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Friday, April 08, 2011

My first blog in South America!

Well let me start this first blog in South America out by saying I have paid my debts to the travel God's by surviving the worst flight ever! Some people believe that Saint Christopher is the patron saint of travel but he sure didn't save me from 13 hours of pure hell haha. I just got bad luck of the draw though, in the multiple thousands maybe even millions of miles this was bound to happen at least once and I guess I am lucky I have lasted this long without it happening. Want to know what it was?d
Ben and I were stuck in between not one baby but TWO babies! One directly in front of me and the other directly across from me. The one in front of me generally wasn't so bad and slept most of the time but the one directly across from me was the baby from hell. He would NOT stop crying almost the entire flight and he would sometimes set the baby off in front of me! So they would both be screaming and there I was stuck with nowhere to go.

I considered drinking myself to such a state of drunkeness that I would pass out but in the end figured it would make me need to pee too much. I was going to listen to my music but of course I had just recently lost the cable for my Ipod and no matter how loud I turned up the volume on their crappy plane radio thing I could still hear those kids. In the end I slept maybe an hour if that out of 13. Our flight was so delayed that we missed our connecting flight so they ended up having to rebook us on another flight to Santiago.

After getting ripped off on a taxi ride as per usual in a new country we finally got to our couch surfer's place and had to wake him up at 1am. He and his roommate have been awesome so far though and it has been great. I shouldn't complain too much now that we are here alive and in one piece and only the flights were rough. We did meet a couple of cool people on our last flight though which was nice and we will be hanging out with them and exploring the city with them soon. Our new host has taken us on a great city/food tour and we have really enjoyed the local knowledge. My budget will be tight for Chile though as I had to pay 140 American Dollars just to enter the country which sucks but nothing I can do about being American. They don't charge Ben since he is German.

I have had a lot of fun so far though and our first day sure has been interesting. Everyone including my host tells us that Spanish in Chile is the hardest Spanish dialect in all of South America due to their pronunciation and speed they talk along with the slang they use and unfortunately for us we don't speak Spanish. I speak a LITTLE from high school but not much Ben speaks none. A lot has flooded back to me but not close to enough. The percentage of people who speak passable English is just about 20%. I won't be able to take that immersion course for about a month until we get to Argentina. :(

Then after our hosts left for work we decided to check out the local equivalent of Walmart here (even though it isn't called that) and I wanted to break my large bills I got at the airport. A 20,000 peso note here is fairly rare and I wanted to break it. (it equals about 40 American dollars). So I went to the cashier and tried to pay for my stuff only she gave me the incorrect change (I was owed about 18,000 peso's or about 38 dollars) I tried to even begin to explain to her what happened but she just didn't understand and the line was huge. She thought I had given her a 2000 peso note and not a 20,000 peso not.

Since I wasn't getting anywhere with her I went to the customer service desk and said “habla inglas?” I wanted to know if anyone spoke English. I quickly came to realise how badly I need a functional conversational grasp on Spanish and how difficult it is when you want something and no one around you can understand you. One of the workers said poquito Ingles and I said poquito Espanol. So we both established that we both knew a little bit of each other's languages lol. I was trying to explain to them what had happened and they just weren't getting it. Luckily a customer was there who spoke English and he translated for me. (by this time a cashier,a security guard and some form of manager were involved) they told me to wait for my correct change. To their credit they were very nice and they even gave me cookies and something to drink while I waited. But I waited and waited.... it took them over 30 minutes for me to get my change! I finally did get it though. After that we went for some dinner and and I somehow managed to order some form of breakfast for dinner you know toast,eggs etc. But, the toast came out VERY dry and my eggs (which I would have asked to have scrambled if I knew how were over easy) so there was no butter for my toast or no salt and pepper for anything but I ate it.

For lunch we went out with our host and he ordered for us so we got some amazing sandwich's and empanada's too. Our sandwich's had mayo and avocado and other crazy stuff along with lettuce all of which what I hate but, the sandwich was actually really really good and I quite enjoyed it. Then we went out with Jordan later and we had yet another amazing dish it was French Fries with an egg on top and onions and cheese and it was pretty good after we washed it all down with some good beers and called it a night. Tomorrow is our big day of sightseeing around the city but so far so good here in Santiago other than the language barrier but we are learning functional Spanish quickly!

Our last night spent with our awesome host Jordan in Santiago involved us going a birthday party of his friend and her parents were quite wealthy so this party was catered and it was all you could drink and we had a beautiful view of Santiago. Pablo Neruda was a famous south American poet and he had three houses all in Chile. So far we have seen one of them and taken a really interesting tour of it. We are actually in the city (Valapariso) where he built his second house and we plan on taking the tour there. I have been eating all kinds of food I would never touch at home at all. Stuff with mayo and guacamole and onions and much more but only because I have no choice. I don't speak enough Spanish to tell them how to take it all off haha.

Spanish really is super needed in South America the English speaking percentage just isn't that high at all. But, I have been learning quickly as has Ben. I can ask for directions and buy bus tickets and just basic basic stuff. I probably speak like a child but I am learning! Oh ya I forgot to mention they pack the buses here like you wouldn't believe! literally like 100 people on a bus it sure seems like! Then they have people come on and try and sell stuff and even play live music on the bus. Riding public transport in 3rd world countries is always exciting haha

Today after we bought our bus tickets we arrived in Valaparaiso for the weekend and apparently they have great seafood here. It looks like a good city and our new host Peter is really cool. We look forward to hanging out and having a good time. We have had some amazing food thus far (even though it is a little salty, Chileans love salt!) and tomorrow we are going to try Ceviche (fish cooked in lemon juice) so I am looking forward to it. Thus far we have had an amazing time and I loving learning espanol and the South American culture in general. Until next time yall take care. Bolivia is our next stop after Chile. -Tyler

P.S. Besides all my amazing friends in New Zealand that I miss a ton I also miss the meat pie so so much! Chile is full of sandwiches so I have eaten a lot of those but also had some good Chilean food :) 

1 comment:

  1. You always seem to have interesting adventures with some good and bad experiences, but I think that is what makes you enjoy travelling so much. Thanks for sharing.