Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Christmas in Buenos Aires

The recent holiday weekend in Buenos Aires was full of life and good cheer. It began with Christmas eve dinner and wine with friends. Ah... but first...let's not forget the fireworks. Imagine 4th of July... but right in the streets and for hours straight! It sounded like war, minus the death of course.  Just before midnight two of my friends and I went to the balcony to engage in the traditional Christmas champagne toast and to admire the barrage. What a spectacle! I've never seen/heard/experienced anything like it. It's one of those things that a written description wouldn't do justice. (I wish I had pictures/video to share... I really tried, but it was just too difficult to catch on camera.)

More friends joined us at the house after dinner and we left the house at about 2am or so, in search for a place we could grab some social time and more vino. (2am is a perfectly normal hour to go out in Buenos Aires, btw). To our dismay, most places were closed because of the holiday. We walked by a cozy looking establishment that was obviously closed, but had people inside. Courageous with wine, we craned our necks and waved at the people inside. A man came to the door... "We are looking for a place to be merry." The man opened the gate and let us in. We cheered and entered. The place was warm with music and people and lights and wood. We had been graciously invited into a private event. The man asked us: "How many are you?" We told him: "Six." He pulled out six wine glasses and poured us all a glass and then gave us the bottle. No money was asked for. We proceeded to chat and meet new people and drink another bottle of (free) wine. We stayed until sunup (another perfectly normal thing to do in Buenos Aires). Generosity, spontaneity, warmth, fun, and genuineness all come to mind when I think back on the night.

I spent most of Christmas day in bed. But not to worry! It doesn't get dark until about 830pm this time of year, so I didn't feel at as though I had wasted my day. A girlfriend of mine came over to my place in the evening and after a couple hours of deep conversation about our travels, our lives, our weaknesses and strengths, we decided to head out for a beer. We walked a few blocks to a spot called Plaza Dorrego (I mentioned this place in an earlier blog). There was a percussion group in the streets (as there is most of the time in the plaza) and TONS of people hanging out, drinking liters of beer, and dancing. The mood was high energy, light hearted, and fun. We walked a bit farther down the street and grabbed our own liter of Isenbeck (another popular beer in BA) and headed back to the plaza to join in on the festivities. We had a great time hanging out, dancing and people watching. We decided since it was Christmas, that we would treat ourselves to an over-priced dinner at one of the many restaurants in the plaza. The plaza is highly trafficked by tourists and the prices reflect that. The food was mediocre, but the bottle of wine we ordered was quite impressive. In any case... it was really the ambiance of the plaza that we were after. We sat and had more deep conversation and more great people watching. After dinner we headed over to the cozy pub that I had been to the night before (called Gibralter, btw), had a couple more pints and a brownie with ice cream. Yummm! This was my first taste of ice cream in BA, which is known for its ice cream. I can see why! We then parted ways and I went home to tuck myself in after a very warm, very different, and very fun holiday weekend.

I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves last weekend. Besos!!

December 29 2011