Tear Gassing, La Boca & Love

16 Feb

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Well it was bound to happen at some point but we’ve had our first bout with inconsiderate roommates in our 8-bedroom dorm here at Millhouse. Last night we went up to our room to go to bed and found a few strange things about the place: a hot pink rosary on J.J.’s bed, 3 crackers on my bed and an unused Trojan condom on the sink.

We thought it was strange but I moved the crackers to the garbage and J.J. moved the rosary from his bed (not sure where he put it), and last I checked the Trojan was still unused and still on the sink.

Jonny and I are deep sleepers (except for the sound of snoring) but unfortunately for J.J. and Tal they are not. Sometime between 2am and 3am our 2 new male roommates came home and began turning on the lights, moving their things around and speaking to each other at full volume. After they’d finally fallen asleep one of them starts snoring.

When we woke up to get our day started this morning, the one roommate was still snoring and it looked like their bags had exploded and right in front of the lockers Tal and Jonny use to store their bags. Tal and Jonny had to move their stuff to the side just to be able to get to their own bags.

That’s all for my rant about our roommates, it’s Valentine’s Day afterall.

J.J. made us all a Valentine’s Day breakfast of hostel-provided buns, juice and coffee and cooked us some scrambled eggs with a side of cucumber and avocado – delicious, especially because it was made with love.

Yesterday we’d signed up for the La Boca walking tour that is run by our hostel as La Boca can be a dangerous neighbourhood if you happen to step outside of the colourful 4-block radius that is the tourist district.

We met our tour guide in the bar and once she’d taken attendance we began walking to the other Millhouse hostel. We were headed there to pick up the other people that would be on our tour before hopping on the city bus to La Boca.

To get to the other Millhouse hostel we have to cross a main city square. When we made our way to the crosswalk (which is actually 4 crosswalks in a row – think a bigger version of the University and Queen St W intersection) we noticed a protest that had begun to be broken up by the authorities. Seconds later a navy blue truck, about the same size as a fire truck, moved in and began firing what I thought was a fire hose.

I started snapping pictures, ignoring J.J.’s frantic tone telling me to start heading back in the direction of our hostel. I continued to snap a few more shots before the inside of my nose began to burn and my eyes began to sting. Tear gas!

It became difficult to breathe and I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to see where I was going. Luckily it was just a short walk back to our hostel. I took a seat on the stairs inside and one of the girls staying at our hostel asked what had happened. I was still wiping the tears from my eyes and my legs were shaking uncontrollably which was weird because I hadn’t felt much panic or stress when everything was happening. In fact it was me trying to talk J.J. down when we got to safety – he was less than thrilled that I’d ignored his pleas to backtrack away from the protest.

I learned that the girl we were talking to was Israeli as she told me the worst thing to do would be to rinse my eyes because the tear gas would spread, something she’d learned during her service in the Israeli army. She was genuinely concerned because of my shaky legs and brought me a glass of ice water and checked in a few more times before we left the hostel. Again.

On our second attempt to make it to Millhouse Hipo we took a different route, encountering a police diversion of traffic away from the square. We were asked to return to our hostel until the situation calmed down completely.

More waiting at Millhouse Avenue.

Several minutes later we were given the green light to make our third attempt. Third time’s the charm I guess because we made it to Millhouse Hipo without incident and walked all together to the bus stop.

A few buses passed without stopping at which point our guide asked us to walk up the street a bit so that it wouldn’t look as though we were waiting for the bus. Apparently if there is a big group of people the drivers will often pass right by. Our guide was finally able to stop a bus on her own and then waved us over to get on. All 30+ of us. She certainly duped that poor driver!

The bus ride was hot and cramped and I could feel myself sweating in places I’d only experienced during hot yoga (I know, I know, too much information). But La Boca was so worth it!

We started off by visiting the Boca football (soccer) stadium and what a difference compared to game night. No security checkpoints on the walk there, and we were allowed right in, first to the Boca museum and then into the stadium to  learn some of the history about the team. For example, the reason the jerseys are blue and yellow is that the people of the town didn’t like the original black and white team colours so they decided that the first ship to dock in the harbour flying a flag would determine the new team colours. Guess which country had a boat dock in La Boca? Sweden. And voila, new team colours.

The town of La Boca itself is a photography lover’s dream with all of the semi-run down colourful houses and shops. Also, the neighbourhood is considered to be the birth place of tango and every corner we turned led to another couple dancing in the streets.

I highly doubt any words I could put to paper would do the neighbourhood justice, so I’ll have to hope that my pictures do a better job of conveying its unique charm and beauty.

We returned to the hostel shortly after 5pm and have spent my Valentine’s Day with my 3 loves: photography, writing and of course J.J. (I’m a lucky girl that he’s so patient and accepting of sharing me with the other 2!)

And now I sign off, to go do some living on the eve of love.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

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2 Responses to “Tear Gassing, La Boca & Love”

  1. pappaclegg February 16, 2012 at 16:42 #

    Cool happenings! Now you can imagine what it’s like @ Old Trafford, when ManUtd fill their stadium with 80,000 fans, each match. Allez bien, mes ‘enfants’ terribles!!

  2. Kelly February 21, 2012 at 21:30 #

    Loving every word of the blog, glad you’re ok Kait!

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