Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Awake, yes, awake. Sitting in an Argentinean house, with mate in my belly, the day is rekindled from a spell of tiredness after a night of dancing, meeting new beautiful people, and drinking the night away in Buenos Aires.
I’m at the groom’s house waiting to attend a wedding of one my new friends; we met through mutual friends from Roma, Italia. My Roman friends have invited me along, and with enough frequent flyer miles and vacation to spare there certainly wasn’t a reason not to go!
The wedding ceremony began at 21:00! It seems crazy to me but it’s custom to catch sleep when time allows, and stay awake as long as there is life to live! As we approach the betrothed hour, we all retire momentarily to our hotel to change into our finest threads. In my backpack I have managed to bring a nice buttoned down shirt, a pull over sweater, and a pair of black slacks. When I emerged to meet up with my friends from Italy, I was shocked and embarrassed for the way I was dressed when I all of them wearing Armani suits! Not only that, they were all wrinkle free! Nevertheless, we took off for the cute little white church in the center of Parque Rosa, some 100 kilometers south of Buenos Aires.
The organ chimed as the wedding began. The groom walked down the aisle and stood in front of the priest with both of his parents at his side. As the bride walked in led by her father, tears streamed down the groom’s face. The ceremony was very formal, with only the immediate family participating. It was short and sweet. Afterward we had several photos taken, and the embarrassment of my clothes had completely vanished as no one even seemed to care. Plus the excitement of the impending reception swirling our minds!
When we arrived, the drinks and a beef appetizers, the Argentinean staple, began being delivered to us on platters by waitresses. We had been assigned tables, with ours being dubbed the “international table.” We sat down and were greeted with bottles of champagne and our main course, more beef! We had a steak, a side dish of beef cutlets, and potatoes wrapped in a slab of meat like a burrito.
Then the bride and groom arrived to take the first dance of the night. As they were dancing two lines formed, one line of women and the other of men. After a few songs the bride and groom walked over to the line and grabbed a dance partner at the front of each line and proceeded to do this until the line was gone. Then, the parents joined in and the music really began thumping and everyone poured onto the dance floor. At first I was content watching everyone else dance when suddenly a group of Argentinean women converged onto our table and reached a hand out to each one of us. Sitting feeling shy and reluctant I downed my drink for a jolt of confidence and got up to dance the night away!
Very soon I could feel the electricity of the place. Everyone was dancing, young and old! The girls were passively leading us (to make it look as if we were leading them), so we could dance the tango. At around two in the morning the dancing stopped, and we sat back down at the table only to be served another meal, which of course was more beef! We then got right back up and danced well into the daylight. I’m not sure what time it was when we left, but it had been daylight for several hours, and the place was still almost full. Even the parents and grandparents were dancing the day away as we drove off to settle in for a day of sleeping!
Text © Brandon Mc Allister, all rights reserved.
main image: By Federico Pinto – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28706318