I walked the rest of the city on a ridiculously hot day. I found the another basketball stadium where the other local club, Estudiantes plays. Then I retired to my hostel to try to take a nap before Marquitos was going to pick me up later in the night.
I walked in my room to find two other guys smoking a joint. They asked if I wanted in and I politely declined because I wanted to have a clear head for the possibility of meeting P-Mac in the next day's practice.
I talked to the guys and learned they were from a town just outside Capital Federal. They were in Bahía Blanca to sell trinkets. When I asked to see what they were selling, one the guys pointed to a duffel bag full of crayons, coloring books, word-search books, sewing kits, cheap cosmetic kits and other worthless junk like it was full of gold. They smoked two more joints before departing for their door-to-door merchandising . Two minutes after they left, they came back in the room claiming they forgot something. They proceeded to smoke another joint and lay in their beds for 20 minutes. One got up pulled out a small mirror from his duffel bag of goodies, set it on his nightstand and the mirror immediately fell apart. He did a half-ass job of fixing it, stuffed it back in his bag and then they finally headed out for a couple hours of work.
After what seemed like an eternity pent up in the hostel with no air conditioning or fans, Marquitos finally picked me up and we walked over to his girlfriend's apartment. Marquitos told me his girlfriend Eugenia was going to be cooking for us. We stopped at the corner market picked up some food and Marquitos refused to accept any of my money because people from Bahía Blanca are the nicest people on earth. Then the lady from the bakery gave a bag of sandwiches to some poor little kids to further prove that people from Bahía Blanca are the nicest people on earth.
Eugenia prepared some pizza and empanadas for us as Marquitos and I sat in the living room and talked basketball. I learned that Pepe Sánchez was actually the first Argentine to play in the NBA. Marquitos taught me all about every other Argentine to ever make the NBA as well. He knew the NBA damn well, down to Charles Barkley's signature call of "GINOBILIIIII!!!!!"
Then more of their friends came over and we all ate Eugenia's delicious cooking. I don't think I have ever been as content in life as I was hanging out with all my Bahiense friends in a small apartment listening to Argentine rock music as my blog never left the computer screen.
I learned the whole group was studying tourism at the local university. I will always wonder if part of Marquitos' tourism curriculum is finding bloggers traveling through his country and convincing them to come to Bahía Blanca by any means necessary.
Everyone knew somebody on one of the local professional teams and I learned that El Nacional's head coach, Coach Juan G, is a “mafa” which means his last name is bad luck, so everyone just calls him Coach Juan and if you are to slip up and say “Garcia” then men must immediately grab their left testicle and women must immediately grab their left breast to prevent any further misfortunes.
At midnight we realized we needed a lot more beer, so Marquitos, his friend Santiago and I all piled into his two-door hatchback and headed to a couple in-the-know spots that illegally sell booze after the cut-off time of 11 pm. I felt like I was back home as the two guys knew everything about the NBA, we bullshitted on sports and made obscene comments about the girls we were hanging out with. I completely forgot I was in Argentina for a few minutes until we drove by a small gym and they pointed out that it was where Manu Ginobili honed his game as a youngster.
After a successful booze run we went back up to Eugenia's apartment and hung out some more until we decided we should head to the club at 4 in the morning. I still don't know what was going on Santiago's mind, but he went up to half a dozen random cute girls at the club and quickly rapped the wherespmac.com brief history. They were all just as baffled as I was. By 6 am a few of us were done, so Marquitos drove us back home and dropped me off at my hostel. I walked in and found the retarded salesmen were gone and I had the room to myself. I opened the window to try to bring some fresh air into the dungeon-like chamber of a room and was quickly greeted with the calls of prostitutes trying to lure me outside.
Marquitos warned me that the hostel was in the brothel district of the town and he wasn't lying.
Two hours later the two stoner salesmen returned to the room, turned on all the lights and began making a ruckus. I yelled some profanities in a mix of Spanish and English and told them to turn off the lights as my head was already pounding. Then I saw one of them talking to a prostitute through the window. After five minutes of negotiating my roommate walked over near my bed reached into his duffel bag and sold something to the prostitute. I was shocked, stunned, amazed and and in awe that my retarded roommate had just sold a coloring book to a prostitute through our hostel window at 8:15 in the morning.
The next day I headed back to the El Nacional gym to watch Marquitos little brother Franco play in his basketball league. It was at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside and much hotter inside the unventilated gym. I was dripping sitting on the bleachers just watching these kids run up and down the court. Then during halftime I witnessed the most hardcore Argentine moment I ever saw. One of the kids ran over to his parents and started drinking boiling hot mate like it was an ice cold Gatorade. Marquitos later went back to class on a Saturday because he dedicated like that. I went back to the hostel having already seen the entire town twice over.
My hostel was one of the more bizarre ones I stayed at. It used to be a hotel and now it is half hostel, half apartments. I didn't understand a lot about the place. Such as why there were always three 70-year-old Bolivian women who sat on a bench outside my room doing nothing. Not reading a book, not talking to eachother, they just sat there. All day.
Additionally there was a tenant who just sat on a bench outside his room and watched football on the television which sat inside his room. He would only leave his post to run to the corner store to pick up a liter of beer and a liter of orange soda.
My roommates spent the majority of their time taking naps and getting high and doing the word-searches they were selling using the colored pencils they also planned on selling. It didn't make a whole lot of business sense to me, since they were consuming all their inventory, but who am I to question their business model.
My favorite person in the building was this 26-year-old cute Bahía Blanca native who, just like every other Bahiense knew everything about the NBA. She told me her favorite player ever was Dennis Rodman and she knew everything about him from the time he kicked a cameraman in the groin to the time he went to his book signing in a wedding dress.
I told her all about Ron Artest, who she was unfamiliar with. She was elated to hear stories about him punching fans and applying for a job at Circuit City (for the employee discount) while he was in the NBA. I don't know why I am still not living in Bahía Blanca dating this woman.
Later on my hostel hosted an art gallery, so I sipped on some wine, looked at some mediocre art and then Marquitos scooped me up as we headed out for the night. This time we went to a house party hosted by this dread-locked tall guy who said he was Ginobili's cousin and that he knew Ginobili personally. I believed him, but I'm fairly confident that half the town of 300,000 people are Ginobili's cousin in one way or another.
We drank, I had a dance-off with Ginobili's cousin and I headed home because my ride was leaving and I had to be up early to catch my bus to Monte Hermosa to meet P-Mac.