The last two days have been pretty brutal transport-only days, with something like 9+ hours Thursday and significantly more today. Why did I go to Argentina for 15 hours, you ask?
I originally came to Chile on a student visa, which was a long and circuitous process I’d love never to have to repeat (think FBI background checks, HIV test, reams of paperwork, and a nice cash deposit in the Chilean consulate’s bank account). That has unfortunately run out, and in an effort remain as legal as possible, I’m on a bus right now to Mendoza to pick up a new tourist visa.
Mendoza is the border town just on the other side of the Chilean/Argentine border, and quite a beautiful wine-filled area, though I’m only staying the night before heading back. The Chilean government is notoriously apathetic about their visas, and basically anyone willing to pay the entrance fee can get a stamp for a 90-day tourist visa. The “Mendoza run,” then, has become a ritual for foreigners and quite a nice and easy way to stay in the country.
Still, aside from awkwardly trying not to look at the Chilean couple across from me as they demonstrate their mutual lust, there isn’t much to do on the 6-8 hour trip, especially considering I left my book in Santiago. This has given me a chance to catch up on my podcast addictions. The classics, like Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me and This American Life go without saying as some of the best stuff on the radio, but other shows I’ve mentioned before, New Yorker: Fiction, Stuff You Should Know and the Poor Choices Show are always entertaining. I fell asleep listening to an episode of Poor Choices Show and went back through it afterward to find where I had nodded off, skipping backward 30 seconds at a time, and it sounded something like this:
“Jersey Shore? Yeahhhhh!”
“With chicken nuggets.”
“And now you’ve got hair gel.”
The show Radiolab, which despite being interesting also makes master use of sound editing, has gotten me intrigued again with the notion of working in radio and/or staring a travel podcast, though details need to be worked out. That and the mash-ups in Glee, particularly It’s My Life/Confessions, and I’ve made sure to re-download Audacity to this computer and I’m trying to spend more time messing around with audio editing programs, and hopefully I’ll be making some stuff soon. We’ll see.
I remember when the first notion of a “podcast” first came out on iTunes, and I, for one, declared it stupid, if not in idea then at least in name. I mean, really. Pod-cast? It’s silly!
This, of course, turned out to be utterly wrong, my worst prediction since I declared “blogs” to be a short-lived and badly named phenomenon (the irony is almost tangible, no?). Anyway, I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong, so… there.
I’ve been working on expanding my music taste and opening my mind to new things, if you will, so I’ve started listening to All Songs Considered from NPR, which is good for getting new music of all genres I never would have found otherwise. It’s not all exactly my favorite, but there’s a fair amount of good music I’ve heard on there and it’s certainly at least entertaining to listen to while working on something else.
The trips to and from Mendoza have been pretty bad, with traffic at the border crossing just dead stopped, forcing us to wait in place for over an hour in each direction, though more like a couple of hours today. It didn’t help when one of our drivers pointed us to a line at immigration that was shorter, only for us to discover afterward that we had, in fact, skipped a step (we tried to re-enter Chile without first leaving Argentina), which just sent us back to the first again.
Luckily, each way the bus had movies playing, including Predator and The Marine on the way to and Evan Almighty and The Yes Man on the way back. Fun to watch and all, I guess, but The Yes Man struck me as very very similar to Stranger Than Fiction, with a bit of Liar Liar stuck in the middle. Anyone else get that impression?
I’ve started reading All the President’s Men, which is the first-hand account of cracking the Watergate scandal by Woodward and Bernstein. I’m enjoying it so far, though I find myself comparing everything to the movie, and as I read I see Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman doing it (though that’s probably better, as Bob Woodward isn’t actually the greatest looking fellow). I’ve also been using my new little computer to the max, so let’s hope I devote time to reading in the future instead of my current addiction to Hearts.
In other news, I’m pretty sure that my friend has hit 100% in terms of coming down here, though at this point I’m worried about jinxing that by saying it out loud. Still, if true, that means that we can actually start planning, and try to figure out something about the next few months. Plans to come, but I’m excited!