Here I am on a terrace in Palermo, Buenos Aires, feeling like I have taken quite an unhealthy stash of hallucinogenic drugs.
Travelling here was a strange experience. Air Iberia have an intriguing musical policy which led to hours of amusement on my part (although nobody else’s, which I couldn’t understand. How can you find a dramatic orchestral arrangement of Phil Collins’ Another Day in Paradise anything other than hilarious? Why was I the only person laughing audibly during the oboe solo with sweeping string accompaniment in The Cure’s Never Enough? When we touched down in Buenos Aires during a rousing brass section of Chris de Burgh’s Fall in Love why was I the only person with my head in my hands, shoulders shaking? People are strange.) Additionally I was seated next to an entire love story from start to finish, involving two Spanish people who got chatting as we took off, who talked for hours, then disappeared off together for an hour (hopefully not to the toilet although I cannot be sure), held hands and kissed right next to me, exchanged numbers and contact details and then had some sort of fight at the baggage carousel and stormed off in separate directions. On top of these things I went without any sleep at all for 27 hours so this, combined with a lot of caffeine this morning, is why I feel like I am on drugs.
In true midlife crisis-style I am staying in a Hostel. “Get a nice hotel for the first few nights, Lucy,” my Mother counselled. I laughed derisively. “Mother, I’m going travelling, man” I replied. “It’s just not like that when you’re, like, travelling, dude. Hotels? Pfffff.”
It’s been a good three years since I stayed somewhere that welcomes cockroaches as accommodatingly as it does humans and I can’t pretend that I didn’t feel a bit depressed when I got here. In an oh-my-god-I-cannot-shower-in-an-old-cracked-bath-with-long-brown-hair-in-the-plughole sort of way. I despaired also of my room which has a minor, but not insignificant, hole in the wall. Given that it is winter here, the hole was not welcome. Oh and the presence of a man playing a guitar in the reception didn’t go down a storm either.
But fortunately I am over myself already and embracing guitar-playing men. (Not literally, although I am working on it.)
On that note, I have already fallen in love with a man from Chicago who has long hair, languid eyes and smell of clean washing about him. I don’t normally drink tea or coffee because they make me mental but I had three cups of tea so I could chat to him at breakfast this morning. “We should go and see this band my friend plays in,” he said as I got up to leave. I smiled as casually as I could. “Wicked,” I replied with sweaty palms and a red, caffeine-pumped face. I staggered out of the breakfast room trying to look like I wasn’t about to have a caffeine-related heart attack.
Is that a date?
And while we’re at it, did I really say that? Wicked?!
Finally, I thought you might like to hear about my travel attire. I imagine the average Marie Claire reader to travel stylishly in a pair of harem pants (sp?) and fashionable 80s cashmere, perhaps with some chunky platform sandals, a Mulberry Bayswater and an Hermes scarf.
Not so much Lucy Robinson! My outfit comprised old chunky gym trainers, jeans that were once skinny and are now shapelessly baggy and a sweatshirt down which I spilled olive oil on the plane. But the crowning glory – the real triumph – was that I had gone for a quick wash on the aeroplane toilet just before we began our descent into South America and managed, somehow, to get my old knickers lodged in the leg of my jeans. And when I arrived at my hostel, trying to look cool and traveller (in spite of my big gym trainers) I popped out a pair of knickers, right on the stairs, as the nice man who runs the place came up behind me with my rucksack.
My name is Lucy Robinson and I should not be allowed out.