23rd December 08 - 2nd January 09
23.12.2008 - 02.12.2008 30 °C
After returning to Buenos Aires on a ferry from Uruguay on the evening of the 23rd we took a taxi to Milhouse hostel and met up with Kate and some of the others that we planned on spending Christmas with. A group of us drank in the bar that night and got into the festive spirit by putting some Christmas songs on the sound system at the hostel.
An English guy called Jon who was staying at the hostel put up a sign which asked people who wanted to be involved in preparing a Christmas dinner to come to a meeting at midday on Christmas eve. It was decided at this hungover gathering that Jon, Carlos and Mike would be in charge of cooking various elements of the meal for what turned out to be sixty people. We pretty much stuck to what we decided with the exception of Damien being in charge of cooking the chickens. That afternoon a group of seven of us went to a supermarket to get the ingredients. In what closely resembled a task from The Apprentice we managed to track down every item on our list. Sir Alan would have been proud.
The two of us went for our own Christmas dinner in the early evening of Christmas Eve. We had a parrilla (grill) and a couple of bottles of wine. Parrillas are almost as popular as Maradonna in Argentina and involve steaks, black pudding, chorizo sausage and various offal, including intestines, kidneys and even testicles (we haven't eaten testicles!). The standard of parrillas is variable to say the least and the one we had that night wasn't great but it was still an enjoyable meal.
The Milhouse were hosting a big party on Christmas Eve and about 300 people came. It was a really fun night, spirits were high and a large amount of alcohol was consumed. Later in the night a lot of people went to Pacha but we decided that we couldn't afford the A$130 (£26) entrance and instead we carried on drinking at the hostel with some others.
It had been a late night so most people didn't rise on Christmas Day until the late morning and early afternoon. This meant that the cooking didn't get started until later than planned. By this point Ellie had already been out for chip butties and wine with Maria.
When the cooking was eventually underway there was a flurry of activity in the kitchen with a number of people helping to wash, peel, chop, grate and do whatever else was required. Mike, Jon, Damien and Carlos took control of their respective parts of the meal, making use of the relatively small amount of oven space.
As the day went on the drink was flowing and everyone was in a good mood. In typical Argentine style the food wasn't served until about 11pm but most people seemed to agree that it was worth the wait. The ingredients included 12kg of beef, 5 chickens, 17kg of potatoes, 7 broccoli, 7 cauliflower and 5kg of cheese.
We had a very lazy day on Boxing Day and then on the 27th we headed to Tigre to spend a few days relaxing before returning to the city for New Years Eve.
Tigre is a town on the outskirts of Buenos Aires with a picturesque centre that has the Rio Tigre running through it. It is a popular weekend retreat with porteños (people from Buenos Aires) and so was very busy for the first two days that we were there. It was an enjoyable place though and we spent our time chilling out on the banks of the river or the garden at our hostel, going for walks and on one of the days we went to the large craft and fruit market.
We were back in Buenos Aires, for the third time in as many weeks, on the 30th and had plans for an early night at our new hostel. Inevitably these good intentions went out the window when we visited the Milhouse and we ended up having another drunken night with the others.
We didn't do anything productive on the 31st, unless you count going to an eat all you want Chinese buffet. In the evening we met up with Diego, who is the boyfriend of one of Ellie's friends, and he gave us a tour of part of the city that we were yet to see.
Later that night we were back at the Milhouse once again for their New Year party. The DJ was playing quite a lot of electro tunes, most of which lacked basslines, until about 15 minutes before midnight when he decided to turn things up a notch. There was a good countdown to 2009 and after that the DJ played party tunes until about 2am at which point most people went to Pacha again. We went to a place where there was a night on called Fiesta Internacional, a cheaper alternative, which wasn't very good but we still had a decent night on the whole.
On New Years Day we walked around the city in the early afternoon which was quite surreal as the streets were deserted and none of the shops were open. Things got a bit more lively later in the day and we went out for a meal with 15 others in Palermo which is a trendy barrio of the city. After the meal, or steaks as was everyones choice, we went to a bar which turned into a club as the night wore on.
On our very last day in Buenos Aires we had more steak at lunch time then walked around the touristy areas taking photos.