Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A painful last episode in BA

Woke up with an unfortunate feeling of Ouch - somehow in the night, much as I had prior to my departure from the UK, I had managed to pull a muscle in my back, which I have now been informed is probably something to do with my left shoulder. Whatever the cause, this is obviously not ideal when one is wandering around carrying the best part of 20kg of backpack, which on this morning I would take down to the ferry terminal in Colonia, and up from the ferry terminal in Buenos Aires to my hostel there. However, we do what we must. I think my attempts to reach around and massage my own shoulder whilst on the ferry, possibly combined with the design of the ferry seats, didn't help, and by the time I got back to the HostelSuites on Florida I was in a state approaching mild agony.
Unfortunately, as per usual at the larger, busier hostels, I was unable to check in straight away as the beds hadn't been readied after the previous night, so I went and checked my mails, then lay on my back on the hard floor for a little while to try and let my back straighten out and hopefully become a little less painful. In the midst of this, I then encountered Matthias, the German lad who had been in my hostel in Montevideo, along with the 2 Norwegian surf enthusiasts from the same place - this wasn't a total surprise, given that I had recommended the hostel to them, but I hadn't realised they'd still be there. Matthias and I then headed out, along with a Belgian named Reuben and Geva, one of the hordes of Israelis travelling in South America, for lunch. For this we ended up settling on one of Buenos Aires' surprising number of All-You-Can-Eat Chinese restaurants, just to be different (and it was cheap...) - at this point, we discovered that Geva was anything but a typical Israeli traveller as he happily started demolishing sweet-and-sour pork.
Appetite sated, I headed back to the hostel, checked into my dorm, got myself cleaned up after lugging a backpack around in the heat that morning, then went out to try and back up some more of my photos. This ended up being both more expensive than I'd expected and deeply frustrating, as the internet cafe I was using had their system more locked down than most, which somehow interfered with the Nero program I was using to burn the photos to DVD and meant that it gleefully overwrote the original copies on one of my discs rather than adding to them. At this point, I thanked my lucky stars for my policy of making two copies, as it meant I had not just lost everything from the first part of my trip. However, I bid that cafe adieu, and went and bought myself a load more blank DVDs, resolving to try and fix the various backups the next morning.
Somewhat irritated, I returned to my hostel, propped myself into a position where my back was held as straight as possible and settled in to watch the France-Argentina football friendly which was being shown on the TV there - in honour of this, most of the staff (the male ones, anyway) were in either Argentina shirts or their various club ones, drinking beer and getting quite excitable. Bit of a feeling of home there, although the commentary, featuring the "Goooooooooooooooooooooool!! Gol gol gol gol goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool!" style vocal histrionics for which Latin American commentators are famous, broke the feeling of resemblance somewhat. After the match, I met up for a last time with Ana, my local friend, and we went for dinner back at the little place I had found on my first evening in Buenos Aires, which gave the whole thing a pleasing air of symmetry.