The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts tagged “south america

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…


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…

Why Alejandro is Better Than Me

Posted on February 9, 2011

It was one of the most breathtaking expanses of road I’d ever had the privilege of traveling on. The sun’s rays had underscored the mountains’ jagged yet fluid forms, and there was nothing but pristine landscape in every direction. I had cursed myself for being human and having the biological need to blink so often – it was time I could’ve spent drooling over this unbelievable place. The Andes typically do that to people. Appreciative people, anyways. You become overwhelmed with bliss and, in my case, unprecedented delirium from doing nothing but staring. Every 30 kilometers along Ruta 51, there are villages of about 40 people. Many of them stay there their entire lives, but not out of immobility or poverty or inconvenience. All…

Fruit Should Be Looked At

Posted on February 1, 2011

This photo I snapped in Montevideo embodies the country perfectly. There weren’t many tourists when I traveled there, but while walking down a cobblestone-ridden alley in the Old Town, I saw a European couple ahead of us take a glance at these marvelous fruits and continue to walk briskly towards their intended destination. Like this fruit grid, Uruguay is rugged and largely overlooked, a sad prospect considering it has so much to offer. It’s a colorful little country; friendliness is a nationwide characteristic and the scenery rivals that of its gargantuan neighbors. Uruguay lacks Argentina’s arrogance, Brazil’s overwhelming mega-cities, and Paraguay’s lack of anything (just kidding). Even Montevideo, its largest city, has the feel of a small but charismatic urban block where everyone knows…