The young ladies who run this hotel are really amazing. They speak great English, don't let you leave breakfast until your belly button pops out, and have tons of suggestions and helpful advice about the city. Every time I ask for something they get all excited like "Hooray! More we can do!" But offering to pick up my laundry from the laundry lady place? Wow! You don't get that shit at the Holiday Inn...
Museums are usually closed on Mondays, but I was not deterred. I found a couple that were open. But what the hell is up with that? Was there some UN resolution that all museums close on Mondays? Because it's been the same anywhere I've been - here, US, Canada, London. Maybe it's a religious thing.
Anyway, it was a beautiful day so there were a couple parks to visit first. (It's hilarious, though, how unraveled everyone is with the "cold" weather. For me it's barely sweater weather, but people here are bundled up like it's winter solstice in Red Square.) On the way back to MALBA where I had unfinished business to attend to, there was the Botanical Gardens, which were pretty nice.
It was there that I saw the first cats I'd seen since coming to Argentina. Then I realized how many dogs I'd seen just wandering around, and I figured that this gated park is probably the only place cats can catch a break in the whole city. The cats are besieged like at the Alamo. AWESOME. I guess I know why the Portenos put up with the checkerboard of poop on the sidewalks. It's a tradeoff for not having cats around!
Other than cats, the only other thing I didn't like about the Botanical Gardens was that I couldn't find my way out! It wasn't just me this time - I came across some other people also trying to escape from Al-cat-traz. (Like that?) It turns out that they were Americans! So I got to speak like an adult instead of a man-child for a couple minutes. Some small-world evidence exploded in our faces: after the where-are-you-froms, they told me their daughter was coming to SCAD! Pretty crazy.
Then came the Japanese Garden, which was mighty nifty. When I paid to go in, though, I had the usual math panic. "$8 to walk across a red bridge? Oh, wait - that equals 2 real dollars. OK." The garden: It was nice and I liked it.
So back to MALBA to finish up. More cool art. Something happened, though: My sleep's been really off as well as my eating. I'm shifting to Porteno hours - staying up late, eating dinner at 9, etc. Plus the massive breakfasts and resulting skipping of lunch. So in the museum I suddenly got pass-out tired. I felt like if I couldn't close my eyes for a couple minutes I would collapse. But where to sleep? Can't just find a bench or curl up on the floor. I have to write this down for posterity. I took a nap in a bathroom stall. Yes, that's right. I actually dozed off for a few minutes on the toilet. After planning to do so. And not drunk, just really tired. I'm pretty sure I was awoken by someone peering in - probably to see if he should call a doctor.
Then all was well! From sleeping on a toilet to absorbing high culture in a matter of moments. The MALBA was really great, though. They had a Frida and a Diego (not hanging next to each other, significantly) and a cartoon featuring a guy having babies emerge from his skin, try to perform oral sex on him, only stopping after the guy eats them back into his body. Or did I dream that during my crapper nap?
I finished early enough to see the only other museum defying the World Court mandated Monday closure - the Metropolitan Art Museum. This was a weird place - kindof a mini-mansion that almost seemed still lived in with art all over. It seemed like a lot of it was up for auction, and there were a few rich-looking folks definitely sizing the paintings up as purchases rather than just stuff to look at.
That's about it, other than a good dinner featuring Argentine steak. I still want to have another steak, though, because failure to communicate resulted in medium-well instead of medium-rare. It's funny, because my craving for steak was only amplified and not remotely deterred by an anti-beef art exhibit at MALBA. The artist tried hard, with prints and sculptures made of dried cow blood, gigantic blocks of cow fat with words imprinted, and checkerboards made of said fat and slabs of cow flesh entombed in plexiglass. To be honest, I think I was determined to eat steak as my own counter-protest. Your move, art lady!