Sunday, November 27, 2005

South America´s room 101

Room 101 was the room in George orwell´s 1984 that contained the worst thing in the world. Now after 7 months in South America we have made a list of the 10 things about South America that need to be thrown into Room 101.( In no particular order of course)
1) Plastic chairs. Whoever is making all the plastic chairs over here is definitely not sitting on them. Every restaurant from Quito to Rio is decked out in either red or white... If youre lucky you may get some beer advertising on one of them. Ambience is a dirty word here and why have something nice to sit on when you can fill an empty restaurant with 250 of these things.
2) Buenos Aires taxi drivers. The oxford dictionary definition of maniac driver has been updated to include the antics of these guys. We did 145 kilometres an hour on the freeway from the airport, most of it up the bum of the cars in front. Lanes are optional, pedestrians fare game and cursing par for the course
3)South American cuisine. Ever wondered why you havent seen any South American restaurants recently? Now unless you like fried chicken, served with bland salad and beans you aint gonna be satisfied. And guinea pig... 4) Bolivian Buses. Can somebody tell me why all the buses in Bolivia leave at 7.30 at night and arrive at their destination at 3.30 in the morning so you can spend the wee morning hours cold, hungry looking for a hotel that´s open in a dangerous part of town.
5)Altitude. with most of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile being above 3000 metres this meant that for most of our trip we have been cold, sleep deprived, with headache, nausea, tiredness, breathlessness and other obscure side effects
6) Poo paper in the wastepaper bin. We don´t know how lucky we are in western countries wiping your bum and casually dropping the paper in the toilet. Over here it all goes into a little bin in the corner. Often it´s overflowing and usually only emptied every few days which can leave for a very smelly en suite bathroom
7) Electric showers. Unless you like getting zapped before every wash these are definitely going into room 101. Usually only found in very cold climates, they come with only one tap and the more you turn it on the colder it gets... so if you want a semi warm shower expect a dribble. on the upside the electric zap will definitely get you going in the morning
8) 9pm bedtimes. With the exception of Argentina, it´s tucked in watching some crappy cable tv by 9 pm every night. In Ecuador Peru and Bolivia, it´s too cold out there, nothings open and all the nightlifes gone to Rio.
9)Rubbish. With the exception of Buenos Aires, disposing of rubbish means throwing it out the bus window. 10) 80`s music. Laura Brannigan, Dire straits and Phil collins well and truly live here in South America. Ask someone about English rock and they´ll reply with I love Elton John, ask about Australian music and it´s all about Air Supply. Not that there´s anything wrong with Air fact I have a new appreciation of their music.

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