Friday, November 30, 2007

Rio Gallegos

I was just interviewed by the local TV news in this gritty industrial port city in the far South of Patagonia. The interviewer was a squat man with a the thickest black mustache I've ever seen. Maybe this mustache is the reason he is a newscaster - the Patagonian version of Anchorman.

He would ask a question, then put the microphone under my chin and stare at me over his mustache sympathetically nodding along as I tripped and stumbled over my ten words of Spanish.

The funny thing was, I didn't understand a single question. The topic was tourism, but that's the only clue I had.

The microphone would come into my face, the mustache would turn in my direction and I'd just say - Gracias - Me Gusto Patagonia! Me Gusto Rio Gallegos! Sometimes I livened it up a little by listing the names of places in town I had visited, or the names of towns where I'm going next.

Both the cameraman and the Anchorman took it all very seriously. "Gracias, Senor Patterson," they said at the end, then shook my hand politely, got back in their van and drove away, leaving me wondering for the umpteenth time - what the heck am I doing here?

Here's a link to a music review I posted on Matador from Buenos Aires a couple days ago - Shit Soul Tango!

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Blogger Laura said...

Reminds me when I was in Paris trying to buy a brick of cheese in a VERY lovely Parisian cheese shop. I knew not a lick of French. He knew not a lick of English (or pretended not to know).

I asked "What does this cheese taste like?" hoping he'd make a comparison to some American variety. One I could understand, like Velveeta or mozzarella cheese sticks. He went on for several minutes about it, but the blank look on my face told him he was wasting his time talking to l'Americans.

I bought the cheese. Upon my exit I nerviously blurted "Gracias, mosiour" I'm sure he was overly impressed by my sophisticated multi-lingualism. Ary voi! J'teme! Ai, paisano! Munge! Llamame! Bonjour!

Back to the cheese. It was stinky cheese. I placed it in my friend's backpack. I rode the subway. I noticed the lady across from me holding a scarf over her nose and avoiding my gaze. After a few terrible minutes she bolted to another seat far away from me. "What happened?" I asked my husband. "I dunno" he replied. I bent down to adjust my backpack. I smelled it. I almost puked. He almost puked. This was France.

Took the high-speed train back to Brussels, terrified with thoughts of how I was going to EVER rid my friend's backpack of the stink when she had SPECIFICALLY told me the previous morning : "Don't leave any banana peels in my backback. It's German-made, yanno."

7:23 PM  
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