7 to 8 Nov, Travelling from Meliquina, San Martin to Santiago Chile
Maria and Yuan suggested that I travel to San Martin with a friend of theirs. We had dinner which I prepared some soup and a very healthy omlette. I have been making them dinners every night as they are working very hard on their dream of a cultural café. They are great people and very committed to their work. It has been a joy staying at the house overlooking the mountains, I find I can reflect on my life and where I am going after I return to Australia. So it has been an important pause.
I asked the group after dinner to light a candle and talk about what makes them happy and their wish for next year. It was nice passing the candle around. Friends and family were important for happiness and one guy said water was important, as in water sports. The friends Maria and Yuan were happy working on their project. For me being a clown made me happy and next year I want to make peace with nature. So environmental sustainability is very important.
I travelled to San Martin at 2am in the morning with the friend. I teed up that he speaks to a taxi driver to pick me up at 5.30am. I am not going to have much sleep and I am still unwell so hoping I will be ok. I get to the flat in San Martin and hope I get the right apartment, I didn’t know the number but when I got there I remembered the door and it was number 4. The friend told the taxi number 5. Anyway, I crawled into bed and managed to get two hours sleep. I got up, got dressed and headed to the street. The taxi didn’t turn up. I had to laugh as finally I came to terms with being ripped off by taxi drivers. I had to laugh when he didn’t come. So I hauled my bag done to the bus. I had a map thank god, as I had no idea. I had a feeling the taxi wouldn’t turn up. So I rolled it down the road at 5.30am. The bus was due to go at 6am. I was thinking of getting a taxi and the driver was sleeping then I saw a guy walking so I approached him. Turned out he was catching the same bus and allowed me to follow him to the bus. So no thinking which was good at 5.30am. Anyway got to the bus and got straight on. The guy I had walked with was from the states and he had ridden with his brother 26,000 km from Miami to Argentina, very impressive. I was impressed I kept up with him given my fitness. Not that crash hot.
Anyway felt very tired but happy to be on the bus. I enjoyed looking out the window at the magnificent mountains and the cloud wisps crossing them. I was amazed to see a volcano completely covered in snow. This was right on the Chile Argentine boarder. It is such beautiful country. In Chile the difference was visible as it is a very developed country, you can see in the roads and houses that the standard of living is very good. Funnily enough the bus driver asked me to get off the bus at a town outside of the main town I was heading for. The driver got it wrong, I was too tired to fight it just got off. I realized that I had got off early. I got some chillien pesos and didn’t worry. It was a nice tourist town, much water sports going on there. I was fine with it, went back to the bus company and told them I was heading to Santiago in Chile. He said the bus goes in 15 minutes it is a block square away. So grabbed my suitcase and started hauling it around the corner. I made the bus and it cost on $20 US to get to Santiago which was 12 hours away. So it was a good deal. I was up the front of the bus but extremely tired. I suddenly thought I will get in around 11pm. I had no idea where I would stay. I had made contact with valeria with couch surfing. I thought well if the moment arises I will ask for a cell phone. Turns out the woman next to me was the one to help. I offered her a chocolate biscuit and she discovered I could speak Spanish however I was able to communciate that i needed to contact valaria. I got in touch and valaria decided to come and get me at 11pm even though she was across the city.
Santiago is a big city, I could see it was very developed and has a population of 4 million. The bus drove in to the main terminal. I got off and recognized her. We hit it off straight away. I had to go to the toilet and it cost 500 pesos. Apparently 10,000 pesos is $20 US, so the toilet cost 500 pesos less than a dollar to pee. I always laugh at having to pay for the pleasure. In this case I had to scan my receipt to get into the loo. I laughed at that as well. We caught two taxi’s to her place. We were met by 5 dogs when we arrived. They yappped and were so excited. They were hungry so she fed them. They are nice dogs. I was so hungry when I got there. I had a shower and Valeria gave me some bread with avocado, it was heaven. The shower was also heaven, I so needed to relax after such a long journey. We had a great chat and got to bed around 2am. I was exhausted but welcomed a sleep. The bed dipped in the centre, but I was grateful for a place to stay. Traveling has taught me humility and to take nothing for granted in this world. The kindness of people is what keeps you going and gives you a sense of place and belonging.
The next morning I woke up at 1pm. Valeria came home just as I got some food. She said we are going to lunch with her friend. We caught the metro across town to be with her friend. Turns out the friend had just had a baby on Friday. She looked fantastic and the father was doting and a wonderful support. He helped her with the child and it was beautiful to watch them falling in love with their baby. The baby was very calm. The mama was there and luckily for me they spoke English. Gorgio the husband didn’t’ but it turns out he is a teacher and he found me some places to do clowning at schools. So I connected with the right people. We had a lovely healthy lunch with some wine. I really enjoyed relaxing there. The mum had worked in the UN as a corrector of Spanish into high level language. She was originally from Uraguy and they had to fled as the dictatorship was brutal. She fled to Vienna where she worked in the Spanish section. She is a lovely woman. I told them of my journey as a clown and my belief in peace and how it starts with each person. I believe it is possible but people have to make major shifts in their thinking and realise we are all one. We are not just separate units operating in isolation of the whole. We are community whether we feel the connection or not. What we do impacts each other. We are responsible for our behaviour and what we communicate is emulated in the world.
After a wonderful lunch we headed to Valeria’s work mates house. They were dressing as prostitutes and I thought they were going out. They looked very raunchy but it turns out they were doing a photo shoot for a calendar. They were very good looking women and men. They said work is like this every day, fun. They were very sensual which is what I would expect from Latinos. They dressed me up as well and I wore a brown wig. It was a different look but it was fun to see myself differently, sexy I am not used to, I don’t even know how to look sexy in my eyes. I am so innocent when I go out. I laugh at the male female dynamic. There is much passion here. I am having fun and looking forward to spending time with Valaria. She is welcoming me and I can stay at her place.
So I am here for another 3 weeks then off to New Zealand. Will report when I can as I have no computer. So have to find a good deal.
I am lost without it but that is life.
I am still watching the photo shoot at 1.05am, they are still going strong, I will just wait until it is time to go home and have a good sleep. It is funny being a peace clown I am so far away from the image of sexy, almost don’t recognise myself as I don’t communicate that way. I have to be with the right person to really express that and at this point I have no desire.
Anyway, tomorrow the museums, particularly the one on human rights, should be interesting. I want to look into the Pinochet era.