Just before setting off for Argentina, my lovely nan, who just turned 90 a couple of days ago, was convinced I wouldn't come back from this trip. She has never said anything like that before. It put the fear of God into me, to be honest. And after getting stung by a scorpion last summer in Africa and held at gunpoint in Kyrgyzstan a couple of years earlier, you start to think that your card might be marked. I have, consequently, been fearing the worst.
Mishaps to date, comical and problem causing, include:
- missing my connecting flight to Argentina in Brasil on my way here,
- having a bus accident on the first day of Copa America with a tree branch smashing in through the window and almost decapitating my friend Nurnberg Charles, sat next to me, and spraying us with glass,
- having 150 euros stolen,
- missing a bus by ten minutes and it costing me another 100 euros,
- getting knocked to the street by a dog,
- accidentally taking 400 pounds instead of 40 pounds out of a cash machine and consequently not being able to buy flights online,
- having my bank account closed by my bank because they thought someone was using my card and getting stuck somewhere with no cash as a result,
- leaving my guide book and 20% of my clothes on a bus, never to see them again,
- giving a bloke a 100 Peso tip (20 euro) - instead of 10 (2 euro), because he reminded me of my grandad, and I felt too ashamed to ask for my cash back afterwards (and leaving me cashless),
- staying at the world's worst hostel, getting sick, and waking up in the middle of the night to find water pouring onto my bed through the roof,
- leaving my towel and all my cosmetics in a hostel, never to see them again,
- getting to a hostel and finding my reservation cancelled the night before the Copa final, with Buenos Aires full and nowhere to stay,
- getting dizzy and apparently fainting,
- experiencing a small earthquake in Chile that gave me the fear,
Then, the other night, I was in Chile, trying to deal with some awful personal news by downing a 1-litre carton of red wine, sat on a park bench, by the local fjord. A dog came along and tried to steal my food. I gave him a bit, but that just encouraged him. So, I got stuck with him. I am not good with dogs but we made our peace - sort off - and he had half of my cheese rolls and chocolate and I got to keep the wine. But when it was time for me to stroll back to my hostel, the fella started following me. I tried to get rid of him, but he wasn't having any of it. It happens all the time in Argentina and Chile; dogs just start following you, they will go 20 blocks and still be there snapping at your heals. "Look just **** off! I tell him. I don't mean it, but I find myself attached and worried about the lad and just want him to go home; he has a dog tag and is well taken care of.
And, suddenly, three dogs come piling out of a house we pass and chase him into a corner across the road. I watch as he gets bitten on the leg and limps away. I feel terrible, like I am responsible for having given him the bread and cheese, and him being here...and then, the most terrible thing happens: as he limps away across the road, he gets hit by a car. And I am so shocked and upset that I just run and run...
And I don't know why this is all happening to me but, what I do know is that, I had some of the worst news of my life 2 weeks ago, and I have gone to pieces ever since. I feel like a demon is chasing me.
Copa America 2011
A blog from the 2011 Copa America and road trip around Argentina.