Friday, March 6, 2015

Welcome to Chile- where you pay to pee but the live showing of PDA is always free

So today I successfully flagged down one (struggle) bus and then missed another. Upon boarding the first struggle bus, number D03 I realized that although this bus was going to the right destination, I had no idea what reference point to use for when I needed to get off. This is why metro>bus all day every day. No constant jerking due to stopping and going, no confusion as to when the bus will stop or what the next stop is...i could go on. 

Anywho, I realized this was NOT the day to pick a new bus route to try, because of course I needed to be at the Chilean international police station at 7:30am stat to register my visa...We were warned several times that if we were late, we would be dealing with the DMV schenanigans of Chile on our own. And let me just tell you something- if you think the USA DMV is confusing and time consuming, well then kid- come visit me and I'll show you how it's done here.
So stop number one on the struggle bus was the frantic stop to get off the bus and just pay for a taxi to take me the rest of the way. On the buses round here you "empujar el timbre," to request a stop and from there I hopped right off and flagged down the cab. 
Stop numero dos was narrowly avoided by making sure I did not miss my number when it was called and by having exact change so that I could receive my registered visa and study legally in this lovely city. 
Stop numero tres insued later- after lunch and a walk throughout central santiago and the maket full of live fish and incessant pleas for us 'Americanas' to eat at their restaurant. This struggle began when we couldn't find a bus service that went to Santa Cruz for this weekend and our dreams of attending the Colchuagua Valley's very own wine harvest festival. Some companies didn't let you buy a ticket in advance, others only took cash- minor problems compared to the rest of my day, but nevertheless, one more hurdle to jump over. All in all we survived and guaranteed that at least the four of us had an actual ticket for the bus while our friends who we were once potentially going to purchase a ticket for- well, they may or may not be joining us...
The last and final stop on my struggle bus (and the last of my rant I swear!) was when I attempted to return home via metro and then bus (note- this was a route I actually had memorized! success). I was quite please when my bus (this one is number 403) came shortly after I arrived at the correct station, but that glee was short-lived when I attempted to flag it down and was promptly ignored :( Sad day. The good news is the bus comes about every 10-15 minutes so I was only delayed a bit. 

More lasting impressions from this week include my mama's delicioso Charquican stew type thing that she made with potatoes, onions, garlic, green beans, pumpkin and ground beef. It's kinda like a puree of pumpkin with potato chunks and green beans and meat. Sounds strange, but the best thing I've had yet. Although I am a bit concerned about the way we store food here...The stew was out all night on the stove and additionally I am almost positive my leftovers were just put back with the rest of the soup...lovely. I'll survive(:
Not that I haven't mention this one too before mama cleans so much! She mops the kitchen floor daily, straightens up my room, re-makes my bed and cleans the bathroom every few days. This lady is super woman. She wakes up at 6am and doesn't get home from work until about 6ish in the evening to cook dinner, clean the house and put up with my neverending "cómo se dice esté en español." Gotta love her. Even if she uses verbs I can't understand, talks incredibly quickly and adds "-ito/ita" to the end of all words such as "Patio-ita" which apparently refers to the patio outside. On that note, the other day when I had no idea what she was asking me, (note- Chileans also often pronounce things differently, such as leaving off the "s" at the end of words... how people tell the difference between singular and plural things I'll never know) my host sister, Camila scolded her for using non-Catalan Spanish (traditional spanish that is taught in the state), arguing that I would never understand what she was saying to me if she kept this up. Camila is great at re-phrasing her mother's thoughts for me and in reality, Mama Isabel isn't that hard to understand, she's typically patient but her questions are rapid fire and come with quizical looks..
Last but not least I will attempt to explain the title of this post. I guess I forgot to include this struggle above but...the struggle of finding a public restroom- it's REAL. They do not exist and thus I paid once to pee behind a shower curtain (only 200 pesos) and then once again on my way home when I desperately purchased a water from a restaurant just to use their restroom. 1000 pesos later I returned home, made a sandwich, and cried...just a little. Sometimes when you are on your period you just gotta let it out. I'm all good I swear. In fact I was actually secretly thinking that it was strange how everyone else had mentioned they cried the first night because they were so overwhelmed, yet I never felt uncomfortable or homesick. I just thought I had struck gold with my amazing family or maybe I was just more independent and mature, but hey- everybody gotta cry sometimes. 

Although I'm not so good at connecting these short stories, I'll leave you with one last note about Chileans and their pollolos (boyfriends/girlfriends) who they just cannot keep their hands off of. It appears that Chileans young and old have decided that kissing in front of their parents would just be wrong and therefore instead the metro, park, street, school, etc. because their favorite way to demonstrate their love for each other. And I'm not talking hand holding, cute couple love. I've witnessed lots of kissing, caressing, you get the picture. Some theorize that it's because many Chileans live with their parents until they are 30 and thus they just have to make out in public to avoid an awkward interruption of their love moment. Logical eh?


No comments:

Post a Comment