Some odd years ago, I was living in a Bolivian city called Cochabamba.
Now, while I was there, I was often working for some NGO during most weekdays.
But, on the weekends, I would travel when I could to see other parts of the country.
I actually did a pretty damn good job covering a lot of places to see on those limited weekend breaks.
And, from what I learned, a lot of what could be seen was actually relatively close to the capital of La Paz.
Not everything but that city does have a lot of cool attractions relatively close to it.
Anyhow, I remember spending some time enjoying what both Peru and Bolivia has to offer.
This was right before I took my flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Anyhow, I remember taking a bus to Cusco, Peru from La Paz, Bolivia.
In which, as you can read here, my bus broke down literally on the bus ride to Peru.
And we had to wait hours until the next bus showed up.
Anyway, we got to Cusco at the end of it all.
But that obviously didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth regarding the infrastructure of the region.
Still, it didn’t bother me that much.
And, during my time in Peru, in which you can see more photos here, I mostly checked out the older ruins in the region.
Meanwhile, I was staying most of my time in this hostel in Cusco.
I was young.
And, being young, I didn’t have that much money and so a hostel would have to do.
Still, I remember a conversation I had with some other guy who happened to be traveling around the world.
“You Can Only Appreciate it When You Have Money, Bro!”
What transpired in our conversation is, in my experience, a typical complaint that some Latinos have when they get insecure about any criticism you might have of anything in Latin America.
The nuts and bolts of the criticism basically surrounds your financial status.
For most Latinos down here in Latin America, it’s actually not a surprise that such a criticism from this angle would be made.
Especially when you consider how classist folks down here can be to the point that many even prefer having a fucking cleaning lady because, I suppose, many can’t clean their own shit?
Anyhow, I digress on my century old irritation with how many folks down here want damn cleaning ladies.
Something I wrote more on that topic here….
Still, that was the basics of his argument.
In which, at this hostel, I encountered an Argentine dude who happened to be traveling the region also.
Now, it doesn’t help that he is Argentine, because his “higher than thou” attitude is about as stereotypical as saying a British guy enjoys eating “fish and chips.”
Or that the Canadian is nice.
Regardless, we have a young Argentine guy in the hostel.
And we got talking about our time traveling Latin America.
He was curious as to my life story showing up to this region at the age that I had at the time…
In my very early 20s.
And, in describing my experience in the “Andean region” (Bolivia & Peru), I had some minor complaints.
I wasn’t making a big deal about them but he did ask about “if there were any things I didn’t like about South America.”
Which, in giving my complaints, he might’ve taken it as an assault on Argentina given that it is obviously in South America also.
But I was only talking of Bolivia and Peru.
Anyhow, some of my complaints had to do with the following…
- The infrastructure is shit (referring to the bus that broke down on the way to Peru).
- The food is shit (to be fair, I was thinking of Bolivian food. I get many like Peruvian food. Well, I’m not as much of an expert on Peruvian food but I hate Bolivian food and that was what I was referring to).
- That, in my opinion, it got tiring dealing with folks constantly trying to earn an extra buck off me and seemed unprofessional in doing so (which, in a touristy city like Cusco, that should be almost expected to be fair).
Anyhow, from what I remember, those were my complaints.
Now, for some reason, the guy didn’t take the criticisms so lightly.
He understood the third complaint.
And his attention really focused on number 1 and 2.
Now, on topic number 2, he might’ve been thinking that I thought Peruvian food was shit.
Which, as I said, it wasn’t on my mind as I had just showed up to Peru and had no idea yet what Peruvian food was like.
And, to this day, being honest, I’m not that crazy for Peruvian food.
It is better than Bolivian food without any question but I prefer, among Latin cuisines, food from countries like Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, etc.
Anyhow, the guy lodged a criticism back at me from a typical angle that I have seen Latinos use when confronted with a criticism of either their respective country or the broader region…
Which is when they say, exaggerated for effect, something like the following:
“Oh, you poor ass cracker! Of course you didn’t enjoy the food or infrastructure! You went for the poorest of the poor services! You can only enjoy this region when emptying the wallet, don’t you know!?”
Of course, being South American, he probably didn’t know the term “cracker.”
I’m just throwing it in there for exaggeration effect to be fair.
But the sentiment was similar.
In which he basically was claiming that “you are too poor to appreciate what South America has to offer!”
Which was ironic since he was sleeping at the same hostel as I was.
Not exactly the Four Seasons….
And he was a young guy also….
Meaning that, unless he had rich parents, it’s not likely he has a shit ton of money to his name either.
Given he was at a hostel, I guess the rich parents don’t exist for him.
Still, as I said, this is an angle that some Latinos take when they are on the defensive about a complaint you have about something in Latin America or a specific country down here.
Implying that their respective country has SO MUCH MORE to offer if you just spent thousands of dollars.
Is it valid?
Well, here are my thoughts.
To be fair, I do think there is some legitimacy to this argument.
Only some though.
As you can see here, you do have some foreigners who travel the world that are literally homeless.
Literally fucking homeless!
OK, if you are homeless abroad, I’m going to be fair here in saying that your experience doesn’t represent the typical traveller experience.
Most of us are not ending up homeless in Latin America either.
But I can definitely see, for obvious reasons, how that’ll leave a more negative impression on ANY country you go to if you end up homeless there.
Still, most foreigners are not ending up homeless in whatever country they travel to.
Be it on vacation or some young backpacker experience.
Though, to be fair, obviously the guy with a million dollars in the bank is going to afford a nicer experience than the young kid in his early 20s.
Still, I would say that the relative lack of money that the young kid has doesn’t excuse the shitty experiences he might encounter.
Which goes to the next point…
Not an Excuse
At the end of the day, if I take the greyhound in the US from Indianapolis to my hometown, I can expect there to not be too many issues.
I’ve done it several times!
When I was in college, I took the greyhound many times over.
If you are a little classist ass faggot American, then you might shake in your panties at taking the greyhound.
It was fine whenever I took it!
And I was a skinny ass kid in my early 20s whenever I did so.
On the flip side, I’ve taken busses around Latin America.
Most of the time without issues either.
And, in Peru or Bolivia, I mostly never had issues either.
Almost never had any issues.
Still, complaining about the “bus breaking down” is fair game when you waiting for 5 hours or more in the rain in a rural area on top of a mountain in South America.
Insecure about that?
Suck my dick.
Now, to be fair, I didn’t mind either because I was asleep for half of it and the bus came quick enough.
Still, it’s fair game to say that, generally speaking, infrastructure is worse in most of South America than the US.
But that’s to be expected – countries down here are, on average, poorer down here than in the US.
That’s not to say that countries down here are shit!
It’s just the way it is.
You accept it.
Just don’t feel insecure when a foreigner mentions it after you ask what things he thinks could be improved, Sr. Argentinito.
But then there’s the other topic brought up….
Food Tastes Like Shit?
Look, I’ll leave Peruvian food alone.
I’m definitely inexperienced in that category.
Everyone says it tastes good so I’ll assume so.
As I mentioned elsewhere on my website, I had more limited time in Peru and went to more touristy restaurants when I was there.
I did find the food tasty there wherever I went.
But in Bolivia?
The food was shit.
I fucking hated it.
When I left Bolivia, I literally couldn’t eat a soup for a year because my first host family would try to feed me this soup that consisted literally of dog piss with random ass shit in it.
Fucking hated it.
Screw your Bolivian soups, Bolivia.
But the rest of the country?
Well, outside of the terrible soup, there are many great things about the country that I loved.
Hated your soup though.
And, even outside of the soup, I generally found other dishes made in Bolivia to be shit from the two host families I had and the restaurants I went to.
Keep in mind, the host families I lived in were not poor by any means.
So drop your faggot ass classist argument about how you always have to visit the nicest restaurants to enjoy the food.
That’s not how it works in rest of the world!
For example, I’m in Mexico right now.
Well, to be fair, it’s not an equal fight comparing the dogshit food of Bolivia to the heavy weight of Mexico…
Still, I’ll say it like this…
This argument by some that “you have to visit the nicer restaurants” to appreciate our best culinary practices is stupid.
In my opinion, if your great food can be enjoyed also by poor people, then it’s great food!
Why the fuck does it need to be prepared by a chef who is paid a high salary and has the best teaching available to make your food good?
If it can’t be good after being made by mom, then your food is dogshit.
It shouldn’t have to be prepared by the best chef available.
In Mexico, for example, I can go outside right now and get some street food.
The cheapest of the cheap.
And get some bomb ass shit.
Like this right here.
All for 2 bucks literally!
So your bullshit classist argument of “our food is only good when you spend 100 bucks” is retarded.
Granted, that’s not to take away from the nicest restaurants in La Paz that do have the best of chefs in the country to prepare a very memorable meal.
But, for the experience at large for your typical tourist, it doesn’t look good when you say that the typical dish in your country is shit tasting when an expensive chef isn’t cooking it.
I’m sure other locals down here have extended this argument into other arenas of life beyond public transportation and local food.
All around, I find some validity to the argument depending on how much of a “shoestring” budget the foreigner is running on.
Obviously, by the logic that follows, you will have less of an experience when your budget is way too tight in any country.
That’s absolutely fair game to bring up.
Though, on the other hand, I would push back a little bit against that idea.
In part because, for one, it tends to be a crutch used by the locals down here who just can’t stand the idea of a foreigner having anything negative to say about their respective country or broader region.
On top of that, it shouldn’t be used to justify shitty service or products beyond reasonable expectation down here.
Still, I see the validity in the argument made by the locals but I also find some bullshit in how its applied in some of the more common topics when it’s brought up (like food for example).
Anyhow, that’s all I got to say.
Drop any comments below in the comment section.
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And enjoy this song by Cracker that I was listening to as I wrote this.
Hence the word “cracker” in the title.
Sorry for the profanity, you traditionalists.
Thanks for reading.