Right now I’m tempted to open with this:
!Estoy en Chile, Beeeetches!
However, lest I be deemed uncouth, I’ll utilize my unyielding self restraint and go with this:
Hey guys check it out—I’m in Chile!
Yeah, for real. I’m here. Three plane rides, two layovers, four meals, fifteen internet minutes, five thousand miles, and twenty-four hours later, I made it. It may have been the longest single journey of my life. It may have been strange at times. It may have kind of sucked. But it went smoothly, and I am alive and well and practically Chilean.
If anyone out there cares to visit at any point, I welcome the idea but will set forth one suggestion: do yourself a favor and spring for a non (maybe one) stop ticket. You will thank me, and yourself, later. Being the frugal cheapass that I am (thanks Dad!), when I booked my flight(s) in January, I naturally went with the least expensive. I “knew” at the time I’d probably regret it. But did I really know? No. I had no idea. I’m awfully glad it’s over, and everything was fine so I guess there’s no use lamenting.
Hey! Here are some fun facts about my flights:
1) The airport in El Salvador is really humid. It is also old, and has extremely uncomfortable seats, not ideal for sleeping on. Luckily I was able to overcome the chair thing, and in a manner not unlike McGuyver, fashioned myself a somewhat comfortable resting position with my various carryon items. I imagine I looked a lot like a rich hobo.
2) El Salvador must be a very devout place, because on all the flat screen TVs affixed to the walls played primitive music videos - scenes of hillsides and cottages accompanied by the eerie voices of children singing “Jesus, Jesus, you are king.” Don’t get me wrong, I love The Jesus, but it was just… so weird. And the creepy voices kept waking me up out of my half-sleep throughout the eight hours I was there. Yeah. Eight hours. Brutal.
3) Peru, on the other hand, has a very nice, very modern International terminal. Not a bad place to hang out if you’re bored. Contrary to my suspicions there are no armed guards, and their chairs don’t have immobile armrests, which is conducive to sleep. So props, Peru. You’re doing something right.
4) Tylenol PM is perhaps the best invention known to the modern day traveler. My arsenal included a U-shaped neck pillow with the insignia “#1 Dad!” embroidered on the front, a nice eye-mask courtesy of one Thomas O’Brien (OMG love you babe!), earplugs, and a set of impossible crossword puzzles I have since thrown away. But I think the Tylenol PM really was the deal-breaker. That stuff knocked me on my ass.
5) Seeing my name written on a small whiteboard in the hands of an eager looking shuttle driver sort of made me feel like a rock star.
Interesting stuff, no? International travel is just the best!
It was four in the morning by the time I reached my destination. I had little idea of what to expect, so you can imagine my hesitancy when I arrived at an ominous looking doorway, barricaded by two sets of locked doors. My host (an extremely amiable man named Nelson) was waiting for me, so with the touch of a button I was able to get through obstacle number one. Obstacle number two, however, wasn’t so easy. Obstacle number two was eight flights of stairs. Eight flights of stairs ain’t so bad on any given Sunday, but try it with a backpack, and three realllllly heavy suitcases (I didn’t exactly pack light). And then throw in complete darkness. It’s effing scary, and almost impossible. By floor six I was sweating, severely dehydrated, exhausted, and not entirely sure I had the right building. I was about to be terrified—
And then I saw the elevator.
They say American tourists are rude, but really we are just stupid.
Case in point: It’s winter here, and cold as a witch’s tit, and I brought one pair of jeans that I know fits me. One pair. Who does that. As I write this, I wear sweats, a long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, fuzzy socks courtesy of one Thomas O’Brien (OMG love you babe!), and still I’m freezing my ass off. It’s not that I don’t have respect for Chilean culture. I knew it would be winter when I got here. I’m just a bit of an idiot and didn’t think to go shopping beforehand.
So, there are a few things I’ll need to get under control, Spanish being one of them*, before things settle down. But I’m here, and I’m alive, and I haven’t yet had diarrhea.**
And I say that’s pretty damn good.
*I’m actually doing surprisingly well considering the fact that the last Spanish class I took was 7 years ago.
** You have no idea how happy I am about this.