I’m no Grinch, and my middle name isn’t Scrooge, but I secretly sort of hate Christmas. It’s not that I have anything against the holiday itself. I just despise how the world seems to stop turning on Christmas Eve and doesn’t resume its regular rotation until Boxing Day.
This holiday season, I’m feeling particularly resentful because it’s slowing down the process of selling my apartment in Manhattan. We’re in the final stages of the sale, with only co-op board approval of the seller left before we can set a closing date. But because some board members go away for the holidays and don’t return until after the new year, it could be delayed several weeks, meaning I may have to pay yet another month of mortgage and maintenance fees for an empty apartment.
But life goes on, so I’m spending the weekend in Cordoba with my friend Rob in an attempt to inject a little holiday cheer into the proceedings. Last night we ventured out to find a place to have dinner. It was as if Buenos Aires’s second largest city had become a ghost town. After wandering aimlessly for about half an hour, we finally found an open restaurant. What was actually a pretty average meal tasted gourmet caliber because we were so grateful for it.
Far trickier was getting a taxi to go to Zen, Cordoba’s biggest gay disco, afterwards. (Queens don’t let a little thing like Christmas cramp their party style!) After trying unsuccessfully to hail a cab on the street, hitchhike and even hop on the back of some guy’s motorcycle, we ended up hijacking a taxi that was picking up a fare who had called him in advance by giving the driver 30 pesos for an 8-peso ride. It’s too bad about the stranded lady, but you know what they say about desperate times.
Unlike the United States, where Christmas Day reigns, in Buenos Aires, it’s all about Christmas Eve. Around nightfall, everything stops while people scramble to spend time with the families that they already see every day. Around 2am, they start heading out to the clubs, and life goes on as usual on Christmas Day.
But here in Cordoba, things are dreadfully different. If finding food last night was like a bad dream, locating lunch today was truly a nightmare. After walking around for what seemed like hours in a fruitless attempt to find an open restaurant that didn’t charge 35 pesos for a hamburger, we found the only kiosko in town that was open and bought pasta to prepare at the rental apartment. Who knew spaghetti and ham could taste so good? Or that gratitude was such a flavor enhancer? It could probably even make Brussels sprouts (my most hated food!) edible. But thank God, we didn’t have to go there!