Only on Medium Could One Piece Connect Buenos Aires and Back Acne

It’s 5 o’clock in the morning. I’m standing on the balcony in my underwear. Coffee in one hand and cigarette in the other, as I watch, in the remote distance, the lights in Montevideo, Uruguay beginning to come on.

In the artery below me, “collectivos” — busses — filled with Argentines on their way to work rumble by on the cobblestones that haven’t changed since before Eva “Evita” Peron captured the stage.

Across the street is the house where Eva’s brother, Juan, lived and killed himself. “Murder by suicide” is what the newspapers called it. Assassinations aren’t used in Argentina — it’s always murder by suicide.

Around the next block is Subte Linea D — — Olleros. Every fifteen minutes, 500 Argentines pack into decades old subway cars meant to haul 300. The sardine packing will last until 10am when the subte becomes bearable. The number of martyrs slowly creeps down to match the acceptable number of victims.

Everyone is going to work. Into the financial district, government buildings and newspapers. They’re all lining up like sheep to the slaughter to make a dollar.

I’m still in my underwear as I think how the God of my understanding has blessed me.

I live in a country that sees almost a million global tourists a year. People come from Perth and Paris, Rome and Riga, Milan and Memphis to experience for a few short days the life that I thrive on — every week. 52 weeks a year.

Another cup of coffee. Another cigarette. Then I need to walk the twenty-feet to my “office” where I’ll spend a few hours shared between working on a personal essay — written at the request of The New Yorker — and a 500-word piece: “Top Essential Oils for Acne”.

Despite being blessed, you still have to make a living.

Jerry Nelson is an American freelance writer and photojournalist and is always interested in discussing future work opportunities. Email him at and join the million-or-so who follow him on Twitter @ Journey_America.

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