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Monday, February 08, 2010

La Bomba de Tiempo

Dec 8/09

Some of you may have seen my facebook status about me being a little drunk in the middle of Latin America. And this email will explain the story behind that. Yesterday I was sitting and relaxing in the residence's livingroom when a guy from Columbia came in and talked to me. He is an architect who is doing some work. We chatted and then he told me that at 9pm tonite, he was going to some kind of a club for disco and he invited me to come with a group of his friends. He was also mentioning something about percussion instruments but I didn't quite get what he was trying to tell me about the club.

Since coming here I haven't had the chance to really go out with people or even go to bars or clubs. There is a good reason for this. In Buenos Aires the people party hard and most clubs don't open until at least 12am or 1am in the morning and they will party until 9am in he morning. If I am out with a group of friends having drinks and we go late into the nite, then it is natural for us to end up at one of these bars. For me, there is no way I am going to sit on my bed at nite and wait until 12am for a club to open. Anyway, back to the story. I met up with him and another dutch girl around 9pm. We caught a taxi to where the place where this was all suppose to be happening. Once I got there, I understood what this was. But the best way to describe it to you is for me to paste here an article on La Bomba and what it is all about.

By far the best thing to do on a Monday night in Buenos Aires, La Bomba del Tiempo is a ridiculously popular percussion night at Ciudad Cultural Konex, which is an old oil factory. It makes for a perfect venue, especially during the warmer months when the concert is done outside. La Bomba starts at 8PM finishes at 10PM, but make sure to get there early unless you´ve already got tickets – line-ups go all the way around the block.

The shows is comprised of a group of 17 musicians that play different percussion instruments. It is all based on improvisation through dozens of different hand signals. For the first hour, it is only percussion, but the second hour includes an invited guest, which is different every week. It could be a guitar player, a singer, a trumpet player, a DJ, anyone that they feel will complement their music. This is one of the great things about La Bomba del Tiempo; although it is always similar, it does change from week to week.

The crowd is a great mix, comprised of tourists and Argentines. It is definitely a younger, hippie crowd, especially the ones that really get into it, and let loose with some crazy dancing. However, all kinds of people can be found, and very few people do not enjoy the experience. It is truly a great vibe as everyone gets into the music and dances to the hypnotic rhythms while enjoying the relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

Cost is $15 per person. Inside they sell 1L cups of beer for $15, as well as other drinks and empanadas if you are hungry. Ciudad Cultural Konex is located at Sarmiento 3131 in Abasto, right near Abasto Shopping. This is an event not to be missed, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself turning into a regular. It happens every Monday night all year long, rain or shine.

As a writer, I don't think there could be any better words to describe what the event actually was. The moment you get inside, you can feel your body start to move to the rhythm. I'm not going to waste my time repeating what this article just said about La Bomba. Instead, I'm going to head straight to the good part. It is the part about me downing a venti sized cup of beer. At one point, all of us stood in line to get drinks. I had no idea what drinks they had or how big they were. But I decided to go with the flow and forked over 15 pesos for Argentina's favorite brand of beer.....Quilmes.

After the orders were made, we had to go to another counter to get our drinks. It is in that moment that I discovered what 15 pesos ($3.50 CDN) can get you in this country. Before I knew it, I was holding a plastic up with 1 litre of beer in my hands. It was just the way it was described in the article above. At that moment, there was only one thought that came to my mind. "Oh my god..........I'm going to be so drunk!" But I made a resolve to drink all of it, right down to the last drop. After all, in these are hard times. In this economic crisis, every penny counts and it is important that nothing goes to perfectly good beer :) And before we go further, I would like you to know that I had nothing to eat with the beer. And my body is not at all used to alcohol. For those of you who know about body chemistry, you know exactly what is coming and what 1 litre of beer would do to a girl like me.

We got our drinks and went into the main hall were a crowd was already gathered around the stage listening to the musicians. I don't know how to explain it but it is a combination of electronic music with a live percussion. But the really cool thing was that it was completely improvisational and spontaneous. I began working on this enormous cup of beer and getting in with the groove of the rhythm and the crowd. All I can say is that when I was about half way through the beer, I felt a strange sensation of all my inhibitions slowly beginning to melt away like butter. In that moment, all the problems of life and the stress and pressures of the day became non existent. And I do think at one point I actually text Gladys in spanish and told her "Oh my god....I'm drunk". It all seems like a dream but when I look at my phone and check the messages that I sent out, the evidence is right there that I really did send her a message. I think I kept drinking after I sent her the message and when I had downed the other half of the beer, at this point the room was beginning to swirl and there was there was a sense of being absent from my own body and the world around me.

The rest of the night is pretty much a blur. At one point I think my friends and I got seperated from each other and I remember stumbling around the hall after the concert was done trying to look for them. We had not worked out the details of where we were going afterwards or if we were going together. And I distinctly remember nearly tripping over some people that were sitting down near one of the columns. At last I gave up the search and used the last bit of my fleeting sobriety to flag down a taxi. The thing that I am most thankful for is that even in when I am tipsy, my spanish was good enough to tell the driver the name of my street without slurring. And I think the thing that the cab driver was most thankful for is that I still had enough sense to tip like I normally do for a taxi.

I remember making my way to my floor and into my room and telling my roommate that I was tipsy. And I do remember putting up a facebook status to announce to the world that 15 pesos can get you somewhat drunk in middle of Latin America. After that I went upstairs to eat a banana. And then I went back to my room, laid on my bed and closed my eyes and the rest was history. When I woke up today, only had a minor headache that is quickly disappearing. Some of you (if not all of you) who are sitting there at your computers laughing at me at this moment, just be glad that I didn't actually try to write a blog while under the influence of alcohol. That thought actually did cross my mind last nite but who knows what I may do in the future? With me, you never really know.......

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas