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March 20, 2009
The Day Rabies Opened My Heart and Mind
I realized a while back that, while I was enjoying my time here, I was getting into a rut. I wake up in the morning, go through my routine, eat a piece of fruit, and drink a glass of juice. If I have time I stop at one of two cafés near my house and order café con leche and a medialuna. I check my email, read the headlines, and then head to class. I walk down Jeronimo Salguero for 6 blocks, then turn and walk down Bulnes for 3 blocks and get on the subte at Santa Fe. Every now and then I stop and see what’s playing at the theatre, or I buy something to drink at a kiosco. Everyday I take the Subte to Facultad de Medicina. It is the third stop and the door opens on the same side of the train, so I always stand by the door where I get on. I walk through the plaza the same way, on the same sidewalks, up the same steps every day on my way to the Facultad de Sciencias Sociales two blocks from the subte stop. I admire the same flowers and look at the some graffiti on the buildings. I take the elevator to the 4th floor, and walk to my classroom where I sit in the same place, every day.
At first I didn’t realize it as a rut. I simply considered it my new, cool, and totally Spanish, routine. However, it soon became clear that if I continued like this for months I would get into the same state of mind that led me to desire an escape from my life in the first place. I was still enjoying myself, but I realized I came here because I needed a change of life, not necessarily a change of place.
A few weeks ago I saw a stray dog on the sidewalk by a café I walk by everyday. It was a rather large dog, a mutt, and I didn’t understand what made him choose that corner to hang out, but there he sat, waiting. The dog continued to be there every day when I walked by. He seemed to make friends with the people who ran the cut flower stand on the same corner. They tolerated him and he didn’t make any trouble. He seemed old. He was no longer an eager young pup looking for attention, and desiring to be played with. His role now was simply to watch and wait for something.
I was sitting in the café on the same corner one day not long after, when something happened that really inspired me. A woman came into the café and, just as countless others do, she sat down and ordered something. The camarera brought her some coffee and medialunas, but instead of eating the medialunas she had ordered she took them out to this dog on the sidewalk and tried to get him to eat them. It did seem as though his health was starting to fail, but I had a hunch it was from something other than hunger. As simple as it was, it was something very beautiful. Maybe the simplicity was in fact what made it so beautiful. This woman left her coffee on the table, and then left momentarily to get a dog dish and then asked the flower stand people for some water to put into the dish. She probably sat with the dog for half an hour after that, checking it over and talking to it. You could tell by looking at how she and the dog interacted that somehow the planets had aligned to bring them together. He was at peace, and so was she. I would not have guessed by looking at her that this is something she normally does, and I think I would still say that, but if there was something in her I could have bottled up and sold I would swear by its power.
There was something in her that I needed. A thousand other people had walked by that dog just that day. What had made her stop and have compassion for this homely beast? I had been raised not to go near stray dogs, and was indoctrinated with a fear of rabies at a young age. So naturally, while I may have had a hint of pity for this dog, I certainly was not about to touch it and let it lick me. But the fact is, rabies does not exist here, and that, it seems, is a metaphor for something larger. I was letting the same old fears control my life, even though they had no place here to dictate anything I did. Maybe it was just these types of things, theses small acts of kindness, which I needed to break this feeling of the rut I was in. It wasn’t about walking a different way to school everyday, it was about opening myself up spiritually and emotionally to what was right in front of me and having the bravery to challenge what I took as given.
When I came back home from class that day the dog was resting comfortably along the wall of the café, next to his new food and water dish, and making himself perfectly at home. He was a stray mutt that had probably never really been wanted by anyone in his life, and I was really happy for him. A couple days later I walked by and he and his water dish were gone. I didn’t need to ask the flower stand workers to know that he had died. I was so glad that the woman’s small gesture of kindness had helped make his last days better, and that he passed more comfortably than he would have otherwise.
And so it goes, I woke up the next day more aware of the power I possess as an individual to affect change in the world, and I was thankful for rabies. Without it, or rather my fear of it, I wouldn’t have witnessed the act of humanity that helped me realize the true purpose of this journey called ‘study abroad’, the evolution and revitalization of body, mind, and spirit.
March 14, 2009
An Argentine Weekend in 'El Campo': Day 2
The next morning we were treated to a royal breakfast of tostadas, coffee, and about a thousand different jams, jellies, and spreads for the tostadas, before we departed for Rojas to see the city and Mario’s vet clinic/store. We all bought some gaucho souvenirs from the store, and I mailed my letters. We ate a lunch that Saturday of homemade pizza and empanadas cooked outside in their stone oven. They were, of course, incredible. This was followed by panqueques dulce de leche for dessert. I ate so much I thought I was going to die afterwards. I was exhausted, if only from the eating marathon I had undertaken in the previous twelve hours. I had to go take a nap and digest. When I woke up, we went horseback riding through the Aguer’s property to the Rojas River. Riding through the cattle pastures of the pampas with the sun setting over the fields and the parrots perching on the wire fence is a view I will never forget.
When we got back I was just in time to help get dinner ready. That is, I was just in time to help kill dinner. I grew up on a sheep farm, so I was thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to help butcher the cordero (lamb) we were going to eat for dinner. Luis lassoed it, dragged it over to a tree, we strung it up by its back legs, and well, you can imagine what the rest was like. It was awesome! Nothing gives me a greater feeling of accomplishment than having a direct hand in the creation of the food I eat. For Alice and Tony it was pretty shocking, but also an awakening to the reality of the state of food in America. We seldom have a personal relationship with our dinner, and it decreases your appreciation for the food, the earth, and the work it took to produce.
After this culinary awakening, we went and got cleaned up. That night one of the greatest soccer games of the year was on tv. It was between the two most popular teams in Argentina, River Plate and the Boca Juniors. Even though we were having an asado, cooking the lamb over the fire in a similar fashion, there was no good reason for an Argentine to miss this game. So, they brought the tv out to the fire to watch while cooking. It was a lot of fun to see the rivalries and the excitement on the field and at the asado. Luis, the asador, was for Boca, and almost everyone else was for River. He had a pretty big head after the game because Boca won.
After the meal, Rachel performed another concert for us with our dessert and coffee. It was incredibly good, once again. During dinner, and during her singing, there had been lightning in the distance. There was a severe drought going on, and they were hoping it would bring rain. We all went inside after some more talking. Mario’s kids put in some music and we made a space for dancing in their living room. Mario and Mariana showed off their tango skills, and I also got a lesson in cumbia. They also did the most energetic dance I have ever seen to ‘Rock Around the Clock’. Then suddenly, the music stopped and the lights went out- it was the storm! We followed Mario and Mariana as they rushed outside to see what was happening. Because the music was so loud, we hadn’t noticed the tumultuous storm that had rolled up. The wind was roaring, lightning was flashing, and the pool was filling with debris! We all watched from the porch as the clouds moved in and the wind whipped the ancient trees along the driveway. But sadly, there was very little rain. It was almost 4 in the morning, so everyone decided this was an excellent climax to another great night, and returned for the night.
Sunday was a lazy day. Rachel, Alice, and I enjoyed a late breakfast, swam, and took some time to drink maté and do some writing. Then we headed back to the city in the afternoon. It was an emotional departure, not only for us, but for the Aguer’s, too. We had started a great new friendship, and I had just had one of the best weekends of my life.
An Argentine weekend in 'El Campo': Day 1
The weekend after my first actual week here we went to el campo. El campo means ‘the country’ in Spanish. It can also be a term used to refer to a single farm/ranch. Having grown up on a farm, it is always exciting for me to experience another country’s rural culture. We were going to be in the Pampas and the land of the gauchos!
I should take a moment to tell you about the two other students in my program. They are two girls from the Buckeye State: Alice Gibson (Cleveland), and Rachel Roberts (Akron). They’re both great!
The three of us and Tony all left for Rojas, Argentina at 7:30 am Friday morning. We were staying on the farm of Mario and Mariana Aguer. Mario also was kind enough to pick us up and drive us. He is a veterinarian, farmer, and business owner in Rojas. His wife, Mariana, is an M.D.
The city of Buenos Aires is situated in the northeastern corner of the greater province of Buenos Aires. The province makes up a large portion of a region of plains and fertile farmland known as La Pampa Humida. Just as I have found that many Argentines have misconceptions about the American “wild west”, I also had misconceptions about the Pampas. I was expecting a wild land of rolling grass-covered hills, covered with cattle. As it happens, the current pampas are almost nothing like I imagined. It is almost a carbon copy of rural Minnesota. Had I been dropped there from an airplane, I would have thought I was at home in Donnelly in the summer time, except for the palm tree here and there, and the occasional iguana. The many striking similarities outweigh the cultural differences; however, there are gauchos, cattle, and the vibrant mix of Spanish and Italian heritage. There are also endless fields of corn and soybeans, which have replaced much of the beef cattle industry in recent years.
Our first stop that morning was at INTA. INTA stands for Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria. It is a research station dedicated to agricultural advancement, technology, and sustainability, much like our own up on the hill (This is my shout out to every one up at the WCROC). One of the things I found most interesting about this organization was the fact that they are the only governmental organization to have remained in existence continuously through out all of the volatile changes in government in the last 100 years of Argentina’s history.
This was also where I drank my first yerba mate (cher-baw maw-tay). Yerba mate is a drink indigenous to the southern and central parts of South America. It is especially popular in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. It is as much a social exchange as it is a drink. A tea substance of crushed, dried leaves is put into a traditional cup (the mate) made out of a hollowed-out gourd. Hot, not boiling, water is poured over the leaves. The liquid is pulled through a traditional straw made of metal with strainer holes at one end, called a bombilla. The cup is passed from one person to another in a circle and every person drinks from the same bombilla. It is almost an intimate experience, that is, coming from the perspective of someone from the United States. The only similar experience I could think of is drinking the wine out of the same cup during communion at a Catholic mass. The unaccustomed mate drinker needs to be careful, however. It will make you go to the bathroom in more ways than one- pun intended!
After our little tour of INTA, we traveled through the city of Pergamino and closer to Rojas where we toured a plant that processes and packages seed corn for Monsanto. When my dad plants corn every spring, the seed likely comes from this plant and others like it in the region. It was really hot, but very interesting. The plant was very modern, had a ton of quality control, and a lot of bio security measures to ensure the worlds supply of seed corn would get to its destination safely.
It was an interesting afternoon, but we were all craving something cold after this tour. Luckily, Mario’s farm was only about a five-minute drive from the plant (which was in the middle of no where). We were so fortunate to get connected with Mario and Mariana- in part because they had a pool! We were all in the water within about 15 minutes of arriving, but the pool was far from the only noteworthy aspect of the Aguer’s farm.
The Aguer's farm/ranch is called “El Trigal”. It is a variation on the word ‘trigo’, which means ‘wheat’. Almost all of the farms have gated driveways in this region, and the view upon pulling up to their gate was impressive. The driveway was lined with ancient and enormous trees the met overhead, and continued for about 150 yards leading up to the house. They had a beautiful home, and you could tell the moment you stepped inside that they loved having guests. From food, to towels, to activities, there was nothing they hadn’t prepared for, and everything was inviting. Mario raises cattle and sheep, but also keeps a few horses. They were in pastures near the house. They also kept a variety of fruit and nut trees, and other flora and fauna around the house with the help of their resident help Luis and his wife Lita. Lita was about 8 months pregnant, so her sister Medium was there to help her with tasks she tended to normally. They lived in a separate house on the same property. I can’t forget the two dogs, Billy and Costero.
On that first afternoon, besides swimming and sunning by the pool, we also took some time to work on our language skills by getting to know Mariana, their fifteen-year-old son Bernardino, and the director of our program at UBA, Marcelo, and his wife, Gilda. They were all engaging and helpful with our rusty Spanish. We stayed by the pool talking, then we shared mate on the veranda, talking, and then we went back to the pool and talked some more, and then went back to the veranda and had coffee. It was not hard to adjust to this schedule. There were Quaker parrots flying overhead, chattering in the trees, and an overall feeling of ease and relaxation that is hard to come by in the states. This has been a recurring theme of my time here: we don’t take as much time to relax and enjoy our lives in the United States as people here do. The sun started going down in the most beautiful way, and signaled it was time to prepare for the asado.
While the rest of us were cleaning off the sunscreen, Luis had been building a roaring bonfire in the back yard. There was a large metal grate on four legs amid the flames. When we came out to see this master of the asado in action, he was just turning to prepare the meat for cooking. There were several cuts of beef, mostly from: the ribs, the skirt, the loin, and the tripe (intestines). It is customary in the U.S. for meat being prepared for the grill to be seasoned to death, or drowned in marinade, but here in el campo the animal had acquired natural flavors from it’s time alive eating nothing but grass, and so nothing is added to season the meat, except a liberal dose of kosher salt. The meat was allowed to rest in the salt for a few minutes while the grate was being pulled out of the fire. Then Luis used a shovel to pull out burning coals from the bonfire. You don’t want the meat to be right on top of the fire; you want it to cook slowly over the hot coals. Altogether the process takes about 4 hours. The Aguer’s had a special room attached onto their house for the asado. It had a long wooden banquet table with wood benches on both sides, and a large grate for grilling inside. We all went in to prepare for the meal, talk, and enjoy our excellent Argentine wine. The meal started with the chorizo. These sausages were made by some one Mario knew personally and with ingredients he had either brought in to him or selected at his shop. They were delicious. Then came the other cuts from the ribs, the skirt, the loin, and the tripe (bife de chorizo, bife de lomo, entraña, tripe, cortilla, etc.). The meal continued to improve with time, as each bite was more delicious and succulent than the previous. We almost ate ourselves sick, but we were so satisfied at the end. I hardly needed the bread and salad also on the table. There was enough meat to feed an army. The animal had been killed 5 days before we ate it, and I could honestly say I had never had a meal of meat that was so delicious and so fresh off the land. That would change the following night, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.
After the meal, there was dessert and coffee, and a concert by Rachel and her guitar. What an astounding voice she has! This girl is going to be famous some day, and she knew just what songs to play to set the mood for the night. We applauded Luis, the asador, and went out and sat by the pool to finish our coffee. I looked up, and the stars were the brightest I had ever seen. Mario shut off all the lights inside the house and on the veranda and we all leaned back in our chairs and faced the heavens. I was born on a farm, so I know what it means to look up and actually see the stars, but this was something else. In Argentina there are no yard lights in the country, so there is no light pollution what so ever. Also, as you may know, all of the stars are different. Mario pointed out some constellations: the Southern Cross, Las Tres Marias, and Lucero (actually a planet, Venus I think).
After a few minutes Mario got up and told us to follow him. There was a little confusion, not just because we were still trying to understand everything he said, but also because we had no idea where he was going. We followed him as he walked down the driveway to the gate by the road. He veered off through the line of trees into the open field. He told us to be silent, and then we all laid down on the ground. The stars were even brighter here than they had been by the house. We laid there for what seemed like an eternity, but it could not have been long enough. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the silence, I don’t know, but it was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. I felt close to something and yet a million miles away- like I possessed the entirety of creation within me, but at the same time it was like I was sitting above the atmosphere looking down at the earth from above. I could feel the rotation of the earth beneath me. I could see the movement of the stars in the heavens. I had never felt so alive. I thought to myself, “Could this night get any better?!”
Well yes, actually it could! After we walked back up the driveway with the parrots roosting in the trees over our heads, we decided to go for a little night swim in the pool. Night swimming is one of my favorite things in the entire world! After this it was about 3 am. We finished off the wine, and started heading for bed. I was in such an elated state of mind I couldn’t sleep, and so I wrote a few letters to friends that night before going to bed.
March 9, 2009
The real tragedy of September 11th
While I’m here I am taking a course in Contemporary Latin American Politics. I have really enjoyed it so far. Almost everything I have learned has been new knowledge, and totally riveting. Before now, the only knowledge I had of Latin American Politics was from the cultural lessons in the Spanish classes I have taken in the US. These included short lessons on: colonial Mexico, Chile in the 70’s, and the political evolution of Venezuela that led to Hugo Chavez.
My professor for this class is named Mario Toer, and he is a pretty incredible guy. He wrote the book we are using for the class, called “De Moctezuma a Chavez (From Moctezuma to Chavez), and I recommend it if you can read Spanish and enjoy political history. Things in class have been getting really interesting lately, as we have begun to talk about political changes in the 60’s and 70’s in Latin America. We finished talking about the influences of the Cuban Revolution, and began talking about the special case that Chile experienced between 1969 and 1973.
The history, while too complex to completely divulge here, can be laid out in a pretty cut and dry way for the purposes of this post. In short, Chile narrowly elected a ruling government made up of a coalition of Socialists, Communists, and Radicals (‘Unidad Popular’ was the name of the party) that took power in 1970. The leader of this movement, and the man legally and peacefully elected to president, was named Salvador Allende. He put into action a plan of reforms to create the first peacefully created, popularly elected socialist republic/society. Some of these things included the nationalization of Chilean copper mines, and the dividing up of large tracts of farmland to be redistributed to the working class. He was a champion for the lower class working family. He wasn’t just another Leninist, or just another Marxist, or just a disciple of Fidel Castro; he was truly one of the great political thinkers of the 20th century with study and influence that spanned hundreds of years of political thought. He had his political roots in the French Revolution, just as in the writings of Karl Marx, and the lessons of the Great Depression. Needless to say, the Cold War US view of any socialist or communist government, peaceful as it might have been, was negative, if not hostile.
By 1973, the economic changes made by the Allende government were facing challenges from conservatives supported by big business in the congress. There were also serious threats of a military coup d’etat. Even so, the popularly elected government had broad popular support among the people, and, all the while, Allende never incited them to protest or take part in violent demonstrations. Richard Nixon was not a fan, and told the US ambassador and the CIA that he wanted to, quote, “…Squash that SOB, Squash that bastard!” As history has shown, Nixon was a real champion for democracy.
After three years of undermining on behalf of the US Central Intelligence Agency, with support from the Chilean military superiors, and Multi-national corporations, the government and economy were in crisis. Almost 2.7 million dollars was spent by our government in 1970’s US dollars, in a propaganda and economic “terrorism” campaign smear against the Allende government. Finally on September 11, 1973, there was a military coup in which the house of government was bombed and fired upon. Allende said the only way he would leave the post he was elected to by the people was as a dead man, and that day, after his last radio message to the people, in which he said his government had never been anything but peaceful and stood for liberty, justice, and equality, while the building around him was burning, he put a bullet in his head. This led to some of the most painful years in the history of Chile, in which the military dictatorship took prisoner and killed thousands of peaceful residents and political activists. I felt ashamed to be an American, knowing that it wouldn’t have happened without the help of the government of my country.
At the time of the military coup, my professor Mario Toer had been teaching at a university in Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile. Luckily, he had been out of the country visiting his family in Argentina on September 11th. His memories of the protests and riots in the streets days before are vivid. Ex-pats with-in Chile at the time were taken prisoner. The national soccer stadiums were filled with political prisoners, many of which would never see the outside again. Mario opened his home in Buenos Aires to Chilenos that couldn’t go home, but sadly, not long after that there was also a military coup in Argentina after the death of Juan Domingo Perón and the failure of his government. Because Mario had opened his home to the Chileno exiles, all of them were put in jail. My professor spent 6 years in an Argentine prison, and strangely he considers himself one of the lucky ones. He told us he could have had it worse, because he was in a legal prison, and not one of the kidnapped. During this period thousands of people were kidnapped, killed, and dumped in the Rio de la Plata in Argentina. It was one of the darkest times in the history of Latin America, and it’s strange to think that I had to wait until I came here to really learn about it.
Alice and I were in awe of the man sitting before us. I had so much admiration for the fact that he was able to sit down and give us a play-by-play of the events of the history of this era with out interjecting anger, bias, or even personal opinions. I couldn’t help thinking that if it were me who spent six years as a political prisoner in my own country, I would be mad as hell at the US, the CIA…I’d probably be an anarchist. Mario wasn’t mad when he was telling us, he was just telling us what happened. The man is just continuing his life as a political scientist, doing his work, thinking about the implications of government actions, and showing how these actions contribute to the bigger picture of the story of our society. He is my hero.
So, when you’re watching the news today, hearing about what our nation is doing in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and a thousand other places around the globe, think about what September 11th really means to you. I can tell you that, for me, it means there is no difference between a falling tower and a falling bomb on the president’s home in Chile in 1973. There is no difference between a bomb in Baghdad and a bomb in my own home- a gun sold illegally in Minneapolis or in Afghanistan. In the age we live in violence everywhere, for any cause, must end, and it starts with you.
March 4, 2009
Dollars, Pesos, Uruguayos, and more!
Hola Chicos! It's a rainy day here in the city so I'm sitting down to write you all about our excursion to Colonia, Uruguay last Sunday.
Buenos Aires is situated on the Rio de la Plata. The delta is extremely wide, and it would seem that it is part of the ocean, but the water of the port and much further beyond the city is fresh water. Colonia, Uruguay is situated almost directly across the river from BA. It's about one hour by ferry.
We traveled with a ferry company called Buquebus. This was a very speedy ship, and it was much like an airplane on the inside. You couldn't go outside on the deck, but it is possible to take a ferry that moves at about one third of the speed if watching the water is your thing. We had to go through customs and get our passports stamped as we came on and off. I am so happy to accumulate some more stamps!
The four of us (Rachel and Alice, the other students, and Luli our contact here) got off the ferry in the blazing hot sun and set off immediately to find the beach. Alice suggested we get a golf cart to drive around the city easier, and we decided that was a great idea when we learned the best beaches were about two miles from the city. We rented our golf cart, got some groceries at the supermercado, and then started driving to have a picnic on the beach. Colonia and the surrounding area is very rural in comparison to the environment we were used to in BA, and the views of the river and the countryside were breathtaking. The water here is not sky blue (like at Punta del Este, or Rio de Janeiro) because of all of the river sediment, but we loved it. It was considerably better than all of the algae-covered lakes I can remember swimming in around Minnesota recently! A storm rolled in later in the afternoon, and so we took shelter and tried some Uruguayan cerveza ("Pilsen", for all you connoisseurs) in the little beach hut/store just off the sand. They call it a 'tormenta'. It was really the perfect ending to our beach time. Everybody loves a little thunder and lightening!
We went back to the historic district of Colonia to walk around the shops and eat dinner before we went back on the ferry which left at 10:30 pm for BA. I took some time to take some photos of the cobble stone streets and ancient colonial architecture, and also bought a mate and bombilla for drinking yerba mate, the celebrated national drink/past time of these people. We had dinner at a great little restaurant recommended by the cart rental people. There was live guitar, and excellent cuisine. I paid about 300 uruguayos for my meal.
And now you are wondering, "Wow, is that expensive? Is that cheap? What is an uruguayo?"....
The answers to these questions made one of the most interesting cultural aspects to our trip. The day was filled with monetary confusion, identification, clarification, and long division. When we arrived we were confronted with the dilemma of what currency to carry. We had Argentine pesos. The currency of Uruguay is pesos uruguayos. However, US currency is also often used in many places of business. I'm not sure why this is, but I have two guesses. One, either there are a large enough number of American tourists here to justify having change for US dollars, or two, that the US dollar is a more stable and predictable currency. You will find here that currency changes as regularly as government, and relative to our own history, that is quite often. Knowing that I would be able to use it in the future anywhere, I decided to get US dollars from the ATM. That presented another problem- I could only get $100 dollar bills. There is always a shortage of small change here, whether in Uruguay or Argentina, for reasons too numerous to list here.
Imagine this: You walk into a tourist shop on a main street in Colonia, Uruguay. The sign on the wall says, "All prices in US dollars", and you decide to by a small magnet and postcard for a friend back home. You go up to pay and the cash register shows you owe $8 US dollars. You pull out your $100 dollar bill and the cashier scowls and tells you she doesn't have that much change. You scowl back and say thanks and put back your purchases...OR...the cashier says, "I have some US change, but the rest will be in uruguayos"...OR...the cashier says, "If you have Argentine pesos, I can make change with that"...OR..."Pay in US dollars, but all the change will be in pesos and uruguayos". Needless to say, the process is fatiguing for the mind, and makes it easy to get ripped off by the cunning business owner (though the latter is usually not a problem).
You walk into a restaurant and see that a bottle of wine is 500 uruguayos. First you think, "How many pesos is that?" Divide by 6.50. The bottle would be priced at about 77 pesos. You look more at the menu and think, "Hmmm, but how many dollars is that?" You have two options: divide by 23, or divide 77 by 3.60. If you're like me you start wondering, "Is this food really worth all this math?" The wine costs 21 US dollars, but in the end it doesn't matter. By the time you realize that it might be more than you normally pay for one bottle of wine, you have drunk the entire thing, and are blindly paying the bill. Suddenly recognizing the importance of tables of multiplication and division, you need a refresher in elementary math.
For the love of money! Until next time, Chau!