Sunday, July 23, 2017

The 9 Types of People You Meet Backpacking South America

Pringles can in hand
1. Pringles Girl: she lives off of grocery store pringles and nutella because she is scared to get sick from the local food, all her gear is brand new, her parents call her every night to ask if she wants them to put more money in her bank account - she usually says no. She carries two backpacks (one on her back and one on her stomach).

Note the Vetements hat
(this guy had a Singaporean passport)

2. Wealthy Asian Guy: probably from China or Singapore, speaks perfect English but only a couple words of broken Spanish. Wears designer clothes, and clings to his cell phone and leather wallet like a life raft. Is usually eating at the restaurant that locals go to for weddings and quinceañeras.

3. The big group of loud Americans: their main focus is going out at night and taking good pics for Insta. They sleep until noon unless they're talking the free walking tour. They crowd into souvenir shops and ask about the prices in broken, heavily accented Spanish. There is usually one dehydrated straggler sitting on the curb fiddling with the straps of their too-big hiking backpack.
true to life model

4. The big group of loud Brazilians: they speak in Portuguese to the waiter, and if he doesn't understand, they just say it again louder.

5. Two blonde European girls: traveling together for at least a month. They've been best friends since high school but by this point are really getting on each others nerves but are too polite (or too German) to say anything. Only one of them speaks Spanish, and one of them is constantly getting sick.

#6/#7 may resemble this creature

6. Recent graduates: can be either the high school kid on their first solo trip (this is really cool, actually), or a post grad master's student (lol me) who is a bit cynical about everything but has never actually experienced the full time working world despite the fact that they are in their mid 20s. They either don't have a job lined up when they go back home and plans to work at a restaurant until something worth their time comes up, or they have a consulting job waiting for them and are trying to balance the soul sucking corporate job with something more organic.

7. Guard-up solo traveler: maybe gives a head nod as they pass another solo traveler but rarely makes contact. Keeps to themselves in the hostel, seeking a more authentic local experience. Is afraid to leave any of their stuff unattended, often has a pouch full of locks. Angles their passport away from people, as if their giant backpack and sunburned paper white skin doesn't give it away that they're a foreigner...
This guy was selling some homemade
power balls or something

8. The permanent traveler: at this point, he's out of money but not willing to call his parents, so he's stuck here. He usually has dreadlocks or half his head shaved. You can find him selling handmade jewelry off a sarong on the sidewalk next to local craftsmen, or juggling at stop lights. 

#9 crossing the Bolivia/Peru border -
their backpacks were on the bus

9. The couple: their love sustains them through the challenges, they can huddle for warmth on Bolivian buses, split that weird chunk of meat, and look out for the other one's stuff if they have to go to the bathroom. They are both equally dirty, and don't care anymore, but are really sick of trying to sneak in sex on dorm room bunks while other hostelers are away. They carry two backpacks each.

Most backpackers on the Colombia-Ecuador-Peru-Bolivia circuit (they almost always go north to south) are from Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, or Australia. The rest are from other South American countries (Chile, Argentina), and a tiny handful from Asia. There are hardly any people from the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, or South Asia.

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