As has been the case for the majority of the last few weeks of travelling, I arrived in Buenos Aires with no hotel reservation. I turned up at some place that a friend recommended, but it was full. Half an hour of walking later, though, and I’d found the place the guy at the first hotel had suggested, and it was lovely. A big old house, run by an old fellow with a croaky voice and a lovely cocker spaniel. There were family photos and paintings all around. My room was very simple, and looked for all the world like some 19th century French artist’s room. The guy was dead friendly that first evening, but since then has just seemed a bit annoyed and not particularly welcoming. I could only stay there for two nights as they were booked up after that; so now I’m in another lumpy-pillow hotel with a view of a wall, and ceiling fan that looks like it will fall and chop my legs up in the middle of the night.
Superficially, I’ve been having a good time. Well, I’ve not had a bad time. I spent Friday night with a very nice young Argentinian woman called Laura who you may have noticed leaves the odd comment here and there on the blog, and when she worked in a bookshop in London, she did a lot to promote the Minipops book (including, she told me, recommending it to him out of Suede). So that was splendid evening, getting drunk in the rather hipstery Palermo district.
And yesterday I met up with Ariel, a New Yorker, who’s here on holiday, too. We have a mutual friend. Lots of chit chatting in cafes and bars throughout the afternoon and evening. And we got a cab to La Bombonera to go and see Boca Juniors v Banfield. Sadly, though, the game was sold out, so we traipsed back, a bit dejected, but also, seeing the fairly large number of dodgy-looking fans around, a little bit relieved, cos I’ve spoken to three locals about going to the game, and they all told me to be very careful. As we walked away from the stadium, I saw one bloke leaning down to his ankle and hiding what looked suspiciously and glintingly like shiv in his sock. We just sauntered around for a while, had some booze, and ate big hunks of cooked cow. It was, as the British Telecom commercial used to say, good to talk. I enjoyed having nice conversations two days in a row.
But – oh! that bloody inevitable ‘but’ – I’m exhausted. Not physically, although my shoulders do ache a bit, and all the walking around affords me little opportunity to let my blisters heal; but mentally exhausted. I’m a few days away from being halfway through my trip and the fatigue is really kicking in. I know it’s like listening to a movie star complain about the paparazzi, or hearing a musician complain about touring; I know that I’m lucky to be doing this, but I’m just ready for it to end.
These feelings have come and gone throughout the trip so far, but the gaps between them coming and going are getting smaller. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent way more time being weary than not. I’m can’t look at another South American church or fancy old colonial building that’s supposed to be of importance. I’ve briefly considered cutting the trip short, but that’s not the answer. I’d only go back to London or Berlin and hate myself more for doing it.
I do need to cleanse my palate, though. I really want to enjoy Buenos Aires, but now isn’t the right time. I think I’m just gonna stay a couple more nights, buy a coat, then head right down south to see the end of the world. It’ll probably be the best thing to do. See some rugged landscape. Feel some cold wind on my face. See some sea lions. And then come back up here to properly enjoy what seems to be a pretty groovy city.
The past three months have been the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s just fucking amazing to be doing this. I’m so damn lucky. But I’m lonely and homesick. I want to see Billy, I want to see my friends, I want to smoke a Gauloises Blonde, I want some apfelschorle and Lachgummi, I wanna go to softball practice, I want to walk to the end of Pappelallee and get a double cappuccino from Impala and then have a walk around Mauerpark. If I could transport myself back there for a couple of days and come straight back, it’d be so perfect. But I can’t, and I’ve just got to work myself out of my funk.
Maybe I’ll go out now and cheer myself up at La Recoleta Cemetery. Apologies for this moany, woe-is-me, European, white boy blog post, but, I’m don’t keep a diary, so this is where this kinda shit has to go.