In Argentina, Sud America, travelling on April 29, 2010 at 3:09 am

My time in bariloche is spent up on the tenth floor of the tallest apartment block in the city at the hostel 1004, when I arrive and set my bags into the dorm, in the common room they are playing lewis Taylor and I feel good about this choice. They play music constantly most of it I’m feeling, a mixture of soul, rock and some weird ambient chillout, it transpires that they are the happy recipients of music from travellers who have stayed their before, culminating in a large collection of Buddha bar and loungecore cd’s. I want to give them the contents of my iPod but they aren’t running Itunes and it’s a faff to rip and then burn the songs for them onto audio cd, though I vow to do so when I get to nuevo York.
Bariloche is inbetween seasons summers over and winter hasn’t yet begun so it’s a bit of a ghost town, but there are still enough people to have protests and to walk up and down the main street shopping and not dropping.

The local bus drivers hold an all day strike, parking their buses up in the central square, tooting their horns and burning tires, the authorities don’t seem to mind too much letting them get on with their protest. But as like in buenos aires  it is a bit disconcerting to see police with 9mm’s holstered at their hips, it feels very wild west.
But the inbetween season doesn’t stop the travellers coming and there is a constant stream of people signing into the hostel. It’s nice, got a big kitchen which everyone makes use of and I become a fixture in the common room sitting on the laptop punching out the blog updates, catching up on football weekly and the beyondjazz podcasts. But most of all it gives me time to decompress after buenos aires, the party city to rival all party cities. I can see why maradona had such a hard time keeping control of his vices there, the city never stops, I’m hoping Miami and Vegas and New York can match it.
So a couple of things about hostel living, you’ve got to speak to everyone, get to know everyone or at least hear their travels, it’s easy to do ask where they’ve been, where they are going to, and you’ve got a connection. And you never know when that person you spoke to once in he kitchen as you waited for the kettle to boil will be your new traveling partner. Itineraries are so transient and the people you like and want to hang out with, can leave so soon that you’ll probably need to make sure you don’t curtail your friendship possibilities too early.
People are always hooking up whether for one night stands, drunken sucking of face or become long term (days/weeks/months) travelling partners. But what you must never do is drunkenly disappear, then leave the bathroom door open as you loudly confirm your mutual attraction. Especially when a drunken oirishman who takes a mischievous delight in retelling the story is about. The story will become one of his most favoured on his travelling tour and it will be expanded, embellished and dramatised, even as you sit there red faced trying to drink your now warm beer, as he tells you, me and anyone else who will listen step by step how he caught you inflagrante.

Do buy beer and share with others, do go out when others invite you, do not hold yourself aloof from what goes on around you, do bring some cards and teach people to play shithead, do enjoy getting to know the hostel staff, they will give you a squeeze every so often. Both figuratively and literally.
Try and find smaller hostels, the big ones can get impersonal in a hurry and the mass of people you may meet outweigh the few you will want to keep as facebook friends

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