justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Monday, March 30, 2009

Skyscrapers and everything

Wherespmac was once the fourth-best Nic Wise fan site in Southern Arizona. Then it was the one of the few blogs written in English in a nation of floggers (I'm still trying to get to Cumbio status). Now it is just another blog lost among the millions of New York City blogs. I'll still keep it alive for the sake of keeping it alive and for all my friends who rely on this blog to entertain them while they are in class.

Here are some note-worthy things I have seen since I moved here.

-- Every street in Harlem has somebody selling a Barack Obama something. There are an incredible amount of 3XL tall tees with the presidential family's image adorning the shirt. There are others that have Barack's face photoshopped over Dwight Howard's in this picture, with the words "One giant leap for mankind" beneath the image.

There was also a great poster showing Obama wearing a mean dark pair of shades, tilting his head so you can see his eyes, holding his Blackberry in the other hand. Posing in front of Cadillac limo, which is in front of the White House. It looks just like every other Rap mixtape cover, except it says "THE PRESIDENT" on the bottom. Incredible.

Still my favorite Barack paraphernalia was a shirt with a black and white image of the pres holding one hand up and his mouth open. In big block letters next to the picture were the words: "Chill I got this!" On the back of the shirt it just read "Harlem." Even more incredible. If it was not on a kid's back I would have bought this.

-- On a Monday afternoon I was walking down from Times Square when I saw a professionally dressed man by himself getting a cartoon caricature of himself.

-- A woman was walking about 20 feet in front of her 2-year-old son, before she yelled, "You got two-point-five seconds to catch up to me or I'm gonna fuck yo ass up!"

-- This really doesn't fit here, but if you don't read Fake Rick Reilly's Twitter than you are not my friend.

-- My friend Eric's new shoes:

When he is not wearing weird shoes, Eric normally wears rope sandals inside the Buddhist Zen Temple he lives in. On Saturday I told him I was interested in checking his digs out, he asked if I wanted to come to the service on Sunday morning. Seeing as how my schedule everyday is currently open from 12:00 am to 11:59 pm I was able to find room.

Early Sunday morning my friend AJ (I should note that all these people are friends I have stolen from my good friend Dustin) I headed out to Brooklyn to try out the Buddhist world.

We walked inside the building, took off our shoes and started singing along to the chants/songs/I am not sure what they are called. After we chanted the names of all 86 Daioshins and several more chants AJ, myself and the other first-timers went upstairs to learn proper meditation techniques from a monk. The monk was a cool Mexican lady who somehow managed to work in a Wall-E reference while instructing us newbies.

Then we went back down to the Zendo and I failed miserably at meditating. Many moons ago before I began backpacking in Argentina I wanted to get into meditation because it seemed like a good thing to learn and also because of Phil Jackson. My former roommate Lauren told me how impossible it was to completely zone out and I thought I understood what she was talking about. I never ended up practicing any Zen while I traveled.

Back in the Zendo I could not clear my mind to save my life.I didn't want to get yelled at for moving and I didn't want to fuck up anybody else's Zen high, so I just sat there as still as possible for what seemed like an eternity. I thought of everything the monk told us not to: old conversations, old stories, the future, television shows. Then Tony Yayo's opening line from "So Seductive" not leave my head. The goofy, staccato, bass-driven sounds of G-Unit would not leave my head, "Ah n*gga do you?! Know what this is?! One shot, one deal, what it is?!"

Then the monk walked over to me and whispered in my ear, "Stare at the Buddha it will help you focus, we only have five minutes left." I was cool with that until I realized it was probably a Buddhist mind trick and we had a lot more than five minutes left.

Eventually we got up and started doing walking meditating which was better for me since I could move. Then we sat back down and the monk gave an amazing speech. I had never heard another monk's speech before, but her's felt definitively Brooklyn as she alluded to Wired magazine, Woody Allen, Facebook and Twitter.

Then it was all over and Eric gave us a tour of the building and I applauded him for meditating twice a day, every day. Then I felt like a dumbass for singing Tony Yayo and mentally writing this whole blog when I should have been meditating.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I am not sure where this blog is heading now. But I think I am only going to blog when one of my favorite rappers is on one of my favorite hospital shows. Let's hope Freeway gets a guest appearance on Scrubs soon so I can update this blog again.

Chapter 25

The day I got into the El Calafate I began walking around the place to see what it had to offer, then just as I was heading to the bus terminal to find a map of the town I ran into two of my friends from my former university in Buenos Aires. They freaked out since they had not heard from me in quite a while and they were blown away that we ran into each other.

I looked at the girls and thought to myself, “I don't know if you guys don't read La Nueva Provincia or what, but meeting you is nothing special.” I then proceeded to have a good time with them for the next 48 hours.

I also made it to Glacier Perrito Moreno. It was pretty.

Just as exciting, once again my Buenos Aires student ID saved me 44 pesos on the park entry fee. Saving me a grand total of 70 pesos, which using a very conservative 3-1 exchange rate, saved me 23 USD on the trip. Practically paying for the 2,200 USD I threw away on a tuition I did not use.

Then I bounced to El Chalten an even smaller town that looks like this:

I did a lot of hiking. Drank some glacier water from the glacier pictured below.

Then I had a one-man picnic in this field.

Then I took some pictures that had an even stronger yellow colors.

By some miracle of God my hostel had NBA league pass for just one of the nights I was there and the only game I was able to watch was a Charlotte Bobcats and Minnesota Timberwolves match-up, two teams which should have been relegated four years ago. But I was still happy to watch NBA basketball and to get to watch Gerald Wallace and Kevin Love from the bottom of the world.

After three days of hiking I took the long bus ride back to Puerto Madryn again just to break up my time on a bus.

I checked back in to my same hostel and then fired off some quick e-mails before I went to the bus terminal to buy a ticket to Bahía Blanca. I had a few e-mails waiting for me all letting me know my wonderland of Bahía Blanca had disappeared in the week since I had left it.

Marquitos told me he was going to be out of town for the entire weekend I planned on returning to Bahia and in the end of his e-mail he added one minor detail. Paul McPherson had already been cut from the team.

I also got an e-mail from Nene informing me of the same grim news. Then I scoured the web and confirmed for a third time that P-Mac had indeed left Bahía Blanca, as well as learning that El Nacional lost their opening game in the Super 8 Tournament I initially planned on attending.

I didn't know how to cope with all this bad news so I went to the bus terminal and bought a bus ticket back home to Buenos Aires. Then I began drowning my fake sorrows in cheap Argentine beer. I sat on the roof of the hostel and watched the sun set over the ocean. I reflected on all my travels and thought about realized that maybe one day with P-Mac was more than enough.

I walked back in to the hostel, checked my e-mail and found this gem waiting for me:

Hi, Justin.
Dropping you a line to let you know that I have awarded your BA in degree in Journalism, back dated to May 2008.

Your diploma will be ordered next Wednesday and will be mailed to you.

OK, so I was drunk sitting on top of a roof in Puerto Madryn, Argentina and now they are throwing me a college degree. I can't be upset with that.

Then I kept drinking with my eclectic posse at the hostel. There were the odd hostel employees, a bald-headed woman and the guy who ran the desk, but always wore doctor's scrubs, some Argentines who traveled the country selling crafts in artesian markets, the token Israeli who is at every hostel, a couple from Australia, a German girl who grew up in the same town as Dirk Nowitzki and an older man who was the talent scout for Club Independiente, the third biggest football team in Argentina.

The talent scout for Independiente showed the local newspaper and revealed a huge picture of himself next to an article about him scouting players in Puerto Madryn. I then pulled out my newspaper from Bahía Blanca, displayed my article and let him know my paper was for a bigger town and therefore superior.

As we all sat in the tiny hostel kitchen one of the local Argentines began jamming on his guitar singing some classic Rolling Stones' songs. Then for no reason at all I grabbed the guitar and spat an accompanying battle rap against the Independiente coach mocking him and his team. Even though I can't play guitar nor rap in Spanish I still lyrically murdered him. The coach took the guitar from me and thought for a few seconds about his retaliation. He then froze up. I finally had my B. Rabbit moment and I had found Paul McPherson. It was a pretty successful trip.

El fin.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chapter 24

After the El Nacional game and my lighthouse experience I had done everything that needed to be done in Monte Hermosa. I walked back to Nené's house and chatted with for an hour to kill time until I caught the return bus to Bahía Blanca. I learned that Nené was a celebrity in the town as she hosted a radio show for eight years before her husband passed away.

Then I returned to Bahía Blanca and sat in the bus terminal with a 45-year-old wild backpacker, Christain, before I took a bus ride to Puerto Madryn. I asked Christain how long he had been travelin for and he told me 25 years. He had lived on every continent and had all his life's belongings in a single backpack. He was merely traveling South America until he found a suitable city to set up shop and try to teach English.

Eighteen hours later I made it to the marine-life-rich town of Puerto Madryn. Unfortunately boat rides to see massive right whales or day excursions to the Peninsula Valdés, the home of thousands of penguins and sea lions, were out of the budget so I just kicked it within the town.

I took the cheap alternative and found a nice museum in the town. My favorite exhibit featured a hallway of hanging rope you had to walk through to enter a dark rectangular room, which was covered in small smooth rocks. The room was completely dark, except for six soft lights which illuminated the room enough so you could see the eight speakers which emitted whale sounds. Alone in the exhibit I laid on my back in the center of the rocks listening to the whales sounds for 10 minutes until a family came in, to which I awkwardly got up, said nothing and walked out.

Then I walked up stairs and found a room which overlooked the ocean and was full of couches. Also relaxing. I ended my museum tour in the kids room where I took this picture because I like the stuffed octopus a lot.

I found a good hostel that was not listed in the guidebooks and subsequently was not as crowded. At night I was eating my dinner and watching “8 Mile” when some other guests entered the room and asked to change the channel. Not wanting to admit that I was closely watching the movie for the third time in my life, I let them change it to “The Last King of Scotland,” which frustrated me because I was wanted to see B. Rabbit battle rap and not watch Forest Whitaker kill 300,000 Ugandans.

In a silent protest of films which could actually teach me something I walked out of the room and hit the computer to send P-Mac an e-mail thanking him for his time. I told him of my plans to return to Bahía Blanca and let him know I'd contact him again when I got back in town.

I got a prompt reply from mailer-daemon@googlemail.com telling me:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:


Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 554 554 delivery error: dd This user doesn't have a yahoo.com account (pmcpherson@yahoo.com) [-5] - mta594.mail.mud.yahoo.com (state 18).
Well that's just great. Part of me believes P-Mac was not smart enough to remember his own e-mail, another part of me thinks maybe he was just too paranoid to give me his real e-mail address. And then there is the logical side of me which believes P-Mac is part of a larger government conspiracy and its to the United States' advantage that P-Mac's whereabouts remain a mystery.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chapter 23

The next morning I woke up and ate the free Argentine breakfast which came with my hotel. An Argentine breakfast consists of nothing more than two greasy media-lunas (a thinner, worse version of a French croissant) and a cup of coffee, since I don't drink coffee my body had adapted to eating nothing more than two media lunas and a glass of water every morning.

I then checked out of my room, bought my afternoon bus ticket back to Bahia and went to the market to buy some ham, cheese and bread for what would be my 5,345th ham-and-cheese sandwich of the trip. I also bought the local paper, La Nueva Provincia, to see what the reporter has written about me.

The whole town of Monte Hermosa was peculiar. It claims to be one of the few place in the world where the sun rises and sets over the ocean shore. It was a tiny town of only 2,500 permanent residents, the streets were almost always empty and all the shops were closed for the better part of the day. I found a shady bench in the middle of an abandoned children's play area, made my sandwiches and began reading the paper.

I rifled through the paper and got through the 10 pages of football before finding the basketball section buried deep in the sports section. I had my own headline: “Mochilero y Fanatico de McPherson (Backpacker and McPherson super fan)” along with four paragraphs about my journey nestled next to the game recap in the sports section.

Below is the article in its entirety, keep in mind that the language barrier made some of the facts wrong and I'm still upset with myself for not making sure wherespmac.com got in the article:
Mochilero y fanático de McPherson

“Me enteré que McPherson estaba jugando en este equipo y me vine de Buenos Aires para ver el partido", contó Justin Adler, de 21 años, quien está recorriendo el país, como mochilero.

Justin, nativo de Arizona, Estados Unidos, se llenó los ojos con McPherson cuando jugaba en Phoenix Suns, equipo de la NBA.

"Me encanta que salta muy alto, es impresionante. ¿Cómo lo vi? Ehhh... Me esperas un momento", pidió --la interrupción le vino bárbaro-- mientras se abrió la puerta del vestuario y salió su ídolo, con quien dialogó brevemente. Después retomó su relato.

“Te cuento, llegué hace dos días a Bahía y me vine para acá. Estudié periodismo y estoy la Argentina. Esto es todo muy diferente, muy loco. Lo que sí, ¡hay muchos fierros cerca del aro, es peligroso", se sorprendió Adler.

Su hoja de ruta aún no está definida.

"No sé si ahora ir al Súper 8 o conocer el sur", dudó el visitante, quien no se llevó la mejor imagen basquetbolística de McPherson. De todos modos, con su mochila en la espalda, seguirá conociendo las bondades de nuestro país y, de paso, continuará mirando de cerca al estadounidense que, por ahora, sigue siendo jugador de El Nacional.

Here's the English translation:
Backpacker and McPherson superfan

“I learned that McPherson was playing on this team and I came from Buenos Aires to watch the game,” said Justin Adler, 21, who is traveling the country as a backpacker.
Justin, a native of Arizona, United States, had his open eyes wide open when McPherson played for the Phoenix Suns, an NBA team.

“I love that he jumps so high, it's incredible. Like you saw? Ehh... Can you wait a moment,” he asked, – quickly interrupting – when the locker room door opened and his idol exited, they had a brief conversation. Then he returned to his story.

“I'll tell you, I arrived two days ago in Bahía Blanca and then I came here. I studied journalism and now I am traveling Argentina. This is very different, it's crazy. Like you see, there are a lot of dangers under the hoop,” said a surprised Adler.

His future route is still unknown.

“I don't know yet if I will go to the Super 8 or to the south,” doubted the visitor, who left without the best image of McPherson. Whatever happens, with his backpack on his back, knowledge of the kindness of our country, he will continue closely watching the North American, who for now plays for El Nacional.

I then walked on the empty beach and tried to figure out what it means to find your dreams come true. I wondered where I should go from here now that I had found Paul McPherson, what else is left for me to do? I suppose I could worry about the little things of life such as finding true love or happiness that isn't attached to a washed-up basketball player; or maybe figure out what type of employment I should seek upon my eminent return back to the United States.

But all of that didn't seem to be as pressing an issue as ascending South America's tallest lighthouse, Faro Recalada, which conveniently was located in Monte Hermosa. I walked a four more kilometers along the empty beach until I reached the lighthouse, which appeared to be deserted. I tried the door of the lighthouse, but it was locked.

There were four houses around the base of the lighthouse and an old man stood outside planting some flowers in his frontyard. I asked him if I could go up the lighthouse, he told me to wait a second and then gestured that I should follow him to the back of his house. I was OK with the idea that he might bludgeon me over the head with his shovel and leave me for dead because I had already found Paul McPherson and my life seemed pretty accomplished at the moment.

Fortunately for my family, friends and cranium he did not smash my skull in with his shovel and he instead reached under a window sill and pulled out a key to the lighthouse that was hidden behind his house. He walked me to the lighthouse, opened the door and told me to have a good time. I climbed 75 meters worth of spiraling stairs and made it to the top. Then at the top claustrophobia and the fact that I was 75 meters above the earth in an abandoned lighthouse set in and I decided 45 seconds of looking out was more than enough.

The view of the beach and surrounding fields were nothing epic; unsatisfied I walked down and thought perhaps I should pursue, employment, love and happiness.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Now is the time

I have not blogged about Arizona hoops in a long, long while because I considered myself beyond that phase. But now that Arizona has comically worked its way into the Sweet 16 I am bringing myself out of sports-blogging retirement and typing this post. And if you can't find the comedy in UA getting into the tournament solely off name recognition, playing two shit teams and now outlasting ASU (who has beat UA five straight times) in the tourney then you are a fucking idiot. Additionally if USC loses in a couple of hours, then UA will be the last Pac-10 team in the tourney.

Now in honor of the Cats, President Obama and Jordan Hill who has somehow became a lottery pick, I am going to re-run my interview with Jordan Hill from last summer.

At Lute Olson’s Team Camp I caught up with Jordan Hill to talk about the life and times of J. Hill. I figured Jordan has dealt with enough questions regarding the drama of Arizona basketball, so we talked about the easier subjects of politics, Weezy, Jeezy and baseball.

ME: How excited are you about Barack Obama winning the democratic nomination?

JORDAN HILL: Umm. I mean I'm not no politician, so I don't really know nothing about that.

ME: Are you gonna vote?

HILL: Nah, I'm just gonna leave it to the professionals, I don't know what's going on. I ain't looking at no CNN, no kinda news to see what's going on, so I ain't gonna vote. I bet you that most of the people voting out there are just voting for Obama 'cause he's black.

ME: Isn't it your dream to win a championship and go to the White House and present the No. 1 Arizona jersey to a black president?

HILL: (laughs) I mean I wouldn't mind seeing that, but it's my point of view that he's not going to be there for a minute. That's how I feel.

ME: What do you mean by that?

HILL: (says nothing and shrugs)

ME: You think he's gonna get shot?

HILL: Hey, hey. Sorry man, I just don't think he's gonna be there for a while.

ME: I guess you should worry about winning a championship before we worry about who’s in the White House.

HILL: Yeah we gotta win that championship first.

ME: With oil hitting $134 a barrel and the whole living green movement, what's Jordan Hill doing to save the environment?

HILL: I haven't been recycling. I don't recycle. I litter, I'm trying to cut back on that though.

ME: What's up with your car, I haven't seen it, but I hear it's pretty crazy.

HILL: It's getting painted, I get it back next week. It's an '82 Cutlass. I put 22s on it. I'm getting it painted white and blue, two-tone style to match the interior. The bottom is gonna be navy blue and the top is gonna be pearl white. It was just all white before.

ME: So does that classify as a donk. I'm not from the South, what is your definition of a donk?

HILL: It's big rims and the car is sitting up high. My car is lifted, so I guess it's a donk.

ME: Have you listened to The Carter III yet?

HILL: Yep. Lil Wayne, he's a good rapper, but he's not the best. I listen to my boy Jeezy. Jeezy is the best rapper.

ME: So you graduated Thug Motivation 101 and 102?

HILL: You already know. I waiting on his next one to come out, I don't know when, but it's coming.

ME: Aside from not recycling and listening to Young Jeezy, what else have you been doing this summer?

HILL: I'm taking summer school, pre-session and summer I.

ME: Anything else that most people don't know about you?

HILL: I'm really interested in baseball, before basketball I was a baseball player. I'm a Braves fan.

ME: I know you're pretty inked up, do all the tattoos have meaning because I've heard after the first one they get more and more meaningless.

HILL: No they all have value, except this one (points to flaming basketball on his left tricep). I don't know why I got that.

ME: Alright Jordan thanks for your time. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

HILL: Thanks man.

After the interview I asked Jordan for a photo, so I could have a fresh picture to throw at the top of the blog. Jordan asked if I’d be in it. I told him I just needed a picture of him, but he refused to be in the picture without me and was very persistent about me being in the photo. So eventually I rolled with it and there you have it… Again props to Jordan for being so cool and living up to the hype of being the funniest guy on the team.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chapter 22

For future legal concerns let's deviate from the whole non-fiction travel memoirs and have a fictitious chapter about the time I met a washed-up basketball star in South America. For the purpose of this entry, we'll call him John McDoeson.

I had talked this player a long, long time ago and been a fan since he first joined the NBA and happened to be on my hometown team. Then magically as I traveled a foreign country and after some strange occurrences, I stumbled into him in a small town, that he just happened to be playing in.

I found it awkward that McDoeson brought up illicit drugs and adultery within the first five minutes I spoke with him.

“I really don't like it here,” McDoeson told me. “But as soon as I find some bitches and weed things will be better.”

I told McDoeson that the marijuana in this foreign country was not as good as the weed back in our common homeland. He was then devastated. He then went on a diatribe explaining how he had all the best hook-ups in his midwest metropolitan city which sits on Lake Michigan. He reminisced on his times in the NBA and how one of his teammates, whose name rhymes with Wario Smelly, “knew a guy who had all the weed in the world.” Ah the glory days of the NBA.

In his mind the only upside to playing in his current league was that they do not drug test.
I changed the subject and asked him what he brought with him when he would move to Europe to play basketball professionally overseas for several months at a time.

“I always brought weed where ever I went. I never got caught neither,” McDoeson said. “I'd always bring like seven or eight grams on the plane with me. I'd also bring a huge tub of Lawrys, like one of those Sam's Club size jars. I gotta have my seasoning.”

We talked some more and then McDoeson talked about trying to get some pussy again. I knew he had a wife, so I asked McDoeson about if his wife ever suspected that he was cheating on her. He told me she was completely fine with him “slutting it up” on the road as long as he used a condom and never cheated on her back home

“She's cool with it, but as soon as I get back home, it's 'N*gga don't be looking at no other bitches'” said McDoeson, exclaiming the last part in a woman's voice.

Throughout the time I spent with McDoeson he constantly talked about his discontent with his current coach and then he went on a rant bringing up how he has never gotten along with any coach. In short the phrase “completely uncoachable” might not be strong enough.

Overall McDoeson was still a great guy and what kind of guy would I be if I knocked another man for his passion for weed and women.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chapter 21

Later on in the evening I headed to the El Nacional game to watch P-Mac's new club play Comodoro Rivadavia, who had just defeated El Nacional two nights earlier.

I bought my 10-peso ticket and sat in the metal bleachers directly behind the hoop El Nacional was warming up on. P-Mac only dunked in the lay-up line once, but it was still impressive as he lobbed the ball off the backboard, caught it with his strong-left hand and slammed it through with ease. The rest of the time he lazily fired off 15-footers during warm-ups.

P-Mac played like shit for the better part of the game, hitting about half his shots as he jogged back and forth between possessions. At halftime I moved over to sit courtside at halftime next to Nené. The gym could not have held more than 600 people and I sat there the majority of the time wondering how the club affords to pay P-Mac 11,500 USD, if they only draw a couple hundred people at 40 pesos a head.

Before the second half P-Mac walked over to me and shook my hand in the awkward way you'd expect a black man from the Southside of Chicago and a white kid from Scottsdale to shake hands. Except this time it was smoother as we had the whole being-from-the-United-States thing in common and he recognized that I was the only one in the building (and probably country) who knew who he was before seven days ago.

Nené was crazy the entire game yelling at players and being just as enthusiastic as any Argentine football fanatico. Argentina is known for its tango, steak and wine, but a little known fact about the country is its collection of knock-off Roger Moores. The other American player on the team was a black man named James Moore, however, few of the fans knew his first name, so everyone just called him Roger. Whenever Moore had the ball, fan would begin screaming “Dale (pronounced Dah-lay) Roger!” “Dale” is the universal Argentine word which has about 8 million meanings, one which roughly translates into "go!"

Somehow El Nacional blew an 11-point lead with 2 minutes left in the game. The game was tied with 12 seconds left and P-Mac was bringing the ball up the court. I stood thinking this was it. P-Mac was going to win the game for me. How truly unbelievable that I get to watch Paul McPherson win a basketball game in Monte Hermosa, Argentina. This is the greatest moment of my life.

P-Mac drove the lane and dribbled the ball off his foot in the paint. The other team picked it up and threw a 85-foot heave toward their hoop that wasn't close as the clock expired. Overtime.

In overtime, some of the El Nacional's better players were fouled out, so P-Mac, who sadly wasn't the best player on the team, ran most of the plays and was in control of the ball often. Unfortunately he didn't do much with it, but he had his chance to redeem himself with eight seconds left in the game and his team down two points.

He brought the ball up the court again. I stood thinking this was it. P-Mac was going to win the game for me. How truly unbelievable that I get to watch Paul McPherson win a basketball game in Monte Hermosa, Argentina. This is the greatest moment of my life.

Then he forced a hideous three-pointer from the top of the arc, in which he awkwardly double-clutched and his shot bounced hard off the backboard, nicked the rim and fell into the opposing team's hands.

Game over. El Nacional's third straight loss and their record became 1-4 since acquiring P-Mac.

After the game I walked to the players' locker rooms and met P-Mac again, since he said he was going to try to give me some El Nacional gear. A reporter from a local paper interviewed me about why I was such a big P-Mac fan. It was a rough interview because at the time it was just one of those moments where I could barely speak Spanish, even though before I met P-Mac I had exclusively spoke Spanish for the last three days.

P-Mac exited the locker room and told me to meet him back at his hotel because he only had dirty clothes and he didn't want to give me the “dirty joints.”

I spoke with the reporter more and told him I was now unsure if I was going to head back to Capital Federal to watch the Super 8, a tournament between the best Argentine teams that was taking place in a few days, or if I was going to carry on with my initial travel plans and head south.

Before I met P-Mac, saw how poor the quality of play was and how shitty of a player he had become I was sure I was going to the Super 8, but now I was full of doubt. In a perfect world I planned on hanging out with P-Mac in Capital Federal, showing him around the city, doing copious amounts of ecstasy and hitting the clubs (I have never done ecstasy but I imagined if I was clubbing with P-Mac ecstasy would be a requisite) and eventually having a Thanksgiving dinner with P-Mac, since the tournament ended on Thanksgiving day.

The reporter didn't hesitate and told me to keep traveling because the team was shit and the quality of play in the tourney would not be any better. I was happy to learn that miserable beat writers were a universal phenomena and not just limited to Tucson sports writers who hated any team they followed and subsequently their own lives.

It was just before midnight, since the game did not start until 9:30 and it went into overtime, I began walking the six blocks from the gym to the team hotel when a little kid who was also walking alone came up beside me. He asked me a few basic questions about where I was from and what I was doing in Monte Hermosa. I learned he was from Bahía Blanca and was only here for the game. As we walked, he interrupted me mid sentence to point out that Manu Ginobili also has a house in Monte Hermosa and it was just two blocks from where we were standing. He told me also plays for the El Nacional junior squad back in Bahía Blanca, I asked if he knew Franco, Marquitos' little brother who plays for the same squad. He told me he did. I was proud of my Bahia assimilation. Then he we parted ways and I carried on to the team hotel.

I walked up to P-Mac's room, knocked on the door and was told to walk in. He was sitting there wearing only a pair of black boxers and a black du-rag. We talked about the game and how shitty he played.

“Man if my boys back home saw me dribble the ball off my foot with four seconds left in the game, I wouldn't be able to return home,” P-Mac said.

“Yeah what the hell happened with that shot in overtime,” I said, feeling pretty comfortable with P-Mac at the time. “That was pretty fucking ugly.”

“I don't know what happened there, that shit was ugly,” P-Mac admitted.

I asked P-Mac about some of his tattoos since they covered his arms and legs. He explained the more obvious ones, such as the tribute to his hometown, a mural of the Chicago skyline with the words “Windy City” emblazoned beneath. He then pointed to his right inner bicep which read “The Gift” with a date beneath it and explained that it was for the day his son was born. On his left bicep it read “The Curse” with an date representing the day his NBA contract expired.

I didn't bother to ask if the Psalm 23 on his leg had an actual meaning to him or was just chosen because he wore the number 23 at DePaul and with the Phoenix Suns.

Then a team manager knocked on the door and said something in Spanish telling P-Mac they were going to eat dinner soon and then catch the bus back to Bahía Blanca.

“Oh we fitna eat?” P-Mac quickly rapped back, failing to take into consideration that the manager barely spoke English and most English-speaking North Americans would have a problem understanding “Oh we fitna eat?”

“Si,” said the team manager who then closed the door and walked away.

I told P-Mac I was going to head down south to keep traveling, but I would e-mail him when I got back to Bahia and we could hang out. He jotted down his e-mail address on my contacts page of my journal. I was pretty happy that my battered notebook, full of people's names and contact information from all over the world now had Paul McPherson's e-mail. Some people had drawn maps of where they live in the world. Other wrote me poems or famous quotes next to their name. P-Mac simply wrote, “pmcpherson@yahoo.com.”

I walked out of the hotel, hit the corner store and grabbed my dinner which consisted of one strawberry yogurt since funds were becoming increasingly tighter. I headed back to my hotel and saw P-Mac and James “Roger” Moore walking down the dark, empty block. I yelled at P-Mac and thanked him for everything.

“Peace dude!” he yelled back throwing up a peace sign over his shoulder as him and the bootleg Roger Moore walked away.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chapter 20

I used the ride to Monte Hermosa to think of questions I wanted to ask P-Mac. I considered the standard backpacking questions: Where are you from? How long have you been traveling? Where are you headed? They seemed apropos to P-Mac's situation. I decided it would be best if I didn't over think it.

The bus dropped me off right in front of Nené's house. She was ecstatic to see me and I was just as excited. She gave me a breakdown of the entire lodging situation in the town as she did not have any room for me in her house since her grandchildren were all staying with her. She showed me around her digs and proudly displayed photos of her family. She offered me a ride to my hotel, so I threw my backpack in her car and we drove around the town. She pointed out where her son worked, where the El Nacional squad stayed and her favorite eateries before we arrived at the Prince Hotel.

I walked a block to the hotel where El Nacional and P-mac were staying. Through the window, I saw two tall men wearing athletic gear sitting in the lobby. I prepared a little speech and then manned up and went inside. I talked to the guys and learned one was a player and one was on the coaching staff.

I told them I was a big fan of Paul McPherson and I was only here in Monte Hermosa to watch their game. The coach asked me if I had a blog about McPherson. I told him that it was mine and he laughed. He said he found my blog after Google-ing Paul McPherson.

Five more long, awkward minutes went by in which the two El Nacional guys and myself bullshitted in Castellano before P-Mac walked down the stairs into the small lobby. The other player broke his Castellano and let Paul know in perfect English that he had a fan here. I introduced myself and asked if he was familiar with Where's P-Mac.

P-Mac told me he'd never heard of it, which was fairly deflating. I explained to him that it was equal parts running-joke and actual mission to find him. Then I told him how I had been a fan of his since he played for the Phoenix Suns. He was cool the entire time and told me to come back to the hotel at 3:00 when he was done with practice.

I went back to my hotel room, watched three episodes of Los Simpson, ate a really shitty ham and cheese sandwich and contemplated the paradox of finding P-Mac in a country 30 years removed from its "Dirty War", in which 30,000 Argentines "disappeared". Throughout my travels, I had seen several bus terminals with walls still littered with missing persons posters from families who still hoped their children might be alive, and I had simply stumbled upon the person I was looking for.

I returned to the players' hotel and found P-Mac sitting on a ledge outside wearing a pair of all black Nike Air Force Ones, white Nike basketball shorts, a black Nike tee and a black du-rag. Fortunately, I had just had my laundry done for the first time since I left Buenos Aires, so I was able to throw on some clean clothes for the meeting.

I had my expectations set a little too high. I expected P-Mac to have all the answers to life, offer me a job in New York City, become best friends forever and maybe he would have a Microsoft Zune charger as well as battery charger compatible with the Cannon SD850IS. Instead he was just a regular guy who felt like he was in "basketball punishment" for having to play for El Nacional.

After the underwhelming encounter I was wildly depressed, and on top of it all had to think of a new blog name.

On the plane ride to Argentina I had read the book God Save the Fan, in which the author Will Leitch wrote that if you ever hung out with your sports hero, you'd most likely end up hating each other. While that was not quite the case, there was no way my dream of becoming best friends was going to happen either.

P-Mac's background and mine were a little different. I grew up with two and then four loving parents in the affluent community of Scottsdale, Arizona. P-Mac grew up in a single-parent household in the rough neighborhood of Dorchester in Chicago's Southside. P-Mac talked about running with gangs and robbing drug dealers. I never ran in any gangs and the most disrespectful thing I ever did to a drug dealer was eat their last slice of pizza when I was getting high with my drug-dealing friends in college.

P-Mac also talked about how he always hated school, barely graduating high school and how college was just a way to get into the NBA. He brought up an athletic booster from DePaul, the university he attended before he declared for the NBA draft, which kept trying to get him to return, and how he never had interest in returning to the classroom.

I'd like to return to the classroom and give a lecture to journalism students on the most inefficient but fun way to find sources. I would encourage the students to create a blog with the desired source in the heading, and after 18 months of inconsistent posting, pick any country on earth to go backpacking, then eventually your source will just show up.

He didn't have any entertaining stories after playing professional basketball in Europe for four years, killing my biography idea, which was supposed to turn into my career after my travels.

As I'd suspected, the 30-year-old P-Mac was only playing basketball for the money and didn't care what team he was playing with. He wound up in Argentina after his time was up with the French team Hyéres Toulon Var Basket that he was previously playing with.

He had offers to either play in Spain in a more competitive league or in Argentina in a league of lesser quality, but for more money. P-Mac was earning $11,500 tax-free US dollars a month with El Nacional. Plus he was provided with an apartment in Bahía Blanca, which he always called Baja Blanca.

I still hoped that P-Mac would be able to take care of my next obstacle in life and he would have magically have a dream job waiting for me back in the states. However, the only employment he had to offer was working for his wife's daycare business in Chicago, but I had no desire in working in daycare.

If there were any valuable lessons I actually learned from P-Mac, it's that you can't live in the past or dwell on anything too long, because if P-Mac did he'd probably go insane over two regrettable life decisions. He spoke of his two biggest mistakes in life, but reiterated what's done is done as he knows he cannot do anything about it. The first was when he left DePaul after his second season with the school, a year too early since he went undrafted and had to hustle his way into the NBA through the Suns summer league. The second was one year into the league, he fired his agent over a minor argument and ended up hiring a new agent who wasn't half as qualified as his first.

Once my expectations became more realistic, I realized P-Mac was a real cool guy. There is a lot more that P-Mac told me which can never make the blog because it would ruin any career P-Mac may have left.

I left the hotel feeling fulfilled and walked right into some sort of multi-cultural fiesta which had eight men dancing on stage in purple velour tights and one man dancing wearing a horse. This was not quite the setting I envisioned meeting P-Mac, but I guess that's just how life works.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chapter 19

I walked the rest of the city on a ridiculously hot day. I found the another basketball stadium where the other local club, Estudiantes plays. Then I retired to my hostel to try to take a nap before Marquitos was going to pick me up later in the night.

I walked in my room to find two other guys smoking a joint. They asked if I wanted in and I politely declined because I wanted to have a clear head for the possibility of meeting P-Mac in the next day's practice.

I talked to the guys and learned they were from a town just outside Capital Federal. They were in Bahía Blanca to sell trinkets. When I asked to see what they were selling, one the guys pointed to a duffel bag full of crayons, coloring books, word-search books, sewing kits, cheap cosmetic kits and other worthless junk like it was full of gold. They smoked two more joints before departing for their door-to-door merchandising . Two minutes after they left, they came back in the room claiming they forgot something. They proceeded to smoke another joint and lay in their beds for 20 minutes. One got up pulled out a small mirror from his duffel bag of goodies, set it on his nightstand and the mirror immediately fell apart. He did a half-ass job of fixing it, stuffed it back in his bag and then they finally headed out for a couple hours of work.

After what seemed like an eternity pent up in the hostel with no air conditioning or fans, Marquitos finally picked me up and we walked over to his girlfriend's apartment. Marquitos told me his girlfriend Eugenia was going to be cooking for us. We stopped at the corner market picked up some food and Marquitos refused to accept any of my money because people from Bahía Blanca are the nicest people on earth. Then the lady from the bakery gave a bag of sandwiches to some poor little kids to further prove that people from Bahía Blanca are the nicest people on earth.

Eugenia prepared some pizza and empanadas for us as Marquitos and I sat in the living room and talked basketball. I learned that Pepe Sánchez was actually the first Argentine to play in the NBA. Marquitos taught me all about every other Argentine to ever make the NBA as well. He knew the NBA damn well, down to Charles Barkley's signature call of "GINOBILIIIII!!!!!"

Then more of their friends came over and we all ate Eugenia's delicious cooking. I don't think I have ever been as content in life as I was hanging out with all my Bahiense friends in a small apartment listening to Argentine rock music as my blog never left the computer screen.

I learned the whole group was studying tourism at the local university. I will always wonder if part of Marquitos' tourism curriculum is finding bloggers traveling through his country and convincing them to come to Bahía Blanca by any means necessary.

Everyone knew somebody on one of the local professional teams and I learned that El Nacional's head coach, Coach Juan G, is a “mafa” which means his last name is bad luck, so everyone just calls him Coach Juan and if you are to slip up and say “Garcia” then men must immediately grab their left testicle and women must immediately grab their left breast to prevent any further misfortunes.

At midnight we realized we needed a lot more beer, so Marquitos, his friend Santiago and I all piled into his two-door hatchback and headed to a couple in-the-know spots that illegally sell booze after the cut-off time of 11 pm. I felt like I was back home as the two guys knew everything about the NBA, we bullshitted on sports and made obscene comments about the girls we were hanging out with. I completely forgot I was in Argentina for a few minutes until we drove by a small gym and they pointed out that it was where Manu Ginobili honed his game as a youngster.

After a successful booze run we went back up to Eugenia's apartment and hung out some more until we decided we should head to the club at 4 in the morning. I still don't know what was going on Santiago's mind, but he went up to half a dozen random cute girls at the club and quickly rapped the wherespmac.com brief history. They were all just as baffled as I was. By 6 am a few of us were done, so Marquitos drove us back home and dropped me off at my hostel. I walked in and found the retarded salesmen were gone and I had the room to myself. I opened the window to try to bring some fresh air into the dungeon-like chamber of a room and was quickly greeted with the calls of prostitutes trying to lure me outside.

Marquitos warned me that the hostel was in the brothel district of the town and he wasn't lying.

Two hours later the two stoner salesmen returned to the room, turned on all the lights and began making a ruckus. I yelled some profanities in a mix of Spanish and English and told them to turn off the lights as my head was already pounding. Then I saw one of them talking to a prostitute through the window. After five minutes of negotiating my roommate walked over near my bed reached into his duffel bag and sold something to the prostitute. I was shocked, stunned, amazed and and in awe that my retarded roommate had just sold a coloring book to a prostitute through our hostel window at 8:15 in the morning.

The next day I headed back to the El Nacional gym to watch Marquitos little brother Franco play in his basketball league. It was at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside and much hotter inside the unventilated gym. I was dripping sitting on the bleachers just watching these kids run up and down the court. Then during halftime I witnessed the most hardcore Argentine moment I ever saw. One of the kids ran over to his parents and started drinking boiling hot mate like it was an ice cold Gatorade. Marquitos later went back to class on a Saturday because he dedicated like that. I went back to the hostel having already seen the entire town twice over.

My hostel was one of the more bizarre ones I stayed at. It used to be a hotel and now it is half hostel, half apartments. I didn't understand a lot about the place. Such as why there were always three 70-year-old Bolivian women who sat on a bench outside my room doing nothing. Not reading a book, not talking to eachother, they just sat there. All day.

Additionally there was a tenant who just sat on a bench outside his room and watched football on the television which sat inside his room. He would only leave his post to run to the corner store to pick up a liter of beer and a liter of orange soda.

My roommates spent the majority of their time taking naps and getting high and doing the word-searches they were selling using the colored pencils they also planned on selling. It didn't make a whole lot of business sense to me, since they were consuming all their inventory, but who am I to question their business model.

My favorite person in the building was this 26-year-old cute Bahía Blanca native who, just like every other Bahiense knew everything about the NBA. She told me her favorite player ever was Dennis Rodman and she knew everything about him from the time he kicked a cameraman in the groin to the time he went to his book signing in a wedding dress.

I told her all about Ron Artest, who she was unfamiliar with. She was elated to hear stories about him punching fans and applying for a job at Circuit City (for the employee discount) while he was in the NBA. I don't know why I am still not living in Bahía Blanca dating this woman.

Later on my hostel hosted an art gallery, so I sipped on some wine, looked at some mediocre art and then Marquitos scooped me up as we headed out for the night. This time we went to a house party hosted by this dread-locked tall guy who said he was Ginobili's cousin and that he knew Ginobili personally. I believed him, but I'm fairly confident that half the town of 300,000 people are Ginobili's cousin in one way or another.

We drank, I had a dance-off with Ginobili's cousin and I headed home because my ride was leaving and I had to be up early to catch my bus to Monte Hermosa to meet P-Mac.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chapter 18

I had to slap myself again for being upset with silly travel woes. I had to catch an earlier bus than I planned on to leave El Bolson, which ruined my lunch plans with Rogelio. I planned on making Rogelio and Nora cinnamon French toast, one of my favorite meals and something I believed would be a monumental contribution to the El Bolson society.

I also planned on hanging out with this cute hippie vendor who works at the El Bolson artisan market. It's probably for the better that I didn't hang out with her because I would have forgotten all about Paul McPherson and most likely abandoned any semblance of a North American lifestyle after 20 minutes with her.

It was also tough to abandon my original plans to make it to the end of the world, hike Torre del Peña and see the massive glacier in El Calafate, but this blog was not created to find a big glacier.

Then I reminded myself that I was going to Bahía Blanca to meet Paul McPherson and I finally got to ride the second-level shotgun on the bus, so I got this view as we rode through Argentina’s lake district.

If I thought I was excited the night I found out about P-Mac's location, I was absurdly excited now. I just sat there staring out the window, scribbling down notes every few minutes, grinning with excitement.

I hadn't talked to anybody on the bus for the first eight hours of the trip. But when the bus stopped 20 minutes outside of Neuquén, which is a middle-of-nowhere landmark town, I decided to start talking to this women who looked about 60 years old with scraggly grey hair because she was one of the few people who had been on the bus since we started in El Bolson. I asked her where she was going and she told me Monte Hermosa, a small town outside of Bahía Blanca, that happened to be the hometown of P-Mac's current club, El Nacional de Monte Hermosa.

I told her that's where I was going to be in a few days because of a really long story which essentially boils down to their basketball team. Her eyes lit up and she told me she was a “fanatico.” I went out on a limb and asked her if she knew of Paul McPherson. Of course she did and she told me he has not played well in his first few games.

Things were already getting out of control. It was 11:45 at night, I was at a bus stop 20 minutes further removed from the official middle of nowhere and I was talking about Paul McPherson with a 60-year-old Argentine woman named Nené.

For the next half hour of the bus ride I sat next to Nené and asked her a million questions about her team, her town and anything else my tired, El-Bolson-ed brain could translate into Castellano. I got her phone number and told her I would call her when I got into town.

Ten hours later we arrived in Bahía Blanca, I gave Nené a hug and kiss and told her I would see her soon. Then I walked the bus terminal, trying to find a map so I could try to find the town's only hostel. Then a young guy with a thin beard and dark brown hair looked at me and said “Justin?”

Even though I had no idea he would be there, Marquitos, who I had only spoken to in e-mail, was waiting at the terminal for my bus to arrive nine in the morning. He gave me a ride to my hostel because he didn't have any room for me at his place. He made sure I was set up alright and then dipped off to his university.

I dropped my bags off and began to explore Bahía Blanca (which translates to White Bay) and quickly learn that the bay was not close and the town did not have much to offer. Even the people who worked at the hostel told me there was nothing to see in the town. On the way to my hostel Marquitos pointed out the old stadium of El Nacional. El Nacional used to play in Bahía Blanca, but three years ago the town of Monte Hermosa bought the squad, so they now travel the 45-minute bus ride to Monte Hermosa to play one game a week. The team still practices and lives in Bahía Blanca.

I walked two blocks from my hostel to the stadium, which was located in the middle of the city block and did not look like much of a stadium from the outside. A janitor let me in the building and I walked through the dark, decrepit building before reaching the basketball court. At first I passed a room full of antique looking gymnastics equipment. Then I entered a dark empty café with plaid red round tables, four blank walls with the exception of a mural which showed the head of a woman who looked like an 1980s pop star popping out of a Boca Juniors shield. Finally I walked through a narrow hallway into the basketball court. Much of the wood was warped and all of the painted lines were faded. Cracked concrete surrounded the immediate perimeter of the court and the locker rooms resembled prison cells. There were enough wooden bleachers to seat maybe 100 tightly packed people.

“This is no place for a hero like Paul McPherson,” I thought. Then I talked to a secretary who worked in the office above the gymnastics room and learned that El Nacional does not actually play any games there any more. I felt very relieved for P-Mac.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chapter 17

When I wasn't being enlightened by The Chosen One, I was watching beautiful sunsets, having amazing steak dinners and enjoying the great El Bolson scene, which redefines laid back. The Argentine culture as a whole is quite casual as nothing opens too early and nothing happens at all on Sunday, but El Bolson takes it all a step further. The majority of the shops in El Bolson were open for about 15 hours a week, basically whenever the shop owner felt the urge to unlock the door.

Their fire department is named Servicio Protega y Lucha Incendio del Forest (SPLIF), which I am pretty was named for the sake of the acronym because “Forest” isn't even a Spanish word. When I told Nora, the hostel owner, about what spliff means in English she cracked up. When I wasn't talking to Russ I rapped with Nora who taught me a billion things about Argentina. Nora had lived in El Bolson since the town had 2,500 people, it now has close to 30,000. She used to be on the town's governing board and her and her husband used to act in El Bolson's theater. I would have killed to watched El Bolson theater from back in the day. But killing isn't very El Bolson-like, so I guess I should say I would have planted 1 million trees to watch their theater.

She also told me how many people in Argentina believe one of the mountains in El Bolson is an energy center. The town also declared itself a non-nuclear zone in the 1970s, even though the Argentine military has never been close to developing a nuclear weapon. There is also a fair amount of anti-Nazi propaganda around the town. If you don't like nuclear bombs or Nazis, El Bolson is the town for you.

Rogelio's failed attempt at scrambled eggs also wins the award for cutest moment of my trip. Apparently he had never seen scrambled eggs before so he asked me how I made them. I explained the simple process of mixing eggs with milk and pouring the two in a pan. I then ate my eggs in the family room. I walked back in the kitchen moments later to see Rogelio standing over the stove with a big green oven mitt holding a large plastic serving spoon as he stirred what appeared to be three eggs and a whole liter of milk in a pan. I told him that he probably used too much milk and he started laughing.

After our brunch Rogelio sadly looked at me and told me that he is very sorry to cut our time short, but he has to leave now. I asked where he was going. He told me he was going to his room to take a nap. I checked the clock, it was 1:30 in the afternoon. God bless this man.

The picture at the top of the page is Rogelio in his James Bond pose, which he struck often because he is the Argentine James Bond since his name is Rogelio Mur.

El Bolson was not all fun though as there were some rough times. While hiking alone one day I got met an older Argentine couple who invited me along to find a secret waterfall that was shown on the poorly drawn map the town tourism center provided. We ended up getting completely lost as the sun was setting and we were left clueless with no proper camping supplies. We ended up finding a farm and we talked to the teenager who lived on the land, he was of no help though as he had no idea where he lived. We eventually found a lodging facility and I caught a cab with the couple back into town.

The other mishap was much more devastating as I partook in a popular El Bolson leisure activity and the hit the town icecream parlor. I happily enjoyed a full quart of icecream and then realized there were more flavors offered than I originally knew about after I spent 10 minutes laboring over which three flavors I should chose. I will forever wonder what my life would be like if I had known there was cookies-and-cream on that ill-fated day.

Russ never left the house, except to go to the market every other day. He woke up late, ate breakfast and watched the BBC News. Then wrote his book, which was one of the primary purposes for being in Argentina. He told me his book was going to offer a solution on how the world can save itself within 10 years. When he told my fake parents this, they told him it would be too late as the Mayan calendar prophesied that the world would end in 2012. This just baffled Russ.

Even though El Bolson was a beautiful town nestled between two mountains, Russ chose to do all of his writing in the house's backyard, pictured below.

Russ' book was about a delusional bum who finds a Persian rug worth millions of dollars in a dumpster. Russ went on to explain how in his life he fought in the Navy and bypassed fighting in the Vietnam war, but the main character in his book is a crazy Vietnam vet who lives on the streets of New York.

If we are going to use that logic in life I should point out that I really spent July through December of 2008 hiding in Tucson, Arizona, but the main character of this story you are reading traveled in Argentina during that same time period.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Flogger de Tucson

Here are some pictures I took from my recent jaunt to Tucson. As always click pictures to enlarge.

Here's the bus and it's Peruvian owner. The bus has made it back to Tampa Bay twice, New York twice, and Guatemala once.

The cool Peruvian's girlfriend, Kim, let us inside and it was unreal.

The good ol' train.

This used to be the Alamo, which my friend Dustin and I tried to save one night to no avail.

Then we journeyed to BICAS, the greatest place on earth.

I know every cool hipster biker/wanna-be photographer in town has tried to get artsy picture inside BICAS, but here is my attempt. If nothing else it was good practice for when I will be competing against hipster bikers/wanna-be photographers in New York City.

I met this incredible kid Alex, who just bought this bus for $1,200 off Craigslist. He's 19, owns a bus, and will soon be heading to Seattle for art school. If I could do it all again (meaning three years ago), I think I'd do something like that.
Alex his bike, burrito, bed and bus. Three cents, a joint and a neat wallet. Ah, to be 19 again.

I looked into this thing for 30 seconds trying to figure out why the kaleidoscope did not work. Then I realized it was a tube of long-stick matches.

Me, Alex and Donovan.

Then I started taking silly MySpace-esque self-shots in the back window of the bus.

Then I got this photo, which followed my photographic goals as stated in #2 of this post, where I wrote, "And really whenever I'm shooting any photo I'm just hoping I get lucky and it looks like a Nas album cover."

So with a little editing....

Then we biked over to the Hay House (SW corner of Fremont and Waverly), which we learned was actually a straw house.
We hung out with the owner Billy, who told us all about his project.
Here is a list of things I learned:
1. Billy's old UA professor lives next door and came up with the idea.
2. Straw is a good insulator, but Billy claims the main reason for the straw use is because of its weight-bearing ability.
3. He loves the acoustics of the house and he has a lot of jam sessions inside it.
4. He lost almost everything a few years ago, but is now happy to be out of the rat race and living in a straw house in Tucson.
5. Billy is an odd, but great dude.

Here is Billy's straw bed.

This is Jim's Market, my favorite closed market in Tucson. I always dreamed of it opening and getting a great shake there. Unfortunately it never opened.

Even worse it appears Jim's Market is being taken over by Red Coats.