Sunday, 26 December 2010

student's guide to 2010 festive season

The week before christmas..

So this Christmas week will be full of those awkward family friend Christmas parties (well there might be a few, would hate to exaggerate my popularity). People will ask me of my plans for next year; I will look at them blankly before admitting I do not have any. They will inform me their son has just got a graduate job with some bank I have never heard of, I will chug back my mulled wine in a rather quick manner.

I ring up my mother telling her what I want and she tells me what she wants, several urgent texts are sent to assure that there is absolutely no mix up. Why on earth do we not just buy our own presents!? This would save the phone bill, save all this hassle and worry. As my friend put it: ‘why do we spend a fortune on shit presents that nobody wants!?’


’Dad, my student loan appears to have run out, any chance you could put some more money in so I can get home for Christmas this year?
Kind regards Laura

Empathy should win them over. I have one friend who told her dad she had been mugged as she was so desperate for money and another who sold her mums ring. There is something slightly harsh about this and making your mother believe she is going senile.

Round robin letters are the ridiculous of the ridiculous..

’whilst it is sub zero temperatures in Britain, in Greece it is 22 degrees and I manage to play golf without a jumper on’.
Why us this completely necessary?
Then they arrogantly say ‘so I hear you asking what the children are doing?’
‘no no just because we shared an office once doesn’t mean that 20 years later i give a flying toss about how great your children are’ (just to clarify these are usually the parent’s friends).. People don’t write round robin letters when something bad happens...Sue died of cancer.....Chris failed his A levels. No they are just excuses for a bit of pomposity.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

You want a job?!

Sitting in the library besides two first years chatting and discussing the latest facebook revelations, I have to hold my breath not to shout at these harmless yet irritating ‘little people’.
I am in fourth year now you see, a fact made more obvious by the fact I have even invested in a rucksack to cart my ever increasing personal library in and out of university each day. According to my 13 year old sister, rucksacks are the antithesis to cool.

A trip to the careers service to alleviate the situation threw me deeper into fourth year depression turmoil,greeted by: .
''no, no there are no jobs out there..many redundancies in that field''
And when I filled out a quiz to find out what my personality traits should lead me to do, the answer revealed I should work in the careers service. I tried to explain I didn’t want a career trying to help other people find out their careers.

Everyone has their story of a ‘friend’ who has graduated from Oxford with a first, a rucksack of experience and are still unemployed. I feel about as motivated as David Miliband serving under Ed Miliband. Meanwhile we are slaving away to get a degree which is probably going to leave us unemployed regardless.
The new hot question;
So what are you doing next year?
brings everyone out in pimples except for the smug few who have it all sorted. I might start to ignore such people.
Luckily for me I am learning Quechua this year, a language spoken by a million tribal people in Bolivia and Peru, who let’s face it I will never meet and when I do I will have completely forgotten that ‘imaynalla kashanki’ means how are you. This is obviously going to be the key in getting a job in London.
The other day I went to a jobs fair and ended up talking to the prison service...(don’t ask, desperate measures and all that..)
1. You have an online test and IF YOU GET THROUGH THAT.
2. You have an assessment day and IF YOU GET THROUGH THAT
3. You have a joint interview and IF YOU GET THROUGH THAT
4. You have a single interview and IF YOU GET THROUGH THAT
5. You have a job trial and IF YOU GET THROUGH THAT
6. You get to work in a PRISON.

In case you think you’re sorted remember that nowadays, you need a postgraduate diploma to become a librarian. Oh dear.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Surf that couch.

Couchsurfing is the new craze in the travelling community. Effectively a volunteer network which offers a free couch for travellers and a way to submerge oneself and get to know some locals from the place. I had done the parties in Buenos Aires but never 'stayed the stay...' and as I explained to my work colleagues what I was about to embark on ( essentially staying in a stranger's house for free), they thought I would at least have to do the housework.

As we rocked up in La Rochelle, we were rather excited to meet our new friends, clearly of the male variety. It resembled an interview in a strangers house when we met the first boy. As we are English and overtly polite, we dared not ask the course of the events which resulted in us missing dinner to be 'party girls'. I think our main problem here was that we manged to say in our email that we were three 'easy' girls rather than 'easygoing' girls. Error. Complete and utter error. For the second night, we made our excuses and stumbled along to the nearest youth hostel or 'safe house'.

For our second couchsurfing experience, towards the north of France in Rennes, we stayed with lots of seemingly hippies. This was a very sociable, laid back atmosphere with a cool buzz and two boys cooked for all 20 of us, fresh crepes and all. We brought in gifts a 2 euro cake from the local newsagents which looked rather feeble in comparison to the fresh bread which the housemate who worked in the boulangerie had brought along. Luckily they were polite about it unlike elsewhere where upon the donation of the wine we brought, our friend said 'my wine is much better'. Very un-english really, where perpetual politeness is simply a given.

All in all,a positive experience, not to be recommended if you really are just looking for somewhere to crash but only if you are looking for somewhere to 'party', chat in foreign languages and meet people!!!

Friday, 3 September 2010

French Greetings

Bonne Journée..Bon Courage...Re-Bonjour...But the most fruitless and irksome must be 'ça va?'

Three months 'at the office' and nothing has ever come out of this question. No one has ever replied negatively to it, I am quite sure not even the frenchman lying on his deathbed would do. Quite frankly, the question just irritates me;'ça va et toi?'. It is an automatic response, hence no-one is consulting themselves whether they are okay or not, hence the question is simply superfluous. Also people tend to hae walked out of sight before I can reel off my extensive list of problems - 'ça va PAS'.

Its like 'Bonne Journée', I couldn't really give a damn whether Mr and Mrs Jean Luc have a nice day or not, yet if i want them to leave reception, I crack this one out. One of the hardest parts of being a french receptionist is knowing which greeting to use at the end of the conversation:
Bonjour.....Bonne matinée....Bon Appétit (if lunch/dinner is approaching)...Bon après-midi.....Bon fin d'après midi....Bonne soirée.. Bon soir.... Bonne nuit. phew!

I often get 'Bon Courage spat at me. There is no real translation for this in english other than 'keep brave! Quite ironic, I am sitting at the reception, I am not climbing Mt Everest. Or 'Bonne Chance' when I am attempting to find the latest lost item. In fact, in my CV top of my extra curriculum activites should be losing/looking for items. The question which grates me the most is: where did you last have them? These six words make no logical sense, if I knew that, I would not be in this situation. Keys should come with tracking devices, then again, maybe I would be found drinking vodka in street corners if this were to be true.


Saturday, 31 July 2010

Guested Out.

It is a bit full on, one might say, living and working in the same little holiday village:
1. I end up having dinner next to the man who made me repeat his stupidly complicated coffee five times and his beer twice.
2. …or sunbathing next to the lady who has a grudge against me as I told her the restaurant was full Wednesday night. It is paella night you see.

Some days go well, others less well. Today is one of the less well varieties. The lowlight - being alone at the reception when the electricity in the holiday village cut out. Less a trickle of guests and more a stampede of the French, they seem to think I had personally cut out all their electricity just to agitate them. As I try to sort the problem out, I accidentally break 2 bottles of wine in the storeroom where I swear a bit too loudly in English and I reappear to 20 frenchies who probably now think I have tourretes. Anyway the electricity works again (not that I aided the situation) and the frenchies go off to cook their frogs for lunch. Pheww..
Then a guest approaches in his unnecessary speedoes in a sheepish manner, with his cheque book out after breaking a glass. He looks like he is about to break out into a hot sweat and I am going to scold him like an angry schoolteacher. I love it how the guests think I actually care if they break plate or a ping pong racquet. If only they could see my side of the reception was simply an array of English magazines, ‘fats …I have glass indented in my hands and two bottles of wine to clear up before my boss walks through the door’…..

Yesterday a particularly moody French specimen gave me her satisfaction questionnaire, after circling that the reception was very unsatisfactory. That made for a particularly awkward dinner sitting beside her. I wish I could do the same questionnaire for whether I like the guests or not..Monsieur Dubois should probably go to anger management courses.

There has just been a music complaint; a guest complained that the music in the chalet next to hers was far too loud. I politely acknowledged her and said I would go and talk to the family and sort the problem out immediately before realizing it was my own music.

The solution? Wear a headscarf with just my eyes showing to avoid all recognition?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

getting older..

So it has happened, not only am I not a teenager, I am not even nearly a teenager now. I am twenty two.

The thing which i find somewhat discontenting is when the 1990s kids start achieving things, reading articles about people who have won gold in the Olympics and then reaching the end and seeing their date of birth in smallprint..1992. I usually think, "oh when I am that age I will have done that", well that age is here and I haven't won X factor, I haven't made a million pounds and I haven't even won Wimbledon.

It is like the older you get, the more you feel that you should have achieved.

Sometimes good looking guys are with their families on holiday here and as i recount my 'welcome speech', I take a sneeky look at their age. This along with rolling chairs is such a perk of being a receptionist. 17....a little bit of me dies, 5 years younger than me. Is it even legal for me to think he is good looking?

I guess you could look at it from a different angle though, I am 22 and nothing dramatic has gone wrong yet. I have got all my limbs, haven't had a fight with a wild boar, and haven't been taken to court yet through parking fines.

Anyway, best be off, got rather a lot to do before I am 23 and the TO DO list will have doubtlessly grown. You know the normal: modelling at Paris Fashion week, climbing Everest, cycling across Africa.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The faux pas of a foreign receptionist/barmaid..

1. Never serve the post lunch coffee late for a frenchie.
2. Never get age and room numbers mixed up when assorting the post..I say no more.
3. Think a client's spot is a piercing and ask if it was painful to get done.
4. Do everything with confidence, confidence is the key, including lying about the whereabouts of the nearest supermarket.
5. Never overbook an event by getting confused over foreign numerical systems.
6. Never overserve profusely a stong liquor. I have to say being behind the bar is quite fun: pouring beers, hearing couples argue..pouring cocktails fairly sporadically. As I said, confidence is the simple key.

When clients realise I am from England, they sometimes start to speak reallly sllloooowwwlllyyy and LOUDLY! Often people show me photos of Big Ben on my camera, am I supposed to pretend I don`t know what Big Ben looks like?? and my favourite question:
So, how is the Queen?

The joys of the `Third Age`.

Since being clapped into dinner on arrival of my stage in France by 50 pensioners, I lave learned to appreciate the `the third age` as they are described as in french.

They are, in fact, like children in many ways: They pass around sweets on the bus, and the one who remembered the sweets has a proud grin plastered to his face. They sing on the bus, they sing at the bar, some even get so into it, they proceed to stand on the bar whilst blasting out their beloved french songs.
On one particular trip, there was a spectacular view of the sea to our right and to our left = some flowers. Of course, everyone`s heads were tilted very much to the left, along with the `ahh ing` admiring the floral beauties.

At the aquarium, one old lady followed a fish around a tank for 25minutes filming with her video camera. I am sure the grandchildren will be riveted come christmas day and they are forced to endure such footage.

NB never tell an 80 year old frenchie, the scrabble is being used. I had always thought of board games being a spontaneous matter, not here:scrabble, 8.15PM, july 14th.

modern lives...

Equating to BBC iplayer, skype and according to topshop - playsuits.

It also means tesco self service tills, something which I seem to have slight difficulties with. A recent visit to my `local` exposed that I was not the only one. They simply appeared to be expensive decoration. -Unfound bar codes.
-Too much weight in the bag area.
-Too little weight in the bag area.
In the end, the staff just waited defeating the whole point of saving staff costs. Maybe there should be a sign, people with high practical intelligence use the machine, others get Margerie on the left to help you with a BIG HELFUL SMILE.

Skype - an invaluable part of modern jetsetters lives, nevertheless conversations with my family are nothing short of transatlantic chaos:
~Me in Argentina with a slight time delay,one sibling in Scotland, the rest at home.
~Everyone trying to speak at once, father waving frantically at the camera...`Laura, i am here!! Can you see me??!!`
~The other sibling as she speaks feels the need to write down her words as well as saying them so skype messenger is flashing at me too.

It all gets a bit much, I have to close the screen and go and get a nice cup of tea.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

So, such nice weather we are having,eh?

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something’
But where does SMALL TALK fit in?!?’

I would definitely fit into the fool category I think. Four separate, sticky situations:

1. Meeting new people travelling, one consistently has the same conversations. I wish we could have t-shirts like we had in university fresher’s weeks stating where we are from/what we are doing/ how long we are staying for, consequently we wouldn’t be required to have these, at times, mundane conversations. In fact, I can say this small talk rather well in Spanish now as I have said it over 767 times - approximately. I should probably stop there while I am ahead in my game.

2. It is always awkward when you see old acquaintances, ‘we MUST do coffee’, even though we are both aware that this won’t happen. A face saver, the I don’t know what to say phrase, at the end of the small talk conversation. Then awkwardly when we see each other again, the same thing surpasses, ’must get round to that drink’. Maybe a head nod is best and moving on and over.

3. The Argentines are friendly, almost unnaturally so at times. They make conversation with you in queues, at the bank, waiting for the bus, in cafes, even at the blimming traffic lights. Recently after an Argentine Lady was (small)talking to me in a café’s queue, we said our goodbyes. However then her food was delayed, alas she stayed by me. So what do we do now? We have said our goodbyes, conversation has been exhausted, and this is simply all rather bizarre now.

4. I am really not very up to date with recent bands. Again I sound like a pensioner, anyway recently when sharing an IPod with a new ‘friend’ (well, apparently we only have 5 actual friends in our life so after knowing him an hour, I best not jump the bullet there), he started acting surprised I hadn’t heard of these bands. Subsequently, I had to lie to restore my music cool connaisance image , this gets complicated though. If the conversation proceeds, I have to know whether the artist is dead or alive, what my favourite song is, and if I am particularly unlucky where the artist is from also may enter the conversation. I grab the iPod, and switch it to my all time ‘fave’ song on the album. Which I haven’t actually, exactly, heard before.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

‘’Men have become the Tools of their Tools’ – Technophobe?

I am not a major fan of technology. I certainly will not be holding out for a blackberry any time soon. I just like it when things work; I know I sound like a 70 year old pensioner when I say that. But it is true. I like a mobile phone to send texts, a camera to take photos and a computer for writing emails. You see people with Blackberries and they resemble their life support machine. I would not be surprised if counseling sessions are a necessity if they lose their beloved BB, as it is three times worse than a regular phone appliance when the inevitable (in my case) breakage or loss occurs. Everyone is constantly checking their BB for news and now people update their Facebook status when they are at a bar ‘am at x bar, havin gr8 time’, thanks to the beloved mobile BB . WHY!? Surely socializing in reality is higher up the agenda?

One of the proudest technology days I have had was when I successfully downloaded a podcast onto my Ipod, thus I could listen to ‘women’s hour’ on the go..Revolutionary. Unfortunately when boasting to my peers about this, they told me I was about 5 years too late in working this out. Oh and I have discovered TWITTER too, thanks to twitter I know that Fearn Cotton is hung over today and the polling station where India Knight is voting is busy..Don’t know how I would have continued with my day without these two vital pieces of information…

Is the time where people are no longer required to leave their homes upon us? Half of the expats I seem to meet in Buenos Aires are here because they only need the internet to work so can work from home. When they want: to chat with a friend,facebook can answer their needs.
Food –You can get anything delivered, from sushi, steak and ice cream.
Boyfriend search – Head to an internet dating site.
Exercise – WII fit.

I recently played WII tennis for the first time in a friends flat, I think she was rather worried I was going to break the TV , ‘’it’s not like normal tennis!!!’’, she would bellow at my excessive movements. Is this what kids do these days to keep fit? Well, no wonder the nation is overweight, especially the poor kids with little living rooms to hit the ball in. What happened to, dare I say it, REAL tennis? And if it is raining – play squash.

Could do with a satellite dish for the car though – That would save me multiple lost hours.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Facebook Chat.

Can you imagine life without facebook? I can’t.
“Hi, I’m Laura…”
“What’s your surname..Facebook search!!!”
This greeting in 2010 life is hardly uncommon.
Recently my friend informed me that she was leaving the Facebook world as she gets jealous of other peoples photos, (my life is cooler than yours kind of thing).
There are different types of Facebookees with different trends, let us examine:
1. The girl who takes 200 photos of drunken nights out’SOOOO drunk’. This trend is common amongst university Freshers. Obviously there will be some reference to not remembering anything.
2. The girl who takes really posey photos. Cringe at times.
3. The people who use facebook to show off, (I know we all do this but some more than others) for example after a holiday in the Seychelles uploading 200 photos of the five star Hotel. The problem is, even when you see them, you can’t really admit to viewing them so still have to listen to them droning on about their ‘incredible’ holiday. I don’t really know why I need to ask how it was, I have seen on facebook how it was. Literally. Once my friend was a little more honest. After being away for the weekend I was explaining how it snowed a lot and she replied ‘yes I know, saw the facebook photos'. Right then. Who needs to talk when we can simply examine other people’s life on facebook? Silence it is.

Recently, I was told to dance like I thought I was Halle Berry. I did. The next day Facebook reminded me how very wrong I was. That is the thing about facebook, you have to be ready to detag hideous photos that may be tagged of you at any moment. A few months ago, I had no facebook contact for days and a friends sister decided to tag me in hideous photos of years ago. Gosh, it might get to a time where I can’t leave the room due to fear of photos of me being sprawled over facebook resembling an unfashionable dishcloth.

It has its uses. I mean who doesn’t stalk potential boy suitors? But also its downfalls, when you see photos of the same boys with girls who can hardly be classed in the unattractive bin.
Love it or Hate it, Facebook is about as addictive as coke. Diet coke that is.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Whats the rush!?

I think that a visit to the post office in Buenos Aires illustrates perfectly the difference in attitude between South American folk and British folk. I have a package to collect and after hearing from my German friend that collecting a package here is a long and complicated procedure, I have left it for a month and have no choice now. The package must be collected, if not I miss out on belated Christmas presents. Even if they’re bad, it is worth checking I guess.
I arrive with my friend and after showing my passport; I am given a number 678,984 and directed to a new room to wait for my package number to be called. Upon entering the waiting room a little bit of a sense of humour was required as to avoid a silent explosion, since there were about 70 people inside sitting down and they seemed to had settled for the long run judging by the fact they appeared to had made themselves very comfortable with books and all. We sit down, confused. As my friend says ‘we just want the package, i can go and find it!” My friend even gets worried ‘Laura, we didn’t come prepared for this, we will need to go and get snacks for the wait’. The next challenge is understanding the 6 digit number on the loudspeaker in incredibly rapidly spoken argentine Spanish. I must have missed that Spanish lesson; numbers have always been a bit of a challenge for me. I am quite sure it is much easier to get a package of cocaine from a local down at the market than this…. Eventually, we recognise the number vaguely. I am united with my package.

South Americans just tend to have an incredibly slow pace of life, I really don’t see myself as an impatient person but even buying a banana can take 20 minutes as one must wait for the shopkeepers to finish their chit chat, get off msn or do their makeup. In social arrangements my German friend gets exasperated at the argentines lack of organization. ‘Tranquilo’….’Tranquilo’, they say. Maybe this is it, why not take things slow? I guess there are worse places to pass the afternoon than down at the post office with a book, oh and don’t forget the snacks.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

You are probably going to get robbed.

´You´re probably going to get robbed´, the bus driver tells me as I fumble about with my three bags attempting to find my misplaced ticket, purse open, passport on show.
Anyway, much to the surprise of the bus driver, I find my ticket and don´t get robbed. I find my seat at the front of the Argentine double decker bus. The buses here are fairly luxurious, reclining seats and all. As I collapse into my seat, the Argentine man besides me begins talking to me.
´The front of the bus is the most dangerous´ he declares.
´The buses are prone to crashes as they drive too fast´. ´Tonight, it is windy making it even more dangerous´. Now I would hardly call myself a nervous traveller but is there any point in telling me these things!?

Nevertheless I get settled into my rather comfortable seat when I see a young couple approach with a very young baby. The other bus companions politely exclaim how sweet the baby is. But let us not lie to ourselves. Really everyone´s heart has sank as we realise that a 25 hour jouney with a young baby within a metre of us is hardly an ideal combination.

And..yes..I was right, within approximately 14 minutes the screaming begins and the whole bus begins to discreetly look for their ipods to block out the noise.

And I am still at Buenos Aires bus station, 2000km and 25 hours left to go.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Bolivan Death Bus

Awaiting our overnight bus to the south of Bolivia, we became increasingly alarmed as the rest of the bus awaitees seemed to had come equipped for north pole temperatures. Huge rugs, big hats and heavy jumpers alike. As the bus approached, a fellow traveller's comment of 'It looks like something from the first world war', wasn't particularly far from the truth. Also, we had just heard that there had been a bus crash further up north in Bolivia, where 22 people had died, so survival was our main aim for the night.

The windows on the rather dated bus didn't close properly and we soon realised why the savvy bolivians came equipped for sub zero temperatures. My Bolivian socks, which didn't cover my toes so I could wear them with flip flops, seemed like the biggest disaster. Not entirely sure what i thought the point of socks which didn't cover my feet properly would be. Alas, as we got underway, the only comparison I can draw is that it felt like we were in a mobile washing machine with the rather excessive noisy rattling to match. You see, there was no road, it was a mud track. The route is normally only completed by the 'death train', but earlier in the day we had been informed the bridge had collapsed on the railtrack so there were no trains.

As i was being jumbled about with the cold nighttime wind, I remembered I had poddy (my ipod) to help me through the survival test. Now, poddy has always been there for me - when i was an au pair in France, he was my refuge. When i was sharing a room with a crazy girl in Asia, he was there for me. And when i go to the gym, he keeps me going. However, this time, newly charged poddy let me down. He simply refused to switch on. I really did do my upmost best to resucitate poddy, but there was no hope.

I could have cried. It was just me in the cold being thrown about in a bus version of a washing machine and the faint sound of my friend's electro music beating for 11 hours. Plus, I couldn't drink any water, as the smell of the toilet would be enough for me to upheave the day's food.

Not being able to see through the night's sky might have been a godsend, as at times the bus was at a rather concerning angle but even me who sleeps through ANYTHING, including an altitude change of 5000metres (which is unusual i am told), sat there counting the seconds. Not to mention clinging onto my bag after just witnessing someone get robbed.

When we arrived after a long, extremely cold, rollercoaster of an eleven hour ride, the chaotic immigration from Bolivia to Argentina took 3 hours. One man must check everyone's bag manually for drugs, whereas the illegal immigrants smuggle in by walking in the river nearby. Somewhat easier and quicker it seems.

Fancy a fun day out?? Go Rafting!!

Upon arrival at the rafting cabin, we came across some decidedly irritating australians who judging by their posing seemed to believe they belonged in laguna beach. As a result, my friend and I decided to join the spanish group, as to avoid them. This included a one hour safety talk in spanish about how to face and deal with the white water rapids. Understanding was worringly limited. Dangerously, some could day. Especially after i had just signed a contract 'incase of death', as in Argentina there is no insurance for such things.

Unfortunately, the plan completely and utterly backfired on me. Not only did i not have much of an idea about the rafting but alse we ended up in a boat with the laguna beach wannabies.

The event reminded me of a 'fun family day out this summer in France':

'WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE WE!?', mother barked. 'PASS THE RUDDY MAP TO YOUR SISTER!!' (I would just like to add that she is 12 years old). The day trip had already taken a rather severe nose dive. Lost in Italy on some dangerously bendy coastal road when we should have indeed been in France. A road apparently only made for one car, an oncoming italian sports car caused rather stressed mother to head for the cliff wall. Anyway, after a 3 and a half hour journey, we arrived at Breil Sur Roya and the river where we would embark on the 'raft de kayak'.

Stupidly, I had said earlier that i was good at kayaking which turned out to be embarassingly far from the truth. Nevertheless, everyone else was in a double kayak and i was in the single:

I was in this thing alone; the rapids, the kayak and me.

As the last of the group to embark on the trip, it made the fact i had apparently got into the wrong side of the boat more embarassing. Ten frenchies staring at me as i attemped to battle the first of the rapids sitting the wrong way. Now, of course everyone is entitled to their opinion but for me 3 hours of tackling river rapids in freezing cold water, getting stuck on rocks and wearing a wetsuit which Kate Moss would struggle to look good in, is not exactly ideal.

However, i battled on, towards the end i even managed to be one of the groups first.
'Hold on to the rope on top till i say go', the teached shouted at me so we could go down the rapids one at a time. So, i held and held, however the kayak had other ideas, infact i held the rope so much the rapids took the kayak from beneath me.

Now, just me and the rapids.

On the way back, i offered to drive, Victoria's level of confidence in me illustrated in her comment 'well, don't think i will be reading in thir journey'..and mother acting as if i was a blind driver 'move to the left','he's breaking..SLOW DOWN'..'get into 5th'.

Awkward Chat in Bolivia

In the tour of the Bolivian Salt flats, there are many jeeps all stopping at similiar places to admire the stunning scenery.

In another group, there was a Welsh couple which i had befriended in the previous hostel in Chile. They had recently become engaged. Although, I must admit, it sounds awfully unromantic: the woman pretty much ordered him to and even suggested ways in which he could propose. So, i asked them:
'What kind of wedding do you want?'
'How many people?'
'What kind of dress?'
'Where are you going for the honeymoon?
And i am quite sure they thought i was mad. Although, clearly they were th odd ones, how can you not have been planning these things since your 12th birthday?!

So, in every stop we kept bumping into eachother and both parties felt the need for boring smalltalk.'So how's your tour going?' i asked. Even though i know perfectly well how their tour is going as i am doing exactly the same ruddy thing. The piece de resistance was when we were queing for the ATM together and he said 'so...need some money?'.

'>No, actually, I just like a bit of a queue you see'.