один мир на двоих (stusik_i_sharik) wrote,
один мир на двоих

Free Mint at the End of the World

Although next to a nice plaza, the hostel we stayed in, "Hostel Carly", was a dinky little place with one, and only one advantage to it - free internet. And there is nothing else that draws Israelis more, like free internet. We've stayed in that hostel a few times already and every time both the machines were taken by my fellow countrymen. The computer room was also the "hangout" room and had a little TV hanging off the wall as there was barely room in there for people. On our way in and out, we always peeked in to see if there was a free computer to check our emails, but many times got stuck inside waiting and chatting with other residents. On one of such occasions, we encountered Yosi, Yosi, and Hagai (who we now refer to as simply “Yosi and Yosi”). They have already been to Ushuaia and Patagonia and had some useful advice for us: "You must go to Nana Hinam (Free Mint in Hebrew)," said one of the Yosis. "It is not the official name of the place, but all the Israelis grew accustomed to the name as there is a mint bush growing right next to the house and you can pick at it for free." Now, if any of you know Shurik, you must remember his never ending love affair with tea, so to the free mint tea at the very end of the world we went.

It is amazing how many Israelis travel. Considering the size of this amazing grand country, it makes you wonder were the hell is the rest of the world. We arrived at Nana Hinam on an early morning and in no-time were immersed into little Israel that is created in every place three or more Israeli backpackers gather. One by one they stuck their heads into the common room and joined the conversation. Soon it was clear that Shurik is one of very few non-Israelis who ever stepped foot in this place. I did get asked though if he was Jewish, and got an approving nod when I replied that yes he is.

Nana Hinam is also where we ran into Vova Oster, and got a proof that Israel is small, but the world, at times, is even smaller. About a year ago, Shurik and I visited my grandparents in Israel. I haven't been there since my move to the States about six years ago, and we only had a week to visit my family and see some sights. Nothing in particular from that trip stuck in my mind as it all was pretty much a big rush through relatives, friends and attractions, so I was surprised to find out that me and Vova not only share some friends, but actually even met on one of the parties I went to during my visit! Vova was in Nana Hinam with Roma and Alon - his friends from the army. By their names you must have guessed already that both Vova and Roma were Russian in origin, and so the four of us sort of stuck together, going on day tracks to see all the absolutely cool nature around Ushuaia and Terra del Fuego national Park. Glaciers, lagoons and forests, wish I could say we climbed and hiked them all, but there was just not enough time in the day.

Have I mentioned Ushuaia was absolutely amazing? Well I hope you can see by yourself it was. The highlight for us however was surprisingly not the nature, but the company. I know that at times we might sound like we are glad to be away from all that is far away back at home, but we also do miss it. In Nana Hinam, coming back to the hostel was like coming to a whole big family. A living room, where the furniture doesn't match, and you can fight over the remote or just relax with a cup of mint tea. A huge kitchen where you make "family" diners together, complete with shopping for groceries and deciding who washes the dishes. Almost all our meals we cooked in that kitchen. The thing is, though, I never cook much and even have to fabricate somewhat when my grandma calls and asks: "Are you feeding him?" But here, for some reason, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Well... Actually I'm lying. I do know the reason. It wasn't the cooking that I loved doing; it's the bossing around that I do so well. The thing is that the majority of travelers are guys, and guys, by some unexplained stereotype, believe that women know their way around the kitchen, when in actuality, as far as it goes for this woman, yours truly, it is just a matter of trial and error. In any case, I did have some sort of meal idea in mind and so was able to direct Shurik, Vova, Roma, and several others who decided to join in, to cut vegetables, open cans, and pretty much everything else I've asked them to do. The only thing the boys were responsible for from start to end was the meat. That's Vova, down there in the photo, demonstrating their great creation. I did have one rule in exchange for my exceptional leadership though – in no case was I, after the meal or during its preparation, to wash dishes.

Tags: climbing, people, places:south america:argentina, trekking, us, view
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