Inspiration and a touch of home

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Thursday, December 16, 2010

On Thursdays there is a Virgil of Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo, (The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo). It starts around three, thirty in the afternoon. The day's plan was to see this.With Mike, Ben and Kevin we strolled to Microcentro, Florida. The place was as crowded as Oxford Street! Preciously what annoys me. It was not as bad as firstly perceived and you could move but slowly and with care. One of the places we found solace was a Havaianas store, Kevin was leaving soon and stocked up whilst I got into the mood and bought a pair. After leaving I motioned for all of us to be in a picture. I asked a few tourists to capture the moment but none stopped?! (I was told later people are on their guard as thieves operate there). We went back to the Havaianas store and one of the sales team captured the moment.

Lunch at an outdoor café was so peaceful watching people go by. With our meal we shared a few large Quilmes. I recall thinking I do not like the taste. Before Monday I consumed no beer since 2001 and was tee total for seven and a half years. Almost a year before I traveled I would take the very occasional drink. Sensing my uneasiness, the guys got a kick out of me ordering soft drinks as they were more expensive.

Onto Plaza de Mayo and gathering to watch the protest. Seeing it was very impressive and yet humbling at the same time. (Since 1977 there have been demonstrations against the kidnapping, torture and execution of their children by the military during the 'Dirty War of 1976-83. Around thirty thousand disappeared). The Mothers donned symbolic white head scarves and march for justice. My thoughts: should I take pictures of their plight or should I silently observe? After deliberation I done both. In what I have seen during all of my travels, this may be the most impressive.

Again being care free I went along the flow on whatever tonight’s plan would be. One thing that was needed to give Ben a good send off. He would be heading to Iguazu early the next morning. Thinking he would want at least six hours of sleep, we started the night early. How wrong I was and how wrong this was. Ben could drink a lot and for a very long time. Most of the hostel had the same idea as I did in going to their barbeque. Guys, this place is out of this world. Not only is the staff great, the breakfasts superb, this barbeques are incredible! Steak, chicken, salad, mash, sausages and drinks are included. People say that I enjoy food immensely; with this on offer how can I not? Needless to say I have dined here many times. Wendy, if you are reading, pat yourself on the back.

It was here that I met a Swedish group of travellers; Kris, Fredrick and their friend. Great people and what I will always remember was that Kris was an Arsenal fan. I go across the world, meet foreigners and one of them wears an Arsenal shirt! Of course we talked football and I would wear my Spurs shirt in retaliation. Word got down that the Milhouse Hostel was throwing a party for guests only. As there was not enough talent (hot chicks) for us all here, we decided to gatecrash it. I was very humble and polite to security on the door. We were allowed in. It was a small bar but it served alcohol, so it met our needs. The painting on the main wall of Diego Maradona’s Hand of God made my day and I could see the irony. It was that this place had mainly English guests and that they would need to pass it to the bar and it was large.

Not many things come to mind for the rest of the night. Those that did are as follows. We lost Mike for most of the night as he was ‘gaming’ (on the pull). Saluting Ben across the dance floor with a beer and receiving the same in return. As I was wearing a Tottenham shirt I got a few strange looks. From one guy: ‘I was debating whether or not to talk to you as you are wearing that shirt’. The cheek of a Chelsea fan! Also I had seen a guy who was my friend’s friend. I considered whether or not to say hello as we had not met before. Happy I did not as months later Zak told me he had fallen out with him years ago. Additionally I do not think an introduction of I have seen pictures of you on Facebook is worth saying.

Apparently after the place shut at 2 a.m. we yet again drank on the rooftop of our place until God knows when. The following is what Ben told me when we met in London nine months later. We drank until probably 5 a.m. I helped Ben to his room and told possibly Santiago (Argentinian worker), Ben needed to be woken up at 6:30 a.m. as he had a flight to catch. He indeed was woken up on time but he struggled to get his bearings together for a while. As a taxi came he quickly threw everything he had in his rucksack and dashed to the airport. He missed his flight narrowly but the airline got him an alternate flight thankfully. Ben thanked me purfiously but I have no recollection after saluting him in the bar. Bare in mind we walked home together, went to the roof and continued drinking for a few hours more. To have no memory of these times is worrying and I wondered what had come over me? At least in my state I could be coherent and helpful.

For those who wonder how I got my nicknames, here is an answer. Each night whether returning from a nightclub or restaurant by the time I reached the rooftop my shirt would be off. This was because I felt hot as the temperatures were still in the mid twenties at night. In addition after dancing I would be sweaty and hence I needed to cool down even more. One of the Canadians, Jose (Facebook name) would nightly shout out ‘spring break’ when I would enter bare chested. This occurred a few nights into my travels and intensified during the next week. Therefore the name stuck. Another side note: it was around this time I started using the term (if you can call it that), facialbook. I am not sure why or how it came out. I was referencing the social networking site and completely unaware what the world ‘facial’ is slang for. I know now and laugh at it.


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