Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What is Buenos Aires Really Like?

Skimming the the NY Times today especially caught my eye since I found a perfect description of my current home. I couldn´t have explained the city I now reside any better. The author of this article does write for a living and has lived in Buenos Aires seven more years than I have. Everything she explains in the article seems to be a microcosm of my short-lived seven month hiatus in Capital Federal (Buenos Aires). If you are genuinely curious about what this city is truly like, please take 10 minutes of your day to read this article.

She mentions in one part of the article how it takes a while to settle down in an eternally unsettled place. This is exactly how I felt attempting to settle myself into this city that is never really settled itself. Buenos Aires is truly a place which keeps you on your toes, I still see things here that surprise the hell out of me. The only certainty seems to be that nothing is certain from the government to the economy to the citizens.

With all of this said, this city has surprisingly grown on me in the last few months and I´ve developed an unfamiliar pride in the country itself... especially the national futbol team. I´m riding Argentina all the way to the World Cup in South Africa 2010!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Six Degrees of Separation

The principle of six degrees of separation was originally formed in 1909 by the Italian Guglielmo Marconi. The original idea was spurred by a study from the radio pioneer, Marconi, that simply claims that if one person is one step away from each person they know and two steps from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is an average of six steps away from each person on earth. This study has been found to have mixed conclusions on other studies since Macroni's Nobel Prize speech nearly one hundred years ago. In simple terms, six degrees of separation is referred to each time somebody utters the words what a small world.

"Wait so you study at SDSU, so where do you live?" I asked our Australian visitor Daniele. Already amazed that I met a student from my alma mater through our Australian housemate Jenny, I had to know more just out of curiosity. Through two questions of my innocent curiosity, turns out Daniele is living in the same house I lived my final year of studying at SDSU. She lives in the upstairs or as I know it, BJ's old room. Go figure, a simple dinner conversation which started as meeting just another friend of a friend turns out we happen to know the same neighbors and friends in another hemisphere.

What a small world it is.

This concept has always amazed me, partly to the fact we live in a planet filled with 6 billion inhabitants. Six freakin billion people! It really sparked my interest when my brother and I happened to encounter several peer travelers in two different countries in the Eurotour '07. However, the European backpacker community follows similar course partly in result to it being one of the most saturated routes for world travelers. Therefore, enough justification was on the table for the 'small world' philosophy to be fully convincing. However, my semi-annual life in Argentina has pushed me looking back into the eyes of six degrees of separation. Many of my current friends here, mainly those with whom we play futbol games, were introduced indirectly via my good buddy Amit, who lives in San Diego. Amit visited us in February and met a nice English lad Josh on the plane back from Rio de Janeiro (Carnaval) to Buenos Aires. We proceeded to play games of futbol with Josh and his friends, many of whom are now our closest buddies.

What a small world it is.

I now find it very difficult to disprove the six degrees of separation. The few travels I have thus far tracked in my lifetime have illustrated a common theme of one person knowing another through mutual contacts. The emergence of social networking on the internet will only bring people closer together, I'm convinced. The challenge for social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc. appears to lie in how to consolitate them all into one platform. A natural need for human beings is to be in contact with others, thus the creation of the internet. Each word that I write in this moment and upload for your viewing comes from my simple need to connect some message or thought to you. The need of connecting to others is one that has not been overlooked since the emergence of the internet. As of March 2008, nearly 1.5 billion of the 6.5 billion people on the planet have internet access according to The world average of internet use has grown by 290% just since the turn of the millenium.

Just think about how many people you may have in your social networks. All that time dedicated to social networking sites these days was once invested in the chat rooms just eight years ago. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the six degrees of separation is here and has been for a while. This trend is definitely closing the gaps between those in our network, hence the six degrees of separation could soon become a divided number, to the delight of statisticians all over the world. Hopefully they'll all be connected through one platform to form an outstanding principle greeted with little speculation.

Even if you thought we wouldn't see each other in a while, we may soon find each other through our friends.

What a small world it is!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One's Life into Literature

If there was a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?

I can't recall where I heard this or whom I heard it from for that matter. However, this is a question that lodged itself into my memory bank and pulls at my heart strings from time to time. Some wonder why Mike and I made the move to Argentina? It appears to some that we have no direction, we're just aimlessly globetrotting with no long term goals in mind. Let me spare any argument. It's true, there were no real long-term goals in the decision to move to Argentina, it was more of a whimsical decision with more of a soul-searching sentiment. As for myself, the catalyst to the excitement in booking a one-way ticket to another country lies in the question above.

How many autobiographies or biographies have you read in your lifetime? I find it fascinating in reading books about others' lives to see how I might relate with the author and/or characters that carry the plot. I'm currently reading "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" by Aron Ralson. He's also very well known for being the guy who survived a climbing accident in Utah in 2003 by cutting his own arm off, which was stuck between a boulder and a canyon wall, to escape and survive. Reading about the moments leading up to his gutsy actions in survival mode is fascinating. I find it to be educational on how to handle the metaphorical situations in life of being between a rock and a hard place. The countless other autobiographies and biographies I've read or even skimmed have all brought me to thinking about my own life tale.

In one of the many conversations Mike and I have had about travel and the wonders of all corners of the planet , he made a great point. "Everyone should write their own book," he claimed matter-of-factly. Each person has their own perception and can tell about it in their unique form. Some do it better than others but nonetheless something can be learned from each author. Writing about your own life tales may also aid in an objective view of your own story. Imagine how you might look at your past, present and future if you take a peek from the outside instead of the usual subjective focus. I'm now a true believer that everyone is the author of their own book and only they can dictate the next chapter. What's the most exciting thing that has happened in this current chapter of your book? Maybe the objective view will provoke more excitement or better yet, more appreciation of our individual tales.

Who knows? Maybe one day when you and I are famous, our rough draft will be waiting on the publisher's doorstep.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vamos Obama!

I forewarn you, this will be my only piece of political writing on this blog. Whether you agree or disagree is fine with me, I´m just throwing my views into the mix... Isn´t that what all bloggers and even journalists do anyways??

Upon receiving the news that Obama has finally received that magic number of super-delegate vote and Hillary conceded, finally, a rush of excitement hit me.

A fresh face running for the White House!

It wasn´t much of a surprise to see that Obama was greeted hastily by his next opponent in his run for Presidency, Republican nominee John McCain. As if the continuous Tuesday-to-Tuesday battle between Hillary and Barack wasn´t enough. Now begins the real media frenzy in the race to the White House. Politics to me are like who´s the most popular kid on the playground. I ask anyone who really truly cares and follows this race until November to keep track of how many times McCain uses Obama´s lack of political experience as his advantage. Thank you SeƱor McCain, this is exactly one of the reasons I like Obama, he´s a fresh face and offers a new perspective to American politics. He hasn´t been in the game long enough to be fully tainted. I respect McCain´s history and being a POW in Vietnam and his long history in politics but as a person who has travelled and met many citizens of the globe outside of the US of A, a new perspective on our political playground has formed in my mind. It should be understood that the country needs a person who has actually lived outside of the country to offer an objective view.

Both Obama and McCain have policies that I like and dislike that I will not get into now but I wanted to offer my one piece of political opinion in the beginning of this political popularity contest marathon. After the Election of 2000, won by Al Gore... I mean Jeb.. I mean George Dubbya and the 2004 Election I do understand that whoever plays the game best between now and November will be the next President. Unless the landscape of American politics has changed and its truly about who´s most intelligent to take office, then I stand by my view that Republicans just play the game of politics better than Democrats. Not to say that either party is more intelligent than the other because when it comes to this game, its not about intelligence, its about who´s more likeable at any point in time.

What I really respect about Obama is he has yet to lay personal attack on any candidate´s history mishaps. From what I´ve seen, he´s only discussed policy on issues that really matter. What a concept? Either way after the last 8 years of the infamous Bush Administration, I do feel truly sorry for whomever is the next President as they have a large mess to clean up (No-end war against terrorism, all-time record national budget deficit, downward economy, etc.) After-all maybe a young, untested politician is really what it takes to have the energy for this cleaning process.

Anyways, I am refraining from writing anymore on this topic and I welcome any replies that discredit my views with facts or any opinions because essentially, these are only opinons. The only fact here is that 30 seconds of research went into this blog post. So please call the O´Reilly Factor for me and get the facts since I´m out of the country.

After all its all just a game in the end anyways right? Just ask John Stewart and Steven Colbert. Let´s have some fun with it!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June in Winter Slows me to Reflection Period

Winter has officially arrived here in the southern hemisphere, I strangely forgot what the cold can be like since I practically lived a year straight of summer season. My daily 20-block to and from work brings back silly memories of walking to and from school as a kid in the blistering cold winters of Colorado. The cold here is a bit different in that it is dense with humidity. Ask the people of the northeast US, humid cold is much worse than the dry cold that nestles the Rocky Mountains.

I woke up today and it hit me that June 1st has arrived and exactly one year ago, my brother and I started our journey through Europe. Wow! Then my mind started wandering freely back into the memories of the last year in my life. Furthermore, I realized that my residence in Buenos Aires has hit its six-month mark as well. Most travelers I meet along the way say once you've been in one place for more than six-months you might as well consider it home. Home until October at least. It's been a great day of reflection on what has happened in the last year. The education bestowed upon myself since college graduation has been phenomenal and it truly lies in the day-to-day life of meeting people from all over the world. My cooking recipe has picked up some new treats, the musical ears have been exposed to many new genres, and I have even managed to pick up a new language along the way.

The day of reflection could deliver several pages of literature, but today I'll keep it short and simple. I really used this reflection to think about those people in my life in past and present. It's amazing how much the lives of all my friends have changed as well. Some of my friends have just graduated from University and so begins their new educational chapter as well. Some of my friends are living very happily and successfully for such a young age and reap new knowlege everyday. Some other friends are living in other parts of the world experiencing their own worldly education. It's such a pleasure to catch up with friends and family, the few times it happens, to see how they are passing time.

How fortunate I really am to be where I am at this point in my life. Thank you friends and family and I will have more to post in this second half of the year residence in Argentina.