Normally when someone goes on an exotic international adventure they start with some crazy tale of how they almost didn´t make it.
My tale will be no different.
My flight left on Friday at 10 am from JFK airport... or so I thought. Turns out I was leaving from LaGuardia... which I didn´t realize until I was already at JFK. So clad in my beachwear I ran outside (where the temperature was 8) to wait for a bus that didn´t come, got in a taxi, and while suffering the worst case of hypertension of my life, made it to LaGuardia airport to catch my flight to Atlanta, where I hung out for 2 hours before catching my flight to Peru, which left late, leaving me 15 minutes to get to my gate to catch my flight to Santiago.
As we are getting off the plane the flight attendant gets on and goes, ¨There are 2 people going to Santiago Chile, Joe shmo and Richard...¨
Hey that´s me! So me and my special attendant SPRINT through the Lima airport to catch my plane... and sit on it for 45 minutes before it took off... without my luggage.
Yea my bag didn´t make it until about 12 hours after I did. Oh well.
So I have spent the last 3 days in sunny Santiago (where it is about 90). It is somewhat blended city of no real skyline and an atrocious poo colored reservoir that runs through the middle. As well as an ungodly amount of large, depressing looking dogs who just lay in the middle of the sidewalk like they just got laid off. And don´t say awww because most of them look like they got the mange.
But despite all this I was excited to get out into the city and hone my Spanish skills.
I probably should have ACQUIRED some Spanish skills first because nobody in this city speaks English. My communication has been reduced to a series of awkward shrugs, confused pointing, and caveman like grunting. It´s actually kind of embarrassing that I can´t communicate better. This is by far the least English speaking country I have ever come across. I wouldn´t say this is a beautiful city necessarily but it is interesting.
My first night the hostel had an all meat barbq on the roof and I ate so much meat I expect to pass a fully formed cheesesteak at some point in the near future. I met some Aussies and some Brits and we went out and drank some Cristal. Not the champagne mind you, but the local beer. That and Escudo, both very drinkable. We got home from our dance party at around 3 am and I slept til almost noon, which is fine, because nothing really happens in this city until then.
I spent the next day at the city´s museums. I went to a Chilean History museum which essentially said this on every exhibit;
¨The indigenous people did this. Isn´t it interesting? Yea we don´t know why they did that.¨
Apparently early Chileans snorted a lot of drugs but nobody knows how they got them.
I checked out the modern art museum which had an entire floor dedicated to Chilean Comics... since I don´t really speak Spanish the whole thing was pretty much wasted on me. I also checked out the home of poet Pablo Neruda, where my guide was like a pint size version of the latter half of Cheech and Chong. His moustache was not to be reckoned with but he was by far one of the coolest people I have ever encountered and the tour was all the more awesome because of him.
I had a great lunch of Salad (I figured I could use the roughage after my all meat binge) and a glass of fresh strawberry juice. Delightful. I have so far avoided the local custom of a Hot Dog loaded with Mustard, Ketchup, and Avocado.
Oh my god I almost threw up just typing that.
Anyway today myself and some good kids from MIT went wine tasting at 2 different vineyards. It was way out of the way, and thank god I was with them because the power of 5 people not knowing Spanish was way better than my own incompetence. We squeezed 5 people into a cab several times, including on the way to a restaurant our cab driver did not recognize so he kept stopping and asking strangers on the street where it was eliciting the exact same reaction every time. They would extend their arm all the way as though they were pointing to the moon and presumably tell him to just keep going.
It ended up being worth it because my bacon wrapped steak, which was roughly the size of a duffel bag, was awesome. The vineyards were beautiful, decent wines, but I didn´t find any I wanted to take with.
Tomorrow morning I will abandon this city for the coast, 2 and a half days at Quintero to just chill and read and do squat. I cannot wait.
But before I go, my first horrible experience of the trip.
I did not sleep very well last night. Well I did from about 12:30 until 3:30 when I awoke with a shock to the awful sound of a family of sea lions being slaughtered. No no, no sea lions in my room. It was just the chubby German in the bunk across from mine wheezing and snoring like he was running some kind of comatose marathon.
At first I thought he had managed to accidentally slip his closed fist into his mouth and was trying to breathe around it. Then I was almost positive his entire arm had become lodged in his esophagus. This was excessive sleep apnea. Every snore got louder and louder until I was sure he was either going to wake up, or choke.
I have to admit I was sitting there praying for choke. But nothing happened it just got louder and louder. I wanted to throw something at him, or roll him over... or beat him to death, regretfully I did nothing. And so I spent a considerable amount of time listening to what evolved into him breathing through a mouthful of wet spaghetti. Hands down the most awful snoring I have ever heard. God help him if he is still there tonight.
To the Beach!