Published: October 30th 2011October 2nd 2011
Well, I´ve been in Buenos Aires for 24 hours, which is surely enough time to start blogging. I mean, by now people back home are probably eagerly awaiting photos of me posing badly in front of natural wonders by day and squinting drunkenly by night. Plus, I need to smugly impart one´s ever widening view of the world, and swift progression to Buddha-hood; right? Well, here are my realisations thusfar, in chronological order:
1. I can´t speak
I am completely incapable of communicating in Spanish with anyone, about anything. Back home I thoroughly agreed with Michel Thomas (language teaching extrordinare)´s premise that the most important thing in learning a language is to feel like you´re constantly progressing. This sense of accomplishment felt pretty good while I was listening to his CDs back in my room in London. Unfortunately my Spanish speaking ego promply deflated as I stepped off the plane and spent half an hour wandering around baggage claim trying to figure out where my backpack was.
2. I´m going to die
I´m not in India now, and I don´t mean this in a spiritual or philosophical way! A cuddle from Mummy is currently feeling more appealing
than exploring a city where (according to some woman at the airport) I am almost guaranteed to get mugged, possibly in a violent way. Luckily, the woman kindly gave me her phone number for when this inevitability occurs, smiling sweetly and explaining "it´s so that I can help you book a flight home my dear".
Why why why do I feel the need to run aimlessly around the world, putting myself in these positions?! Why don´t I want to spend the British Autumn inside with a cup of tea watching xfactor goddamnit?!
3. Nobody likes me
Far more life-threatening than potential muggers are.... other travellers. With the newfound knowledge that I´m putting my life in danger in a country where I am incapable of reading simple signs, I succesfully arrived at the hostel via two buses and a car (thanks to a few English speaking guardian angels). The hostel is pretty much identical to the Birmingham University Student Union bar, but instead of the Rugger Buggers, this bar is full of members of the Very Relaxed Travellers Society. To mark their membership they are drinking merrily (at 10am), sporting hostel branded t-shirts saying 'meat is murder... tasty
tasty murder´ and very much unaware of the inevitable death that is facing them when they wish to venture outside.
Two nights without sleep started to hit me, and I pretty much ran to my room. After a brief conversation with a guy from the UK about his empanada induced diarrhea, I fell asleep... for a while. I was woken up to the sounds of a screaming northern accent: "Just man the fooooook up will ya? It´s our last plaaaaaace man. How can you dooooooo this to me?! I don´t care if you shite all over the cluuub, you´re cuminnnn ouuuuut." It turns out the guy´s girlfriend is back in the room. She is very loud. I say hello and smile sweetly; she looks back at me in an entirely expressionless way and continues shouting at the guy without returning the greeting. I realise that I´ve been put in a room with six Brits from Manchester who are at their last South American stop before flying to Australia, and clearly can´t be bothered to make friends!
Thinking that I should announce my safe arrival to those back home, I left the safe haven of the dorm, heading downstairs to the row of computers (overlooking the bar). I was in my pajamas yawning, while everyone else in the bar was dancing. One part of my inner monologue told me that I should be striding up to the bar by now and announcing my presence to the room... but the winning side smugly knew that my exhaustion and panic were by far overrding any desire to drink beer out of a funnel with the ´tasty tasty murder´ t-shirt gang.
Heading back to my (thankfully now empty) dorm; I listened to my only friend, Michel Thomas´ Spanish lessons on my ipod, hoping that by morning I would remember that not only am I fluent in Spanish, but generally invincible.