The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts from the “South America” Category

On Fearlessness & Other Illusions

Posted on October 27, 2013

I decided that a bracelet inscribed with “fearless” would make me so. The letters – bold, loud, capitalized, with the avant-garde color scheme of white-on-black – were themselves fearless, and so I reasoned that their choking presence on my wrist would make me the message, incarnated. With age, it is easier to pick out the false starts before they do any damage. This morning, I can’t drink my coffee so much as stare at it because I am scared. Rare is the travel blogger that says this, but I am scared of travel. There is at least one maxim regurgitated all too often: be fearless. For those of us who are fearful, this maxim is, at best, useless and, at worst, implies that we…

Southern Peru/Bolivia ’81-’83

Posted on June 13, 2012

Rummaging through old dusty boxes in a dark forgotten corner of the house that is seldom visited by beings other than spiders. Oversized Ralph Lauren button-down. Vintage linen. Hair in messy bun. Random strands either stick out, electrified, or rest lazily on my face. Bare feet. Black nail polish. I look down at my finger to see my grandmother’s beloved sapphire ring that she gifted to me four years ago. It was gifted to her in the seventies. I look like my grandma when she was young. The ring hasn’t left my finger, an adopted appendage. I notice it can use a cleaning. These boxes are overflowing with photos, spilling, drowning, each a tiny memento of the history of my family. My mother documented…

The Gaucho

Posted on May 23, 2012

Montevideo is not as loud as its South American counterparts – nearby megacities like Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro manage to overshadow the modest country of Uruguay as a whole. But nevertheless, there it lies dwarfed, pressed between two gargantuan neighbors. Argentina is world-famous for its unwavering pride (which often translates into blazing arrogance), rough politics, and venerated national heroes like Che Guevara and Evita. Bring up Brazil, and discussion about soccer, sexy natives, and the world’s most festive carnival are soon to follow.  But when Uruguay comes into question, if it comes up at all, the only thing that might be mentioned is the beach along the southeastern coast and, more recently, Diego Forlan. And honestly, it’s a shame. What Uruguay lacks…

Run Away

Posted on May 10, 2012

… to South America. Those who deem it cliche haven’t done it. Run away and stay off the beaten path. Get to know a foreign place, leave it with new friends. Eat with the locals, you might learn something. Eat everything that’s placed in front of your nose; even if it’s still squirming, you might walk away with a new favorite food.  Avoid as much planning as possible; these plans will change anyway, often for the better. Be open, be kind, be appreciative of the world and all that’s in it. Give to those who need it, give to those who don’t need it. Travel cheaply in local transportation; your seat-mate may be a chicken, but it’s more awesome this way. Forget about comforts…

Playing with Lines

Posted on March 1, 2012

Sometimes I dream about this photo, taken in southern Spain. Sometimes I dream I can dive from the highest antennae platform right into the sapphire water, like no distance separates the two, like it is all one horizon, like the world is really a 2D Mario game circa 1993 and no one is bothered by the hassles of 3-dimensionality. Montevideo, Uruguay. Wintertime. The air is thick with exhaust and parilla fumes. I steer clear of this vendor’s display even though I am interested in purchasing oranges, simply because that is always an interest of mine. But I have a tendency to knock things over, and indeed, this has the potential to be the mother of all fuck-ups. Spetses, Greece. There is some local joke…

Two-Percents

Posted on February 22, 2012

“Two-percent moments”. They’re the moments that would make it in a story told about someone long after they’re gone, the moments of a person’s life that define them, complete them, definitively alter their path, and flash before their eyes upon death. The moments that make living so extraordinary. A collective aggregate of important, beautiful, and calamitous events and occurrences and moments that would amount to two-percent of your entire life. Not the monotonous hours spent completing trivial tasks and empty formalities, but the most joyous and tragic occasions of a person’s life that they can’t and won’t forget; the stories your grandchildren will be hearing about before bedtime, wide-eyed, curious, and patiently awaiting another adventure, another momentous tale about their rogue ancestor (“Our grandma…

Revisiting Buenos Aires

Posted on August 21, 2011

Can’t shake the feeling that I should be elsewhere. Not sure where exactly, just straight up exploring; like a badass version of someone going house-hunting in the suburbs, EXCEPT THE WORLD IS MY SUBURB. This sentiment coincides with the purchasing of plane tickets to the Dominican Republic, where I’ll snorkel and scuba dive with turtles every day in December. They will also drink champagne with me on New Year’s Eve and kiss me at midnight. What can I say. I’m a playa. (for spanish speakers, pun intended)

Patagonia

Posted on May 7, 2011

Patagonia is a special place. You’re subject to the whims of the weather and the earth’s cryptic system. The earth, the rocks, the clouds, and the water all know that humans are powerless in their midst, and they like to capitalize on this. Don’t look for compassion in nature because it won’t be found here. The vast expanses of Patagonia make distances lose meaning, reduced to trivial numbers. Driving towards a mountain for half an hour won’t necessarily make it seem closer. For reference, look to the sky. The clouds seem to be fixed in place just like the mountains they protect.  The panorama will inch along with you, until you reach the base of the mountain. The whole trek through Torres del Paine…