Pages of Euphoria
Monday, April 23, 2007
  The Wrecking Crew
My 5 days in the southernmost city in the world were made amazing not only because of the surrounding beauty that induces occular hemmorage, but because of the international freindship I discovered. Getting off an 18 hour bus, not making a social attempt during that span of time, I found myself in need of other like travelers without an fn clue of where they were laying their head for the night. Claiming our luggage, I put myself out there to one girl, another bloc followed suit, and BAM! POW! BOP! I found two friends and a dope place to stay...dope as in your Holas get ignored, the lights get turned off at 1130, and partying is frowned upon. At this place of merriment, I met the other wouldby members of the wrecking crew. Without further adew, I will introduce this crew becuase this locuturio (net cafe) is ripe with noise pollution, and creative thought is excruciating to entertain. This german schmuck to my left is going off like the fuhrer into his skype headset, and his girlfreind is curling a 50kg weight with her left earlobe. I am guilty of the same boistrous conversation when I get my skype on, so Germany, no offense.

Natalie - New Zealand, Fake blonde, hobbit height, 28. Laughs at almost anything, at inappropriate times of conversation, quite like myself. Owns the largest ipod musical collection I have ever seen, tipping the scale at 68 gigs of usage. Claim to fame: Standing on her chair in a populous bar in some kind of pro feminism salute, loosing her balance and crashing into the radiator with a loud and wretched wood on metal crash. The cool was momentarily knocked out of her step. She loves cheetah print clothing, and bright blue michelen man style jackets.

Craig - U.K., we all dont care what he looks like, he just kicks ass, 29. Extremely nice and respectful, shares my passion for pirates, LOTR, and other visionary flicks. Upon reaching enebriation, he turns into an annoying ball of love confessions. Claim to fame: makes Hugh Grant eat his own heart out in his bashful, stammering, quiet and unassuming Brittish accent (that is very apparent in his Spanish) that slays all things female. Detect the jealousy in my tone.

Oscar - Spain, Tall, Spindally, and very, very gay. Believes 10% of every population is automatically gay as a trend. I named him the night stalking queen for reasons I cannot herein disclose. He made a serious pass at me, to which he found a carne empanada bouncing off his skull. Claim to fame: owning without a doubt the funniest accent /voice combination I have ever heard. All I can liken the sound to is a combination of Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan´s voices.

Suzy - Paraguay, casper white complexion, 22. Fluent in Spanish and English, her skin is a pastier white than mine, shattering what I thought to be a universal truth. A champion of animals, and an eater of soy burgers, her claim to fame is working on an Ecuadorian monkey farm. She has given me hope to one day soon, work at the same animal rehibilation location. I cant wait to put that on my C.V.

Jose´ Greenbargo - USA, ageless. Fluent in English and Spanglish. A lover of all things unconventional, owns clothing whose washing is long overdue. Overly obsessed with privateering. Claim to fame: at 11:15pm, Sunday night, after wonderful group alcohol consumption, sprinted the 1.5km distance to the one tenedor libre, or all you can eat buffet in town. The yogurt, bananas and crackers I had eaten all day left a ravenous hunger inside. It was glorious, it was also a Chinese buffet, making its location at the end of the world even more surreal. I was set to leave in 4 hours with Natalie, my new travel mate.

To my international team: I love you plutonically, and you all made the time that much sweeter. We did Ushuaia the right way and are now left with beautiful memories and bonds of foreign friendship that will be called upon some day in an email either distant or near.

DISCLAIMER: this entry contains words that are horribly mispelled, calling into question whether or not I recieved a college education. The spell check does not want to work on English, so accept my illiterate apologies.

I am in Bariloche, on the western ridge of Argentina, just a couple hundred kilometers south of Santiago, Chiles capital.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
  Una Dia en la Vida
Hola usted gente hermosa. I come to you now via a quaint and overpriced cafe in Ushuaia, Argentina. You know you have come across a road less traveled when walking down the street your eyes our greeted by signs advertising trips to Antarctica for a couple grand. Being at the end of the world and only a hop skip and expensive jump from a continent of ice, one would think it would be unbearably cold. This I am here to disprove, as in Ushuaia (pronounced oos-whya) it is a crisp 20C. Now to describe a 24 hour glimpse into my life:
Awakening on April the 14th, I am in a city given the label the southermost in the world. My head is surprisingly clear, my thoughts unclouded by the tangled pain of a hangover. Hangover....a word that echoes in all languages. My current dorm mates, Craig from the UK, Diogo from Brazil, and Oscar (the night-stalking queen, looking something like the freak on the right) from Spain, all stirring now in the grey late morning light, groan in hangover hell. We all more or less got up around 11 after collapsing into dark and heavy sleep at 6:00AM, the end of a fairly wild night that followed an eventful yet tiring and exhausting day.
Allow me now to recount the events of that day, and the night which came before the above described morning: Walking without a care, completely oblivious to the outside world, strolling down an avenue in the small and homey feeling town of Ushuaia. This place could be a nuclear fallout shell of a city, and still be made beautiful by the surrounding panorama of snow capped and jagged mountains, crystal clear skies of fierce saphire, whose beauty is only interrupted to the south, where arctic ocean starts. My Brit amigo and I started the day late around 2pm, got our shit figured out and our coffee ingested, and taxied for 10 pesos to Glacier Martial summit. A statement of fact: I, Joseph Greenberg, am the most poorly equipped human in Ushuaia for enduring hazardous weather. Craig was more or less prepared with proper attire, where my glacier trekking ensemble consisted of a knockoff Quicksilver hoody made AND purchased in Beijing, some ass (among other things) constricting blue jeans, and DVS skate shoes. ¡Que bueno!
Other trekkers crossed our paths toating heavy water repellant boots, ski poles, looking like walking polar fleece factories. I felt more and more out of place, giggling a little more everytime at what could be a potentially horrible\dire situation in me getting caught in a freak storm or shift of weather. Yeah Im nuts. And your mothers an astronaut. The hike started immediately at a steep incline, and after 5 minutes Criag and I both felt like walruses out of water. This fatigue quickly passed and the hike became an overpowering and intoxicating experience of natural beauty. We were hiking steadily up into a valley between two massive peaks. Both sides of the mountains lazily extending toward the ceiling of the sky, its exposed trees on the threshold of Fall´s color changing fury. The greens of the trees were just starting to turn, and here and there were golden sunbursts of yellow on the slopes.
Craig had entered a state of camera frenzy, shooting anything and everything, fitting the tourist stereotype to a T. Being the seasoned camera vet that I am, I kept the cam holstered, waiting for a truely lens worthy opportunity. This opportunity presented itself 5 minutes later when I decided it would be entertaining to utilize the snowy and glacierized (im makin words up) background by disrobing down to my calvin klein boxers, socks, and shoes. It was was brisk...the pictures will speak for themselves by saying ¨Joseph Greenberg, you should put some damn clothes on.¨ Not much later, an Israeli friend named Amir, walked by on his way down, and decided in his own craziness to walk back up with Craig and I. His Israeli soldier training appeared to be more effective than my hours of vanity spent in the weight room, as he navigated the intense slope of deep snow and loose shale with the nimbleness of a juvenile yetti. Climbing was slow and tedious as the rocks were loose, and the grade was treacherously steep. As we got higher, heavy flakes of snow started to fall, and a thick cloud blanket came down to meet us. At this point, common sense and a sense of self preservation kicked in, and we turned around, yet not before playing with echoes, and attempting to start sever giant cartoon inspired rolling snow balls. They were all unsuccessful, and Craig´s heart and dreams were crushed; someones life was probably saved.
Back to town, away from an artic storm we hurried. Through an old and gnarled Lenga forest our path was laid, and the place felt spiritual. The trees were numerous and close, making the air feel close. The ground was colored yellow with the decomposition of thousands of small circular petals. Sounds of running water were not far off. I would have liked to have taken time to sit and commune with the forest, however my friends were on the move and my current conversation on the greatness of L.O.T.R. and Pirates was too riveting to stop for forest meditation.
We made it back to the Cruz del Sur hostel alive and in horribly famished spirits just as the last shades of light sank beneath the western horizon. It was 7PM and in our haste of heating food, we successfully started a small fire in the oven from the spilled sauce of our store bought cannaloni, and immediately set to work drinking with an international team representing 6 different countries. Some hours later, my international team still intact, we found ourselves in line to enter the one and southern most club in the world, Club San Cristobal. Conveniently and scenecally located right on the Ushuaian shore line, the club was a pathetic excuse of architecture but was filled near its capacity. The Hispanic \South American representatives on the team immediately set to work destroying the dance credibility I thought I had, lighting the floor on fire with their rapid Salsa and Melonga moves. The only thing I could think to do to save America´s reputation of spitting out amazing caucasian dancers was to jump in the middle of our little dance circle, and engage in the seductive and suggestive Lasso dance. I dropped this very move in a Club in Beijing to extreme success, and by success I mean being followed by a 35 year old Chinese bloque for the rest of the night. Unfortunately my amount of success this night went unequalled, but I did manage to find a nice Ushuaian girl named Sabrina who danced with the energy and style of high voltage electricution, and I just tried to keep up. We danced until 5am, when she had to go home and my right knee decided to give out, leaving me in a crumpled and wretched ball of parapellegic pain. Climbing glaciers at 2pm, hiking lenga forests at 4pm, and dropping it like it was hot until 5am proved to be too much for my body. Diogo (Brazilia), Oscar (Espana), Craig (UK), Dope Boy Magic (USA) were all collapsing into slumber in our hostel dorm room at 6am, just escaping the morning light of Friday the 14th of April. We would awake some 4 hours later, where I started this story. One day in my life at el fin del mundo. Pura Vida. Dope Boy Magic out.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
  Beauty and the Beast
Riding off into the Argentine (Pantagonian more accurately) horizon. A mixture of feelings wash over and take hold of me: slight apprehension of the fact I am traveling to a place of scarce to no English very much by myself. I will have to rely entirely on my shaky and barely expressive Spanish skills, which usually results in locals thinking that I am a distant still living relative of Sloth from the movie The Goonies, known in Spanish as Pelotas del Nariz.
At the same time I am emboldened with visions of another journey which provide fantastical images behind the retinas of my closed eyes. To farther off lands where Ingles is found few and far between. My mode of transport constisting of a 23 hour ride aboard the Condor Estrella bus, entertaining two different seat partners along the first 19 hours, and enjoying the emptiness of the second seat to myself for the final four. For the first 12 or so hours, I was seated between two women, one seeming to be fanatically religous as every five expressions was punctuated with a raise and shake of her Bible at noone in particular. I cant deny (this not being my first or second time desiring) the desire to read the book and its ensuing pages of seemingly nonsensical stories that have caused compassion and bloodshed for thousands of years. Her name was Suzan, and she was in her late 30´s, very much a Portena (inhabitant of Buenos Aires). She was genuinely sweet minus religious bantar, talked too much, was extremely hospitable with dispersing cups of free coffee, and just partially cracked. She blocked her AC vents with spair garbage that was lying on the ground because she was too cold.
On my left sat Evelyn something, her last name escapes me. From Paraguay, absolutely beautiful, sensual in both appearance and personality. Her skin had a glow that would put the radiance of gold to shame. Everything about her appearance, her eyes, her features, her lazy delivery of Spanish making every palabra she said run together...practically indistinguishable, yet intoxicating all the same. The one unbecoming characteristic she possessed revealed itself rather early, and that was the downright foulness of her halatosis infused breath. I would have believed I was sitting next to the devil or one of Harry Potters dragons, or Trentar from Ernest Scared Stupid. There was serisouly something wrong....everytime my beauty from Paraguay exhaled, it reflexively forced my neck to turn my head in the opposite direction and conciously breath through my mouth and not my nose so as to escape the bog of enternal stench that was emitting from behind her lips.
Enduring the funk and intoxicating language which both sprang form her tongue, I came to rather enjoy our little bus chair union. On these night busses, it is very much like being in the same sleeping quarters with multiple people, obviously minus the spooning and pillow talk. It still however takes on similar feelings of intamacy, with a complete and random stranger. Numerous times during the night of bus travel sans deep and restorative sleep, I was stirred awake: in the dark, irredescantly lit by the blaring red light from the 24 hour clock just above my head and the back glow from the headlights illuminating the soupy darkness of the highway. I was stirred awake from her readjusting which would in turn readjust me as well due to the close quartered nature. Sharing the same basic vascinity of sleep with Spanish speaking strangers to my right and left felt bizarre (no less bizarre had they been English speaking) and reassuring at the same time. Bizarre due to the fact of sharing immediate sleeping quarters with utter randoms, and reassuring because we were all of us headed down the same dark and mysterious highway flanked by a dessert like steppe. And although our fates were only momentarily bound together, I could still rejoice, relax, and enjoy the comfort in the moments of silence and laughter in our company. Public transportation, you never cease to entertain. I am in Puerto Madryn, Argentina.
Monday, April 02, 2007
  Getting Outta Dodge
How I miss the days of a regular internet connection, and sidewalks not littered everywhere with the one downfall of dog ownership. My rent is due for the month of April, should I choose to extend living in my quaint little house on Santiago Del Estero. 10 days ago, as I sat staring at the ceiling, I slowly realized that I would much rather not pay that rent (900 pesos, or 300 dollars, everything included) and instead engage in more of what I love, and that is travel like a rolling stone: go wherever my wondering heart yearns or whatever combination of bus and road will allow. Hard to desribe or pursuade those about the appeal of living out of a backpack packed with only a few ensembles, making your bed in budget inspired hotels, eating meals of the most random nutrional elements. But the appeal is there, as is the love of owning an unshaved face, and the ideal of roughing it in lands foreign or domestic still holds sway over me.
Communication has been scarce at best over the last few weeks, and I fear it will not be getting better anytime soon. However my heart soars every time I am able to talk with friends and family. I dont know what it is about distance or absence that makes the heart grow fonder, but it does, and as much as my thoughts are dominated by the destinations I am on the doorsteps of visiting, thoughts about everyone at home weigh heavily as well. It all builds character or something. I leave on wednesday, April 4th at 12:45pm. I leave in two days for Puerto Madryn, a huge wild life habitat, for whales, penguins, and sea lions. Other than that, there really isnt much more I can tell, which is just how I like it. Consulting a map, the city can be easily found, about half way down the country on Argentinas eastern coast, a little portrusion of land jutting out, and thats where I will be for the first few days. I will be making a horseshoe loop going in a clockwise direction, all the way down to Ushuaia at the tip, and back up along the Chilean border (I will probably go to chile) up to Bariloche, a beautiful lake district. My goal is to travel for a month, hopefully not spending more than a 1500 american, and make it back to Buenos Aires in May. Before leaving, I must also purchase or locate some kind of water resistent clothing, as I will most likely be going glacier trecking and enduring other forces of arctic weather, and all I have is jeans, skate shoes, a baseball cap, and some UW sweatshirts....haha, insanity, but I will work it out. I might come back preferring to explore in tropical as opposed to arctic landscapes, but am hoping that I will still be seduced by all things ice, and all things penguin. Somehow, someway. Peace be the journey.
Read up on the portion of this life which I have chosen to make accessible to you. Or if it is simpler, just give me a jingle and we can shoot the breeze. Either way, forget about the time, what productivity means or anything that might be pressing and get lost in some thought and imagination.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I come from a small town north of Seattle, WA, where I learned that rain is a magical thing because it turns things green. I have had the chance to go a few places and see a few things of which all I have are pictures, memories and stories. I am currently living and learning about Los Angeles, California, and what it means to be an Angelino.

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