Buenos Aires will not eat your children. It’s always a bit strange for we provincial backwater-dwellers, tackling one of the seething crushes of humanity that seem to exist on every other continent. Buenos Aires plays host to 14 million without breaking a sweat. But still, it’s been pretty easy. I guess because Palermo is pretty much Fitzroy, with its graff art and laneways and high proportion of Melburnians. Also because a backpackers’ is a backpackers’ wherever you go – the same dreadlocked Kiwis and stern Scandinavians frowning at their guidebooks. The only big shift is Spanish, which I was expecting (clever boy), and which is more fun than intimidating. I feel like I’ve made great strides given I’ve been here a couple of days. Admittedly I’m having the kind of conversations that one might have with a retarded schoolchild, but it’s a fair way from when I landed.
Actually the difficult bit was Sydney, before I flew out. Michael and Maike, who I was staying with, also had a couple of Maike’s fellow Germans staying. This stirred her patriotic blood to the point of declaring that we all must drink German things. After dinner and several instalments of the kind of beer that could power a tractor, she produced a litre of Jagermeister for “a digestive”. Four hours later I’m standing on my head doing the upside-down dance to bad German 90s pop music and kicking glasses off the table. “Alle alle alle alle ohh…” I can neither confirm nor deny rumours that the Vengaboys may have been involved at some point. I can however confirm that I want you in my room, to spend the night together, from now until forever.
Now, I have to confess something. I’ve encouraged a lot of people to get smashed before they fly. Often it works. We’ve rolled the Foxplane onto some flights in states of dishevellment that rivalled those of Papua New Guinean mining regions. “Come on! You gotta do it. Be hardcore!” I’ll chant in a lather of hypocritical wannabe-Thompson bravado. Hypocritical because, until now, I’d never actually done it myself. Now I know why. It’s a Bad Idea. Maybe if you were wasted getting on, and somehow sustained this throughout the entire flight, it could be done. But here’s my advice: airports are not the place for hangovers. Extrapolating, airports are not the place for coming down (except in the runway sense). Fluroescent lights and PA announcements bouncing off hard tiles are Not Your Friends. With your skull imploding and your intestines everywhere but where they’re supposed to be, this does not make for A Good Time. You will need the entire 16-hour flight to sleep it off.