Christmas day was a complete blur due to my post red wine haze. Everyone got up late which had cleaning woman was fuming because she couldn't make our beds with us still in them. I made a few calls home and got ready to go for dinner at a tenedor libre which means literally free fork or in our terms, all you can eat. It was a great place with lots of salads and a huge selection of meats on the grill. All that plus a bottle of wine each and a desert. It was crazy. About halfway through I got a surprise visitor. Mark Cooper from my old Innoventry days had emailed me earlier to tell me he was in Buenos Aires. He dropped by my hostel and they told him where we were eating. I turned around in shock to see him and his wife and a friend of his standing behind my chair. We chatted for a while and promised to hook up in the next week.
My last day of class was pretty painful. I wanted to skip but as they were having a good bye lunch for me I figured it would be in poor taste. Lunch was fun though and I got to meet Thomas' boyfriend from Brazil who was just the sweetest guy. I was so happy when it was all over. It was definitely worth it. I learned a lot and can have little conversations with people which is cool. the best thing is that I really feel like I can understand people, for the most part, without translating their words into English in my head. I will definitely miss walking to school every morning and seeing all the dog walkers with their 8 or 10 dogs running ahead of them. Everyone in the city lives in apartments but they love dogs and all seem to have at least one or two. The dog walkers clean up cash-wise but not street-wise. One must be very cautious of where one steps on Buenos Aires sidewalks.
Tuesday was just errands, errands, errands all around the Retiro district. I have so much planning to do for this part of my trip. Everything in South America is so far away from each other, that it's a bit harder to just go with the flow. I walked home through Puerto Madero and then decided to run over to La Boca to take a few more pictures for my mother. Back at the hostel, Elfie was getting ready to go to yet another Milonga called Confeteria Ideal with Eric. It was her last night so we tagged along but she wanted to go separately so that she didn't look like a tourist. Like us. We gave her no end of grief about her already assuming the snooty airs of all tango dancers. We hung out for a while but it really wasn't as fun as the last milonga we'd go to so we were about to make our way out when the floor cleared and there was a short show with 2 amazing dancers. all my pictures came out terribly because they were moving so fast across the floor. Once the show was done, unfortunately so were we so we made our way back to the hostel. The next day was a complete wash with me getting up late and then going back to bed after lunch because I wasn't feeling well. I finally realized later that I was probably really dehydrated as I've been eating all meat and drinking hardly any water. Also, the temperature has been spiking in the high 30s of late. I glugged down rehydration pack and lots of water and started to feel a lot better. I think I've definitely proved Atkins wrong. I surely haven't lost any weight here and I'm averaging 2 steaks a day. Oh well, it was quite a tasty experiment.
Thursday was my trip to Recoleta cemetery. I'd been before with Jen, weeks ago but hadn't taken any pictures. It is such an amazing place. I'd never seen a cemetery like it before. It looks like a spooky village for little people. I tried and failed to get some pictures that would convey the scale of the place. I followed the rest of the tourists wandering around trying to track down Eva Perron's tomb (easy, just look for the crowd of people huddled around a single tomb) before winding my way out back into the city. I stopped in to the Museum for Belle Arts around the corner where they has a extensive collection of Argentinian artwork and quite a few famous European pieces. And the museum is free. What a way to promote culture in the city. I headed to Palermo to check out the parks but my feet were dragging. I had a quick steak as usual and decided just to wander around the ritzy boutiques that were surrounding me. I made it to Plaza Serrano where we'd had our evening debauchery the week previous and bought myself a lemon ice cream to give myself enough of a lift to make it back to the subway.
The night started out innocently enough. We went to Manolo's for yet another steak before heading next door to El Hipopatame for some Clarico with which we toasted Di and Bob at the midnight start of their anniversary before heading to a club called Bizzaro in Palermo where we were supposed to meet the Australian guys. We had to wait for about 15 minutes outside before they would let us in because it was so crowded but when we finally entered I was impressed. It was one of those bars that could pass muster in any city in the world. The music was fun and the drinks were excellent. The Australian guys had to go and pick up some other friends before heading to Nicecito club 69 so Di, Bob and I decided to just head straight over. When we arrived we were greeted with the line for entry trailing down the block. I was ready to get back in the cab and tell him to drive us back to San Telmo when I spotted one of the hostel guys entering the club. Behind him, about 20 people back in line was a whole group of people we recognized from the hostel. We jumped line and were in the club in under 10 minutes. We felt bad that there was no way the Australians were going to make it in. Sometimes timing is everything. There were guys in drag greeting us at the door before we made our way into the huge packed space. It was so wall to wall with people that hardly anyone was dancing. Just swaying from bopping from side to side. The music was great the the drag shows super fun but the heat of the few thousand people around us started to get too much and our little trio exited to the a nice small bar down the street for a few more beers until the sun came up. I love Buenos Aires!