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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Saketinis in Santiago...

So, a few nights ago, I went out with Tony, a Chilean friend of a friend from HarperCollins who lives in Santiago.
He was born in Chile, but has lived everywhere from New York and Miami to Rio, to London, to Buenos Aires, but now is back
here. He's been very helpful throughout re: Chile and South America. He took me out last night in Bellavista, the Villagey part of Santiago. What a night! I realized I'm just not equipped for South American night life and better get it together before I get to Buenos Aires and Rio and have to really pull out the stops....

Tony is 39, about 6'5" and looks like John C. Reilly from Boogie Nights. Picks me up in a little Alfa Romeo, and takes me to
some fabu sushi place called Etniko (a play on the word Ethnic, I'm told) that's hidden behind a door and you have to "know" about it. It's like Bond Street or as close in feel as it can be. Have drinks, I order a saketini. They almost
balked when I asked for sake and VODKA...very conservative city and he said it's unladylike to drink like that here... he wasn't being rude, just explaining and being incredulous of my order at the same time. Tony's the mayor, knows everyone. Amazing...people keep coming to table. I'm minding my own business, happy to be eating SUSHI, though the comparison with the sushi we all know and love isn't necessary, not even close to the same thing! After dinner, I'm maintaining I'm FINE (having had vodka for the first time in 3 weeks) and we head to the next place which is a little Chilean bar that unbeknownst to us, they're doing poetry readings and an open mike at..... We're loosening up a bit, or maybe it's me doing the loosening b/c I I knock my WHOLE MARGARITA as the waitress is putting it down ALL OVER him. Not a drop touches me. NOT ONE DROP. But remember, I'm FINE.....

I can tell he's livid, but dealing. I was getting up/down in the middle of the poetry reading to get napkins (I cleaned out the whole supply b/c in S. America, napkins are like 1-ply paper. They crumble up into a spitball, like you can't evn put it on your lap but it's only as big as your kneecap and so light (1-ply) that it flies off from like a sneeze breeze from 2 tables down. HORRIBLE. So, I use all the napkins and my heels are clicking back/forth as I keep getting more napkins for him b/c he's Margarita-sticky. The Chileans who are VERY SERIOUS about their poetry/singer dudes on stage are pissed at us. I'm asking them to take pictures, to boot. Blah, blah... So, we move on. Now, at this point, we're best friends, bonding over the spillage and the awful poetry set to song.

So, we then go to some CLUB called La Feria. Again, hidden behind a door, it's a full on lair. Red everywhere, the walls, the couches, the light fixtures. The DJ is jamming with himself like it's New Years Eve. But, we're early and there's nobody there. It's like 2 AM!!! And we go in anyway, and just sit on these red couches and talk and I'M WASTED b/c I haven't had vodka, and now I've had 3 (do you believe I'm saying this...?)!!! And, at about 3 AM, the club starts to fill up with all these Chilean youngsters that I cannot believe are JUST coming out to play, and thinking to myself, what the hell happened to the days when I WAS A YOUNGSTER like this and could drink 7 saketinis and hold my own and dance all night and never come down. I'm sad to leave, goddamnnit, I've got dancing shoes. But, I just can't party forward, I need sleep. And...........was miserable the next day. My first serious South American hangover.

Moral of the story: I have a lot of work to do before I get to Buenos Aires, let alone Rio. A lot of freakin' work......


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