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

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.