Last night was my first true night going out. Sarah, who has been here for six weeks already, has a pretty good handle on good (and safe) places to go at night, so I accompanied her and some of her friends out. We met up at Plaza Foch in Mariscal (picture below stolen from http://www.flickriver.com/photos/nikolos/popular-interesting/), I didn’t bring my camera the first night for safety’s sake (I would like to keep it!)
We met up at 8:30, and went to the outside restaurant on the left in the picture. Upon entering, the hostess gave the group a complimentary shot. It was surprisingly hot and spicy; it was good, just not something I was expecting. I think it may have had chili pepper in it. The group consisted of Sarah’s friends, two girls and a guy. The two girls speak German, while the guy is from England. I really wished I remembered more/had studied more German. As much as I know that I’m here to study Spanish, being around the group made me want to study German, now. Perhaps when I get back, I suppose. Guess I’ll just have to go to Germany, too
Anyway, it became clear fairly quickly that the servers did not like us one bit. It’s probably at least partly our own faults. The restaurant has a 2 for 1 deal on drinks such as margaritas, but it’s supposed to end at 7pm. The group has apparently gone there previously and the 7pm ending time is flexible and can often be waved. So, when ordering they insisted on the deal. Although the server relented, he may not have been very happy about it. Since there was five of us, I opted not to have one. Yes, the legal drinking age is 18, but considering that I don’t really drink in the U.S. my tolerance must be quite low and, additionally, the altitude causes alcohol to have a much greater impact. I did of course sample the drinks of the others. Mojitos are very popular here; while at first I didn’t like the flavor, the mint taste did grow on me. At about 9:30 when the group requested another round of drinks, the server informed us that they were no longer serving. For a Friday night, that statement was obviously false.
Salsa is unsurprisingly very popular here, and since Sarah and a friend have been taking lessons and become friends with the instructors, we went to a Salsa bar/club where they worked. For whatever reason, the area did not seem to be as eventful as usual (going off the group’s observations) and the place never really filled up. Later in the night we went to a couple of other discotecas, but none of them turned out to be overly exciting either. Not that it wasn’t fun, there just seemed to be less people our age out.
I found a couple things quite interesting. First of all, Sarah and the rest of the group (all Europeans) were definitely accustomed to partying with a much greater frequency/intensity than I would say Americans do. They tend to start early and end late (5:30am range) on a regular basis. I suppose that some in college may also do this, but it struck me that they had a greater capacity to party and a quite high tolerance. I suppose this isn’t surprising, especially given that this is the German stereotype, but it was noticeable. Another thing was that the bars and restaurants all had to close at 2am. Apparently this is a government mandate, one which doesn’t seem to have in been effect very long. We ran into a couple friends, and followed them to an ‘after-party’ – a hostel where the windows to the street were covered so that people could continue drinking. The Ecuadorians were very local in expressing their discontent with the government regulation. I’m not really sure the reasoning behind the new law, but it doesn’t seem to stop Ecuadorians from partying much later.
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