EATING UP THE
daughter, who has been around the world and done stuff like eat tarantulas
in Cambodia, decided she was going to teach 4th graders in
South America for two years. And thatís why Iím writing this from
We found her
holed up in a four-star hotel in the trendy BA (thatís what insiders
call Buenos Aires) neighborhood of Palermo Soho. She walked through the
lobby and wasnít all that surprised to see us, considering we were
paying the bill.
flown down for a four-day weekend from Campinas, Brazil, which is where
she is heroically teaching the children of corporate executives in an
American school. After two years of teaching 5th grade in the
difficult environment of East Palo Alto, she deserved the break.
her last year in Campinas, and once was enough. Not only is the name of
the town enough to give any father (of daughters) nightmares, Campinas has
very little to offer tourists. Buenos Aires is the place to be, so we
arranged to meet there.
The first night
was when I learned I may not be a great candidate for living in Buenos
eat," I announced to my wife and daughter. "Iím in the mood
for some of that famous Argentinian beef."
have a clue," replied my daughter, "Itís only 8:30. No one
eats dinner until at least 10:00."
ridiculous." I turned to my wife for help. "You canít wait
until 10:00, can you?"
to the hotel bartender and asked for a glass of Argentinian chardonnay.
"Yes, I can."
go at 9:00 and get an early-bird special or something," I pleaded.
was adamant. Her Brazilian friends had told her that nothing happens in
Buenos Aires before 10 p.m. Weíd look like tourists if we ate any
what I was wearing. It wasnít exactly an Argentinian Ďlook.í My
baseball hat and golf shorts gave me away. I could eat dinner at 3 a.m.
and dance the tango between courses and it wouldnít matter. I was a
fraud, and happy to be one.
But as usual, I
lost. We had a cocktail and waited until it was appropriate to enter La
Cabrera, a semi-famous beef restaurant a few blocks from our hotel. By
this time, I was absolutely famished.
To the absolute
disgust of my wife and daughter, I finished every bite of the biggest
steak any of us had ever seen. And since it was about 11:30 after the last
tasty morsel had been devoured, I went back to the hotel and was asleep
about 17 minutes later.
think thatís what "Latin Culture," is all about. I guess youíre
supposed to go out dancing or to the bars after a late dinner out. In
retrospect, that probably would have been a good idea.
I learned my
lesson. After dreaming about gladiators and having nightmares about
stampeding cows, I vowed to never eat that late again.
had paid for a dinner tango show for the following night. Since the show
started at 11 p.m., dinner was served at 9:30. At least we were going in
the right direction.
As I finished my
Argentine beef (the only selection), the show began. Two very athletic
tango dancers, who clearly had an abundance of cartilage in their knee
joints, mesmerized me for a good seven or eight minutes. Then it was time
for bed. But alas, the night and the show had just begun.
There were 6
different couples, and they all had a different routine. Or so Iím told.
They all looked pretty much alike to me.
By 12:30 in the
morning, I had enough. I was stuffed, tired and ready for bed. My wife and
daughter had other plans. "Itís Buenos Aires," my daughter
explained. "The night is just beginning."
I considered my
options. I could go back to the hotel and dream of gladiators and
stampeding cows, or I could try to stay up for awhile and experience the
glittering and exciting nightlife of Buenos Aires.
As we filed out of
the tango show, my wife and daughter decided to embrace the late-night
Latin Culture. They headed for a nightclub next to our hotel.
I walked in with
them, but the call of the gladiators and stampeding cows was too strong to
resist. I headed back to the hotel. With luck, this time Iíd dream about
staying up until 3:00 in the morning.