An all-nighter in Buenos Aires
06.11.2011 - 07.11.2011
On our first Sunday night we decided we would head out and experience Buenos Aires´infamous night life. After a long day walking for hours on end through markets we had an evening siesta and crawled out of bed at about 9pm. An hour or so later we were ready to go out for dinner. Tash had a few recommendations and was playing tour guide for the evening. I had my passport and main cash underneath my clothes, and was carrying my wallet with minimal cash in it. As we headed down a reasonably bustling street, a young woman told us to be careful with our purses. We were starting to notice that a lot of really nice people were going out of their way to look out for us, and we hadn´t seen any of this supposed negative side to the city that everyone is so worried about.
Anyway, heeding her warning, I clutched my wallet a little closer to my body and held it infront of me at all times.
Following the map to the restaurant, we found ourselves wandering down some fairly unsavoury, narrow, dimly lit streets with piles of rubbish all over the sidwalk. We found the so called infamous restaurant, abandoned with doors closed and lights off so we headed back up the street to a cervezeria we had seen earlier. I ordered my first Argentinian steak (bistek) de chorizo. Mine arrived cooked to a perfect medium, whilst Tash´s was well-done but nonetheless delicious. They don´t ask you how you want it to be cooked, they just serve it up but I suppose it is their national dish so they know what they are doing!
After dinner we decided to try out a bar that was supposed to be a few blocks away, but upon arrival at around midnight, it too was closed. We made tracks for another club that Lonely Planet recommended for Sundays, all the while cursing Lonely Planet and threatening to email them regarding their recommendations so far. Hooray!! The next place is open! So we paid the 30 pesos entry (less than $10) which included a free ¨speed & vodka¨i.e. redbull and in we went.
The music was some kind of fantastic fusion of club, latino and pop. At first glance it appeared to be just like any other club you might go to in Australia with the lighting, bar, dancefloor etc, but on closer inspection of the dance floor it was quite obvious that it was something very different. The dance floor consisted only of young couples dancing some style I´ve never seen before. It was so beautiful and sensual. The women´s bodies seemed to pivot from their waist with the man´s knee in their crotch (not as perverted as it sounds) as they dipped backwards, throwing their heads back with their long hair almost scraping the floor. The women were absolutely gorgeous. One was wearing a black bra, a diamante encrusted belt and matching heels with pale denim jeans. The men... well what does one need to say, they can all dance!
It didn´t take long for a man to approach us holding out his hand. He was fairly tall and very solid with gbulging biceps and a tight black t-shirt. We were all terrified, and frankly I had only had one drink all night which is absolutely not enough to bring on the courage required to get out onto that dance floor with those people. Simone gave in and took the first dance. Steven it turns out was a very good dancer and quite willing to give these gringos some guidance. I was up next - ¨No hablo espanol muy bien y no se bailar¨(I don´t speak spanish very well and I don´t know how to dance) ¨No importa!¨he said. Oh crap, here we go! It was definitely an Elizabeth town polaroid moment, my first dance in a BA nightclub, and I wasn´t as bad as I thought I´d be, though flinging my hair back is not really my style I´ll admit.
We spent a lot of time just watching the dancers in awe. These are just normal young Argentinians and this is what they do at 2am on Sundays! They were dancing so much that it seemed like they barely had time to drink anything. We were approached by a few different guys over the evening, one older guy who frankly couldn´t dance very well. For those of you who haven´t had the pleasure of experiencing my rant about men who can´t dance but think they can and then blame you when you don´t follow because they didn´t lead.... there it is haha. He was counting out the beat ¨un dos un dos¨and I was thinking, ïf you could lead you idioto, then you wouldn´t need to count the damned beat out loud to me!¨. Then there was the sweaty man with the protruding stomach, was dancing with me on the front and Simone and-or Tash at the back hahaha. There was quite a bit of three-people dancing and the men were quite talented at leading two women at once. There were sometimes even two men (no they weren´t even remotely gay) dancing together, just for fun and for practice. My favourite was the short (er than me), bald, quite fit guy because all of a sudden I found that I knew what I was doing. That´s right people, merengue egg-beater moves on the dance floor in BA! Whoop whoop! All those salsa lessons culminated into that exciting moment where I felt slightly better than incompetent.
It was probably at about 3:30am when something inaudible was said over the pa system, the music stopped and everyone moved over to a stage just to my right that I hadn´t noticed until now. All of a sudden there were four incredibly attractive young men, with no shirts on, on the stage doing a choreographed gyration style dance. WTF!?!?! And when I say attractive, think Ryan Gosling airbrushed quote from Crazy Stupid Love.... but Carribean not Canadian. Washboard stomachs and bright white smiles. Simone came out of the bathrooms and made a v directly to the front of the stage, whilst Tash and I kept looking to each other, then back to the stage, then back to each other in a whirl of confusion about what the hell was actually going on. The guy sitting next to Tash clarified the situation... apparently they put on this entertainment so that the women get ¨hot¨and then the men get excited because the women are excited and everybody wins! Ummm I thought this was a machismo culture? There were guys down on the dance floor trying to follow the dance that the men were doing on the stage because they want to know how to make the women ¨hot¨haha. We joined Simone at the stage and her mouth was permanently wedged open, with intemittent giggle sounds bursting out. All agreed, entry to that nightclub was the best 30 pesos we had spent so far, all was forgiven with Lonely Planet.
As the hours passed, the club seemed to change, becoming more like a normal club with less couple dancing and more drinking. All of a sudden it was 4:30am and I was wide awake and had only had 2 drinks the whole evening. So damned proud of myself at that moment, it´s almost my wake-up time! Simone and I high-fived We made tracks and headed back to the hostel via a cafe where we had 5:30am pizza, and then passed out from sheer exhaustion. How on earth any of the people in that club intended to be at work any time soon (it´s Monday morning don´t forget) I have no clue.