Sad, but not tragic. A forced opportunity. Maybe even a fortunate adaptation…fuck it. Let's make taco salad.

Buenos Aires

 

As evidence of the ridiculously circular nature of this entire journey, I met Anne from Germany on my last day in Mendoza when I was nursing the unquestionable Hangover Of The Year (which is really saying something) after 5 bottles of homemade peach wine and several liters of Malbeer (reference here: http://brokentaco.com/2011/02/10/mendoza/).  And yet, when I posted on Facebook that I was heading to Buenos Aires (~3,000,000 population, sea level) two months later, she had somehow found me interesting enough to send me a message and invite me to stay in the same hostel and explore the city with her.  Oh, how she would come to regret that invitation 48 hours later…

I arrived after a long day of transit sweaty and broken (which had nothing to do with the all-nighter in Montevideo the day before), dropped my bag and ran straight to the shower.  Sixty seconds after I step out of the shower, Anne walks by the bathroom (goddamn shared accommodations…no fucking privacy anywhere) and says, “Hola guapo!!  You have 10 minutes…”  German efficiency.

So I get myself prettied up and rush downstairs to meet the group and we head out to some crazy percussion show (i.e. hippie drum circle with fancy uniforms).  Within 30 seconds of getting into line, a guy walks up with a cooler full of beer to sell on the street “while-u-wait.”  Done.  Thirty seconds later, Rasta Man walks by with space cakes for sale.  Mas done.  Argentine efficiency.

The next morning at breakfast, we met up with a couple others and decided to head out to the famous Recoleta Cemetery to violate some sanctuary.

 

 

I hate the “jump photo” that every 19-26 year old female traveling in South America feels compelled to take at every available point of interest, so a creepy open grave with a skull and crossbones emblem at the top seemed the perfect place to take my first of the trip.

 

 

Then we broke out our sweet break dancing skills.

 

Then we found Evita’s grave.  Oh god.  We are going to get chased out of here with pointy sticks.  (Please tell me you are not humping that poor little German girl’s leg on Evita’s grave…)

 

 

As a moment of confession, I had moments before convinced Allison from Alaska to let me hump her leg on Evita’s grave, but when we took our turn at the sacred site, I got stage fright from the huge, adoring Argentine croud and flacidified.  While Sam was snapping the shot, she whispered in my ear, “You’re not humping!”

As our final degrading and irreverent act, we opted for one big group jumping photo in front of one of the grandest of the tombs, right inside the main entrance (in front of a huge crowd, of course).  Anne convinced an innocent Argentine bystander to take the shot, but as we were poised for our moment of glory, I had a revelation.  “Oh shit, wait a minute!  There’s Japanese tourists…they’ll totally be into this…”

 

 

 

 

I’m pretty sure this translates to “Expect to Die, Motherfuckers.”

 

And so, this seems like a pretty appropriate place to end this obscene tale.  I did spend a couple more days in Buenos Aires, including a 22-hour-straight hammock stint where I sorted through every single photo I took in South America (and spent half the time giggling under my breath like a fourth-grader).  I also hooked up with some old friends from Cusco and went to a Copa Libertadores futbol match where the local heroes got pounded to dust by a crappy second-tier team from Mendoza…but that didn’t keep anyone from standing on the railings and singing at the top of their lungs for 90 minutes straight.  Gotta love the passion.

But, ultimately, this story is not about what I saw and did.  It’s about the people that I met and what I was able to experience because of them.  And it’s about my own emotional journey…kind of like “Eat. Pray. Love.”  But with a lot more drinking and fucking.  (Sorry, mom, that was totally out of line.)

And so, in the end, I found exactly what I was looking for:  Profound sorrow, physical and emotional pain, intense loneliness.  Unspeakable joy, tears of laughter, eyes radiant with happiness.  And the best tan I’ve had in at least 20 years.  “It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times…”  To have a truly transformational experience is remarkable, but to be mature enough to be conscious of just how remarkable the experience is while it’s happening makes it all the sweeter.

The next stop is a return to the US so my family and friends don’t think I’ve completely lost my mind.  I have no idea if I am capable of blending with the general population, but I’m going to have to give it a shot for a few months.  Either my boundless energy will be infectious or just plain annoying.  I do know I’m not capable of getting a job and sitting behind a desk, so I’m going to have to figure out some other way of acquiring another mound of cash to get me back out of the country.  Currently looking into an intriguing offer from a Nigerian government official…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It was.  It will never be again.  Remember.” – Paul Auster, The Invention of Solitude

3 Responses to “Buenos Aires”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Going to miss the adventure! Thanks for sharing it with us all…
    Going to steal the last quote. I love it. – Thanks

  2. Anonymous says:

    I'll miss reading about your adventure! Come visit with us while you're in the States…save your money and come for dinner!
    –LT

  3. JoeMac says:

    SCREW JOB! – Love the Read Casey. Although with all of these countries you traveled thru I didn’t see one “Flaming Hand of Jesus”, maybe on the next adventure!
    -JM

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