Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lost Is So F-cking Good

Lost, Season 5

SPOILER ALERT: Read no further if you're not up-to-date on Lost, or if you don't watch it.


Last night's episode of Lost was game-changing. It showed us the origins of several characters and established a logical reason behind some of the island's most enduring mysteries. However, if you weren't paying attention, it was easy to miss the magic.

Desmond named his kid Charlie. After Lostie rock star Charlie, who sacrificed his life to get everyone rescued. Aww.

Widmore was an other. I totally didn't see it coming. He snapped his buddy's neck!! Ruthless. Is Ben or Widmore the bad guy? Maybe it's both.

The Swan hatch was built next to a buried nuke. Which explains the concrete and lead shell that mystified Sayid, and may have something to do with "The Incident" that happens later.

Faraday just met his mom. On the island. When his mom was just a young woman. I totally missed this, but Lost and Gone Forever makes a great point. The blonde with the gun is named Ellie. Faraday's test rat was named Eloise... after his mother. Eloise = Ellie? Not a difficult stretch.

The whispers. Those strange whispers in the jungle that seem to pop up whenever danger is near? Well, our castaways are back in time, and judging by the preview for the next episode, they're now back in the time period when they were on the island. Could they be the ones whispering?

Why Locke is special. He's special because he was the one who told Richard Alpert about the time traveling properties of the island. Locke himself was responsible for Alpert visiting him at his birth, and perhaps those other times in his life.

The strange circumstances that got all the Oceanic passengers to the island. The universe course correcting itself-- Jack, Kate, et. al. HAD TO BE on that plane for the timeline to work. They had to go to the island so they could go back and time and be a part of the past that already happened. (Yes, that's confusing).

Why the Oceanic Six have to come back. Because they're an integral part of the timeline to come-- Desmond changed the future when he saved Charlie's life long enough for Charlie to press the yellow button and assure their rescue. In order for the correct future to take place, Jack, Kate et. al. have to return to finish what they started. If not, well... as Desmond's mother Ellie...Eloise said "God help us all."

How's my Adam's Life Patented Lost Theory holding up?

Surprisingly well! A few choice excerpts:
The hostiles on the island, however, were resistant to efforts to change the course of destiny. Think-- creepy dark-eyed Richard preaches "patience." Weird Ben ghost-mother says "it's not time yet." These are the words of people who believe in a set path. They strive to prevent all efforts at alteration.
Now we know that mysterious old lady from Desmond's time traveling day was once an Other, Ellie, on the island. And we know that Ben was an other. And that the two are working together to make sure things "follow the rules" and go according to plan. If it doesn't, "God help us all."

Widmore WAS an Other also, but his bag seems to be changing the future. "He changed the rules," Ben famously said when his daughter Alex got killed.

It stands to reason that Widmore would have a goal in common with the Dharma Initiative then... to "Make Your Own Kind Of Music." Its a safe bet he was the man behind it, after being forced off the island for as yet unknown reasons.
Remember... Creepy Old Lady told Desmond that entering the numbers was the single most important thing he'd ever do. If we're to take that literally... now that he can no longer enter the numbers, you'd think Desmond would feel pretty useless. Except he's not done entering the numbers. He's still entering them... by altering what he sees in his "flashes."

Desmond had the failsafe key = Desmond is the key. To Lost. To everything.
As Faraday says to Desmond, "You're the only one who can save us." I love patting myself on the back for being right.

Desmond has the power to change the future, which would mean that Widmore wouldn't have a problem with him. But Faraday's mother just might. "She may not be happy to see you," Widmore warns Desmond. He may be right about that.

The rest of my crazy theory?It's unclear how right I am at this time. But clearly, we're not talking about Good vs. Evil here. You'd be hard pressed to find any character on the show who hasn't done something really bad. The central battle in Lost is the battle between predestined fate and "make your own kind of music." Clearly, our Losties have been following fate's plan thus far, and it hasn't worked out so well for them. Should they be on Ben's side? Or Widmore's?

Tough to choose. They did both kill many innocent people.


Maybe Ben and Widmore are both evil. Maybe this thing will end with the Losties and the Others combining forces to reach a happy medium-- fate and free will combined somehow.

More Lost Analysis of last night's episode here: Dark UFO

I can't wait. LOST!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Uruguay/Argentina Day 2: "Se Fue, Buquebus"

"I Hate You Buquebus!"

Our plan for Day 2 of our trip involved a LOT of traveling. In order to meet my cousin, who was down in Argentina for six months with his fiancee, we had to travel to Bariloche, an Argentinian mountain town about a two and a half hour flight from Buenos Aires. On paper, the plan looked solid. Wake up early, take an hour bus ride to Colonia, billed as "Uruguay's only World Heritage site!" and then a ferry, called the "Buquebus" to Buenos Aires, where we'd catch a cab to the airport in time for our flight.

The landscape outside the windows wasn't as interesting as the one I gazed at in Peru, so I used the bus ride to catch up on some sleep. Upon arrival in Colonia, Jay and I made a comical attempt to find lockers to store our bags, which involved us speaking pigeon spanish to people and receiving complicated instructions in speedy spanish in return. We'd ask, they'd point... and we still had no clue.

Finally, we broke down and sprang for a hostel, paying $10 each to stuff our bags in a room. "It's crazy that we're booking a hostel that we're not even going to sleep in," I told Jay. Little did I know it wouldn't be the last time...

How was Colonia? Well, it's a pretty town, leafy trees, cobbled streets, whitewashed, 17th and 18th century architecture, a picturesque lighthouse. But it was pretty dull. We had seen what felt like the whole town in an hour, and after killing time at the handicraft market (which should have been called the handi-CRAP market), we didn't have that much else to do.

Colonia Lighthouse
Look! A Lighthouse!
Traveler's Tip: Jay's friend in Argentina would tell us later that a fun thing to do is rent a golf cart or ATV and just go cruising around... and in retrospect, we noticed a few of those rental agencies in town. But we didn't think of it at the time.
Bored, we made our way to a small restaurant down by the water with a garden in back, which had been recommended by our guidebook. I loved the atmosphere... the open red brick grill, a planter running along the top of the wall from which the cook occasionally picked fresh herbs for the food. It was a beautiful day out, so Jay and I ordered the lunch specials (which included wine and dessert), sat back and relaxed.

The Meal That Lasted Forever

And relaxed... and relaxed.

With a half an hour until our ferry was due to leave, I asked the chef if I could try some cooking on the grill. With twenty-five minutes left, we dug into some ice cream. With a little over fifteen to go, we paid our check.

Grillin Like A Villain
In America, We Call This "Lawsuit Waiting To Happen"

Calmly walking up the street towards our hostel, neither of us remarked on the time. We got to the hostel, however, and the realization finally hit.

"We have to run."

With our big backpacks strapped on, we ran towards the Buquebus terminal along the uneven pavement, nearly toppling over as we went. We arrived at what turned out to be the wrong terminal... pulling a U-turn, we sped towards the bright, shiny, Buquebus, sitting in the water by the dock. A few crewmen passed us.

"El Buquebus?" one of them asked.

"Si!" I shouted, out of breath.

"Se Fue," the man responded. "Se Fue. It's gone."

"But it's right there, it hasn't left!"

He shrugged his shoulders.

We arrived at the terminal five minutes before the boat was scheduled to leave. Above the check-in desk was a sign: "All passengers must check in at least an hour before departure."
Traveller's Tip: If you miss the Buquebus from Colonia, or need a cheaper option, there's the Colonia Express.
The next boat didn't leave until 4:30, which meant there was no way we were making our 5-something flight. It also meant staying in boring ol' Colonia for about three more hours.

Desperate, I called my Mom while Jay purchased tickets for the next Colonia Express boat (our tickets for the Buquebus-- non-refundable). My mom's travel-agent style skills snagged us the last two seats on the early morning flight from Buenos Aires to Bariloche. Jay and I weren't happy about the whole situation.

It wasn't until we were on the boat headed to Buenos Aires before I realized... We're going to be spending an extra night in friggin' Buenos Aires. Feel good about that, you ungrateful little shi...

Florida Street
Florida Street, Buenos Aires

Galerías Pacífico
A Michelangelo at a Shopping Mall? The Galerías Pacífico

We stayed at a hostel in Recoleta, an area much like New York's Soho. We walked around the city, cruising through the shopping street of Florida, going through one of the prettiest malls I've ever seen, and ended up in Puerto Madero, the newest part of town, a revitalized waterfront with restaurants and bars. Wanting to sample some of the local flavor, we stopped into a favorite traditonal Argentinian haunt.

Jay and I Meet The Locals

I have to say, impressive Hooters. Although their idea of chicken fingers was a chicken cutlet, they won points for some inspired dancing and

We also met some great Portenos (Buenos Aires residents), who gave us some tips about where to go and what to see.

As mentioned earlier, Jay had a friend in Buenos Aires, so around 10:30, we head to his place in Palermo to go out for dinner. He chose a popular parrilla (i'll have to get the name), otherwise known as a grill restaurant, where we could try some of Argentina's greatest natural resource: Beef.

After about two hours of waiting (they did give us some complimentary champagne and chorizo), we sat down with some American girls we met outside. We ordered the lomo, or filet mignon, and the bife de chorizo, a cut like a New York strip steak... except three times as thick.

Beef: It's What's For Dinner. And Lunch. And Breakfast.

Along with our meal came a smorgasbord of sides all in their own small porcelain dishes: traditional things like mashed potatoes and grilled onions and mushrooms to some delicious adventures like a creamy chopped egg salad and some sort of eggplant-tomato sauce. We also got some fries, some sausages, enough food to satisfy Jessica Simpson for a day:

Jessica Blimpson
Tony Romo Likes 'Em Meaty

Two of the girls were, strangely enough, vegetarians, who apparently had no problem going to a restaurant solely known for serving copious amounts of succulent meat. Perhaps it was the orgasmic sounds we made while chewing the jugoso (juicy), perfectly cooked steak, perhaps it was a prevailing "When in Rome" attitude that adventurous travelers are known to adopt, or perhaps it was all the wine (Malbec) we were drinking, but the veggie-lovers threw caution to the wind (and horrified committed vegetarians everywhere) by giving in and giving the steak a try. "You guys just make it look so delicious," one of the girls said.

This is how I described it in an IM to my friend Chris:
me: the best steak ever

chris: was it, what cuts did you get

me: the lomo, which is filet mignon, but there its bigger and just like butter and then theres my fav the bife de chorizo which is like a ny strip steak but three times as thick its like cuttin into a whole cow and just absorbing the animals life force, thereby becoming stronger and more deadly

chris: is it delicious

me: oh yeah and the sides they give you this sauce' chimmichurri every place makes their own some garlic, herbs, some oil and of course, the mashies and the fries and then you down it all with the tastiest of wines the malbecs

chris: that sounds like high quality porn for your mouth
Show me all the PETA ads you want. After that Beef in Buenos Aires, there's no way I'm givin it up.

We finished dinner at around 2 am, the time when locals PREGAME before going out. Jay and I knew we had a flight to catch in the morning. We had to leave our hotel at 4:00 AM to get to the airport. After a long day, heading back to the hostel for an hour or two of shuteye would have been wise.

"Come on guys," Jay's friend said. "Let's go to Crobar."

So we stuffed all six of us in a cab and headed to one of Buenos Aires' hottest clubs. I don't really know how he did it, but Jay's friend got us past the line and inside before we knew it, and arranged for us to have a table in the VIP area, complete with bottles of champagne.

Champagne Room
Champizzy at the Crobarizzy

Techo-beats blaring, table dancing all around. It was a wild scene. At 3:30 AM, plastered and in the middle of my patented "put on the roof" dance move, my phone alarm went off. The time when Jay and I had planned to WAKE UP for our taxi to the airport.

"Wee SHlood Pob bobbly gow," I said to Jay.

We checked out of our hostel at 4 am... without having even slept in it. Again.

I don't know how I got on that plane, but I know I was still drunk. I closed my eyes before liftoff and let the alcohol take me on a wild, scary ride to dreamland.

The next time I'd open them we'd be in Bariloche, land of the seven lakes and several stray dogs...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Adam and Jay's Argentinian Adventure: Day 1: Uruguay

Fried Churros + Dulce De Leche + Sugar = Mmm

The long awaited trip recap begins, as all international trips do, in an airport.

When I booked my flight to Montevideo, Uruguay, a mere month before departing, I had few worries. Sure, I had to make two connections, one in Miami and one in Panama City, and only an hour or two between each leg, but what could possibly go wrong on Christmas Eve? If problematic travel on Christmas Eve was a common thing, then you'd expect there to be tons of films about the experience.

Planes Trains and Automobiles

Unaccompanied Minors

Home Alone

Oh, right.

At the Newark airport, I watched my 8:00 flight to Miami slowly turn into a 1:00 flight. At 12:30, finally knowing there was no way I'd make my connection, I went over to the Continental Airlines Customer Service center in the airport. The line in front resembled one of those Russian bread lines.

Russian Bread Line

In the spirit of Christmas, the people ahead of me in line made way to let me in front, being that my flight to Miami left soon and I had no idea whether or not I should be on it.

"I need to get down to Montevideo," I tell the customer service woman. "I'm meeting my friend down there."

"I'll see what we can do," she said.

I expected the classic brush off. She'd type a few things, then look up at me and with a smile so forced you just want to slap it, say "I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do."

Maybe it was the look of desperation on my face. Maybe it was the aura of the impending Obama administration. Maybe it was the Christmas spirit. But instead of acting like every other customer service person has ever acted towards me, the woman picked up two phones at the same time, typed on two computers, called DIFFERENT airlines and after about 15 minutes, was able to book me on the last available direct flight from Miami to Montevideo. A flight that would arrive only five hours past when I initially was supposed to arrive.

Angel at the airport? I believe so.

I emailed Jay from my iPhone while spending my 8 hour layover at the Miami airport, letting him know my new time of arrival. I had no idea if he would receive the message. But sure enough, as I pulled up in front of our hotel, Jay was at the door, and he had something with him.

"Have you ever had a Alfahor?" he asked.

"An Alpha Whore?"

He handed me a foil package containing a round chocolate hockey puck. With some hesitation, I opened it up and took a bite.


There's nothing like it in the states. Picture a Ring Ding (those Drake's cakes that are soooo good). Instead of merely a cream filling, there's some kind of cookie or wafer, sandwiched between layers of chocolate fudge and dulce de leche, a creamy kind of caramel. The level of deliciousness beats any sort of cookie or dessert cake you can buy at your local bodega.

They're everywhere in Uruguay and Argentina. Which prompted me to ask the question... Why haven't I heard of these delectable delights before?

Even a google image search only came up with this photo, and most don't have nuts:


After my tasty introduction to Uruguayan cuisine, Jay and I hit the town. We walked along the Rio Plata that separates Uruguay from Argentina. The water was muddy brown, either from the sediment in the riverbed or the pollution. We got some delicious pollo and carne empanadas at the only open cafe in town (it was Christmas day, after all) and then took a cab to a beach called Pocitos, where the city faces the South Atlantic.
Travelers Tip: Cabs in Uruguay have meters, but they tally distance, not money. At the end, the driver pulls out a chart, and you pay the money that's listed next to the distance. Why do they do it in this bizarre way? To confuse Americans, of course
I took many pictures, but they were all erased due to the awkwardly close positioning of the "Delete All" and "Delete One" options on my camera. Screw you, Sony.

That kid in the background tried to sell me something called "marijuana" in Spanish.

Jay and I laid out on the beach while a group of Uruguayan kids brazenly smoked something that was not cigarettes. There were some Uruguayan hotties next to us, too. One girl on the beach was riding her boyfriend's lap like it was one of those 50cent mechanical amusements outside the supermarket. The perfect way to spend Christmas.

Pictures? Nope. Erased.

We were walking back toward our hotel along the La Rambla, the Montevideo boardwalk, when some girl called out to Jay and waved. Turned out she was a girl from Switzerland who had been part of a group that Jay went with to an Argentinian soccer game earlier in his travels. We chilled for a while in a rocky alcove off La Rambla which featured a giant broken stone wall. And then there were these rail tracks implanted into the ground. Seeing a used condom lying on one of the rocks, Jay and I figured it was a park like the one we'd seen in Peru, where locals go to take their chicas for romantic sexo de publico.

Then we saw the plaque:

Holocaust Memorial

Yes, it was Montevideo's Holocaust Memorial. Nothing says romance like... well... here's to the rebirth of life, I guess.

The sun began to descend in the sky as we made our way back. We stopped to buy some churros from a rather picturesque stand on La Rambla. If the fried dough snacks aren't already fattening enough, in Uruguay, they INJECT them with dulce de leche, and then top them off with some sprinkled sugar. Delicious.

Churro Stand

We stopped to watch the sun sink into the Rio Plata before making it back to the hotel. Day 1 ended with a oversauced Uruguayan version of french bread pizza and an ultimately failed attempt to enjoy an "enhanced" view of the city skyline from our hotel's rooftop.

Sunset Over The Rio Plata

Tomorrow, we'd have to get up early for the day's journey to Buenos Aires, where we planned on catching our afternoon flight to Bariloche, an Argentinian mountain town. First, a bus to Colonia, Uruguay, about an hour away, and then a two hour boat ride to the city and a cab to the airport. After the day of traveling I'd had, I was looking forward to a day where all our meticulously planned travel connections would go smoothly.

Little did I know...

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