Friday, December 25, 2009

alecsander trip diary vol 1

hola, blog. me llamo al;ec.

i'm in uruguay, in this adorable british-style hotel, and it's been a long-ass two days. let me try to begin at the beginning:

we had christmas morning on christmas eve, which was wonderful, and headed out to the airport around 1:30pm. Hour zero.

traveling with abuela, hermana, padre, and my brand new sunglasses which i am in love with because it turns out i'm extremely borgeois-y, whoops, sorry class warriors-- i'm hopping off the bus for some lanvin shit. naturally we arrive with a ton of time on our hands, and the stress meter for the companeros is probably a 7 or 8, for no discernible reason. my overall goal is to make sure everyone feels comfortable without micromanaging each other, and it's going poorly; i settle for an overhot cappuccino. by the time it cools down and i drink it, i feel a little better. we leave madre at the security gate (she's got a week off with just the cats and her fifty-eighth masters thesis), and go through-- it takes me 30 seconds, including random screening patdown(1), and wait for the rest to catch up, which takes forever. console myself with an unexpectedly large sam adams at the gate, which interacts wonderfully with the cappuccino and lack of lunch in my stomach, and getting on the plane is cheerful, as is the flight to miami.

hour five: bienvenidos a miami(2). given that it's christmas eve, we walk through the terminal as the shutters on every restaurant fall like dominos. this causes great consternation among the members of my family who are more food-driven than i am, which is to say all of them, so the companero stress meter increases one tick every time we try to get food as they close the places down, so it's at approximately 900. i walked around the terminal looking for a beer. oh, btw, we don't board the plane until hour nine, so, yeah. simmering. i think about my sunglasses for a while. larry king is playing on a tv screen with the sound on, and it's one of those animal episodes, so basically it's monkeys climbing all over a lizard. things are a little surreal.

hour nine: on the plane. do make say think playing on ipod. neck pillow. 9hr flight, 11pm to 8am (11am local time). ready to sleep.

hour nine and one quarter: ipod out of batteries. baby crying and running through the aisles without parents bothering to run after her. neck pillow is making my neck sweaty. first world problems.(3)

hour eighteen: land in uruguay. not exactly well rested, but not feeling horrendous. the customs women are all beautiful.(4) i'm starting to notice a creeping understanding of where i come from, because i see people who look indefinably more like me than americans, yet they're all speaking spanish.

hour twenty: at the hotel. it's gorgeous. two stories, ivy-covered, british-style. we have a terrace on our room. hugo chavez stayed here two weeks ago-- he signed the guestbook, and there are pictures next to his signature page of him signing it. he has a cool signature. i'll see if i can upload it.

hour twenty two: we go over to meet up with some relatives. they are wonderful, and i can understand almost 90% of what they are saying, and i even get some on-the-ground information about uruguayan politics and talk a bit about american politics in spanish.(5) meet some tiny cousins; they are SO CUTE and really friendly. i taught martina (who can't be more than one and a half) how to fist bump and explode. she loves this game. hearing young kids speak in spanish is adorable and embarrassing because they speak so much better than i do. it takes an hour to leave, duh. uruguayan goodbye.

hour thirty one: back at the hotel. nap and dinner were mostly uneventful, but the companero stress level has been blissfully low. god, am i tired. we're going to punta del este tomorrow, and i've got absolutely no idea what else is going to go on while we're here, but i'll try to hit some of the fun highlights. i'm making mental notes. i figure since i never used this as a tour blog the least i could do is tell you minute details about the things that i notice, though the footnotes should hopefully help to keep the main story thread.

(1): the TSA guy patting me down was middle aged, glasses, moustache, and when i saw him, slight smile. he explains that he is going to give me a limited patdown, and i say that i'm glad i won the contest. naturally, my pants are ... reasonably fitted. i understand his wry expression. we part ways.

(2): my dad doesn't realize this is a will smith song as he says this repeatedly. naturally.

(3): the guy sitting in front of me may as well be steve's long lost relative. he's got a waxed handlebar moustache, about steve's height and build, carrying a small-body martin guitar, seems like a really nice dude. i wanted to befriend him, but, you know. i didn't. i did, however, almost get a picture of him to photoshop into jeter family pictures.

(4): one looked like a uruguayan natalie portman. this is what i mean by indefinably more like me than americans-- uruguay is strange. we talked with other family members today about which ones, when in europe, are spoken to in english first and which are spoken to in spanish. anita, who is tall and has red hair and constantly is addressed in english, speaks only enough english to know when this is happening and set people straight.

(5): the problem is that none of us have slept more than 4 hours, so focusing on understanding what everyone is saying, especially as things get louder and louder and more chaotic, and trying to speak (speak!) spanish, is utterly exhausting. i, and we, felt a little rude but our exhaustion was showing on our faces.

1 comment:

jessica said...