Helen and I went to a lovely little gathering of expats and Porteños last night in Palermo. Earlier, I had been told that it was impossible to get a taxi on New Year´s Eve unless it was reserved in advance. Since I have no idea how to do that, we were determined to walk the two miles up Avenida Santa Fe from Recoleta to Palermo Viejo.
As we walked past el Hospital Alemania, a taxi pulled over and let out his fare. His "LIBRE" sign was on, so we hopped in. WOW, what an accent. I must have said "No entinedo" a dozen times. He was patient, repeated what he was trying to say many different ways until I understood that he was explaining why he was taking a non-traditional route to our destination.
He asked if we were German or French or Polish. I told him, "Soy de Los Estados Unidos." He insisted, however, that Helen had to be Eastern European. She is, in fact, of Hungarian descent. Anyway, he was careful to get us where we were going.
The party was a Casa de Deby. An expat from the Bay Area who has been in for two years. She ahs a large apartment that she uses as a "Bed and Breakfast for Tango Dancers." I met her over then Internet after reading her blog. She has an amazing view from her balcony where we all watched the fireworks.
I must explain to my American friends what is meant by fireworks (fuegos artificiales) here. I am not talking about your locally sponsored, 15-minute display with a grand finale. There are private (professional grade) fireworks that the Porteños shoot off from their balconies and roof tops all over the city. And it goes on all night--it slows down, but it does not stop. I heard them exploding until sunrise. It was amazing.
We left Casa de Deby at about 1:45 and began to walk to walk home. After about two blocks, I spotted another taxi, "LIBRE" glowing. We hopped in, I told him my intersection, and we were home in no time. Que Suerte! I could not believe our luck. I was giddy with triumph.
Although we were home by 2 am, there was no sleeping until 4 or 5 with all the local revalry. I was awake by 9:00 and it is now 11:00 and this place is a ghost town.
When Porteños say holiday--they MEAN holiday.