A Backpack and Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tucked into 4F from JFK to EZE, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Eleven hour flight en route, too many entrees, far too much champagne, white wine and Vikki Christina Barcelona. Hailed a taxi downtown and dedicated two hours to losing myself down cobble-stoned, chaotic streets along Paraguay Blvd in the Palermo district before finding my way to a hostel called Kapake. My suitcase somehow wound up in Amsterdam, which left me with little more than my laptop, pretzels and an airplane pillow. In pursuit of nourishment, I wandered into a corner shop and emerged with a bag of expired skittles and a can of sprite. I decided the meager meal would not suffice, and ventured further down the avenue in search of comida.
Instead, I found Ginni and Stacy – two girls from Colorado backpacking through South America with camping gear and giant fly fishing poles jutting from their packs. We hailed a taxi downtown past La Plaza de Mayo where we met up with another Colorado native. We four Americanos eventually ducked into an Irish pub after detouring down La Avenida for a spot of impromptu street tango.
The next morning, I took the metro to 9 de Julio and walked aimlessly for a while; exploring much of El Centro on foot before stopping at Andes Café for pancakes con crema de leche. Gusts of wind were whipping through the streets and café baristas danced through crowds with trays of teacups and saucers overhead. I was more than content, but eventually decided to get on with my day of urban exploration. Stepping outside, I felt a few raindrops and could see heavy clouds reaching for the high-rise rooftops above the city block. I made it as far as Plaza Italia before sprinkles turned to buckets and I ducked for cover in the underground metro along with the rest of Buenos Aires.
Beneath the streets, my hair melted to my face and everything stuck. The air felt like 100 degrees and despite a growing, restless crowd of Argentinians, my eyes surrendered shut in the extreme heat. My only point of reference was the steel bar overhead, slipping from my hand with nearly every turn and jolt. My grip didn’t matter all that much, as there was nowhere to fall and the tightly packed crowd held me in place anyway. I was one hot mess; but it was a mutual state; so that the chaos of it all was almost comfortable.
Eventually, I found myself propped up against a metro mosaic, lost amongst the crowd. And a beautiful crowd it was. Everything in Buenos Aires is sexy. The people, the style, the vibe. The lifestyle. The city can be a little Parisian at times, while at others I imagine myself walking through the red light district of Amsterdam. It’s the sort of place you immediately want to be apart of, and never want to leave.
Still without luggage, I hailed a taxi to Pico and found myself standing at the entrance to penthouse 11b in Palermo. I had met Sofie a few years back while living in Hawaii, and she invited me to raid her closet once she discovered I was in her hometown, Buenos Aires. She introduced me to four friends and a pre-party poker game with plenty of pauses to practice some Spanish; and a fantastic closet with permission to peruse. Eventually the six of us crammed into a compact; blaring American 90s music and passing jaeger before being dropped at a local club. Sofie tells me she has an exam at 7 in the morning and when we leave at 4 she calls it an early night.