Thursday, December 25, 2008

moments from Argentina II

Fellow couch surfing getting some twirls in at a Cultural Center and Art Gallery in down town Buenos Aires.

Mariano's artistic eye.... the eye of a future artist and my good friend!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

moments from Argentina

Reflections from Evita's famous tomb in Buenos Aires

Bored artists/photographers in a classical cemetery....

don't ask!

four creative eyes
three new friends
two great hearts
one fantastic world!

At the end of the day I am still somewhat of a tourist so here is my tourist pic of me in the middle of the biggest street in the world- 9 de Julio Avenue- named after Argentina's independence day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

amigos en argentina

What can I say....I love these guys!

Monday, December 22, 2008

middle of the day, no rain, circle rainbow around the sun???

One day while I was in Quilmes the place I was staying outside Buenos Aires I looked up at the sky and I saw this circle rainbow around the sun. I have never in my life seen such a sight. It wasn't until weeks later when I was in Sao Paulo talking with a friend about it did I realize that it was a bad sign. My friend said they talked about it on Brazilian news and how it had something to do with the air pollution and the green house effect.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

reality check!

I have fought with myself as to whether or not I should write this... after lots of consideration I believe it is very important to publish. I do not want everyone who reads my blog to think life is perfect. There are many things that happen behind the scenes and most women keep quiet. I also would like to note that this is a man's world and shit happens when women choose to venture out in it. Here is ONE of my stories...

It was my third day in Buenos Aries and I was staying in a youth hostel in an older side of the city. The night before I had been talking to one of the seven roommates sharing the dormitory room I was in in which I was the only female. I was talking to a Turkish-Canadian about traveling, life, and religion (a conversation that makes traveling worth while). Staying in the same room was also a Canadian co-worker of mine from Taiwan. We all went to bed as usual. The next morning while I was still sleeping a local man who had checked in later the previous evening found it necessary to disturb my personal privacy. I felt his hands on my body and at first I thought it was a dream, until I realized I was conscience but I didn't dare open my eyes. I just laid there in disbelief. Maybe a minute or two or maybe even three had passed before I convinced myself that this was actually happening, here in a room with seven other people less than four meters away. And you know what my first though was.....I didn't want to scream because I was afraid to be rude to wake everyone else up.

Then I felt him and then I felt sick, like throwing up and I couldn't control myself, I opened my eyes looked right and him and started screaming, something along the lines of "Fuck you get off me you mother fucker". He immediately pulled away and started saying "no pasa nada, nada ...." and then started grabbing his stuff. As he went down stairs my roommates stared waking up and asking what had happened. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. I really wanted to pick up a wooded chair that had been next to the window, walk down stairs and break it over his fucking head hoping to cause as much pain and damage to his ugly face as possible. But the funny thing as much as I have said that is what I would do...I couldn't, I didn't have it in me.

Then to my surprise he was upstairs again to get the sheets off the bed. Many places in South America require you to turn your sheets in before checking out. Also at this particular hostel the door is locked from both the inside and outside and requires a button behind the front desk to be pushed in order for it to open. So I ran past him down the stairs and told the man at the front desk that there was a man touching me when I woke up. He asked me what room I was in and I said #7 and he said there was nothing he could do about that. I ran back up stairs passing him (the asshole) along the way. When I got to the room the Turkish-Canadian ask what was happening and I told him what the front desk clerk had said. He immediately went down stairs and told the clerk what happened. The clerk thought I told him the "sun was touching me when I woke up". I soon grabbed my knife and went down the stairs again. The clerk looked scared and asked me if I was okay. I responded quickly with "of course not". He called the police and wouldn't push the button to open the front door to let him (the asshole) out. Meanwhile the man was standing at the door about five meters from the front desk where I was standing. He started smoking a cigarette and pacing back and forth. Twenty minutes later while the police were still not there the men went to the upstairs bathroom window to try to get out. All I could think of was how a caged animal acts. With my hand on my knife standing next to the desk with the Turkish-Canadian beside me we waited for more than forty minutes before the police showed up. And when they finally did, their first questions were "where do you come from?" What happened?" and "Were you sleeping nude?".

After another hour of the same three questions the stood there for five minutes looking at me and then asked what I wanted to do. I returned the question with "What can I do?" They told me I can go down to the police station and file a report. So I did. Accompanied by coworker we rode to the police station to wait for another three hours. Then interviewed me in the waiting room in front of everyone, with a man interpreter and a male officer. The questions included, how did he touch you? did you feel anything, like a sexual feel of arousal (I am not kidding), what were you wearing, where were the other people sleeping in the room, why was I the only one awake? which hand did he use? what did I say to him? was I awake when he first started?

After they got my statement. They told me that I need to wait for the department who handles this kind of case to have a consolation with me. They told me they just contacted them and they are on their way. Less than ten minutes later two women walked into the station the policemen introduced us and they immediately brought me into a private room gave me a glass of water and asked to tell them anything I wanted whenever I feel comfortable to talk. I told them everything. They asked if I have seen the doctor yet. I said "no" and told them that I had just been in the waiting room for the last 5 hours. Within five minutes we were in a car on our way to the doctor in the Department of sexual violence and abuse.

After all the necessary check ups and required tests I was free to go. They took me back to the hostel and I took a shower and when I went downstairs the police were there again. They wanted to get some statements. They wanted to question my coworker who had been waiting in the station with me earlier that morning for a total of 6 hours doing nothing. The front desk staff had already changed and gone home and they wanted to interview the other people sleeping in the room. The incident happened at about 5:30 am, Check out being 11 am, and that current time was about 3 p.m. the only one possibly available for questioning was my coworker from Taiwan a good friend of mine and who had already wasted 6 hours of his vacation at the police station. The police then so politely informed me that it would be difficult to make a strong case without any witnesses. Well I appreciate their honesty. ASSHOLES!

The positive thing:
I couldn't bare staying in a hostel again so I tried for the first time this website thing called Couch I had been in touch with some guys in Quimes (near Buenos Aires) about a place to stay for about a month and knew their friend from the internet as well. So I thought what the hell...what is the worst thing that can happen....I get raped??

So I called them, they came to pick me up and by 4:30 I was in the car of what I would later find to be some of the coolest guys and best friends of my life on our way to Quimes. I stayed with them for the rest of the duration of my stay in Argentina and I think there wasn't a moment I didn't smile. They taught me about real love, real happiness and real peace.

Thank you Mauro and Federico!