Killing Time with Sideshow and Beardy

Rio Gallegos Travel Blog

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Rio G (as absolutely no-one calls it) is a grey, grey place, reminiscent of a permanently out of season English seaside town. During the 3 hours I was required to dispatch whilst waiting for a bus connection to Calafate, I slurped and scoffed down overpriced coffee and croissants in the bus station cafe and chatted to two other backpackers taking the same route. I had already mentally assigned these two a nickname each after encountering them on the bus down from Puerto Madryn.

The first was a French guy in his early 40's sporting a blue fisherman's beanie hat, a wrinkled countenance and a sloppy helping of bristly facial hair. He instantly became The Beardy Weirdy. The second was a bespectacled Japanese bloke in his mid 20`s with a hairstyle so voluminous that, whilst seated in front of me, he committed the heinous crime of eclipsing my view of at least half of the TV. This meant that my "enjoyment" of the cinematic masterpieces Goal and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was significantly diminished. To about zero. With a 'do' so big and clearly out of control, the guy's new moniker could only be that of Simpsons` villain Sideshow Bob.

I chatted to my new friends Sideshow and Beardy for a good 3 hours. Beardy confessed to me that he had fallen in love for the first time in his life in Northern Argentina. However, following a lovers' tiff, the two had parted with harsh words. He now wanted to make his way around Patagonia as quicky as possible so he could venture North again and make things right. After a while, he seemed to tire of the cafe and our company and wandered off. He returned briefly to tell us he had discovered a couple of his countrymen in the terminal. He then left his bags in our care and disappeared off with them to smoke weed until the bus arrived.

Which left me with Sideshow, real name Massa, who spoke almost no Spanish and only slightly more English. What followed was a painfully slow process of polite Q and As throughout which I spoke as slowly and patiently as the Spanish-speaking locals do to me when it's clear I have little or no understanding of most of what they are saying. My principal question was "How the hell are you managing to get around in South America with hardly any Spanish or English?" But obviously he was managing ok, which provides me with significant heart for my future travels through Asia. If a cartoon lookalike can do it, so can I.

Eventually the bus arrived, we hopped on and, tired from my efforts to converse in two languages, I slumped into my seat, closed my eyes and listened to loud music, making it blatantly clear that all talking was over for a few hours. When we finally reached Calafate, Beardy immediately began to irritate me with his rampant ADD. So, simple as you like, I ditched my two new pals as quickly as you can say (or in reality, merely think): "Oh for Christ`s sake! If you`re going to piss about spending 2 hours just to find a hostel then I'm off." 

You know sometimes, travelling friends are so transient as to be almost not there at all.

Saladin79 says:
Quite. Afterwards I drank tea from a china cup, nibbled Rich Tea biscuits and amused myself scoffing at the general foolishness of Johnny Foreigner.
Posted on: Apr 01, 2008
Higton says:
You're so English, it makes me laugh.
Posted on: Mar 30, 2008
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Rio Gallegos
photo by: wiener_bua