It’s going to get harder to keep track of all the beautiful, interesting, funny, caring, giving people I meet along the way. Here is page dedicated to each and every one that I remember to take a picture of.
Gracias, chicos. The memories remain.
In chronological order:
Rodney the staffer at Klein Hostel in Foz de Iguazu, who was simply adorable.
Oren the juggling, computer programming Spaniard who went hiking with me in Missiones and got us into a river resort at Argentinian prices. Kindred spirit! Unfortunately I never got a photo of his face …
… but then a few weeks later in Rosario I saw a painting of San Martin, and this is pretty much what Oren looks like:
Francisco, who swept me off to his farm in the Corrientes wetlands for a week and treated me to the magic of that area (and introduced me to the wonders of fernet), for free.
And Alejandro the gaucho, who was almost toothless but completely cool.
Nancy, who worked at the hostel I stayed in for the first few days in Rosario. We met up again for a rad night in Buenos Aires. I adore you Nancy! See you in Greece someday.
Andres, smart and generous and laid-back Andres, who opened up his home to me in Rosario for a whole month. How does one say thank you to that?
And Andres’ smart, deep-thinking daughter Avril. (You don’t realise how badly you suck at a language until you try to speak it with a seven-year-old.)
Juan, Andres’ friends, who is a deep thinker and a very good asado companion.
The awesome, smart, well informed, opinionated, caring, patient, people from Spanish in Rosario. Kris the unsuspecting Indian daredevil from Singapore and Sabrina the French lady who moved to Argentina and is going with the flow in a spectacularly un-French manner. The teachers: Claudio, a Rosario Central fan but we’re still friends; Marcela, the independent soul with a striking sense of humour and a gutsy outlook on life that I appreciate very much; Fede from Cordoba, who recommended the only Argentinian music I’ve liked so far and whose love for the Humanities meant I liked him instantly. You guys rock!
Not forgetting Stephanie, who runs the place, an ex-Norte Americana who speaks Spanish as if she was born in Argentina. Great attitude to life!
Nicolas the Uruguayan. Despite the fact that we barely spoke each other’s language, we became instant friends and he helped me a lot with Spanish during my three nights in Buenos Aires. Uruguayans are quite different; more gentlemanly and far less ego to go around. Great guy. Bueno suerto!
Eduardo, an author and academic currently surveying Latin America for her best poets. Inspirational man for an aspiring writer such as myself. This pic from Gaiman in Argentina.
Matias the diver in Puerto Madryn. He’s off to Mexico to visit the pyramids (“I’m obsessed”) soon and to live and work “the best job in world” there … Stunning person, despite the fact that he’s a raging hippie.
Nikki the ‘Merican who is fast becoming one of my favourite people of all time. We met in Bahia Blanca and travelled to the Ushuaia together from Puerto Madryn. She’s been travelling in SouthAm for more than a year. Excellent Spanish speaker, huge help, insane sense of humour … Friends for life.
Don Ricardo, who became a good friend over the months in Santiago. Despite being a very well read vegetarian former-student protester geologist, Ricardo still believes my parents own slaves in South Africa.
Alex, the Republican from the USA. Despite our differences we became very good friends. Gonna miss you, kid.
Javier, Virginia, Jorge and Marco (not pictured), who took me in and were infinitely patient with my non-existent Spanish. They were like family for four months and I haven’t quite processed the leaving.
Simon and Samia, the Frienchies. We first met in Samaipata, and then again in La Paz, and if everything works out in our favour, we might meet again in Peru. So much instant like and love for these guys. See you in Paris!
Jordan, Alex and Tom approached the far-end of the bar at Loki La Paz one night, cheekily, charmingly and quintessentially British. Tom was the flirt, Alex the comic relief, and Jordan the aloof thinker. They are a formidable trio to say the least, and I relished every moment I had serving them slightly stronger rum and cokes. Over time we became close friends and walked to Machu Picchu together. I look forward to meeting up with these guys again to see what they become. So much love.
The first time I met Rhys, he kicked my ass to the moon in a pool game. Then he became a fellow staff member at Loki. I can’t say with certainty that our instant friendship was something novel for Rhys – he is one of those people who pays attention to the people he meets, finds their beautiful aspects, and then revels in the beauty – all the while communicating his joy at having found something worth admiring. But for people like me, meeting a soul like this is a novelty. Rhys convinced me that I was worthy of love, and he showed me how to love others without expectations or a false sense of entitlement. Thank you.
It’s been really difficult for me to write about Mark; how much do you really need to know? How much do I want to reveal? Can’t you just read between the lines? Intensely personal, gratifying, true and requited.