5. 1. 2007
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Britské listy

ISSN 1213-1792


Jan Čulík


Karel Dolejší


Michal Panoch, Jan Panoch

Grafický návrh:

Štěpán Kotrba

ISSN 1213-1792
deník o všem, o čem se v České republice příliš nemluví
5. 1. 2007


Mar del Plata, Pinamar or Buenos Aires?

It is too hot to do anything today. When I dried myself in the shower I already felt like having another one. Looking in my closet, all my clothes seemed too much to wear. Luckily I could borrow a ventilator from Pablo, which I now drag behind me through the apartment. Going down to the street and leaving my airy terrace seems suicidal, but I can't lie about today. Today is decision day.

Misam and I have been discussing what to do with New Year for days now. Gaston and his Scotland crew go with friends to "Mar del Plata", a big student city on the beach. Unfortunately they do not have space for us in the apartment they have rented and there is very little chance we might find something else still available there.

We might go to the beach with other friends or stay in the city, which is also an interesting place to experience New Year, but the air is so thick it is telling me to go out and smell the ocean. Thus I dare myself on a city bus downtown to Buenos Aires' bus station "Retiro" to make a decision for the two of us since Misam is working today.

Together with Gaston, Owen and Mike, who also need to buy their tickets, we sit on the bus with all the windows open but yet no wind is coming in and we lean forward not to get our skin sticky on the bus chairs. We walk through the lively street chaos towards the station, where, inside it's a bit cooler and I start asking around to see the availabilities and prices on different buses.

Argentina has a great bus system. They go often, from different companies, to almost everywhere. Most are extremely comfortable and to our standard very economical but no matter what company you take, they never seem to know how to work the air-conditioning and thus make the inside of the bus near to being in a igloo. I very quickly learned from this that no matter if its 40 degrees, here you travel with sweaters and scarfs!

After many doubts, discussions, comparing prices and timetables, phone calls and more doubts, I sit on a bus heading to "Pinamar" two days later. Misam and I both have our `outside outfits' covered with big beach towels and socks for the `inside' temperature as we pass on a bag of cookies between us. We are excited about our choice since in the end everything fell together perfectly. We knew that our friend, Jose, was also going to this little beach town and it worked out that Misam found us and his group of friends a big, cheap room to share in a hostel.

Pablo would also go to the same beach with all his friends and we said to meet up over the weekend. In fact they had been thinking about going here longer then I had, so part of my doubt about coming here had been my fear of him thinking I was following him here. But in the end my desire to be on the beach and the excitement of being here with Jose and his gang helped me to diminish Pablo's importance off my mind.

When we get off the bus Jose is already waiting there to pick us up and as soon as we walk into the hostel we are jumped on by the guys hugging us and dancing around the room with us. We had a lovely beach view from the huge room with 12 beds standing in it, exactly fitting our New Year team who we where now introduced to.

There where Jose's three best friends, Alejandro, Antonio and Pipe, a girl, Maria, who would soon become girlfriend to Jose, and a group of German friends. That night, after stuffing all 12 of us into two cars, we went to the town's center for food. On our long dinner table of great people happily laughing together, Alejandro called a toast in which he in his own very comedian kind of way gave us all a very warm welcome to celebrate this New Year together with him and his friends.

We all toasted to this and were instantly bound into the kind openhearted friendship they shared. We bought some beers and went out to the beach where we sat listening to music coming from the car and the obscene jokes from Alejandro, joined in rather often then not by Antonio and Pipe. The next day we enjoyed a wonderful day on the beach, all wound down from the cities stress and festive atmosphere.

We handed over the right tunes to play to the juice bar behind us and had our lunch brought in by some of us who went quickly by car to get supplies from the bakery. Now nothing was holding us back from lying down, relaxing and sun bating, except for one of many laughing fits we would get ourselves into by the humor thrown about in the group. And of course the stupidity portrayed by Alejandro, who for example was already wearing his snorkels and flippers this morning as he woke us up screaming he was ready to go to the beach.

Later that afternoon I started calling with the second group of friends out here to see where they where. They where up a bit further along the beach and Misam, Maria and I went for a walk along the water to see if we could find them. There I saw Pablo and the group of guys I now knew so well. I was happily hugged by Juan and Emiliano, Pablo's two best friends. Also Franco, a Mexican guy I had met before, and Nicola, a French very good friend of Pablo, all seemed delighted to see me. Pablo, however, did not really seem to notice me and I let him be.

Our two groups joined each other on the beach and we where now a real party crew of about 30 people. It became a great afternoon of swims and talks and there was especially talk of how to celebrate that night. Jose was saying that all the restaurants would be very expensive and thus proposed to have a `parilla' in our hostel: the barbeque was already there so all we had to do was to buy the meat. We all agreed that we would each do our shopping and that they would bring theirs early enough to our hostel in order for the meat to grill.

Once we came back to our hostel we where all so sleepy from the beach we decided to once again stuff all 12 of us in the cars and go to the center to get a coffee. Then Franco called me that because of the weather change, some clouds had settled in, they were afraid the `parilla' might be canceled. We said it was still on but we now got worried since they still had not bought the meat and the shop might close soon.

Later, much later, back at the hostel, Pablo and Franco finally arrived after having been lost looking for our hostel for ages, but, with the meat. Now we could start grilling everything, hoping it to be ready in time for our dinner. Then as we started to set up the tables we found out we where short of everything. There where not enough plates and cutlery. Nor cups. I started to stress out a bit, since it where my friends that where coming here to have dinner with us, so I felt responsible and then not even being able to offer them a plate. I was kept calm by the rest saying that you could eat a `parilla' with your hands. As long as the festive moot is all right, I thought, then no one will complain about a missing plate.

But as Pablo's group arrived and all sat down and we where all waiting for the food that just did not come, I started to really worry. I kept walking back and forth with bread and wine, but let's face it, in the end we all wanted a good steak or sausage. Jose even got a fight with the guy we had hired to work the `parilla', but he said it wasn't his fault: we had brought the meat in too late.

Then it was close to twelve and we all forgot about waiting around any longer for the food and run off to the beach to toast to the New Year and to watch the fireworks. We where singing and dancing and screaming `Happy New Year' in about 7 different language. There was talk of a party on a different beach nearby so we now crammed all of us between 4 cars and got on the road.

Of course there was the occasional `getting lost' or `people missing' but we finally made it all together to the same party tent. Dancing right on the beach with cocktails in our hands is exactly what I wanted for New Year. There was great salsa going on and Franco showed me the latest Mexican dance moves. Jose, at some point, thought it a great plan to pick me up and start throwing me about between the group, each person catching me and throwing me to the next. Until suddenly Pablo caught me.

We had hardly been speaking all night and during the dinner he had looked extremely unpleased. He put me down on the sand and we laughed and danced a while until Franco picked me up for more salsa. Then Emiliano and I started a wresting competition, for some reason or the other, which ended up as the two of us rolling through the sand for at least an hour. Each time we would laugh, exhaustedly in the sand and call it a truce, one of us would get up and would be pulled back down again by the other, starting the whole thing over again.

It became a live entertainment for the others standing around shooting pictures and even videos of this barbaric mistreatment of two friends, for I was definitely winning the restling, but I ended up with my new skirt ripped to shreds and my nice top I had bought in Thailand hanging down my back in pieces. When Emiliano picked me up and run into the cold ocean with me, my night was finished. After that I sat shivering on the coastline, looking at the sun coming up. My group had already left, so Nicola gave me a ride back to my hostel.

Pablo stepped into another car because there was a girl he wanted to talk to. I did not understand the details of it, but it sure was the last thing I wanted to hear in the moment. I came back to the room where everyone was asleep already.

Two hours later I was woken up with Misam pointing the camera in my face shooting a Happy New Year video of all of us asleep. We had to check out of the hostel and all went for a good lunch. Jose unfortunately had `the morning sickness' syndrome and could not keep the well paid for lunch inside. Misam and I were brought back to the station and waited for the bus.

I had thought of traveling more along the coast, visiting other friends, but the buses had all been full. In the end I think I would not have been a good guest anyway that day. All I wanted was to go home and sleep. But once again in the bus back to Buenos Aires, the temperatures reached below penguin's preferable conditions and I went down to the bus driver 3 times to discuss how hard it would be to have the temperature in the bus comfortable enough to actually have the passengers sleeping instead of shivering with ice crystals on there faces?!

Back on `Retiro' Misam and I hugged each other, both pleased that the decision we had taken turned out to be such a good weekend and a great start of the New Year. We had made many great new friends and had celebrated in style. I took the bus home and she took the train. As I walked into my apartment little Scotland was already deep asleep. I joined in getting comfy on my bed, only until later when we all woke up and went out for some food and told each other all the stories of the New Year.

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