June was the month that Belu and I immediately began in earnest task of wedding-planning (something that of course still continues). But meanwhile I still found for the Buenos Aires Ultimate Frisbee playoffs. After going an entire year unscathed, Big Red's dominance had not continued throughout the regular season. Fortunately, we played well enough to end up in 3rd place and faced Discosur in the semis. But we had really played our worst in the weeks leading up to the tourney. Confidence was not high. But after a stirring call to action from Dani just moments before the game started, we began playing with a fire that we hadn't seen since the "old days." After scoring the first six points of the match, there was little Discosur could do to come back. It was the confidence boost we needed and suddenly there was esperanza for the championship game on Sunday morning.
Big Red - Solidaridad, Herman@s!
In the finals, we were set to play Aqua, the top seed who had just finished up a very strong regular season. We also knew that one of our strongest players wouldn't arrive until well into the game. But nonetheless, Big Red picked up from where we left off the day before, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Los Tiburones from Aqua gradually clawed their way back into it, and tore off their own run of four straight points to start the second half. Big Red fought back, and took the lead again. Aqua scored two straight and was up by one when the clock ran out. But Big Red notched the equalizer, tying the game with one, winner-take-all point remaining. It wasn't the stuff of greatness from either team, but eventually (and perhaps fittingly), Chapy, captain of Aqua, ended up snatching the disc in the endzone for the season's final point.
This throw, ugly though it was, did connect with Roxi.
Aqua celebrates wresting the title from our hands. Felicitaciones, Tiburones!
We finished with mixed emotions, knowing that our errors left a lot of points on the field and with them, the game. At the same time, we played our strongest when the games mattered the most. Aqua had spent all season building a champion, and they deserved the victory. It was easily the most intense Ultimate game on record in Argentina. Many onlookers passing through Palermo Woods stayed to watch the end. We can only hope that the league continues to grow. With exciting games like this, it's likely.
Once again, a beautiful day and a fine-lookin' league
July featured, well, a lot of work for work. So not so much fun stuff. We celebrated Belu's birthday (this time without surprises). We filled our apartment building's party room with friends, catered food, and a whole lotta karaoke. Singing went until the early morning. These were good times!
Really getting into it. I don't even think the champagne had much to do with it.
In the local ultimate scene we started our first "hat" league with eight teams, and a great opportunity for beginners to give the sport a try. Very much like Chicago's Summer League. I was a Vaquita de San Antonio (Ladybug). Unfortunately, I missed a number of the games, but the idea was great and we will surely follow up with more of these.
Just a reminder of our gorgeous view. The photos' from July, so it qualifies here.
August followed July as one of the busiest months I've ever had at work. At times I was doing three jobs at once (four if you count wedding planning). It left little time for enjoying life in Buenos Aires. So there is unfortunately very little to tell of local adventures.
I did go back to Baroda, India for work again, this time for two and a half weeks. I'm working closely with a smaller team there, and on this trip I got to become much more connected to the local culture than on the last one (and luckily there were no visa shenanigans this time). I ate a ton of Indian food, something I never get to do here in Argentina. It was a nice throwback to my vegetarian days as I only ate meat on one occasion throughout the trip. Yet I went home stuffed every night.
All that overeating can really take its toll, but my compañeros turned me on to a local remedy called paan. Paan is betel leaf wrapped around, well, I don't even really know what was in there. It reminded me of yerba, but you would never actually eat yerba directly. They come with various varieties - chocolate, frozen fruit, and who knows what else. You throw the whole thing in your mouth like a tobacco chaw, and then slowly let it disintegrate without chewing. I don't know if it actually helps with the digestion or not, but it definitely tasted good. After one or two of these, I was craving them every night. And fortunately, every night I was able to have one.
The name of this joint is Rich Pan. I don't know if this guy's name is Rich, but we should, for now, just call him the Pan Man.
I was so stuffed after a vegetarian buffet, my biggest concern was how I was going to fit anything else in my stomach...
...but it doesn't really go in your stomach since the idea is to let it dissolve in your mouth. Still, this is pretty darn big. I was nearly drooling.
The other highlight was a trip to a local palace which I had heretofore not known about in Baroda. So I leave you this time with various photos of the Laxmi Vilas Palace originally built by the Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. (The photos don't really do it justice. It was a rainy day and they would not let me take pictures inside. Trust me, though, this is a gorgeous place, if a bit antiquated).
It was so humid, it took about 20 minutes for my camera to stop fogging over once we left the air-conditioned car. This was the first "good" picture.
The palace is surrounded by a nice golf course. Perhaps something to try on the next visit.
Other writing from J/J/A:
Top 50 Albums - Don Caballero: World Class Listening Problem
Top 50 Albums - Mission of Burma: The Obliterati
Fishbone @ Teatro Colegiales
Top 50 Albums - Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
Top 50 Albums - The Lawrence Arms: Oh! Calcutta!
Crazy for the Copa
The Well Worn Practice of Self-Delusion
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY