Today has been cold and rainy here in Buenos Aires, which is fine by me. I needed to do some laundry anyway, and since a laundromat will cost me about $30US for my entire stay here, I’ve decided to prune up my fingers and wash my threads the old fashioned way.
As I scrubbed, I began thinking about the various people I have met so far, not only here, but in other travels as well. As an American, I am often given a mediocre, sort of pitiable reputation, and many fellow travelers are quick to lecture me about the debt ceiling and American politics, which can get annoying pretty fast. But as a New Jerseyan, it’s ten times worse. You all know where this is going.
From travelers in Bolivia, a Korean man on a California boardwalk fist pumping, to all of the non-American travelers I’ve met on this trip so far, New Jersey is a place where juiced up fist pumpers thrive. When you tell someone you’re from New Jersey, they will almost definitely respond with:
a) fist pumping
b) “Ohhh, Joisey!”
c) “Jersey Shore!”
d) a combination of any of the above
It is your duty to dispel the horrible image that our poor state has been given. Some tools for this are mentioning Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, the shoreline (the response to this will be “Ha, your polluted beaches?” to which you will say, “No.” Then list as many beaches as you can think of.), the mountains, restaurants, pubs, dart competitions, people who don’t use gel hair products, etc.
NJ travelers have to carry a burden most other Americans do not; in addition to our suitcases and hiking backpacks, we shoulder the responsibility of educating non-American travelers on the condition and atmosphere of our state. People from Michigan and Wyoming don’t have to do this, but thanks to bad reality TV, we do.
I reached my wit’s end last night when our Argentine guide, Christian, responded with the classic fist pump. I said, “Well, that’s not true. And I read in my Lonely Planet that Argentine men like to grope people.”
He seemed affronted for a few minutes but luckily had a good sense of humor and I think we might be friends now. Long story short, there are fistpumpers all over the globe, and it’s time people realize that NJ is home to some real talent and legit nature, including black bears and an out of control deer population.