My good friends Blake and Patrick are off in South America seeing all they can see. And this is what they have seen. -- bryan

tale of two tales
After the hectic festivities of Carnaval, Patrick and Blake split paths temporarily for two different lands, two different fates. Patrick bolted south to Argentina, seeking the warm bosom of the Argentine lowlands and plaza-side cafes. Blake opted for a whirlwind tour of southwest bolivia. Two men, two paths, two tales.

---Patrick tells his tale: ---

The BBC has a documentary called Life of Birds about, get two guesses. Sir David Attenburough (the man behind all of BBCs Life of _____ documentaries) used this guy here as his guide to all things birds and forests in south america. I got to go bird watching with him one on one, for a whole day, in a cloud forest in the Jungas of northern argentina. I didnt take any pictures because birds and moments are fleeting. And besides, he yelled at me for taking this picture. He called me foolish and said "look at the birds, not me." I muttered something about lovebryan but he looked at me blankly, maybe not wanting to understand.

He had told me that there were no pumas or jaguars or anything with comparable teeth and/or hunger where we were going. Then we came across puma droppings. He examined them thoughtfully, grinned and said "this should be fun." I share this tale of bravado only to serve as a contrast -- for although he stood up straighter and broader when confronted with pumas, he was terrified of spiders. He stopped and checked for them every odd minute (and some even ones too). He said he couldnt sleep unless he checked under his bed every night. He looked in his shoes about every ten minutes. Then I came across this, my first south american spider, and I realized that being afraid of spiders is a rational, healthy fear.

The city of Cordoba is stripped of all vitality by the sun. It was blistering hot on Sunday, so the whole town went to church then got group baptized in the river. I went with this gal, a journalist from Buenos Aires, who knew more about our politics than I did. You can tell how close the sun is because my hair is starting to gravitate towards it.

-- Blake grabs the keyboard conch shell: --

My three-day tour took me across the varied landscape of southwest Bolivia.

First we stopped at largest salt flats in the world, the salar de Uyuni. They went on forever. Especially neat with a thin layer of water covering half the flats.

Janelle trekked the barren landscape with me. We practiced acrobatics.

The second morning, our 4x4 tour driver, Domingo, did not show up for our 6:30AM wake-up call. The car was also missing. He and the car showed up at 8am. The car was covered in Carnaval decorations (see front bumper and side view mirrors) and Domingo was covered in the unmistakeable stench of fermented grains. No way in hell we'd let a drunk Bolivian drive us around sketchy roads in a roll-prone toyota landcruiser, so one of the Canadian guys drove all day. Domingo gave drunken bad directions, often accompanied by car-revving sounds, for about the first 5 hours. Here he is making one of his many attempts to get back into the driver's seat.

This is a llama or alpaca. I'm not sure which.

And his faithful guardian, also apparently hung over from Carnaval.

Patrick has spent the whole trip looking for sweet rock climbing. The first moment we split up I find some, of course. Here's Janelle scoping the sitch.

Dismounting from my V8. No sweat.

The rest of the trip featured beautiful lakes,


And sunrise geysers.

-----FINALLY, THE REUNITE!------ .. in Buenos Aires

B: We were only in Buenos for a few days, but we still managed to get impulse haircuts.
P: From my dressers fast Argentine Spanish I didnīt gather that he was going to hook me up to this life support machine. And it burned my scalp off too..i have no idea how those old ladies do it.
B: He didn't complain too much. In the beginning.

B: My haircut was pleasantly quick and easy. We talked international politics over coffee cortado and cookies.
P: I couldnīt talk anything interesting because I was too busy trying to convince him to cut off my mullet he had sculpted. He kept trying to get me to look argentinian.

B: He finally cut them off, kinda.

P: So many casualties.
B: Another casulty was Patrick's heterosexuality hairdresser's heart. He gave patrick the company card with his email on the back, something to the tune of "buenosaires hot" at I leave the double entendre intrepretation to you.
P: I have nothing.
B: Patrick was disarmed. Emotionally. That's what he means.
We fly via bus to Puerto Madryn tonight to get ever so much closer to the killer whales. Wish us luck.
P: Wish nothing but swift death upon the baby seals.
B: And therre goes the conch shell.
Posted on 28 Feb 2007 by patrick
it makes sense, but it doesnt make centamos
Welcome back. We missed you. We bussed to La Paz, an inverted dome of a city where all the wealth accumulates at the bottom of the bowl, along with all the rain, noise, smog, llama fetusus, and chocolandias.

B: La Paz, Bolivia. The highest, dirtiest city in the world... ok no, but not pleasant nonetheless.
P: I left my glasses on a Peruvian bus. They gave me a pen with the bus companys name in compensation. Seriously. Its a crappy pen, too. I haggled an eye exam and got shiny new glasses in La Paz. These are not them.

B: Apparently nationalization of the mines is a big issue.
P: Translation: [5 months without work. Our children dont have food]

B: Patricio tiene comida. No se preocupa.
[Patrick has food. He doesn't worry his little self.]
P: But...oh man, that just looks bad, especially since Im on the plaza watching the miners.

P: What is it boy?

B: Patrick's NY Times Crossword book saved us from sure brain-death on our long bus rides.

P: Reflecting squared.

P: I met a gal from Texas who was staying at a self-proclaimed hippie commune. It was an austrian owned hotel a hundred years ago and has been abandoned for decades. A hostal company is remodeling it, and letting Irish people and girls from texas squat there.

P: They pay $1000 U.S. a month rent for the whole thing. It has 250 beds.

P: After and after.
B: What Patrick is cleverly referring to is the common origin of both the steak and the beanie.
P: Soft, yet juicy Alpaca.

OK so we went to Oruro, Bolivia, for their national Carnaval festivites. Here. Put on your sunglasses.


P: Note that hes pouring himself a shot in between notes.

P: An owl unfortunately fused with this mans head. He made the best of it though, finding a stable career in yearly Bolivian festivals.

P: Everyone not dancing, making music or marching is engaged in guerilla warfare, with water ballons, cans of foamy soap and squirt guns. I lost.

B: I brought Janelle with me to avoid being a target. Bolivian kids love hitting girls.


B: We went on a countryside adventure with our new friend Janelle. I saw a sign for a swimming pool and started salivating...
P: His saliva was the only thing filling the pool

P: Oruro has the highest golf course in the world. The signs looked promising, but all we found were cows.

B: He tried so hard.
P: No luck.

B: Dreams of Quixote.
P: The only thing that would make me feel better was escapism.

P: Blake at the clubhouse.

B: Janelle's on the first tee. 360 yard drive in... any direction you want!

B: Patrick picked a fight with a local kid.
P: I, again, lost. Im hiding behind a narrow metal post, but he found a hole in the center of it and shot me in the crotch.
B: Goodbye Oruro, from hell's heart I stabeth thee. Southward bound.
P: Blake is going to frolic in salt fields. I offered to cover his bed in salt so he wouldnt go but he claims it just isnt the same. Im taking a 4WD to the argentine border and will await his shriveled return.
B: I'm a slug at heart. Ciao ciao.
Posted on 18 Feb 2007 by blake

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tale of two tales, posted on 28 Feb 2007 by patrick
it makes sense, but it doesnt make centamos, posted on 18 Feb 2007 by blake
uo!ëO, posted on 11 Feb 2007 by blake
Epilogue, posted on 07 Aug 2006 by patrick
Chapter 3 -- Gods an Alien, posted on 19 Jun 2006 by patrick
Chapter 2 -- Thomas Edison Killed the Stars, posted on 12 Jun 2006 by patrick



all photos Đ2007 by patrick house and blake boles