Jan 15

I woke up to noises in the kitchen. I slipped out of bed and saw from my knees down I was covered in bug bites. I recall getting attacked relentlessly back at Patricia’s and now they were finally showing. Oddly though, they don’t itch.

I went out to the kitchen and found Emilio making a punch bowl full of pasta. I helped him cut up some vegetables while his friends started showing up a few at a time. January is Holiday Month in the parts of South America where one can afford vacations. Emilio’s folks were out of town and Emilio was taking advantage of it like any friend-having person would by inviting every person he knew to come over. When everything was ready to be served, Emilio and I and a good handful of Emilio’s friends all sat to eat a grand feast. It would not be too far from the truth to say that I ate myself into the bathroom.

In addition to offering up his house to his friend’s, Emilio had set up a makeshift recording studio in the den. Since I was already in his house, he asked, would I be interested in playing on a few songs?

After a few songs we went to someone else’s house and swam. The parents of that house made up some cookies and I made myself even more ill by eating a medium-sized plate of them by myself. Thirty minutes later more people showed up with boxes of pastries. Patricia was right about the "feeding me" part. I must never question her again.

When all was said and eaten, everybody walked me across town back to the train station. My train was full of shady-looking dudes and I could tell my escorts were apprehensive about letting me on by myself. Three guys in their late 20’s approached. Emilio knew them, as he seems to know everybody between here and Buenos Aires, and asked if they would watch over me till I got to my stop. They agreed and I bid adios a mis amigos nuevos de La Plata.

My Emilio-appointed chaperones ignored me entirely until two of them went for a smoke. The one left behind immediately struck up a conversation and we spoke Spanglish enthusiastically until the others came back. For the rest of the ride not a word or eye was directed at me.

I prearranged to meet with more old friends at the train station and was excited to see that, even though I was almost three hours late, Ariel and Silvana were still waiting for me. We met up with Nacho, another old friend, at a pizzeria. (Ariel and Silvana run All-Ages Productions, a tour promotion company for punk bands. They set up our tour here in 1995. Nacho is their best friend. He got us in an almost-serious auto accident on that same trip.) I was so excited to be eating with the three of them that I never even ate. I just talked and talked.

We went back to Silvana’s place where most the walls were lined with CDs, thousands of them. Another wall displayed pictures of all the people who’ve stayed with them; one of my dreadlocks was tacked up between photos of the Misfits and Fugazi. We spent hours getting louder and louder until I actually got a headache from laughing, smiling and yelling so much.

We said good-bye somewhere close to 5am and Nacho drove me back to Patricia’s, but not before taking my picture with some hermaphrodites. Two offered to put my wiener in their mouth for free but I politely declined.

Nacho delivered me directly to Patricia’s door with no problem. In fact, it was the safest, smoothest, least scary car trip I have ever been on in South America, and all because Nacho was stoned.

I put my head down at six in the morning. My bug bites were many, becoming many-er, and the incessant buzzing around my head was driving me crazy. The bugs were so merciless I ended up putting on long pants, socks, and a long-sleeve shirt to cover as much as my body as I could, despite it being 80°F with 80% humidity. I fell asleep well after the sun had come up, but when the rain started I somehow managed to remain awake for another hour. Actually, it wasn’t so much rain as it was a tidal wave. The roof above me was thin metal which provided excellent acoustics for the heavy drumming of the deluge. Really, the sounds were so crisply amplified it was as if someone had put a metal pot over my head and beat it with a wooden spoon for a couple hours.