Published: March 27th 2010
March 21st 2010
Another 20 hour bus ride, another city. Arrived in Buenos Aires in the mid morning. Cassie and I took a taxi to a hostal in the Palermo Soho District called Vanilla House. Did the typical first day in the city tour, walking around exploring. Met a cool lady from London who was dating an Argentinian (not sure how well that works out) who had a huge pup, great dane mastiff mix. Really made me miss my big dog at home. Enjoying giant doors and more elaborate architechture on all the buildings. The city is very European feeling. We ended up taking the subway to the downtown area. Strange people wander up and down the isles of the subways, busses and trains around this city trying to sell random items, such as a box of colored pencils, bobby pins, a plastic folder with dividers, cards with inspirational religious quotes, candy and more. They not only yell loudly describing the many uses of the items but then, whether you want the item or not, they set it into your lap (even on the laps of a couple sleeping people) and walk away for a few minutes giving you a chance to inspect it. Then they come back down the isle and collect everything from you, unless you had opened it or put it in your bag, then they collect the money. It is very strange.
Downtown BA is very dirty, the streets are covered in garbage. People place their garbage outside in plastic bags and then it scattered about by wild dogs, homeless people and the weather. The only upside of this plastic bag disposal method is that an entire workforce of people wanderes around with giant carts and they go through all of the waste and sort it into recycleable materials. However, they never seem to collect the waste that has been scattered randomly on the streets.
The city is huge, with tall buildings running for miles on very thin streets. The sidewalks are so thin is some areas, Cassie and I had to walk single file. Downtown we got to see the giant pink building the was used by Evita. On the pedestrian walkways people were dancing tango, drawing caricatures and selling useless knick knacks.
We got drawn into to several clothing stores and bought a few things. Way too much shopping in this town, it is a dangerous place for a girl on a budget. It is the end of summer here and all the summer clothing is on liquidation. Perfect timing for my return to the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. On the way back towards the Palermo district on the Subway, a group of three dreadlocked hippies came on with a cart of instruments and they played reggae on the crowded subway for our entire ride.
That evening, we got ready to go out on the town. When we left our hostal, we were talking to the host to ask about the distance to the club that we were going to, creatively named, Club 69. He replied, ¨Dont go there, that place sucks.¨ After talking to him for several minutes he listed bar after bar after resteraunt after club that sucked and that we should not go there. He also made fun of us for going out sooo early. It was around 9pm at this point. I am still never ever going to adjust to the going out schedule in South America. We walked towards a plaza with a bunch of places to eat and sat down for a beer and snack. We walked by one of the mentioned places not to go to, and it looked exactly the same as everywhere else. As we were finishing our snack and drink, a couple of guys came over to harass us. Cassie is way to nice to them and they continued talking to us. They bought us flowers from a lady selling them in the plaza and then did not believe Cassie when she tried to tell them that she was gay and I was taken and not interested in all at hanging out with them. The best part was that their english was very horrible and at the end of our conversation they asked to ¨see our teeths¨We laughed and opened our mouths and they replied, ¨no, not your teeth, your breaths¨ We blew air at them. They got frustrated. I got irritated after that and we left. However, along with ¨dont go there, that place sucks,¨it was the other quote of the evening. Cassie and I continued to flash our teeth and blow air on each other and laugh about it.
Eventually, we made it across town to Club 69, where a drag and go go show was being put on. We arrived at about quarter to 1 and the club was not even open. We had to wait in line for 15 minutes and then were one of the first people in the door. The place was awesome. Never trust a negative nancy hostal host. People were fully dressed in showgirl, vegas-esque wear and putting on dance shows all over the venue. One girl (or boy? not sure) did some great pole tricks on a platform that was pushed around the dancefloor. We danced and sweated until about 4am, and then retired to the hostal. The host made fun of us again for coming home so early. What is wrong with these people. 4am is incredibly late for me. I tried to call Brian on skype, but the internet cut out, so I went to bed.
The next day, we continued to be lured into stores and searching through dirt cheap clothing. We had found a great vege resteraunt to eat at the previous afternoon, which was so good we returned to it. We found a small artisan fair and browsed the local crafts. That evening we headed downtown in search of a good tango show. We were determined to find one, but much to our dismay they were all very expensive, starting at around $50 each, we tried to go to another area of town, San Telmo, which looked much dirtier and cheaper than downtown, and we were even advised by a vale parker to take a taxi instead of walking because it was a bit dangerous for two girls in the evening. We arrived in the plaza for the area and wandered around to about 5 more tango show locations, dissapointed to find that they grew more and more expensive with each place. We settled for a live band playing in the plaza while we ate dinner. Cassie bought a single earing from a nice hippie vendor who arrived at our table.
Afterwards, we decided to take a taxi back towards our hostal. Cassie had wanted to go out to a lesbian bar, and I have always enjoyed the lack of attention from men at gay bars, so happily joined. We arrived at Bach Bar, and got tons of stares from all the ladies as we walked in the bar. It was a bit awkward at first so we started dancing and soon were surrounded by women. I have never met such aggresive girls in my life! They were pulling us from all angles, pretty much fighting over us. It was very flattering, we were the exotic foreigners It was very strange. It was worse then dealing with men. Several of the girls girlfriends got angry with me for dancing with their girlfriends. I was not trying at all, they were just coming up to me and I continued with my wild sporatic dance style. After being scolded by the fourth girl for her girlfriend coming up to me, I had enough and told cassie I was ready to go. We were excited to get outside and away from the smokers. We had lasted til 5am this time!!! go us! Outside, there was a huge line to get in the bar. Crazy South Americans.
The next day, I was a girl on a mission. A tattoo mission. I had been thinking about it my entire trip, and I figured BA was most likely the best place to get that mission accomplished. I talked to the hostal host, not negative nancy, about which location had the best reputation for giving tats. He suggested one guy, and showed me the website which was impressive, then gave me directions. We ended up walking and taking a subway to the Recoletta neighborhood, which is a very high end district of town. We walked down the street and hidden between designer shoes, fur coats and custom leather goods, a small doorway appeared, marked, "The Tattoo Museam"
Once inside, I felt like I was in a surreal place, a mix between hot-topic and a punk rock high school. Emo kids ran amuk and a three story mall of tattoo shops, punk rock clothing stores, and a few bars were laid before us. It took us almost 30 minutes to find the shop that I was looking for. Finally, I talked to a guy, and cassie helped to translate for me. I was embarassed to show my sketch, which looked like a 2 year old drew it. Diego Biro, my choosen artist, was busy with another customer and told me to come back in 30 minutes. Cassie and I wasted time wandering through the mall, which was, to our dissapointment, not a museam at all. I ordered a beer, hoping to ease the upcoming pain, and quickly returned to the parlor. While we waited for Diego to draw up something, which took almost an hour, Cassie decided to work on her knitting, and she got laughed at by many of the shoppers passing by. It was funny.
Finally he came up with a drawing that I loved, and it was much larger than I anticipated, but I decided, what the hell, when in argentina, right? Cassie left to wander around while I sat in 3 and a half hours of pain. Lucky for me Diego spoke great english because he had worked in Europe and the states for several years, so we were able to talk a bit while he worked. Right after he took some pictures, Cassie returned with my promised snack and we returned to the hostal.
We were much too burnt out from the previous two nights of dancing to even attempt staying up late enough to go out on a saturday night. Besides, the next day we were headed to an Eco Yoga park, which I had found online, to do some volunteer work, yoga and mediation. So we called it an early night. The next day, we would be heading to the eco park.