Buenos Aires - A City of the Night PDF Print E-mail
South America - Argentina
Written by TK   

If you ask any well-traveled young person in the world what their favourite city in the world is to party until dawn, Buenos Aires more often than not rates a mention.  And, as I discovered, more impressive than the clubs and bars of BA is the staying power of the local Porteños.

I had made haste to Buenos Aires after a few unpleasant experiences in Rio de Janeiro.  Having been immediately struck by the European feel and look of the Argentinean capital, I soon met up with some travelling companions and in no time found myself drinking double-strength vodkas in a Porteño’s apartment near downtown BA.

I had flown in at dinnertime, and immediately had ambitions to sample a local bife de lomo (steak).  However, my friend Paulie had informed me in no uncertain terms that the locals did not contemplate eating until at least 11pm, and to walk into a restaurant before that time is considered a no-no.  As my stomach groaned with disappointment, I chose to ignore my eating impulses by downing more drinks.  This soon had me calculating what potential time we would decide to head to one of the local clubs to shake off the airplane fatigue.

“We will flag a taxi at around 2:30 in the morning so that we start queuing up outside the club at around 3″, Paulie told me in perfect English.  I yawned at the prospect.

“3am? But that’s about six hours away!”

“Of course, Tim”, she replied, acting as if I was an alien.  In many ways I was indeed an alien - and to the Buenos Aires party circuit, I was also a virgin.

Luckily, time passed at pace with the quick-witted conversation of Paulie and her friends - which left me with the indelible impression that the Argentinean race was remarkably European - and soon we were all drowning the beautiful bife de lomos with a local Argentinean red wine at a local restaurant before returning to Paulie’s third-story apartment replete with balcony.

Unfortunately, back at the apartment I was struggling with the concept of not heading out to go dancing until 3am.  Do not get me wrong, I am aware of the concept of being fashionably late.  However, in my home town, we consider midnight a good start-up time, and not 3am.  3am is the time that one usually flags a taxi on the way home from the nightclub.  If you entered a nightclub at 3am, you would be hanging out with a couple of cleaners, a drunk bartender and one or two committed partiers still stumbling around the dance floor.  I was fast learning that this is not how the city of Buenos Aires operates.

As I sat perched above the coffee table, my eyelids felt as heavy as lead.  Tears of tiredness welled up in my eyes, and yawning noises were emanating from my mouth akin to a hippopotamus’ mating call.  I excused myself from the group and went to splash cold water on my face in the bathroom.  I awoke an hour later sprawled out on the floor of the bathroom with my head resting on the corner of the room.  It was a most uncomfortable position, and not wholly recommended for sleep.

I splashed some cold water on my face, did some star jumps on the spot to wake me up and tried to gather myself.  C’mon!  This is my first night in Buenos Aires, I have to go out.  It would be like staying home on New Year’s Eve.  I just had to train my body clock into believing that 3am was a reasonable hour to go out.

Finally, I found myself walking into what was supposedly one of Buenos Aires’ more exclusive nightspots.  As I walked into the main room, I was struck by how attractive the Argentinean race really was, and how much time everyone obviously spends on preening themselves for a night out (males included).  The DJ was spinning great house beats, the dance-floor was moving rhythmically, the drinks were flowing, pairs were matching up and the disco ball above the main dance-floor was spinning.

By the end of the night I had come to the realisation that the dance-floor was full of the most attractive and unpretentious crowd I had ever witnessed: more stunning than the locals of Florianopolis, more beautiful than the Swedish in Stockholm and more bronze and fit than the crowds of Sydney or Los Angeles.  The tiredness I had experienced at my friend’s apartment soon dissipated in a frenzy of generously poured vodkas, dancing, and chatting to the locals.

And my sentiment was not contained to this nightclub alone.  It held true for all of the exclusive nightclubs of the city, including Rumi, Jet, Mint, Pacha and Crobar.  The nightclubs of BA seriously leave New York lagging in terms of their setups.  And Buenos Aires had overtaken New York in defining the expression “the city that never sleeps.”

As I exited the nightclub at 6am, I asked Paulie what was too late an hour to head out to a nightclub.

“Sometimes my friends and I head out at 4.30, and then head to a recovery party afterwards.  We are obsessed with night in this city.  Dinner is usually not before midnight.  If you head out for some drinks at a bar with friends, 2 in the morning is normal.  The other night, I had a coffee with my grandma at 1 in the morning”.

By the end of the night I felt like I had run a marathon in every sense of the word.  And as my head hit the pillow at 7am as my home town was awaking to go to work, I was salivating at the thought of the next night out.

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