Thursday, July 31, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new.

Thursday was the last day of my first freelance assignment. I got this assignment back in February and it was only supposed to last a month, but it extended to nearly six months and is ending because I have a new job starting next week.

This place experiences a lot of turnover (hence, the need for a freelancer for six months) and so I have been to many a good-bye party, but nothing prepared me for the farewell I received. I expected a small gesture, but I was taken out to lunch, then was treated to huge bouquet of flowers and cupcakes and a card signed by everyone on the staff--even people who I thought did not know my name. I was completely blown away by the gesture and all the kind words from everyone. I don't think this is a common thing in freelance world. In the words of Sally Field, I couldn't help thinking, "You like me. You really like me!" Kind of made me feel bad for the big smile that swept across my face every time someone remarked sadly, "So, it's you last day?"

I am just ready for a change, and I am looking forward to my next gig, which is only supposed to last three weeks (but then again, who knows?), and the fact that my September is a blank slate (half-scary, half-exhilarating). The last few weeks have been such a whirlwind of social activity--all fun, but so busy that I haven't had a moment to think about my priorities and goals and those things have slipped through the cracks. I haven't written in weeks. I am eating poorly and exercising has ceased since Argentina. Goals are just sitting there in my mind doing nothing.

The best part of my freelance job is that I met Heather. We sat next to each other at work, and you might have noticed her stalking Everyday Ham in recent weeks. She has come up with a brilliant idea to create 40x40 list: 40 things to do before the age of 40. She has just recently crossed off one of her dreams: to work at a non-profit organization that lets her travel around the world (yeah, she became part of the mass exodus at my job). I am really inspired by her goal because she heard about this organization a long time and decided that she had to work there. It's hard to change careers but she has been working on this goal for years--volunteering to pad her resume and stalking them every few months--and lo and behold, she did it!

This week, I finally watched The Last Lecture, the speech given by Randy Pausch, the college professor dying of cancer (who passed away on July 25). In his speech, he talked about how obstacles are a good thing because in order to get what you really want in life, you have to go over the obstacles. And the reason why they are there is because most people won't try to hurdle the wall, and the people who do are those who really want it. Heather did that.

I have a running list in my head of the things I want to do and wondering if I should make it official with a list of my own. I can see and feel the walls around me, but I know I can hurdle them too if I just made the effort. But would a 40x40 just feel like another to-do list? Or will it get my off my ass and actually do?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina (Come On, You Knew It Was Coming)

Twenty-four hours after setting out for the airport in Buenos Aires, we're back at home in good old, safe New York City.

Travel woes are like bad dreams -- unpleasant to endure, and uninteresting to anyone else after the fact -- so I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say that Aerolineas Argentinas is the worst major airline in the world (as efficient as Amtrak, as friendly as the Teamsters), and that my suitcase came back minus two jerseys and that t-shirt that I was so excited about, all thoughtfully purloined by some a-hole working for the airline/airport, who -- believe me -- had ample time to rifle through unprotected luggage. (The records, I am happy to report, were untouched. Tell the police we're dealing with a real philistine.)

All of this brings us to the bittersweet end to the trip. More bittersweet than even the usual dawning of reality at the end of vacation -- waking up to an alarm, going back to work, not eating steak twice a day.

Ultimately, I judge a city by whether I'd ever want to live there. And for Buenos Aires, I thought the answer was yes. The hustle and bustle of a metropolis, culture, an abundance of parks, cheap real estate, a politically minded populace, steak twice a day. And the people were exceedingly friendly when they weren't trying to screw you. It's not fair to indict an entire country on the basis of one avoidable theft (I should've had my suitcase "Saran-wrapped" like so many of the other travelers), but that's the thing -- it wasn't just the one bad experience. It was the cab driver who we later learned went way out of the way to get an extra three pesos off us (all the while engaging in the most pleasant banter), or the one who helped himself to the change from our flat-rate fare to the airport. It's not even about the money, either. It's just... what kind of city (world) is it where a person feels like he has to take advantage of his fellow man at every opportunity?

That said, I can't claim I wasn't warned. Everybody told us to watch out. Which makes me feel like a rube. Like I should know better than to think that people are as kind and honest as I think they are, or as I am used to in New York (dig that, New York as the model for kindness!).

But I guess as humans are deeply flawed, they're bound to disappoint us. The wise traveler just gives the screwgies fewer opportunities to disappoint him.

I'm thinking this would be a good time to tuck into that jar of dulce de leche that we brought home, and the ice cream that's sitting in the freezer.

[Five minutes later...]

Mmm. Indeed!

Here are some random pics from the many/mostly high points of the trip:

The city's famous obelisk at the center of the world's widest avenue.

You'd look worried, too, if you were biting into candy that's made from egg yolk and sugar. Totally tasty, but literally the worst possible thing you can put in your body.

Yvonne rides the A train (and Dad takes a picture). Note the wooden benches and doors and old timey straps for standing passengers to hold onto.

What a joik!

The whole lot of us. Adios, Buenos Aires. Suerte!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday in Argentina.

More sights.

More shopping.

More ice cream.

Some nature and then more steak.

More Dan.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The way we travel

The way to see Buenos Aires is to walk around, but sometimes walking is a scary experience, and this is coming from a girl who lives in New York City. The cars on the road have zero regard for pedestrians, so while a pedestrian may have the light to go ahead, cars are making right turns at lightning speed and will not stop unless a person is literally standing right in front of the car. It always feels like you are about to get hit by a car every time you cross.

Managing to avoid death, we've been getting around Buenos Aires mostly by foot, but we also have been taking advantage of the abundance of buses. The bus system here is pretty good, but once you step onto a bus, you never know what you're gonna get, but it's likely to include one of the following: crazy fast driving, uncomfortable seats or squeaky brakes minutes away from total failure. If the bus is standing room only, there is almost no room to move, but people squeeze their way to the door well in advance of their stops because the doors swing open before the bus comes to a complete stop and they slap shut a second after the last person gets off. And you better know where you are going because there are no announcements to let you know what stop you are at. Somehow we have managed not to get lost.

We also take the black and yellow cabs, having to split into two cars to fit all six of us. One person usually has to sit in the front because the backseat is really cramped for three, and usually Dan and I share a cab with Henry and he sits in the front and starts a very lively conversation with every driver. I never know what they are saying since it's all in Spanish, but Henry always manages to make the drivers laugh somehow. There we also get to experience the crazy Argentine driving firsthand (they drive as if there are no lanes on the road and we're always about to hit a pedestrian) but if you look out the window and enjoy the scenery or just listen to the Spanish speaking in the front seat, you hardly notice.

Some things we did today:

A visit to the very hip Soho neighborhood where old meets new: meaning old buildings, new and current stores and restaurants. Very New York City-like. Very likeable.

Cars parked in Soho.

Juan and Inez took us to La Rural, Bueno Aires' yearly farm expedition, and MALBA, the modern art museum dedicated to Latin American artists.

Juan and Inez.

We saw cows...

...and horses and Argentine gauchos...

And birds. They were loud, those birds.

We ended the night with dinner at Da Da where I finally got a break from beef with some pumpkin filled raviloi (apparently pumpkin is really big here) and day six of ice cream.

Susan and Henry.

David and Monica at dinner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

100% Independiente

Humberto Lombardi.

I love tight old men. Old fellows with devilishness in their eyes, dignity in their bearing, dandiness in their threads (ascots, berets, pocket squares, popped collars) -- any and all of these are hallmarks of old-timers whose enduring vigor bespeaks a life well lived.

Humberto Lombardi is a tight old man.

I'd heard of the Lombardis of my dad's youth, but didn't know much about them other than that they were close friends in Argentina, and that the Lombardi men were strong enough of spirit and muscle that they wouldn't be intimidated by the Peronista goons when it was voting time. Today, we met Humberto and his wife Rosa at their modest home in Avellaneda, the neighborhood where my dad grew up -- which, apparently, has deteriorated drastically in the last 50 years, going from a genial suburb of newly arrived immigrants to a blighted, neglected little burgh, where the old folks really only feel safe walking on their own street because it's also home to the police station.

You can't go home again. Unless home is the 19th century.

Humberto is 88, but moves like he's 20 years younger (he literally ran to open the door at one point). He is a renaissance man. Started out as a barber, then a bicycle mechanic, professional singer, brick-and-cement man, designer of wrought iron. He finally retired last year. (Tight.) Tells jokes, sings, and basically feels like the key to long life is not to worry about anything.

Lombardi belts out a tango.

Also, he's a die-hard fan of the local soccer team, Independiente. And when I say local, I mean their rival's stadium is two blocks away. Proudly on display in the living room, among the team memorabilia marking various Argentine and South American championships, is his certificate from the club that indicates he has been an official member since 1946. (His wife is also a proud 50-year member).

El Sr. Lombardi's certificate marking 50 years as a member of Club Atletico Independiente.

See, we sometimes call our professional teams "clubs," but these in South America really are clubs -- like social clubs. So there is a connection that extends beyond just a team shirt and a logo. And with it comes a deep sense of fraternity, a hyper-local sense of place, an identity. Something to stay loyal to. Come what may with the passage of time, the business of sport, or with the erosion of the neighborhood, the club endures, and the roots that one lays down are not broken.

If you don't have that over your lifetime, be it 28 or 88 years, you're not really living.

The get fat fast diet.

I write this with stomach very full. So full that the skin on my belly is stretching. So full that I need to lie down on the bed and rest. So full that the last bite I took at dinner feels like it hasn't reached my stomach yet.

Let me tell you, there is no food shortages here in Buenos Aires. But I am eating as if it will all be gone tomorrow.

For the last five days, I have eaten non-stop steak and ham sandwiches and sausages and french fries and ice cream and topping it off with glasses of wine and Fanta. I go to sleep full. I wake up full. I eat while full. Today was the first day in a long time that I was actually hungry for about five seconds but then I stuffed myself until my current state.

Food is plentiful, and food is cheap. Tonight we went out for a fancy steak dinner at La Cholita and the bill came to about $100 for six people, including appetizers, dinner, two bottles of wine and dessert.

Some memorable meals as of late:

This cake is the best thing I have eaten in Buenos Aires. Dan and I split this "chocolate bomba" cake at Croque Madame yesterday and it certainly was the bomb. It had a layer of chocolate cookie, a layer of dulce de leche and then topped with a marshmallow-ey merguine. Sweet perfection. I am still thinking about it.

The steak lomos, like the one I had tonight, is everything they say it is. Pretty darned good.

Yes, it is winter, but there is room for ice cream EVERY DAY.

We have been alternating between the two main gelato chains here: Volta and Freddo. While both are good, Freddo definitely has the edge. In five days, we have mastered the art of ordering. You have the choice of two flavors, but you should name the flavor you really want more second. Because they scoop the first flavor into the cone, and the second flavor becomes the large scoop on the top. Though it doesn't really matter: I try to vary up the flavors each time and have not been disappointed once. Most of them contain dulce de leche someway or another. You can't go wrong with that.

Speaking of dulce de leche, today we finally visited Havanna, the candy/chocolate store that has chains all over the city. I bought a box of the recommended triangle-shaped chocolates filled with dulce de leche for my mom, but within ten minutes, Dan and I busted it open so we can try it for ourselves. It is so gooey sweet, I am sure my mom will not like it, but I think I will still bring her home one anyway so she can decide. I also picked up a giant jar of dulce de leche to bring home to pour over ice cream for when we have guests. Dan made me get the big jar. I did not put up a fight.

Let me tell you, I am enjoying everything I am eating, but I am really looking forward to eating a salad when I get home. I tried to order one here and got a plate of lettuce, tomato slices and white onions in three unappealing piles. But until then, I guess I will continue eating just meat and dairy until I feel pain.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Domo Arigato...

¡Mira los robotos!

The main idea for today was to meet up with my dad's madrina, or godmother. Such an elegant lady. She took us out to a nice lunch. The restaurant was part of this Museum of Decorative Arts; apparently when the museum was still a mansion, what is now the restaurant was the gardener's quarters. Lemme tell you, life couldn't have been too bad for that gardener. I had the croque monsieur. Is it wrong to say that the best meal I've had in Buenos Aires was French? No. Buenos Aires is a very cosmopolitan city. La madrina took very good care of us.

My dad and his godmother.

Today, we also bought records! I picked up a few items I came looking for, namely music from this band Los Gatos, who were Argentina's local answer to the Beatles. No idea how it's going to sound exactly, but it's worth a discovery. Also picked up this Paul Simon album that was never released in the States; it was one he recorded after he and Artie broke up for the first time, after their first record. Never seen it on vinyl before, so this was very exciting for me. Hell, aren't you thrilled?


Overheard in Argentina:

My dad, to taxi driver (in Spanish): All the taxi drivers on this trip have been very, very friendly.

Taxi driver: Like everything, there are good and bad.

I dig that cat's worldview.

Here are Argentinos at the nation's first, recently opened, Starbucks. Clearly the novelty hasn't worn off yet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It takes six to tango.

Dan and me in front of the Casa Rosada (the pink house).

Six is a big group to travel with. It's hard to make everyone happy.
However, when it's a dreary, rainy and cold day in Buenos Aires like it was today, no one complained that we slept in. No one complained that after standing outside for five minutes to see the Casa Rosada and dodging rain drops, we ducked into a coffee shop for an hour and a half.

After a morning of inactivity, we decided to shop the very crowded Florida Street, which reminded me very much of the bumper to bumper people traffic of Cologne, Germany, only this time it was bumper to bumper people with umbrellas--a much more dangerous combination. Since we have been here, Dan has made us go inside of every single sporting goods shop to look at the same national Argentina soccer jersey (I am begging him to just get it already so we don't have to go into these stores anymore, even offering to pay for the stupid shirt). On Florida, we popped into one of these stores and that's when our six became two. Dan and I were adandoned by the others.

We figured the group went ahead and so we walked ahead but in all the masses of people, all wearing black jackets and carrying black umbrellas, we never spotted our fellow travelers. We continued walking in and out of stores, seeing more Henry lookalikes than ever thought possible, and then a huge downpour left us under an awning for about 25 minutes. We eventually found them--with the help of some common sense and an internet cafe. Phew.

Lost and wet.

We went to see a tango show tonight at Cafe Tortoni. The show was geared toward tourists so it was kind of cheesy, but I really dug the dancing and the music and everything. I am thinking of trying to convince Dan to take some lessons with me, but I know that he will be hard to convince.

We had dessert and drinks at the bar upstairs, and that's when I decided that I love Argentine waiters. The waiters here are mostly male, older types who you can tell have been waiters their entire lives and treat it as a real profession. They never write down an order, no matter how big and complicated. They carry their platters as if they are an extension of their hands. They open our glass bottles of water and soda by putting down the glass on the table with one hand and using that same hand to flip open the cap with the opener. I love watching these men do their jobs as if it were a dance around the room. The waiters at Cafe Tortoni even kept a white cloth under their arm, old school style. So classy.

I am not sure if I would do well in this city because at 11 pm, all the restaurants are still packed with people, even on a Monday, and I have heard nothing about siestas. When do these people sleep? But I could live with all the ice cream, for sure.

Waiting in line at the tango show.

A blurry view of one of the awesome waiters I saw tonight.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

San Telmo's Fire

Nice to be back in the driver's seat of The Ham, or as I like to call it, El Jamon.

Today, we went to San Telmo, which is perhaps the heart of the city -- old architecture, music and dancing in the streets (well, no tango that we could see), a healthy antiques trade, tasty food. Yvonne and I split up from the group pretty early on, not by design, but it worked out well, because we stumbled into this sweet art gallery and then into a store called Materia Urbana, where she bought a very cool tango-inspired print, and I a t-shirt that celebrates Maradona's famous goal-scoring run against England in the '86 World Cup, but does so in a very understated way, so that the shirt barely whispers, let alone screams, "obnoxious sports apparel." Bought it without hesitation, was super excited about it, and the enthusiasm must've been contagious because my dad and brother went back and each bought themselves one as well.

We didn't just shop, but also took in a little local flavor. Still, I'd like to get back, maybe at night, and just amble a bit in order to absorb even more.

A nicely halluciongenic graffiti-stencil mural. Normally, graffiti makes me want to puke, but that's because normally it's just some little puke who's scrawled his name.

After a few hours among the wares of San Telmo, we trekked to La Boca. Definitely the wrong side of the tracks, but we knew that going in. We saw the famous soccer stadium (Boca Juniors are basically the Yankees of soccer: tons of championships, a team that's located in the poorest part of town, etc.), and then the famous loud-painted, corrugated-tin-roof apartment buildings. The weather was gray, which muted the colors a bit, but not the surreal contrast of poverty and effulgence. You get the feeling that the locals are starving in Candyland.

Yvonne soaks up some local color.

Some random thoughts: Argentina's political system is in crisis again (surprise). I don't think I fully understand it, but suffice it to say that the vice president's picture is plastered all over town with the word "JUDAS." (Why can't that happen at home?)

A friend of my man Tom said that no ice cream place compares to this chain called Volta. After having had the same flavors there and at Freddo (white chocolate, and dulce de leche con brownie), I'm not so sure...

Million dollar idea for the day... Step 1. Sell a quality slice of pizza in Argentina. Step 2. Profit. The pizza here is 0-for-2 so far. It's too crusty (like unsweetened pie crust) and weirdly herby. You'd think the Italians here would know better. Thankfully the beef lives up to the hype and then some.

I'm not going to lie. This ice cream is pretty good.

And he's back.

A special announcement:

Dan. Boyfriend. Guest-editing. The Ham. Once again. What's not to love?


Fairy godmother & co.

Dan's father Henry was born at sea on a boat between Italy and Argentina. He was named after the captain of the boat (middle name Patrick) and the captain introduced the new parents to a prominent couple in Argentina who became Henry's godparents.

On Saturday night, we went to visit the godmother (the godfather is now deceased), along with her son Juan and his family at Juan's house. And what a house it was. It was an absolute stunner; my favorite part was a dining room with walls and ceiling of glass and a green, leafy garden of trees and bushes that grew inside the house. The glass ceiling was also on the top floor of the house so the garden received natural light from above. So awesome. Just about as awesome as the fact they had a DRIVER come and pick us up and drive us there in a 16-person van.

Juan welcomed us by taking us outside to show us our food being cooked on a giant outdoor grill. It was an absolute meat heaven. And don't think that Juan was doing the cooking. They had a cook to do such things.

Our dinner cooking on the grill. That's the cook.

These people also had live-in maids, which apparently is quite common in Argentina (if you are well off) and I must say it was sort of strange to watch these two women wear the stereotypical maid uniforms and serve us our food. When we first sat down to eat, I nudged Dan, "why is there a bell on the table?" For the maids. Duh.

Dan at dinner. Yes, that's a bell on the table.

We never did use the bell.

Dan and I sat at the "young persons" table, with David and Monica, and Juan's daughters and son, who were our age but seemed so much older than us. It's probably because two of the three already were married with children. We had a very pleasant conversation and delicious food to eat (oodles of meat and potatoes and for dessert ice cream and a cooling lemon custard).

Things I thought were interesting--they talked about how unlike Americans who tend to drift from place to place, most Argentines stay in the city they were born with all their lives--even to go to school and many live with their parents until their 30s. I also learned that while it used to be common to have up to 10 kids, now the Argentines settle on having ONLY five or so.

After dinner chatter.

It was a pretty terrific night and great to reconnect with locals and of course, to see Dan's family history so up close and personal.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

We saw dead people.

Evita's grave.

On Friday at 9 am, Dan and I left our humble New York abode. Nineteen hours later--which included two cab rides, one train and two flights--we crawled into bed at our final destination, Buenos Aires, Argentina, at 5 am local time (4 am New York time).

It was a long day.

Nothing terribly interesting about those nineteen hours since Dan and I spent most of it napping or with our nose buried in our books (I think we both read about 100 pages each). But it's worth noting the crazy flight attendant on Aerolineas Argentinas. I ordered the Spite, to which he repeated "'prite?" and Dan had the water. She gave me the water, Dan the 'prite. Then she came around again and I asked for tea. Tea? she asked me in Spanish and I nodded. She then proceeded to pour me a cup of lukewarm half-and-half and said "Here's your milk." What?

We were sitting in the emergency row exit (excellent for the never-ending 8+ hour flight from Miami to Buenos Aires) and there was this little boy waiting in the bathroom line who had to be restrained by his mother for touching the emergency door. It was borderline terrifying because it was obvious that once his mother said NO, don't touch, he was like oh yeaaaahhhh! Touchy touchy! And every time she wasn't looking, he was poking something over there near the "Danger" sign, and then it got to the point where the mother had to hold his arms, but his body was all twisted towards the door. I glared at him over my book, but this kid was on a mission to kill all of us.

Our layover was in Miami. I have never been to Miami before, but we might as well been in South America already because everyone spoke Spanish from that point on. It was like, are we in America? Seriously? Even the Asian woman ahead of us in line at the ticket counter spoke Spanish.
Dan's father and brother were awake to greet us in the middle of the night. Dan said he was not tried and tried to convince me to stay awake and pull an all-nighter but I said no. He was snoring next to me before I even fell asleep.

Day one in the city came to a late start. Dan and I were awoken at noon and we didn't get moving until past 2. We spent most of the afternoon wandering the beautiful Cementerio de la Recoleta--a beautiful city of tombstones and the resting place of many rich and famous, including Eva Peron.
Afterwatds we were in desperate need of a bag of chaos because we fell into the trap that happens when six people travel together. No one could make a decision on where to go next, what street to walk on, where to eat. I had forgotten what it is like to travel in a big group. We ended up in a bustling race-car driver themed cafe for lunch and then walked back to the apartment, stopping for what I imagine to be first of many ice cream cones for the week. Ice cream makes everything better.

Looking into a tomb.

More tombs.

David, Dan and Henry by "the boxer."

Dan took this picture.

Monica, David, Susan and Dan take an ice cream break at Freddo.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I am leaving the country and I need clothes.

Dan and I are one day away of hopping on a plane and meeting his family in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Holy crap!

We have been planning this trip forever. Dan's father, Henry, grew up in Argentina and announced last winter that he will be taking his family for a visit. That means the parents Henry and Susan, brother David and wife Monica, and Dan and me. That's right! I am part of the family! We booked our airfare back in December or something, and have been exchanging emails and talking about it for the last six months.

But 24 hours to go and I feel completely unprepared.

Besides purchasing a guide book, I have done very little research about Buenos Aires. Apparently it is the hot destination to go right now (that is also dollar friendly) so I have read a few articles that have popped up in my regular magazine and online reading, but that is about it.

Yesterday, I began to pack. It is winter in Argentina now (Untrustworthy says it should be about 60 degrees all week, but who knows?) This is the first trip in a long time that I did not buy new clothes. (Who wants to buy winter clothes in July? Where can one find winter clothes in July?) But looking at my crummy options, it dawned on me. I may wear this crap in Argentina, but come Fall, I gotta get a winter wardrobe overhaul. Not only are all my pants too big and dragging on the floor, I am just sick of not looking cute when the cold weather hits. I am turning 30 this year and so things will be different. I will be 30 and cute. (Don't worry, Mom, I will be alright for the trip. BTW: Mom is the one who instilled the get a new wardrobe for every vacation mentality, so I imagine this entry is making her feel uneasy.)

That said, even though I won't be at my fullest cute capacity next week, I am starting to get really excited about going away. It's my first time off since my Euro trip and I need the break. I have been dragging my feet at work and have been to busy lately to relax. I don't know what to expect (except lots of steak and Dan forcing us to visit some record stores) but I am ready to go with the flow.

Monday, July 14, 2008


A look back at Brett and Emily's farewell weekend and quite possibly some of the most fun I've ever had:

Jackstock Day One:
The hottest party in town. Really. Temperatures soared as dozens of people crammed inside Toad Hall a.k.a. the Jackson apartment. I was too hot to take one picture. But I ate a lot of cookies and cake.

Jackstock Day two: Brunch: The group--Brett, Emily, Courtney, Adam, Nell, Turi, Ingo, Dan and me--convened for brunch at Metro Diner where Adam unveiled “The Bag of Chaos.” We were each given cards that represented meals, Sunday brunch, drinks and activities and we had to write down different options for each. The only rules? Activities must take place in Manhattan and have to be pre-approved by Brett and Emily before they are placed in the bag. After that, we do what the bag says—depending on if we're in the mood for food, Sunday brunch, drink or activity.

Brett and Emily in their Dan-designed Jackstock t-shirts, order some brunch.

Adam (in the Adam designed Jackstock tshirt) educates us about the bag of chaos. Nell is excited.

We soon learned that the bag of choas was always right and we couldn't have planned the next two days better ourselves:

Card #1: Pit stop at Toad Hall

Dan and me take a break at Brett and Emily's. Courtney steals the show.

Card #2: Drinks at the Slaughtered Lamb.

Emily's not too sure about middle of the day tequila shots. Brett is pretty sure.

Card #3: Row boats in Central Park.

Battle of the sexes.

Adam, with Ingo and Nell, rows his boat.

Manly Dan.

Manly Dan socks.

Card #4 said, “There is a bar in midtown that has a pool.”

No swim suits, no problem! We made a stop at H&M to buy matching suits to continue the party on.

We match!

Trunks and bikinis.

Card #5: Dinner at Burger Joint

It was 10 and we were starving and these greasy burgers were mighty fine.

Card #6:A bottle of wine at Toad Hall

Brett consults the bag of chaos. Back to Toad Hall, it is!

Jackstock Day Three:

Card #7: Brunch at La Palapa

Turi enjoys the Mexican brunch.

Card #8: Go see the Waterfalls art exhibit.

You can't see the waterfalls in this pic, but we saw 'em. And yeah, we wore the same outfits as yesterday (and for me and Dan, the day before). So?

Me and Dan and one of the falls.

Card #9: Mini-golfing at Roosevelt Island.
Wait a minute, this ain’t Manhattan! How did that card get in there? After much consultation, we opted to pass up this activity because it was against the rules and would've taken us way off course.

Card #10: Drinks at Zum Schneider, a German pub in the Lower East Side.


People were still thinking about card #9, so in tribute to the missed activity, we set up a complicated mini-golf course on Nell’s roof top that involved Courtney's bra. Yeah, we were delirious by this point.

Our makeshift course.

Adam "mops" up the competition.

The night ended with a lovely dinner at Toad Hall. I was too tired to take a picture.

We were pooped from fun, man!

More pictures.
Courtney's version. She explains some parts better than me.