Sunday, January 28, 2007

Day 8: Bye Bye Buenos Blog

January 20

I’ve finally solved the secret of the shower. The showers have been very good. Liz raves about the water pressure. Being in suburbia, I always get good water pressure. But I’ve been having a hard time regulating the temperature. There’s basically a choice between really hot or skin blistering hot. Or is there? The trick is to turn on the hot water just a tiny bit. The water should barely be coming out. Then turn on the cold water to the maximum level. It only took me 8 days to get this right.

The plan from last night was for all of us to meet in the lobby at around 12. We’d get a late check out since our flight isn’t until around 10 or something. We’ll walk around the area, go out and do some more shopping, then head to the airport. That was the plan before everyone went out after the tango show. At 5:30 this morning, Susannah and I got text messages from Topher saying he wanted to delay meeting in the lobby. Now that’s a good producer. He stumbles back to his room close to sunrise and still manages to get out an e-mail to us.

Susannah and I meet in the lobby at 11 for breakfast. She’s already been out running (yeah, she’s one of those) and told me about an area where some kind of street fair/flea market was being set up. The odd thing was that some of the booths were open while some weren’t even set up yet. We decide to check it out after we eat. They’ve gotta be set up by 11:30, right?

Wrong. We walk over there and they’re still in the same state of disarray as before. We walk around anyway and then head over to Dead Fish River. There’s a Havanna store there that sells the most amazing chocolate things. Michelle brought some back from her trip and I sucked down two of these things pretty quickly. Susannah wants to bring some back.

How to explain these things? They’re sort of like Mallowmars but with dulce de leche instead of marshmallow. Actually, they’re more like Moon Pies but the cookie is much flakier. I talked about these in yesterday’s blog but now we’re in the real place. There’s more of a variety than we thought so after awhile, we decide to try a couple of individual ones.

Now I’ve known Susannah for a little while now. I know her to be a very professional, very buttoned-up woman. But I’ve never seen her like this. She can’t stop raving about these things. And the sugar is definitely hitting her. We were told that we could customize our own box of Havannas as well. Well this makes the purchasing easier and we buy up a bunch. We also buy some water because we really need some after eating these.

We run into Wanda back at the hotel. She recounts a bit of news from the previous night, the highlight being that they lost Julietta. Or Julietta lost them. Whichever. But they looked for her and couldn’t find her. Apparently, there was a brief moment earlier on when some guy tried talking to Julietta and she brushed him off and looked angry. Did she end up going off with this man? No one knows. Well, she’s supposed to meet us here at 1 so we’ll find out soon.

It turns out that the place was just huge and Julietta got separated from everyone. At least that’s the story she tells. Anyway, she’s fine. We check out and I see Liz. Liz is in bad shape. Topher looks fine but he always does somehow. Topher also has footage of Liz speaking fluent Spanish. This from a woman who said she doesn't speak Spanish. Alcohol is an amazing thing. So we get in Sergio’s van and head for Palermo SoHo to eat and do some more shopping. There’s some street fair going on there today so I’ll be able to find stuff that isn’t as upscale as the stuff in the shops. I’m hoping to find the t-shirt I saw in San Telmo on our first night. It’s a picture of Gary Coleman saying “whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” but in Spanish. I try to talk to Liz on the way there but she doesn’t really seem interested, at least until she gets some Advil inside her.

I think I’m going to buy some asphalt and sell it down here at a profit. Many of the roads are really bumpy and I’m having a hard time doing my crossword puzzle.

We have lunch at Bar 6. Potatoes come with many of the meats. One thing they offer is rustic potatoes, which, according to the menu, are baked and have a clumsy texture. I don’t know what this means but I order a rib eye with the clumsy potatoes anyway. Whatever. The menu also offers “spatial” salads. At least they have English translations.

Okay, it’s 3 pm and there’s no sign of our lunch. We’ve already noticed that things are slower down here than in NY and that’s okay. But Susannah is missing out on valuable shopping time and is starting to get stressed. Wanda has already been warned that today’s shopping will be decidedly quicker than the shopping she did in La Boca. Sure she’s the client but shopping is shopping.

This is the best steak I have ever had. And the potatoes are great, even if they’re clumsy. Susannah eats and leaves with Wanda before the check comes.

Okay, we’re starting to run low on time. We need to get back to the hotel to get our stuff. We also need to figure out a way to get all of our new purchases into our already-packed luggage. This includes the many bottles of wine we bought. Topher and Susannah are a little worried about the time but it should be okay. But then Wanda decides that she really needs to get these testicle-looking things that her husband requested. We saw at least 4 of them yesterday but they were too ugly. So we stop at Florida Street at 6:45 so she can run out a buy them. Then Liz steps out to find a purse she saw the other day. I go to get some ice cream but I can’t understand the choices and I don’t want any ham ice cream so I go back to the van. But Topher and Susannah are gone. Eventually Liz comes running back sans purse. The store was closed. Wanda and Julietta come back with Wanda’s purchase. Then we’re all together and heading back to the hotel. We scramble to repack and we’re off.

The airport looks crowded but it’s only because there are a lot of lines and no one knows where to stand. One you get into the lines, things move better. We had no idea there would be this many steps to the check-in process.

1) Presecurity. Some guy checks our papers and asks us some questions.
2) Check In. We get boarding passes and leave our luggage. My luggage is really overweight and I should be charged but I joke with the agent and she waives it. Yeah, I’m quite the charmer.
3) Airport tax. There’s a long line to pay this fee because there’s only one window open. They really need to automate this part of the process.
4) Security. Metal detectors, shoes, the whole megillah.
5) Customs. This is a really long line.

Now it’s 9:05. The flight is at 9:40 but boarding started at 8:55. No big deal. We should still have a couple of minutes to hit the duty free shop and get some water at the very least. We’re all really thirsty. But when we check the departure screen, our flight is showing “final call”. So we skip duty free and encounter more lines at the gate.

6) Presecurity. Same questions about having our bags with us at all times.
7) Bag check. It’s a little like the bag check at a stadium or something. We go to a long table manned by several people and they ask questions about my bag and even go through it.
8) Boarding.

Only 5,307 miles to go…

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