We awoke in our dive, cleaned up, packed up and were glad to see the back of the place. We took a taxi around to Estorial Terrazas on Avenida De Mayo.
What a difference.
We suddenly felt like we were in the heart of the city – and a great city at that. The hostel was comparatively palatial; split over two floors in a 6-storey building nestled into the grand architecture of one of Buenos Aires main city streets. We were lucky enough to score a dorm on the top floor giving us instant access to the spectacular terrace from which the hostel’s name is derived. The dorm itself was about four times the size of our previous dump, had only 6 beds within, clean, bright, spacious, fresh and new feeling. It couldn’t have been a bigger improvement and it the whole change of scenery instantly changed our mood despite the rain still coming down outside.
We settled in and then visited a little known vendor of coffee across the road – sometimes only a Starbucks will do! That night we were due to visit Ariel’s parent’s place for a meal so we took to enjoying our new surroundings and worked on photos for the afternoon before picking up a nice bottle of wine (after some serious consideration) and making our way over to the address we’d been given.
We buzzed the apartment and were thankful to find that we’d reached the right place. Ariel’s Dad, Gabriel, came down to let us in as Ariel was yet to return home from Uni. He introduced himself and took us upstairs to meet Lilly, his wife and see the lovely apartment in which Ariel had grown up. I think we were all a little nervous and apprehensive at first but we were soon opening the red wine and getting to know each other. Ariel arrived home moments before his sister Ianina and before long we were all getting on like a house on fire. Lilly served a spectacular feast of food which we consumed with grateful gusto. It was a really special and cool night. After dinner we retired to the lounge where Ariel entertained us with a variety of spectacular piano pieces at the behest of his justifiably proud mother. As a family they’ve focused so much on the support of their children’s’ dreams and thus been blessed with prodigious talent and consequent success. To this day I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to meet the Katz family and hope to see them again in the future!
Our next day started with a great breakfast on the terrace including squeeze-it-yourself fresh orange juice and I spent the morning pottering about before heading off to see a Boca Junior’s game at La Bombonera (the Chocolate Box)! Fi wasn’t interested in the game but I set out with PJ and Joseph – a couple of Canadian lads. We were squeezed onto a coach load of evident tourists and had a guide give us the do’s and don’t’s to make sure we survived the event. We were dropped round the corner from the stadium and taken to a makeshift pre-game ‘make some money out of the tourists’ venue where I had a beer, a burger and bought a comically fake Boca shirt for next to nothing.
We were guided in and taken to the middle tier of what was effectively the away stand (though only the top tier was allocated to away fans). It was a great game with a great atmosphere – Boca Juniors played All Boys and won 3 -1. Had it been Boca vs. River I’d probably have either died, reached a new state of football bliss or more likely simply not have got a ticket but beggars can’t be choosers and the derby games are as infrequent as they are anywhere else. I was happy with my chocolate box experience and after being held in the stadium while the away fans were let out first we had the pleasure of walking through the equivalent of a male urinal as a somewhat questionable tradition demands said fans piss all over the stairs and walkway on their way out of the stadium. From the state of things you’d be forgiven for thinking the All Boys supporters club is made up entirely of horses.
We returned to the hostel high on our exploits to meet a wealth of new arrivals and settle in for a night of beer, takeaway pizza (from the frankly spectacular pizza place next door to our hostel) and movies.