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Top Ten Travel Experiences #9 Stumbling Through Buenos Aires

Top Ten Travel Experiences #9 Stumbling Through Buenos Aires

By- Rick A. Griffith

BA night.jpg

Photo Credit - Irargerich

Beads of perspiration slid down the side of the bottle onto the oak table. I shifted my Netbook over a few inches to avoid the run off.

"Ahhh Fuck you, you’re cheating!" The grungy looking 20 something yelled in an Australian accent.

Across the room four of my fellow hostel bar patrons were in the middle of a intense game of beer pong. Just the ambiance I was looking for to partake in some deep thinking, writing and reflecting on my voyage. My chances of getting anything quality onto my blank Word document were getting slim.

Fortunately after the 8 hour bus ride from Mendoza, including my unfortunate bus seat assignment next to a single mother of 5 young children, I wasn't feeling my normal night time sense of spry optimism and deep reflection.

Fuck it, let’s get drunk and surf the web.

I reached for my Palermo cerveza and swigged down a few gulps. Across the table a new backpacker had just arrived at the bar, sporting his laptop in one hand and the same Palermo variety I was sipping.

"Looks like we have the same idea" he observed. He was short, balding, maybe in his late 20's and his accent hinted of the Kangaroo homeland.

"Can't go wrong with  $2 liters of good beer." I replied. "Another Australian I take it, I've met more Australians’ on this trip than ever in my life" I explained.

"Another fucking American, you bastards are everywhere." he prodded back. "I'm Paul".

"Rick" I replied, followed by the obligatory handshake.

"What brings you to Buenos Aires Rick? Other than cheap beer and trying to sleaze on the beautiful women of course?" He inquired with a curious smirk.

"That pretty much sums it up, but I am also trying to do some writing, not feeling it tonight though." I answered shutting my laptop and taking a chug.

"Well then, you’re coming out with me tonight to rage with the blokes and get a taste of the dive bar scene." "My mate has lived here for 2 years and knows the best spots for a sloppy fun evening." He explained eloquently

"Deal", I was sold. Plus if I were going to be living here the next few months, this might be a good opportunity to meet a local who could show me the ropes.

We were strolling the dirty city streets minutes later, drunkenly stumbling while swigging our road beers we’d picked up on the way out and simultaneously avoiding stepping in the mine fields of dog shit that peppered the sidewalk.

Arriving at the first bar and entering through the towering wood doors, the vibe was laid back and though it was Tuesday, the place was packed. We dipped into two wooden chairs across from the bar and I met Matt and Will, Paul’s old pals who looked as if they’d gotten an early start themselves.

Matt and I made introductions and shared our reasons for arriving halfway across the world at this little bar. He was traveling for two more weeks and had just flown in from Rio, where he’d apparently enjoyed more alcohol, drugs and women than anything else.

This is not an uncommon story among travelers living the backpacker lifestyle. While many choose to take walking tours, flash pictures in front of each monument and visit gift shops, just as many travelers never stray far from the hostel unless heading to the bars or nightclubs. Like anything else this is a balance that each traveler must find on their own. I was still in search of mine and so far I’d been a shit tourist, living up to my stereotypical westernized backpacker stigma.

Will was a tall, lanky guy with an accent and longer blond hair and with this look I imagined he did quite well with the ladies here. He had been living in Buenos Aires for over a year and seemed quite settled in and comfortable with his new expatriate lifestyle. My suspicion was confirmed as two finely shaped Argentine women approached our table yelling out at Will. He introduced us in fluent Argentine Spanish and we exchanged the customary two cheek introduction kiss. I was suddenly getting quite envious of Will’s lifestyle.

I could get used to this.

The night was a blur of big beers and conversations of road stories and future plans, as the four of us meandered through the city to 3 different bars. At each location Will introduced us to the bartenders and the owners and it was clear that being a local had its perks. I was starting to believe that you really can pick up and move halfway across the world and eventually blend in, forming your own unique community of friends in a new place.


Photo Credit- Gabriel Gama

On the way home we stopped into a late night food spot serving burgers and hot dogs. My new friends decided that since it was my first night in town, I should do the ordering in my best Argentine Spanish. I proceeded to order a “caliente perro” which I later found out doesn’t quite have the same meaning of a “hot dog” that you would order in the US. “Un pancho” Will corrected, stepping in with a laugh. “Don’t worry man, you’ll catch on” he assured me.

One night in a new city, 7 liters of beer, one confused hot dog vendor and un pancho. I didn’t know it then, but I had only just begun both my literal and linguistic stumbling in the big city of Buenos Aires.

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Top Ten Travel Experiences #8 Bikes, Wine, Women and Weed in Mendoza, Argentina

Top Ten Travel Experiences #8 Bikes, Wine, Women and Weed in Mendoza, Argentina

My Top Ten Travel Experiences

My Top Ten Travel Experiences