Thursday, September 29, 2011

it's complicated

Argentine singer, Andrés Calamaro, wrote this song called "One can't live just from love"

I bought this great book by Walter Riso "A Guide to Avoid Dying from Love. Ten Principles of Emotional Survival". I found it tough yet excellent. A short and perhaps interesting read for those who say you can work out relationship- related problems on your own and that getting psychological help has never crossed your mind.

I may be wrong, but I checked and did not find a version of this book in English, so I’m quoting some interesting points I found. I hope it helps those who are looking for a relationship, those who are already in one and all you love birds who may be thinking of ways of making your love life even better.

"Feelings do not cover everything in a relationship. Specialists say that 'Love isn't enough' and they may be right. Our choice of a couple should be more thought out and less visceral: "I like a lot of things in you, I want you, but I am still not sure weather you fit in my life or not, even though my body and my being push me towards you in a confusing way'. I am sorry for love fans but for people who live in an earthly world and have not transcended yet, love isn't usually that unconditional (the amount of deserters in the subject gets bigger every day) nor it moves mountains, if you don't pay enough attention to it, if you don't know how to handle it, it crushes you, it overwhelms you.

You should put your enthusiasm aside for a moment, before making a blind decision and connect to a more controlled processing system (I am saying you can stop being so hippomaniac or in love for a few moments, you can try to relax voluntarily). Once you have arrived back on earth, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages, pros, cons and expectations and try to see reality as it is (not blinded by love). This, will allow you to, in the future, be able to integrate feelings, reality and emotions and to realize when one is missing or excessively present.

Functional and healthy couples love freely (they are able to use their own time however they please), in a non possessive way (no one belongs to the other) and without the need for the other to be present at all times (they can be on their own, do their own thing). If you are capable of deciding about your own timing, if you don't feel you are 'owned' by someone and at the same time you feel you can walk through life on your own, you have entered the grounds of mature love.

A good relationship requires at least three factors to work at the same time: desire / attraction; friendship and tenderness. If your relationship is lacking one of those components, it could be going down hill. Analyze them and make your own decisions.

The following, is a phrase by Stendahl that has always caused a great impact on me because of its beauty and realism: 'Love is a very beautiful flower but you have to have the courage to go look for it at the edge of an abyss.'

In love you sweat, you fight, you make up, you create day by day. If you are a very romantic person, you will have a minimal resistance to the hardships love brings.

Some think that love causes suffering, others are naïf enough to believe in the ingenuity of romantic love. Realistic love, however, may be half way between those two poles. Love, in a relationship, isn't always a fairy tale though some insist on calling it that. It brings good and bad times, you will have to learn to deal with.

If behaviors and negative attitudes go over the limit, you will have to jump; if there is respect within what is acceptable and feelings are sponsored by solid love, you go on in your relationship. Love grows and develops.

Post by: Valeria Méndez Cañas

Monday, September 26, 2011


Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.

- Erich Fromm


Contrary to popular belief, Punta del Este is so beautiful during spring time. Of course, although just a hop away from Buenos Aires, the weather in Punta is sometimes drastically different than here. Like most beach towns, you have that sea-breeze and freshness that you don't have in the city which is much warmer and less windy. Yes. Sometimes, the wind in Punta is a pain, but you can still do pretty much anything you want...

So I thought I’d share with you what I like to do when it's not summer and I can't go to the beach and be a beach bum all day. I consider myself a beach person. I’ve always loved the beach. My mum lived in Hawaii for a very long time, and to me, that was bliss. Just going there and staying with her for months at a time. That is when I started to surf. I became one of "them" lol.

Anyway, when it's cold in Punta, I like to SLEEP. This time around, Henry asked me one day: "how can you sleep so much". I can always sleep "much" but when I'm by the ocean and all you can hear is the roaring, hypnotizing sound of the waves and birds, how can you possibly not sleep so much? So I'll sleep like 10 hours or 12!! I get up late and I like to have a good breakfast (something I don't do in ba) I’ll go for a morning walk on the beach or play tennis (which for a person who is not so good, like me, demands an enormous effort - cause of the wind, I mean). Then, a nice home-cooked lunch or maybe go to a yummy place such as Fasano (which opens all year round), La Huella or the Yatch Club, which is also fun. Usually, if we do go out for lunch, we'll run into friends. You would be amazed how many people go there all year round. Years ago, this was a summer destination only (from December to March). That has changed.

After lunch, I'll read a book and listen to music, chill for a while. In the afternoon I like to go for a swim (indoor pool, I'm not crazy, but you do see people going for a swim in the ocean. How oh how do they do it?) I'll swim for about half an hour, relax, and maybe swim a little more. Other afternoon options are riding horses, biking, visiting friends, spa treatments or visiting the small art galleries and shops. There is this one book store (it's in the peninsula, actually) that I love. It's called El Virrey. I can spend hours in there. Boutiques are also nice to visit. I've seen some new ones popping up lately and they have some very cool stuff. Wool sweaters in Uruguay are sick!

At night, we’ll have friends over for dinner or go out. This time we did a little bit of everything cause some friends from Villa la Angostura were in Punta also, so it was nice to have them and other friends over for dinner and drinks. Spending time with friends is my favorite part.

Hope you have a chance to visit Punta whether it’s during the summer, or anytime. It’s a truly beautiful town with a special energy.

Do you often take mini-breaks? what do you like to do? what relaxes you?
x Mich

Photo: Punta sunset by Mich

Friday, September 16, 2011

So, where's the wine?

Exquisite restaurants in Buenos Aires are plentiful and though beef is the most popular dish, the city has been diversifying it's culinary options for years. With new restaurants popping up everywhere, one has a hard time deciding where to go. Some restaurants are hip, some are classics, some are innovative, romantic, exotic, etc. so, in the end it's all about your mood for that day.

Whether it’s Italian, Mediterranean, Peruvian, Vietnamese or French that you fancy, there is a place to satisfy your whims. But, every now and then, you may also ask yourself: where's the wine?

Many restaurants in Buenos Aires have a short, basic wine list as they are given a selection of wines by specific bodegas so that they "promote" them to their customers. This way, people get to taste and learn about these wines. For the bodegas, having their products in restaurants is indeed a good way for their wines to get out there and it also works well for restaurants, as they have a good selection of wines for their customers provided by the bodegas at a good price (if not for free).

However, some restaurants take their wine selection quite seriously and make a constant effort to actively search for the best wines available in Argentina and the world to include in their cavas.

Below are some examples that we think you'll enjoy:

Sober and plain atmosphere. An interesting variety of pasta and the best wines to go with your meal.
Address: Libertador 1098, Recoleta, Buenos Aires..

El Mirasol
Classic, with a history of satisfying even the most demanding palates. Their wine list is long and fantastic. If you like Malbec, Catena Zapata Estiba Reservada (1996) is possibly the best wine you'll ever try! It's vintage, so obviously the price is on the high side. Our favorite waiter is: Franklin. Hi Franklin!
Address: Posadas 1032, Recoleta,. Buenos Aires.

Modern industrial wine bar with flowers and candles everywhere; Danzón was the first winery in the city. Possibly one of the best wine lists in all of Buenos Aires.
Address: Libertad 1161, Recoleta, Buenos Aires.

Delicious food and wine. This place has only one thing in mind and that is to blow your mind! grilled meats, fresh fish, roasted lamb, risotto, among other exquisite preparations here are hard to equal. Their wine list is outstanding. Try the Achaval Ferrer Quimera 2006.
Address: Beruti 2601, Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires.

These recommendations are only a small portion of the many choices awaiting you wine lovers in Buenos Aires. Tell us which ones you like or if there are any that you'd like for us to include in our list!

x Mich

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

almost spring

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver,
The Summer Day

Photo: Kukla


Café Tortoni, Buenos Aires, 1910

Many moments are born and re lived in the cafés of Buenos Aires: life stories, friendships, love, battles, sports, arts, etc., that’s why in a tango song that I like, the café is called "the school of all things."

In Buenos Aires, you can spend hours enjoying a “cortado” (short coffee) without the waiter asking if you’d like to order something else. The café moment is often long and comes with more than one activity: reading the newspaper, studying, meeting friends or work colleagues, talking, people watching, debating, etc. It's a ceremony.

Historically, cafés have been linked to the most famous Argentinian writers and artists who gathered there to discuss their ideas, read their stories and share their views on all aspects of life.

In 1998 a law was passed in order to preserve the cafés of Buenos Aires that are associated with significant cultural relevance for their age, architectural design and local character. As a result, some cafés got the title of "Notable Cafés of Buenos Aires".

While the flavor of coffee served in "Cafés Notables" is not as developed as those of most current cafés, the "Notable Cafes" have a story, a mythic, a je ne sais quoi that we invite you to discover.

* Café Tortoni *

Carlos Gardel, Quinquela Martín, Juan de Dios Filiberto, Alfonsina Storni, Marcelo T. Alvear, Federico Garcia Lorca, Arthur Square, Luigi Pirandello, Conrado Nale Roxlo, Xul Solar among others have passed through its doors.

Founded in 1858 by Mr. Touan, a Frenchman who named it in memory of Paris Tortoni. It was the first streetside café in Buenos Aires and Avenida de Mayo - where the café is located, was the first avenue in South America.

Address: Avenida de Mayo 825 / 29 Montserrat

* La Ideal

Preferred by characters from the cultural, political and artistic scenes, it has two floors. On the ground floor is the coffee shop, on the first floor, the tango salon. Alan Parker filmed scenes from the film "Evita" there; Sally Porter did the same for "The Tango Lesson" and Carlos Saura's immortalized it in his tango shots including authentic, Porteño milonga dancers in the film "Tango".

Founded in 1912, by Manuel Rosendo Fernandez from Spain.

Address: Suipacha 384, downtown.

* Las Violetas

Many political personalities, artists and sports figures have attended. Famous for its vitraux and delightful tea time.

Founded in September, 1884.

Address: Rivadavia 3899, Almagro

* La Biela *

You often have to wait for a table especially if you intend to sit outside, under the most beautiful Gomero tree on earth. The cafés privileged location facing the Church of Pilar in La Recoleta make a coffee there as desirable as a meal in the nearby Munich. In the 40’s La Biela was frequented by motorists who started and ended auto racing there.

Founded in 1850

Address: Avenida Presidente Quintana 600, Recoleta

* Alvear Hotel Bar

Located on Avenida Alvear, Buenos Aires most elegant avenue, this café is a meeting point for people from Recoleta including politicians, entrepreneurs, artists and tourists.

Founded in 1932

Address: Avenida Alvear 1891

Post by: Valeria Mendez Cañas

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tomas Nessi

Tomás Nessi, will be giving a piano recital for Mozarteum Argentino, at Teatro Gran Rex on September 21. The program will include works of Frédéric Chopin and Sergei Prokofiev. Tickets are free and can be requested at the theater's box office a few hours before the show.

It's a curious thing the music this Spring brings us. Tomás won the 2009 Biennale Youth Contest, so it's interesting that this year right after watching him, we get to listen to the winner of this year's edition. How lucky!

Tomas' resume is long for his age: 20. He started his formal studies in La Plata, Province of Buenos Aires, at the age of 9 but he first approached piano at 5.

He has given recitals in La Plata, in various concerts halls in the city of Buenos Aires and also throughout different provinces of Argentina.

He has performed solo with the Chamber Orchestra of the City of La Plata, Academic Camerata of the Teatro Argentino de La Plata and Symphony Orchestra of the Argentinian Public Television, under the direction of Roberto Ruiz, Carlos Sampedro, Bernardo Teruggi and Marcelo Zurlo.

In 2004, he won third prize in the First National Contest for Young Players organized by Radio Nacional and Temporada Allegretto in Argentina.

In 2005, he won second prize in the contest "Constructing Peace and Unity", organized by Northlands School and Asociación Música Viva.

In 2006, he got first prize at the "Alberto Ginastera" National Piano Contest, organized by Scala de San Telmo and the International Contemporary Music Encounters Foundation. This allowed him to offer a recital in the International Festival of Contemporary Music directed by composer Alicia Terzian in 2008.

In 2009, he won the Shell-Festivales Musicales Biennale Contest for Young Talents, and later toured some provinces of Argentina and recorded a CD along with the winner of the Singing and Chamber Music categories.

In 2010, he won three scholarships that allowed him to keep expanding his talent: Fondo Nacional de las Artes', Mozarteum Argentino and Instituto Cultural de la Provincia de Buenos Aires.

In 2011, a German Academic Exchange Service granted him a scholarship to continue studying at La Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln, Colonia Germany.

We hope you enjoy this program and this musical month in Buenos Aires.

Monday Giveaway

We are happy to tell you that today we have a special giveaway from My Memories that is extremely easy and fun to use. They would love to give one of our readers a copy of their software for free! Using this software, you can create digital scrapbooks, photobooks, cards, calendars and gifts. I love using this software to keep my memories on my trips, including recipes, photos and travel tips. But, there are many other creative ways to use My Memories.

For a chance to win, enter the giveaway on My Memories, choose your favorite digital paper pack and let us know which one you liked in a comment below. A winner will be chosen at random this week. Good luck!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Emerging Talent

XI Biennale Youth Contest.

In 1991, Shell and "Festivales Musicales" decided to organize a Biennale Contest for Young Talents, with the objective of promoting the artistic development of new generations.

During every uneven year, an international jury judges the pre-selection, elimination round, semifinals and finals of the contestants for singing, piano and chamber music. Winners are awarded with first and second place prizes.

During the following year, first price winners give recitals in the most important theaters of Buenos Aires and in various provinces of Argentina.

This way, the objective of promoting emerging talents is achieved.

For many, the Biennale Youth Contests means the beginning of promissory artistic careers and a way towards international recognition.

This year's edition will take place on September 22 at Museo de Arte Decorativo. If you would like to hear these emerging talents perform, you can get free tickets by calling Festivales Musicales at 4382-4870. Tickets will go fast, so hurry.

Happy weekend!

post by: Valeria Mendez Cañas

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Exhibition: Carlos Paez Vilaro

The works of Uruguayan artist, Carlos Paez Vilaro, are on view at the Museum of Tigre this month.

Paez Vilaro is not just a painter, he has used and related to art in every way he thought imaginable. He has worked on murals, ceramics, sculpting, etching, collage and photography, he has researched Afro-Uruguayan culture and music for years; plays a percussion instrument called tamboril to the beat of "candombe" (popular music in Uruguay that has its roots in Africa), he has written "candombe" lyrics, poems and published several books.

At the age of 6 he got interested in art, he drew pictures he sent to children's art contests in Buenos Aires. Always feeling attracted to Buenos Aires, as a teenager he crossed the river that divides both countries and came to work. He got a job sticking the heads of matches at a factory and lived in a rented room in a hotel for people with low incomes, similar to a "conventillo". There, he discovered his passion for immigrants and the way their cultures mixed with ours. He liked music and dances which he attended in order to draw pictures of the couples in the dance floor.

The way he has lived through art is surprising. He has exchanged his work in order to pay for many of his expenses. Painting is what made him feel like doing things in life, it opened many doors for him: the door to the world and the door to meeting interesting people and making friends.

He took architecture to new limits when he built his iconic paradise in Punta Ballena, Uruguay: "Casa Pueblo", located on a bay, overlooking the sea, made of curvy lines in immaculate white. The idea of "conventillos" inspired his creation of this place. It has a museum, an atelier and a hotel.

His second version of Casa Pueblo was constructed in Tigre, Buenos Aires, his home in Argentina. He discovered the place by chance while on a walk with his wife on the banks of the river.

Maybe it’s thanks to art that Carlos Paez Vilaro found unimaginable strength that kept his hope alive in the most adverse situation. In 1972, the plane that took his son, Carlitos to a rugby tournament in Santiago de Chile, fell in the Andes mountains. A small group survived 72 days in the snowed peaks of the Andes. Paez Vilaro travelled to Chile along with other relatives to support the search of the plane and possible survivors. When the search officially concluded and there was no more hope left, he continued looking. When relatives began to return to Uruguay, he stayed and continued to hope. People thought he was crazy.

When he was finally boarding his plane home, he heard the crew talking to the airport Police that had come looking for him. A shepherd had seen two young men in the mountains. Carlos ran to a taxi and told the driver he had no money. The taxi driver placed his wallet on his knee and said: "take what you need". His son was alive: " I had whistled behind the Andes to let Carlitos know I was there, while the moon was looking at me from the sky".

We hope you have a chance to see the heartfelt work of this artist and to visit Casa Pueblo in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Post by: Valeria Mendez Canas

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Almost perfect

There are certain things that happen every day that prevent our country from being as good as it could be. You would easily notice these things if you visited.

People are always complaining for varied reasons. Protests are a common reaction to some sort of unjust treatment, some injustice. There is a contrast between people that accept and respect rules and those that don't. This is generally a reason for
arguments. In situations where you would expect to get a mature response from a citizen you receive the opposite.

For example, people here like to cut in line (at an airport, bus line, store, bank, etc.). Some will take your parking space even if you were there first. People will even take parking spaces reserved for pregnant women or handicapped individuals. When you stop at a red light or if you’re traveling in public transportation, you often get approached by people claiming to belong to an institution asking you to make a contribution. Sometimes they give a pretty good speech and convince you; even if they don’t, you somehow end up giving them money.

We’ve already covered the issue of disobeying traffic rules. It’s a classic.
Most of the time, you can get away with almost anything. If by some remote chance you do get stopped while doing something wrong when you’re driving, you will either be "invited" to bribe the police officer in order to avoid getting a ticket or get away with some lame excuse.

If you park your car on the street, you will be approached by "cuida coches" (unofficial car keepers) and be told to pay an arbitrary amount of money for a service that you have not requested (the service of looking after your car). Most of us will pay, as we care for our car and don’t want an angry car keeper taking out his anger on it, do we? If you don’t pay, you may find a scratch on your door, usually done with a key, pen or sharp object. Although illegal, no one is there to keep these people from doing this.

A typical way of protesting about an issue is to block streets and freeways (this method is also used by unions and student groups) and to make noise with their "bombos" (a local percussion instrument). Does this attitude solve anything? Do they think about the people that are stuck in the riot? Does it occur to them that these people could be late to work? Protesters would answer: "who cares!" and go on making more noise or, why not, burning a few tires.

This is pretty much a portrait of daily life in Argentina. Why could this be?

When Argentina started out as a nation in the 1800's, our leaders had clear
ideas, they wanted to become a modern, developed nation. Argentina had
a democratic government and democracy allowed an open debate on
important issues in a professional way. Democracy had made everyone more tolerant.

In the 1800's, it was thought that education, hard work and patience were
the way towards developing personally and as a Nation.

In the 1900's the government's capacity to exchange ideas deteriorated throughout all the different governments Argentina had – Conservative, Radical, Peronist, Military. Many leaders chose friendship, family ties and political loyalty instead of merit to fill government jobs. These decisions, among many others, took a toll and hindered the country’s true potential. These decisions drifted Argentines away from their road towards sustainable progress and order and put them on their way towards laziness, chaos and a desire for instant gratification. It is now that matters, and by being clever, we can achieve what we want, even if the means to achieve it it are not entirely right.

We call that "viveza criolla", the unofficial daughter of intelligence, it has
little to do with effort and a lot to do with individualism.

In a mature society that works well, institutions function as they should, jobs are
assigned to the people that are most qualified for them, values exist and
are respected, ideas are put into practice and education is highly valued.

Felix Luna, a famous Argentine historian once said he was unwilling to
write about certain topics in Argentinian history because it made him feel
ashamed. We have many virtues as a country. We are blessed in so many ways.

I wish we would just wake up and change our least appealing features for good.

Post by Valeria Mendez Cañas
Buenos Aires, 1920.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Roads and Flavors

Next week, people, traditions, places and products from all over Argentina will gather at La Rural to display their products as a way of showing the true meaning of identity.

This year, joining the food fair, we will also find crafts and tourism stands from several provinces.

For five days, food, wine and routes from all regions of Argentina will be in one place.

Hand in hand with more than 400 farmers and craftsmen the whole country will have the opportunity to discover itself. Organized by Fairs & Exhibitions for the seventh consecutive year, Caminos y Sabores (Roads and Flavors) establishes a channel with no intermediaries between the producer and consumer.

Sponsored by the National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI), Export.Ar Foundation, the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and the Organization of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Roads and flavors is not just an opportunity to taste typical local products of the country but also a good way to understand the processes of local producers. It’s an invitation to explore a myriad of Argentinian culinary and sensory experiences, where the relationship between producers, environment and community is key in achieving outstanding quality.

Roads and flavors market allows visitors to buy a wide range of products directly from each province and people of our country. The fair is an invitation to learn about the products we consume and how our choice of food can support local economies and small families. The link between producers and consumers acquires a new dynamic and allows closer ties.

Roads and flavors 2011 is simply an appointment with the roots of our identity, the scope for regional economies and a path to strengthen small producers. There are foods, drinks, crafts and special areas for the promotion of tourist destinations and festivals.

The fair offers a business model that seeks to promote family and local production of each region. Caminos y Sabores wishes to create awareness of the value that small businesses have in all provinces of Argentina. There are no middlemen, so most of the percentage of sales to go directly to the artisans and producers.

From 14 to September 18 at La Rural

Friday, September 2, 2011

Iberá Marshlands, Corrientes, Argentina

Spring at Rincón del Socorro

Little creatures

This week, I had the pleasure of meeting someone from Rincon del Socorro. Thanks to his kindness I've got this little secret to share with you. I'm thinking about going soon, so I'll tell you more once I have been there. For now, I leave you with these gorgeous images and information so that you can also plan on visiting this wildlife paradise at some point.

There are few regions in Argentina that can compare to the richness and diversity of species that are found in the Esteros del Iberá.

In the last twenty-five years biologists are beginning to understand the importance of this vast fresh-water system to the biological community of Latin America.

Rincón del Socorro is a 12,000-hectare (29,700 acres) former cattle ranch on the edge of the Iberá wetlands in Northeastern Argentina that has been made into a nature reserve. Rincón del Socorro has a small, refined eco-lodge in the ranch.

Meals are predominantly prepared with organic fruit and vegetables, most from their kitchen garden. Meat is all free-range. Fine organic cuisine and the Argentine barbecue tradition as well as grilled vegetables, good Argentine wines, homemade breads and special deserts ensure a pleasant culinary experience at the lodge. When the weather is good, lunch and dinner can be served outdoors.

There is a range of activities dependent on the interest, energy and time of each guest. Rincon del Socorro is ideal horseback riding country and visitors can easily see wildlife; such creatures as carpinchos, freshwater otters, alligators, marsh deer and with a little patience and good luck, one just might see the illusive Maned wolf, howler monkey or the sprocket deer.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this place as much as I did! xx

Special thanks to Estancia Rincon del Socorro for images and information.