Chapter 32: Super Bowl Down South
Catch up on me and Mike's Argentina adventure
Bienvenidos from Buenos Aires, and welcome to Backpackin'! If you want to join 825 others reading about this weird trip around the world, add your email below:
Buenos días and happy Monday to those who celebrate. I hope you all have exciting Valentine's Day plans today. I personally will be going to some weird concert called "Bomba de Tiempo" (translates to Time Bomb) with some amigos. Apparently a group of Argentinian musicians put on a really cool drum show every Monday somewhere in town. I think it's like a Latin Version of the Blue Man Group.
Not very romantic, but should be interesting.
Anyways, here is some stuff that I have been, and will be, up to.
Let's dive in.
I'm pretty sure that I wrote like 20,000 words last week. For those who have no idea how to quantify that, it's a lot. The annoying thing about writing is that sometimes you just don't really want to write. Which leads to a lot of sitting around, knowing that you should write, but not being able to for some reason. It's a situation akin to procrastination. Procrastination gives way to vicious multi-hour social media time sucks, and then you waste your day.
LUCKILY I CAME UP WITH A SOLUTION.
I downloaded a software on my laptop that blocks social media sites for specific time intervals. So I can avoid Twitter for like 4 hours.
I then leave my cellphone in my room and go to the lobby / a coffee shop / literally anything where it would take significant effort to then go check my phone.
So yeah, I spent a significant amount of last week writing.
This culminated with me staying up til 5 AM Wednesday night grinding out a piece that I could have easily worked on from Sunday - Tuesday, but whatever.
However, I did explore the city a bit along the way. I spent six hours in a coffeeshop down the street from my hostel. I befriended the owner, and he talked to me for a good 30 minutes about how funny British accents are.
The funniest part was his Argentinian version of a British accent.
I also discovered the arbitrage opportunity of a lifetime. So the current exchange rate is 106:1 in pesos to dollars, according to the internet and US banks. (Also, look at that 5 year change, sheesh).
But the Western Union in Buenos Aires paid me 206 pesos per dollar. They are willing to pay a 100% premium to the true exchange rate, because inflation is so bad that they would rather overpay for a stronger currency.
Why shouldn't I withdraw $10k from an international ATM, convert to pesos at the 206:1 rate, then fly back and reconvert to $20k (minus fees).
Then do it forever and make unlimited money. Worth a shot.
Also, by getting 206:1 exchange rate I can essentially live for a week on $20. This isn't hyperbole. Two meals a day plus drinks a couple of nights a week is like $20. If you can bag a cheap flight, Buenos Aires is literally cheaper than Panama City Beach.
Back to the other stuff.
My homie Mike Slavei arrived on Thursday morning. This is Mike and I enjoying some $0.50 mojitos or gin and tonics or something.
Thursday was my last day in the hostel, and we booked an Airbnb in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood. Mike headed straight there, while I attended a two-hour Spanish lesson first.
"Why attend a Spanish lesson if you can just go talk to people?"
Great question, fam. Because I want a 2 hour stretch of getting Spanish blasted into my ear canals. Casual conversation occurs in bursts. A 1 on 1 class with a teacher? It's like a triple-espresso of foreign language. Much more effective.
I headed to the Airbnb at 4. Our place is freaking awesome. 2BR one bath place with a balcony. Palermo Hollywood and its neighboring area, Palermo, consist of street after street of shops, bars, trees, and bike lanes. Palermo is the main bar/club district in town at town, and home to several markets during the day.
The whole place is walkable and safe. Huge upgrade from slumming in a hostel.
Unfortunately, I broke our washing machine within 5 minutes of arrival. We're now using a laundromat lol.
Mike wanted to party on Thursday, having just arrived and all. So we went out to some local bars where it was basically impossible to hear anyone over the music.
Paulo and Xavier, the two guys I hung out with when I first arrived at the hostel last week, were back in town, and we met up with them to go to some event at another bar/club nearby. That place closed at 2:30, and Mike and I headed to a club over in Palermo.
The problem with drinks that are quite literally cheaper than a pack of chewing gum is that you go through them quickly. Next thing we knew, it was 6 AM and we were walking home at sunrise.
I don't think I've mentioned before, but everything starts late here. Like: dinner at 10:30, pregame at midnight, go out at 2, go home at 5-7. Just a ridiculous schedule.
Friday was a sluggish day for all. I didn't wake up til like 2:30 PM, which has to be a record for sleeping in. That night we went to a local steak house and balled out 👇🏼
For those wondering, this meal was like $12.
We met an American, Matt, who happened to be sitting next to us. He's traveling solo for a month while working remote. Matt, Mike, and I met up with Valentin, a French dude that had been at my hostel, and we all went out.
Valentin is working in Buenos Aires now, but he made sure they would pay him in Euros instead of Pesos. Good move. He's living in a shared house with like 13 other people right now, since he's only here for 6 months and it was cheaper.
Left to right: Valentine, Matt, Mike, me.
Another late (but not nearly as late as the previous night) night.
On Saturday, I got up and found a local coffeeshop to work at for a bit. Mike and I got a membership at a local gym, and we got a pump in to work off the beer sweats. Before dinner we explored the city for a bit. We found this local market spot with a barbershop in a trailer 👇🏼
We got dinner down by the river, then had one of those weird 3-IPA-deep super specific conversations about consciousness, God, and random life stuff before taking a couple of Jameson shots and heading out again. A bunch of people from the hostel were going out, so we met up with them.
We hit a local dive bar before one of the Argentinian dudes said he could get us a table at a club.
Scorching take here: clubs suck. Clubs in other countries suck even more because it's impossible to hear anyone. I am officially a pro-bar, anti-club guy from this point forward.
On Sunday, Mike went on a date with some purple-haired chick from Chicago that he met on Tinder or something. I walked around town and ate a bunch of empanadas. The duality of man, I suppose.
This chick had a wild story though. You may have heard the stories about a lot of Nazis fleeing Germany for Argentina after the war. So Mike's date was a Jewish girl living down here, because her dad's side of the family is Argentinian. Her dad is like 70ish; he had the girl in his late 40s.
Back in the day, a Jewish girl that her dad was friends with starting dating a German dude named Klaus Eichmann. Klaus Eichmann didn't know she was Jewish, and he bragged about his dad's Nazi exploits. She told her father about it, and he sent her on a fact-finding mission.
It turns out that Klaus's dad was Adolf Eichmann, one of the head guys behind the "Final Solution". Her dad tipped off Israeli authorities, and they eventually captured him.
Here's the Wikipedia article about it:
To summarize: Mike's date's dad was friends with the Jewish girl who went on a date with Adolf Eichmann's son, and the son proceeded to brag about his dad's work to her, which led to the dad's arrest. Insane stuff.
Sunday night we went to a local Irish pub for the Super Bowl, and we met some British and American folks who also came to watch the game. We're actually going to the drum show thing tonight with a bunch of them.
Super Bowl in foreign countries is weird because we don't get all of the normal US Super Bowl ads. We had some weird Argentinian ones. Sad that I missed 'em.
On to some future stuff.
My friend Conrad hosted an Argentinian exchange student named Zeke in Atlanta back in high school. They are still good friends today, and Zeke lives in Mar Del Plata, a beautiful beach town 5 hours south of here.
So we're going to hang out during Carnival in a couple of weeks. Imagine Mardi Gras in NOLA, but wilder. Should be fun.
We also booked five days in El Calafate, a town in the Patagonia region. We'll be right near the bottom of the continent, and it looks like this:
There's the recent update. Bout to go pick up my laundry from the dry cleaners. Since I broke our washing machine.
Adios - Jack
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