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

We came. We saw. And then we played chin-chon.

The last two weeks of our trip we spent in Mendoza, San Juan, and Buenos Aires. Sure there were highlights - Blake windsurfed on a resovior near San Juan, Christian missionaries attempted to convert us, Matt fought a giant bed bug hand-to-hand - but really, we just played chin chon.

Chin chon is the Argentine version of gin rummy. You try to get 3-of-a-kinds and straight-flushes. If you manage to get all 7 of the cards in your hand into straight flush, that's a "chin-chon" and you win the game flat-out. Chin-chons are pretty damn rare. But a ROYAL chin-chon should be worth even more than a normal chin-chon. We agreed that anyone who got a royal chin-chon should win the game, forever. No more playing chin-chon. Burn the deck.

So of course, leave it to Patrick to get the royal chin-chon. That was it. Trip's over. We're going home.

- - -

Before the trip started, in a Berkeley café in December 2005, we brainstormed a goal list. Here it is, with stars next to those goals we accomplished.

  1. Try not to get killed/maimed *
  2. Backpacking in the Andean "Lake District"
  3. Non-touristy ruins
  4. 2-mile-high-club
  5. WWOOF Argentina
  6. Meet Dwight in Ecuador
  7. Improve Spanish to conversational/literature level
  8. Volunteer/work with Bolivian/Peruvian children
  9. Carnaval in Rio
  10. Camp on killer whale beach
  11. Drink máte *
  12. Drink wine in Mendoza (wine festival?)
  13. Build a motorcycle out of coconuts and ride to the coast
  14. Get invited to a party with S.American femme fatales
  15. Swim to Galapagos Islands
  16. Build canoe out of coconuts, paddle to Galapagos Islands
  17. See Aconcagua
  18. Go beer tasting
  19. Coconut bra
  20. Buy large plot of indigenous land w/ trinkets
  21. Eat a banana *
  22. Transmit smallpox/1st world disease
  23. Contract 1 or more parasites *(? - we'll see in a few months)
  24. Teach English for $$$
  25. Write great S.A. novel (100 pages)
  26. Coconut canoe the Bariloche chocolate river
  27. Sing I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts
  28. Play capoeira w/out being self conscious
  29. Play capoeira with an orca
  30. Spend one day sitting and watching and writing in people watching spot ********
  31. Eat 25 different types of cheese
  32. Find out if S.A. has cheese *
  33. Does...oh, it does.
  34. Learn new instrument, prefereably hitting instrument
  35. Buy vitamin E
  36. Infiltrate catholic family, attend mass w/ hot daughter
  37. Forcibly exiled from at least one country
  38. Climb Incan ruins
  39. Slackline
  40. Barfight
  41. Discover market value of Matt's organs
  42. Travel via C (?)
  43. Post Matt's durnken exploits on Youtube
  44. Lovebryan *
  45. Discover Incan ruins; Repopulate Incan empire
  46. Have one day, spend nothing, earn everything
  47. Find "How to Train Killer Whales" in Spanish
  48. Frisbee-to-face dating
  49. Internet contacts *

Thanks for watching. See ya'll next trip.
Posted on 05 Apr 2007 by blake
don't mention ze war
An Angel Named Keiko
By Alexandra Catalano

A famous orca
Yes, you were
Your story touched the world
I was just a child
When I saw you
And it was the year
That changed my life
From then on
You were my star
Lighting up my lonely heart
Now your gonna
Finally free
To swim and jump
and play
I miss you dearly
But i'm glad to know
Your finally home

*Sniff sniff*

Welcome back.

B: We left Buenos Aires for the windy Patagonian port town of Puerto Madryn, the closest town the Valdes Peninsula (orca land). Local punks had covered the walls with inspirational graffiti.

P: We found dirt, emus, penguinas, dirt, wind, lobos marinos, elefantes marinos, dirt, armadillos, zorros, gravel, wind, and llamas.
B: In Argentina, the double l is pronounced like ja or sha... so we found jamas por asha.

B: Penguin thought he was all that and a bag of chips.

P: I spy...

B: We played frisbee. It was so damn windy.

P: Blake begins his transformation.
B: Awoooo!

B: An orca! We began the long process of waiting for an orca attack.
P: I started going senile, so I drew an orca on my hand and made what I presume were orca attack noises and pretended to eat all the seals.

B: this is why the orcas come. to eat frolicking baby seals. look at them frolick. god, so delicious.
P: Blake took off, sick of the dirt and emus and dirt and fake orca noises I would make while he was sleeping.

---And then there were two (me and matt)---

Little did we know we wouldnt see Blake again for almost a week and a half. And when we finally did find him, he would be drooling chocolate, wearing pants made of icecream, and be six steps closer to adult onset type II diabetes.
B: I'm building up a resistance for the day when sugar monsters attack.

P: There was one day where things happened a little different. Argentine civil engineers apparently didnt anticipate water falling from the sky. The result was a flood that left about 100 of us stranded for half a day. That tourbus there decided to go first, probably out of reverence to the rich white cargo it was carrying. It was the last one to go home.

P: So many furry peanuts to snack on, so few orcas.

P: Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Irish couple, Killian and Claire, are on the outer edges. Andy, the guy to my left, is a park ranger in Britain. We were all in it for the long haul.

P: Day 10. You expected different? The Greek translation of Orca means "killer from hell". Latin, it doubles as both whale and demon. Observe:

P: Day 11. I took these through binoculars. Sure its fuzzy and its a bit out of focus...but its a killer whale thats on land...on purpose. And he has a seal in his mouth if you look closely. It was a pair of them, Mel (6 foot fin) and some hussy that none of the researchers could identify. They attacked seven times for a total of five seals.

P: 11 days, 1900 kilometers, 30 hours driving, 70 hours waiting, 88 litres of beer, 1 cd (constant loop), 20 games of chin chon, 2 orcas, 5 happy people.

P: We celebrated with many bottles of wine. For some stupid, liver-crunching reason Matt and I decided to try to have a drinking contest with the irish couple. This is us...halfway through. At one point Matt said, and I quote: Were just out of college...its like trying to challenge Olympians right after they train.

We lost.

---then there were three again!---

B: Meanwhile, I had a great ol' time in Bariloche photographing the local wildlife. Patrick HATES cat pictures so much! He wants to delete this right now! But I'm not going to let him. Why? Because this cat has crazy eyes, and he DESERVES HIS 10 SECONDS OF FAME. I speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
P: Its a cat.

B: I spent my 9 days writing, eating chocolate, watching the lake, and playing guitar. I decided Bariloche is Berkeley with a lake replacing the liberal university. Note the hills, grass and steeple'thing.
P: I cant believe you included the cat photo.
B: Oh jesus get off it.

P: We took a nice bike ride and came across Argentinas most famous hotel, Hotel LLao LLao. It being St Pattys Day, I wanted to play golf, but they had a dress code and an anti-dread policy.
B: Matt and I didn't want to throw down the fatty 200 pesos for a round, so we played imaginary golf. Here's matt making his 14th hole in one.

B: Solving the dress code problem.
P: They still didnt let me play.

B: We found some real nice spots on the bike trip.

P: Blake was master of his bike.

B: Then it fought back with spokes, gears and oily chains.

B: I threatened it with watery death. Then we made up.

B: Look at this cat! Look how relaxed it is! Yeah cats! YEAH!
P: Im not your friend anymore.

P: I climbed when I could.
B: We sped home on a sweet downhill. The end of a fine biking day.

B: Later we climbed some took a gondola up to the top of a ski resort. Patrick contemplated the meaning of life and made grossly existential statements.
P: I just like the way my beard feels.
B: See what i have to deal with?

B: Matt gave these pinnacles his seal of approval.

P: hey lets go climb that

B: We free climbed this hella sick pinnacle bro, and as soon as we realized how difficult it would be to down climb, this giant Andean condor showed up. We'd seen it from far away previously on the same pinnacle. Now we realized the egregious error we had made.
P: Blake is doing proper wilderness survival, which is trying to look bigger than the condor. I am hiding my head, and am soon to be in the fetal position.
B: I confirm that fetal position.
P: I meant every inch of it. The condor was circling us, blake was complaining it smelled remarkably like condor piss where we were, and we guessed it had like a 9 feet wingspan.

B: To calm ourselves we practiced yoga poses on the pinnacle.
P: The condor was doing its killing pose.
B: The way that I remember the next 5 minutes, the condor swooped in for an attack; I grabbed its talons and Patrick valiently engaged it in fist-to-wing combat. Patrick threw some low blows and fast jabs but the condor blocked each attack with its giant wings. Patrick sealed the deal by ripping its gizzard off Mike Tyson style.
P: Thats how I remember it too.

B: dang Condor took our shirts. What's up ladies, we're single! Oh wait. I'm single. And so so lonely.

P: A proper steakhouse doesnt waste any part of the cow.

B: I was really excited for our celebratory steak dinner.

P: No time for manners.
B: They abandoned their utensils after this photo.

P: Im still full.
B: Patrick is a vegetarian, except when he knows where the meat comes from. Or he guesses where it came from. Or he's really hungry. Or if it's a month with 31 days.
P: I cant believe you included the cat photos.
B: Eat your steak.
Posted on 20 Mar 2007 by blake

<< Previous 1 2 3 Next >>

Content Management Powered by CuteNews
endgame, posted on 05 Apr 2007 by blake
don't mention ze war, posted on 20 Mar 2007 by blake
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 ©2007 by patrick house and blake boles