So, we have now been with the Hare Krishna´s one week. We have been trying to wrap our brains around the philosophy. This is my best shot at explaining the basics:

-The man pictured above is named Lord Krishna. Krishna is the Supream diety revered. For example, if we were talking in terms of Chritianity, Krishna is God. Everything is thought to come from Krishna. Other Hindu dieties like Shiva, Vishnu, etc.. are manifestations of various characteristics of Krishna.

- Every now and then (like every 500 years or so) krishna comes to earth in a different form to a different people to remind everyone how they should live. Buddah and Jesus are considered such manifestations. These manifestations are calls Devas or Avatars.

-One of the best ways to bring "Krishna conciousness" to the soul is to chant

"Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna,
Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare."

Devotes encourage everyone to chant this, whether or not they practice the faith. In the community this is sung hundred of times a day.

The monks and nuns have services in the temple 5 or 6 times a day; the first at 5am and the last around sunset. In these ceremonies they symbolically offer¨"the elements" to statues of krishna. Incense-earth, water, fire, and air. They play the taubla (a traditional Indian drum) and chant in sanscript. Jameson and I choose whether or not we want to participate in the services. We have yet to attend a sunrise ceremony.

Before we eat anything, it must first be offered to krishna. We were even instructed to try to not even desire the food while cooking, because it would be taking away from the offering. All the food is placed on an altar after being prepared and the cook rings a bell to summon the spirit of Krishna. After about five minuits we can serve the plates. While serving the utensiles cannot touch the plate. Your hands and mouth must be clean.
We´ve done a whole lot of weeding. Hours and hours of weeding. They swear that we are going to plant some broccoli one of these days but I don´t know if i believe them. Has anyone ever been stung by a nettle? It freaking hurts. I have to fight with those things all morning long. My mornings are full of beets, carrots, fennel, and nettles.

We´ve had yoga classes every day. Jameson has spectacular balance but still is working to touch his toes. I have fallen far from how felxible I was the last time I took yoga.

The Hare Krishna community is becomming an enlightening experience. They are quite liberal with us, and that is refreshing. They also have been exceedingly kind and open. I can´t wait for Michael to get here and share the experience with us. He gets here is 4 DAYS!

Please if anyone else has run into some money or free plane tickets come and spend some time down here in South America with us.
- Laney


From Parties to Peace.

Once back from Uruguay with a renewed visa we couch surfed for the next three days. This was our first experience with couch surfing and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. At first glance the idea of showing up to a strangers house and staying with them is sort of a frightening concept. But then you realize that you were conditioned to be afraid of all unknown things because of media brain washing from an early age. So you remove the "fear coat and glasses" and find a world filled with genuinely good people.

Of course you come across a few exceptions every now and then, but I've noticed that we usually hold on to the bad encounters much longer than the good. Normally we go through our day with people smiling at us, holding open a door for one another, picking up something we dropped, or laughing at the same person who tripped on the metro.

We are surrounded by these people, but then one person, just one is all it takes, says something rude or drives like a jerk and BAM! Suddenly all people suck. We have such selective memories, but I digress.

We stayed with a french student studying in Buenos Aires named Florian. He was an awesome guy, he even took us to his beginner tango class, where we all tried to dance. He was really generous and we plan to hang out again once we come back to the city.

We made it to the Hare Krishnas! We just arrived two days ago. The farm and campus are very organized and beautiful. The community here is small, with about 25 members. Not counting cats, dogs, birds or children. Right now we are the only volunteers and its very relaxed. We are learning a lot about the Krishna faith, something we know little about. We go to temple with them about twice a day, though we don't make it for their 5am service (whew). The food is great and vegetarian. While their religious customs will take some getting used to, like washing out your mouth before serving yourself a second plate, we get a really peaceful vibe from the place and look forward to the coming weeks here.


Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Now I know this title may seem confusing for those of you who have been keeping up. I thought you were in Buenous Aires? how did you get to Uruguay? Well friends, its right across the water. We took a day trip there to renue our visas and check out the beautiful little colonial village of Colonia del Sacramento.

We woke up to a dreary day but decided to make the voyage despite it. The ferry ride was three hours and when we docked in Uruguay it seemed that the storm had followed us, the wind flapping and the rain steadly falling. As we were walking down the street, Jameson noticed the holes in the soles of his shoes were having a hard time keeping out the water. Laney´s unhooded jacket was having a hard time keeping the water out of her hair and face. What to do?

Rent a golf Kart with a rain cover!

So we did, felt much better, and spent the day scooting around on the wet cobbles taking pictures as we went.

Side note: Laney broke the view finder on her camera (suprised?) and so now all of our photos are taken blindly.

It seemed impossible to capture the true beauty and mystique of the town though photographs. Think colonial Williamsburg, but liveable... and more colorful...and spanish.


Hurry up Otley!

Today we arrived in Buenos Aires after a 15 hour bus ride from Mendoza. The city is massive and full of energy. Despite our lack of sleep we hit the streets to explore, running a couple of errands along the way. We are staying in a neighborhood called San Telmo which is full of street vendors and artist. The story of San Telmo is one of gentrification you may not expect.

Before the Yellow Fever epidemic of the 1870's hit BA, San Telmo was full of mansions and rich people. Once the fever hit the rich left their homes leaving abandoned mansions behind. Landlords came in and converted the many rooms of these houses into apartments and rented them to the working class immigrants and struggling artist. Consequently it is one of the only historic neighborhoods left and is still occupied by artist and crafts men, living in shabbily kept beautiful mansions.

There are so many more places to see, tango dancers, neighborhoods, artist nooks, and museums. We've just skimmed the barrel and already Buenos Aires feels magical. _______________________________