Tuesday, May 30, 2006

a vida eh boa

Yesterday, Karen and I went on a gorgeous (yet hilly and windy) run through the Presidio and down by the beach. It was Memorial Day, so people were down by the beach roasting hamburgers, flying kites, playing in the water, drinking wine, chasing kids, throwing frisbees, walking their dogs, and generally celebrating the absolute beauty of the day and the joy of having off work.

As we were running along, it occurred to me how great it is to live here, and how lucky we are to have such fun, easy lives (in the relative scheme of things). This sunny attitude I have on life might be apt to switch once I am living in Boston and am spending my nights crying myself to sleep under a pile of law school reading while trying to restore feeling into my frozen extremities, but, you know, I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

To celebrate Memorial Day, my grandparents and parents and I had a Mexican dinner (prepared by my Irish grandmother), then my parents and I went out for froyo, the ultimate California thrill. Oh, froyo, how did I live without it in South America?! Those Brazilians don't know what they are missing by stubbornly insisting that their cold, creamy desserts actually contain some sort of dairy product.

After dinner and dessert, I watched Murderball and did crossword puzzles. Murderball was a really moving film; I shed a few tears, I can't lie. The movie was about the US Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby team and their quest to win gold at the Athens games. Turns out they lost to CANADA and New Zealand (wha?!), but it was inspiring nonetheless.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Movie update. I have seen 2 in the past week so I feel obligated to report on them.

I saw the DaVinci code on Wednesday, and here's the thing. It was super long, and it still managed to leave out most of the interesting, cool, art stuff in the book. They mentioned Da Vinci himself, like, once. It was okay, though. Tom Hanks' hair was weird. Anyway, I didn't get much out of the movie that I didn't get out of the book, but it was entertaining, so that's all you can ask for, I guess.

The second movie I saw was Down in the Valley with Edward Norton. http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2006/05/23/down_in_the_valley_2006_review.shtml
I strongly recommend this movie simply because Edward Norton was shirtless for a good 80% of it, which is really all the motivation one needs to see any film (Edward Norton, marry me!). Besides the steaminess of Edward, the movie was pretty good. It was beautifully shot, had a cool, electric guitar soundtrack, and involved a Culkin (Rory!). There were some disturbing scenes, though, like when Edward Norton's character, Harlan, shoots his teenage girlfriend in the stomach and then she makes these weird gurgling noises. Here's the really disturbing part: Emily and I both started giggling like crazy people during that scene. I mean, it was shocked/horrified giggling, but we must have seemed like the biggest a-holes to everyone else, laughing at some poor girl getting shot in the stomach. Oh well, this is how we deal with trauma in my family, I suppose -- laugh hysterically.

Boyds are choyping

Oh MAN is it a beautiful day! Sunny, clear, breezy, gorgeous! I woke up this morning feeling hungover and allergic, since last night I crawled home at 4 and had to get up for work this morning, but as soon as I stepped outside, I felt 1000% percent better because it is a gorgeous day.

Unfortunately, since I have to work today, I am missing out on San Francisco's Carnaval celebrations, but perhaps that is for the best. Let us not forget the unfortunate REAL Carnaval experience that will probably haunt me for the rest of my days. http://teffsinbrasil.blogspot.com/2006/03/vida-carnaval.html

You know what, this day is so great that not even the ubercreepy man in Subway who accosted me when I was buying my $2.49 six-inch roasted chicken sub could dampen my spirits. I was standing there, psyching myself up for my chicken sandwich, when the individual in front of me in line -- mid-50s, wearing a bad wig and a loud Hawaiian shirt -- turned around, looked at me, and said, "There she is!" I looked at him, smiling blankly, and then he said, "There's my wife!" I turned around to see what unfortunate woman would marry a man with such bad (fake) hair, and saw no one. Weirdo said, "You! I'm talking about YOU! So how 'bout marrying me?"

At this point, I noticed that Weirdo was with a Mexican kid (OBVIOUSLY not his son) who looked to be about 12, and was buying him a tuna sub. I couldn't even begin to speculate on why this child's mother would let him go out eating tuna subs with Wig Man, but I guess that is none of my business. Anyway, the kid was looking at me expectantly, waiting to see if I would accept the marriage proposal from Weirdo, but I said nothing. Undeterred, Weirdo went on to ask me where I worked, whether he could call me some time, whether I ran in Bay to Breakers, and if I wanted to see a picture of him in a wolf mask. Before I could object, he had whipped out his camera and was showing me a picture of him (in the wolf mask, as promised), a naked lady at Bay to Breakers with a "no more Bush" sign (EW), and a picture of Weirdo (still in wolf mask) with a lady in a bunny suit.

He explained: "I met this nice lady at Bay to Breakers, she was dressed as a bunny, and I said to her, 'call me sometime because I want you to be my bunny.' She never called me, so, but, you know. No big deal."

I was still reeling from the naked lady picture, and thus had no response to the sad bunny story.

Our uncomfortable interaction lasted for the rest of the time it took the Subway lady to make my sandwich. In that time period, Weirdo explained that he works at the Post Hotel ("I call it the Post Hilton"), asked whether people from "out of the county" (not country, county) could stay at international backpacking hostels, and, before we parted, told me to "stay happy." Oh, San Francisco.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Kirby Kove

For the first time since girl scouts (*shudder*), I went camping, and it was marvelous!

Early last night I headed over to work and met up with four other girls from the hostel -- Jinny, Kyla, Hillary, and Katherine -- and we got picked up by Brian, a guy from Incredible Adventures, in a big van. We drove right across the Golden Gate Bridge to a campground called Kirby Cove (see picture), which is situated almost right under the bridge. It was absolutely stunning -- green, grassy hills leading down to a sandy beach looking out on the bridge, the water, and San Francisco. We got there around 8, so there wasn't much daylight left, but enough time for us girls to wander down to the beach with our beers and watch the lights come on in the city across the water.

Some other people from Incredible Adventures met up with us as we were setting up our tents, starting a campfire, and digging into the wine, cheese, berries, and other delicious snacks that Brian brought. We spent the night stuffing our faces, talking about hostel gossip, telling creepy "haunted hostel" tales (apparently the USA Hostel in San Diego has some ghost issues), making s'mores, and hearing Jinny's horror stories about getting dengue fever in French Guyana (Note to self: don't go to French Guyana). At night, I was a bit nervous that I would freeze my butt off, since I had only brought a long-sleeve shirt and a hooded sweatshirt, but it ended up being toasty warm in our tent. We all slept like babies. Slightly drunk babies.

This morning I woke up to the sun sparkling off the water -- it was a truly beautiful day. We packed up our sleeping bags and tents and the remains of our food, bundled into the van, and drove back into the city. Turns out Kirby Cove is rated one of the best campsites in the world near a city, and I see why. I will definitely try to go back there soon -- damn I love living in San Francisco!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


The pace of my blogging has slowed somewhat since I am no longer floating freely between international borders. But rest assured, life is still wonderful here in San Francisco. Work at the hostel is always interesting. Like, on my first day of working by myself, I got to call an ambulance (for a girl whose "emergency" was a sore ankle)! That was thrilling, especially when the dispatcher asked me if the patient was vomiting blood, and I got to say no.

Tomorrow night, all of the receptionists and other staff members get to go up to a cabin in Muir Woods for the night (FOR FREE), because this travel company called Incredible Adventures (we sell their tours in the hostel) wants us all to experience one of their tours firsthand, or something. Whatever, free trip. My manager called to tell me the details and said, "I don't know exactly what we'll be doing up there....I guess just getting drunk." Works for me.

Speaking of getting drunk, last night I went out to dinner with my parents and grandparents. We went to an Italian place in Nob Hill called Venticello (http://www.venticello.com/). It was really picturesque, the food was nice, the waiter was knowledgeable, and the wine flowed freely. A little TOO freely, actually. I drank entirely too much, but I blame it on my dad, since he claimed our second bottle of wine, which was a California Sangiovese, tasted like Vic's 44 cough syrup and did not pull his weight in drinking it. That meant the burden of finishing the bottle fell on me and my 91 pound grandmother -- oof. I pushed matters further after dinner by ordering a Frangelico on the rocks. Oh MAN, is Frangelico good. I wish I smelled like that.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Brain frizzle

There are many activities that always make me feel slow-witted -- excessive drinking-meat eating binges (usually only happens down South America way), breathing in noxious fumes, watching the movie Snatch, doing geometry, and, after this week I can add waking up at 5:20 am three days in a row to go to work. At first, waking up at 5:20 was sort of an adventure, sorta fun, sorta exhilarating. Now, I realize that after three days of doing it, it just makes me stupid.

Working at the hostel is still fun, especially now that I am fully trained and allowed to work shifts by myself (!), but the early morning wake-ups are harsh. Also, since that magical first day when the Starbucks people gave me all the free food and coffee, I have showed up there hopefully, giving the baristas my most winning smile, but to no avail. Dang.

Anyway, I felt the full effect of those early-morning wake-ups yesterday, as I was getting my nails done and fell asleep several times, causing my hand to jerk as my head fell forward, and thus wrecking the nail that the woman was painstakingly painting with her little brush. Not even the fact that a man with a beard and a cell phone clipped to his belt came in and asked for a manicure and (spa) pedicure could rouse me from my fugue state. I wanted to gawk at him and make him feel ashamed for having good grooming habits, but I couldn't even keep my eyes open.

I also fell asleep on muni coming home, and woke up to find that I was the only one left on the bus except for one man, who was sitting right next to me, despite the fact that the whole bus was empty. I looked at him, startled, and he said, "Go ahead and take a nap, I won't let you fall over." EW. I just looked ahead, because I was too creeped out/tired to say anything, like, "uh, sir, would you mind removing your thigh from mine and relocating to one of the 15 empty seats immediately surrounding us? Thanks." Eventually he moved, I think because I stayed awake and he gave up on the possibility of me actually falling asleep on him, which seemed to be the end goal.

Once I got home, ate dinner with my grandparents, and settled into the easy chair to watch Hotel Rwanda, my brain completely shut down. Not even a film about genocide could keep me awake -- not even the scenes with machine gun fire for 3 minutes straight. Oof.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Birmingham Heiresses.... sigh

Today at the gym I watched two shows on MTV that truly make me fear for the future -- since I have been told that the Children are our Future -- "Tiara Girls" and "My Super Sweet Sixteen." I had seen Sweet Sixteen before; basically, it's a show about unfathomably spoiled children whose parents give into their every whim and throw them huge, extravagent, mind-blowingly expensive birthday parties which always involve the following things:
  1. a costume change
  2. the unveiling of a crazily expensive car (usually after the parent pretended that the birthday boy/girl was going to get stuck with some other, slightly uglier, really- expensive-but-not-expensive-enough car instead of the child's Dream Car)
  3. a performance by a B-list celebrity
  4. the child saying "This is unacceptable" to a person at least 20 years older than him/her
  5. invitations that cost more than my Harvard law education
  6. meltdowns
Anyway, today's episode involved a girl from -- wait for it -- Birmingham, Michigan, my lovely hometown, who is an "heiress in training" and is trying to start the catchphrase "that's juicy," since Paris Hilton already claimed "that's hot." Not kidding. If you don't believe me, see for yourself: http://www.mtv.com/onair/dyn/sweet_16/episode.jhtml?episodeID=99223

So, this ridiculous girl decided to have her "super" sweet sixteen bash at the Birmingham Community House. Um, not to hate, but that is where I took driver's ed classes -- doesn't this girl know that other kids on Sweet Sixteen have had their parties at Jay Z's club and P. Diddy's pool and Kayne West's kitchen? I mean, the Community House is fine for Seaholm High School senior night -- the highlight of which was the group hypnotist that the PTA hired -- but for a SUPER sweet sixteen? Come ON.

The other show I saw, Tiara Girls, was about young girls who compete in beauty pagaents and say things like, "I came here to win, and I am not leaving without the crown," and then lose. The girl featured today was ALSO from Southeast Michigan, and lost miserably in her pagaent (surprise surprise). She and her mom both bawled and apologized to each other for letting each other down. Her mother said, "I should have pushed you harder." Did I mention the mother encouraged her sixteen year old daughter to get liposuction before the pagaent? Sigh.

I can't decide what worries me more about American society today: the fact that there are people riding the Greyhound bus who try to push disabled men out of the way so they can get on the bus faster, or the fact that there are completely untalented, borderline-retarded teenagers who think they are entitled to a gala ball because they happened to make it to their sixteenth birthday. Ponder and get back to me.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunny Day Music and Crackhead Stories

I have been working at the hostel for almost a week now, and will have my first solo shift Monday morning. Exciting!!! I love working there; it's so much fun to talk to the traveling kids and give directions to the streetcar and stuff. Today I trained with Will again, and we spent our shift listening to this Australian band, Cat Empire, because I requested Sunny Day music, and there is nothing sunnier than wacky Australians bopping along with a brass section.

Later, we exchanged crackhead stories. The area where I work is right off Union Square -- aka Tourist Central of San Francisco -- but also borders the Tenderloin -- aka Sketchball Central of San Francisco -- so there are a lot of colorful characters wandering around. Fun fact: the building that the hostel on Sutter St. is now occupying used to be a crackhouse. Apparently some of the old patrons still come back once in a while to see if there are vacancies/easy access to spoons.

Anyway, today Will told a typical, crackhead-acting-cracked-out story, and then I beat him with my tale from my ride home on Muni the other night. Here's what happened: I was on the bus and a man came on with a big bag full o'stuff and a crazy look in his eye. I actually still can't decide whether he was crazy or on crack -- neither here nor there, I suppose. So the man was sitting there, crazy talkin', and people were starting to move away, but I was on the phone with Karen so I didn't move, even though I was right across the aisle from him. Then, he set into a weird combination of hacking/coughing/barking/spitting/yelling/convulsing that lasted a few minutes longer than was comfortable for everyone. At that point I got off the phone with Karen, just in case I needed to move away from Nutso McDruggie on short notice.

After the coughing fit subsided, the guy suddenly threw himself towards the doors, which were closing, and set off the ear-splitting alarm that happens whenever some idiot tries to exit as the doors are shutting. Unfazed, he set off running down the street, and his pants fell down, giving the rest of us Muni riders a lovely view. We all watched him run towards a parked car, take hold of the windshield wiper, and start to jam it up his nose repeatedly. When Muni started up again, he was still at it, shoving the windshield wiper as far up as it would go, over and over, like he was trying to poke his own brain.


I guess it should be apparent from my recent blog entries that a) there are a lot of disturbed people in this city, and b) I love it anyway. Despite all the skeevy weirdos and creepy crackheads and dangerously psychotic individuals roaming these beautiful streets, I wake up every day happy to be here, looking forward to my next adventure in the city. Each day I take a new bus or walk down a new street or eat in a new greasy-omelette breakfast place, and I am loving discovering all of it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sitbones and Pantylines

I took a Pilates class today at my gym and can't decide if I will return for another round. I used to pop in a Pilates abs dvd every once in a while but I had never encountered a real-live Pilates teacher who actually says stuff like, "Pull your heartstring towards the ceiling and center your solax with your pantyline." Nevermind what the hell a "solax" is, but how do I center it with my pantyline? Was my pantyline visible? SHOULD it have been?

The class also involved some self-torture with a device called the Magic Circle, which you put between your thighs/ankles/arms and squeeze repeatedly while contorting yourself into weird shapes or doing things like rocking back and forth on your tailbone -- the teacher called this "scooping out your abdomen and pouring." No, no, in Pilates, it's not plain old rocking --it's pouring.

The teacher was a piece of work -- blonde, late 50s, sporting a lot of clankety jewelry. Earlier she had told me that in dance classes -- and Pilates, apparently -- one does NOT bring in water. "It's just not what you do," she said. No water. Check. I hid mine in the corner, ashamed. The normal rules of vocabulary AND hydration do not apply in Pilates, I learned. After the class, she told me that she had been a dance instructor for 35 years, she was a master Pilates teacher, and -- I am not lying about this -- a retired mime. Apparently someone IS out there forcing mimes off the street. That's comforting.

Monday, May 08, 2006

More Buenos reminiscing

Check out this cute pics of Carrie, Emma and me in Milhouse. They were cool girls and I miss them!

I love these ones because we all have really nice looking teeth in it -- it's like a Crest ad or something.

Working girl

First day of work at the hostel!

I woke up at 5:30 am to catch the 6 am Muni downtown, and despite a minor freak-out when I thought I would miss Muni (and consequently ran out the door with my bag unzipped and my teeh unbrushed), I ended up getting to the Powell station at 6:20 since the Muni runs way faster when it doesn't have to stop to pick up people. Der.

I decided to pop into Starbucks for some caffeine (and cinnamon gum), and ordered a coffee and a bottle of water. Apparently, Starbucks has some sort of special promotion for poor people like me who are getting coffee before 6:30 am, because they gave me a huge travel coffee (like a coffee KEG), a carton of half-and-half, lids, cups, sugar, and 5 hot sandwiches to take to my coworkers. Needless to say, I was a big hit on my first day of work when I showed up with piping hot food and coffee for all.

Work was FUN! Well, as much fun as one can have at 7 am behind a desk. But really, it was so interesting and fun checking in and out people from all over the world, giving directions (all my preparation paid off!!), scheduling shuttles, selling tours, etc. I think I am really going to like the job. Yaaaay.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

IxNay on the OundHay

I think a little Greyhound follow-up story is called for, since after my return trip, I have come to some conclusions about a) society, b) humanity and c) the people of Oakland. To make a long and painful story short, I was on a bus with the true dregs of humanity coming back from Reno to San Francisco. I am not being mean here. These were truly AWFUL people. Let me elaborate...

As I was in the bathroom, I heard a woman screaming at her young child in another stall, telling her to "wipe her own a**," and then flying into a stream of obscenities -- well, one obscenity, really, repeated over and over -- after she dropped her cell phone in the toilet. The cell phone was obviously more of a priority to the mother than was her 4 year old daughter, I noticed, because when I came out of my stall, the little girl was burning her hand on the dryer and the mother yelled at her to "leave me ALONE right now," while she tried to dry the cell phone. Lovely, I thought, and went back on the bus.

In a few minutes, the cell-phone lady and her daughter came back to the bus, but had to wait because a severely disabled man -- like, he had a cane and could barely walk -- was struggling into his seat, and the old man sitting next to him was standing in the aisle to let him in. The woman came up behind the old man and said, loudly, "Can y'all hurry UP? It's HOT out here." Then she went on to complain that the disabled man was holding up the "whole motherf***ing bus," and eventually pushed her way past. Wow, I thought.

Things got worse the next time cell-phone lady, her sister, and the little girl went to get off the bus, because this time, one of the women told the old man -- who was again standing in the aisle -- that he better "sit his old a** down or there is gonna be s***." Okay, I am NOT making this up. There is no way I could make this up. She then called him a motherf***er, said something else about his old a**, and pushed her way off the bus. At this point, the old man looked like he was going to cry. But the worst part of the whole thing was that these women were swearing like sailors in front of their own child and in front of OTHER people's children. Everyone else on the bus was sort of shell-shocked but no one said anything to the women, I think because we were all sort of afraid she would cut us.

I guess what depresses me about this situation is that it seems like the social contract -- the basic rules that we all abide by to make our society work -- seems to have broken down with these women. How is that little girl going to grow up if her parents are setting such a horrendous example of how to treat other people? And how do those women even make it through the day if every basic interaction with another human being turns into some sort of semi-violent confrontation laced with profanities? I just don't get it.

Besides the two scary ladies, the rest of the ride was uneventful. You had your drunken, smelly people, your loud-talking-on-cell-phone people, your chatty old people who ride the Greyhound every week, and your marginally mentally-ill people. Same ol'. Moral of the story? Unless you want to be severely depressed about the state of American society -- or at least the bottom of the barrel of American society -- don't ride the 'Hound any time soon. Or if you do, at least pack your own booze.


You know it's a beautiful day in this city when it's sunny in the Sunset, which is usually bathed in fog and battered by bone-chilling winds off the beach. As soon as I stepped out the door this morning to catch Muni downtown, it was beautiful, clear and bright -- what a welcome sight!

I spent the day wandering around the city, going to the gym, taking buses that I have never taken before (yay Muni pass!), and eating one of the most delicious turkey subs I have ever had in my life from a little Asian breakfast place on Sutter. Oh MAN was that turkey sub good! Now at least I can honestly recommend one cheap eatery near my work to all the lost travelers looking for a bite to eat. I am SO prepared for work tomorrow.

As I was taking the 28 bus back from the Marina to the Sunset, we drove past Crissy Field and up to the Golden Gate Bridge, and I just looked out the window and marveled at the natural beauty of the city. Don't get me wrong, I love Sao Paulo with all my heart -- even with its grime, noise, and occasional soccer riot -- but living there for 8 months really makes me now appreciate the green freshness of San Francisco all the more. It's going to be a good 4 months.

I Heart San Francisco

Well, good things are popping up all over for me here in San Francisco!

I got the job at the hostel, so as of 7 am Monday, I will be employed as a receptionist. Woo hoo! I am excited because this means I will still be able to pretend I am traveling, plus there are tons of Brazilians staying there so I can falar some Portugues with them. To get ready for my job -- which will involve helping travelers find their way in SF -- I spent the day walking around the Nob Hill area, trying to familiarize myself with the basics -- where to find good Thai food, post office, book store, rent-a-car, etc.

It was a truly gorgeous day -- windy but sunny and clear -- and I was really blown away by the beauty of this city. Even though I have come here every summer since I was 14, I am just now starting to feel like I'm getting to know the city -- well, the city outside of the Sunset district. Later in the day, I met up with Karen and we went to Sports Basement, this place near the Presidio that is basically a huge warehouse full of cool sports gear -- hiking, biking, running, yoga, camping, etc. I was in heaven but I had to rein myself in since I, you know, don't have a job -- YET.

Afterwards we went and ate at Pacific Catch -- nice, fresh seafood -- and then, to top off the evening, got some 10-calorie-per-serving, possibly-made-from-styrofoam frozen yogurt. Oh, how I missed it!!! We ended up going for a drive down to the ocean, then up to the Inner Sunset and the Haight, since Karen doesn't know this area of the city very well. All in all, a great day in the city, and doubly nice to be reunited with Karen.

So right now, I am sitting at my grandparents' house, in my pjs, having a nice cup of tea, and feeling quite optimistic about the next 4 months in the city. I am gonna save money because I don't have a car -- although I will only be making minimum wage, so maybe not -- I'm gonna learn the public transportation system like the back of my hand, I'm gonna go for scenic runs and walks, and most importantly, I'm going to have FUN with my friends from college for these last few months before I ship myself out to Boston. Here we go!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I am sitting here in Reno watching "Arrested Development" with my mom and Dougal, our dog. It's nice to be back in the family environment --so relaxing! My dad made me a special omelette this morning for breakfast, I sat around in my pajamas for a good chunk of the day (until I had to go to the dentist, and I was thisclose to going in pjs), I have been watching Arrested Development like it's my job, and tonight my parents and I went to our favorite all-you-can-eat sushi place for dinner. (Love those "Reno rolls!") The only damper on the day was the time I had to spend filling out financial aid applications for law school. That was NO fun.

So I think I owe it to whomever may be reading this to describe my Greyhound bus experience, in case anyone is considering it as a travel option. Here's the thing. It was okay, I guess, but like, what is it with crazy people and buses? I just don't get it. To be fair, it wasn't JUST crazies -- besides the numerous mentally-ill passengers on the Lucky Streak, there were several crusty, alcohol-soaked individuals, a girl who looked and talked like Hilary Swank's character in Million Dollar Baby, a guy who screamed into his walkie-talkie cell phone ("I'M ON THE GREYHOUND!!! I SAID, I'M ON THE GREYHOUND!!"), a large girl with blue hair who snored, and an angry man and his 4 year old son (who had a diamond stud earring). A colorful crowd.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Just got back from my second job interview with a hostel in SF...

The first one was at the Green Tortoise Guest House in North Beach (http://www.greentortoise.com/san-francisco-hostel/index.php), which was AWESOME, but they were looking to fill an assistant/joint manager slot and couldn't hire me for only 4 months. The guy who ran the place seemed very nice and down-to-earth and he told me I would be ideal for the job and was very disappointed to hear I will be leaving in September. Dang!

The interview today was at USA Hostels, which also looks wonderful, and they seemed more willing to deal with the fact that I can only work for 4 months. They were lovely people and really seemed enthusiastic about hiring me but I can't get my hopes up, since they have to interview more people this week. Oof. Wish me luck on that one.

In other news, my parents went back to Reno today, and I am taking the Greyhound bus there tomorrow. Here is the difference between bus travel in the USA and in South America, as far as I can gather: bus stations in the USA smell like pee, as do most of the people in the bus station/on the buses/within 100 meters of the bus station. Bus stations in South America, however, smell like fried dough and are frequented by normal, non-urine-soaked people. I have a feeling my bus ride tomorrow may be extra sketchy, as I am taking the "Lucky Streak" casino route to the Biggest Little City. That's right, they drop me off right at the door of Circus Circus, so I can waste no time shattering my hopes and dreams along with the other glassy-eyed sad sacks parked at the nickel slots. Sigh.

Oh, one more thing. Today I went back to Stanford for a doctor's appointment. It was bittersweet driving around that gorgeous, country club-esque campus. I felt quite a pang of nostalgia or two -- I won't lie -- especially when I drove past Wilbur Field -- site of many a day of lying out frying myself as a freshman -- and saw that is is being turned into a parking lot. As we passed, my dad said, "They paved paradise..." That might be stretching it, but not really.

The highlight of the trip to Stanford was picking up a copy of the Stanford Daily -- I am sad to report that the Daily has become even more pitiful than it was when I graduated, and that is saying something. Now it's like a folded piece of paper with a soduku puzzle and an obligatory editorial bitching about the draw. Oh and today there was an article about how we should refer to the homeless as "unhoused." Oh, Stanford.