Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Coffee and a Smoke

I think I'm finally turning shades of Argentine. I no longer find it thrilling or even feasible to buy coffee at a cafe and am now relying on my Saeco espresso machine to get me off. Those 7-peso cups of cafe con leche sure do add up really fast (to about 200 pesos a month according to my 5th grade math skills). Holy smoke! And speaking of smoke, this little problem that's been engulfing Argentina, pun intended, is getting really tiring. Here's a Cliff's note guide for the folks back home:

- Farmers in the delta have been clearing grass by massively burning their land down, to get ready for the new bean crops (Argentina is like the third biggest soy producer in the world)
- It's rumored that the farmers are trying to get back at the govt for the recent tiff (strike in response to tax hike) so they're burning stuff down early this year before the winter weather can offset some environmental damages

- It's rumored that the land clearing came about as a cover-up for illegal/toxic trash burning
- With m
ore than 200 fires currently raging, all of BA is paying the price with massively polluted skies
- Imagine a bonfire following you everywhere 24/7: it's in your bed, clothes, hair. It's akin to having been in an orgy with a roomful of 10-packs-a-day smokers. I was horrified to see how dark and soot-filled my shower water was the other day after I'd rinsed off.
- School may have to be closed next week and some families are heading south or leaving for Chile until the air clears; it's that bad
- The government doesn't seem that concerned with stopping these fires
- According to an Argentine coworker, the farmers are putting out these fires with whips (WTF?)
- Helicopters are inadequate to the task (or maybe they're not being used?)

- The US embassy has issued an advisory to basically seal up all windows and limit outdoor activities (prompting me to cancel that 18-hole golf game I'd planned)
- All my years of living in LA (and traveling in Asia) have not prepared me for this--it's the most toxic thing I've encountered!
- I have a headache around the clock now and am wheezing and coughing constantly. My lungs feel so heavy. (PITY ME, DAMMIT!)

Srly, I'm n
ot sure how much more I can take. The only thing helping me to escape this weekend is my brother's new CD. Check it out. I love my brother.

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