Buenos Aires for the New Year

Trip Start Dec 22, 2012
1
7
Trip End Aug 01, 2013


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Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Monday, December 31, 2012

Buenos Aires - Day 1
 We got off the plane from Lima to go to our boutique hotel. Each room has a theme. Mine and Jared's was La Liberator and held art, busts, and other things relating to San Martin, the liberator of Argentina and Peru. My parents' was Che Guevara themed and Luc's was an Argentine writer. We quickly changed and rushed off to New Years dinner at an Italian restaurant. Our table was right beside the band - two long hair spanish style guitar players and two italian style opera singers. One was a big bearded belter, the other was a mix between Steve Buscemi, Peewee (of playhouse fame), Peter Lorre, and Rick Moranis - he was a weird looking dude but they could play. Their range went from Sinatra's My Way, to the Godfather theme, to Donna E Mobile, and some faintly recognizable opera. The wine flowed and by midnight we were all pretty buzzed. Then came the champagne and fireworks that would last well into the daylight hours - more on that later. We also met a british family from London who happened to be staying at our hotel so we shared more champagne, vodka, and cigars in the hotel courtyard. Their son was being whipped from across the pond so he didn't come out but their daughter, known affectionately by friends as Trasha Drinkin (real name Natasha Dinkin) was more on our level and ready to have a good time. The concierge, Frank, a young guy who was a good time came out and had some drinks with us too, cause how can you let a guy work on New Years without a drink? There should be a law against it. After we had sufficiently lubricated our livers we got our hearts going with an Argentinian energy drink aptly named 'Speed Unlimited' and went out to hit the bars at around 3 am. The crew was the Wortzmans and our honourary sister Natasha. After being turned away from a huge line at a bar in the square near our hotel, Natasha recommended that we go to a place she knew except it was, "a little pretentious." With nothing else to go on we followed her and arrived at a baby blue windowless building with a door behind a set of bars. It looked like some underground club that you either knew or never noticed. A good looking middle aged woman and a big bald dude in a suit come out to greet us and tell us its an open bar until they close at 5 am and since we were late we could come in for the reduce rate, $50. After convincing Jim that $50 worth of drinks was a trifle we went in and got to work. We went outside to the back where they had couches, a bar, a pool, and a garden. A nice setting to lose vision in. So we were all having a good time, drinking, smoking cigars, laughing, attempting to dance and then my dad Jim changed the course of the night with a few choice words, "Lets get some shots." Jared returned with four vodka shots, all of which Jim claimed for his own. Within a few minutes Jim had finished three but paused at the fourth. He grabbed it started laughing and then threw the shot, glass and all into the garden. Before the glass clinked on the pavement, Jim was passed out on the couch in a crowded courtyard. We took advantage of the picture opportunity and let 'em know that we were down with the east coast. After two hours of some pretty hard drinking we were kicked out at 5 am. Fireworks were still going off every couple seconds despite the sun limiting them to sound only.
  This is about when things started to get interesting. Jim fell walking out of the club, we laughed, he got up and seemed fine. We walked back to the hotel to regroup. Jim and Jaimie went to bed. Natasha passed out in the lobby and was carried over the concierge's shoulder up the stairs to bed, to a very confused brother who decided it was better not to ask questions. Luc said he was going to the square and ended up drinking champagne with the locals and watching fireworks. When he tried to find his way home he got lost. His phone was out of batteries and he was in a city that he arrived in only hours before. He began walking through the now sunny streets of Buenos Aires looking for a hotel he didn't even know the name of in a totally unfamiliar city. Luckily he was spotted by a couple of working girls who thought they might be lucky enough to get one more trick in before they called it a morning. Unfortunately for them Luc was not interested in sex, just directions. They pulled out a laptop and tried to figure out where the hell he was staying. Now how he got back is unclear but he ran into Raymond, Natasha's father in the hotel lobby at around 10 am. He took the long way home. 
 Then there's me and Jared's story. After leaving the bar we were hungry and set out sights on the 24/7 McDonalds that was somewhere in the neighbourhood. I should also tell you that Jared was carrying a full 26 of Jameson that he had got from the bartender. So off we went asking everyone we saw on the streets where McDonalds was, getting pointed in all sorts of directions. At one point we saw a group of guys just leaving a bar, this was probably around 6 am. They didn't know where McDonalds was but they shared some of our Jameson on the sidewalk before we continued our search. After over an hour of searching we finally got there. The golden gates. The big mac. Chicken nuggets. Chairs. Air conditioning. Smiles. But it was empty, an odd sign for any McDonalds regardless of the hour. The doors were locked, the lights were off, and our hopes for eating our weight in deliciousness were crushed. In an act of total desperation we walked through the drive through, yelled into the box, and knocked on the window. 24/7 my ass. Now we had to find our way home. Finding a cab at 6 am New Years morning is no easy task and our luck got no better. Unlike Luc we knew the name of the hotel but no one else had heard of it. So the bullet was bit for the roaming charges and I mapped our way home. At around 7 am we finally burst through the hotel doors. Frank told us that Luc came back then left and no one knew where he was right as I collapsed in the elevator up to the room. We passed out and what seemed like 5 minutes later I was woken up, still very drunk, by Jared who told me that it was 3 pm. He also mentioned that Jim had a black eye, a gash on his forehead, and was missing half his eyebrow. Apparently that fall was a little bit worse than drunk Jim knew. He woke up with his eye crusted shut from the dried blood and one helluva headache. We spent the next day recovering, sobering up, and reconstructing the details of a very foggy very fun night. It was an introduction to a city that'll be hard to top but we do have four more days...

Day 3

Today we touristed it up. We subwayed over to the Plaza de Mayo where we saw the pink house which is the government building, the cathedral with the grave of San Martin who liberated Argentina and Peru. From there we cabbed over to the Boca region where every building, store, restaurant, and house is painted vibrant colours. We ate at a place made of tents and tin roofs. They had huge barbecues and grills with every type of meat. They also had a live musician doing his thing on a little stage. From there we went to the Proa Museum that had an exhibit of Alberto Giacometti. He's the guy who sculpted the 'Walking Man' statue. Its a really lanky walking guy but some people obviously saw some merit in it as it recently sold for over $100 million. Too bad he's dead and didn't see a penny. After a quick round through there we hopped back in a cab to the big obelisk located on what was once the widest boulevard in the world. All I can really saw is the obelisk looked like an obelisk and the boulevard was very wide. Throughout the day we also came across tons of very interesting grafitti and omnipresent tags. Some of it was pretty amazing as you can see in the pictures. After this we went to Don Julio's Steakhouse, an authentic Argentine house of meat. We ate steak off of table covered in dead cows. As a budding steak connoisseur I had been expecting a lot from what some call the beef capital of the world. But as a Canadian who ate his way through mad cow and mad amounts of cow, those Argentines had a lot to live up to. The best part was the prices. What would be a $50-$60 steak in Toronto was about $15 there. However it did not stack up to North American beef. They also didn't season their steak - a major error. Despite all those minor details it was a great meal and a nice base for a night of tango watching to follow, with free wine. It was my second experience with tango. In the first I was almost kicked in the face about 12 times. This time we were up on the balcony so I didn't have to employ any of the 5 Ds of dodgeball. I am not much of a dancer myself and don't really know how to go about explaining it but these guys and girls were pretty damn good. There's some pictures and a video that can show all that. After leaving the tango we went to the hotel for a few drinks with the Dinkins and their other friends from London. We had a couple laughs and their friend Simon sounded a lot like Basil from Austin Powers. From there us boys went to a a bar in the square where my stomach started to feel real bad so I went home to the hotel to wake up to what was either food poisoning, stomach flu, or Montezuma having his delightful revenge. I spent the next few days in the hotel room flipping through Spanish TV and, again, wallowing in sorrow

Day 6?

My stomach sorted itself out which gave me about a day to explore a city dubbed by many as the Paris of South America. To sum it up quickly, we went to a market and walked some streets around there. After that we went to the Mumba, a modern art museum well past its day. From there we went to the Malba, a modern art museum at its best. Its a very interesting building that holds famous works of artists passed and new works of up and comers. There's some very cool stuff in there and even if museum aren't your thing you'll enjoy this one. We only had about an hour to see it though so we rushed through, got to the airport and flew on home. I took as many pictures as I could and the video of the bench is pretty amazing. It actually connected to another, or rather the same bench on the next floor up - you'll see what I mean.
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