[EDIT: This is a shitty stock photo of a mate gourd because I don’t have a photo of my actual, awesome mate gourd right now. I’ll fix this later. But I’ll leave this text here. So if it’s a tight zebra print one, it’s been fixed.]
[DOUBLE EDIT: Okay, I finally uploaded the photo of my actual mate but that original stock photo grew on my after a while and I couldn’t bring myself to delete it. So now both are in this post. Deal with it.]
On Saturday, I met up with my friends Paula and Lucia and Paula’s boyfriend Leandro, who is also my friend but this was the easiest way to introduce him in the context of how I met him. I met Paula and Lucia out front of the first Banda De Turistas concert I went to and you might remember them from this first half of this post. Since I live right above Plaza Serrano, which is a pretty awesome part of town, they met me there and then we went a few blocks over to this restaurant that I guess is owned by the daughter of the host of that awful, awful TV show I went and saw. Palermo SoHo, as my ‘hood is known, is a hip little spot on the weekends what with everyone being out and about shopping at the boutiques. And if that wasn’t trendy enough, this restaurant was straight out of Williamsburg.
Our facial scruff and mustachioed waiter looked like every dude on a bike in East Austin ever, though I guess he was from Spain. The food was good though and my only complaint was that we weren’t actually in New York so it wasn’t a sweet brunch special that had eggs benedict, coffee, and a bloody mary or mimosa. I tried to explain mimosas to everyone and was like, “Yeah, it’s champagne and orange juice” but then Lucia starts talking to me about actors and I’m like, What? “Champagne, champagne, el actor!” she says and I’m still like, Girl, I am not picking up what you’re putting down. But then Paula says, “De la pelicula Milk!” and suddenly it clicks and I’m like, Oh, SEAN PEAN! Yeah, those don’t sound very similar when you say them in English but I guess with Spanish pronunciation I get it. Then I went to the bathroom there was a picture of Terry Richardson on the men’s room door and I pretty much lost my shit.
After brunch/lunch, Leandro had to go do something with his band so Lucia and Paula and I went to the market in Recoleta so I could look for mate gourds. Have I written about mate already? I can’t remember. Anyways, yerba mate is a big thing in South America and lots of different countries claim to be the REAL mate drinkers, but so far I think Uruguay wins. They sip hard over there. In the States, we just say mate to mean the tea but here the tea is “yerba,” the gourd you drink it out of is the “mate,” (pronounced mah-tay) and the metal straw is the “bombilla.” You fill the gourd up with the yerba, and then pour hot water on it. You can drink it “amargo” (bitter) or “dulce” (sweet) and one gourd full of yerba gets you 10 or so pours worth of hot water. I like mate a lot and since I’m generally horrible about buying decorative crap or touristy souvenirs, mate gourds are the one object I’m buying a shit load of before I head back home.
So Paula ate cotton candy and we all walked around the fair while I sucked at shopping and went, “Mmmm…. no,” to every mate vendor we passed until we finally found the one I’d been looking for and I bought an awesome one. An awesome one whose photo you can see above once I fix that shit. But I’m not going to change this text either so this is going to be kind of a confusing entry, I guess. Oh well.
Aside from the one mate, I didn’t buy anything else because I don’t need a carving of two people doing tango. Actually, I think tango stuff is stupid and I don’t care about it at all. They also had other stuff like melted glass beer bottles that had been pressed flat and turned into clocks, but I’m thinking, “Yo, that’s basically just a half-recycled bottle, why should I pay money for that? Also, who uses clocks? I’ll look at the time on my cellphone like a normal person, thank you very much.” So yeah, if you’re reading this and thinking I’m going to be bringing you back some cool Argentine souvenir, think again. I’m bringing back two Batman comics in Spanish, a couple of mates, and any free space left in my luggage I’m going to cram full of yerba mate packages from the grocery store. So it’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just that I don’t love you enough to bring a wooden plaque with the words “BUENOS AIRES” and some tango crap craved into it back with me. I hope you understand.
After shopping, I explained the classic Sesame Street “near and far” skit to Paula and Lucia and then I was tired so I went home and didn’t do anything because I wanted to save my Spanish speaking energy for the next day when I did some really awesome shit I’ll write about later.