Tagsaccents al fondo hay sitio america apartments arequipa argentina banos bogota buenos aires checkpoints colombia comedy coming home confusion cordoba costumes culture cusco ecuador festivals fire food freaking out galapagos girls gym hostels lake titicaca language leaving lima machu picchu malls mancora medellin moray movies new years new york packing list paragliding parties peru pictures pretending i learned something puno quito quotes salta scams seattle spanish stereotypes supplies telenovelas traditions travel tips tv vacation whining
Tag Archives: confusion
Before I came to Colombia, I’d never been stood up for a date. Girls had canceled on me, sometimes at the last minute, but I’d never actually gone to meet up with a girl and stood around waiting, only to have her ultimately never show up. In my first three weeks in Medellin, I was stood up for first dates by four different girls. No cancelation, no apology, usually no contact ever again.
I like to talk about movies. Most movies in South America are American imports, so you’d think it’d be pretty easy to talk to people about movies. The trick is that American imports rarely have the same name in Spanish as they do in English, so I can’t just say, “Have you seen Die Hard?” Instead I end up in a little guessing game where I feel like I’m talking to my parents. “Remember? It’s with Bruce Willis? And terrorists are trying to kill him? And there’s a part where he has to walk barefoot on broken glass?” And they say “Oh! You mean Duro de Matar [Hard to Kill]!” (“they” in this case being South Americans, not my parents, in case that was unclear)
Due to some fairly inept food planning on my part, I’ve eaten through all the food in my house four days ahead of my move out. I’ve been kind of lazy about going to the supermarket, so I ordered take-out the last two nights. The issue with ordering take-out is that it requires me to talk on the phone in Spanish, which is much harder than talking to someone in person. I can’t hear as well or guess responses based on the other person’s facial cues. The last time I had to speak Spanish on the phone was a month ago when I booked the hotel Jeet and I stayed at and it ended in humiliating defeat (the person switching to English).
I don’t understand operating hours in Argentina at all. Businesses seem to open and close at random times throughout the day. I’m convinced that the supermarket next to my first hostel in Buenos Aires was somehow toying with me and closed up shop every time they could sense I wanted to buy food. Here were my passes by in a single day:
I’m currently in Arequipa, Peru. It’s Peru’s second largest city, which apparently doesn’t change the fact that it’s incredibly small. Conveniently, it’s also incredibly cheap. The first gym I found cost S/1 (~$0.35) for a day pass, but it turned out that pretty much all the machines were broken, so I had to splurge for a fancier gym at S/3 (~$1) for a day pass. Prices are so low here that people often refer to the city as “Arecheapa” although by “people” I mean me and only in my head because I would get made fun of if I said that out loud.
At my current hostel, you need to leave your key at reception whenever you leave and pick it up when you get back. It’s kind of a hassle, but it’s pretty routine at this point and I don’t much notice it. I came back to my hostel after lunch yesterday and there was a guy working reception who was probably about 20. I asked, “¿Podría tener mi llave? [Can I have my key?]” He looked a little worried and stood up and started searching around the desk. I heard him mutter to himself, “Okay… okay.” Peruvians use the word “okay” but I don’t hear it much, so I was wondering if this guy was Peruvian. He definitely looked South American. Or maybe like a tan Asian person. I’ve been surprised at how hard it is to distinguish between the two.
After much searching around Lima and finding only super expensive white-people gyms, my friend Javo showed me a tiny rundown gym a few blocks from the main town center. As soon as I saw it, I knew immediately I’d found my gym. It’s basically just a small room with a few very old machines, a lot of freeweights, and deserted save for 1 or 2 serious looking strong guys.
For my first lunch on my own in Quito, I decided to just head into Old Town and wander around until I found something that looked good and cheap. The first restaurant I came across was Menestras del Negro: