As quickly as I had arrived, it was now time to depart Lima, at least for now. After another failed Uber attempt, I hailed a cab and headed to the airport. A few minutes into the ride however my cabbie told me that he can’t actually go into the airport and would need to drop me off on the side. He assured me though it was a short walk to Departures from there.
It turned out to be a bit farther than expected but eventually I made it to the check-in area. Fortunately, perhaps as a make-do, the travel gods smiled upon me with both a very fast check-in and security clearance process. I had a bit over an hour before my flight so I headed to the VIP Salon, which was one of the benefits of my recently acquired AmEx Platinum card. I had read the near-by SUMAQ VIP Lounge was always packed and not very good. I was able to witness this in person because I had to print out my reciprocity fee receipt, which was required for entry into Buenos Aires. It looked like not a fun place at all to be, with travelers crammed into the fairly small lounge area and no seats in sight. I had made the right decision.
The flight, despite going directly over the Andes, was blissfully smooth and a mere 4 hours later, I had landed in Buenos Aires. I steeled myself for a long wait to clear immigration given my past experience and was pleasantly surprised to see an almost entirely empty room. 15 minutes later I had cleared customs and found my AirBnB host, Santiago, waiting for me with a placard. He spoke fairly decent English so I took advantage of being able to speak my native tongue for awhile with occasional lapses back to Spanish.
We soon arrived back to the familiar confines of Palermo Soho, where the streets were packed with people enjoying a nice evening. After a quick tour of the apartment (very nice and spacious for a studio), I said my goodbyes to Santiago and took a short siesta. Since it was 2 hours earlier on my body clock, I decided to take advantage of this by getting a nightcap and finally checking out this supposedly crazy club night called Hype. But first, it was time to return to my favorite bar in all of Buenos Aires, El Rey de Copa.
As soon as I heard the familiar jazzy house music, it felt like I was home again and soon was greeted by the smiling owner who said it had been awhile. I took a seat at the bar and chatted a bit with the new bartender, Santiago, who had previously worked at Franks, which I was planning to check out at some point. I said I wanted something not too sweet and with a bit of smoke, having grown tired of the pisco sour taste and the like.
He ended up making a different take on a Negroni, with Johnny Walker Red and some mezcal. There definitely was a nice note of smoke as requested and made a mental note to try this again sometime. Not really wanting a true dinner but still hungry, I opted for their version of poutine, which in this case had fries, 4 types of cheeses and pancetta.
Definitely not the healthiest of things to eat, it was very tasty and helped absorb the large amount of alcohol I had consumed from my previous drinks. The club, KIKA, was only 2 blocks away but I had to get there before 1AM for the free list. I said adios to my friends and promised to return before I left.
There was a medium size line when I got to the club but the doorman waived me through, probably because of the novelty of being a tall gringo but I’ll take it. The club was fairly small, with a decent sized main dance floor, a large VIP area with couches and a wraparound bar. Full of all assortment of things, I opted not to have another drink and instead just watched the crowd. It was unfortunately too dark for any decent photos and after about an hour, I had my fill and left. Given the event lasted until 6AM, it was probably just too early but I wasn’t intrigued enough to stick around even remotely that long. Plus, Buenos Aires is like a marathon, not a sprint, and I had a long way to go.