sábado, 28 de julio de 2007

Chronicles of a snowy, cold and incredible trip

(Written long ago but - I don't know why - never posted)

After crossing out the dates of the calendar, doing our countdown, feeling excited, packing our luggage and dreaming with ski, we finally went to San Martín de los Andes and Bariloche!! And we’re back… that’s the worst part… Wanna know what we did, how it was, where we went? Wanna see some pictures?

It was Friday 29th of June and at 8:30 p.m. we arrived to the school. After the sad and fearful farewells with parents, friends and relatives, we started our trip round 10:30, with no strange or shouted “No’ vamo’ a Bariló Bariló Bariló” song at all.

Flechabus, two new double-decker buses, two coordinators (Juan Pablo and José María), two teachers (Norita and Laurita Bravo), two tutors (Inesita and Dolores), two sons of an owner of school (Jari and Abal), 65 students, more tan 65 suitcases, more than 65 bags. A boring journey it can be called. Sleep, snacks, a guitar breaking all silence and people complaining about their fatty hair. After several stops and 40 hours on the bus, we finally reached the dreamt city of San Martín de los Andes. Quickly we packed Colonos del Sur, had lunch, were introduced to “PocoEstrés” (Martín), the guy who took pictures and filmed us. Then we finally could have a bath.

We were divided into boys and girls and went on a city tour on the “Red Bus”, like the ones in London! Very exciting at the beginning, but we were kind of bored, so we didn’t listen to the woman talking on the microphone very well… Undoubtedly, she ended up pleading us to get out of the bus! We didn’t listen much, but admired the great city and the wonderful landscapes it offers. Then we rented our skis, sticks, uncomfortable boots, and the “teletubies” (name we gave to the snow equipment).

The following three days we skied. Beginners took some classes with instructors and went out skiing. The others went by our own to have our adventures in the snow. Each time more people added up to the group and we all laughed at our bloopers! Some heads under the snow, some knee pains, falls, each ski going to a different side, some open legs with a tree in the middle, people buried under snow. Well… many bloopers! At 1:45 p.m. a big crowd dressed all the same as teletubies invaded “La Base”, made a long line and all ate the same food. At 4:45 the mass disappeared in some white vans and after half an hour it was at Colonos del Sur again, drinking hot chocolate.

Silence ruled in the hotel for two hours, with people having a bath and sleeping. At 9 we had lunch and prepared for the night: two nights of disco and three of pub. Music, some alcohol, people chatting, jumping, dancing… having fun!

After skiing three days and suffering a lot of muscular pain (back, arms, legs, neck, knee some), Quila Quina was waiting for us. A great ride through the lake and wonderful landscapes.

Our 6th day consisted on a long trip to Bariloche. We did in eight hours the 200 km we should have done in three! The path was full of snow and we had to stop several times to put the chains in the bus tires, to wait until a truck was taken out from the middle of the road, take the snow from the road with spades, and then one of the chains cut down. It was a complicated trip and we finally reached the wonderful city of Bariloche, with its lake, blue sky and white mountains. We had lunch at 5 p.m. in the hotel Copahue. As soon as we placed our suitcases in the rooms we went walking, suffering the enormous cold that pierced our bones, through the city. We knew a bit of it, rented our equipment for the mud and some people rented costumes for the party that night. We ran back to the hotel and starting preparing ourselves.

The first night at Bariloche we had the custom party in Genux. Boys went dressed as pirates and girls as women from the caverns; it was funny! The place had only one dance floor, but offered a spectacle in a screen of drawings made as in neon lights. Then a man dressed in phosphorescent clothes hanging from the roof made some acrobatics jumping from a fence to the roof, and then touching people’s hands. Finally, a man with a saxo played with the rhythm and notes of famous songs, which were then hitched to the original ones. We danced all night and then, going back, the seller of hamburgers outside the hotel became rich with us!

After a morning listening and learning about, smelling, watching and buying chocolate in Fenoglio, Nahuel Hue Park was next. We started climbing a wall as “rapel”, “A” vs. “B” and “A” won supposedly two buckets of alcohol that night, but no one ever paid them! Then we played the zoo game and laughed for a while, followed by the football in pairs. Then we did “tirolesa” and a 15 minutes horse riding. Many people stayed the whole afternoon inside the hut because of the cold! That was the coldest day of the whole season: -18ºC!! And we were out there… just walking in the wind. Then we were given mate with a fried cake to which no one did more than three bites!! We danced in the hut until all the other groups went away, and we had our candles dinner, in another cold hut. Then most of us cried with the monologue given by “El Indio”, talking about life in the secondary school, what we were, what we are, and how things will be. Then back to Copahue.

The second and last night at Bariloche, By Pass was the target. It was a whole adventure, as all night, to get out of the hotel in t-shirts, running and screaming until we got into the bus. Then the same, and all 65 entering to the disco running and screaming of cold. Once we were in, the temperature was perfect, and sometimes it was even hot! We just ended up entering and the show began. Another presentation on a screen and then the famous lasers show! It was something incredible how the lasers moved, the colours, the lights, the shapes, the music accompanying. It was great! And after some minutes of it, everything went off and the famous voice said: “Bienvenidos a By Pass”. That’s when the party began. After a great and quite long night we started our cold operation again; we ran to the bus screaming. Then the hamburger, then breakfast in the hotel, and a different activity: it was 6:30 and at 8 the bus was going to look for us to go to the Catedral hill.

Some slept, some arranged the suitcase, some continued dancing, singing and laughing round the corridors… It was 8 a.m. and only four of us where down the lobby, with the teachers. After some expeditions to wake up people and get them down, we finally could get 20 out of 65 downstairs, sleeping in the lobby! “It’s a good percentage” one teacher said. The bus driver was tired of waiting, and it arranged with the teachers to come back at 10. People downstairs weren’t allowed to go up again and the ones up were supposed to go down! It was a mess the lobby!! Sleeping corpses everywhere!! The only four waken up went to have a hot chocolate milk with Jari to the YPF and went back at 10. I don’t know how, but everybody went to the Catedral hill. The guide in the bus talked only for five people awake and we got taken the panoramic photograph, with big rings under our eyes and sleepy faces. Teachers didn’t allow us to go up to the hill through the flying chairs because of our state… it was dangerous. So we quickly went down to the city. We had lunch, gave back the equipments, prepared our things, and went back to Tucumán in a very silent journey, with people sleeping most of the time. The school saw us arrive at 2:30 a.m. because of the snow and ice on the road until Río Cuarto (Córdoba), what made the road slower.
40 out of 65 went to the doctor in the whole trip… The top problems were knee and throat pain, fever and cough. The pharmacy owner might have been very happy with us there! Flechabus behaved incredibly! It amazed more than one of us. And the companions we had were really great! A very good group, wonderful people, very helpful every single moment. We are all grateful for them, for the companions, our parents and our partners. Some of us got really sick, but still enjoyed enormously the great trip!! And it was thank to all these people!!

In one blink of an eye the dreamt trip passed by and we are back in Tucumán, with no snow in plans. It is incredible how quickly things go from being plans and future, to memories and past. It is all over. All we have now are good memories and great adventures to remember… but the trip is over. And it is just like that how things go by and we do nothing! We should stop for a moment, think a bit, and start enjoying more every moment we have, because very soon this period of our life will have ended...

"To live is to play, and I want to go on playing"

“Vivir es jugar, y yo quiero seguir jugando”
Fragment of the song “Paloma”
By Andrés Calamaro

I will translate it to make the text in English, but that’s the original one.

“To live is to play, and I want to go on playing”

“To live is to play”… and playing is so grat! The group of letters that get together to make the word “play” creates in my mind images of childhood, creativity, happiness, innocence, fun, smiles, entertainment, sharing and many positive activities. The game of a child is not the same as the one of an adult. If we can talk about the ‘game of an adult’, it is betting, gambling, addiction. A child does not loose anything playing; he just wins an infinity of skills that help him grow up, live a new life that little by little gets closer and when he less waits for it, he will be living it. The game teaches him to live, and “to live is to play”. Living presents not only these excellent and perfect qualities of a child, but also bad moments and hard and dark parts.

A child’s life is a child’s game. An adult’s life is not an adult’s game. An adult’s life is a child’s game with new rules: now very important turns can be lost, new paths need to be chosen and to decide must be a known skill. If we throw wrongly the dice we can lose enormous amounts of whatever we might have, and cheating can cost our life. But “to live is to play, and I want to go on playing”. The weight of the good moments of life is heavier than the negative ones, that is to say, we move forward more spaces/squares (casilleros) than the ones we move backwards.

A child wants to live, wants to play undoubtedly. It is easy for him as he doesn’t put on risk anything more than an “I won!” from his friend. Adults… some choose to play while others don’t. And “I want to go on playing”. I don’t consider myself an adult yet, but a young girl in its whole definition, I’m not. I would like to still be able to play as I did before. The solution for everything was a “piedra para todos mis compas”, or we could stop time with a simple “alto taco”. Now that I’m growing up and I see myself each time nearer of the new game, I want to face this little risks, learn from my falls and movements backwards, learn to throw the dice and know in what direction move the counter. I want to go on living. With hope, I wish that when I grow up and I’ll be playing the new game fully, I don’t loose the desire to go on playing, to go on living. It is worth trying to play, because after all, “to live is to play”. Behind every chance of loosing, one can win. And even loosing in the finale of the game (as it happens to absolutely all of us), we learn in all our way to it.

So I say again: “To live is to play, and I want to go on playing”

Pic: my brother, and my cousins… playing.
“Vivir es jugar”... y jugar es de lo más lindo. El grupo de letras que se juntan para formar la palabra “jugar” crea en mi mente los conceptos de creatividad, niñez, felicidad, inocencia, diversión, sonrisas, entretenimiento, compartir, y todo tipo de acciones positivas. El juego de un niño no es el mismo que el de un grande. Si se puede hablar del “juego del adulto”, éste es la apuesta, arriesgar, enviciarse. Un niño no pierde nada jugando, sólo gana infinidad de cualidades que lo ayudan a crecer, a vivir una nueva vida que de a poco se acerca y cuando menos la espere, la va a estar viviendo. El juego le enseña a vivir, y “vivir es jugar”. Vivir nos presenta no sólo todas estas características tan lindas y perfectas del juego de un niño, sino también momentos malos, y partes difíciles y oscuras.
La vida del niño es el juego del niño. La vida de un adulto no es el juego del adulto. La vida del adulto es el juego del niño con nuevas reglas: ahora se puede perder turnos muy importantes, hay que elegir nuevos caminos y saber decidir; si tiramos mal el dado podemos perder mucho, y hacer trampa nos puede costar la vida. Pero “vivir es jugar, y yo quiero seguir jugando”. El peso de lo bueno de la vida es mucho mayor que el de lo negativo, es decir, avanzamos más casilleros de los que retrocedemos.
Un niño quiere vivir, quiere jugar sin ninguna duda, ya que para él es muy fácil y no arriesga nada más que un “¡Jaja! ¡Te gané!” de su amigo. Los adultos, algunos elijen jugar, otros no. Sin embargo “Yo quiero seguir jugando”. No me considero una adulta todavía, pero niña en la totalidad de su definición, ya no soy. Me gustaría todavía poder jugar como lo hacía antes; todo se solucionaba con un “piedra para todos mis compas” o podíamos detener el tiempo simplemente con un “alto taco”. Ahora que estoy creciendo y cada vez me veo más cerca del nuevo juego, quiero correr estos pequeños riesgos, aprender de mis caídas y retrocesos, aprender a tirar el dado y saber en qué sentido mover la ficha. Yo quiero seguir viviendo. Esperanzadamente espero que cuando crezca y esté jugando el nuevo juego plenamente, no pierda esas ganas de seguir jugando, de seguir viviendo. Vale la pena intentar jugar, porque después de todo, “vivir es jugar”; detrás de toda chance de perder, puedo ganar, y aún perdiendo en el final del juego (como nos sucede a todos), uno aprende en todo su trayecto.
“Vivir es jugar, y yo quiero seguir jugando”.

domingo, 22 de julio de 2007

Do I really want an arch between two columns?

What should one do when the plant that’s supposed to grow with an exact shape starts taking its own way? It was supposed to grow as an arch, between two columns, but it starts climbing with all its strength and struggles, gives it all just to go up, to break that established structure.

It is the enormous strength of the plant to reach higher versus the aesthetics that one wants, the arch between two columns. Just as the wings of a little bird that wants to learn to fly are cut, should I unfasten those weak threads that so willingly want to go on climbing?

With four hands it holds the rope that will help it climb. With all its strength it tries to go up. It puts body and soul in the objective: reach the sky, reach the highest.

Its life started down there and freely we let it grow up. But when it reached the limit we wanted, every time it twisted its arms around the bar, we disentangled them and hitched the threads to the wires that are supposed to guide its growth.

So, what should one do? Cut that freedom; avoid the growth of the humble plant just because we want to see it with an arch shape? Why cutting its arms, its strength that helps it so much? Why ending up with its freedom? If it tries to climb with all its energy, should we put it down again?

With four hands it climbs. With all its strength it makes it. It goes up, moves up, and high it reaches. Should I take away the hope to go on rising? Should I not value its force, its desire? Should I throw to waste all the energy the plant needed to reach where it is now? That is when I think: do I really want an arch between two columns?


¿Qué debe hacer uno cuando el jazmín que se supone que debe crecer en forma de arco, entre dos columnas, empieza a trepar con todas sus fuerzas y luchar, dar todo por crecer hacia arriba, por romper esa estructura?

Es la fuerza desmesurada de la planta por llegar más alto contra la estética que uno busca, la forma de arco sobre la escalera, entre las dos columnas de sus extremos. Así como se le cortan las alas a un pequeño pichón que quiere aprender a volar, ¿debo desprender estas débiles hebras que con tanto esmero siguen trepando?

A cuatro manos agarra la soga que lo ayuda a trepar, con todas sus fuerzas intenta subir. Pone cuerpo y espíritu en ese objetivo: alcanzar el cielo, llegar a lo más alto.

Su vida comenzó allá abajo, y libre lo dejamos crecer; pero cuando al límite requerido por los humanos llegó, cada vez que gira sus flacos brazos alrededor del barrote, lo desenredamos y lo enganchamos con los alambres que suponen guiar ese crecimiento.

¿Qué debe hacer uno entonces: cortar esa libertad, detener el crecimiento hacia lo alto del humilde jazmín, sólo porque queremos un jardín que se vea bien? ¿Por qué cortarle los brazos, cortarle las fuerzas que tanto lo ayudan? ¿Por qué terminar con su libertad? Si con todas sus energías intenta trepar, ¿uno realmente puede tomarse el lujo de volverlo hacia abajo?

A cuatro manos trepa. Con todas sus fuerzas lo logra. Sube, sube, y alto llega. ¿Le quito las esperanzas de seguir subiendo? ¿Desvaloro todo su esmero? ¿Desmerezco toda su fuerza? ¿Tiro al olvido o al “que me importa” toda la energía que gastó en llegar?

Solitude after death

We live together and die alone” was said on Lost. And that’s the way it is… We die alone and from this moment, we are alone for eternity. Well, no one really knows if that is true, but at least our body stays completely alone. The message is to live together because then we will have plenty of time to be alone.

That phrase came back to my mind while reading 100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Marquez. In that book one character kills another and the dead one makes some apparitions to the man and his wife, until he finds some peace. After a long time without showing up, Prudencio Aguilar comes back to José Arcadio’s house and tells him that the life of the death was horribly lonely. Prudencio felt the solitude so hard that he came back to ‘make friends’ again with his enemy and to have at least someone to talk to. The same happens to Melquíades, another character that dies and comes back to life because he felt so lonely that he couldn’t deal with it. I still don’t know if the ‘solitude’ of the title of the book is the one after death, as I’m still reading it, but it is a clear example of the phrase mentioned in Lost.

Then there is a poem written by Gustavo Adolfo Bècquer, which gives the same idea of solitude and loneliness of the death. It is a bit shocking and very strong… but it’s still good:

Cerraron sus ojos
Que aun tenía abiertos,
Taparon su cara
Con un blanco lienzo,
Y unos sollozando,
Otros en silencio,
De la triste alcoba
Todos salieron.

La luz que en un vaso
Ardía en el suelo,
Al muro arrojaba
La sombra del lecho,
Y entre aquella sombra
Veíase a intervalos
Dibujarse rígida
La forma del cuerpo.

Despertaba el día
Y a su albor primero
Con sus mil ruidos
Despertaba al pueblo.
Ante aquel contraste
De vida y misterio,
De luz y tinieblas,
Yo pensé un momento:
¡¡Dios mío, qué solos
Se quedan los muertos!!

De la casa, en hombros,
Llevárosla al templo,
Y en una capilla
Dejaron el féretro.
Allí rodearon
Sus pálidos restos
De amarillas velas
Y de paños negros.

Al dar las Ánimas
El toque postrero,
Acabó una vieja
Sus últimos rezos,
Cruzó la ancha nave,
Las puertas gimieron
Y el santo recinto
Quedóse desierto.

De un reloj se oía
Compasado el péndulo
Y de algunos cirios
El chisporroteo.
Tan medroso y triste,
Tan oscuro y yerto
Todo se encontraba
Que pensé un momento:
¡¡Dios mío, qué solos
Se quedan los muertos!!

De la alta campana
La lengua de hierro
Le dio volteando
Su adiós lastimero.
El luto en las ropas,
Amigos y deudos
Cruzaron en fila
Formando el cortejo.

Del último asilo,
Oscuro y estrecho,
Abrió la piqueta
El nicho a un extremo:
Allí la acostaron,
Tapiárosle luego,
Y con un saludo
Despidiese el duelo.

La piqueta al hombro
El sepulturero,
Cantando entre dientes,
Se perdió a lo lejos.
La noche se entraba,
El sol se había puesto:
Perdido en las sombras
Yo pensé un momento:
¡¡Dios mío, qué solos
Se quedan los muertos!!

En las largas noches
Del helado invierno,
Cuando las maderas
Crujir hace el viento
Y azota los vidrios
El fuerte aguacero,
De la pobre niña
A veces me acuerdo.

Allí cae la lluvia
Con un son eterno:
Allí la combate
El soplo del cierzo.
Del húmedo muro
Tendida en el hueco,
¡Acaso de frío
Se hielan sus huesos!...

¿Vuelve el polvo al polvo?
¿Vuelve el alma al cielo?
¿Todo es, sin espíritu,
Podredumbre y cieno?
No sé; pero hay algo
Que explicar no puedo,
Algo que repugna
Aunque es fuerza hacerlo
A dejar tan tristes,
¡Tan solos los muertos!

Does life alter death exist? Are the death lonely or in company? There are lots of questions that we will never find the answer to, but we can see that there is a strong feeling that dead people are alone. That’s why we should live with people, with company, to suffer less when we die. Or at least that’s what some people think…

It’s true that there are people that prefer having a solitary life, but that’s how they choose to live, how they are. And I consider myself one of those. I really enjoy being with people, obviously, we all do, we all need that; but I prefer a small group, of people I really appreciate, than a huge mass of just ‘nobodies’. Well, we all choose how to live, don’t we? But, we should remember that we “Live together, die alone”.

jueves, 19 de julio de 2007

Sunbeams across the tree

The sunbeams go across the tree. They go across almost everything. They infiltrate over the green leaves, over the branches and even over the clouds. They poke, they light, they give life. Mighty sun, gorgeous rays come back again, day after day. Green leaves, thirsty tree, go on searching for the sunbeams, grow, be free. Search for them high, very high, where you can find your freedom.

So many times I’ve tried

So many times I’ve proposed myself the same thing…
I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I didn’t succeed.
I’m still trying and I just can’t manage to do it.
After all I’ve been through I just can’t reach what I want.
All the methods I’ve tried, you can’t imagine.
How many times I’ve decided to do it, you can’t imagine.
So many times I’ve proposed myself the same damn thing,
So many times I’ve proposed myself to forget you,
But I’m still fighting against your memory, you still live,
You’re still in my dreams, you’re still in my mind.
I’ve tried and I’ve tried to stop thinking about you
But the more I’ve tried, the hardest it was.
So many times I’ve proposed myself to forget you,
But I’m still fighting against your memory.

Vale Becker

Don't ask me to speak in public

Don’t ask me to speak in public because I won’t. In case I do it, I won’t give my best, I won’t say all I know, I will forget important themes. You’ll see me constantly moving; my hands won’t stay steel, my eyes will go through almost everything. And if there is a considerable amount of people listening, air won’t enter properly to my lungs as my heart will get out of my body beating.

Give me a pencil and a sheet of paper and all my ideas will be expressed there. Give me a keyboard and the same will happen. All I have inside of me will be written down and anything will be left. You’ll understand much more, I will feel more comfortable and ideas will know how to organize themselves and go out as they have to.

I hate speaking! But I know that is something I have to beat, and every day I am trying to… but I find it a bit difficult.

domingo, 15 de julio de 2007

Cloud, mountain, sun

When you don’t know what is really happening, who is guilty, what to feel, what to think, to believe. You’re not pretty sure what to say, what to do. When I see this landscape I am not sure about many things…
Is it the cloud that devours the mountain? Or is it the mountain that opens its mouth and swallows the whole cloud slowly? Why is that depressed-looking light-blue thing up there? Why did it cover my view? I want to see the sun again, once more.
I don’t know if the cloud devours the mountain or vice versa. They attack each other, they superimpose, one behind the other, an endless war. Rain is not threatening, but still a huge cloud steals my mountain, my sunshine. Blue mountain, blue cloud. Very similar, so friendly you seem, but now let the sun come back. Cloud, don’t steal my mountain. Mountain, don’t steal my cloud. You both, don’t steal the sun!