Sometimes you meet someone who you instantly connect with.. as if it was written.
My second day in Peru in Huacachina, an oasis in the desert, I walk past a young guy selling his drawings.. he has many Mandalas so I instinctively am drawn to take a closer look. We chat in both Spanish & English and I discover he's 21 years old from Cusco. He has a HUGE passion for travel and left his home town with just 300 Soles (about $100) 2 weeks ago and he's now as far as Huacachina selling his paintings and living a free spirited life. We of course instantly connect. He reminds me of the boy in the Alchemist (even living here in an oasis!) and as I've literally finished reading the book, I give it to him as a gift, although I'm sure he already knows most of the wisdom the book speaks of..
It's been a long time dream of mine. To spend a month learning Spanish in the mornings and Tango in the afternoons in Buenos Aires. However due to a lack of time (or more so an over ambitious sense of adventure to see all the places I want to on this trip) I now only have one week here. But what the heck.. lets do it for a week anyway! Better than nothing..
I meet Adrian my tango coach. I had googled "private tango lessons BA" and of the 3 tutors I looked at, for some reason I picked him. Maybe the seemingly cheesy quote on the website - "I believe tango should be danced with the heart not with the mind" stood out at me I don't know.. I just liked the philosophy.
From the first lesson I knew I made the right choice. I impressed myself with how much my muscles remembered from 15 years old which was the last time I was taught the Tango and many other Latin and Ballroom dances. However my first lesson was not so much fancy footwork, but about connection.
We didn't get off to the best start.
Buenos Aires & I...
I land at the airport from Salta, and as the conveyor belt hasn't started up yet for the bags, I head to the bathroom.. there's a bit of a queue so maybe it's 5 minutes (7 maximum) when I return.. to find the bags have been and gone, along with the passengers and my trusty blue ruck sack is no where to be seen..
I go to the baggage reclaim, they tell me I have to now go to the next terminal.. I get stopped by police half way as they've closed half the airport.. I'm getting a bit stressed..
My Spanish is increasing day by day and somehow as the synapsis in my brain seem to fire a whole lot quicker when I'm challenged, I find the vocabulary I need to use a whole lot faster.
The two men at the brunt of my despair are actually very helpful. They make a few phone calls and it turns out the airline do have my bag. But it's locked in their office now. And they went home. At 12pm on a Saturday afternoon. Of course they did...
I feel naked as I take a cab to the city with just my hand bag.
However as I arrive in Palermo, a chic upmarket neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, and check into my hostel "Caravan" I'm greeted with the warmest welcome.
Dani and her brother Guido, opened just one month ago, and it's quite possibly the BEST hostel I've ever stayed. Everything so clean and brand new, and with such a warm and friendly atmosphere I immediately feel at home.
When I tell Dani about my lost bag she runs around and finds me a towel, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, face cream.. everything! All I need to buy is a fresh pair of knickers and I can wait until tomorrow for my bag... all my troubles and stress of the morning literally dissolve into thin air. Wow. So so nice..
It may come as a surprise to some people who know me, or even some people that are just reading my blog travelling the world on my own...but I have a fear of being alone.
It's not a fear like I'm freaking out and go into cold sweats the minute I don't have a companion by my side, and it's not that I even fear being old and alone (well no more than the next person) but, as I found out on my yoga journey, it's one of my negative core beliefs from childhood.
It's more a fear of being left alone I guess. I'm not sure the exact incident this stems from, but I'm aware of it. And I'm also more than aware of my compensating trait for it. Which is the exact opposite: To put myself in the situation where I am alone. Then it's my choice. I have the control.
I guess that's why I'm generally an independent person who thinks nothing about jumping on a plane to the other side of the world.. alone.
The moment I arrive in Salta, in the north of Argentina I know I'm gonna like it here. Old Spanish architecture, dozens of quaint cafes and bars, sunny plazas and surrounded by mountains it's just perfect. And the sun is shining!
I set out to explore and realise there are so many things to see around Salta as well as the city itself. I book myself on a day tour to Cafayate and am met by Agostino, a mid 50s "original gaucho" as he calls himself. He is my guide for the day. Not only is he an apparent gaucho but also a self proclaimed poet, as throughout the journey he continues to recite what sound like beautiful rhymes, if only I could understand them! (For all I know he could be talking balls)... but if the tour had been uninteresting, him and our driver Michel would certainly have made it worthwhile just with their constant comedy, banter and music ..but it wasn't needed... I think I said WOW about 57 times that day. Every corner we turned delivered another just utterly incredible view.
I've never been to the Grand Canyon but this was surely as impressive.
On the way back I start to feel a bit queasy. Agostino tells me it's the altitude and gives me some coca leaves to chew on. After less than 10 seconds I taste the bitter tea like flavour and spit it straight out.. Pahhh... no thanks I'll stick with feeling queasy!