August 31/September 1, 2012
Denver International Airport
The pee sounds like machine-gun fire as it hits the water. I guess this is to be expected when a row of men line up in a bathroom to do their business. The Spokane airport was much less populated at six in the morning than Denver is in the early afternoon, not to mention less of a hub for international travel.
My first flight went great. I’m tired, hungry, nervous for everything that’s about to happen, but flying is fun! The takeoff and landing is like a roller coaster, and a nice woman named Rhonda gave me nice tips and some chewing gum. At first my stomach was roiling like mad, probably more from worry about flying for the first time and flying to Buenos Aires than the actual plane ride itself – not to mention the fabulous view I had of everything – between all of which, I was sure I would never sleep. After peeing at a ridiculous height and taking a Dramamine though, I conked out.
It seems that airports are basically miniature climate controlled cities without grocery stores. There’s a huge variety of people (I’ve heard French and Spanish speakers), and most of them seem friendly. On airplanes themselves, the emergency plan doodles do in face depict pictures of very calm people in extremely dangerous situations, just like Fight Club says. Those in the safety videos are equally tranquil. The seats aren’t the most comfortable, but I’d say it’s nicer than a Greyhound, and definitely possible to sleep in.
In other news at the Denver airport, a bird is flying around for the amusement of small children. You go Mr. Bird.
I Don’t (Really) Want to Go Home Already
As Caileen, my dance partner, told me last night, nothing is fucked, and I was being very undude. But I don’t always have the best sense of direction, and without someone to show off for, what’s the point of being smart and speaking what little Spanish I know? Freaking out about blowing up with terror and excitement just seem like the thing to do; it’s easier than staying calm. I probably should just write off all the crazed feelings as paralyzing excitement.
Last Days in Los Estados Unidos
I almost finished rewatching Star Trek DS9. I almost finished reading The Great Gatsby. Since those are incomplete though, I have a darn good reason to come home in December now; it’ll keep me from being seduced by any Argentine women. I went out for beers with Cody and Kristen, visited Rachel at her work, saw Sarah and Lizzy around town, but unfortunately missed out on any last minute tango opportunities. One evening I managed to visit my Godmother, which is great since I get to see her so rarely and it always seems to cheer her up when I go there.
Before I made it home, I stopped to go to my Uncle’s funeral. There was a beautiful moment at the start when three of his belongings were brought up by his immediate family: An ice axe, a stethoscope, and his flute. It made me wonder about what symbols would define me. My father liked this idea in particular, and it was one of the many subjects for our father son talks that we had while driving around town.
Security at the Houston airport went off when I walked through it! I was even patted down! Apparently my plastic buttons did something there that they didn’t do in Spokane. I ended up going through security again because I stopped off to visit my friend Jon and eat some nice unfood at Taco Bell with him. Aside from the humidity, I almost couldn’t tell I had left my time zone. I mean, everything is supposed to be bigger in Texas, but not the Taco Bells. While I wrote most of this, my body was only two hours behind the actual time (5pm instead of 7pm), but when I woke up this morning at around 8:30am my body was closer to four hours behind. In Houston, I felt much less panicked about this trip; my choices became stay in Texas, or go to Argentina. Even if I forgot all of my Spanish, I would prefer Argentina.
One of the first things I noticed in the airport here, aside from the change in temperature and humidity, was a huge Fox News advertisement. I immediately wondered if I’d get any flack for my pride ribbon that’s hooked in my backpack, but no one has even looked twice at me. Guess I shouldn’t judge a place before visiting its airport.
The Final Flight
On the flight down to BA I made friends with a young girl named Rio who was also going to study in Argentina, except this was one of over twenty countries she had already visited, she’s a senior in high school, and spoke very little Spanish. If I had her guts in high school, I would have made this trip long ago, but instead I’m doing it now. We had a great time talking and asking the Buenos Aires native next to us all about where to eat, how to be safe, and places to visit. The woman was even nice enough to take our picture.
Later on the plane, everyone had passed out, including myself. Rio jerked awake, and after I asked if she was okay, she asked me what was with my thumb. She proceeded to inquire as to why I painted my thumb, and I told her my thumb was not in fact painted. She immediately fell back asleep. After baggage claim and customs, we said good luck to each other once Rio found her study group.
Through the Gate
Alone in Buenos Aires. Pretty quickly, I found someone in my group, and we wandered around looking for the people who were supposed to be waiting for signs to pick us up. Twenty minutes later, after we were told an announcement would not be made to find our group, and refusing the advances of a couple taxi drivers, we found them. We bused into BA and I looked at everything – searching for the magic that gave birth to tango, that gave passion to the world. Most of my fellow students were wiser than me, and took naps. Meanwhile, I discovered this: Argentina is very flat. Buenos Aires is a city. The buildings are not very tall, and despite the fruit stands, Spanish stands, and the homicidal way our bus driver treats his fellow drivers, it could have been anywhere. But Argentina is not just anywhere. I’ve wanted to come here for seven years, and now that I’m here, even if it’s not Oz, I’m ready to have a life changing experience.
More to Come
I’ve been in BA for two days now, but have this habit of handwriting my blog entries before posting them so I can give you all something a little more ordered. I’ll post again in a few days, or at the end of the week at the latest. Adios.