This is a photo of me and a cemetery cat. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story told in this post. Why did I include this photo then? Well, the crazier a nocturnal adventure gets, the less you want to whip out your iPhone and take a photo. Since the latter part of last night ventured into “this might be awesome or I might get robbed” territory, I sent my friend Harrison home with my phone for safe keeping so I don’t even have it right now. Thus, this is going to be a very wordy post and so I’m including random photos to break up the monotony of sheer text.
Anyways, on with the story. Last night started at a dinner for all the students at a fancy restaurant. We drank wine, ate steak, and had a good time. The other day I’d contacted a Argentine dude I’d found on Couchsurfing that was into post punk and noise music and Marnie Stern and he’d invited me to go see this band, Travesti. Here is a YouTube video of them.
The club where they were playing, La Cigale, was near the restaurant so my friend from the program, Harrison, and I walked around some weird neighborhood that was somehow both fancy and upscale, and yet desolate and sketchy, practicing Spanish until it was concert time. A fairly straight forward rock en español group called Placer played first. Harrison and I drank beers and talked to an old punk dude in his forties with a lot of missing teeth who joked about being a junkie in the eighties, but when I joked, “But not anymore, right?” he laughed and gave me a crazy look. He invited us to see his band play in a few weeks. They’re called Crash (named after the Cronenberg movie, not the shitty one about Brendon Fraser and Ludacris being racist) and he said they sound like Suicide (or as he pronounced it, soo-eee-sed).
Travesti was awesome but they played a pretty short set. After ending up in a loud, expensive club the night before (for Austinites, think 6th St west of Congress) it was awesome to be at a show where the DJ was killing it with shoegazey shit I’d never heard and the babes all had nose rings. After Travesti, I talked with the dude from Couchsurfing that had invited me, but he was not very friendly in person and didn’t seem like he wanted Harrison and I to come party more with him and his friends who wouldn’t even introduce themselves to us. So we rolled out and headed towards this other bar where I’d heard this British group called We Have Band was playing. They sound like this.
When we got to the venue, Crobar, it was a douchey club with a velvet rope and a 50 peso cover. It also didn’t seem at all like a place where an indie show was happening so Harrison and I said fuck it and decided to walk home. Later I found out from some other Americans we met on the street that the show was around the corner and in back of Crobar, in a different venue that is still somehow part of Crobar. Anyways, it was 3:40 a.m. and that is when parties end so Harrison and I walked home and our night ended uneventfully.
Oh wait, nevermind. It was actually the total opposite of that. After we bumped into the other Americans, business students from Michigan who had just graduated and were celebrating with a trip through South America, Harrison stopped to talk to some punkish kids smoking weed on the street. They were Argentine (well, one might have been from Venezuela) and super friendly. Since from this point on, all conversations took place in Spanish, none of the information I have is very precise. My Spanish was actually pretty fucking on point last night, but I am still unclear about a lot of the details. Here is a random photo.
So yeah, the three kids were named Lucas, Matiso (or something with an M), and Johnny (who later said his name was Frankenstein. He was the one from Venezuela and was wasted and hard to understand). Again, all of this is a little unclear, but I gathered that they were travelers and street performers (Argentine “oogles” more or less) and Lucas and I juggled for a bit. He was wearing a clown outfit (payaso en español) underneath his clothes. They were all like, “Friends! Friends! Let’s party. Come drink with us!” and invited Harrison and I to go drink with them in a park or something. Harrison thought these dudes were not seguro (safe) and was tired so he decided to head home. I decided to ignore every single rule from the orientation on Thursday and go drink and carouse with these street clowns. I palmed Harrison my iPhone for safekeeping and headed in the opposite direction with my new friends.
At first, we just wandered around like dumb punks on Avenida Sante Fe, an area with lots of night life. They would stop and talk to random people we passed and I assumed they were just hollering at girls and being obnoxious. We passed a prostitute in assless jeans who Lucas informed me was a tranny and then tried to find a market where we could buy wine. This was hard because most of the markets were sold out of wine! Eventually, we bought a bottle, got a restaurant to open it for us, and then walked off to find a park or someplace to hang out.
Now as I said, these kids were constantly stopping people to ask them things. I thought they were just bumming cigarettes and being annoying punks. Not that they were rude, I’m just not used to people wanting to stop and talk to you on the street at 4 a.m. But apparently, this is how Buenos Aires works and everyone is down to kick it. When we were walking around by the parks, Matiso talked to a young couple we passed and suddenly they joined our posse. I asked where we going and was told that these kids knew about a party and we were heading there. But we were walking through parks at 4 a.m. so I continued to erroneously assume that “fiesta” simply meant “drink this wine in this park.” Random photo.
Now the punk clowns and this couple and I are wandering through the park at night looking for a party. My legs hurt and I’m super tired but walking back home by myself through the park does not seem like a good plan. So now I’m in it to win it with these kids. They teach me bits of lunfardo, Buenos Aires slang, and we drink wine as we walk. We walk for a long ass fucking time and turn around several times because places where the couple thought the party was turn out to be incorrect. I talk to the girl and she explains that her boyfriend and her were bored at home and found this party on Facebook. Normally, you join the event and they announce the location before the party starts, but they’d found the event after and so they didn’t have the address, just a general idea of where it might be.
After a while, we bump into yet another group of kids looking for this party and they join our posse. We walk past some type of embassy thing with a gate and security guards and the guy from the couple asks them if they know where this party is. For some fucking reason, THEY DO! It’s just around the corner. We walk into a park and I see off in the distance, in a dark grove of trees, a rave. A straight up rave with trippy screensaver shit projected on a sheet, DJs playing techno, zonked out kids obviously tripping their balls off, and girls spinning fire.
I buy a fernet and Coke for 15 pesos from a kid operating out of a tent and try to get into it. This is difficult because it is now 6:30 a.m. and we walked very far and my feet hurt very much. Matiso starts doing raver dance moves with juggling pins and Lucas starts talking to strangers and I get the impression that he is looking for drugs. This theory is confirmed later when he asks me if I want to buy acid. I tell him, “Jesus Christ, dude. Hell to the fuck no! It’s like, 7 a.m. I’ve got shit to do tomorrow. I’m not going to take fucking acid right now.” He doesn’t seem to get my position on this topic and argues, “No. Friend. Mas fiestas. Eeeeeeets early!” We agree to disagree.
After watching the other couple take acid (LSD is a 7-10 hour trip? What the fuck are these kids going to do on acid at 4 in the afternoon with no sleep?!) and sitting and staring at some fire spinners and contact jugglers and other hippy raver nonsense, I decide I would like to go home. Unfortunately, there are several hiccups with this plan.
1.) I have no idea where I am and we walked a long way to get here.
2.) It is not safe to take a taxi by yourself as a foreigner.
3.) I don’t know what bus goes to my house.
4.) No one around me can help me with this problem and they don’t understand why I would want to leave a party so early (it’s like, 7:30 now)
5.) My feet hurt, I’m fucking exhausted, and I don’t want to walk around this park in the dark by myself.
I end up sitting by a tree and watching Matiso breath fire and contact juggle with the girl spinning fire. It’s definitely an interesting tableau and if I wasn’t in pain and exhausted maybe I could get more into it, but I’m tired to the point of delirium and not too stoked on bumping techno and watching kids with dread mullets shuffle around while tripping. However, I can’t do shit until the sun comes up so I sit and wait until finally it gets light out. I wander over to a main road and find a dude in a guard station sipping on a mate gourd. He hooks me up with bus directions and then finally, after waiting for half an hour, bus number 34 rolls up. Salvation is at hand! But the driver won’t let me in and I have to wait another 10 minutes while he takes a break and sits in the bus and I sit on the sidewalk like a fucking dog. Finally for real, I get on the bus and get back to my neighborhood and stagger home at 9:08 a.m. My land lady is up and I just try to act casual. I tell her I’m going to sleep all day and I’m very tired. She doesn’t seem bothered by that at all. What the fuck Argentina? When do you people sleep/come down off drugs/work? Now I’m taking a nap so I can go to a party tonight.