Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Negative Nancy, a good old moan about travelling

Natural mardy faces

Disclaimer: I know I'm incredibly lucky to have the chance to travel South America. Nothing makes me realise it more than talking to some of the locals we meet on our travels. Those who are selling anything they can muster together at the side of the road just to get enough money to eat. Then there're other travellers who can't believe we have so much time on our hands. Even with this knowledge, it doesn't mean that there aren't a few things that can really rile me up on our way. It's funny to look back on them and laugh as it doesn't seem such a big deal in hindsight, but after a sleepless night, they can really tip you over the edge!

Maybe that it's just that I'm really ill today, and balancing on a top bunk with no edges, right next to a glass window is making me feel edgy. Or the fact that every time I dare to peer in the mirror a frizzy haired banshee who is long due the comfort of a hair cut and dye is looking back at me, but let's just say at the moment I'm not feeling my chirpiest.

It could be the sleepless night from the 9 hour bus ride the night before, driving on a steep, windy mountain path, and the driver obviously thinks he's driving night rider on a Top Gear challenge, leaving me praying we get to the next hair pin bend, never mind the city that's still hours away. Or the fact I misjudged the seating plan of the bus and picked the seats right next to the toilets. Which start to suspiciously smell like urine as the drive goes on and the flush stops working, and no matter how many times the driver warns NOT to do a number 2, there's a suspiciously solid, brown looking wee lurking in the hut of doom. To add to that is the baby that was so cute when we embarked at 6pm, but at 1am is a red faced screaming demon from hell.

Maybe it's just the fact that the taxi drivers never know where they're going when we arrive in a city, and we end up having to direct them through their own city, bleary eyed, shouting the directions from the Lonely Planet map over the reggaeton song that sounds like every other. Only to finally arrive at our hostel for the driver to explain that I obviously don't understand Spanish that well because the price he quoted originally is actually per person.

Whatever, we've arrived, the sun's rising on another blissful day of doing whatever you want, we ring the bell of the hostel, to be answered by a droopy eyed guy In a beanie that gives me a look like I just spat on his nan, he's that unhappy about us arriving when he was taking a little nap on the graveyard shift.

A shower helps everything, so I jump in, trying to ignore the electrical tape covering the shower, the loose wires and the black charred spots just above it. But stupidly I forgot that some showers only have two settings, scalding or off.

Maybe I'm just being irrational and it's my stanger that's making me unbearable, so I go to breakfast. A nice crusty roll and some jam will do it, but the crust has come from several days of drying up, the butters not been put in the fridge, and I don't know how much more mate or herbal tea I can take.

Nope, surprisingly, eating hasn't lifted the grey cloud above my head, so I go and unpack and go on the hunt for a socket to charge my ipad and see what's going on in the world, except there's only one charger in a room for 10 people, and by the time it's my turn and I have a bit of charge, I realise where I am, and the wifi is so slow I swear I can hear the dial up tone of my teenage internet using days ringing in my ears.

Eugh, it's time to get outside and explore this new and exciting place. If only map designers would mark the hotspots of desperate painting and jewellery sellers, and the shoe shiner guys who ask if you want your shoes shining, even when we point out That we're wearing flip flops, he'll still happily give it a go and making them shine. No thanks! Avoid the strange old folk who come across all gentle old dear and trying to help, so we exchange one of their avocados for the banana we were really looking forward to, only to have them try and charge us for it! No thanks!

But soon the sights start to alleviate the rage and the dark cloud goes away. Nothing can wind me up. Not even the Lonely Planet top choice travellers who walk really slow, from side to side on the pavement, leafing through their guide to make sure they don't miss any of the recommended sights. Nor when we pick up our laundry and half of our socks are missing, that always happens at home anyways.

I come home feeling 100% better, and decide to skype a few people from home, who remind me of the grey English weather and the monotony of working a 9-5 job, and nothing can make me feel luckier, even when the internet ends every one of the skype calls prematurely!