Part I is here. Read on!
I met Bo outside the Alto Paletmo Mall on Avenida Santa Fe. I stood under the mall’s large square arch entrance, waiting for him. Night had fallen and the Avenida was lit up with bright neon lights from all the stores on the strip. Late night shoppers milled behind me with their brand adorned shopping bags. I watched each colectivo whistle to a stop, searching the faces of the passengers spilling from them and trying to guess which one belonged to Bo until finally I guessed right.
Bo approached me. Immediately the song “California Dreaming” played in my head. Bo reminded me of a vintage character from the sixties and was my hippy Peter Pan. He wore a short sleeved button down shirt over blue jeans and his shaggy sun blonde hair reached his collarbones.
“Jennifer?” he asked as he stopped in front of me.
“Yes. It’s me.”
He laughed a little. “Cool.” He reached out his hand for me to shake as I leaned in for the traditional Argentine hug-double kiss, and the result was an awkward introduction caught in transition between two cultures.
We hopped on a colectivo in front of the mall that would take us straight into San Telmo and a few blocks from the party. The ride was spent getting to know each other. I learned that Bo was from the United States like me, which was information I gathered from his accent. I also learned his group of friends, whose party we were going to, was made up of ten British girls and two British guys. They considered themselves a family and drew a family tree to seal their bond.
The following month, in November, they all planned to travel to an Argentine provincia and rent a big house to get smashed—white lines of coke included. Bo even bragged about the huge bag of coke he and his British tribe snorted in a boliche bathroom.
“But don’t tell Claudia, OK?” Bo said with a wicked grin.
“I won’t,” I promised. What the hell did I just get myself into?
An older man and a young girl stepped on the colectivo. The man was big, round and gray like Santa Clause—also known as Papa Noel here in Buenos Aires— and the girl was just as round as him. Red tipped blemishes scattered across her face like a connect the dots board game. She looked young enough to be Papa Noel’s daughter but the way they embraced as they sat directly across from Bo and I told me she was not.
I noticed Papa Noel staring at me with a look of disgust and the girl looked at Bo with a sneer. She whispered in Papa Noel’s ears as she kept a side eye on us. When Bo got up to ask the driver a question, the girl looked him up and down like he had shit stains on his clothing. I figured they had the “We hate North Americans” problem. I brought their attitude to Bo’s attention, making sure to get theirs when I did. Bo and I gave them the fuck off and get a life look and then we hopped off the colectivo to be on our way.
TO BE CONTINUED…