The powers that be decided to throw us working folks a break by giving us a 4-day weekend to celebrate Carnaval. This holiday was formerly celebrated in Argentina, but under the military dictatorship of the 80s it was taken away, and only this year has it been brought back. I actually made the mistake of accusing my mom of making up childhood memories of Carnaval because of my past experience telling me no one cared about it, but the truth is that before the dictatorship, many people celebrated lavishly. Now Argentina is trying to bring that back.
A lot of people in Buenos Aires are taking advantage of one of the last long weekends of the summer to get out of the city, hitting up either the coast or other country estates in the provinces. But I’m here in the city for the weekend, though I’m not exactly just withering away. I need a nice break anyway, so this is actually perfect for me. On Friday night I met up with my friend Pablo and we got a nice dinner at a typical parrilla not too far from our apartments. We hadn’t seen each other in a while so we caught up and called it an early night. I was exhausted from the week anyway, so I was more than happy to be in bed by 1 am.
If it was possible to have more of an Argentinian day yesterday, I don’t know how. I woke up early but after some cereal went back to bed until about 12:30 pm. Again, the exhaustion of the week made it seem like I was out partying all night. I had no plans for the day, but I had a craving for some pizza from Pizzeria Guerrin in the center. This pizzeria is considered one of the best in the city, and in my estimation it’s the best. But I don’t go there too often because I try to avoid the center all all costs when I’m not working. I jumped on the Subte and got myself two slices of mozzarella and a slice of faina, which is kind of like a wet, cold spongy tortilla (terrible description but I don’t know how to put it). I’m not a big fan of the faina, but it’s more of a Turkish dish which was brought to Argentina and then combined with pizza. Almost never solo, it has to accompany a slice because for some reason the clashing flavors are enjoyed here.
I stood up at the counter to eat and saw a tour group of Americans marvel at the food while their guide mentioned that a writer for the New York Times had recently come here and written about his experience (I saw the same video posted on the Travel Section). Well-fed and satiated, I returned to Palermo to do some food shopping and take a little nap. After laying down for a bit I headed over to Parque Centenario for some mate with some friends, but once the sun went down I headed home to cook some steak. Having just gone to the market, I was somehow able to combine pizza, faina, mate, and now steak in the same day. But wait, there’s more…
Later in the night I met up with a friend and we went to two of my favorite bars: Milion and El Living. It had been a while since I’d been to both, but they’re laid back and cool places to go. At Milion we got an outdoor table on the patio by the steps and watched as it filled up with people. We seemed to be ahead of the crowd though, choosing to bounce to El Living, just a block away, before it got too packed. At El Living I ran into some people who I’d seen before and we enjoyed the good music played, and once again as it started to get filled up we decided to call it a night. But the drink of choice on the night: Fernet. So throughout the day I pulled in almost every Argentine masterpiece.
It’s Sunday now and the lovely thing is that there are still two days of relaxation or parties or whatever until returning to work for a short week. It’s a shame this holiday wasn’t brought back last year.