hope floats

My last big night out in BA was far from orthodox. I should probably clarify. No night out in Buenos Aires is ever predictable or dull and this is a rule as opposed to an exception. It just doesn’t happen. But this particular night raised the bar a notch or two in terms of eventfulness. Amalia and I woke up the next day and like Dorothy following her adventures in Oz, wondered if we’d dreamt it all. But the indelible oil on my hands, under my fingernails and streaked down my legs which had stubbornly refused to shift when I showered on our return told a different story.

The evening started out innocuously however, mojitos, Jägermeister, banter and musica with friends on a roof top terraza. So far, so BA. We were on the list at Niceto for Zizek, a monthly club night showcasing the best of ZZK label’s roster, an eclectic mix of all things nu-cumbia and arguably one of the best nights out in BA. In the backroom Bully Bass was dishing up sick slabs of dubstep served as piping hot as the packed space he was playing out in. Amalia and I exchanged silly grins and dance moves for a while but the heat got the better of us and both we and the music segued effortlessly into the cool respite of the musical goings on of the main room.

I was pretty drunk by this stage and Amalia was tired, so we decided to cut our losses and head for home. Not before first having a last drink and bite to eat in the bar next door. 4am nachos, with guacamole and cheese were impossible to pass up. Suddenly, it started raining torrentially. We slowly drank our beers and finished up our food. In the 20 minutes we’d been sat down, Niceto Vega had transformed from main Palermo thoroughfare to a fast flowing river. The water level had now reached to headlight level of a car parked opposite, half its body submerged and swaying disconcertingly, as if any minute it was going to be consumed by the water and dragged away by the persuasive current. We saw people swimming by. It was if the apocalypse had come a year early.

Amalia was adamant about sitting it out but I had other ideas. I don’t know if it was the booze talking or a misguided intrepidity. The bar staff were frantically bailing out water at the entrance to avoid the place flooding completely, and we had to pick our way over them and some wooden barricading to make it to street level. We waded over to where the bikes were locked up on the opposite street corner, standing waist deep in fast flowing water. They had almost completely disappeared from view, bar one of the distinct brilliant blue handlebars from my bike which was partially sticking out and a few of the plastic flowers from my pannier struggling to lift their heads above the water.

Our best efforts at warding off thieves: various locks, all under water, interwoven and entangled, now seemed like an impossible task to undo – inebriated and with only our hands to guide us. But we managed, and pulled off quietly, our vintage velos’ idiosyncratic creaking and clanking silenced by their aquatic surroundings. We felt valiant and triumphant at not having abandoned our trusty steeds.

The journey back to las Cañitas proved to be an epic one. Amalia had already got a flat prior to the flooding so we knew getting home was going to be an onerous task. Yet what made matters worse was that my chain kept acting as a filter for foliage, leaves and debris and several times it slipped off. I had to perform emergency resuscitation, flipping it upside down and manipulating the oily chain links and teeth back into place.

The water receded as we neared the tracks, as we crossed over we saw that the streets were free of flood water, in fact, it seemed as if everyone here was oblivious to the chaos playing out only a few streets away. Girls dolled up without a hair out of place, boys looking impossibly dapper. By contrast, Amalia and I looked bedraggled with smeared eye make up, our hair dripping and our clothes sodden. But we didn’t care, bonding over this unique experience we were both living, sharing wry smiles every time we made eye contact.

We dodged fallen trees and loose paving stones, stopping to observe the surreality of seeing fish swimming by the curb, as two novice anglers stood tentatively with bucket and net waiting to pounce, their mouths watering at the prospect of an unexpected fish supper.

We arrived at Santa Fe avenue and felt buoyed by the fact that we’d made it onto the home straight. With the prospect of a hot shower and a warm bed almost within reach, our weariness turned to elation and a sense of pride, at not having ‘abandoned ship’ and stuck to our original, if somewhat irresponsible objective of getting our green ladies back in one piece. We parked them up on the balcony, a sorry looking pair, survivors of an extreme battle with the elements. Scalding hot showers caressed our tired weather beaten bodies and we crawled under the covers, the dawn ushering in a calm, bright sunny day, the storm had blown itself and been put to rest. We closed the blinds on the window and then not long after, the lids of our weary eyes.

image : we heart it


One Comment on “hope floats”

  1. Arri says:

    Kudos for those stoic green ladies!

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