One of the unexpected upsides to many of the places we’ve stayed so far is that most of them have had pets. And Nellu has felt like he’s had a special connection to them all.

In Sao Paulo, we were visited several times a day by Charles the Cat. He was named after Charlie Chaplin for his distinctive mustache-like marking.

Charles... Photo by Nellu

He would come into our room and do this fantastic side-flip routine before running back out.

Then in Rio there was Mousse, the guesthouse dog, whose name you always wanted to say in a similar fashion to how you’d cheer on your favorite hockey player – a deep drawn out Moooouuussse – followed by Mooussey, Moousey, Moooousey, Moousey.

Mooooouse.....Photo by Nellu

He was always up for a good belly-rub and would often lie at our feet while we worked. But he was always polite and never intrusive.

There was even the Santa Teresa neighborhood cat that Nellu would greet in that “meow, meow, meow,” voice that he does as if he’s speaking the cat’s language. (I know its strange but he’s done it for years…Also, he doesn’t bark at dogs if you’re wondering. He’s got a special way to communicate with them… food). And even though I told him, he probably shouldn’t pet her, he did and she didn’t seem to mind. (He actually just clarified that she enjoyed it and would approach him for a head scratch.)

Santa Teresa Cat... Photo by Nellu

And here in Buenos Aires, there’s Tina, the parrot, who seems to really have taken to Nellu in the absence of her favorite owner.

Tina & Nellu spend some quality time.

The first day that we were here, she starting screaming like a car alarm/crazy chicken. It sounded like a small child yelling, “I know you’re here. I saw you. Come pay attention to me.” Nellu went running right to her, whistling and cooing, and its been love ever since.

Her wings are clipped so she can’t fly, which is good for me because there are a few things you should know about Tina:

1) She’s a real diva. We think that she may have been named after Tina Turner but our onsite host can neither confirm or deny that suspicion.

2) She allegedly does not like women and I’ve heard that she can be a little territorial about the leading men in her life, which means I stay really far away from her especially when she and Nellu are having a quality time.

But the two of them have really bonded. I swear this parrot almost purrs back at him. Listen closely.

The other voice you hear in that piece is Roxana’s, she’s the housekeeper/cook/caretaker of the guesthouse. She isn’t fluent in English so most of our conversations center around greetings and the weather and gracias. But you can tell that Tina drives her a little crazy. And I swear if we could communicate more freely she would say, “For God’s sake, please stop messing with that bird!”

~ Molly