Monday, 22 December 2008


At the hostel we were staying at (and where I'm still staying), there were Argentinean lads on either side of our room. They seemed like a nice bunch, they just hung out on the lawn in the evenings and ate and drank together. While Doug and I ate on Friday night, they passed us by and all said: "Buen provecho" to us: I commented on how sweet it is that over here and in Spain, if anyone ever sees you eating, they wish you a good meal (unless you're in a restaurant, of course: that would be a bit mad). And, as they passed us again with their own food, one of them asked if we were enjoying the beer. At least, that's what I heard: Doug wasn't sure he understood anything that had been said. I thought I had understood, but realised afterwards that he'd used the Italian word for beer ('birra'), instead of the Spanish. Anyway, after all of this, in addition to the fact that one of the guys had opened our beer for us with his lighter, I joked with Doug that I'd be hanging out with them once he'd gone.They seemed like a good bunch.

I joked, but the next night, before I even had to make the first move, the boys themselves invited me to come and share a beer with them, to save me from boredom. The alternative was indeed to spend the evening on my own, getting bored, so I took them up on the offer. I went off to the shop with one of them, Pablo, to get some beer. He bought me the beer! Nice. Then we started the night and got acquainted. There were three of them: Pablo, his brother Marcelo, and Fabian. I won't lie: understanding them was difficult at best, and generally impossible, especially when they talked among themselves (I did learn, however, that I'd been correct the previous night: he did say 'birra'). But it was fun hanging out with them. "Hey," said Pablo, "this is cool, because we've got a story to tell now! We can tell everyone that we hung out with our English neighbour, and you can tell everyone that you hung out with us!" He wasn't wrong: stories like this make for half-decent blogs...

One thing that I definitely understood was the story of how they'd come to be staying at the hospedaje. I was told it at least six times over the course of two nights, so it wasn't too difficult to get the gist in the end... The boys wouldn't let it go. They were labourers, working on a site nearby, and they'd come here with the promise of being put up in a big house with a TV, DVD player, grill, air conditioning, a kitchen, and all that jazz. But when they arrived, they discovered that the house was already full (with other guys from the site), so the project manager promised them another place. And he took them to the hospedaje... "When he opened the door, we were like: is this a joke?!" After the promise of living in luxury for a week, they were given a room to share between the three of them, in an hospedaje where they had no cooking facilities. The poor boys had to go a week without hot water to make mate with, and no grill for them to have a wonderful asado every night! "You were robbed," I concurred. "¡Hijos de puta!"

Pablo, Fabian and Marcelo

But anyway, disgruntled as they were, at least they had each other. On Saturday night, we went off to hang out with another couple of labourers who'd had the good fortune to be given a house. It was understandable why my friends were annoyed: they were having to spend a lot of money on eating out all the time, while the others had their own kitchen facilities. Still, we had a fun night, drinking a bit, then heading off home "early" to stop off for a pizza and more beer. The young waitress at the bar we went to wasn't fond of the boys, because they'd been there earlier to watch the Boca game and had got a bit excited. She was a fan of a rival team. She was all: "Be careful, these boys are idiots," but I had to point out to her that they were actually really good guys who'd shared their beer and their evening with me.

Well, we didn't have the promised grill together last night, due to bad weather and tiredness, but we sat out on the lawn again and I smiled as they talked incomprehensibly between themselves. A nice bunch. I have a photo, but can't upload it at the moment. I'm returning to the Capital tomorrow afternoon. Fortunately, the sun's come back out again, so I won't need to spend today walking around town to keep warm. Yes, guess which muppet forgot to pack a hoodie?! I've been a bit cold in the evenings. Apart from for the past two evenings, when my builder friends have been kind enough to lend me a top. There are some nice people over here: everyone keeps telling me to watch out for the bad guys, but so far I've been lucky enough to meet only the good ones.

1 comment:

Garden George said...

The world still has hope as long as ordinary people are willing to share what they have. And most times they are sharing themselves! And that should be enough.

Be strong and learn!!