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More Doug + Dogs (Buenos Aires, 2013)

~ 3AM on the median of Av 9 de Julio, Centro, Buenos Aires

Doug and I had just finished sipping some café con leche while he explained to me what an MVC framework was. In my back pocket I carried the lecture’s key notes, crumpled paper-thin Argentine restaurant napkins crawling with arrows and references to ORMs, controllers, views, etc. My mind was boggled as we walked towards our apartment.

Doug must have a thing for dogs, and I mean the wrong kind of thing (https://perhapsyouspeakenglish.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/dont-bark-at-rabid-dogs-istanbul-2012/). We walked by a group of street mutts. I was a little nervous, I looked at them, they seemed calm, we passed. A few seconds later, the two of us both looked at each other and looked back… they were sneaking up on us… we B O L T E D. The chase was on, and the barking was effing scary.

Doug ran across the street and then continued running in the same direction. I stayed on the median and channeled my inner Forrest Gump. I saw a hedge approaching and thought, well, I hope there isn’t a ditch on the other side. I hurdled it, landed safely, and ran across the street to join Doug… the dogs stayed on the median, guarding their territory. Time for bed.

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Dodging Yellow Fever (Bariloche, Argentina, 2013)

Before leaving the US, we knew that it would be a good idea to get yellow fever shots. After all, we planned on going to tropical areas like Iguazu Falls (Northern Argentina) and Lima (Peru). Alas, we were lazy and disorganized, so we found ourselves still unvaccinated in San Carlos de Bariloche with just a few weeks to go before we traveled to warmer climes. Girish found  out that the main regional hospital provided vaccines on Fridays. We got up on the early side and prodded Doug, but he waved us off and muttered, “Next week’s better…”

So Girish and I headed off by ourselves, and we managed to mime and talk our way into fiebre amarillo shots. After taking down information from our passports, a secretary told us to return in an hour with the registration cards she handed to us.

When we returned, we sat in a waiting area. Our names were called at the same time, and we walked into a room where two nurses were preparing our syringes. They casually asked us our ages, probably to verify against the information we had provided earlier. Girish said he was 22. His nurse and I both looked at him quizzically, and then we got injected. Afterwards, as we ambled back to Las Moiras, I asked Girish how he could be 22, since I recalled once establishing that he was older than me (23 at the time). He said he was definitely 22, and then proceeded to do the calculation… he seemed astonished to learn that he was actually 23. Anyway, the quality of healthcare in Argentina is said to vary greatly, but the ease with which we obtained yellow fever vaccinations impressed me.

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Escaping Claudia’s Apartment

AirBnb is quite popular in Argentina. The first apartment we stayed at was owned by Claudia, whom we never saw – she had a building caretaker to manage residents’ concerns. The keys were left in a combination lockbox attached to the front gate of her building. The unusual thing about the gate was that you had to turn the key in the lock to leave as well as to enter. Somehow or other, when we were evacuating the apartment, both sets of keys ended up in the lock box while we (Girish and I… Doug was spending the day at a Regus office, more on that another time) were still inside. WTF!

Luckily, the gate wasn’t solid — we could slip our hands through the bars and touch the lockbox. However, we couldn’t see the dials that we had to turn to produce the code. We had no mirrors at hand, so we started using the reflection produced by my iPhone screen. It wasn’t going well, and we were growing nervous when we realized what any selfie-taking dame would have thought of automatically: we could use the phone’s reverse aperture to see the lockbox. From there it was a hop, skip, and jump to get our backpacks into the cab of a grumpy old man and ride to Hostel Obelisco in bustling Centro.

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French Night (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2013)

As our stay in the magical land of Bariloche drew to a close (AKA the night before the trio was supposed to head back to Buenos Aires), Doug let on that he was done with city sights; he wanted to bus into Chile and explore more natural wonders while Girish and I spent another week in the Argentine capital. Lucky for us, while Girish and I took the 22-hour ride back to  Buenos Aires, another partner in crime was en route from New York City… my college roommate, John.

As soon as the dude arrived, Girish and I realized that we needed to pick up our drinking game. Up until now, we had been content to share a bottle of wine or three at dinner. John’s arrival meant finding amazing liquor deals at the grocery one block from our Centro apartment. Seriously, I mean like a handle of vodka for tree fiddy. A 40 of beer for a dollar. I had a strange time talking to the owner (having grown up in the US, I blame part of my struggles on cognitive dissonance from conversing with a Chinese man in fast Argentine Spanish – of course, Chinese people are far more common than South Asians in the country, so I don’t know what he thought of our group… probably assumed we were Israeli), but I finally understood that the recycling discount for returning used beer bottles was 50% of the retail price! Our minds melted when we realized that four dollars would eventually buy us seven 40s of beer.

John and Girish set to work sifting through nightlife options (after all, this was Buenos Aires). When John discovered French Night at La Cigale, the premier hotspot on Tuesday Nights, we were down. After dinner, we started taking shots and whatnot at our apartment. The volume of John’s shots actually doubled with each round. I had learned not to imitate this behavior after a few disastrous nights in college, but Girish was game and didn’t suffer too much, come to think of it. Soon we were rip-roaring drunk and having trouble locating La Cigale.

We finally found French Night, and it was… practically empty. Three floors of thinly populated, extremely loud club. John and I ordered beers. John asked the waitress where the hotspots were, and she desperately replied, “Here! Usually here!” Girish then got up and had a blackout conversation with some guy in a dark corner… we have no idea what they talked about since Girish, after returning to our table, couldn’t remember a thing, except for the phrase, “Somos la gente.” Girish then bought a bottle of water, downed it, and repeated and repeated… in total, five bottles of water, back to back at the bar. Meanwhile, I had begun to talk to some chicas. I suppose I was sporting some hardcore goggles,for when Girish finished his camel-at-the-oasis impression, he arrived at my side and told me these girls looked like birds of prey. I did a double-take and determined that they were indeed some of the least attractive women we’d seen in the capital.

Too slizzered to be dejected by French Night’s letdown, we caught a cab back to the apartment. The cabbie left us a block away due to the configuration of one-way streets, and as soon as the vehicle departed, Girish pulled out his wang and started peeing RIGHT in the middle of the street. At this moment, both John and I got a call from our own bladders. John started peeing on a dumpster, and I found a wall. Except for us, the streets were deserted, and glancing around with our pants down, we shared a moment.