Twenty-Five Things That I Want To Do In 2018

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Twenty-Five That I Want to Do In 2018

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ursula Le Guin

Mediate every day. Maybe if I write it first I will have more luck.

Do More Yoga. Maybe if I write it second……

Go to Auschwitz.

Go To Poland.

Do a street art tour in Kraków.

See the Schindler factory.

Go to the Galápagos..

Read at least twenty books.

Follow a healthy diet.

Spend some time in London.

Peace in the house.

Go to the Warsaw Ghetto.

Go somewhere in Scandinavia.

Go To Israel.

Pay it forward.

Cook something besides eggs.

Work on being fearless.

See the sunset on the beach every day when I am home.

Sail through Peruvian or Ecuadorian Amazon.

Go to beaches of Los Organos and Vichayito, Peru.

Walk my dog every day.

Be more politically active.

Spend time with my god-daughter in Tel Aviv.

Do the Graffiti tour of Tel Aviv.

Go to Garachico, Tenerife.

Happy New Year and Fly Safe,

JAZ

 

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Street Art In Valpo (Valparaiso, Chile)

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Street Art In Valpo.

“I laugh at the way some people think graffiti is all selfish tagging and vandalism. Thoughtful street art is like good fiction – it speaks out on behalf of everyone, for us all to see.” Carla H Krueger

This picturesque port city of Valparaiso or Valpo as it is called to locals attracts artists from all over the world who proudly come to leave their mark on its walls.

The city has become internationally known as an open canvas for the creative urban artists.

You can visit Valparaíso and discover plenty of magnificent art on your own. But, for those low on time, and high on interest, I recommend taking the street art tour with Al Ramirez.

Al is a graffiti artist.

Graffiti has gained recognition from the art world more and more as a legitimate form of art.


While tags are probably the most popular forms of stylized writing, graffiti art is much more than that.

It can mean a colorful mural with a message or a black and white stencil piece. In each case, graffiti art makes a statement.

The tour includes all kinds of street art.

“We are not Hippies, We are Happies” might just be the most popular piece of street art in all of Valparaíso. It was painted by Art + Believe, an English creative duo based in Brighton, UK and is located on one of Valparaíso’s most central streets. You may have to fight your way through the crowds to get a picture as it’s always packed with photo-happy tourists.

The most famous Valpo born artists is INTI. INTI’s murals are massive, his work literally demanding attention. It’s impossible to walk by one his monumental paintings without taking notice. He’s become quite the legend among street artists in Chile and has left his mark in almost every corner of the globe.

I learned on the tour that Pablo Neruda (Valparaiso’s most famous resident) invited artists to get creative in his city.

Consider it the social media of the day – as politicians now tweet their latest opinions to the masses, the street artists would spread their political messages via art.

Under the Pinochet dictatorship, street art in Chile emerged as a form of protest. It is still a form of protest today.

Street art is about communication, whether it is a beautiful mural, or fancy bubble letters.

I read everything. I’m a huge fan of walls that tell a story. (or stairs)

Thanks Al for a great day. http://www.ValpoStreetArt.com

Fly safe,

JAZ

Just A Lot Of Walls – Urban Art In Lisbon

  Just A Lot Of Walls –  Urban Art In Lisbon

“I was here but now I’m gone. I left my name to carry on. Those who liked me, liked me well. Those who didn’t can go to hell'” The bathroom wall

Like any subculture, street art has its own slang. You don’t need to know it to appreciate the art but some words that pop up are spot jocking (putting your work up next to a popular artist for some attention), child style, tiling, (both self-explanatory ), reverse graffiti (creating art by taking off and not applying paint) and one that I heard a lot on my street art tour of Lisbon – intervention. (Sainer)

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It’s not a word I hear often unless it involves rehab. Intervention is a street art term used to disrupt public space as opposed to street art which is decorative. My  street art guide in Lisbon used the word  as a form of urban  artistic expression. Art intervention is art specifically designed to interact with an existing structure.  I guess with that definition  all street art can be called an intervention.

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The only street art tour I could find was a private tour given by the street art collective Underdogs. http://www.under-dogs.net/ They have a gallery with exhibitions of interesting street artists, affordable editions at their shared store space, and public art and community programs. They do not do group tours  and instead invest their time in promoting artists and art  education in the community. (Bicicleta Sem Freio)

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My tour guide Marina Rei shows up full of passion and enthusiasm for the art on the streets of her city.  She is excited about the artists in residence and the educational programs  she has just completed.

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Underdogs was started by a famous Portuguese street artist named Vhils.  The word underdog means to struggle against something more powerful than you. They are “underdogs pushing to be top dogs .”  (Vhils)

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The tour includes works by Alexandre Farto AKA Vhils, PixelPancho, How & Nosm, ±MaisMenos±, Finok, Okuda, Nunca, Clemens Behr, Bicicleta Sem Freio, Wasted Rita, Sainer and Ernest Zacharevic. (Clemens Behr)

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Their souvenir shop and offices share space with a paint store. Classic artists, students, serious street artists and vandals come to buy their paint. ( ±MaisMenos±,)

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Their art gallery is in an old warehouse area just starting to be gentrified. The current exhibition is by Spanish street artist Okuda.

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Street  Art started in Lisbon around 1974 when the Carnation Revolution overthrew the Authoritarian regime. Almost all  the territories became  independent.(A Lei Do Meis Forte -Nomen, Slap ,Kurtz, Exas,Lukas)

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Graffiti and tagging began with the new democracy. (Merkel’s Puppets -Nomen,Slap,Kurtz)

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Murals appeared around the city similar to those in unstable South American countries portraying the problems and the dreams. There are still references to it throughout the city.

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The old warehouses of Clube Naval de Lisboa,  are now covered in a work of art by Bicicleta Sem Freio, a group of Brazilian artists. They create murals around the world.

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My favorite work that I saw that day  was a series of girls  by Lithuanian street artist Ernest Zacharevic. He sees himself as a fine artist who paints in the streets and that is evidenced by the combination of spray paint and detailed art.  I really wanted one of these. The last time I thought about cutting a piece of street art out of the wall it was by a guy named SAMO in New York. 

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The  outdoor walls in Lisbon have become a lot of blank canvases for the artists. It is sometimes  a strong form of communication and sometimes it is quieter.  But, there is always a splash of color.

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Fly safe,

JAZ

Street Art In Brazil

Street Art In Brazil

“Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.” Banksy

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You don’t have to look for street art in Brazil because in cities like Rio and Sao Paulo, you will see it  every where. (Sao Paulo)

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It is part of the Brazilian culture now and a big influence on urban art throughout the world. (Sao Paulo)

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Urban Art In Brazil falls into two categories – street art for everyone to see and enjoy and graffiti writing which seems to be for other graffiti writers – with coded tags, style of letter and specific color palettes. Graffiti art has rules, specific use of materials (almost always spray paint), easy recognizable styles and a history. (Sao Paulo)

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Street art uses many different materials (paintbrush, computer generated images and spray paint). (Sao Paulo –  Beco de Batman)

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Street art engages us as we walk or drive by and see something beautiful, sad, funny or painful. (Sap Paulo)

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Graffiti art always seems like personal message that we are seeing.

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Both are subversive art movements where work is displayed in a public setting for a brief period. (Rio)

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It is always the knowing that it wont be there the next time I come that makes it more special to me – that it wasn’t painted to be there forever. (Sao Paulo)

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Tagging is different from graffiti. It is known in Brazil as pichacao. (Rio)

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The tagger wants to see his name on a wall and has no interest in aesthetics. It is all over Brazil as well. (Rio)

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Brazil’s street art is very diverse and always willing to challenge the political, environmental and social climate. (Rio – Lapa)

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Urban art is different in Brazil then in other countries because it is everywhere with an abundance of styles, colors and techniques. (Sao Paulo)

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In March 2009, the Brazilian government passed a law making street art and graffiti legal if done with the consent of building owners. (Sao Paulo-Kobra)

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It is all around from the favelas to the upper class neighborhoods with consent or without. (Rio)

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The walls that exist all over the cities whether urban topography or security provide huge spaces for painting. (Sao Paulo)

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The cities of Brazil are a giant canvas for the self-expression of their artists. (Sao Paulo)

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Obrigada and Ciao,

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JAZ

 

 

You Are Here – Street Art In Melbourne Australia

You Are Here   –  Street Art In Melbourne, Australia

“Some people want to make the world a better place. I just wanna make the world a better-looking place. If you don’t like it, you can paint over it!” Banksy (In Melbourne)

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I guess what I love about street art is that it is art of the moment. It isn’t meant to be there forever.   You are here .  You can find these words on this spot on this wall.

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The laneways covered in Melbourne street art have become one of the tourist attractions of the city.  I’m not the only person taking photos. The street artists  here work in all mediums from brushes,  spray paint, stencils, street sculptures,  paste ups,  stickers,  and installations.

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It’s the first time I have seen street sculpture.  It is small and hard to find – like  beach treasures.   Maybe as street art becomes more accepted  and mainstream,  artists have to find more creative ways to tell their stories. (soccer ball, but is it art?, eternity)

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One of the main mural streets  was painted over in bright blue by a street artist.  The anti establishment street art  movement? or just someone who had a lot to say in blue?   It is already painted over.

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I loved all the street art quotes and poetry.

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There are a lot of references to literature and history . (founding fathers painted with Aborigine faces, koalas)

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I love the  outdoor galleries.

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Tagging seems less popular. I hated to see some cool piece tagged over by jealousy or stupidity.  I don’t usually mind graffiti but I do when it is covering street art.  Seems a bit like a street art oxymoron.

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“Do art not tags” is the name of a graffiti education presentation being offered  in schools within the city of Melbourne. Actors visit classroom and provide information about the differences between graffiti and street art and how different choices can lead to different consequences.

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The best way to see Melbourne Street Art is with Melbourne Street Art  Tours. http://www.melbournestreettours.com  The tours are given by street artists . You can join a group or hire them privately.

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My tour guide was Michael Fikaris.   He is an excellent artist as well. His portrait of Charles Bukowski was one of my favorites. He brought stickers and left them where he felt they needed to be.  He was very knowledgeable about the art, artists and their stories. (Charles and Michael, commissioned wall by Michael Fikaris, you know who with a twist)

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The great thing about going with Melbourne Street Tours  is that you see art that you wouldn’t normally see. Some of the best stuff was in places I wouldn’t have gone to alone.  They know where to show you the good art and avoid the mediocre.

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You walk by so much street art , when you are out exploring the city.  It is all colorful and fun, and hard to know where to look.

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Street artists use the walls to raise social and political awareness, Others just want to show their artwork. Some are talented and some are enthusiastic.

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Michael immediately points out  the interesting pieces. There are some good artists working out on these streets and it was great to have Michael show them to me. I was getting overwhelmed with so much street art on one wall.  I definitely would have missed a lot doing it on my own.

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Melbourne Street Tours works out of Blender Studios.  You end with a tour of the studios and meet some of the artists.  There are pieces for sale but no pressure to buy.  Of course I got home and wished that I had bought more.  They also run street art workshops and school programs.

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This was the first thing I did in Australia. It turned out to be one of my favorite things. They also made me feel very comfortable on my first day in their country.  It set the tone for a wonderful trip. Whether you are visiting or if you live in Melbourne,  I recommend going to see the street art  with Melbourne Street Tours. Even If you pass these streets everyday, I guarantee you will see new things with them.

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Fly safe,

 

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JAZ

White Walls Say Nothing – Urban Art In Buenos Aires

White Walls  Say Nothing – Urban Art In Buenos Aires

“First day of Advanced Art, my teacher said “I bet none of you know an artist who is currently alive” I raised my hand and said “Banksy” he shook his head and said he wasn’t a real artist, that is  when I knew he wasn’t a real art teacher.” Ariel Dennis

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Streets are the world’s biggest gallery and in Buenos Aires,  graffimundo are the curators.  graffitimundo is a nonprofit organization that promotes street art in Buenos Aires. They have group tours every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at  3 :00 PM and private tours available. It is a great way to see the street art of Buenos Aires. Contact them at http://graffitimundo.com/.

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It is not exactly illegal to paint on the outside walls in Buenos Aires.  As long as the artists have the consent of the building owners,  it is fine.  There are many unoccupied spaces  and dividing walls between buildings. This gives  plenty of  locations for artists to bring a wall to life. IMG_0155 IMG_0157

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It is possible to come across artists painting during the day on the walls.  This is unheard of in most other cities.  Urban artists come from all over the world to paint here. They don’t have to run in the night and have time to create some beautiful thought-provoking pieces.

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I love graffiti art.  My dog is named after a graffiti artist.  It is the art of the community.  People have always written on walls-from cave paintings to love hate propaganda to murals of epic detail and size.  You have to be really committed to paint on a wall knowing it won’t be there forever. The paint will fade, cracks will form or someone can paint over it.   It’s a product of the moment. It is art for art’s sake and not for sale. IMG_0145

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I don’t even mind the writing graffiti. It is some form of communication. When I used to see the freshly painted writing on the trains in NY (I thought it looked great), I would think – another person who has a found a  way to express his anger without a gun. Of course, I’m not the woman in Buenos Aires who washes it off her walls every day or the people who clean up hate crimes of “art”.  There was one street  where a father kept writing I love you to his kids. I wonder what he did that he had to write it all over the walls. There are always stories.

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Johnny Robson was my tour guide and founder of graffitmundo. They started it because they thought the  urban art scene in Buenos Aires was amazing. There was no information about it. graffitimundo was formed to help  share what they had learned with anyone  who was interested. It was their way to support people  who were incredibly talented and under appreciated.

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Johnny is passionate and knowledgeable about the art, artists and their style of painting on the streets of BA.  Every artist and every picture tells a story and Johnny is only too happy to tell them all.  Halfway into the tour , I find myself recognizing artists and styles. The pieces are dynamic. Some express political and social messages and some  may just express emotion.  They are filled with energy, color and life.

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You get to see streets all over Buenos Aires as well.  On the tour we visited walls in Palermo, Villa Crespo, Chacarita and Colegiales.

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I loved the collaborative pieces. In the early graffiti years, Crews (art gangs) have always worked together to paint on the subways and streets. This gave way to Collaboratives  – sometimes political -that could do more than an individual artist. According to Johnny, the artists are happy to share the walls with other talented artists. Another reason  urban artists like to paint in BA.

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We stop off at Hollywood in Cambodia (great name for a gallery) an urban art gallery located on the first floor above Post Bar in Palermo with a rooftop terrace. Americans would probably call it the second floor.  It is run by a few art collectives.  I want to buy everything, but settle on a couple of pieces that I can carry. IMG_0189 IMG_0191

There is not an empty space of wall in the bar below either. IMG_0201 IMG_0199 IMG_0194

The title of this piece is also the title of a documentary that will be out soon. “White Walls Say Nothing” is a feature documentary, produced by White Wall Industries in association with graffitimundo. It is the story of Buenos Aires Urban Art Scene as told by the artists.  I can’t  wait to see it.

I highly recommend this tour in Buenos Aires  if you are interested in modern art or street culture.  For hipsters and scenesters it is the coolest thing to do (unless you are  actually painting on the walls)

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I’m  still amazed by the amount of street art and quality of some of the pieces I saw that day.  I  turned a corner and I saw a painting that I wanted to look at for a long time . I watched people walk by and not even look up.  It’s crazy that they didn’t  see  what they were missing.    Because art , like luck is where you find it.

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Viaje con cuidado,

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JAZ

Things I Have Learned In Argentina

Things I Have Learned In Argentina

“I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.”

―Jorges Luis Borges (Argentine writer)

An asado in Argentina is every carnivore’s dream. Gather  your friends, drink wine and coca cola and stuff yourself with meat.

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Futbol (soccer) is a passion of the Argentine people. Every pueblo has at least one soccer field.  When you fly into Buenos Aires you will see many.

Carlos Gardel is to tango what  Elvis Presley is to rock and roll.

Art Graffiti is not exactly illegal in Argentina. You can paint on street walls in broad daylight. Graffiti artists from all over the world come here to paint.

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Cristina Kirchner  (Presidente of Argentina) takes a helicopter to work everyday from her house in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. You can see the Argentine tax dollars at work.

Argentina is considered to be the most literate country in South America. They were the first to publish Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years Of Solitude when others turned him down. (It is one of my favorite books so I thought I would mention it)

In Peru, I learned about what the Spanish did to the Incas. In Argentina I learned about what the Incas did to the tribes living there. Conquerors are never all that innocent. (Pucara of Tilcara- pre Inca fortification)

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Driving on unpaved roads for hours in Jujuy-not so much fun; seeing the salt flats in Salinas Grandes -priceless.

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A mechanical saint will come out of a door in the town  hall of Humahuaca  at 12:00 pm. He will wave his arms, music will play and you will be blessed. Sometimes religion is that easy.

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Birds eat the parasites off animals. When you see a bird on a horse, he is working.

There are at least twenty-four legal holidays in Argentina. There is Flag Day.. There is the day to celebrate the person who made the flag. There is Friend’s Day. There is the day to celebrate the moon landing. I get the feeling Argentines’ don’t like to work so much.

Ruta 40 goes throughout Argentina like Route 66 goes through the United States.

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Chile and Argentina have their problems but things are better in the last few years. It is usually about borders and waters.

Most of the tobacco grown here. Is for export to the US and China.

Argentina charges an entry fee of one hundred and sixty dollars to all visitors from the  U.S.  It must be paid online before the date of entry or they may not let you in when you get there.  According  to Argentines,  this is because of all the Argentines who have paid visa fees and been denied visas. i don’t know if this is true but it sounded good.

Argentina is the largest producer and consumer of Yerba Mate. (mate cups – number one Argentine souvenir)

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Eating kidneys (rimones),intestines (chinchulines), ribs, testicles, black sausage, any glands and sweetbreads is delicious to someone other than me. (intestines, etc)

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It is mandatory to vote in Argentina.

Many Argentines did not like Eva Peron.

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Argentines have an amazing ability to mobilize a protest. They will stand up for what they think is right or wrong and let it be heard. Late November to early January is protest high season where many of the unions will demand raises due to the out of hand inflation that takes place here every year. Drop by Plaza de Mayo or Plaza Congreso. I was there on May 25th  Argentine Independence Day. They were protesting.

Paraguay is the largest producer of Marijuana.  Canada is the largest exporter to the United States.

Argentine Polo players are among the best in the world. Serious polo tournaments are held here. From September to December the best polo players play in Argentina.

An altitude of 4170 meters means 13,682 feet above sea level and a headache.

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An estancia is a ranch or farm with a big hacienda. They are usually many hectares. We visited many estancias for lunch. They all served asado.

Anything can be made from salt. (like this table)

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Llamas and alpacas are domestic animals. Vicunas and guanacos are wild and usually cannot mate in activity. ( wild vicunas)

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There are exceptions. (Coquenos, el refugio de las vicunas )

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Vicunas are the Princes and Princesses of the Andes.

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The Argentine government has a list of names for new babies.  If the name you choose is not on the list, you cannot legally use it. Today,  people can petition the government to add more names.

Gay marriage has been legal here for about year. Recently they have had their first gay divorce.

The new Pope is from Argentina.

Argentina has close affection for cinema. They have the highest rates of movie viewing in the world. They like watching both locally made movies and Hollywood flicks.

For all those who love animated films – The world’s first animated films were created and released in Argentina, by a person named Quirino Cristiani in 1917.

Argentines pronounce the LL as a soft G. They say Ja-ma for llama and pa–ree-ja  for Parilla. In Salta they sometimes pronounce their R as a soft G and say peh-jo for perro.  It sounds a littler Portuguese sometimes.

Argentines can smoke and own Marijuana but they cannot buy it or sell it.

Argentines can chew and posess Coca Leaves but it is illegal to buy and sell them. (Look for the Bolivian women in the square in Humahuaca, the leaves help with altitude sickness).

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Condors mate in the air and mate for life. if the female dies, the male commits suicide. If the male dies, the female takes another mate for the procreation of the species. There is a lesson here.  I am not sure  what it is.

If a person in Argentina is carrying an iPad or IPhone, he probably bought it on the black market or he is not an Argentine.

Argentines have a coffee and a sweet around 6:00pm. Dulce De Leche is always a good choice. As I have gained a few kilos on this trip , I wish I had chosen it less.

Restaurants do not open  for dinner until nine o clock. Most people eat dinner after ten. I did not understand that until  I had been here for a week and eaten that huge lunch every day around two o clock. I did not get hungry  till ten.   You can be like the Argentines and eat meat again or be like the Americans and have soup, bread and cheese.   I also completely now understand the need for the siesta till five. Having wine, meat and potatoes at  lunch makes you sleepy in the afternoon.

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Most public schools go from eight to twelve or one to five. They have  less hours of school than we do. Their literacy rate is 97.5 per cent. Some people feel it is ok and others feel that it is too little and save for private school. Their school uniform is a white lab coat.

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A dog’s best friend is his llama (pronounced jama).

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Police in Argentina are known to be corrupt.

In Argentina you can dry your own red chilies in the sun.

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They say that Argentina got the Iguazu Falls and Brazil got the view. I don’t know about that. They are pretty spectacular in Argentina. (complete with a real rainbow)

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It takes ten minutes by rowboat to get to Paraguay from Misiones, Argentina. (view of Paraguay across the Parana River from our house)

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Argentina is one of the largest producers of wines since the 16th century and has around 1800 wineries. Malbec is their most planted grape. The irrigation system was started centuries ago by Indians. It is the fifth largest wine-producing country.

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Studies have shown that red wines are much better than white wines in preventing heart disease. Scientists believe that the polyphenols in red wine seeds and skins are the reason for this.  High altitude wines are particularly rich in polyphenols. This is because UV radiation increases at higher elevations and results in a greater concentration of polyphenols in these wines. We visited many high altitude vineyards in Salta province.(Colome)

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Torrontes is a white Argentine wine grape which produces a  wine with moderate acidity and a smooth texture. I like it.

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Cars have the right of way on the road. (from front of van – goats running to the side of the road – big deal for the city kid.)

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Cows move slower.

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Everything can be made out of cactus.

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If you are planning to change pesos back into dollars at the Argentine airport as I was, don’t. Christina doesn’t allow you to give back pesos at the airport. What you change in Argentina, stays in Argentina.

Buen Dia and Fly Safe

Jayne