Again with the Buenos Aires, eh? But yes, it´s definitely my favourite city so far!! We´re having so much fun here, and there´s just so much to do, that you could spend months just floating!
El Sol didn´t have enough room for our two errant buddies who flew down from Rio to meet us, so we had to move hostel (but then the muppets didn´t book themselves in here anyway). Another good reason was to see another part of town, and also to get some Spanish classes - which other hostels advertise. However, we were very sad to say goodbye to El Sol! We had a lot of fun there, and Paul, the owner, is one of the nicest blokes ever! Laurie, an American girl who stays in the hostel, is going to come down to Patagonia with us, so we´ll see her Sunday when we head off to our next stop. She´s a really nice girl! One of those cool Americans you meet now and again on the travelling trek who have endless capacities for sarcasm and wit - quite a find! Some other Americans we met....who also stayed in El Sol...were of the dimmer and moderately ignorant variety! One girl had already angered Daragh on our last stay in El Sol a month ago by explaining that she studied political science, but then going on to say how colonialism has helped countries like Argentina, and American interest in foreign soil is ALWAYS a good thing. She compounded things further on this trip by just being incredibely vacuous! We hit an American bar with the lot of them the other night - Laurie, Nouveau (her full name is Nouveau Sky...some wicked hippie parents, eh? And she´s from Seattle, so she´s a cool chick, to say the least!), Danny born-in-Ireland-raised-in-England who is inexplicably going OUT with the dim American, and the dim American herself. Her brother Charles (we call him Chuck) didn´t come out....but he is a male version of her, complete with the most unbelievable drawl you have ever heard! Man oh man, what a night! I got stuck with the odd couple for a while, and Alan joined us. Sample line of conversation?
D.A.G.: (Dim American Girl) So what´s your second name?
Me: Mine´s Griffin, and his is Price - they´re both Welsh names, actually.
Danny: Price? Cool name
Me: Yeah, he wants to call his kid ´half´
Danny: Ha ha ha ha ha
D.A.G.: *blank look* So what kind of drinks do you like? I don´t really like wine!
Yeah, it was a good night! Met some random English bloke who was very enamoured with the selling-beer-in-giant-jugs phenomenon, as were we, and he kept shouting ´mouth shot´ before tipping your head back and pouring it down your throat! Either drink it, or have it poured on you...so we got a wee bit tipsy!! He gave me girly-glugs, though....I didn´t have to skull it like the boyos! Daragh did his usual on the way home, and got slightly lost, heard a party from some apartment, pressed all the buttons on the buzzer downstairs saying ´Amigo? Fiesta? Ariba?´to anyone who answered....bear in mind it was five in the morning....before attempting to climb a tree to see if he could climb the balcony in. Fun times! Me and Alan were home before him, and our six bed dorm had an additional bed in it for one night only. Christian´s friend from Denmark (more on Christian later!) was asleep in it when Daragh burst through the door, fell on top of him, rolled off, and promptly went to sleep face down on the floor. I was listening to my headphones, so didn´t hear that it was Daragh. Luckily, I got up to use the loo a few minutes later and found a freaked-out looking Dane gazing in bewilderment at the pile of unconciousness on the floor. "I don´t know who this is!" he said to me. "Ah, that´s Daragh", I realised. I tried waking him...."Why am I so cold?" he asked. Because you´re on the floor, mon cheri! As I got him up and into his (lamentably) top bunk, I realised that he´d tripped over Bones´s bag of malaria pills etc. and strewn them on the floor.....the Dane must´ve thought he was off his head on pills, or something!!
Anyway, Christian. What to say about Christian!? Well, if there is a more pompous, arrogant man in the world, I have yet to meet him! On our first night back in El Sol, we took him to dinner with us, as we are kindly people, and he was in our dorm. What a mistake! He spent the whole night directing the conversation towards his main areas of expertise and interest.....language and literature. And polo. His views on the canon of literature were making my toes curl. Vainly I tried to hold back in some last vestiges of decorum - he is nominally our dinner guest, you should allow him his views, etc. - until I could hold back no more! Sample comments from our esteemed Dane? "Dostoyevsky is my favourite author, because I feel that I am leading a similar life to him", "I wish to learn Spanish so that I can read Don Quixote in it´s native tongue", "Women authors are of no interest because they only speak of minor social situations, not of the grander scale that male novelists explore"...........ah, you can see why it was that I suddenly exploded!! Women authors? NOT speaking of the grander social scale? What buffoonery is this!! So, it was a tense dinner, with him throwing ignorant mysogonistic comment after comment.....and when we returned to the hostel, what do I see in his intellectual book pile? Madame Bovary! Ah, so he reads novels about women´s narrow social view, but only if they are written BY men! What an asshole! The next night he talked about how we were lucky to be colonised by the English, as it is a fine language to have forced upon us. The next night he talked about polo. The next night he moved rooms. We rejoiced!!
On Saturday we got up at 9 in the morning and went down to the Riverplate stadium to queue for tickets to the cup semi-final that was being played. We queued for ages, but got front row seats in the middle stand at the half-way line. Excellent! We went to the match last night, and it started at 9, so it was quite late. It was a good enough game - the equivalent of a 1st division cup match in England, so the standards of football were pretty low. However, we went for the spectacle, and we weren`t disappointed! The popular stand is behind the goals, and is standing-room-only space for hardcore fans! They were pumping before the game even started. And just before the whistle, a snake of people - maybe 200 in all - marched into the popular stand (we could see it clearly from our seats) carrying flags etc. We think they were probably a firm, as they seemed the most hardcore of hardcore - the already full popular stand parted like the red sea to give them prime position. Then, as the whistle blew, flares went off in the stands, torn newspaper poured onto the pitch, the stadium heaved with the sounds of chanting! Most chants included ´puta´ - bitch. The only chant I learned was "Vamos vamos vamos Riverplate, vamos vamos vamos Riverplate, Vaaaaammmmooooossssss Riiiiiivvveeeeeerrrrpplllllaaaattteeee" (let´s go Riverplate). Anyway, it ended nil all, went to penalties, and the other team won...to complete silence in the stadium! Very weird to see a team running all over and jumping around, and nobody saying a word! Not even a sportsmanlike clap!
We left pretty quickly, as we didn´t want to get caught up in the popular stand emptying out, and it´s a pretty quiet part of town, so not much in the way of streetlights. We lost the other lads on the way down, so me and Alan walked for about 45 minutes (it was after 12 when the match let out, so the subway was closed), before jumping on a random bus for 15 minutes, then walking for another 40 minutes. Long way home!! We have tickets to the Argentina v Bolivia world cup qualifier in Riverplate again on Saturday. We´re going with Alan, and Peruvian mano from El Sol, so that should be good fun! We´re in cheaper seats for that, so higher up...but more in with the mayhem. I´m gonna start ripping up newspapers now to throw down, and perhaps bring a few rolls of toilet paper..........just to fit in, you understand!
We´re taking Spanish classes in our new hostel at the moment. The Clan is an alright hostel. Not so great if you want to sleep, as it is a total PARTY place....eek! Luckily I have my books on tape, so I just tap into Jane Auston (thank you Orlagh and Helen!!) and I´m out like a light! Back to communal areas for the women, though - how I hate showering in the presence of others!! I will, of course, be taking the minimal amount while here! No shock to the system there....
We´re heading for Puerto Madryn on Sunday, so from then on it´s whale watching, penguin watching and bloody good nature walks! Another nice 22 hour bus journey.....we might splash out and get the sleeper seats (fully reclinable) for the expensive price of 50 euro!! What a life...
Better get back to my ´oh so fun´ hostel (just a touch of sarcasm there), and do my Spanish homework. She´s quite the taskmaster, I must say!
My cousin is doing a lot better, and is working towards speaking now that he is off the ventilator. A bit of a miracle there, and could I just say, that it couldn´t happen to a nicer man. The lengths he has gone to in his life to please other people, and now he is getting some happiness and luck of his own. God is good, as they say over here!