Tag Archives: travel

Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady…Now What?

I have to say, I had a bit of a rough landing from Argentina into the Terminal of Reality (it’s actually part of JFK, across the Tarmac of Tough Luck  — you have to take a shuttle bus to get there, it’s a total bitch).

It was brilliant to leave almost zero time between the wedding and the honeymoon. It allowed us to float around in a carefree, blissfully happy bubble for a full two weeks, which felt like a lifetime. So much so that when we got home, I could not remember how to go about my ACTUAL life. I mean, I knew I did stuff. I definitely did some stuff. But when I was prompted to resume those activities — work, gym, food shopping, laundry — I really struggled to remember why, and in some cases, how. It was like I was an amnesia patient, or I’d just dropped into my own sideways reality, Lost-style.

Am I being dramatic? Maybe. Am I a whiny, spoiled brat? Hey, shut up.

The bottom line is, I clearly realized that having a wedding and going on a honeymoon weren’t going to become my permanent lifestyle. But I did allow that major event to take over my thoughts and trump all other priorities for a period of roughly 15 months. And the other part of it is, apparently that was okay with everybody else. I had a total bye during the year-plus that I was engaged. Everyone seemed to want to hear about my plans, fawned over my exciting bride-to-be-ness, and generally corroborated my harbored suspicions that I was, indeed, very special. And when we got back, well, I was just married. And what’s cool about that? Our grandparents are married.

So I’d forgotten about the mundaneness of life , I’d been demoted from “Super Special Princess Bride” to “Married,” and what’s worse, now I had no wedding left to plan! I happened to love planning our wedding. I thrived on it. As soon as we got engaged, I was transformed from a disorganized, chronically lazy person into a whirling dervish of thorough research, spreadsheets, and productivity. The honeymoon provided a welcome break from all that, but when we got back to New York and started clearing away the wedding-related detritus littering our apartment, I felt massive post-nuptial depression. I was left with nothing to do but unpack, look at wedding photos, and try to remember why I have my own office at work. (If anyone from work is reading this, I am completely back in touch with this, don’t worry). Luckily, I am a bridesmaid in 47 weddings between now and next January, so I have fully devoted myself to the practice of giving lengthy and unsolicited bridal advice. And, oh yeah, I started this blog. I’m like one of those kids who peaked in high school who spends the rest of her life attempting to recapture her glory days, only I so did not peak in high school.

Except, I can’t seem to stay focused on all that, much as I enjoy the art of complaining. The fact is, I actually love being married. Look, we’ve been together for eight years, we know each other as well as two people can know each other at our age, and our relationship was very strong before we got engaged. And yet, there is an invisible and extremely perceivable difference in the way we function as a couple now. I thought we were as solid as two people can be before the wedding. In fact, I assumed nothing would change aside from our names and bank accounts (still waiting on that one, come to think of it). But somehow, without any conscious effort on either side, we’ve synced up more, closed the gap between us a little tighter. We’re a team, we’re unified. We’re a family.

So fine, being married isn’t as fun as getting married. And working full-time and doing dishes isn’t as exciting as choosing centerpieces or traveling through South America. But it’s been a happy surprise to find out that it’s actually way more fun than being not married to each other. Which is something. Or everything.

Incidentally, to my engaged friends, I’ve photocopied my wedding binder and personalized copies for each of you according to your plans thus far. We can connect this week to set up individual meetings.

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El finale: Home is where you hang your head and sigh

Okay. I have been told — and I fully realize — that I may be lingering far too long in the land of steak, wine, and dulce de leche. It’s a little self-indulgent, perhaps, and I get it! I totally do. While this armchair travel experience has been both hilariously entertaining and culturally educational for my readers, you are eager to get back to our dear homeland, where the grass is asphalt and the steak is hot dogs. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. Still amn’t. But I need to face facts and admit that we’ve actually been back in New York for the past month and a half, and no matter how hard I shut my eyes and hope against hope, the Fine Living Network isn’t calling to ask me to do an extended, intensive investigation of Argentina’s Ten Most Flamboyant and Revoltingly Luxurious Hotels.

As my grandmother used to say, here we are, so that’s where we’ll be. But before we got here, we were there: among the only hotel guests of a sprawling vineyard and resort in San Rafael, in the Mendoza (read: wine) region of Argentina. Our last three days of honeymoon bliss read like one of those ridiculous Celebrity Cruise lines commercials: we indulged in an outdoor cooking class with the hotel’s chef, I received an olive oil massage out on a patio overlooking the pool, we were given a complementary, 3-hour private wine-tasting class, and oh yeah, we had our own golf cart with which to freely explore the sprawling farm and untamed brush.

Pretty darn pretty

It was pretty perfect, in all, though the experience wasn’t without some valuable life lessons. For instance, while it may seem like too good an opportunity to pass up, one oughtn’t eat two consecutive meals featuring provoleta, chorizo, and half a bottle of wine (among other things). For if one does, one will wind up with a wretched case of “food poisoning” the day one is forced to wait 3 hours in a tiny airport and then make the 12-hour journey back to New York. And by food poisoning, I mean self-inflicted overdose, much like what would happen to a dog if you left the entire bag of kibble within reach. On the bright side, sun poisoning + food poisoning = honeymoon bingo! I win!

These plates represent the number of chorizo-topped grilled cheese blobs I consumed in a 12-hour period.

I also learned that after a 3-hour wine tasting, if one chooses to then consume half a bottle of rose poolside, one probably ought to wait a little while before jumping in and “swimming.” Didn’t my mother and camp counselors warn me about this when I was little? As it turns out, wine + pool = something of a mess, and I think I wound up consuming an equal amount of chlorinated water as I did alcohol. It was super fun, mostly because I didn’t actually drown to death!

You can't tell, but in all likelihood this book is actually upside-down.

Those sterling nuggets (ew) of wisdom aside, there was one exercise we just couldn’t master. We’d heard about how late people eat dinner in Argentina. And we tried to assimilate, tried to adjust our internal clocks and do as they did. But no matter how much effort we put into making late reservations, no matter how many times we were sure we’d gotten it right, we just kept winding up alone in restaurants. Fancy restaurants, trendy restaurants, wildly popular restaurants. We were always, always completely alone. We just could not figure it out. We’d show up at 10pm and leave at 11:30, never seeing another diner. We’d show up at 10:45pm and leave after midnight, and maybe catch a glimpse of an honest-to-god Argentinean couple sauntering in with a bright-eyed toddler in tow. At first, it was kind of nice. Two newlyweds, oblivious to others around us, absorbed in each other and our food and wine. No obnoxious table-neighbors drowning out our conversation, no competition for the water guy. But after the first couple of evenings like that, we both realized how awkward and uncomfortable it felt to be sitting in a big, empty establishment, with one guy waiting on us and the rest of the waiters milling around. Or worse, all of them serving us at once — sometimes we’d have a bread guy, a wine pourer, a water-glass-filler AND a crumber, all in addition to our server. Occasionally, there would be another family or couple seated, and we would perk up. Perhaps we’d cracked the code and been tacitly welcomed into the Forbidden City! But inevitably, within minutes their loud, American voices would reverberate across the room, serving as a sharp and shameful reminder of our lame tourist status, broadcasting our loserdom in our own heads. We are those travelers who really like to think we’re cooler and smarter and more sophisticated than your average Ugly American. I mean, we’re worldly, we’re from New York, we dig the restaurant scene, we’ve even been known to hang out at a hip bar or two. But throughout the entire country of Argentina, we may as well have been clipping coupons out of The Pennysaver for the early bird special. As silly as it sounds, it was humbling, but more than that it was just sort of frustrating. It was like all the Argentinians had conspired together to stay hidden until we were safely on the way back to our hotel. If only I’d looked in that urn by the bathroom.

Here’s the thing of it: Matt and I loved being on vacation together. We hardly fought, we typically wanted to do all the same things, got hungry around the same time, even our sleep cycles managed to sync up. But even traveling as a team, as closely knit as they come, being in a foreign country can feel very lonely. And when it seems like everyone is somewhere you will never find, it only heightens your sense of being an outsider. I’m aware that many people would pay for the privilege of emptying out a beautiful restaurant. But if I’m out in the world, I want the other residents to show their faces and be there with me.

So that brings us, inexorably, to the island of Manhattan. I’m back to spending my days elbow to elbow with far too many people. They cram onto the subway platforms, angling for a straight shot at the doors with no intention of letting people out of the car first; they dodge and weave aggressively around one another on the sidewalks; they groan and sigh loudly when a tourist takes too long making a decision at Cosi; they’re rude to customer service professionals and fiercely territorial at restaurants and bars. They’re loud, mean, impatient, entitled, and competitive, and they’re everywhere, all the time.

I guess it’s sort of nice to be home, jerks.

Fine Living Network, I work cheap.

Luna de Miel interstitial: Champagne bus rides and caviar dreams

I have this theory about bus stations. Actually, it’s not so much theory as it is an astute and practiced observation. Pick a city or town anywhere in the world. Regardless of this locale’s sophistication, technological advances, cleanliness, environmental efforts, architecture or age, it will will no doubt be home to some troubled people. You’ve got your scallywags, layabouts, hobos, rapscallions, rogues, scoundrels, knaves, cretins—even the occasional blackguard. And if you pay a visit to the local bus station, I can almost promise that you will find each and every one of them, assembled in short order, for all your leering, pickpocketing, mumbling, grain-liquor-in-a-brown-bag needs. For it is the bus station that is the universal meeting spot for the dregs of any given society, no matter how sparkling that society may be. Loogies will dot the soda-slicked floors, empties can be found strewn under benches and in corners. Toilets will be clogged and paperless, with unlock-able doors but for one stall which seems to be permanently occupied by someone making far too little noise.

It’s not that I’m unsympathetic. It’s just that, get away from me. Especially when I’m dying of thirst, dragging a heavy suitcase, duffel bag and purse, it’s 97 degrees outside, and the system for figuring out when and from which of the 45 docks your bus leaves is incomprehensible even to those who speak the native language. This is exactly where we found ourselves trying to exit the city of Mendoza, where we had a one-night stop (and day-long wine tour) before heading to our final destination: The Algodon Wine Estates in San Rafael, 250 kilometers due South.

I'm pretty sure I saw him at the Port Authority

I’m the first to admit that patience is not necessarily my virtue. So by the time we battled the throngs of sticky, aggressive people (I think I may actually have growled at someone), located the right bus, and boarded the double-decker, I was in truly rare form. We collapsed into our assigned seats directly up front on the top level, took a deep, cleansing breath, and that is when I realized that there was no air conditioning and we were sitting behind a giant, untinted windshield, and heat rises. And that, dear readers, is when I threw a full-on, unabashed, pride-be-damned temper tantrum. I kicked our belongings around on the floor, cried, raged and seethed, banged on the vents to see if I could coax some air out of them, frantically fanned myself with our wilted bus tickets. Matt, ever the adult, calmly collected our things and moved us a few rows back, where we could crack open a window, get out of the sun, and even feel a teeny bit of air trickling out above our heads. Immediately, the bus steward came up and scolded us for switching seats and promptly closed our window. He gave us what sounded like a very disdainful lecture in Spanish, shaking his head and woefully moving blankets around. I looked at him desperately, weakly reached out my arm and in a cracked, hoarse whisper said simply: “agua…por favor…” He sighed, nodded, and thirty minutes later I was presented with a Dixie cup of warm Sprite. Things were looking up. A few minutes after that, he came back upstairs and turned on a little TV hanging from the ceiling in the center aisle, and for the next hour and a half we were treated to a veritable smorgasbord of 30-second clips from every music video made in America between 1978 and 1999. Baffling? Yes. Totally rad? You betcha. Meanwhile, our steward came back and asked if we wanted dinner. Dinner? On a bus? Well, no. “Mas agua!” I croaked. “Solemente agua!” He began to speak at length in Spanish, most likely on the virtues of eating three square meals a day, the quality of their dining selections, and the foolhardy, dinner-less path we were about to choose. So we acquiesced and were soon presented with a tray of what was essentially the food equivalent of our in-bus entertainment: a tiny green salad, a slice of vegetable quiche, a sort of yellow-cake-ham-and-cheese roulade, a roll, saltines, soft cheese, and a steaming hot package containing a quarter chicken and plain white rice. We received it with what I’m sure was visible shock, which only increased when he then offered us red or white wine and champagne. Well, yes! But also, mas agua?

As we drove through vineyard-striped countryside in the pitch black of night, I took a slow sip from my Styrofoam cup of battery aci…champagne. I looked over at Matt for a moment, watching him wrestle with a chicken wing, then closed my eyes and let the rhythm of the bumpy road beneath us blend with thumping beats of Snap!’s “I Got the Power.”

Robin Leach, eat your heart out.

Next came another golden oldie, "Rhythm Is a Dancer"

Luna de miel part dos: how do you solve a problem like a standard car?

I fear I’m already a bad blogger. I’ve never been a natural when it comes to consistency, discipline, and non-laziness. There are just only so many hours in the day, and so very many episodes of “Law & Order” on television. Speaking of, am I the only one who suffers from panicky, paranoid fantasies/waking nightmares as a result of that show? Please tell me I’m not.

Back to the H-moon recap.

As much as we loved our stay in Buenos Aires, we were excited to get out of the hot, sticky city in favor of Patagonia’s mountains, lakes, and fresh country air — a rare treat for us. And by “treat,” I mean only so long as I wasn’t faced with any insect-related issues while enjoying this so-called “fresh air.” No really, we were psyched, and remained so until we were handed the keys to our rental car at the Bariloche airport. At this point, Matt’s face clouded over, a nervous, half-hearted smile lingering on his lips and dread settling deep behind his eyes. Of course, all the cars in Argentina are manual, and of course, poor Matty hadn’t driven a stick shift since he was 19 years old and working construction for the summer. I remained chipper and in high spirits, filled with confidence in my husband’s ability to handle this challenge with swift grace and aplomb. This based solely on the fact that he is not Jewish and is generally capable of things my family members are not: fixing things around the house, ironing, successfully putting together a piece of furniture from Ikea. As I’m sure many of you would have assumed (not you, Mom), these skills do not necessarily translate.

We piled our stuff into the tiny car, started it up, lurched backwards and immediately stalled out in the middle of the arrivals lane. Much honking, much waving, and finally when we had allowed every single car in the vicinity to pass us, we started up again. The car heaved and sputtered forward, and we were off! Unfortunately, we were soon met with a parking lot attendant, at which point we slowed to a stop and promptly stalled. After a few painfully choking false starts and many grateful gestures to the people lined up behind us (hey, tourists are allowed to be idiots at the airport, right?), we were off! Again. We began to build speed, and while the momentum put Matt at ease, I became increasingly nervous and shrill. “Cuidado! A la derecha! Please slow down slowdownslow downslowdown!” After the first two stalls, my confidence went out our hatchback’s manual windows, and I kept envisioning us missing a curve and driving directly into the ice blue lake that stretched alongside the highway. It was actually smooth sailing until we reached the center of town. We prayed every time we passed an intersection, pleading with God to arrange things so that we wouldn’t have to stop the car until we reached our hotel, 20 km away. No such luck for an interfaith couple. We came to a reluctant pause at a traffic light, and the car…didn’t stall! We held our breath and silently willed it to keep running. And then, as the light went from red to yellow to green, and Matt carefully lifted his foot to the gas, we heard the familiar wheeze, felt the dreaded shudder, and stalled to a standstill. Except that this time, when he tried to restart, we started to roll backwards. Into a line of waiting cars. He pulled the handbrake, took a deep breath and tried again. And again, we rolled back. He tried over and over, a line of cars a mile back leaning on their horns, people on the sidewalk and at their windowsills staring at us. Matt was sweating. My heart was pounding and it was all I could do to keep reassuring him and encouraging him to pretend that there weren’t at least a few hundred angry Argentinians behind us. More wheezing, violent, shuddering sighs from our car’s tortured engine, and then out of nowhere…

The car took off like a bat out of hell with an obscene screech! I flung back into the seat, let out a scream, and we shot out of the intersection and went careening down the street, hysterically laughing and nearly in tears with shock and relief. I’ll spare you the details of the next three or four identical experiences of varying levels of death-defiance, but suffice it to say that by the time we got to the hotel, Matt was trying to revise our plans to take a DRIVING tour of Bariloche and musing aloud as to how much a taxi would cost to bring us to dinner in the evenings.

You better believe we parked on a downhill

I’m happy to report that the driving got increasingly better over the course of our three days in Patagonia, though we didn’t escape a few more humiliating stall-outs and we definitely burned the clutch down to a nub (note: I have no idea what a clutch is or looks like, so in my mind it was a nub). In fact, we came to like our little 2-door carro. It could have fit in our apartment’s kitchen, which was great because we’re very comfortable with small spaces. Plus, I got a kick out of hand-cranking the windows down and belting out the score to “The Sound of Music,” since the Andes look a lot like the Alps and Bariloche is full of old Nazis, too. Before long, Matt relaxed and began to enjoy driving around, and I found that I hardly ever thought about death while we were in the car.

The hills are alive! Los Von Trappos, are you in there?

There are fish in here! Shortest photo opp ever.

Our days in Bariloche were appropriately outdoorsy. In addition to driving around and wading ankle-deep into fish-infested waters, we went white water rafting on the Manso River, which was my first time with the activity and I fell in love with it. The river was as clear blue as the Caribbean (though somewhat colder), we got to take our rafts to the Chilean border, and when it was all over they fed us beef and wine. The town of Bariloche was unfortunately pretty touristy, kind of like Germany at Epcot, but with fewer obese people and with more stray dogs. After holding out for a week, I finally broke down and pet a stray German Shepherd and allowed him to give my hand a little kissypoo. We named him Kevin, both after our recent favorite movie, Up, and inspired by a ridiculous poster we were reading as the whole unfortunate scene went down. Of course, Matt yelled at me and warned me of vague dangers, and after Kevin followed us a few blocks and then abandoned us for a tasty-looking puddle, I spent the rest of the evening convinced I’d contracted parvo (again) and fleas.

Turista, indeed.

"Lo nuevo de Kevin." Your guess is as good as mine, assuming your guess has something to do with a German Shepherd.

Here’s a fun fact: I neglected to mention that Matt and I both suffered from horrendous sunburn in Uruguay. Every time I looked at Matt I started to hum the theme to “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.” By the time we got to Bariloche, his face had begun to peel off nicely, and we (I) considered attempting to preserve it in one piece. I, on the other hand, had been experiencing an insidious rash that traveled to a different scorched part of my body each day. It was sort of a fun game: Where in Nina’s bloodstream is the sun poisoning today? But the best was saved for the grand finale: the night we had the most beautiful dinner at our hotel, my ankle became so red and inflamed that it swelled up to the size of a can of pineapple juice. We were forced to take half a bottle of wine back up to our room where I could drink and elevate my foot at once. Of course, we maintained our priorities. It wouldn’t be a successful vacation if I didn’t contract at least one bizarre and humorously exaggerated affliction.

Oh, those romantic and lustful honeymoon nights.

Stay tuned for the next very special installment of “Luna de Miel” blogging!

Part Tres: In Which I Learn to Love Frogs

or

Wine Tasting and Swimming Pools: A Cautionary Tale

Backblogging: Soy en el luna de miel

I’ve been attempting to spend the last two weeks reliving our honeymoon in Argentina, though between the frigid cold, having to do that work thing every day, Manhattan apartment hunting (more on that later), and my charming fellow New Yorkers, it hasn’t been easy. But I shall persevere, no matter how tenuous my relationship with reality becomes.

The title of this post should give you all a sense of how well I was able to communicate in Spanish. It’s not that I didn’t try — I really did. In fact, I get outraged when I hear Americans hollering in English in foreign countries. (A favorite cringe-worthy moment was in a Buenos Aires restaurant when I overheard a very audibly Midwestern woman at a table nearby shout at her waiter of her leftovers, “Will you bring this home to your PERRO?”). So I really did want to try and speak the native language. It’s just that it’s hard enough to remember the French I spent 12 years studying, and somehow every time I made an attempt at Spanish, it wound up coming out as some unintelligible Franco-Spanglish hybrid. Occasionally, I’d be able to ask a one-word question of a taxi driver or bartender and then realize that I’d cornered myself into a lengthy response during which I’d nod enthusiastically and smile big until they noticed that I was a complete doofus. Then they’d do their best to repeat it in English, or they’d just give up on me entirely. And somehow this never deterred me from attempting with the next person I’d encounter. Matt, on the other hand, took an entirely different approach which involved saying nothing at all for fear of saying the wrong thing, or asking a question, then pretending to understand the answer and refusing to admit to the speaker that no, in fact, we have absolutely no idea what you just offered to do and are clueless as to how to properly receive whatever it is we just paid you for. Needless to say, it took us a few days to hit our stride.

Luckily, you don't need to speak Spanish to find yourself a glass of wine in BA.

Traveling abroad together revealed another significant difference in our personalities (not that we really need much help there). I guess this isn’t particularly surprising, but as it turns out Matt and I have extremely disparate reactions to luxury. It became immediately apparent when we checked into our first stop, the Four Seasons in Buenos Aires.

You know that scene in Annie when Little Orphan Annie arrives at Daddy Warbucks’s mansion? She’s disheveled, filthy and disoriented, but the instant she steps out of that limousine, she’s swept off her little orphan feet by an army of butlers, window washers, gardeners, chefs, waiters, handmaidens, court jesters, swamis and sommeliers. They dance and sing and scrub her all pretty, feed her and tuck her into 1,000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. One soft-shoe through the cool marble foyer and all memories of Miss Hannigan and the orphanage are gone in the cloud of dust that shakes out of her threadbare smock.

That’s pretty much exactly what it’s like to arrive at the Four Seasons Hotel, except that we, the weary travelers, were the orphans, and Miss Hannigan is that nasty flight attendant who was definitely whacking my elbow on purpose. From the moment we entered, I became acutely aware that every single need I’d ever had would be fulfilled as long as I never left. For god sakes, they organized my toiletries and lined my shoes up in the closet! The walk-in closet! I was awash in feelings of peace, relaxation, and thorough entitlement. It just felt right. Like I was finally home. Bring on the champagne and strawberries! Yes, I DO deserve a massage and some complementary alfajores. Now, where’s my next present? Of course I’d like to take advantage of the personal concierge services. Keep it coming, those rose petals aren’t going to scatter themselves! Matt, naturally, was immediately and immensely uncomfortable. For the first 36 hours, he refused every offer to carry our luggage or open a door. He took guilty bites of our complementary petits fours as I giddily tucked in with abandon. He efficiently ate a restrained bowl of cereal each morning, as I was up and down at the buffet attempting to find every conceivable application for dulce de leche. He would have turned down the guest services manager’s offer of a drink and some restaurant advice had I not bullied…er, talked…him into it. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a brat. But it took me about six seconds to embrace the idea that this is how these people do their jobs, and to refuse them is pointless at best and insulting at worst. Don’t worry, they wore him down with my help, and before long he was as ready to move in as I.

Bring it on, baby.

Excessive pampering aside, we really enjoyed our time in Buenos Aires. We ate wonderfully, for starters. La Brigada, a classic steakhouse that’s actually equally popular with locals as with tourists, served us a 16-inch thick steak that was practically still bleating. The waiter literally cut it with a spoon. We were introduced to provoleta, which is an ingenious dish that consists of a big chunk of grilled provolone cheese and is best served hot and bubbling with a fat, juicy piece of chorizo. I tried authentic empanadas and seven different kinds of alfajores, the popular dulce de leche-filled cookie. We discovered that the trendy restaurants there all seem to subscribe to the theory that diners both love and deserve multiple surprise amuse-bouche. They are correct.

Alfajores numbers four and five. Note I was tackling this challenge alone. I feel all the more accomplished and empowered having succeeded.

I've got a secret, and it involves a forkful of chorizo and melted cheese.

We spent most of our days hoofing it around the city, checking out the neighborhoods and taking in the scenery. I was obliged to purchase TWO pairs of emergency relief shoes. It was really, really, effing hot. The people make Manhattanites look like a bunch of fat losers. We took an overnight trip to the beach at La Barra in Uruguay, where the Brazillionaires roam free and I found myself glaring enviously and mumbling “slut” at the kids who, at twelve or thirteen, are tanner, thinner, and hotter than I can ever hope to look in my life.

An interesting phenomenon in La Barra: EVERYTHING is sponsored. Try and guess what this establishment actually is. I'll give you a hint. It is neither a bar nor a Honda dealership, nor a tanning salon.

Another funny La Barra fact: the shoreline is littered with giant, dead beetles. We took to calling it the Omaha Beach for bugs.

On our return to BA from Uruguay, we arrived at our hotel to find the driveway gated shut. The first bellhop we asked told us that a rock group was staying there, and he couldn’t reveal their name but said with a wink that “they are very METALLIC.” We stared at him blankly. “It’s Metallica,” he said, grinning. I felt my jaw clench. I have held a grudge against Lars Ulrich ever since he led the charge against Napster and cut off my college supply of endlessly streaming free songs. Not to mention I’ve never been a particular fan of his personal brand of music. But now he was tangentially in my life again, and I knew that nothing good could come of it. Sure enough, for the rest of our stay there was an ever-present group of metalheads loitering around the entrance, and the gates created a backlog at the taxi line each night. Our last evening, I was forced to walk — WALK! — to dinner in my high heels up hilly, cracked sidewalks in some seriously frizzy weather. “Lars!” I shouted ruefully, my fist swiping the air. I fantasized about running into him at breakfast so I could air my grievances. Lucky for him, we never met (though we did encounter several of his extremely intimidating-looking roadies), but I know our paths shall cross again. And when they do, I’ll be ready.

Moo.

On that creepy note, I’ll wrap up here. Clearly I can’t fit our entire two-week honeymoon into one post, especially when I find it important to recount stories like the one above. In our next installment, we’ll visit Bariloche, where you’ll hear of our close encounters with death-by-stick-shift and our new stray dog, Kevin. Until then, I wish you a lovely jamon y queso.