Rico, Jose and Emma

Trip Start Dec 07, 2005
Trip End Apr 10, 2007

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Where I stayed

Flag of Argentina  ,
Thursday, March 2, 2006

Carly Hotel
Umberto Primo 464 (San telmo area, infront of plaza dorego)
Payed 32 pesos a night for two of us, own room and bath.

Rico, Josie, and Emma

During our first week in Buenos Aires, we got to know the city some, and during the second week we met some of our fellow travellers who were quartered in the good ol' Hotel Carly with us.

The hotel has a small common space with two computers' worth of internet access, some tables, a cable TV, and a nice view of Avenida Humberto Primo. And that is where we connected with Rico and Josie, both of whom are from Holland. The internet really does bring people together. You just have to wait until people are done typing until you can talk to them.

During the week we had a few conversations with them in passing, and then on Sunday we ended up spending the afternoon talking about our respective trips and what we had done in the city. They started out in Suriname, where Ricos family is from, and travelled south through Brazil towards Argentina. They are both about 25, and are also interested in doing volunteer work as they travel. Rico is a professional wrestler (which explained why he always seemed to be on the WWE website in the hotel cafe), and has also wrestled a little bit during the trip. So as the afternoon wore on we moved from the shallowness of international politics into more serious cultural discussions of Mexican wrestling and how cheesy the WWE actually is now. Josie is a social worker back home, but was having trouble finding work without experience. So that helped provide another impetus for their trip--why not rack up resume fodder while travelling in South America? They were also both taking Spanish classes while in BA, and Rico was looking forward to continuing his lessons for another week. Thanks, god, for granting me this moment of clarity: Josie speaks Dutch, very understandable English from what she learned in school, and was taking spanish lessons. Rico speaks Dutch, almost perfect west-coast accented English that he picked up from watching TV (I didn't pay any attention in school, he confessed), and was picking up Spanish.

So, if a person who speaks two languages is bi-lingual, and a person who speaks three languages is tri-lingual, what do we call a person who speaks one language? American.

All the talking was hunger-inducing, so we headed out to a chinese food tenedor libre, or all you can eat buffet. Apparently its a crowd pleaser in any language. Anyway, we had a great time and a decent meal (for US $3 a person) at the buffet. Things were going so well (our conversation had progressed to discussing the BA zoos llama with the deformed mouth, and the spooky endowment of its male tapir) that we decided to keep the night moving and head to the club. Rico had mentioned a club that was about a 15 minute walk from the hotel, and on the way back from dinner we decided we were all feelng up to trying it out.

We met up for a couple glasses of wine in the hotel courtyard before heading out, and had a good time at the huge club. Even though it was a Sunday night, there were easily 200 people dancing and partying the night away. And although the first drink was complimentary, the sound system was very good, and the Porteos (people from BA) were young and energetic, daniela and I werent used to the late hours. We called it a night around 2am, and Rico and Josie came with us. Most clubs in BA stay open until 6 am, but we cant confirm that.

We left early on Wednesday morning, and our Dutch friends were still sleeping, so we didnt get to have a proper goodbye with them. But we might be in Peru at the same time as they are, so maybe were hoping to meet up with them there. If not, now we have some friends to visit in Amsterdam.

The next day, while we were whiling away some daylight in front of the hotel computers, we met another fast friend, Emma. At first look i was not sure what to make of hershe poked her head into the cafe and asked for a bathroom in what can become a familiar, but always frantic, moment for a traveller. After her panic was allayed, Emma returned to the cafe to thank us and chat us up for the next 45 minutes or so. She has been in Buenos Aires for about two months, and was an expert on the hostel scene. We started talking with her about some of the spots wed researched, and she let us know about some of her experiences not only in Argentinian Hostel, but in hostels all over the world. From her stories, She has travelled pretty extensively, and among other places she has been to Mexico (which she loved) about 15 times and to both coasts and the middle of the US, including spending some not-so-savory time in a hostel in Miami with a/c that was too strong for a Japanese couple.

Heres the story she told us about that: while Emma suggested that the couple simply sleep facing the opposite direction so that the a/c would not be blowing directly on their heads, the couple opted to turn off the a/c, which then led to an onslaught of bloody beasts that sent a bunch of the hostel guests to the local pharmacy riddled with bug bites (from hostile bugs--ha--hostel guests, hostile bugs...i got a million of em).

Two days later we met walked into the pizza place down the street from the Hotel Carly and she regaled us with more of her wonderful stories and commentary on Buenos Aires. At first i found her a little overwhelming, as she seemed to be spewing thoughts about everything from dog shit to Denver, but she soon grew on me as a story-filled straight shooter of a woman.

Two days later, when we had become fast friends and were helping her move her luggage to another hostel at 11pm, we abandoned the doggie dulce de leche line of discussion in favor of that safe fall back, American politics. Emma told us that she loved America, and said, I am the only French woman you will meet who loves America. true enough. Later she explained that she loved the combination of American and Mexican cultures. She gave American discipline high marks and she is a little enraptured by the culture and people of Mexico. Join the club, Emma. A straight shooter with good taste. She confessed that she wasnt a fan of our President, and we explained that most Americans aren't, either (66% if  i had to give a figure). When I mentioned that the people surrounding the President are scarier than he is, she confirmed with, yes, the Vice President, he just shoot his friend in the face. This land is your land...
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