Wry Exchange

Thursday in Chile
11-15-07, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: , ,

 I still can´t connect to the Internet with my laptop. I must have really screwed something up when I was mashing buttons in Dallas. One of the boys will have to fix it. They all love to play with computers. I have a post about Wednesday that I´ll retype and put up. I spent all day Wednesday flying down to Chile.

So, on to Thursday. I woke up in Santiago. Chef, Daughter, and I stayed at their brother´s apartment in Los Condes. It´s a very nice area of Santiago, and it´s close to a good mall. Sadly, I have almost no room for shopping. We went for lunch and shopping, then drove South to Rancagua. I´m so happy to see my family here. I also have currently have one exchange student in Rancagua that I´ll try to see, and the parents of a student up in the states, too. We went to see Daughter´s new house, and it´s gorgeous. A lot of work was done, the house was so bad before Husband and I thought they should´ve just demolished it and started over. It wasn´t as bad as we thought, but it´s beautiful now. And, I needed a doggy hug, and the dogs remembered me. I took a nap this afternoon with a Lab, so it´s all good.

One of the Bolivians didn´t read any of my emails, and went to the airport to pick me up today. She assumed American would put me on a plane and send me a day late. In South America, everyone goes to the airport to say hi and bye. I feel bad, but I¨couldn´t call yesterday, and Sparky and someone else in Bolivia knew I wasn´t arriving.

Chef and Daughter were bad today. Chef loves to make sushi, and I hate it. He knows not to make it for me, and it just kills him. I told them Sparky´s favorite food was ceviche, and I was afraid he was going to make it, and ask me to eat it. I don´t like it, and don´t want to eat it. Us hillbillies don´t like raw fish, even if it´s ‘cooked’ in lime juice. Anyway, Chef said ´Where´s he get the fish?` Bolivian is landlocked since they lost the war with Chile over a hundred years ago. Bolivians and Chileans still hold a grudge, and tend not to like each other.

Excuse the typos, I´m typing on a Chilean keyboard.


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Tuesday: I’m sitting in Dallas, waiting for my Santiago, Chile flight. WHAT? What happened to Miami to Santa Cruz, Bolivia? I can’t connect to the Internet, so I don’t have access to the news for a reason. (Pissed me off. Something isn’t compatible between the airport’s free wi-fi, and my laptop. Husband disabled something when he was with me at the first airport and got me online to send an emergency email out to everyone whose schedule I changed. Husband didn’t have his readers on, and doesn’t know what he did! Scream! Actually, it’s kind of funny. I just texted my ass off instead. Rant over.) Apparently the Bolivian air traffic controllers are on strike, and American canceled their flights for the next few days or so. The reason seemed a little fluid.
They couldn’t rebook me at the airline ticket counter, they told us we had to call an 800 number to rebook. We left the airport, expecting to eat lunch, and return home. We never got out of the car. I was on the phone for about a half hour transferring up the food chain, and finally got a flight out. They gave me options to fly to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Lima, and I suggested Santiago. They said ‘sure, and we’ll get you out Thursday morning on a partner airline to Santa Cruz. Why a partner airline can fly into Bolivia, and not American isn’t clear. Whatever. I’m flexible, and weird occurances don’t throw me. I went back in to the counter with my new itinerary. I called several people I know and love in Chile, and have someone to pick me up at the airport in the morning, and I get to spend a bonus day with them. I’m so happy I’m able to get out today. Husband took the day off to be with me, and mentally I’m ready to go. I was afraid if we went back home, I’d just crawl under the covers.
My bags weighed in at 51 pounds and 53 pounds. Thank American for letting me slide them through. My carryon is over 60 pounds, I’ve dragged it through the airports. It’s too heavy to carry far. I have extra gifts, and they’ll go to my Chilean families. I also grabbed several magazines and some other goodies.
Update: still sitting in Texas. The plane is broken-ailerons aren’t working, and they’re bringing in a new plane. We should be leaving 2 hours later….unless they decide to put everyone in a hotel for the night.
Next update: I guess the new plane idea didn’t work. We’re all going to stay in Texas, me and 199 of my new friends. I really feel bad for one couple; they are going to miss the wife’s father’s funeral on Wednesday. Other people are severely inconvenienced, but that couple is heartbroken. American is printing out hotel, dinner, and breakfast vouchers for all of us. We’re going to stay at the Gaylord Hotel (er?) and American has 3 busses for us. Good thing I followed the advice I always give to the kids to take a change of clothing and toiletries in your carry-on.
Final update: I’m in my room at the Gaylord. Holy crap! It’s fantastic. It’s dark, and I can hardly see anything, but I’m going to check out the website. It’s a resort in Grapevine, Texas. The hotel is built around a huge atrium, and it seems to include lakes. Part of it reminds me of a gallery at The Mirage in Las Vegas. There is a humongous star of Texas at the top of the glass ceilinged atrium. It’s a lot of stone, very Westerny, and has oodles of shops and restaurants along with a conference center. I finished my evening by blowing my $20.00 meal allowance on fresh berry bread pudding with creme anglaise and whipped cream and ice tea. It was the first time I’ve ever ordered room service. (I am from Appalachia.)
OK, one more: I’m fucked. Somehow I can’t get to Santa Cruz Thursday now. I am thrilled to spend more time with loved ones in Chile, but this is just rude to the Bolivians. If I want a straight flight from Santiago to Santa Cruz, it’ll be at least a week. I told them a connection is fine, just get me there. They went through Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and a few places even further away. They finally got me going through Lima on Sunday night, arriving Monday morning. Husband is calling this my Latin American Tour. He thinks I’ll hit Ecuador before I make it back home. The really bad thing is I’ll miss Sparky’s 18th birthday on Sunday.

Wednesday: Most of us are up and ready to board the busses at 5:45am for our 8:00am flight that leaves at 9:00am. It was still dark when we left the hotel, or I would’ve taken photos. We’ve lost a few people during the night, and I score 2 seats to myself. Hurray! A ten hour flight, and I can spread out. Cool. Before we left, the Captain had to come back to have a chat with two German guys who were giving the flight attendants a hard time. The men wanted to sit in the flight attendants’ row, because they ‘were so tired, and needed 3 seats each to sleep.’ One of them actually suggested the flight attendants go find empty seats in other rows with passengers. I would’ve clocked the bastard, but the woman just explained they needed to sit in the very last row, and it was part of her job. We have 3 hours to go, and will arrive at 9:30pm.
My two Chilean sons are jealous of each other, and P is pissed because I’m staying with Chef’s family. I was able to contact them first. They live further away, but Chef’s sister, our only daughter, just finished renovating her new house and is moving in this week. She wants me to see her house. P lives in an apartment with his girlfriend of 18 months. I haven’t met her yet, so I’m excited to finally meet. I haven’t seen Chef’s sister in three years, and P spent almost three months with us earlier this year. Chef’s mom came to visit us last year, and we’re close, too. Sparky will always be our only Bolivian child. It’s tough trying to split time between families. (…leaving the door open a crack for Sparky’s younger brothers.)

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