Friday, 29 August 2008

Moving in Buenos Aires

I awoke at 8:30am today feeling surprisingly refreshed and unperturbed about the day ahead. "Nothing special to do today" - I thought as my muddled brain started the 300 slow steps until it kicked into gear, usually after 15 slaps of the alarm snooze button and finally fuelled by ferouciously extra strong black coffee and peace n' quiet to read the news and a few blogs.

"Don't you have to go to get your extra passport pages?" muttered her indoors.
"F%&K!" I replied - "completely forgot!
Ah but Relax - I had an hour to shower, dress, have breakfast, print out the application form, fill it out ( or do you fill it in?) and travel 30 minutes in rush hour traffic to get to the embassy for the appointment.

OK - maybe I could cut a few corners - Print the form and fill it in - that took 30 minutes!
Shower, breakfast, peace n' quiet would have to wait. I managed to arrive only 5 minutes late and 90 minutes later was in possession of 10 extra pages on my US passport for no charge!

Yes - It's true, aswell as being an Irish Paddy, I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy. That was my reward for ten years spent in the US of A. I suppose I'm an Irish American if you will!

Meanwhile it's only 13 hours until we move countless boxes and furniture into a van (flete) and move from Caballito, into a new place 30 minutes away in the neighbourhood (barrio) of San Telmo. Needless to say - it's a bit hectic (understatement). Catch you on the flip side!

p.s. Phew! - Thank goodness we don't hoard shoes, clothes, books, photos, cuddly toys and what not or I'd be absolutely livid and stressed out right now!!!



Tags: Passport, US embassy, visas, Moving, Flete, Moving in Buenos Aires,
Moving to Buenos Aires, Moving to Argentina ,How to move, San Telmo, Caballito


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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Irish Rover - Part 1


Tooting Broadway, London

I graduated college in late eighties Ireland and what awaited me was, well......... nothing! - No job opportunities, no prospects - nada! This was long pre Celtic Tiger and the dole was looming but London was just a hop skip and a jump away, so off I went like the multitudes of others to seek my fortune or at least pay may way.

I knew some college peeps in Tooting Broadway in south London, but their house was full, so I rented a bedsit (one room) nearby in Big Mama's house. She was from Jamaica and although a bit strict, she was fun for a seventy year old. Tooting was a very ethnic community at the time (still is by all accounts) and if you were Irish, you were assumed to be working in construction or terrorism.

I over heard her speaking to her daughter on the phone who warned her Irish people were drunks, smelly and trouble (a stereotype that in fairness wasn't completely undeserved at the time). At least she didn't mention the IRA!

I hated London back then. I had a shit job as an accounts clerk/dogsbody/ tea maker, in a shit construction company, in a city that was not very fond of the Irish (mostly due to the IRA troubles back then). I found out that I replaced a woman who was fired because her and the boss (my new boss) were found 'doing the nasty' on his desk and were caught in the act by the CEO. The bloke that interviewed me did a runner a few weeks later after embezzling a small fortune.

A slot opened up in the college peeps house, so I moved in there and bid 'Big Mama' farewell. It was an hour on the Northern Line tube (subway) to and from work which was like being squashed into a sardine tin which stopped for no apparent reason. Suicide (people throwing themselves in front of the train) turned out to be a common delay factor.

My salary barely covered my rent and expenses, but I was now an independent individual, free from the shackles of eighties Ireland, but not a happy camper in any way shape or form. My cooking skills were non existent but it was a case of learn to cook or starve, so I coped as best I could. Beans and toast was the staple diet!

Many a weekend was spent in the Swan in Stockwell or Biddy Mulligans Pub and followed by the National Ballroom in Kilburn. They were rough and raw spots where fights broke out regularly. Batter burger n' chips was our idea of eating out back then.

.....to be continued!

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Monday, 25 August 2008

Bailando por un Sueno - Argentina

The economic situation in Argentina is much worse than previously reported. Don't expect to see this reported on CNN, BBC, Sky or Fox News as this is an exclusive.

I previously reported on the food shortages due to the farmers strike but what I've recently uncovered is much more serious. Although there has been no official comment from the government or the mainstream media here, I have obtained irrefutable proof of the seriousness of the economic situation.

Having personally reviewed hundreds of hours of raw footage from the most popular TV show in Argentina - Bailando por un Sueno, I have discovered the most shocking of facts, that when brought to light will have serious ramifications both financially and politically, here in Buenos Aires and far beyond. This is a Paddy in Buenos Aires exclusive newsflash.

Clothing in Argentina is now in critically short supply. The poverty stricken individuals below highlight the seriousness of the issue. The shocking plight of these poor souls is broadcast 24/7 on TV. I've been so moved by this travesty, I can barely get a wank of sleep. Rest assured, I will continue to monitor the situation VERY closely and keep you posted.

Warning:
Some images below may be disturbing to some viewers.


Dangling on the poverty line


Poor girl can't afford material and paints her clothes on


Poor critter could only afford 1/3 of the skirt

I also uncovered further proof of individuals being stripped of their bare necessities below.

The following videos are rated PG (Perverts Galore!)









This is Paddy in Buenos Aires for Bloggers Anonymous and now back to Dick in the studio.
Tags: Bailando por un Sueno Argentina, Sexy Argentine chicas, women argentina,Bailando por un sueño (Argentina),


tv argentina

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Saturday, 23 August 2008

Argentina win gold at Olympics Football

.....but I've been selected for an award courtesy of Thriftcriminal whose blog I enjoy immensely.



How it works: You pick a few of your favorite bloggers and pass them the accolade and they do the same thing, passing onto their favorite bloggers and linking back to the previous blog and the original blog.

So now it's my turn to pick a few 'Kick Arse Bloggers'. I'm quite picky with my blogroll (see right margin) and tend to shy away from the blogs with a following of multitudes, not because I don't like them but because I like the up and comers with a fresh perspective and I appreciate a bit of interaction which the 'A' listers can't always do.

Much as I'd like to, I can't pick everyone for this award so I am just going to get on with it! A few are M.I.A from posting recently like Sam and Queen of Clean and Shaunj (treking around China). Nomadic Matt is busy couchsurfing in Europe but still manages to post to his blog reguarly and Caro goes walkabout for weeks on end.

Others have a policy against this kind of thing like Primal and Nick which is understandable.
K8 and Maxi and English Mum already got pegged by someone else. Xbox is shagged out poor lad. Nature is new to blogging and brings the latin perspective and I'm afraid of what VE might do with this. Roy and Conortje don't seem to go for this type of tag and MEME stuff, at least from what I've seen over at theirs and would likely curse me.

So since I have to narrow it down, I pick Baino for her quick wit and kudos for cranking out quality posts 7 days a week and Megan who gives a fresh humourous perspective on life and again kudos for her regular posts and Marnie (Queen Goob) for her witty outlook on life.

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Thursday, 21 August 2008

Irish - Argentina Connections and Sports


Truth be told, I'm not much of a sportsman or a trivia buff. I play a mean game of 8 ball pool when the mood strikes and at times I can play Texas Hold'em poker like a pro. However, I struggle with golf, gym, jogging and most physical exercise bores the crap out of me. I forget people names 20 seconds after meeting them. Most people don't consider any of those 'real' sports or useful qualities anyway.

My cousin whacked me with a hurley in the face at an early age and knocked a tooth thru my cheek flesh and I needed 6 stitches to patch the damage. I reckon that must have been what turned me off sport. It might have been a wisdom tooth knocked out, which probably explains the memory lapses too.


Photo: A Hurley and Sliotar

Here are some interesting titbits about Irish Argentine relations and sports you may or may not know:

An Irishman from Co. Mayo, William Browne, founded the Argentine Navy.

Edelmiro Juan Farrell grandson of a Co. Longford man, became president of Argentina in 1944.

William Bulfin from county Offaly formed the Argentine Hurling Club on July 15, 1900 and on August 17, 1900, Bulfin printed the rules and a diagram of a hurling pitch in his newspaper called 'The Southern Cross', the official newspaper of the Argentina's Irish community.

The club and the newspaper still exist today

http://www.hurling-club.com.ar/ and http://www.thesoutherncross.com.ar/

His son Eamon Bulfin, born in Buenos Aires in 1892 hoisted the tricolour over Dublin’s General Post Office during the 1916 Insurrection.

None other than Che Guevara (born in Argentina) came from Basque and Irish descent.

A lot of Irish settled here during the famine exodus and beyond - Lots more info here http://www.irlandeses.org/

There ends the history and trivia lesson for today - more to come if I can remember any of it!

I can't help finishing my posts with a question recently (bad Irish habit).

Q. Is it true Irish people finish every sentence with a question?
A. Who told you that?

I am curious how many countries your immediate family is spread over? (Mine is currently three) and were you and your ancestors born in the country where you now live? i.e. where do you hail from?



Tags: Irish - Ireland Argentina relations Connections and Sports immigration emmigration
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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Pet Peeves - The list grows longer!

I have an ever growing list of pet peeves as I get older. If patience is a virtue, then I guess I am sadly, very lacking in at least that virtue and probably many others.

It was a long weekend here, so we headed about 350kms north east of Buenos Aires to a tiny remote town with 'termas' (hot springs). The place is called Villa Elisa and is in the province of Entre Ríos. The location was pleasant enough and we had a nice bungalow, 3minutes walk from the termas.

Most people head out of Buenos Aires to 'el campo' (the countryside) to escape the crowds. This weekends experience was the opposite. Sharing a pool with 250 people and being poked, prodded and elbowed is not my idea of fun but seems to be 'the norm' here. I think you get points for the more people you can bump, shove and squash. I HATE crowds - Do NOT invade my personal space. Think of it as an imaginary bubble that protrudes from my frame, just like my beer belly and beyond!


My tolerance for queueing is almost non existant, but this was tested to the limit this weekend as the hoards that descended on this place seemed preconditioned to forming lines as some sort of bizzare communal ritual. The longer the line, the more succesful the ritual. Want to buy a beer? - Join the queue. Want to eat? - Wait outside on the line. Need to pee? - Cross your legs and wait your turn.

The highlight of the trip was a relatives 'sweet fifteen' birthday party which we had been invited to. The venue was at a club called 'Frank Zappa' and they played the entire collection from Pink Floyds - 'Dark Side of the Moon' before, during and after the meal - surreal! As is typical in Argentina this went on till the wee hours and we headed back to our bungalow at 6am while the rest partied on till past dawn.

Besides people who walk slowly and block your path, another one of my pet peeves is traffic jams and the inexplicable gradual slow down in traffic only to speed up again for no apparent reason. The farmers are blocking the roads again so traffic was heavy on the road home. We were very lucky to make it back to Buenos Aires today as many others are still stranded half way due to the blockades.

Got any pet peeves to share?

Tags: Pet Peeves, people who walk slowly and block your path, 'sweet fifteen' birthday party
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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus aka the shopping mall

I'm somewhat of a minimalist as far as personal belongings are concerned. I'm a bit of a nomad so you have to learn not to get too attached to things because you might not be able to take them with you when you move on.

Her indoors comes from a different school of thought. She has every colour, material, texture and variety of handbag imaginable (50+ at last stock take by PricewaterhouseCoopers).



Shoes, boots, sandals, sneakers, slippers - every colour, any occasion - Imelda Marcos, eat your heart out.



Coats, shawls, wraps, ponchos, scarves - Been there, done that, have it - Blue sky but need a purple coat - Grey sky, need a green poncho - sorted - pick a colour - any colour - just look in this closet.



Bath robes - Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring - 2 of each and a few to spare just in case.

Outdated well worn denim jean jacket from twenty years ago - check - got it - will never wear it again but you never know and it has sentimental value - Ditto to the other 6 chests of antique clothes that haven't seen the light of day for 20 years.

Cuddly toys including Winnie the Poo handbag from 1980's times 10 - ah but sure they're cute!



Multiple bulky photo albums (thousands of pictures) - even though all photos have been scanned to digital??? - yep - got them in triplicate.

Books - Read it but might read it again - Never read it and likely won't but it has a nice cover so maybe someday - Might need it for work so can't chuck it - Will never read it but it might look nice as a coffee table book if / when we buy a coffee table - yep got them all!



I've done a spring clean every year all my life - I ditch clothes, books, electronics to charity. I was just taught to shed the crap at an early age and I'm so glad - it just feels satisfying offloading crap. So I'm curious - Do you hoard or do you shed?

Tags: men are from mars women are from venus, shopping, lots of clothes shoes, handbags
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Monday, 11 August 2008

Buenos Aires Taxi



Taxis in Buenos Aires have a bad reputation for leading people astray or at least taking the long route. There are many stories of people being scammed and fleeced and locals have a deep distrust of taxi drivers and will generally ask for their destination and challenge the driver as to how he will get to the destination. e.g. I want to go to Avenue XYZ cross street ABC - ok? How are you going to go?...Which avenues?? etc etc and so follows a lengthy discussion as per most Latin interactions. Radio Taxis with a visible telephone number on the car are thought safer than those without.


My experience with taxis from Dublin in the 80's was one of a luxury. If you could manage to get one home on a weekend night you had practically won the lottery so the taxi driver was welcome to do a detour if he/she wanted but was generally keen to move on to the next victim. London cabs are probably the most expensive I have ever experienced and although they train for 'the knowledge' it's just not worth that amount of money.

The taxis here are very plentiful and often out number regular cars on the roads but are generally tiny Renault cars that fit 2 in the back and 1 in the front 'normal' sized people. Four customers are possible but typically an uncomfortable squeeze. Add to that the cobblestone streets, bad suspension on the old cars and general crazy driving and it can be a torture trip.

The fare has gone up 50% in the last year but compared to UK, Ireland, USA is still a bargain. A ten minute trip is approx ten pesos = 1.7 GBP pounds or 2.2 Euros or 3.3 $USD and a tip is not customary here, in fact if the fare comes to 10.20 pesos the driver lets you off for 10 even.

What's it like in your neck of the woods?

Tags: Buenos Aires Taxi, Irish taxi, London taxi, New york taxi

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Friday, 8 August 2008

Things that Go Bump in the Night

There were 3 vampire movies on TV back to back tonight so I can't help venturing back down memory lane with more drivel. It just keeps flowin' and flowin' like the over spill from a blocked toilet!

As a wee nipper, I slept in the top bunk bed and my older brother in the bottom bunk and after watching Frankenstein one night, being last to bed, I switched off the light and as I crawled up the ladder of the bunk bed in the pitch black, my evil older brother decided to grab my leg for a laugh. I screamed so loud, I not only woke and scared the bejaezuz out of my parents but the neighbours were convinced there was some kind of torture chamber in our abode and we were the gossip of the 'hood for weeks later.




Shortly afterwards, I saw the mini TV series version of Stephen Kings 'Salems Lot' about vampires taking over a town in the USA. It had David Soul from Starsky and Hutch in it if that'll keep the ladies attention span! I still remember the scene with the kid vampire dangling outside the window which gave me the heebie jeebies for months.

In retrospect the special effects were not so special, but back in the day, they were cutting edge and I was so terrified, I went to bed every night with a crucifix made from Lego to fend off the sharp toothed demons. I would have used Meccano but it required a spanner and I've never been much of a handyman!

Got a scary or embarrassing story to share?

Tags: Things that Go Bump in the Night, Salems Lot, scary movie
Tags: Salems Lot, Lego, Meccano.

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Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Go ahead Punk - Make My Day

Thriftcriminal is getting revenge for me making him queasy in my previous post and so he tagged me with this meme

If you had to select celebrities/actors to play the parts in the story of your life today (including yourself!), who would it be and why - can be based on looks or personality!

Rules

  • List the people who would play you and all involved
  • Give credit to the person who tagged you
  • Link your answers to the original blog (trackback?)
  • Nominate four more people to have a go

Me: Clint Eastwood (I'm the strong silent type but push me too far and feel my wrath)


My missus: Salma Hayek (she has that whole Latin temperament to boot)

My brothers: (they ain't heavy) Withnail & I - Marwood (Paul McGann) and Withnail (Richard E Grant) a troublesome pair if ever there was one.



My Sis: Janis Joplin (not an actress I know) but a musical genius like big sis



My folks: Ma and Pa Walton (hardworking and wholesome)


I now have to tag 4 others so here goes:

VE with your creative talents this should be a sinch!

Conortje - your already famous so this will be easy!

Nick
- you're just back from boasting about your holidays - this'll fix ya!

Primalsneeze - I'm expecting lots of corny puns


Tags:
Withnail and I,Go ahead Punk - Make My Day, What is a blog meme?
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Sunday, 3 August 2008

Got Milk?

At 11 years of age, on an usually hot Irish summers day, I returned home after playing football at school and parched with the thirst, I went straight for the fridge and grabbed a bottle of milk. They still delivered the old glass pint bottles to your door every morning back then and came once a week to collect the money.

I poured my self a half pint of icey cold milk and hastily downed it in one. The relief of finally being hydrated was hugely satisfying but as the last mouthful washed against the back of my throat, I became aware of the horror - oh the horror! Alas the milk was sour, nasty, curdled milk.



Foam bubbles like a rabies victim started to spew from my mouth. I puked like the girl from the Exorcist movie!



I never drank milk again - EVER! - Not on it's own - Not in tea, not a drop!
They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger but I sometimes wonder!

Tag: Sour Milk, puke drinking milk, curdled milk, milk vomit

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