A couple of friends have noticed, and some have said something, and some have not, that I’m not quite present lately. I’m kind of here but not here, in two places at once, thinking about something else. In fact, the last time I was with friends and just relaxed into the moment was way too long ago. Sorry T if you found me unusual yesterday. It could be stress, it could be angst (midlife angst? has this been documented?), it could be that work is predictable, or that I’m working on a book that is kicking my 30-something ass. It could be a general floaty projectlessness I’m feeling at the moment (book notwithstanding), or maybe it’s just time for some change. And if I am still living in this apartment by March without good reason, you have my permission to come over and drip water on my freshly waxed floor, which will make me so crazy I will have to move. In fact, I’ll hand you a pitcher.
And so, in a state of tumult, there’s nothing better to do than tumult myself some more, so I’m headed to Buenos Aires for a few days. There are a few reasons behind this trip. The last time I was in Buenos Aires (just a hop skip and a jump if you get a wicked cheap flight on LAN, like I did, or a 30-hour busride for the long-busride nonaverse), I was waiting out the fallout of the earthquake, waiting to find out if my apartment was habitable, and recovering from a wicked case of NZ-induced jetlag. I stayed in a hostel that was fine, but dirty by my standards, kind of unkempt, and had a really lame-o kitchen where all I was inspired to cook was pasta and sauce, and that was only because I scoured out a pot while perched over a pile of trash that seemed too damp to kick out of the way. The hostel did have a nifty rooftop deck though, where I could inhale all the second hand smoke I wanted and wish to high heaven I spoke more French so I could talk to the two women who had come over hill, dale, river, swamp and several borders from French Guyana, where one worked as a midwife, and the other an osteopath. From what I could piece together, they were living life well, and loving it. I wanted to shrink myself down and hang out in their unwashed backpacks. And come back to Chile and study French, que tampoco hice (which I also didn’t do).
Needless to say (French women notwithstanding) this time I’m not staying in that same hostel. Hostels in Buenos Aires have it tough. They get used heavily by RTWers who have grown socially disabled, believing themselves to be the center of the universe and tend to one-up even the most one-upmanshippy of the one-upmanshippers, and the party-harders, who come home at 8 AM and sleep the day away, rising to purchase beer in the early afternoon, sliding on flipflops and a colorful, shapeless shift (the women), playing with the ends of their overlyblonde hair from so much time on the beach in Brazil. The men occasionally pull shirts over their bellies before they go out, reminding themselves they’re not in Bali anymore.
I’m not anti-hostel. But when you pick the easiest-to-party-in/big-hype/major transit point on a continent, you’re going to get a lot of people who aren’t in the same mindset as a traveler who just flew a couple of hours for a change of place, a change of air, and to see some thoroughly bizarre anti-fashion show produced by an old highschool friend who I used to sneak into clubs with when we were too young to even go to the Ritz (16!), because Irving Plaza (14) and CBGBs (also 14) just weren’t our crowd. Yes, we were the whippersnappers who got out of our taxi and had the velvet rope dropped so we could prance right in. And no, that had nothing to do with me, it was all my glam friends, like MJ.
So I’m staying in an apartment in Palermo. If the experience is lovely, I will sing the company’s praises. If the fashion is fashiony and nobody tries to get me to drink a Redbull, Battery or whatever BsAs’ equivalent is, I will also report on that. If I end up partying like a rockstar, I will have my head examined. And if I get to hang out with Kate and make fun of stuff that needs to be made fun of, and take lots of pictures and walk long distances and drink too much coffee, I’ll be sure to let you know about that, too.
There’s also news that there might be a Buenos Aires meetup for Matadorians. If that’s your bag (and wow, if you know me at all, you can guess it’s probably not mine because it’s at a big club with a gajillion people), drop me a line and I’ll try to get you in touch. I’ll probably show up, but just to reject offers of a Redbull and then go home and sleep on my rented bed, which sounds much seedier than I hope it is.
And now, for your navel-gazing pleasure, may I suggest the rest of the internet? Tomorrow at this time I should be in my rented apartment, trying for what my friend K from law school (and the person who I sheltered from Hurricane Katrina with in a trailer at a hunting camp in Missippi), “a geographical fix.” Wish me luck, and pardon the departure from your regularly scheduled OMG, I’m an expat, things are so different here! (but if you want to read about one of my favorite fruits (nísperos) on NileGuide, feel free to do so here.