The Iceland Cometh

One of the things Buenos Aires also had to offer was a man from Iceland named Ragna. When I met Ragna the first night he was nice enough for about 40 minutes. Then he started talking more... a lot more. So much more that I took to staring straight up into the sky to avoid participating in the conversation.
One hopes to meet cool interesting friendly travelers on the roof of a hostel, not people who lecture about how great Obama is and the quality of Bush's decisions and the world economy and the Icelandic sunset schedule and life in Oregon and how to bargain and blah blah blah.
I came close to leaping off the roof, but instead 4 of us, including Ragna went to dinner. Thank god I had somebody else to talk to.
The next night we are all sitting on the roof drinking chatting and eating empanadas at midnight when we decide its time to go out, because people don’t leave until after midnight. So a couple of Americans, Ragna from Iceland, a Polish chick, and an Israeli dude head out for some drinks. We are enjoying ourselves when Ragna starts getting a little strange.
He orders a Cubra Libra (because apparently its 1988) and then sends it back. He orders another and then sends that one back. I say something like, ¨Man I guess they make bad drinks here huh? ¨
What Ragna must have heard was,
¨I HATE YOUR COUNTRY AND BJORK AND ALL ELSE IT PRODUCES! ¨
Ragna starts saying to me, ¨Do you have a problem with that? Do you? Do you have a problem with me?¨
I do a double take with another American to see if Ragna is kidding but we are both not sure. It happens again and I kind of joke it off because I’m not sure what is going on.
We finally get our bill and he asks me if I want to pay for his drinks as a sign of friendship. I'm not sure what kind of crazy America-Iceland treaty exists in his world but the last thing I want to buy for this maniac is a drink. I attempt to politely decline which seems to put him off.
He then casually says, ¨Oh its nothing, I’m on coke.¨
WHAT?
Now my knowledge of drugs is equal to my knowledge of Spanish but ít didn’t look like he was on coke. Or so I thought. As it turns out, apparently as we were sitting at our table drinking Ragna had been not so discreetly giving me the finger the whole time, which I didn’t notice. So we all leave to go to another bar, and the other American and I hang back and just let Ragna and crew keep walking off into the night.
Peace out.
So the 4 of us are at a bar now where Poland and Israel are working on their international relations and the other American who speaks Spanish is sitting in a director’s type chair talking to some Argentinean women. I sit down next to him and since I don’t speak Spanish I just sit there like I’m Regis Philbin´s crappy fill in co-host.
We got home at 6 in the morning.

Fast forward to my last morning in Uruguay. I flee on another grey morning. I go through customs where the nice people ask me questions that go like this.
"Habla Espanol?"
"No"
"None?"
I'm not sure if they were expecting me to burst into Spanish here and say something like, "AHH Just kidding. I love messing around with South American customs officials. I really got you guys huh?"
I take the 3 hour boat back to Buenos Aires and check back into the same hostel. It is amazing how some hostels become these ever evolving families of people coming and going. I slide right back into the sway of things. Right away I make sure I book tickets to 2 events.
The first event is a Tango show. Tango has its roots in Buenos Aires when it was first danced by the immigrants, and there being not enough women it was danced man on man. (Can you imagine how different Dancing with the Stars would be if THAT didn't change.)
I go with a bunch of other folks from the hostel to a very dodgy neighborhood called Boca. The show is very Disney, there are characters that walk around, and even a town drunk. Though considering the show went on for close to 3 hours I began to wonder if he was in fact "acting."
We have a decent dinner where a tango couple come around and take pictures with people. One of the guys at my table refuses to take a picture with the tango woman. I can understand though. I too find it offensive when strange exotically dressed women who don't speak my language ask to take a picture with me while throwing their leg around me like a sash. Yea, what a turn off.
There is something about me folks. At large group gatherings there is something about me that makes the players in these events search the crowd, find my goofy face and pull me out to play along. It happened with the Big Foot show in Orlando, the Hula Dancers in Hawaii, and of course the Tango Show in Bs As.
So I get pulled out onto the floor to dance tango with this woman who keeps screaming "PASSION" at me and while she is leading I am trying desperately to keep up. She then jumps into my arms and has me spin her around while screaming, “DO YOU WANT TO BE MY BOYFRIEND?”
I was pretty sure I was going to get dizzy and fall down or accidentally drop her. Luckily I survived and so did she.
The next day I went to a traditional Gaucho ranch. These were the original lonely cowboys of Argentina. The place has horse rides, a huge Asado and a little show.
I had been really interested to go to this and kept asking the people at my hostel front desk to look up shows for me. But I kept mixing up the word for Gaucho Ranch with the word for Parking Lot. So I kept saying to the desk
"Can you book me a reservation for the parking lot? I really want to ride horses around the parking lot."
You can imagine the look they gave me. This happened at least 4 times.
So I go to the Estancia and ride horse. My horse is friendly and doesn't really follow directions. There is a photographer walking around taking pictures of us on the horses. My horse refuses to pose and walks away so this woman is screaming at me.
"STOP STOP, STAY RIGHT THERE!"
Are you kidding me? I am not a centaur. Contrary to what you may think, this horse is not just an extension of me, it is its own animal and I do not speak horse. He just ignores her. I do too.
I also quickly realize why nobody wears shorts while riding a horse. If I could pick any word to describe riding a horse in shorts that word would be Chafe.

We have a massive lunch where I eat blood sausage. It tastes exactly how it sounds.

So we finally get out of there and head back to the hostel. I change my clothes and head to a 9 course tasting dinner with another American.

We had some ceviche, some goat cheese foam, some caramel apple and lots of other things but there are 2 that really kind of stuck out in my head.

The first was the lamb. It was 2 small pieces. I have only had lamb a handful of times. But this lamb was unlike any I had ever had. It was tender, and the texture was incredible. The taste was outrageously good. I was in love with it.

I tell the waiter it was my favorite. And he asks me if I know what part of the lamb it was, which I don' t. So he tells me.

It was tongue. Lamb tongue. And it was goooood.

The other dish that figured prominently in the meal was the octopus with tomato air. The tomato air was essentially bubbles that tasted not so awesome and the octopus well... I am not a squid or octopus fan.

And this octopus isn't even deep fried. I don't so much look at it I just pop a large pink piece into my mouth and start to chew... and chew... and chew. And then I look down in my bowl to actually examine my meal. And I see the suction cups. And I realize why I don't like it.

It tastes like I am eating a rubber bathtub mat. I feel like one should not eat anything found in a bathroom.
Luckily my last 2 meals in Buenos Aires were steak, and lots of it. Seeing as I am back in New York now I am already going through withdrawal. I crave to feel the feelings I felt in Buenos Aires.
Maybe I will go out and buy a steak... or maybe I'll just go chew on my bathtub mat.