A Week-Long Saga In Four Chapters: Parts I and II

Okay, so I haven’t posted in a week exactly and a lot of stuff has happened to me in the past seven days. In order to not just inundate you all with an approximate ton of information, I’m going to divide this post into chapters so you can skip around and read about what interests you. And break up the chapters with pictures! (Which… may or may not be shitty paint drawings. I’ve been reading a ton of hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com which you should ALL read– she is wonderful– and it’s given me the urge to include color even though I have few applicable photos. Haha. You are forewarned.) Yay!

Also, as a warning– I am starting to legitimately mix up words in English and Spanish and it’s hard to think only in one or the other, so there are going to be a lot of Spanish terms in this post. I’ll do my best to go back and translate, but bear with me, please.

The chapters will be as follows:

CHAPTER 1 or Dia del Estudiante and the Arrival of Spring!

CHAPTER 2 or How We Sang Karaoke and Then Almost Died

CHAPTER 3 or Mexican Food and a Spice Craving Satisfied

CHAPTER 4 or Part of the Family

So, without further ado:
CHAPTER 1 or Dia del Estudiante and the Arrival of Spring!

So remember how I was talking a while back about how Argentina has all these random holidays that everyone loves because it means they don’t have work or school? Well, last Wednesday was another one of those holidays (or feriados) for two reasons. Wednesday was both the first day of spring (YAY!) and the Day of the Student (or el Dia del estudiante), which means that we didn’t have class.

I spent the first gigantic section of the day running errands, which was less than fun. On Thursday I had mytramite at the office of migrations to get my residencia precaria (temporary residency)… which means that my main method of getting money (at the American Express office) is no longer applicable because every time I go and withdraw they make me sign a sheet promising that I am a tourist and NOT a resident. Anywho, that meant that I had to go get cash on Wednesday before obtaining a residency but because of the holiday (and the gorgeous, gorgeous weather), everyone was out and the traffic was horrendous. The good news was that once I finished with my jillion-hours-long errand spree, I got to meet my friends at a park in Palermo to play some frisbee!

My friend Jeff had the smarts to bring a disc from the States, so a bunch of us met up for a snacks picnic and some ultimate. We ended up snacking and having fun and also playing with a bunch of random ten-year-olds. What happened was this– we wanted to warm up a bit before running around so we started throwing the disc around a bit. This one kid– who I later learned was named Damian– came up and asked me where I was from. After talking for a bit he shyly asked if he and his friends could play with us, and so soon we were surrounded by about seven children and ended up playing a gigantic game of Keep Away, girls vs guys. It was actually some of the most fun I’ve had so far in Buenos Aires and we became pretty good friends with these kids. They live in another province, though, and were only in Buenos Aires for the holiday, so we didn’t exchange any contact information. Also they were all ten and that might have been a little creepy, haha.The weather was gorgeous, though– 70 degrees Fahrenheit!– and it was a spectacular start to spring.

CHAPTER 2 or How We Sang Karaoke and Then Almost Died

Those things don’t really go together, right? Karaoke and death? Or at least so it would seem? But here they apparently do. A lot of you know that I had been really craving karaoke for a while there. I miss singing like CRAZY– I’ve been singing in some forum or another since kindergarten, basically, and not really having an outlet here is making me go a bit insane– and so the chance to go with some friends and just belt out some wonderfully cheesy tunes sounded so, so appealing. Luckily for me, a fair number of my friends were interested, too. Apparently most of the good ones are in Coreatown in Flores, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires, so we picked this place called Chess Club that the reviews said was the best one and made plans to go last Friday night.

Now, we knew it was in a sketch area of town so we all made sure to travel in groups. A group of three guys went to the place a bit earlier and the rest of us– three of my girlfriends, the kid Jeff with the disc, and I– met up at my house. The guys texted us saying it was kind of shady but we didn’t realize just HOW shady it was. When I told the bus driver where we were going so he could let us know when to get off he first looked at me like I was crazy and then told me to be really careful. As soon as I sat back down, the lady sitting across the aisle from us leaned over and whispered, “Where are you from?” After telling her that we all lived in Buenos Aires (and neatly avoiding the question) she answered, “Oh, alright… I just wanted to make sure that you weren’t a bunch of tourists wandering into a very dangerous area!” Which should have tipped us off right away. But we wanted to meet our friends, who said they were having a lot of fun and got to the place without trouble.

So we get off the bus and start walking… in the wrong direction. The streets are more or less dark– there were only a few intermittent streetlights– and the few people who were out were, pardon my french, sketch as fuck. The whole situation was sketch as fuck. At one point Jeff had to tell me to put my little map book– our Guia T– away because people were watching us. And when we realized we were going in the wrong direction, rather than cross over to a potentially even sketchier, non-main street, we had to walk past the creepy, shady men standing on the sidewalk that we had just passed going the other way. I don’t think I have ever been more legitimately scared in my entire life.

We made it to Chess physically unscathed, though, and actually had a REALLY good time! We got our own private room which meant we didn’t have to worry about stages and strangers. The song book had songs in English, Spanish, Korean, and Japanese, and all the buttons on the remote were in Korean so that was an adventure in itself. I seriously had a lot of fun. We had two microphones but just kind of all belted out whatever we felt like and it was a grand old time.

Getting home was another story. We decided to be smart and have the club call taxis for us ahead of time. We split up into groups of people who lived near each other and as it turned out, just as we decided we were done with karaoke the first of the taxis showed up. Our waiter lead us down to the front door and a couple of us stepped out to find the taxi… only to see that our taxis were not in fact taxis. They were unmarked cars driven by random men without meters. So we weighed our odds. We were all in groups, and we would have to wait at the very least, another half hour for one legit taxi to show up. And we needed three. So we just decided to roll with it. The first group went, and then my group got into the taxi. It was probably one of the scariest rides I’ve ever been on, not because I thought we were going to be kidnapped but because at one point the guy started driving down the WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD with CARS COMING AT US. Which was… adrenaline-inducing. Er. Yes.

That said, I got home fine. I was the first stop, and I wanted my friends Maya and Jeff to get out with me but they decided to head on over to Jeff’s stop, which was next. Maya got out with him and took a legit taxi the rest of the way home. We all made it back fine, but GOSH. Lesson learned. Taxis before and after and NO MORE FLORES. Phew.

Chapter Intermediate– Storytime Break

Okay, since this post is about the size of a poorly-illustrated children’s book I’m going to cut it here and write the next two chapters of my saga soon. Givin’ you all a break on the eyes, and all that. The next segment will include more pictures and maybe even more paint drawings, yay! Because I know how much you all love my trackpad Paint art.  🙂

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