Friday was a good day. The other intern brought some soup she shared with the office which a really good beef brisket soup with a corn and beef broth. Really nice and earthy. Ed came back to visit and I left before JP and he could get together for some beers.
I stopped by a watch repair store on the way back from the office and bought a new leather strap for my old watch. It's kind of strange that as much as I love different watches, the one I tend to wear the most has been the old Swiss Army watch I rescued from the lost and found box while working a summer job at Ross in Scottsdale, an eternity ago.
Anyway, the guy wanted 150 pesos for the strap, which I thought was excessive. Maybe its because its in Zona Rosa, maybe its the Gringo Tax, but I talked him down to 110, which was all I had on me, which is probably still a lot, but cheaper than the US. The entire time, he kept insisting that I had an extra ten pesos somewhere to get the price up to 120. After I told him I was an architect, we went through the whole charade again, as I insisted that yes, some architects make money, but not interns in famous offices.
Rested at home, and then caught a metrobus up to Roma to meet Alba, a Spanish coworker, for her birthday party at a tapas restaurant called Broka. She said 9, but I still dont know if that means 9:30 or closer to 10. I poked my head in around 9:20, looked around, didn't see anyone I knew. Small place, bar, a few tables. Cute, but I didn't really see how they were going to have a party here. I strolled around the plaza to kill about ten minutes and came back. This time, I followed some people in who headed to the back to the room were there was a curtain. Through the curtain, I discovered the rest of the restaurant.
There was a huge patio courtyard, and several side rooms filled with tables. Alba and one of her friends were there, smoking near a set of long tables. Alba was happy to see me, and we chatted and drank for about fifteen minutes before the flood of Spaniards arrived. Within 30 minutes, the table was filled, pretty much entirely with Spaniards, and more standing around. There must have been about 40 people there.
The tapas they brought out were excellent, and were a mix of everything. Mexican tacos, spinich cocktails (?), tuna sashimi on a crisp cracker with avocado.
It could have been an awkward situation- I was her only coworker friend there, and I didn't know any of the other people. But I dived right in and chatted with the people around me in Spanish. It did help that they were mostly architects as well.
It's kind of strange, but I feel much more comfortable talking to strangers in social situations in foreign locations. I don't know if its because there's the whole "what brings you here to Mexico" which has a lot of conversational potential, or if its because simply being a gringo who can converse in Spanish is kind of different, and I feel like I get credit for simply attempting to speak in Spanish.
The two shots of tequila and the beer probably helped too.
Anyway, after about an hour or so Sophia and her boyfriend came, and they had to kind of hang around on the sidelines while they drank. I think they were a little overwhelmed by all the Spaniards. I excused myself from the table and went over to talk to them. We talked for awhile on a variety of interesting subjects, and they invited me to a party at the house of Sophia's boyfriend's coworker.
I paid for my two beers, and left a small pile of money with one of the Spanish guys I'd been talking to since I had no idea what the tapas or table cost (my guess- not cheap).
Outside, the three of us hopped into a taxi (safety in numbers!) and crossed insurgentes into Condesa. We waited outside a frosted glass apartment gate before his friend let us in.
It was a big house, in a row of many like it, with apparently about 16 rooms that are let out to young internationals. The place is owned by a Frenchman, which explains why there were so many French twentysomethings there. But they were all speaking Spanish in deference to the mix of the party. I struck up a conversation with a young Frenchman who shared his 40 of Tecate with me, and he explained that he was actually living in the French embassy.
Wait, what? I guess it kind of makes sense, I mean, Assange is living in the Embassy in the UK, and he's probably not pushing conference chairs together to make a bed. Apparently, the French embassy here has a few rooms they let out ot nationals for short term. I don't remember exactly what he was doing, but he was looking for a room. I can't imagine drinking until 4 am, and staggering back to an EMBASSY and having to pass through the security screening to get to your bed.
There were lots of handprints on the walls, apparently a ceremonial signature for people who stayed there and were leaving. There were a few Americans in the mix, mostly economistst and allied fields. A designer or two. It was fun. I talked with people, asked about where they got thier IPA beer, drank more of our own Pacifico. As the party was winding down around 2 am as the alcohol stocks ran low, I decided to make my exit, and walked the 20-30 minutes home. 2 am Condesa on a saturday night is still a very lively and active place. Lots of people out.
The worst part was running the gauntlet of she-male prostitutes lined up along Neuvo Leon. Drank a glass of water, and went to bed, falling asleep mid-chat with Tay.