Oh man, how on earth does this thing work?

Hey hey ladys and lads visiting my page! I don't mean to alarm you but I am a bit of a technical meatsack, hence my ugly colour choice and most likely confusing layout. I apologise but have no real intention of improving. Sorry.

If you were still under the impression that this page was an insight into the life and times of my travels in Chile, that I have to sadly dash your dreams of a hilarious tale of my incompetence- I'm back in NZ baby! However, seeing as I've had such a great response to my blog and since my theripist thinks it's a good way for me to share my thoughts (joke), I am going to continue this blog, most likely in a random fashion, with tales of day to day hilarious misunderstandings, annoyances, and general thoughts from out of the blue.

Enjoy, or don't, its your call.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Letters to Beth- A solo journey to Pucòn.

So apparently- in a fairly deranged state I might add- I started writing Bethany Pawson a letter once while I was on a bus on the way to Pucòn, in Chile, around the date of early September. Here-in lies the letter, plus any elaborations/ interesting details I had forgotten to add at the time.

Oh. Em. Gee.

Bethic, I had to write a special edition letter to you, stating the hilariously awkward events preceeding my even leaving my home city on the way to my Pucòn minibreak.

After having a sweet convo with my favourite local Entel (phone company) man, I jumped on a random bus into the city. Now heres Chile for you, the local city buses don't take you directly to the intercity bus station, infact they don't even take you to the street its on, they take you to a one way back road about 2 streets over. Awkwardly enough, I didn't even know where this street was, I'd never been there before but was keen to give it a shot. So here I am, bussing along, minding my own, when suddenly I wildly panic and think that I've over shot my mark and am waay past the termy drop off. So all of a dither I flap my hands at the bus driver and get off the bus, only to find myself in a dodgy area lacking in people but full of crumbiling plaster bungalows and a sea of beige apartment buildings.

I loiter, looking like a damn fool, for approx 3 minutes, while trying to figure out which way I should go,- maybe that beige building looks familiar, have I seen that crumbling bungalow before?? Eventually- after realising, no, that wasn't where I needed to be, I spied a man wheeling a trolley suitcase down the road and took off after him in a direction that I hoped would lead me to the land of milk and honey, or in anycase, the bus station. Keep in mind I had only a half hour until the last bus of the day left, and I had no idea of how far I was from the station. While I speed-walked, I entertained a fantasy about what I would do if I missed my bus. I decided there was no way I was to go home with egg on my face and a story of "I couldn't find the bus station and therefore am not going away for the weekend", so in the event of the worst case scenario coming true, I was to find a hostel in Concepciòn, and hole up there for the weekend. "yes" I thought to myself "Who would know? I'll buy a postcard with a picture of Pucòn on it, no one will know I haven't actually been..."

After a good 7 minutes of light jogging, I decided to go in for the kill and summoned all my courage, (and all my Spanish), and blurted out to a passing stranger "DISCULPE!, eeeer, es esta Callao? Nessecita el bus terminal por favor!" The woman looked shocked, I wasn't sure if it was due to my obvious lack of orientaion, or my poor spanish, or my sweaty brow, but it was clear that within seconds she had taken this poor wretch on as her own, and I was as good as in with a personal guide. She lead me on to some other street, and as we walked we talked, it even turned out that she knew enough English to ask me my name and where I was from, too which I was hesitant in replying to, least she got the idea all New Zealanders had such poor internal GPS situations as I do. She got me onto another bus, and then gave the driver instructions on when to release me from the bus, while strictly stating that in no way was I to get off earlier than the stop I was destined for. She then bid me farewell, and I could only stammer a classic "Gracias" at her kindess.

I finally reached my bus, and here you would think it was time to relax no? Well Beth, you couldn't be more wrong. Firstly some old guy, who was pretending (?) not to understand my Spanish, was sitting in my seat and wouldn't get out, so I had to go and sit somewhere else. For the remainder of that 4 hour leg I had to play hot potatoe everytime a new person got on the bus and claimed their rightful seat, while everyone else on the bus stared at me in contempt, the foolish gringa who doesn't sit in her allocated seat.

A wrong stop and a taxi later, I get on my connecting bus to Pucòn, where I put on some music to help wile away the hours before I reach my destination. A slow, haunting tune comes through my headphones, and the opening strains of "The deliverence song" from the Prince of Eygpt grace my ears. I'm not sure if you have seen the film, but it has a fantastic soundtrack, and I for one get very into my music...anyway, I found myself growing weepy at the saddening situation of Moses' mother, the fact that she had to give away her child like that, "wow" I thought as my eyes quietly filled with tears "I feel like now I can understand a mothers pain, to give up your child like that, why it would be awful!" I mangaged to keep my hormonal emotion under wraps, and thought I was away laughing, when suddenly "When you Believe" (from the same soundtrack), bursts through my buds, and I'm again swept away in an emotional river of tears as I think of the joy that the Isrelites must have felt at their long awaited freedom. When destination was reached, I slunk off the bus, still feeling quite ashamed at my hysterical outbursts of heartful emotion. I headed for the hostel I had booked, only to find that there was no way into this Fort Knox style wooden lodge. I fumed and despared at the gate, desperately trying to ring the number that Hostelbookers had given me for contacting this hostel. After about 5 minutes of standing awkwardly on a dusty sidestreet, an old man came up to me, said the equalvalent of "need help?" in Spanish, and then reached through the gate to open it, kiddie-lock style from the other side. I don't know if he had often seen other travellers struggle with the maximum security like fortress, or if he was just taking pity on a poor blonde girl who was obviously at her wits end, but it was a final kindness that Iwas truely grateful for.

Anyway Bethy, I must be off, I've made some English speaking buddies so I'm going to go and make my 80 cent pasta and talk to them about the pros and cons of South America. Can't wait to come home and tell you more about my trip!


Ainsley xo