As of yesterday, Ken has left to return to the real world, which sort of marks the official start of my solo voyage. It really was great to have a friend along the way as I got settled, greatly reduced the number of panic attacks I'm sure. Weekend was great. Ken and I befriended several South American bros from the hostel, pregamed til about 3 in the morning then went to get hogwild in da club. We needed to stop at the ATMs to get some cash, which as it turns out, is a real problem in this country. They run out of pesos a lot. Of course that night was no different. I borrowed enough from my Chilean buddy NoNo to get cover, hoping to buy drinks with cards inside. They didn't take cards (which honestly was probably a good thing at this point), so we took a lap or two to check the place out then went back to the hostel. The night ended probably around 5:30 or so, which is fairly normal down here. I'm not built for that type of schedule without an adjustment period. I felt the consequences of that night for several days, but it was a hell of a good time. And as a nice cherry on top, one of my new friends from the hostel needs a place for the same time as I do, so we can look for a shared spot, save some cash, and actually have some camaraderie at home. As Michael Scott says...it's a win/win/win situation.
On Monday night before Ken left, we took in a complete Argentinean tango experience. We started it off with a quick 30 minute group tango lesson to learn a few basic steps. The instructors were great, but I could tell by the end of the 30 minutes he was pretty nervous of how quickly I picked everything up. Understandable. This was followed by a candlelight dinner (very romantic) where I finally took a break from eating beef. The night was capped off by a 90 minute professional tango show with live music, singing, and dancing. A good send off for Ken and a great introduction to the tango culture for me.
As of yesterday, I've moved into an AirBnb and out of my hostel for 2 weeks until Nestor and I find a place for longer term. You really take things for granted like sleeping in a queen bed without 5 roommates until it's gone. It's so refreshing to have some space to spread out and sleep comfortably. The guy who owns the joint is out of town on business, so his parents, who are staying here for two days, let me in and welcomed me with open arms. While their son speaks good English, they aren't as fluent. But they're such nice people. We'd speak in Spanish, and I'd get the gist of our conversations. But two things were consistent: 1) every time the mother would come home, she'd give me a big 'HELLO!' in her best English and 2) our talks would always end in a smile. Somehow a language barrier has the ability to bring out the true kindness in people. When communication isn't easy, it forces you to become a better listener and put forth the effort that you may otherwise not give in a common conversation. The experience is certainly impactful for me, and hopefully I can make an impact on others as well.