Not since the mid sixteenth century has South America groaned under the weight of so many enthusiastic Europeans. “Over paid, over sexed and over here” is a complaint among xenophobic Brits, but our traveling troupe encountered no such sentiments in Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The group spent countless hours mulling over the potential causes of the remarkable “bounciness of spirit,” the wideness of smile, and the warmth of the embrace. We decided it must be due to the sunshine and caipirinha .
It felt as if most of the HBS ’02 Class made it down to South America for at least a few days. Bikini Beach in Punta del Este felt just like being at Spangler – apart from the sun, and the bikinis, of course.
People came and went, paths crossing like worker ants on the rampage. I spent most of the time with Elena “Woops” Pirondini (OE), Mayya “Quel es tu numero” Dabbagh (OB), Patrick “Perfesto” Arnaud (OE), Cinzia “Ouch” Rascazzo (OB), Cris “Reelaax” Farjallat (OE), Augusto “No Complaints” Moronta (OD) and Petter “Beach Bum” Johnsson (OE). Incidentally, Petter holds the frequent-flyer record of the trip with 26 flights, a 42-hour journey from India.
Pancho Malmierca (OD) should be credited with an honorary degree in the tourism – creating a comprehensive website for pre-departure planning, with handy travel tips, getting his mother to negotiate our accommodation, and throwing open his doors for about 30 of us on New Year’s Eve. Champagne and fine food was limitless, served by a team of exceptionally friendly caterers. Then the spectacular Mendiwelson duo, aided and abetted by Pancho and his Dad, embarrassed us with their musical skill. I overheard one of the female audience members refer to Pancho’s Dad, who was belting it out on the drums, as a “stud.”
Felix Danziger (OB) then showed us how good the simple life can be – all you need is a beautiful beachhouse, some beers, and a barby. Barbies of the other variety were on display at the ber-chic model hangout down the road – Cream, though most of the HBS men probably didn’t even notice.
Cris Farjallat then took the group round Brazil: starting off with Rio, then heading north to the beaches and paradise. Rio was a teeming, colorful, and spectacular place, even though Carnival isn’t on for months to come.
As job prospects here still seem as bleak as the weather, returning to live the vida loca in South America is looking increasingly tempting.