Last night my co-worker Vero invited me to join her and her friends for dinner in Banfield, a town in suburbia, Buenos Aires. This is a part of the province of Buenos Aires, and we took a commuter train to get there, arriving in about a half hour. Not surprisingly, the clutter and concrete of the city was left behind, and all around were green trees, cobblestone streets, and the sounds of birds. One way you always know you're in the suburbs is that occasional sound of a car slowly going by, rather than the hum of continuous traffic.
Banfield is also the home of the soccer club that just won the Argentinian league, winning for the first time in their history. It's an English name, and the architecture lives up to its name. We went for a quick ride to the store to pick up some supplies, along the way passing through for a little tour. It seemed like every house we saw was a colonial English Tudor, much like the kind I grew up in outside of Boston. Of course, Vero told me that like any town, there is a good part, so so part, and bad part. We were somewhere in the middle.
Recently, new department complexes and towers have been springing up, adding a new element to this sleepy town where the skyline is low. But it still had the feel of a great place to grow up, with peace and quiet, yet close and easy access to the city. About 15 people showed up for dinner, and though I mostly resigned myself to listening and drinking my Fernet and colas, it was a good experience to be deep in the middle of an Argentinian get together. We started with passing around the mate, obviously prepared much better than I'm capable of doing. Dinner was a help yourself sort of buffet, followed by discussions for New Years' Eve. I was invited to join some of the friends in Mar del Plata, so now arrangements will have to be made for a weekend there, as it's about 6 hours south of the capital. The only problem is that we'll be working a half day on the 31st, and so we'll be arriving in the beach town "later" on in the night.
Regardless, I'm sure the party will go all night long. A thunderstorm made the temperature drop and soon people headed home, calling it an early Friday night. So we caught the bus back into the city and by 2 am I was calling it a night, surprised at the hour I was in bed.