Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our Morning Reading...

This article was super helpful because it taught us all the vocabulary we need to know for when we and JF open our global celebrity representation practice.

Yes, this is a full page article.

This quote is way harsh.

Me duele la cabeza...

On Tuesday we started our classes de español at the Nueva Lengua school which resides in a cute white house in the Quinta Camacho neighborhood. There are four people in my class, one Polish girl, a guy from England, and a Dutch girl, all of whom are just as good and just as bad as we are at español. This marks approximately the 187th time in our lives someone has tried to teach us the subjunctive, but we are determined that we will master this tense by the end our stay here.

Speaking of verb tenses, we had NO idea how many different tenses our coming out story has until we had to translate it into español after someone asked us about it on Wednesday night. We went with A and her amigas to Cavu, a gay bar with a Wednesday night fiesta featuring a drag queen in residence and a mixed crowd of chicos and chicas. Seriously, do we really need the pluperfect subjunctive and the conditional perfect? No.

The bar was fun, despite the shots of aguardiente that did us in and prevented us from remembering a single word of español in class Thursday morning. The other problema is that it is hard enough understanding normal speed Espanol as it is, but when you add many decibles of Shakira on top, it is virtually impossible. One boy asked us “ierouo aosdufaoi hsdkfoisd sdf?” (what we basically heard), and after repeating it 4x and not receiving an answer, he walked away. The ladies were more patient, but maybe that is because they all already had GFs (this is a universal occurrence apparently) and were in no rush.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Never Have We Ever Been So Bad at Never Have I Ever...

On Saturday we ventured to “El Centro,” the center of town, and known in the guide books as “La Candelaria.” We met up with AO, a historian we met at a party back in NYC last year and with whom we stayed in touch and spoke to when we were contemplating this ciudad for our little adventure. We spoke only in Español, which meant that we only understood 60-70% of what was being said, but having a historian take us around was quite the treat. We travelled around the lovely Plaza Bolivar, with it’s old (Catedral Primada, Capitolio Nacional), and the new (Palacio de Justicia – rebuilt after being stormed by guerillas and an attempted re-taking by the army in 1985), and a whole lot of pigeons. We never understand feeding pigeons as a pastime, but some peeps are apparently really into it.

Catedral Primada

Palacio de Justicia

Capitolio Nacional

AO took us to a café for some tamales, and chocolate santafreño, hot chocolate, with…cheese at the bottom. Yes, cheese. When in Bogotá…

After more sights and an introduction into the cultural world of Bogotá (Museums! Concerts! Exhibits!), we headed back to the Casa for dinner with Tia M. After dinner, we called the cousin of ND, and she offered to come pick us up for some drinks at her friend’s place. Of course, soon enough, we were playing “nunca he hecho,” which for you non- Español speakers is better known as “Never Have I Ever.” In normal situations, only understanding 60-70% of what is being said, though not ideal, is not really a huge problema. However, when one drinks after thinking something means something else, it is a problema because then we are asked for a story, and have no idea what, or better yet, how to even say it. But we got a great lesson in slang that will unfortunately not be on our placement examen tomorrow at school.

After learning the proper words for “tacky,” “trashy,” and “classy,” we headed with a crew to a rooftop discoteca in Zona Rosa (“classy”). Before entering though, we went to the supermarket and bought and shared rum in a small juice-box, on the street (“trashy”).

At the club, no chicas were talking to us, but one amigo promised to take us next week to a place with more chicos, so we stuck it out and had a great time dancing to basically the same 80s playlist we stole from EKK’s “Pure 80’s” CD she probably got from one of those CD drives in high school (“tacky”). (KIDDING, so classy.)

Sunday and today were a bit more relaxing…we basically watched a bunch of dubbed movies, cheated with 1 hour of Mad Men (not dubbed), and visited some museos in El Centro. Class begins mañana! We are currently picking our best back to school outfit and luckily we have new glasses to appear v. serious.

Hasta Pronto!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It Took Us Only 36 Hours to Befriend the Entire Legal Lesbian Community of Bogotá

Well we had had quite the day on Friday. After resigning ourselves to the fact the citibank is going to charge us 3% of every ATM withdrawal we make, we took out some cash and then headed north with Tia M and her daughter's amiga A.

El Campo

We headed to a "cultivo," essentially a rose farm and packaging factory about 40km outside the City, which reminded us a little bit of that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (original) where Veruca's dad has the factory going through the chocolate bars to find the golden ticket.

A Rose By Any Other Company Would Not Smell As Sweet

We learned that many of the roses we see and buy last minute at the bodega for mom or someone's performance originate in Colombia, and que bonita!

Baby Rosa

The Finished Product

After a lunch of 3 Empanadas with fresh salsa (yum), we headed to the Zona Rosa/Zona T, where there are shopping malls filled with texting teenagers, much like our hometown of Strong Island. On the escalator, A asked us if we had a novia, and we said, "Uhhhhh." She then got the hint and started explaining where all the gay bars were and which ones were trashy.

Of course, the mall had, not one, but two Juan Valdez Cafes:

Juan was not there, unfortch.

We then contacted AP, who our friend TS in New York introduced us to on Facebook, and she invited us out for Salsa dancing, after some empanadas, natch. It turns out AP is a lawyer in Bogotá and she and her partner hang out with lots of other legal lesbians, who all love Salsa dancing and being very nice to random foreigners. Now, we thought we had rhythm, but AP and her girls were finding the beat in bizarre syncopated rhythms that we could barely comprehend. Salsa may have originated in New York, but it's not the New Yorkers who can keep up. AP also mentioned that her human rights org might need some research help, so now we not only have gay friends here, but a possible internship.

So far, the empanada count is at 5, but expect that to change very soon, folks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

We Have Llegar-ed!

We have arrived in Bogotá! La casa where we are staying is full of wonderful people and wireless internet, so we think it's going to be a great stay here. We don't start our clases de español until Tuesday, so there is plenty of time for exploration and we hope to have much to report very soon.

Everyone on the plane on the way down here was enfermo (that means sick), but we changed the direction of the little air nozzle thing every time someone coughed to blow their germs back towards them, which we think might have worked. Also, we just drank some really fresh fruit juice of some sort, so we think we might be OK for now.

Of course, every line we chose today was the slow moving one - and that was not just our perception. Literally the other security line at JFK moved at 2x the speed as ours, and the other immigration line at BOG moved 8x as fast. But given what our country does to foreign visitors, we cannot be too mad. We just felt bad because Tia M (our hostess) was waiting for us with the cutest sign ever. Also, we did not get off to the greatest start since we didn't understand a word the immigration officer said to us (though he let us in, so we might have done OK), but we got our grove back with Tia M, which is good because she just yelled at us when we said one word in English by accident so we don't really have a choice.

Mañana it's off to the banco and telefono store and learning not to get lost.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eating Our Way Through Chicago

Basically we have not stopped eating since we arrived here in Chicago. Our friend JO sent us a Chowhound post he wrote after a recent trip here, which has served as a helpful guide. It also helps that we are staying with JL, whose mother describes him as a cross between Zagat and a GPS, but who himself says he's better than Zagat. We do not disagree.

Despite our love of the very tasty Vietnamese, Sichuan and Indian food here (we are partial to the foods from Asia), we have really enjoyed our introduction in the Lettuce Entertain You® family of restaurants. First we hit Mon Ami Gabi® in the stately Belden-Stratford with KMZ and JL, and even though the waitress hurled insults at JL's choice of steak, we had a delightful time. On Saturday, we loaded up on carbs with CH, JL and ZH at R.J. Grunts as CH prepared for the Marathon (despite the fact that CH didn't eat anything and JL, ZH and we were not actually running the marathon). R.J. Grunts is famous for its Salad Bar, which apparently was the first of its kind. CH was not impressed, but anywhere where you can put processed shredded cheddar on your salad and top it with Thousand Island is heaven for us.

We have so taken to the Lettuce Entertain You® brand that we have started to collect the collectable wallet sized mini-brochures from each Lettuce Entertain You® establishment we frequent (even though ZH collects them even if he HASN'T been there, but we don't judge). We cannot in fact wait to come back here in December to start expanding our collection at places like Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!® and Wow Bao®. For our friends in the DC metro area - note that you have four options yourself, so we hope you will try out these establishments if you have not already. We have also joined the Frequent Diner Club®, and cannot wait to achieve Silver Status like JL (though it probably didn't hurt that he was Bar Mitzvahed at at Lettuce Entertain You® establishment - but we are sure he would have gotten Gold status if his Bar Mitzvah had a theme).

And with that, our time in Chicago has come to its end. In addition to the food, we enjoyed the crazy 70-80 degree weather over the last 7 days, and we trust this will be the case when we return in December, especially since such weather results in greater numbers of nice corn-fed boys running along the Lake sans shirts. A big shout out to JL and ZH for hosting us this past week - and their lovely Miss Meaty, whom we have named best cat for her failure to make us sneeze or cringe in fear.

Back in NYC tomorrow for a brief 36 hour layover.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The "Vowel Song" in the Alphabet Musical We Did in First Grade Would Have Sounded Different Here...

Early on during our freshman year of college, we went to brunch in a dining hall with some friends. JH was there, and many of us got from the service line a couple of those well known round flat things usually made from a box and served in the mornings with syrup and maybe some butter and fruit. Once we sat down, someone asked JH what he called said round flat doughy breakfast item. “Oh, flayaaapjacks,” said he.

First of all, we had never heard pancakes referred to as “flapjacks.” But more shockingly, we had never heard the aah sound pronounced “aaayaaa” before. This is because we didn’t really know any Midwesterners until then, and never imagined that anyone would distort the /æ/ phoneme in such a manner. (JH to this day denies this event ever happened, as if he could scrub out the history of his aaayyyaaccent the way he actually has actually (or nearly) eliminated the traces of said aaayyaaaccent.)

Now that we are spending more than just a layover in this town, we are hyper aware of the aaayyaaaccent around us. “Have you seen Baaayyaad Saayyaaanta?” one friend asked another. On the local news yesterday, a small plane crashed into a local gym, and one resident said, “I caayyaan’t believe no one was hurt.”

Our cousins in London and India will tell you that we tend to adopt the accent of those around us when speaking, so we are quite fearful for what we will sound like by the end of this week, and more fearful for what we might sound like after we come back from our travels and live here for a whole year. Also, our own last name contains an /æ/ in the first syllable, so when we start introducing ourselves with the aaayyyaaa distortion, please send help.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

We Will FINALLY Have a Dishwasher! Our Un-moisturized Dry Hands Thank Us.

Apartment hunting in Chicago already seems a lot easier than New York. Not that we would really know what apartment hunting in New York is like, since we have actually never really done it. Right after college, we went traveling around the world for three months (just like this three months except less singing without musical accompaniment) and left our roommate EKK to do all the work. When we returned, we were all, "so EKK, what is the deal," and she rolled her eyes and told us where (and with whom) we were going to live. (Thanks EKK!) When, three years later, we moved to the UES of Manhattan, the apartment was already occupied by our sister, so...we already knew where it was. That said, we have heard many of you incessantly complain about apartment hunting and are besties with a v. prominent New York broker so we can only imagine the headaches and heartaches the process causes.

Anyway, the first thing is that apparently the landlords here pay brokers' fees, so it's already a win. Second, instead of walking around the City all day or shoving to get cabs, you get driven around in the broker's SUV. Third, THESE APARTMENTS ARE HUGE. I mean, there was one giant duplex that I couldn't furnish if I tried WITH an outdoor deck and working fireplace. Why did we slave away in NYC all this time? OUTDOOR DECK PEOPLE!! WORKING FIREPLACE! Can you imagine turning a place down because it's too BIG? We did that yesterday.

However, our main concern about apartments, we have realized, is how long we will have to be outside before getting on a train or bus during the months of January-March and November-December. As some of you may know, we are not a creature of the cold and so our very survival here is at stake. Apparently, though, anything goes here with respect to winter coats, we we are totally going to get that down one with the hood that goes down to one's ankles that we have yet to see worn by a man, gay or straight.

But maybe New York transplants here are the trendsetters? We can hope.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

We Had Alicia and Jay-Z's "New York" Stuck in Our Head All Day but Now We Must Move On to Either Chicago the Band or Chicago the Musical.

Well, since we are now jobless for a fixed three-month period, we have decided to put the fun back in funemployment and, yes, you guessed it, BLOG AGAIN! We know you have been waiting for this day for months, and it is now upon us, Praise Xenu.

Right now we are at a Chicago coffee shop at a communal table with no straight people and no one not wearing cute eyewear or using a Macbook Pro. Put another way, there are 5 gays at this table and all of us have adorable glasses. Yes, this includes us, who, after months of staring at all day has developed a slight near-sightedness. We often longed for the day we would need glasses because we imagined we’d look cute and trendy in them, and now that day has come, and we must say, we were right, we do in fact look cute and trendy in them. We thought about getting Brad G type glasses, but settled on some rather severe women’s frames instead from the v. cheap but v. trendy Warby Parker. Now people take us seriously as a lawyer, but that perceived seriousness is counterbalanced by the fact that we are not presently employed or in any way involved with the law. Also, we are constantly cleaning these things, so after a few more smudges we may start to regret this whole Clark Kent transformation. But for now, we can read things far away and see with clarity, and take them off slowly for dramatic effect, so there.

Anyway, many of you may have heard us incessantly talking about our travel plans and imminent move to Chicago for the year of 2011, and now instead of hearing us yap about it, you can silently read about it on a daily basis as we document our adventures in Colombia, Peru, London and India, and our eventual transition to this windy City.

This week will involve some apartment hunting and getting to know the various neighborhoods. For example, we already have learned where Oprah's apt(s) are, and we have told our broker that we want to live in one of her guest rooms so we can ensure our receipt of tickets for the FAREWELL SEASON and finally meet Nate B. We will keep you posted!

Until then,