Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Вписка, or Argentinian Hospitality, Unlimited

Вписка (vpiska) is a Russian slang word that is also a whole concept. Vpiska is first of all a place. It may be a house, an appartment or any other dwelling. A particular place can be called a ¨vpiska¨ when a traveller gets invited to stay there, free of charge. Couchsurfing is a world-wide network of vpiskas, for example.
I mentioned in the previous post that we got invited (вписались) in Ushuaia. I would like to share with you what actually happened in more detail.
When Anastasia went to the bathroom at the gas station that morning, she met Ana, the gas station attendant. ¨Come see me inside after you are done in the bathroom, I have something to offer you,¨ said Ana. Anastasia came a few minutes later and Ana asked her: ¨How long do you think you will stay in Ushuaia?¨
¨I don´t really know yet,¨ said Anastasia,¨but probably about a month, may be longer. We will look to rent an appartment or something.¨
¨Look,¨said Ana,¨why don´t you come stay at my place? I like you two. You are clean, you smile, you seem trustworthy. I live in a two-room house, I live alone. You are welcome to stay with me as long as you want, a week, a month, as you wish. There is a kitchen you can use, computer, internet, hot shower... The only thing I don´t have is a bed for you, but there is floor space.¨
¨Wow, thank you very much, it is very kind of you.¨ said Anastasia, ¨But the thing is that there are actually three of us. We were thinking to rent the place with another traveller. He is french, he is working in a restaurant here, he also hitched to here from Canada.¨
¨Ok, no problem, bring your friend, too,¨ said Ana. Wow!
We agreed to meet her at the end of her workshift and then go to the house. She wrote down her address and a phone number on a piece of paper and gave it to us, just in case.
We went to see Jonathan at his new post as a waiter at a trendy restaurant downtown. He looked funny. He was wearing a clean, impeccable waiter attire. Red shirt and black pants, with a black waiter apron. A white towel across his arm would have looked classic. What stood out were his dusty, road-beaten shoes! Looking at his feet you immediatly understood that it was a dressed up vagabond serving you, nobody else!
We showed up at the YPF gas station at the agreed time, with Jonathan in tow. Ana then called a cab and we piled in. The house was only a 15 minute walk, but uphill, and a pretty steep one. ¨I usually take the cab home,¨ said Ana ¨I get tired after work and I don´t feel like walking home.¨
We arrived at the house in a few minutes. In was located on a steep hill. Young Lenga trees grew all around the house. There were no city noises audible here, we could only hear the multitude of birds chirping in the tree canopy above our heads.
The house was indeed small, but layed out well, with just enough space as was necessary for every room. We set our bags in the corner and Ana said: ¨if you would like, I have three (!!!) extra mattreses, you can use them.¨ The mattresses she had were of finest quality, two single ones and one double size! The double size one was brand new.
So this is where we live now, in Ana´s living room. We fry eggs in the morning, listen to music on Ana´s computer and drink mate. Sometimes we open the door and fresh cool air fills the room.
The sun goes up early at this time of year here (it is already light at 5am!), and the birds wake up with the sunrise. Today we woke up to the birdsongs outside.
Yesterday, Ana gave us a cell phone to use while we stay in Ushuaia. ¨I have three (again!) of them, you can use this one, you just need to buy the SIM card¨. So now we have our own phone number, it has been a while!
THIS is the spirit, THIS is the hospitality, THIS is the way! We feel strangely elated these days, unsure of what we have done to make the universe fulfill our ¨request¨ so soon and so, well, easy.
The thing is that the night before, when we got into town with Carlos, we were walking back to the truck stop from the internet cafe. We were discussing what we were going to do here. We did not know. We did not know how long we want to stay here, we did not know if we want to find work or not, if we want to get busy right away with looking for a ride to Antarctica, if we want to rent a place to stay... We did not know, so we decided to leave it all off until the morning. May be things will sort themselves out without any forceful action from our side. May be our path will become obvious to us when it will need to be.
We said outloud into the dark night, waiting for a bus at an intersection: ¨It would be good if we find a house to stay in. That would be very nice¨. We REALLY said it, I am not writing it just to add a lyrical effect to the story!
Well, the Great Spirit, God, Gods, the Universe, call it what you like, must have been listening.


  1. This is an example of perfect alignment with the Source, being fully in your own VORTEX! :)

  2. Ha-ha, thanks! Yeah, we feel it, we feel something. A most memorable of such ¨proofs¨ was our encounter with Ferenc and Istvan, the Worldwalk Peacetour team back in Mexico.
    That time we also just said our wish of meeting them out loud and bang! a few weeks later we met them walking on the street!