27 March 2011
'Fred Flintstone-sized steaks'Buenos Aires. Day off.
The line between a 10.30am and a 11am breakfast cut-off point really is the watershed of civilisation. I opened my eyes at three minutes to eleven this morning and still made it to the terrace of the Hotel Fabulous in time for my cereal and toast.
Most people allowed themselves a day off today and, being a Sunday, the place to go was the big outdoor market in San Telmo - in the same square where we had drinks last night. The place was absolutely heaving but there was a great atmosphere and a real mixture of local antiques and tourist tat. Half the tour was there of course, but it was very pleasant to wander the cobbled streets and run into friends and colleagues. It's coming into autumn here but the weather's still beautiful - a little cool out of the sun but all is clear blue skies.
I headed over to the crew hotel in the evening and a posse of us went down to the docks area for dinner. We were a rowdy table for twelve and much hilarity ensued at the arrival of Fred Flintstone-sized steaks. We were all photographing each other's plates with great delight, laughing and documenting the unbelievable scale of these things. The quantity of cattle they must burn through in this country doesn't bear thinking about.
It was very good to hang out with crew-members that I don’t see enough of. There are so many interesting people on this tour, many of whom I only ever see in passing on show days or maybe for a chat in catering. We really made the most of a night off. At the next table there was a group of older American couples, to whom I hadn't really been paying much attention, but as they left towards the end of the evening, one lady came over to talk to us. The school-children in us immediately assumed that we were making too much noise and were about to get told off, but she just came over to say 'how wonderful it was to see us enjoying each other's company so much.' It was such a lovely thing to say and it felt a little humbling to remember that, despite the hard work and separation from home, we do manage to have pretty great lives out here.