I did get an actual fever on the way back from Buenos Aires, but that is not the reason I chose that that title for my post.
Compared to Montevideo, Buenos Aires is as feverish a city as they get.
Ever since I got there, it was non-stop. Here is an account of my activities, to give you an idea of just how much there is going on in the place.
I got to the harbor and walked some 10 blocks, past the obelisk, to meet my friend and hostess, Laura at Patio Bullrich, a fashionable mall, where I had a delish mango and gooseberry shake (at a Starbucks) and we did some catching up, as we hadn’t met in about a year.
We headed down to her place, where I showered and got ready to go to a concert in tribute to recently deceased Beto Satragni, a huge Uruguayan musician who developed most of his career in Argentina.
I already talked extensively about the concert (here -in Spanish), but for those who don’t know anything, suffice it to say that some ten or fifteen of the most important, inspired, and popular, Argentinean songwriters and musicians were there. A little man called Dino Saluzzi made me cry with his bandoneon (read more and listen on this post), and some people I had never seen live like Hilda Lizarazu or Antonio Birabent, Leon Gieco and Claudia Puyó were a pleasant surprise. It was a very emotional night, for the late Beto was not only a giant of music, but also a beloved friend to the majority of the people who were on stage.
After the concert, which ended with drumming and dancing in the IF theater hall, we headed down to Pippo, a traditional downtown restaurant, where the Fetucinni al pesto & carbonara (if I remember correctly) is the thing to order. There, we shared a meal with more giant musicians like self-taught guitarist Luis Salinas, Uruguayan bass icon, singer, and composer Urbano Moraes, production guru & multi-instrumentalist Tito Losavio, and guitarist and up-and-coming solo artist Rano Sarbach, a member of the late Beto´s band, alongside Jorge Saadi, who was also present.
It was a dinner of champions, even when we were there because Beto had passed away, we were all aware that we had given him the best goodbye possible, and the general mood was of content. This was one of the few nights I went to bed before dawn…
I found a gym (Sport club) near the apartment and did my daily workout. Compared to the Montevideo Sheraton spa, this place looked like a fashion show. The Sheraton is full of older people, and basically nobody looks at anybody. At this gym, it was ALL for show, but I didn´t mind, just as long as I got my workout.
Then I headed out to the beautiful neighbourhood of Palermo, where my friend Cris, a famous Production Designer, was holding a reading for her first short film in her beautiful 9th floor apartment with a great view of the city. We had some herbal tea with Cris and her friend Maru and my friend Noe (the film´s actresses) and then I headed out to Noe´s place to see Tito her husband and one of my favorite people in the whole world: their 2-year old son Blanco.
Blanco´s favorite movie is the Beatles´Yellow Submarine, so, our time together consisted mostly of a random version of Hide and Seek in which we were always looking for Sargent Pepper…
Later I went to my hostess Laura´s parents place, who are also good friends of my family, and I had a lovely dinner with them. We had some wine from the local wine region par excellence MENDOZA and we enjoyed my friend Susana´s delicious canneloni; you see, both in Montevideo and in Buenos Aires, people STILL COOK, and thank God for that!
Later on, I met up with my friend Mar, who had also come from Montevideo, and was staying at a rather creepy hostel downtown, where strange characters roamed the corridors and keys moved in locks when nobody was touching them, or so she said. Bottom line is: she was scared to death of of one man who lived at the hostel and wanted to take her out to see the city at night, and she didn´t take to her room´s green walls and crystal chandeliers. From the photos she showed me, kitsch would be an understatement.
Mar and I headed down to UNICO BAR, a place where you are sure to find some action any time of night and any day of the week in Buenos Aires. After dancing to some eighties´music, we met up with two friends of mine, and we casually came across a random girl I had met years ago. The funny thing was, we started talking to this guy who was waiting for a date, and when the date showed up, it was this girl I knew. What are the odds of that happening in a strange city? Apparently the guy wanted to get rid of the girl, but that ship had sailed, so we left them alone for better or worse, and headed down to PLAZA SERRANO with our friends.
The bar and pub area around PLAZA SERRANO (a square which is actually named after my fave writer Julio Cortazar) is another place where you can find action on weekdays. You see, us Uruguayans and Argentineans, we are used to going out to places that don´t close before dawn, but in Montevideo, it is hard to find one of those on a Monday or Tuesday night; that is not the case in the Buenos Aires fever.
So here we are, dancing latin rhythms, actually a rhythm from Cordoba, Argentina called cuarteto across this sticky floor and drinking the local version of Jaegermeister.
That was one night we didn´t go to bed before dawn, which was when they started kicking us out of the place.
The next morning I did some writing. I wrote a post for this blog and an article I had due, and then I met up with Lucas Marti at a nearby cafe. One of the greatest songwriters in Argentina, Lucas is coming to play in Montevideo this month, and we had some things to discuss about the show. It was such a lovely meeting, the tiny cafe with the smell of fresh coffee, almonds, and hazelnut, the old-fashioned wooden tables, and Lucas`company were all a delight. We talked about music, films, the evils of trash TV (he was surprised to find out that the least interesting and most popular Argentinean TV shows can all be seen in Uruguay; but alas, we are after all, a cultural colony.
All in all it was fantastic to enjoy that espresso and a couple of hours of great conversation. Buenos Aires is a city abundant in great traditional and modern coffee shops, where you can get an espresso second only to that burning liquid they serve in Napoli, for example. If you´ve had it with American coffee, BA will definitely be the place to go.
After our little encounter, I headed down to Noe´s once more.
After playing with Blanco and, once more, not succeeding in finding that sneaky Sargent Pepper, I went to the Chinese supermarket (all of the small markets and grocery stores in BA are owned by Chinese people), and I got some groceries and drinks for dinner. We had a very typical Argentine-Uruguayan dish of mashed potatoes, breaded chicken, and tomato-lettuce salad. Mar joined us, and we headed out to Unico once more after dinner, as we really didn´t have time to think about where to go. We had a pleasant time there. Good music and nice weather to sit (or stand) outside. We met an IBM engineer who looked like a movie star, of all odd things that can happen, and a couple of Peruvian MBA students. We had a drink and a half, and we went to bed early, which in BA means like 2 AM.
This was my working girl day. I had decided to extend my trip, so, I had to stay in and work. I coached someone with a paper on psychology, I wrote an article on narcisssistic personality disorder, and something else I can´t recall.
I stayed home the whole day working and ordered in for dinner with Laura, who was flying out for a weekend getaway at Iguazu falls the next morning. We had delicious empanadas, something you should definitely try to do at home. Then I headed down to Noe´s to just chill and enjoy some time with the family before going to bed.