Published: May 31st 2007May 31st 2007
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day,
Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.
Two great quotes Ive heard through RCCB. My inspiration.
Im really not sure what to say about my aid trip to Misiones.. There was 19 of us.. we took food, clothes, bags, blankets, matresses, and things. I helped cook lunch for 500 villages, sort out milk and snack each day, pick up litter with kiddies, de lice kiddies and do the girls hairs... all sorts of things..
I found the atmosphere of the village strange.. the villagers seemed to not want to intergrate with us... weird as LIFE has gone there for 4 years almost every month. The kids were very shy. I still managed to play with them. The men of the village seemed to do not a lot apart from get their young women pregnant.. There was fruit.. tangarines.. and green beans.. and some carved wooden gifts to sell... but I wasnt sure how much sustainability and rehabilitation was here. Added to this the organistaion needed a little Chas, Tom, Bev and Two Taff input!!!
Fellow helpers complained about lack of hot
showers etc, other little things... was a very eclectic mix of people..
I think after all my travels and conversations with travellers that Hope and Aid Direct, the UK charity for Kosovo, also helping Romania and others, is the best aid charity I know. www.hopeandaiddirect.org
Missed you all this week and see you in the autumn!!
Theres a good book called
Do No Harm. How aid can support peace or war by Mary B Anderson ISBN 1 555 87 834 2
Also on my reading list is an Ethiopian Aids book, There is no me without you.
By the way.. has Britain ever had any good foriegn policy and if so what???????????????
Also, I dispair of Welsh politics!!
So after that we took a bus on Monday to Iguazu Town to see the falls... The day took ages.. the bus was 2 hours late.. we took 4 buses to get to the Brasilian side... no Brasil stamp by the way!!! One dopey girl had an invalid visa as it had expired but luckily here you get a 50 pesos fine.. less than 10 pounds.. if she was in another country.. exported maybe!!
Anyhow..!!! So I can now stay in Argentina for another 90 days.. in fact I could keep border hopping until either my passport is full of stamps.. or I wanted to go home.... assuming I wanted to stay more than 90 days if that makes sense!!
So falls were pretty stunning... 275 of them.. very rough.. But somehow I preferred Niagara.. maybe the company, the excitement of being outside Europe for 1st time.. the fact that I wasnt then an exhausted traveller etc!!! The trouble with being a world traveller is it makes you more numb to beautiful things as you have seen so many of them.. how awful is that!!! And the mist made us all wet, cold and gloomy....! Me especially as I have cough, cold and sneezes!!!
Anyhow there followed the worst night of my travelling life so far..... which if this is as bad as it gets touch wood then I wont do too badly...!!
So after the falls the 9 of us got a bus to a shopping centre to meet with 4 others from our group for dinner in Brasil in Foz.. Then they texted to say there werent coming. So
after much dithering in the cold.. we got a taxi to some restuarants which were on the outskirts of the town of Foz.. Then we dithered in the cold outside the restaurants on where to eat. Then two people went off to buy warm clothes.. then the rest of us went to a restaurant to have a hot drink... and decide where to eat.. I mean jeeze we were already in a nice restaurant!! Then someone when out to scout for other places to eat using lying p map.. very dangerous on his own without speaking any Portuguese at night in Brasil.. Then we finally decided to eat in the same place we had been sat having coffee for the last hour and a bit...!! Get that!!!
So I was done with this dithering.. and not used to it at all after travelling solo.. I wanted to go home.. but decided not safe at night in Brasil in taxi on my own.. so waited for a few others to want to go home too... which took all night..... meanwhile I was there hidden in my sleeveless fleece.. I threw the sleeves out as I neeeded space in my rucksack....
sipping brandy... There follwed a disucssion on who wanted to see a film late that night in Foz.. and who wanted to go home.. and how should be get home. A, flag down a random taxi in the street or B, ask the restaurant to reccomend a company and call a proper licensed cab...?? I wonder which we should choose!!! Then much debate over the price.. it was 55 pesos per car, so less than 10 pounds for 4 of us to go 30 mins home to our hostel in Argentina.. and someone wanted it for 45 pesos, so a 40p difference each basically.... grrrrr!!! Get a grip!!!
Anyhow, we arrived home safely in the end...!!!!!!!!!!
So Tuesday I spent chilling by the hostel as had cough, cold, fever thing.. maybe bronchitus, pneumonia etc!! Joking!!! Most people went to Argentinian side.. but I almost feel like if youve seen one side.. thats enough if you are me.. Anyhow.. Weds I pottered around the town.. and a few people went to Paraguay.. but it sounded a bit dodgy.. smuggling, drugs etc, fake goods, most people did shopping in a market with lots of dvds, electricals, shoes, watches etc, so
not really representative of Paraguay so I dont feel I missed out too much! Weds was the bus back to BA..... it stopped every 10 mins for police and army to come on board and check our passports.. checked everyones at least 4 or 5 seperate times!! Also a lovely labrador came and sniffed us.. dribbled on my jumper but hey ho!!!
So back in BA now in the flat.. home alone as the 3 housemates have moved on to otehr countires! Not a bad thing, as am having a quiet night with chicken soup etc. Also my new friend Ana from UK who I met in Chile gets here on Sat so will have a playmate. Most LIFE volunteers are students on semesters or years abroad, so they have their own student lives carved out.. and have already seen the sights..
Saturday is Argentina vs Ireland at rugby.. who should I support????????
Well I should mention that last week I went to a Tango Class!! For only 8 pesos, just over one pound, I had a two hour beginner lesson in Palermo. I went with a few LIFE volunteers, some were in Intermediate class, others just watching. I enjoyed it, but not so much the random men getting up close with me... and treading on my feet.. and me on theirs!! Maybe I need one nice young man to dance with..... Thing is here you couldnt even exchange names as you needed to concentrate so I literally was cheek to cheek pressed up against a guy whose name I didnt know..... thats not happended to me before... Not so keen on that!! Also man leads.. why is that!! I dont really like being pushed and pulled around a dance floor.....!!! Maybe Im better at watching! After class from 9.30pm until 11.30pm we went into basement. Place is like working mens club in UK I think, but big. Here there were more intermediate and advanced classes going on, and then a free floor until 4am.. So we stayed until 3am.. then trawlled the streets on BA and found Paublos Cafe... opposite a strip club so full of men nursing their coffees before they go back to their other halves... Rolled home at nearly 5am.....! Almost like a proper PorteÃ±o!!
Next day all I did was sleep and get on a bus to Misiones though so it catches up on me!! Here tourists have to choose between the night life which is an intergral part of BA.. or the day life and seeing the sights!!
So other BA things...
I saw an amazing tree in Recoleta Park.. the branches are growing horizontally across csfe and restaurant tables.. its so old and very beautiful.. right outside cementary and church.
Etiquette on greeting someone... well a single kiss to the right cheek and Buen dia is good. I keep going for the good old British handshake.. But also as I live in the office, I have been told it is polite to say Buen Dia and kiss everytime you see someone.. so if I pop downstaris to make a coffee, then again for breakfast, then pop to the shops etc it feels like I am doing a lot of greeting.. but I am assured it is important and polite..!!!
Transport here is good. The Guia T is a lifesaver. It lists all buses, metro, street names etc in BA. And is pocket sized, sold at most Kioskos, a few pesos. Metro is 70 pesos per trip, bus 80, need coins usually not notes.
Coins hard to get sometimes.. banks dont give change out of the hole in the wall... and shopkeepers look horrified if you pay with bigger notes, eg offer 20, 50 or shock horror even 100 for a drink say for 8 pesos..... Fair enough. Rule of thumb double it and dont offer a note too much above that...!!
Anyhow.. enough of my travel guide bit..but by the way if anyone has any questions.. just ask!!!
So most of my blogging has been positive.. maybe this one not as much... Just a reminder to readers then.. I tend to publically type the positive. Heres a quick summary of all the not so good things...!!!
Being ill away from home, travellers tummy etc, a lot of moving around, travelling is exhausting, also as I said it numbs you to some of the beauty in things, you still appreciate them but not as much as if you had just done one place only, not a string of countries, some people are not so good at keeping in touch.. sometimes I think this is because they are worried Im not interested in what they are up to....but I love hearing what next door cat is getting up to..!! Also fellow travellers.. the most variable and unpredictable thing about travelling is human nature and the people you encounter. I have met the most rude, obnoxious, ignorant, lacking in commom sense, bullies, all sorts of people whilst travelling..!! Also I put me in a couple of these categories sometimes too as I can be unaware of some things.. amd also lack a little common sense...!!!
But the best bits about travelling! All the great places, great people, great things you try, broadening your mind, learning about countires and cultures, getting away from an office, learning things about yourself, making decisions, overcoming language difficulties, making a difference to kiddies lives, all those sorts of things, helping the economy with what it costs to go round the world, telling people about UK, Rotary, LIFE, Bap, the good karma in travellers so when you see someone with a rucksack you say hello, and if someone needs help you help them.. and when you need help someone will be there for you..., doing things I would never do at home, the coming home and annoying people for months by saying.. and this one time in africa.. or and this one time in Ozzie...!
Anyhow.. enough blogging for me tonight.. Off to console myself after receiving my first job rejection letter.. with chicken soup!!!
PS mjp are you really swanning off to Italy instead of handover!!! I hope you are taking K with you!! Looking forward to nattering away to you in Spanish...!
PPS Hayles see you for WOMAD if not before in Londres!!
PPPS I need a Dr.... :+)