Wayward Travels

Friday, July 07, 2006

You can take my body out of my home...

...but you can´t take the homebody out of me. It turns out that whether I´m in Córdoba or Wellesley, I´m still me. The concert was great--an evening of music centered around the classical guitar but including (at various times and in various combinations) another guitar, a flute, a recorder, percussion, alto sax, sax, tenor sax, voice, keyboards, and an accordian. Crazy. The Teatro de San Martín is a magestic 5-storied venue with balconies and red velvet and gold trim. Not to shabby, to say the least. After the show, Lacy and I went to get dinner at a sort of Argentine Hard Rock Cafe (called Johnny B. Good) and I nearly flipped my gourd taking in the familiarity of an American-style menu, with things like salads and quesadillas. Lacy drank something called Fernet with Coca-cola, which is some sort of vile alcoholic brew that for some unknown reason is popular in Córdoba. Since the boliches (dance clubs) don´t really start until 2 or 3 am (!), we had a few hours to pass after our midnight meal. We made a stop at Lacy´s apartment and then went to a bar with a neat inner outdoor courtyard. It was a warm night and one could see the stars. I had no interest in drinking but kept Lacy company as she partook of the special--2 liters of Budweiser for 10 pesos. First of all, that´s about 3 dollars and change. Second of all, of all the beers to import from the U.S., Budweiser seems to be the king of beers here as well (although local brews do brisk business as well). All of this took us past 2am, when I had a stunning realization. I don´t like to go out to bars in the States, and I don´t like to do it here, either. I don´t much frequent the dance clubs in the States, and can´t imagine it would be different in the southern hemisphere. It turns out that this whole mythical Argentine nightlife is EXACTLY THE SAME as in the U.S.--dinner, drinks, dancing. The restaurants are the same, the bars are the same, the beer is the same, the people are the same, the music is the same, the clubs are the same. It all just happens 3 hours later here. In the end, I made it home by 3am, having forgone the drinking and the dance club and settling into the happy conclusion that no matter where I am, I prefer a book and a couch to a beer and a club any day of the week. And so: you can take my body out of my home, but you can´t take the homebody out of me. This lesson having been learned, I spent today doing what seems to be the staple of Argentine life--waiting. Waiting is a way of life here. I waited for hours to get a hostel reservation in my next destination, then to book my bus ticket, then to cash traveler´s checks, then to book a flight, then to order my dinner... So much time spent waiting. Granted, my New England impatience and Latin American attitude of chill don´t mix. But Argentines really are okay waiting. A lot. Consider: you are walking down the street and see a line of about 23 people assembled patiently outside a door. What are these people waiting for? An ATM! Every ATM in the center of town can be located by the line of 6-26 people waiting patiently and orderly for their turn. Dear New England readers, tell me: if you saw even a dozen people waiting to use the ATM, would you stop and quietly stand in line? Or would you keep walking, perhaps thinking of where else you could go or how much work you could get done in the time it would take you to stand there? There is a way of life here that I think is ultimately much healthier than the pace I´m used to in Boston, but it will take time to adjust. Tonight I take the midnight bus to Rosario. I´m not sure what I´ll do there, but I hear there is a convention of orthodontists, so that might liven things up (in addition to making it extremely difficult to book a bed, even in a hostel). Then--the monster bus ride to Iguazú. Two days or so there to see the falls (which I hear have been kind of low, thanks to a paucity of precipitation) and then I fly back to Bs. As. And--believe it or not, in just 9.5 days from now I´ll be back home, marvelling at how dirty my apartment is and how much Dana Hall work I still need to square away. Maybe I´ll think about going to the bars and clubbing. (Uh-huh...) But until then, I´m going to work on mastering the art of relaxed waiting. Ready, go.


Anonymous KR said...

Meera - your entries crack me up! Thanks for the entertaining imagery... I cant wait to hear all about the partying you'll be doing with the orthodontists! Don't worry, your apt wasn't TOO dirty when I checked - and you definitely need to not think about Dana Hall until August 1. That's an order!!! :) Enjoy your next few stops - and revel in the slow pace. Trust me, it's a blessing. Be safe!!

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Meera - Fernet con Coca is God's gift to Argentina...Córdoba is a great town, I'm sorry you didn't seem to enjoy it that much...However, I like your observations...suerte che!

10:52 PM  
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