Sandra is my best friend in Argentina. She is like a sister. We love each other like sisters. We fight like sisters. She can tell me I am wrong, I am acting stupid. I can ignore her, talk back. In the end, there is no one I want more on my side than her. I have known her for maybe 6 years. Since maybe 2002. She used to watch me dance in Lo de Celia before I lived here.
I asked Sandra where she wanted to Celebrate. Actually it was a no brainer. She wanted to go to Gricel. I told her I would reserve the table and call our friends to come on Friday. Jorge said he would take us to dinner on Saturday. He wanted to take her to the Korean barrio. We knew we could never tell her, she would never go.
During the week I emailed and called our friends. "Come to Gricel," I tell them, "It´s Sandra's birthday." Sandra figures we are only going to have maybe 8 people. I say to her, "Are you crazy "I have been inviting the whole world." "No me digas" she laughs. I want my friend to have a good pary. "Ana and Pia will be there, so will Marcelo."
On Friday I call Gricel. They have this new guy answering the phone. It is sort of a disaster. I cannot get him to understand me. Everyweek it is a challenge. Fabi and I go into laughter at how he massacres my name. I always spell it for him "D como David, E como Eduardo, B como Bebe, Y griego," but it has come out Dibi and every other way you can imagine. I am a little afraid at how I am going to convey a table for 14 and Sandra's birthday.
When the phone is answered it is a female voice, "Hola, soy Deby." Gracias a Dios! It is Raquel! One of the mozas! I tell her that it is Sandra's birthday. That I realize my table will not be large enough. We discuss alternatives. We decide on a large table in the back. I am so glad she answered the phone.
Now I must go buy the cake. I love the bakery on the corner of Oro and Santa Fe. It is the best bakery in my barrio. Well in my opinon. I walk down there. I must really love my friend to go in this horrible humbid weather and my aching back to buy this cake. Yup I do.
I enter the bakery. In January they do not have quite the selection. When they call my number I get the woman who really does not want to explain anything to anyone. Luck of the draw. It has nothing to do with me being foreign. I drag her to the front of the cake counter. I can see the boredom in her eyes being replaced with irritation. I ask her what is inside each one.
"Dulce de leche" she hisses at me. "Y?" I smile back at her. She was hoping I did not not know that the cakes all have different fillings. Some have a vanilla cream, some will have fruit along with dulce de leche. They all look so good. Finally choose one. She is lucky I am not like the lady who cannot make up her mind with the miga sandwiches.
This cake is so heavy and it is so humid out. I walk two more blocks to another store to buy one of those flaming candles that would be oh so illegal in the U.S. You gotta love living in Argentina. They don't make having fun illegal.
I call Sandra when I get home "Compre tu torta!" I tell her. She is really excited. I also add "Tengo un regalo para ti." She wants to know what her present is. I won't tell her of course. I tell her that we will probably have maybe 20 people come to Gricel. She still wants to know where we are going tommorrow. I tell her Anchorena. That shuts her up. I am just kidding of course. Anchorena is a swingers club.
At 11:00 she comes to get me. I have Marcelo with me. We pick up another of her friends. She looks radiant in one of the dresses she has designed. We are excited to see our friends. When we get to the table Dorita and Beba are there. One by one come Sandra's friends; Diana, Ana, Pia, Marta, and more. My friend Deborah from California even comes with her friend Judy. My friend Ifti who Sandra knows from Facebook comes. Who knows how many we are.
Even Cretino #1 is at a nearby table - Emilio. He graciously sends over 2 bottles of Champagne. A Cretino with style...for a change. He knew it was her birthday, and he probalby knew we would be here celebrating.
Here is Sandra sharing her cake with her friends. Marta on one side and Dorita on the other. Sandra is like a little girl clapping her hands!
Here is me and Sandra smiling for the camera.
Like last year we had a great time. Lots of Sandra's friends showed up. We stayed at Gricel until 5:00 am dancing, drinking champagne, and having fun.
On Saturday, Jorge came to get us. Sandra was nervous. She wasn't sure if I was kidding about going to Anchorena or not. She was relieved when we started to drive towards Flores. "Donde vamos?" she asked. Then I told her, we were going to the Korean barrio. She got a little nervous, so I let Jorge take over. He told her how great the food was, about all the little dishes. She said she would eat the beef and salad.
Once we got inside she liked the idea of the barbecue inside the table. When they started to bring out all the food she could not believe it. I had to tell her what all the dishes were.
Here she is eating salad, but look at all the other stuff she tried! I was really proud of her.
Here is a picture of Sandra and me. I think I had to mch to eat.
I would say that Sandra had a great birthday. One thing about Argentina is that birthdays are very special. We always celebrate for 3 days. I can't say I am excited mine will be here in May,but I know that we will have a great time!