up, the clouds covered the sky, and snow flurries starting blowing in my face. I was in jeans, running shoes, and a sweater, and this is where the regret I was talking about kicked in.

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In case you missed the previous articles:

The Middle Of The World (Quito, Ecuador)
The Incan Ruins of Cuzco Peru
The Jewel Of The Pacific (Valparaiso, Chile)

I Felt Ashamed

My first night in Buenos Aires I went to a restaurant with two Australians I knew from Cordoba. After our meal a 40’s-something woman with a stack of newspapers came inside the restaurant and walked to our table. Before she had a chance to open her mouth I told her we don’t speak Spanish. She said that’s fine because she speaks English, that she is homeless and selling newspapers for about 75 cents US. I ignored her, brushed her aside like she was nobody. You have people coming at you with some pitch so many times a day that it’s hard not to develop a shield to it.

Twelve days later I got a large cheese pizza for takeout and ate it at the hostel. The pizza was so good that the only thing to do the cheese grease justice was to wash it down with a coke. I went to the kiosco across the street and was second in line behind a woman. She paid and through the cage I asked for my coke. Trying to explain I wanted the mas pequeña size, my horrible Spanish accent got her attention and she looked at me. I recognized her as the woman trying to sell the newspapers.

I don’t remember who spoke first, but she asked me where I was from and said I looked Argentine. I joked how no Argentine guy has as much hair as me. We talked for about five minutes, about left and right brain differences and how she likes art and how my scientist gig didn’t do it for me and how her engineer friend has social issues. We were two strangers having an interesting conversation.

She had a large bag on her shoulder which had the newspapers. I was waiting for her to ask me to buy me one, which I was happily going to do. But she never asked.

Thoughts

The faster you realize will not change the world the sooner you will stop doing things for everyone else and start doing it for yourself.

Do you know how advertising works? Through repetition. You’re infected without being aware. When the opportunity arises you will buy the product your brain is already familiar with. Those who think they are immune to advertising are most affected because they make no attempts to block it.

TV is to program you. That’s why it’s called programming. Turn that shit off.

You’ll be dead before your dead. Your spouse will die and your adult children will visit you once a month. You’ll be scolded by a minimum wage immigrant whenever you soil your pants. Life is long, but there is a window you need to take advantage of.

No one will complete you. People can only increase or decrease your happiness level. No more.

“Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meager life than the poor.”

Get a medium sized box and put all the possessions you need in life inside. If you can’t say goodbye to all that other shit, well that shit owns you. In one year get a smaller box and do the same thing.

Buy nothing day? How about buy nothing month. You’ve been trained like a monkey to buy since you were two years old.

There is no God. You will die and that will be the end of your existence. All that you are will disappear forever. Remember that every time you stall, hesitate, and fear.

Enjoy it while it lasts because it’s going to end. I guarantee you it will. Take a deep breath because the pain will pass or you will adapt. I guarantee that too.

Do you think you’ll be playing golf in Florida at 65? You’ll be lucky if you can hold a golf club. Don’t believe the lies, don’t believe the 40-year work plan, don’t believe in retirement. Right now is your retirement. Don’t believe your real estate broker, don’t believe your investment adviser, don’t believe your boss. They are using you for your money, time, labor. Use them instead and get the hell out.

That so-called legacy you want to leave? In just a few generations your descendants will be as genetically related to you as a random stranger off the street. Do it for the right reason.

What’s the one thing you can do to put your life on a more fulfilling track? Don’t ask others for advice, don’t put it through committee—just do it now. But you’re lazy.

Remember it’s the journey, not the end result. No end result has changed any man.

A poor Argentine man I met travels by juggling at intersections and asking restaurants for leftover food. What was your excuse?

Do not work a day more than you have to. Are you sure that 401k is going to be worth it to you some day? You’re betting the prime of your life that it will.

If you want to be unhappy, all you have to do is try to impress other people. If you want to be happy, don’t do things which you are told makes you happy.

If you’re spending more than your income, you will work until you die. How many years of college and work have you put in so far? If you quit right now, how many years would you last without having to work? Do you see what the problem is? But you’re rich all right because you can go out to the new restaurant serving fusion dog shit and down $15 cocktails at the club with people carrying business cards.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.”

Tell me you are not sleepwalking through life.

Israeli Girls

All Israelis are required to serve in the army. Guys go for three years and girls for two. After that they scrounge up some money and travel the world to catch up on some lost time. They tend to like hiking so they cluster around Andean regions, especially Huaraz in Peru and Patagonia. But it’s only in Patagonia that I’ve run into a large number of Israeli girls, and damn they are good looking. Combine the best features of Eastern European girls (nice face with full lips, thin bodies), add in a little bit of Middle Eastern spice (dark hair, tan complexion), and you got some stunners. They are usually decked out in hiking gear without makeup but when they want to look good they blow out Argentine girls, and even with army training they can be very feminine. Their asses though tend to be a little on the flatter side but nothing as bad as Ecuadorian women.

It can be a little weird talking to them because they have had training in how to kill people, specifically men such as myself (technically I’m half Muslim), so watch your jokes in the vicinity of steak knives. They are more sarcastic and cynical than normal so if your game is indirect with teasing, get into a game of yaniv and your magic will be noticed. You don’t mind chain smoking right?

Perfect

There is an Argentine man that I cannot forget about. I never got his name but he pops in my head whenever I eat in a restaurant. I remember his smile more than anything.

I was in a nice restaurant in Salta, getting ready to order after reviewing the menu. The waiter came to me. He looked like Erik Estrada but with thicker hair. I told him I wanted a particular chicken dish and he looked at me, smiled, and with great energy said, “Perfecto señor.” Holy shit I ordered the best thing on the menu! I don’t remember the last time I dined at a restaurant like Panera and the pimply faced teenager said my sandwich choice was perfect. Erik Estrada approved of my selection, and because of that approval we had a bond that transcended between two very different cultures. The way he held the smile as he spoke and said “Perfecto señor” will forever burn his face into my brain, more so than the actual dish. This is starting to sound gay so I’ll stop but good luck getting that kind of treatment at Applebees.

Postscript: It seems like saying “perfect” is a common thing waiters do in Argentina, but Erik’s perfect was real. He knew me from my vibe.

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Seven Brazilian Girls Walk Into A Hostel

Sort of continued from yesterday.

The Brazilians were talking nonstop so I had to dive in without waiting for a pause in their conversation. I said, “I think I know where you guys are from.” South Americans don’t pick up on this type of set-up so two of them immediately said Brazil. Fast forward some fun conversation later and one is teaching me Portuguese, writing some common words in my notebook, while another is drawing a map explaining all the places I need to visit in Brazil. Another is putting her arm around me while all of them are interrupting each other to talk to me. When there is a pause in the conversation I just sit back because they all work to come up with questions to keep it going. Their hyper-warmth makes me feel cold, Argentine.

All the while other gringos in the hostel bar are staring at me, as if saying, “Bro-man invite me in there’s only one of you and seven of them!” Fuck you do your own approaches! One amateur tries to get in by offering us pepperoni pizza. Get that greasy shit out of here. The day I get outgamed by a slice of pizza…

These girls made me feel good, something that only two Argentine girls in five weeks have done. I firmly believe that Argentine girls are capable of this, but only after a very long period of bullshit and games. When a Brazilian girl likes you, you know it. When an Argentine girl likes you, she acts aloof and stupid. Keep in mind these Brazilians are of the wealthy variety with Prada bags.

Later they offered me their caipirinha’s and asked what I’m doing later in the night, but of course I was sick with yet another cold (story of this trip). That’s okay because Brazil is coming. I can’t wait.

It’s That Bad

I was sitting in a cafe when I locked eye contact with a girl for two seconds. The first thought to my head was, “Not from Argentina.” I walked by her table of friends and they were speaking Hebrew.

Seven girls check into the hostel. Three of them lock eye contact with me. Definitely not from Argentina. I see a Brazilian flag on one of their bags.

Even though I have accepted it, I’m in disbelief that an entire country of girls can not perform such a minor, innocent move. Imagine when you want more than just eye contact. Imagine when you want an Argentine girl to put some real investment into you. I figured out a few things that make it easier, but damn I still can’t figure out the game that is consistent on Argentine girls. I think what I’ve gotten has been right time / right place, and I’ve tried about everything. I won’t figure it out on this trip.

Anyway I gotta go—those Brazilian girls just sat next to me.

CONTINUED: Seven Brazilian Girls Walk Into A Hostel

Four Months Update

I feel like I’m seeing too much for one man. My brain is so constantly stimulated with newness that I’m nervous back home I’ll go through withdrawal and just curl up in my dad’s basement. Unfortunately it flooded after I left so I may have to deal with some mold smell.

I’ve realized that my ambition, as judged by an American woman lawyer, is zero. Which means I will never experience amazing sex with a lawyer. I thought after some time I’d get an itch for the lifestyle back home but I still have no interest in having a “real” job, and the only itch I get is from bed bug bites. If I can live comfortably out of a 45-pound backpack for four months, only buying things that need replacing like socks and toothpaste, then there is no other possession I need in life. Things are so simple now—I just worry about my health, people I care about, and how I’m going to challenge and entertain myself. Until the money runs out, anyway.

There is an American I met here that stayed for only two weeks and everyone was shocked his trip was so short. “Typical American vacation,” I thought, “I had to do that.” We’re the greatest empire in the world, albeit a struggling one, but from my sample size we travel less than every other Western European country except Italy. We are looked upon by others as working too much and not getting out of the country, and it’s true because our idea of a vacation is usually the beach for the weekend. For the population we have in the U.S., there should be twenty times more of you down here travelling with me, but money and status are so ingrained in our culture that taking time off from making money to travel with few possessions in basic accommodations and challenging environments just doesn’t make sense. Plus that gap in your resume would ruin your carefully planned career path.

It looks like I will have more money leftover than I thought so when I return home I can continue the bum / slacker / coffeeshop lifestyle I left behind. It was the best time of my life, without a job, without a car, having deep conversations with my dad, eating Persian food everyday, watching my little brothers grow up, getting more action than I’ve ever gotten, waking up at 11am, thinking writing reading, swimming laps in the neighborhood pool. I can’t tell you how this compares until I’m done, until the parasites or whatever in my stomach passes through my system, and even then I’m not sure if you can compare a life that was stable with one that is constantly changing and over-stimulating with roller-coaster ups and down like a manic depressive. One day I’m in the gutter fantasizing about my airplane landing in Dulles, the next I’m researching how much apartments here cost.

On Christmas I will be around Montevideo (pronounced mon-tay-vi-DAY-oh) and then Punta del Este for New Years. I’m tired but there is still a lot left to see.

Gym & Chicken
Gym and chicken

Please Stop

This post is for everyone, including me. We need to stop saying “like.” Now. We’re the only English-speaking country that uses like as a filler word and it makes us sound retarded. I cringe when I meet an American, usually a West-coaster, who uses it in every sentence. I want to shake the shit out of them and say “PLEASE STOP YOU SOUND LIKE AN IDIOT!!!” It’s distracting and serves no other purpose than to dumb down your speech. I’m all for slang though, especially English slang (to make out = snog, to like = to be keen, bang = shag, she wants cock = she’s out for it, etc.).

While I’m on this topic I have two other suggestions specifically for American girls.

1. Volume control. Why do you have to talk so loud? I’ve never had to ask an American girl to repeat herself.

2. Stop talking about yourself. No one cares about your very minor personal stories. Out of all the stories you love telling only 2% are worthy. Save the rest for amusing yourself on the bus when your IPOD runs out of batteries. After your story barrage is done and you leave the room, everyone makes fun of you.

The only potential problem American guys have is they all have the same haircut, but that doesn’t bother me.

Oh dude you left your pomade in the bathroom.

Cordoba and Rosario Argentina Nightlife

Argentine nightlife is much different than in the U.S. You go out here at the time clubs back at home close, making for an interesting cat-like sleep schedule. After 6AM you can party until the next afternoon by going to a series of afterhour clubs. (Some clubs only serve the purpose of being the after after club.) The longest I could go was until 8AM. There is a point you just look at the people still dancing and say, “This is stupid I’m not even horny anymore,” and hail a cab with the sun in your face. The endurance champion is this Argentine guy named Flaco. Once I remember him and his crew stayed out until 9AM and then went straight to the pool until 2PM. They all collapsed when they came back, reeking of beer and chlorine.

They funny thing is that most people have regular jobs. Many times I’m talking to someone in a club and they inform me they have to be at work in two hours.

Cordoba

Mitre. If you don’t want to meet any girls over 22 then come here. Music is top notch with a good mix of just about everything except salsa. This is the easiest place to find 16-year-olds, if you are into that sort of thing (that would be a birth date in the 90’s). Go starting on Thursday. $4 cover with beer.

Pobre Diablo. The after hours club that reminds me of Club 5 in DC. Don’t go here unless you already have a chick because there are packs of really drunk guys giving one last ditch effort to get laid. At least the average Argentine guy is more friendly and less belligerent than the average American guy. (I’ve been in Argentina for over a month and have yet to see a club fistfight.) $3 cover for guys.

Dorian Gray. Relatively new club that is popular on Saturday nights. Main floor plays house and a smaller room plays retro and even some hip hop. A little weird with the transsexuals walking around but I’ve had the most luck with Cordoba girls here. $5 cover with beer.

Club F. Way out in the boonies but worth it. I still have more traveling to do but this is the hottest collection of girls I’ve seen anywhere (sorry Gotica). Because no gringos make it out here your status will get you farther than back in town. Downside is that catching a cab back is so difficult that you may have to find a bus (people get so desperate that they throw themselves in front of cabs). Still, it doesn’t get better than this. Go on Saturday. $5 cover with beer.

Rondeau Street Bars
. Several blocks of just bars and clubs. The clubs are smaller than the ones above but they have friendlier girls. Don’t be scared to approach large groups of girls sitting down. There is also a few bars around where Fuctuoso Rivera turns into Larranaga. It’s dead here from Sunday until Tuesday.

Rosario Nightlife

Listen! Yeah there is an exclamation point in the name. Pretty decent bar that is just what I’ve been looking for: a club/bar combo. Plus there are no other gringos. The girls here are much friendlier than what you’d find in a nearby megaclub such as…

MDM (pronounced Madame). Me and three other gringos skipped the one block line when I said I was doing a review for the Washington Post. I don’t believe that worked, especially since I was wearing a cowboy hat. I have a feeling this club used to be a factory judging by the huge chimney stack in the back. It’s now a pussy factory, with more hot girls in one place than entire U.S. cities. Unfortunately there are more guys to match them and the girls here have an attitude problem, especially after 3:30AM or so. In fact, one of my wingmen got violently slapped. It was kind of my fault when I accidentally pushed his hand on a girl’s ass, but still, he didn’t have to squeeze. We should have stayed at Listen! $3 cover with beer.

One thing I really like about Argentine clubs is that there isn’t the obsession on making a buck with table service, though I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until that changes. Missing are those guys who want you to look at them because they are able to pay a 700% premium on a bottle of “French” vodka that a French person has never heard of.

Now I go to Buenos Aires.

mitre.jpg
Mitre

mdm.jpg
MDM