Thursday, December 15, 2005

Richard Bananarama, Part I

Santiago, Chile

I'm sitting in our Gotham-style hotel in the middle of El Centro, in Santiago. Today is the day that I came into this earth, and, hopefully, we will be going out for some hard-hittin' drum'n'bass to celebrate my first annual 29th birthday. Last night, we went out to the Barrio Brasil part of town to do a little pre-party, where we met an interesting chileno named Richard.

The evening started with a spicy bang at Plaza Garibaldi with some surprisingly tasty mexican food (that was the first time I had had good mexican food outside of Mexico or SoCal). We were decked out in the best 80's gear we could find so we could attend Blondie, a goth/brit-pop club that was supposed to be the shit. I had noticed that the Santiago youth seemed to be knee-deep in its goth phase, so I figured the place would be "jumping", as it were. Unfortunately, there was some kind of private party going on, so, despite Mike's smooth dance moves and my totally sweet pink tie, they wouldn't let us in. Dejected, we roamed the empty streets of the barrio for about half an hour, trying in vain to find something to pass the night away. We were minutes away from calling it quits when we heard the sounds of drunken revelry blaring at us from a local pub. We stepped in, ordered a huge Escudo, and sat down in the no-man's land between the grizzled old beer drinkers, and the boisterous, screaming college kids.
Richard was sitting with us.
He seemed like a regular middle-aged dude, just sitting in a bar at 1 am, drinking away a hard day's work. We exchanged introductions and pleasantries in broken spanish, clinked together some plastic cups, and began to imbibe our cheap chilean beer. With the sounds of Bon Jovi, Madonna, and raggaeton blasting out of the jukebox behind us, Richard regaled us with stories about how much Peru sucked (the people, mind you; not the land) and how much he liked former dictator General Augusto Pinochet. We awkwardly conversed for a half-hour or so, and ordered some more Escudo before he dropped the bomb on us.
At first, I was sure I misheard him. Chileans speak in a very quick, clipped manner, frequently dropping entire consonants. That compounded with the loud music, my poor spanish skills, and my increasing blood-alcohol level, made it very difficult for me to understand anything he was saying. So, I made him repeat it four or five times, and each time, he leaned closer to me, until he was finally clutching my arm and almost screaming into my ear. Ah, so I hadn't misheard him. He was in fact telling me that his wife died less than a week ago.
O.K.
I wasn't sure what to say. Even if the guy spoke english, I wouldn't have known what to say. But, in spanish, I was worse than useless. So, I just sat there dumbly for a few minutes while he stared unfocused at the drunken college brats murdering some Snoop Dogg track.

Eventually, he came back around. It seemed like getting that piece of sadness off his chest made him feel a lot better, because he started to perk up. We drank a few more Escudo's a talked a bit about our world trip. We bellowed along to some Metallica songs, and scared off the rest of the college kids before the bar eventually started closing. I was thinking that the night was over. It was around 3am, and I wanted to save all of my party hearts for the next night. But, Richard wasn't done. He was ready to keep on keepin' on. And, it was hard to disappoint the man. From talking to him, I definitely got the impression that the past week had been a bit rough, and he didn't seem to have too many friends. So, if he wanted us all to go out and do it proper, who was I to wimp out?
Mike agreed, so we left that venue in search of bigger and better...

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ed. said...

boys, you go here, yes?
http://www.worldsbestbars.com/city/santiago/etniko-santiago.htm

there's also a great place in the west, damned if I haven't forgotten the name though. Some very clubby, one word name. Not Pravda, but something like that. Ask any cab driver, particularly on Wed and Thurs. Forget Suecia though, bad news. Learned that lesson the hard way.

12/17/2005 4:43 AM gmt

 
Blogger Mik3 said...

Yep. We hit Etniko on the 15th for JasonĀ“s birthday. The Asian cuisine and modern/urban decor was a welcome change from the last couple of weeks of Andean chic.

12/17/2005 9:32 PM gmt

 

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