Saturday, April 3, 2004

I arrived in BA on the overnight bus from Tornquinst around 7 a.m. I knew I was going to head for a hostel but wasn't sure which. In the bus station, there is a small stand for an up and coming hostel chain called The Hostel Inn. They are not HI affiliated but seem to be gaining a name for themselves among other backpackers. I talked with the girl at the stand and she called "The Tango City" hostel in the barrio of San Telmo and verified there was space for me and to other guys who happened to arrive at the bus station at the same time as me. They turned out to be Rodrigo and Lucas, both from Cordoba (another major city in the west of Argentina). They had come to town for the long weekend to see a big soccer game between River Plate (popular BA team) and their favorite team from Cordoba (forgot the name).

We shared a free cab to the hostel (free if you stay more than 2 nights) but when we arrived we were told we had to wait awhile to see what rooms we would end up in. It was before 11 so some people were still waiting to check out.

We decided to take the time to walk around a little so we headed towards the centro. We walked down "The Famous" calle Florida and just talked a lot about Brazil and my travels thus far. Eventually we found a cheap place to grab a beer and we sat and people watched. While sitting there, one of their friends from Cordoba randomly walked past us! He was also there to watch the game. He said he would be back in awhile...Rodrigo and Lucas wanted to wait so I went back to the hostel to catch some zzzz's.

Later when I woke up, there was a little mix up with the rooms we were in and I ended up changing from room 7 to room 5...which must have been fate because it seemed to be the coolest room in the hostel.

I got ahold of Anthony and let him know I was back. We agreed to meet at the hostel for a few beers and then we would go to Andrea's place for a party they were going to have. First we went to a small pub near the hostel called Gibraltar with a huge group of people from the hostel.

We were far too large of a group to just show up at a small house party, so we all went to this bar that somebody knew called "La Cigale". It was way too packed, so finally we went out to this area called "Las Canitas" that Anthony knew. It was cool...lots of bars/restaurants all on the same road and there were tons of people everywhere. We ended up in this place called Jackie O that was pretty fun. I ended up taking an inordinate amount of pictures as usual...particularly about 15 of this one girl in a green shirt. She was pretty cool about it in the end and thought it was funny.

Anyway, we were there until 5 or so and then I went back to the hostel where I drank a few beers with everyone as they straggled in from the clubs. This would become a common occurence over the next several nights.

Sunday, April 4, 2004

Happy Easter everyone!! It was a rather gray Sunday and just about all of us in our room woke up around 2. Being a holiday AND a Sunday, pretty much everything was closed...but Tracy/Australia mentioned she had to go to "The Famous" calle Florida to return some pants so I went with her. Tracy is one of the people in my room at the hostel. She's been here in the hostel for 2 months so it's pretty much become her home. She is an AWESOME girl (like all Aussies) who is incredibly friendly and definitely the center of the party. We clicked well from the first second we met and spending the afternoon with her, I realized she was even cooler than I thought. We had "lunch" (or linner) at this restaurant but it ended up being this crappy overpriced sandwiches. Atleast the company was good. Tracy had set off from Australia 6 years ago to try out working in England for a year...yada, yada, yada she's now living in Ibiza and working as a bartender. The more people I meet from Australia the more I know I must visit their country...that is for sure. They have the greatest demeanor and approach to life and are amongst the friendliest of the people I have met on all my travels.

After we ate we went to this unbelievable exhibit that is traveling the world at the moment. It is by an artist called Bertrand, who is French, and is entitled "The Earth from Above". He travelled the world over about 7 or 8 years taking these amazing aerial photographs, that now serve as an exhibit of about 150-200 pictures. The exhibit goes form country to country and I was lucky to catch it here in Argentina, where it is until June. The pictures are so fantastic they look like paintings, or as if they can't be real. We spent well over an hour looking at them all and I was truly overwhelmed...and that is coming from a person who doesn't have an artistic bone and his body. If you get a chance to see the book, or if it comes to your city, take an afternoon to see this wonderful exhibit...it is fantastic.

After all that, we finally headed back to the hostel. I went to find the Cordoba guys to be sure they were going out. I talked to Anthony and he said that he and Chris/Denver (who came to dinner with us back on March 23) would come to meet up with us at the hostel. Later they arrived and we repeated everything from the previous night...drank at the hostel and then a huge group of us went to Gibraltar. Gibraltar is a great little pub in San Telmo that's near the hostel and, as I would learn, has become somewhat of a main stop for people from the hostel. Monday was a holiday so this was a good night to go out. We ended up splitting up from the rest of the group and Chris, Anthony, and I went with the guys from Cordoba and some English girls we met to a club called Mint. When we got there it was closed so instead we ended up at this place called "La Diosa". We danced the night away but it was almost ruined when I had a "Finch" moment. Luckily ended up pretty good and we headed back to the hostel late. Of course, everyone was getting back at the same time so we drank beers and partied in the hostel until 7 in the morning.

Monday April 5, 2004

It was a holiday and not much was happening so I took advantage of that and went to Anthony's dorm to use his laptop. My camera is almost completely full and I have a TON of work to do with pictures. I spent the entire afternoon and evening there working on that and sharing some stories and pictures from my trip with the people in his dorm. It was a pretty fun day.

That night, Anthony came to the hostel with Lisa/Germany. It was Rodrigo and Lucas' last night so we hung out in the hostel with them drinking beers (surprise, surprise) and then we ended up going out to "Kilkenny" that night. For you SP folks, this is basically the BA equivalent of O'Malley's...and Irish Pub which is pretty much a popular gringo bar. The highlight of the night was that I met this guy who talked about giving me some work. He is opening a sushi restaurant and needs a chef. I don't know anything about it but I told him I was willing to learn...mostly so that years from now I could tell stories that started with "When I was a sushi chef in Buenos Aires...".

We also met some girls that seemed nice...one of them currently lives in the US and was home visiting her family. Once again, we all took several pictures, but it was a relatively early night.

Tuesday April 6, 2004

I got up in the afternoon and headed to Anthony's to use his computer again. He's heading to Chile on Wednesday and might not be back for awhile so I'm trying to do as much as possible. I met a pretty cool guy from SP that's staying in his dorm that lives only a few blocks from where our place was in Moema! It was cool to talk a little Porteguese and I ended up showing him all my pics from traveling in Brazil. I wasn't going to go out that night, but the guys convinced me and I ended up borrowing clothes from this guy Blake/W. Virginia.

We went to a club called "Jobs" which is known to be pretty solid on Tuesday nights. We did have fun, once again took tons of pictures. I saw the girls from Kilkenny the night before but they blew me off pretty bad. Such is life.

I got home at 5...and wouldn't you know it, everyone was still partying in the hostel. Many more beers and bed late.

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Got up in the afternoon and headed to Anthony's dorm to return Blake's clothes and to see him off.

I went to lunch with him and Lisa at an AWESOME "tenedor libre" (buffet). It was a little pricey but easily the best meal I've had in Argentina.

Took the night off to rest after several days of partying. I think I'm supposed to be looking for a job or an apartment or something:)

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Oopss...don't know what happened on this day but it probably went something like woke up late, drank at the hostel, went out. I'm pretty sure this was the first day I really started making an effort to find a place to live.

Anyway, the people in room #5 at the hostel have become a key part of this week for me so I'll take a moment to talk about each of them.

One of the main characters was Tracy/Australia who I already talked about. In the bunk above me was Yulan/Holland. She was a nice girl and was like a hermit. She must have literally slept 16 hours a day. She was fun to talk to though and is probably one of the most lively mellow people I've ever met...if that makes sense. Another true character from the room was this guy Jose/Domincan Republic. He was a very strange character who I wouldn't exactly say is the sharpest pencil in the box. I actually had a discussion with him in which he was trying to discern which months had 32 days. I think that sums it up.

Another Aussie in our room, Fiona was really cool. She had landed in BA several weeks before and was taking Spanish classes and enjoying the BA life. She was also starting up a little romance with an Argy guy she had met right around this time and ultimately wouldn't leave BA for quite awhile.

Another girl who joined us (that same day I think) was Jenny, an American girl from the west coast. She was working a service project in Brazil and had a few weeks to travel. I could see that Brazil had the same effect on her that it had had on me and she was truly in love with the country. She came from Rio where she worked and was doing a bit of traveling in Argentina. Besides being beautiful, she had a great worldly view and a knack for other cultures an languages that I was pretty impressed with.

Rounding out our group was Sapir, one of two Israelis in our room and had been traveling for quite awhile. He was cool guy who seemed to be enjoying himself immensly on his travels and broke away from many of the Israeli stereotypes that I have mentioned before. It was great to party with him and all the folks in room #5 and they all made my time in the Tango City Hostel unforgettable.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Not sure what happened during the day but that night I went to Cathedral with big group of people from the hostel. Cathedral is a Tango/Salsa bar that is a hidden gem in BA. It has a very Bohemian style and is far different from the touristy Tango bars that cater to most who visit BA. There is a show, but it is more populated by locals and there is a band that plays tango and many people spontaneously dance and try to learn. It was a very cool little place...but just as mellow as it sounds...a good spot if that is what you're looking for. I was pretty happy there and met a cool guy, Paul/England.

Our group ended up leaving there and heading for a club called 69 (oh behave!). Unfortunately there was an enormous line and my gringo powers did not work to get us in right away. Half the group bailed out, but Paul, Chris and I went to a bar across the street and ended up having a pretty good night. Towards the end we caught a cab to Las Canitas, a barrio that I knew had many great bars...but we found nothing to happenin' there. We ended up catching a bus back towards the hostel but in reality I had no clue where I was going. I talked to some people on the bus and they told me more or less where to get off (Paul and Chris had already gotten off) and when I started walking I passed a salsa bar. I figured, why not? So I went inside and it was GREAT. I ended up dancing there for over an hour and met some cool Cuban guys...well, they were cool until they discovered I was American. Too bad that I continue to be judged on the politics of my country rather than who I am...but I still had a great time and remembered the bar for future reference.

Finally got home around 5:30 and met up with the others as usual. Had a beer or two and hit the sack...ahhhhhh life in the Tango City hostel. I better find an apartment or this place could be the end of me.

AC

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