Diary of The Travelling Seanchai :-

Living La Vida Consi

2007-11-18 to 2007-11-22

Living La Vida Consi

Ok, my camera is seriously cool! The ´oooh´ factor alone from others when they see the functions is worth the trip to Paraguay alone! I spent a few hours marvelling at the seemingly pointless amount of possibilities it has and then wanted to get out and test my new baby!

It was staggeringly hot so as many people turned themselves into convincing looking lobsters by the pool, I retired to the comforts of the shade, a caperinha (Brazilian cocktail) in one hand and ´Moby Dick´ in the other. As Van Morrison once remarked, “I just have to remember, my Mama told me, there’d be days like this!”

That night I was at my blagging best (a mixture of sun and caperinha´s sharpening my game) as I convinced the person at the door of a club that we (5 of us) didn´t have to pay because we were backpackers and then further more, insisted that none of us had got our free beer at the bar yet. The startled bartender duly apologised and furnished us with 5 large Quilmers and we were away!

I had met this group of Argentinian Rugby Players the night earlier, who after giving me a right good ribbing about Ireland´s woeful display in the world cup, decided to adopt me as a team mascot for their trip! In fairness, looking at their average size, I could have only made mascot on their team!

The production of a camera does things to even the most steadfast of people but these guys were anything but and jumped into every shot with abandon! Then one of the girls, (you know who you are!) in a sweeping Zorro like motion managed to knock my new camera and unbelievably, my beer as well out of my hands and on to the ground. In that moment, time froze as I thought of the implications (ie that I was about to kill someone on foreign soil and that I might need a good lawyer assuming the rugby team didn´t despose of me before hand!)

Fortunately, my camera withstood the attack far better than my beer… Next day, a wet miserable one in direct contrast to the day before, was spent revelling with my new group made up predominantly of Argentines, some Swedes and the arrival of Lesley and Jodie from BA. There was little else to do except practise my Spanish, laugh over the photos of last night, play pool and table tennis and enjoy a few beers.

That night I was invited to the team BBQ and on a variation of an Argentine adverts song over here which goes imaginatively, ´Foto, Foto, Foto, Foto´, I was duly honoured with a regular rousing chorus of ´Consi, Consi, Consi, Consi´, a truly touching tribute!

I had to go back to the Falls again, camera in tow this time but also because it has truly ignited my trip here. Lesley and Jodie accompanied me and it didn’t disappoint, it really is ´one of those places´ that I put in the top shelf of places I have seen on my travels so far.

That night, with my Spanish truly coming on, I was presented with a San Miguel Rugby and Hockey Club Shirt by the lads, a moment so steeped in significance I thought for a second the girls were going to shed a tear! There were already plans afoot for a reunion in February in Acapulco but we will have to see!

I wore my shirt with pride that night and a great night was had by all. The toast all week had been “Talvez Manana” (´Maybe Tomorrow´) for when we would leave this place, so good a time we were all having. But tonight it was replaced by “Mas Champagne” (More Champagne) as it rained from the skies in our exuberance!

The swimming pool was getting a work out with many dunkings that evening and the party raged on for hours, dancing and singing in abundance. The only low point being the introduction of a bunch of idiots that for obvious reasons wanted to crash the party (we had a bunch of good looking girls, all the atmosphere and most of the drink in the bar at our tables!) I got the impression that I was going to be singled out for some attention and told my mates to keep an eye out, they said they would not be ´defending a friend, but a brother,´ very musketeer in sentiment but I suspect the champagne had something to do with it!

Still, the night went off quietly, finishing around 6:30am for yours truly! Up early again next day, we all gathered for the customary review of the ´Foto, Foto, Foto, Fotos´ and deciding whether it would be ´Talbess Manana´ again but in light of the fact that the group was breaking up, I decided to book an 18 hour bus journey to Florianopolis in Southern Brazil simply because my preferred destination, Recife, would have meant a 4 day wait before a 60 hour bus journey.

I said goodbye to all in the main reception area and after a last heartfelt chorus of ´my´ song, I was given a standing ovation and a round of applause for my contributions to the week, some startled backpackers on other tables with bewildered looks even joining in with the applause! Yep, moments don´t get much better than this!

I had been asked recently where was the best hostel that I stayed in my year of travelling to date. I hadn´t been able to answer him then, I can now.

I took a cab across the Brazilian border (a new first for me, can´t think of many ways I haven´t crossed a border now, submarine and hot air balloon proving still elusive) and then boarded my bus. Spanish is to Portuguese what French is to English, some words are the same but in most practical ways, vastly different. It was frustrating taking the figurative snake back down to square one after taking so many ladders in my Spanish in the last two weeks.

After hearing so many horror stories about Brazil I found my natural Spider tingling was heightening. I felt a slight paranoia as I tried to sleep, curling my hands through my bag with all my important belongings in it. And as I walked around here yesterday, I couldn’t help but feel a little exposed as on a few occasions I let one or a group of guys that I thought were following me, pass me by without incident.

Still, until I get my bearings and get into the culture of this place, the money belt is going to stay in place and we are staying on red alert. We are hoping to move this down to orange in the next week or so! And although I am tempting fate of course, Mugwatch is into its fifth week now!!

Hope everyone is well, I know that I am receiving e-mails regularly but I really do like getting a wee note on this website, it reminds me that someone is reading it and makes this long rants worth it!

A naked Moby Dick and another beating for Consi


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