A Warm Christmas Eve

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, December 24, 2010

On an administrative error on my part I neglected to book a room over the Christmas period. The blame is on myself and the great people I met during this time. I was having an awesome time and did not have a plan. As time passed I figured an extra day in Buenos Aires would not make a difference but slowly it did. Finally, I decided to move on from the 28th. As Estoril was fully booked, I decided to check out Milhouse hostel as it was a short walk away. The outcome of my time there, is as obvious as one of the comedy movies out now. For the second time I booked over two days; four in this case. It was a big mistake. Now days in hindsight I will only book two days of accommodation as if I do not like it I can bail out soon.



Checking out of Estoril, Esteban graciously allowed me to store the main part of my luggage there. A nice touch was the staff team insisting to drop by at anytime. Definitely the small touches in time define better experiences. Many thanks guys. Over to Milhouse and once allocated to a room of eight beds, I surveyed my new surroundings. The lockers were safe but bad in the sense of the 'deafening' noise upon opening and closing.(Nothing like being woken up in the early hours of a day by some cretins needing something from their bag at that time). Another minus, was no soap in both of our room’s bathrooms. Seriously? To all hostel owners why decrease the level of hygiene? The biggest gripe was that most of the day I heard constant ‘sex moans’. At first I thought good luck to the fellow getting his end away but after a few hours it was still going on. Then I thought it must be another guest or guests watching porn and who would do so for so long? It was only when one of my new room mates made a comment regarding that we were near a ‘porn cinema’, I clocked on. With these things going on, I spent the minimum amount of time in my room.

My room mates consisted of four Australians (two males, two females), two Dutch girls and Otavio (Brazilian). Although the two Australian lads were friendly, I only bonded with Otavio. It was a shame he worked at the bar as that meant hardly any time to mingle outside of work.

With the part of relocating out of the way, it did not take me long to return to Estoril for peace and quiet. In the early afternoon, I had a reunion with my new travel companion; the hammock. The time was used to reflect on how quick the last twelve days had gone. Still what unfolded over this period, proved to be a lot better than what I had expected and experienced before. With Christmas Eve being upon us, it was truly strange not to have cold weather, friends and family around. Add to that, Christmas was not as heavily celebrated in Argentina. One reason for that, celebrations are muted is the economic crisis demonstrations of 2001 and the December riots. Given that the looting, protests, rioting and the killing of more than twenty people occurred on the 19th and 20th, I can understand why.

Being that we were three hours behind U.K. time, I made sure to text message a selected few with holiday wishes. Why so early you ask? Surely reading what I get up to in the night and how my condition is the next day, you should not be baffled. An added advantage to this is keeping in touch to those, who do not have internet access.

Along with Heidi, Amanda and Robert, we whiled away the evening talking on the terrace. Such a simple thing felt so good for the soul To illustrate how good this way I was so at peace during this time.

Late in the evening we headed out to dine. As we were told earlier, that reservations this evening were needed, we wondered where we would end up given we had not made one. Nevertheless we are out on a whim and went via cabs to a variety of places. Most of the time, we received responses of that they did not have a free table and the wait would be long. One of the places the girls vetoed was ’Hooters’. Was that because as Americans they did not want to go to an American restaurant or was it due to its’ 'reputable' reputation? Probably both were true but the latter had more weight in this discussion. However I could not resist pretending I wanted to go there. I let them know I was ‘ribbing’ them a little later. No matter as with Mike, I had been there a few days ago for a drink and did not want to consume a meal there. Also the chicks were not hot and nothing based on their counterparts. The short time we spent there and there was not even one smile on display. Maybe, someone told them Diego Maradona would manage their football team. That would explain their frowns.

From Puerto Madero we took a cab towards Congresso and checked a few more restaurants. More of the same and we diligently carried on in our quest. We found a Chinese buffet restaurant and as it was 10:30 P.M., we went in. It was very busy but there was room upstairs. To be truthful, the place did not look great but the food was good. We were given a bottle of ‘sparkling’ champagne to celebrate when midnight was upon us.

The buffet consisted of chicken, pork, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, pasta, noodles, dumplings, rice, spring rolls, duck and sweet pastries. The only low point was looking at a severed pig’s head with an apple in it’s mouth. Sometimes I question why I eat meat and should I become a vegetarian. A discussion for another time.

The next two hours consisted of a lot of return trips to the buffet table. Having to go up and down the steel meshed and sharply twisted staircase was a tad tricky with a plate. I guess you can look at that as both physical and concentration exercises. Not an ounce of food was dropped nor were there any balance issues. A great moment was the countdown to midnight and wishing everyone. At that point unexpected fireworks adorned the skyline. When things were a tad calmer, we were presented with a fruit cake as a small gift. For sixty pesos, the buffet had been great and with the service and gifts; I had to leave a large tip. In regards to the fruit cake; it was probably not the best but a nice gesture from the restaurant. I am not sure who consumed the fruit cake but we left it with Amanda.

What happened next will long live in the memory. Around Congress we posed in front of a Nativity scene. (This along with the restaurant pictures are some of my favourite travelling images). It felt great to just enjoy the moment and have no constraints what so ever.

We headed back to the hostel and continued celebrating with the staff members on the terrace. Sitting on ‘bean bags’, I decided to wrestle playfully and pin Amanda whilst she put a headlock on me. Thankfully neither my hair nor my sunglasses were affected by her actions.

A tad later, Robert and I engaged in a spiritual conversation. What we talked about is not known to me. We laid on our ‘bean bags’, looked at the taupoline scattered with blue lights and conversed. This confused Heidi, as when she returned, thought we had both passed out! I called out for her to join us but she did not hear me. In fact, Robert drifted off around this time. Wary of falling asleep myself I awoke him and went downstairs to wish everyone farewell. (Remember that I was staying elsewhere). The short walk to Milhouse hostel was made and the streets were very quiet but nicely lit up. Arriving back towards 4 A.M., the room, like the lobby was eerily quiet. Washing up and changing out of my clothers, I ‘tip toed’ around. Finally I was in bed and closed my eyes. My last thought was of how much of a contrast this was to last year’s Christmas.
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