Surviving in Santiago

I finally got my laptop back and I can make a blog entry! Yaay! 🙂 My estimated 3-5 day repair turned into more than three weeks of waiting. Lesson learned. Don’t do that ever again.

Today, the waitress at cafe, C’est si Bon, said something I didn’t catch and she repeated it in English. Wow. That was a surprise. I don’t think English is widely spoken here. I asked her why she was studying English. I assumed it must be for university requirements or work. Nope. She just likes languages; mostly English and Italian. I like to hear that. A fellow linguaphile (a person who loves languages).

After finishing my meal I said, “me he puesto hasta las trancas”. This roughly translates as, “I’m stuffed to the gills”. She said they don’t say that down here, but she understood the meaning. I’m not surprised. I think it’s mostly Mexican lingo.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this word before. The words for “cake” that I’ve seen and used are “pastel”, “bizcocho” or “torta”. Queque is new. It reminds me of the Arabic word for cake, “kayka” (كيكة).

I’m really surprised at how difficult I find the Chilean brand of Spanish. Yikes! It’s kickin’ my ass! I feel like an idiot when I’m constantly saying, “¿Cómo?” (What?) Or when I have to surrender and say, “No entiendo”. I just don’t understand what the hell you’re saying to me. Argh. 🙁

Oh well, it is what it is.

Speaking of languages, I’d really like to go to an Arab country and enroll in some more Arabic classes. I’d also like to continue with my Lithuanian in Vilnius or Klaipeda. We’ll see how that goes…

I was surprised to see an Arabic word in Santiago. About 8% of Spanish is comprised of Arabic. Most Spanish-speakers seem surprised when I tell them.

Other than the waitress today, I’ve heard absolutely zero English on the street here. I’m sure there are tourists around, but I haven’t seen or heard them.

One thing that’s nice about Santiago is that the main river that runs through the city doesn’t stink to high hell. That’s a real problem in most of the cities I’ve visited in Latin America. Water is not supposed to stink. It’s nice being able to walk the parks adjacent to the river and be able to breathe the air.

One of my favorite meals in Santiago; tomates (tomatoes), champiñónes (mushrooms), porotes (black beans), chili, guacamole and under it all, choclo (corn) and arroz (rice). I had never heard the words choclo or porote before coming to Chile. The words they use here really throw me off my game.

What have I done during my four weeks so far here? Not a lot. Sometimes it’s important to just relax and do nothing. Of course, I go for long walks every day. I don’t just sit inside, but I feel the need to do a lot of nothing after visiting every country between Mexico and here. Traveling might seem glamorous, but it’s also very tiring.

I don’t really see the need to do “everything” or see “everything”. Just being in a new country and hanging out with the locals on the street can be just as rewarding.

Beautiful fall weather here in the southern hemisphere. I’d better start back up north soon to follow the good weather. Winter is coming.

Another thing that’s nice about Santiago is how little driver’s honk their horns; very refreshing. Blaring horns can wear on you. Oh, and they don’t use a lot of plastic bags here. You’re strongly encouraged to bring your own reusable cloth bag when you go shopping. Nice. I bought one for my own use.

On 1 May I plan to fly to Buenos Aires. That means I have two weeks to plan my trip back north. It’s surprisingly difficult to make those plans. I want to visit Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil as I return north. I’d love to add Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana, but they may have to wait. Working out details for Airbnbs and flights is very time consuming.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention I’ve already been through a couple of earthquakes down here. The strongest was only 5.5, but it really shook my bed and woke me up.

Fun! 🙂