Day 3: January 15
It’s Martin Luther King Day but you’d never know it from walking around down here. Maybe that’s because there are no blacks down here. At least no one’s calling them African Americans. We’ve gotten so PC that whenever we go to Toronto or even Bucharest, someone mentions finding African Americans for our cast. They’re only African Americans in the US and then only if Al Sharpton is in the room.
I’ve been watching a crazy amount of television since I’ve gotten down here. Despite the lack of anything in English, I’ve managed to find stuff to watch. The other day, I watched Los Padrinos Magicos (Fairly Odd Parents) and La Pantera Rosa (The Pink Panther). I’ve seen every Fairly Odd Parents so I was able to follow the storyline without a problem. And The Pink Panther never really had any dialogue. Then I watched a little of Los Angeles de Charlie. I should probably try to get out more.
We’ve decided that whenever we have to meet in the lobby, we’re going to meet under the Sign of the Cow. It’s a huge painting of dozens of heads of cattle. While waiting for breakfast in the lobby, Liz spotted the quintessential American tourist. This lady belongs on a cruise ship, not in a hotel lobby. She has these huge classes and giant Chanel earrings. Her pants are white with lots of colorful stripes. She looks a little like Carrie Donovan from the old Old Navy commercials. Her husband seems normal or, at least, tolerant. This lady is quite a character.
So breakfast in the lobby consists of a huge buffet with their versions of standard favorites. There were bagels but if you refer back to a previous blog in which I wrote about the ins and outs of bagels, you know that this was really just some bread with a hole. There were pancakes with something called syrup that was really too thick to be syrup. The French toast was a roll cut in half and dipped in egg.
And now we’re headed out to casting. We’re in our third van already. In Romania we had one car with one driver the whole time. That’s okay…we still have Julietta. We’ve noticed that the younger people around here like to pack themselves into small cars or, as Liz put it, “they love to pack people into cars down here, don’t they?” We’ve noticed that the older you are, the less likely you are to be wearing a shirt. This rule only applies to overweight, hairy men. It took us forever to get there. The driver got lost a few times. We did get to see one of the huge soccer stadiums down here. But thanks to our blind driver, we got to see it three times. And casting went well. I doubt we were there for more than an hour. So now it’s time to shop.
Palermo SoHo is an area of Palermo called that because the shops remind people of NYC’s SoHo. Which means I won’t find anything to buy. But we have a good lunch at Bartok. Another all-Spanish menu. Dios bless Julietta.
So we have time to kill because they don’t eat dinner until 9 pm. Back at the hotel, Liz and I decide to have a drink while Topher said he needs to “work on the prepro book.” We’re convinced this is a euphemism for something else. Anyway, this place is home to the Blue Sky Bar, right on the rooftop, 9 stories up. So Liz and I head there because that’s what cool people do. Of course, cool people also would have known the hours. After wandering the rooftop wondering where everyone was, we went back down and were told that it’s only open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm. Why not Monday and Tuesday? Because “the girl is off those days.” So they can’t get another person up there? Is it a private franchise owned by this mysterious girl who only works 5 days a week? It’s a mystery.
Also on the roof is the pool. I once entertained going into said pool but changed my mind after seeing the hard bodies and skimpy bikinis populating the area. My body type wouldn’t be allowed up there.
Oh, I’ve discovered a couple of TV stations that play undubbed American shows with Spanish subtitles. I’m actually starting to pick up some terms. Lo siento (I’m sorry), disculpe (excuse me), que mas? (what’s up?). Good stuff, TV.
Quick call with the client. We asked for a speakerphone but it’s not available. I’m having a hard time with that one. This hotel has one speakerphone or something? So we end up having a conference call by all of us calling in individually on our cell phones. When the meeting ended, we swiped all the water and took some croissants. That’ll learn ‘em!
We’re having dinner tonight with some other Grey folks who are down here for another shoot, among them being James from the Romanian excursion. Topher and I were pretty sure we knew where to go, sure enough that we blew of the directions given to us by the concierge. We figured that whatever she was telling us that seemed wrong; it must have been a language barrier. So after wandering around for a bit, we had to accept that we were lost. Liz’s shoes weren’t made for this much walking around. Topher’s actually going up to anyone sitting still and asking if they know where the restaurant is. Well we finally get some directions and realize that we probably should have taken a cab. The highlight of this really long walk is the bridge we’re supposed to cross. It’s only for pedestrians and it looks very cool at night. We also get our count of making out couples much higher. Before this walk, we were stuck at one or two.
We finally arrive at Cabaña Las Lilas, one of Puerto Madero’s finest steakhouses. That’s what Lulu tells us, anyway. But then she tells Liz the Vegetarian that she really doesn’t eat a lot of meat. So I’m taking meat advice from a woman who shuns the stuff. I had something called a Club Steak. I asked the waiter to tell me about it and he says that it’s very good. Then he proceeds to produce a photo of the steak from his wallet. It’s big if nothing else (the steak, not the photo). I was underwhelmed. And Topher’s filet was undercooked. But we did have these soufflé fries. It’s as if someone cook up some steak fries and scooped out the potato. Very airy and really good.
After the meat fest, the three of us get in a cab and head over to La Faena. It’s an upscale hotel, which is priced way out of our budget. But other Grey employees have stayed there. Michelle couldn’t stop raving about how beautiful it was. To me, it was one of the freakiest places I’d ever been in. If Dracula ever decided to stop hanging around Transylvania and go into the hotel business, this is the kind of place he’d open. Kubrick could have shot “Eyes Wide Shut” here. It’s very dark and everyone is wearing long, black coats. There are a few rooms to the right side and each one is done up completely differently. One room is all white and has unicorn heads on the wall. We eventually find our way to the pool. Very beautiful. More couples making out. Topher had some Skollar-type frozen drink, which was amazing. Liz ordered a Mai Tai. Every once in awhile, Liz channels 63-year old women.
We hear a splash and some man has stripped down to his Speedo and started doing laps. It’s 1:30 am. And older man in a business suit is watching him with interest. We figured that this might be some sex game they play. “I’ll be Greg Louganis and you be the strict Olympic coach.” Something like that. The guy eventually gets out of the pool, dries off and puts his business suit back on. Crazy.
Number of couples making out: 12.