Sunday, May 30, 2010


Yesterday I met an Argentine woman who worked for a while in a hostel in El Calafate, a small town in the deep south of Patagonia. Even though El Calafate is so small that it doesn't have a movie theater, it attracts tourists by the busload because of the spectacular views of the glaciars:

As part of the conversation (in which I participated very enthusiastically, since I'm planning on visiting la Patagonia soon), I asked her which groups of people would pass through the hostel. Depends on the season, she said, and continued to describe the tourist seasons with seasoned experience. Brazilians, Uruguayans, and Chileans all the time; Israelis in the spring; Europeans in the summer, generally, etc., etc.

One of the biggest groups was the Spanish. Apparently they can take a full year of paid vacation, so many of them decide to take world tours in that time. (This is such an outlandish benefit that as I'm writing this I'm worried that I heard wrong.) The most annoying thing, she said, was how the Spanish kept on asking at the hostel if they had any discounts—not because they were poor (since, after all, they came with Euros, which were at least 5 to 1 here), but because they were taking such a long, grand trip that they wanted to make the money last. Little did they realize that the person from whom they were requesting a discount had a hard enough time making a good wage at the job they have, let alone taking a year off like that to travel the world.

This story reminded me of a saying: "I used to complain that I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no legs."

1 comment:

  1. Are you done with school and just traveling now?