Sunday, 9 November 2008

Trying to get a flat

Before coming to Buenos Aires, I used the internet to try and find some sort of longer-term accommodation. You can't live in a hostel for three months… I found a site called "Pisos Compartidos", and they said they could offer me a room. Excitement. I headed off to find the flat on the first Friday I was in town.

My contact was called Andrés, and we'd exchanged emails and talked on the phone. When I met him, he did the typically foreign thing, and decided to try talking to me in English. Upon realising that he couldn't really understand me, or explain the details of the flat to me in English, he soon reverted back to Spanish. I'm always intrigued at how foreigners love to try their best to speak English, no matter what your level of their native tongue might be. Earlier that day, I'd visited a tourist information kiosk in the centre, and after asking for a map in Spanish, the guy proceeded to talk to me in English. What was curious was that, when I was leaving he asked me if I was French (!). This made little sense - why had he just been talking in English to someone he thought was French, when the said person had come in and not displayed any difficulties with the language?! I found it interesting, though, because when I was in Spain all those years ago, I was on numerous occasions mistaken for a French person - allegedly, I speak Spanish as if I'm French (although certain Italian friends - who knew that I was English - disparagingly told me that I spoke with such an English accent that it was clear where I was from, not one native speaker ever guessed that I was English…). Still, back to the story…

The flat was indeed a shared flat, but what hadn't been made clear was that I'd also be sharing a room. I looked at the mess I'd have to share, and felt slightly disheartened. And then the news came that, actually, and Italian chap had been along earlier and said that he wanted the room anyway. I was a bit confused, and rather annoyed, because I'd sacrificed an evening in the company of a true Argentine family just to come and see the flat (I was the fourth person to visit the flat that day, so I imagine it would've been possible to come earlier). However, there was another shared room available elsewhere in town. I said I'd think about it, and headed off home to do just that. I was very tired, and not in a position to think clearly.

After a quick lie-down and some dinner, I realised that taking a shared room would be fine. I lived out of a tent in Denmark for three weeks, getting up early each morning to pick strawberries, in return for a pitiful amount of money, and had to share a common area with a whole host of strangers. Sharing a room in a flat with wi-fi would hardly be the most difficult thing I've ever done. And, besides, sharing a flat with other travellers would be far better than staying in hostels. I just hope that, when I get in touch with Andrés again, the room will still be available.

No comments: