Myself and Omar decided to dabble in some hostel work in Cordoba, Argentina. We were waiting for our friend to arrive so we needed to balance the books and it would be good to improve our Spanish. We worked in a very cool hostel, “Aldea Hostel”. It was run by an argentinian guy, Lucas and a dutch girl, Brenda. They were so nice. I was feeling pretty nervous before starting as I feared that I would be rendered pretty useless because my Spanish was not great. Brenda reassured us that it did not matter and we were there to deal most with the gringo guests. We found this work from a website called Helpex.net. Highly recommend this website!
Aldea hostel was a superb hostel. It was very comfortable and homely but still had a party vibe. From staying in previous party hostels, this did not compare for the social aspect but it was still very nice and they tried! A French dude, Romain (who we all embarrassingly called Omar for a while for some reason) would get a good atmosphere at night and would organise nights out to different clubs. It was a very fun experience to work in a hostel. Something I always wanted to do but it did get pretty monotonous. It was a money saving exercise and it did just that. We did not party that much in Cordoba so maybe we would have enjoyed it more if we went out clubbing and stuff. If you did the morning shift (the best shift) you would basically have a two hour breakfast and then make some beds. The shift ends at one so you have the rest of the day. I often christened the end of the day with a beer on the balcony while sunbathing. It was a lovely existence. We had some brilliant weather while in Cordoba despite it being winter and everyone saying how cold it was. We would be sunbathing while Argentineans would walk around in scarves. It was odd. It was around 20-25 degrees. The annoying thing about the morning shift is obviously the early start at 8am which is often when you would return from a night out in Argentina. The other shift is from 7pm -12. This was slightly more annoying. You had to make a few beds and get some beer. Actually, in saying that, a lot of my night shifts involved me just watching the Copa America which was in Argentina at the time. The whole experience was very fun and I really enjoyed it but I could not help feel that I was wasting my time.
We worked with a good group in the Hostel. Ivan, a Venezuelan born Colombian was probably the pick of the bunch. Such a lovely chap. For about a week, we were sure that he had no English until he described to Omar that he “had to stop playing football and think about his priorities”. Superb footballer. We met some interesting characters who stayed there. Omar had a pretty odd experience. Three policemen checked in one night and slept in a private room with three beds.
Omar had to make the beds the next day when they checked out and two of the beds were not slept in and he found condoms in the bin. OMG! I wonder were they policemen staying in a hostel for the night to escape the wives and have fun or were they just normal guys dressed as policemen for some roleplaying?! Who knows. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone at the hostel. It is an odd feeling saying goodbye to someone that you will most likely never see again. I feel to awkward to acknowledge that we will never see eachother again so I will try and shoehorn something in about seeing them again. I tried my hand at being a hairdresser in Cordoba. It did not go well. I lost my concentration for one moment and ended up shaving a nice landing strip into the back of his head. It was an upsetting but later, hilarious moment. I learnt a lot about myself travelling. I learnt that I am not a hairdresser and should also not be trusted with electrical items.
From Cordoba, we headed up to Salta for a few days before entering Bolivia and beginning work in the infamous party hostel, The Wild Rover. I would have loved to stay in Salta for longer and see the surrounding areas. Salta is a very picturesque place. The city of Salta is in a valley surrounded by the rolling mountains of the Andes. We took a cable car up a mountain and got an incredible view of the city. Funnily enough, an old school friend of Omar was staying in Salta at the same time so we met up with him and had a good night. A friend who we met in Cordoba was also staying in the same hostel. It is so funny when you bump into the same people along the way. I suppose you can either only north or south, everyone hitting the same cities. You get to point where you keep bumping into the same people that you feel like you should just strike up a conversation for the sheer reason that you keep seeing them everywhere.
After our month or work in Cordoba and having work organised in The Wild Rover we decided to splash out and take “El Tren a las Nubes” or the Train to the Clouds. This is “THE’ thing to in Salta but was quite expensive. I think it was about 100e which may not seem that expensive but that is more than a weeks accommodation. It is a train through the Andes. The scenery is incredible. I absolutely loved it but it was such a long day. The train departed at 7am and did not arrive back until 11pm. It was brilliant to see but such a long day. The train stops at two markets, one at a very high bridge where you can buy all your tourist alpaca gear and get a picture taken with a lama. Here are some snaps of our train journey –
When we arrived back to the hostel from the train, we were very tired and hungry bears. We cooked a small dinner and packed our stuff as we were heading to the Bolivian border the following morning. We did not get to bed until about half 12 and had to head off to the border at 5am. It was rather unpleasant. The bus to the border was your standard beautiful Argentinean bus however as soon as we reached the border, you could really tell that we were in a different country as we entered Bolivia.