Empty barrels

Saturday 30 June

So it comes down to this.  My last night out in BA, and indeed in South America.  Tomorrow I will recover, Monday play some Polo, Tuesday visit Uruguay, Wednesday bike tour the city and Thursday I fly to London.  Either that or I’m just going to get wrecked every single night and see and do nothing.  The latter is more likely with my track record.

I’m pretty up for tonight, the kilt is making an airing for the final time and I’m going all out guns blazing to get some kind of female contact, even if it’s a slap in the face.  Once again the hostel is the starting point, as Milhouse has two establishments very close to each other.  Each take it in turns to host the party for the evening, before laying on a club night somewhere in the city.  It’s a decent set up, they know what they’re doing, so why would you want to do anything else?

The night begins watching Toy Story in Spanish.  Crazy.  This is me going off the rails.  It ends surrounded by Argentinian women with quizzical expressions as I do the whirlwind with my kilted backside in their faces.  They must have thought I was a gay stripper.  I must have thought I was invincible.  Shortly before this we’re wandering around the BA district of Palermo, which is famous for it’s bars and clubs, with nobody seeming to know where we’re going.  I’m getting in a huff and throwing my toys out the pram.  Half the decent looking girls we started the night with seem to be elsewhere, and we’re left with distinctly average ones.  This does not stop me powering through the vodka red bulls and talking utter shite.

I’ve also run into a guy I met in Colombia.  Larry is a cheerful Irish lad who was up for a laugh back there and is certainly enjoying himself here.  It really is a small world.  I’m just disappointed to be sharing a taxi back with him instead of one of the many beautiful women out that evening.  Once again I’ve somehow managed to come between myself and a nice girl.  I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I’ve a feeling it’s got something to do with ‘drunk’ and ‘very being’.

Usually I have something to tell you regarding a foolhardy attempt at landing a nice fish, which ends in disaster, but I literally did nothing to engage a girl.  As I stagger back into the hostel I find I’m on the hunt for the leftovers.  Mine sweeping the establishment for scraps.  Personified desperation.  Surely there is a wasted creature with running mascara that needs my aid?  Alas  there is no such plight, and once again I’m left to contemplate the obligatory crying wank in the shower tomorrow.  I am Stuart’s total ineptness.

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Round and round

Friday 29 June

So the best thing about BA is its nightlife, therefore I reassure myself that I am seeing the best of BA by getting out of bed when it’s dark.  It reminds me of Madrid.  I never saw that city by day either, I just ate around 10pm, then partied all night.  I’m slipping back into that mode and I don’t really like it.  I’ve promised myself that when I get to Cambodia I’m going to give everything up and get back into the gym, working at a hostel and getting a healthy life back.  I was in the best shape of my life just before mum passed, and now I look like I’ve eaten twenty donuts a day for 6 months, smoked myself to lung cancer and drank vats of booze to rot my liver into a puddle of vomitus pus.  That’s because I have.  Apart from the donuts.  There’s time yet.

I’ve gradually been working my way into the affections of the three girls in my room and I’m slowly becoming a “ledge”.  Lucky me.  They’re not a bad bunch to be fair and perhaps I was a bit swift with yesterdays damning judgement, but I still cannot abide the butchering of the beautiful English language.  “It’s like, so not coolio you knowwww?”

I wonder if my current mood is as a result of my imminent return home?  Perhaps ‘home’ is the wrong word, since I don’t actually have one.  I’ve got a funny feeling I’m going to go off the rails in these next few days.  You will perhaps, dear reader, forgive a repetitive streak of bars and clubs in the coming weekend. “I’ve come to BA for one reason and one reason only” boasted I; “to party”.  In hindsight I couldn’t possibly have sounded more of a tit.

Not tonight however, for tonight I attempt to drink half a beer, smoke half a cigarette, nearly cough and splutter my eyes out, then return sharply to bed.  There I remain awake until the girls return, squawking, giggling and gibbering their drunken glee at various conquests during the evening, and delight at one getting their nipples sucked.  If you’ve got it, flaunt it I suppose.

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Slagging people off

Thursday 28 June

With the best will in the world to rise early and see something of the city, I’m still in bed by mid afternoon.  Sleep when you’re tired I guess.  I also convince myself that it’s a horrible day outside anyway, and useless for taking decent photographs.  Instead I take a brief walk to a MacDonald’s, then get ready to go out.  Of course I’ve once again forgotten it’s the football, and as a result start drinking around 2pm.  I’m a man on a mission.  A mission to totally destroy what little liver I have left.  I’m getting pretty damn good at it too.

I’ve also woken up to find myself in a room with a load of children.  Three twenty something “ya” girls have taken over my home.  I’m subjected to descriptions of “B.F’s” as “a bit UG”, while using ‘words’ like “ledge” and “facey”; with overly long end of sentence syllables.  “Oh my god I remember what I did last niiiiighhhht”.  “Oh Nick is such a sweeetiie”.  “Does my bum look big in thiiiis?”  Horrendous.  I trust I will be forgiven for their shortly forthcoming violent, bloody murders.

It isn’t long before I’ve made some new hostel buddies, and I’m out on the lash.  There is an enormous amount of English here, all with that posh English twat accent.  Does anyone North of Oxford go traveling?  Where are the salt of the earth Yorkshire men, whose dulcet tones I know and love so well?  Where are the Geordie lads and the Scousers?  Everyone here is on their gap yah.  Everyone here is going to perish in their beds with a pillow over their faces.

To be fair I’ve been a bit harsh on a few of them, they’re not all silver spoon, clueless, wouldn’t know arse from elbow fucktards.  Just the vast majority.  However this is what I’ve got to work with, so out we venture for the evenings entertainment.  As luck would have it, I end up speaking to and buying drinks for an Irish couple on their honeymoon.  The whole night.  As an after thought I desperately lob the gob on the head of a pretty Scottish girl, who has clearly come halfway around the world to pull a guy in a kilt.  I don’t get very far.  “Let me give you my facebook details” I slur towards the end of my capabilities of speech.  “I’ll remember your name” comes the response, before she disappears out the door.  The taxi driver then swaps my real hundred for a fake on the way home.  Perhaps if I stopped hating people they would like me more?

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Boca Juniors

Wednesday 27 June

Against my better judgment, I’ve opted to stay at Milhouse, one of the biggest and most notorious party hostels you could find.  I’m planning on going out from South America with a bang.  Literally.

I’ve spent the day getting used to my new surroundings and acclimatising to the sheer size of the place.  It’s a 300 bed plus monstrosity, and it’s going to be home for the next week, for one reason and one reason only; the shower.  I’m telling you this thing could cure cancer.  However bad you’re feeling, whatever nick you wake up in, this power hose blasts you clean and refreshed.  I’ve always said when I open my hostel, the shower is my number one priority.  Have decent showers and you’d be fully booked the year round.  That and a smoothie bar.

I’m overjoyed to find they have four tickets left to the game.  This is going to sting me around £120, but how often do you get this chance?  Boca Juniors are one of the biggest and most passionately supported clubs in South America, if not the world.  Their fans are legendary, particularly for their violent clashes with bitter rivals River Plate.  This game is the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final, played against the Brazilian team Corinthians.  It’s the equivalent of the Champions League, and I’d pay any money to see that ultimate game in that competition.  For the spectacle we’re about to see, it’s well worth it.  Once in a lifetime stuff.

The crowd gathers around 5pm, with a large contingent being made up of Corinthians fans, obviously choosing to stay at a hostel for the away leg.  This doesn’t bode well, considering the only way to get tickets is from Boca supporters.  Consequently we’ll be surrounded by Boca fans with a load of Brazilians in our midst.  Lord help us if Corinthians score.  They have been told to keep their mouths shut.

Buenos is buzzing.  The city is coming alive for the game and the atmosphere is electric.  I’ve contemplated putting the kilt on with a Boca shirt but it might be a bit much.  I also don’t want to show my support too feverishly for fear of upsetting a hidden River Plate fan.  It’s worse than Celtic Rangers.  The craziness of these supporters is well known.  I shall be keeping a low profile.

Except I don’t.  Obviously.  Instead I turn into a hooligan approaching the ground.  I’ve bought a Boca scarf, and I’ve been swinging it wildly round my head.  Some of the Boca fans have taught me a couple of chants.  I’m ready to go.  I’ve turned into that dreadful actor Danny Dyer in The Football Factory.  Only not as dreadful.

I’ve been handed a credit card sized, errr, card, with someone else’s face and name on it.  Apparently I’m to be ‘Luis Frederico Finoccherio’ for the evening.  I’ve also been informed that the hostel buys it’s tickets from Boca’s firm.  Translated; the hooligan faction of a supporters group.  How very reassuring.  My suspicions are confirmed when they let a little ginger pasty white Scottish girl in before me, then turn me away after asking my name.  I should have memorised it, as clearly it didn’t matter that we look anything like Argentinians.  Myself and three other guys are stuck outside while our hostel guides rapidly dial numbers.  Eventually someone appears out of the crowd with a ticket and thrusts it to me.  In I go, only I don’t, because the ticket is false.  Rather than being arrested, the guy just shoo’s me away.  A few minutes later someone else appears with a new brief.  This time I manage to finally enter the ground, as I was getting concerned I’d miss the build up atmosphere.  I needn’t have worried, the game doesn’t kick off for another two hours.

I’ve seen more Blackburn Rovers games than any other football team.  In spite of being a Liverpool supporter, my Dad was Rovers, and in the 94/95 season when they won the Premiership, Dad took me to most home games, culminating in their trip to Anfield on the last day of the season.  Liverpool won, but Rovers took the title because Manchester United could only draw with West Ham.  The Liverpool fans were singing Blackburn songs, and vice versa.  That was a very special day.  I love watching live football, especially with Dad, and he would have loved this.  I’ve been to some passionate matches, but this was just insane.  In England there is a chant that goes something like this:

“Sing when you’re winning, you only sing when you’re winning.  Sing when you’re wiiiiiinnnnningg, you only sing when you’re wiiiiiinnnniigggg…”

Boca fans don’t ever stop singing.  From start to finish voices can be heard all around the ground and even after letting a goal in, the fans are still belting their hearts out.  I’m joining in.  The stadium itself shudders and creaks under the weight of so many supporters jumping on the terraces.  Firecrackers and flares ring out, filling the air with smoke and colour.  The beat of drums echo through your very bones, and it doesn’t stop for a pulsating three hours.  I couldn’t imagine what the atmosphere is like when River and Boca clash.  I’m not sure you would come out alive.

With the score finishing one each, it’s nearly 2am by the time we make it back to the hostel.  I’m tempted to try to go out, but in the end I decided to call it a night and be functional tomorrow.  I’ve exhausted myself singing “ole ole ole ole Boca Boca” all night.

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The love bus

Tuesday 26 June

I make a positive decision to leave today, for the main reason that Boca Juniors are playing tomorrow night in the Copa Libertadores final.  This is a match I simply must get tickets for.  After saying my goodbyes to my new found friends, I make my way to the bus terminal for the 16 hour journey to Buenos Aires.  I’ve decided to skip Cordoba, as I’ve heard the women are so beautiful there I will just literally have my heart broken every step and my head fall off my neck trying to look at them.  I’d imagine BA is no different.  After watching three schmaltzy movies about love, (who do they think takes these buses?) I wind up in the capital, blinking in the early morning sun.  Incidentally each film made me cry.

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