There is a worrying trend emerging in Argentina.
After sticking my thumb in the air for about 5 seconds in Comodoro Rivadavia I had managed to catch a lift, and it was going exactly where I wanted, to Caleta Olivia. About 45 minutes followed in which the driver, an unbelievably camp man who seemed to get excited about every single word that left his mouth, asked me question after question of such ridiculousness that I didn’t realise I was being questioned. “Are there many fires in California?” was perhaps my favourite. For a few minutes I thought he was telling me they have a lot of fires in California, but no, he was asking me! I nodded, I guess so, not something I really know too much about. In between those questions lay a gluttony of enquiries about girlfriends, family and living arrangements. Eventually it was revealed that he had left home at 18 after he told his family he was gay, mainly just to avoid the aggravation.
It was at this point that he told me I was beautiful and had a great face. I thanked him and started talking about sea lions. He doesn’t care about sea lions, he wanted to invite me to his house. It was a bit out of the way so I declined. Silence prospered for a short while until he said: ‘This is Caleta’. At which point I asked him to stop the car and I got out. He invited me again and told me that if I had no luck hitching I could always give him a call. I told him I would bear that in mind.
But the worrying thing about all of this is that now, with the gay hairdresser and the portero in Buenos Aires, it does seem like I am getting far better offers from the men in Argentina rather than the women. In fact, I am beginning to believe the women find me repugnant. It could be because of the beard, but as the weather keeps getting colder and colder the more south I go I am cherishing it more and more. It’s one of my few defences against the whipping gales that keep pounding me wherever I go.