¡Qué Quilombo!

I like the word. Even though it’s Lunfardo, you’re supposed to further distort it in polite company—bolomqui—or something like that—because although it pretends to translate to “warehouse,” the actual translation is “whorehouse,” but it’s used to indicate a “shitstorm”—or plainly—What a mess! Yes, most Lunfardo is that complicated . . . and you thought you…

Recoleta Cemetery

At 1800 hours the bell tolls and the gate to La Ciudad de los Muertos is closed. They lock up the dead. They put chains and padlocks on the door to each eternal home—to keep . . . someone . . . from getting out—or . . . someone . . . from getting in.…

Argentina’s Black Roots

You’ve seen her at a milonga: brassy, bottle-blonde hair. Between too much sun, too many cigarettes, and too much plastic surgery, it’s difficult to determine her age—maybe 50 leaning toward 70 trying to look 30. She’s wearing, shall we say … something “memorable” (although you can’t remember exactly what now) and it reveals her tucks…

Caribbean Cruise

The best perk I ever had as a Travel Agent was a two week Caribbean Cruise that I took with my (then) finance, for only $200 each; I think we were just paying the taxes. If only for that one trip, the job was worth it. I’m not fond of large bodies of water; I…

Being a Travel Agent

When I returned from Europe I decided to become a travel agent; it sounded like a glamorous job. I found a correspondence course and began my studies. I loved the learning. The certificate program culminated in a six-week classroom requirement held at SAIT in Calgary. I was still living in Edmonton at the time so…

Four Months in Europe

After high school I continued to work as a Safeway cashier. Hours were flexible and money was good. Within a couple of years I got itchy feet and decided to take time off and bus around Europe. I was nervous to travel alone; luckily, Sylvia, a girl at work accompanied me and we took off…

My First Adventure off the Continent

When I was seventeen, my mother pulled me out of school for a week and took me to the Canary Islands. She would be attending an International Pharmaceutical Convention. It was the spring of 1976 – a time before internet, digital cameras, and non-stop transatlantic flights. Our plane had to touch down in the Azores…