Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
Trip End Jun 14, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I got to Rosario at you know which time of day, and checked into a basic hostel, refusing to be duped once again by the guidebook's dubious accommodation list. Fortunately I didn't encounter any of those irritating "backpacker" types - this wasn't that sort of place - but I did, however, encounter the other risk of choosing hostel accommodation. I turned in around midnight and just as I was drifting pleasantly over the clouds into the beautiful land of nod, I was jerked violently awake by a loud noise from the bed below me. Uh-oh: a snorer. Perhaps it was a one off, I eagerly hope. No no - hundreds more were to follow. As ever, it wasn't so much the noise that kept me awake, more the impertinence, the "well I'm asleep so I couldn't give a flying fig about the rest of you" attitude of the dormitory-choosing snorer. As I lay there, I considered my approach to the problem. I could shoot through him through the head, although this seemed a rather drastic course of action and besides, I didn't have a gun. I could shoot myself through the head, except the same reservations applied. I could approach with a well-aimed finger and poke him. I decided against this option, however, upon recalling the harsh criticism I had received from friends when recounting a prior occasion upon which I had adopted this approach. It was in a hostel in South Africa: deciding that enough was quite enough, I emerged from my bed in semi-conscious wrath to take a tactile solution to a particularly high-amplitude snorer. The first tentative poke did nothing, so I tried another, firmer, more instrusive, but this too was wasted, so a third, even more physical finger was applied, at which point my somnolent victim sprung upright into alarmed wakefulness and the earth completely failed to open and swallow me whole. Another approach previously adopted, in a hostel near Oxford, might have suited the present situation better: this was to take my blanket and go and sleep on the floor in the corridor, the other side of a firmly closed door to the domain of the unconscious antisocialite. This was tempting, but as it was I decided that for the time being I would just wriggle profusely, since I was fortunate to be in the bunk above the snorer and could therefore easily wield some influence over him thus. I was in this way able to invoke my snoring companion's entire snoring repertiore, from braying horse, to badly concealed fart, to Argentinian motorbike (think loud - think badly maintained), to nuclear explosion. However, I was completely unable to stop him from snoring.

Most useful Spanish word learned (oh how you've missed this feature, long neglected but now gloriously resurrected!)
My evening had seen a heady mix of Spanish triumphs and catastrophes. The lady in the hostel convinced herself that I didn't actually speak Spanish, so absent was my comprehension, but later in the evening I was complimented in no fewer than two separate dining establishments (well, one was more of a cafe) by two entirely unrelated pretty waitresses on the fluency of my Castellano. However, on the latter occasion, it was all clearly too much for me to maintain. Having had the foresight, for the first time ever, to carry my dictionary with me so as to learn-while-u-eat, I sneakily looked up the word for "borrow", so as to be able to articulate with accuracy my request for a writing implement to scribble in my diary with. As the waitress approached, she caught me reading some freebie tourist guide and struck up an inquisitive conversation. I missed an opportunity for idolisation by neglecting to mention that my trip was by bicycle (you fool!), but after a short conversation the aforementioned compliment was offered forth. Aha, I thought, now is my chance to really dazzle her by knowing the word for "borrow"! However, having looked it up only minutes previously, it completely failed to spill forth from my lips, leaving me floundering clumsily for suitable alternative method of expressing my need. How fate conspires to give me these mindblocks at the most ironic moments!
So, the most useful Spanish word not learned properly, if you want to know, was "prestar"
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