October 22, 2011: Caminar sin intención

I slept for a full 15 hours; I didn’t know such things were possible (at least not since my teenagehood). My room has curtains which make it dark as night when closed; I think I shall leave them open tonight so that I may actually wake at a decent hour tomorrow. Once I finally arose, I went to shower. The shower here is a fickle creature: it took five minutes to show any sign of warmth, and then it was scalding, and then it went back to chill and wouldn’t budge until I relocated the showerhead. When I emerged, V. was bustling in the kitchen making breakfast: hard bread-biscuits, jam, marmalade, scrambled eggs, strawberries, and tea.

View from the sun-porch.

After breakfast, I checked emails and then read in the sun-porch for a while. I felt as though I should go Do Things today — explore, shop — but was very content in my little alcove and could hardly muster any momentum. (Perhaps I shall title this trip “Chile: or, Temporarily Beating My Introvert Nature Into Painful Submission.”) Eventually, I asked V. about places I might go, even though I wasn’t really sure where. A shop, perhaps? “Well, what sort?” Er, one that sells food? She marked several supermarkets for me on my map, and I told her I might shop at them or I might just — ack, how does one say “wander” in Spanish? The closest I could get was “caminar sin intención,” or “walk without intention.”

I set off down the eleventy-billion stairs, and reached the cobbled street that I can see from the sun-porch. I followed the steep roads downhill, completely non-confident in my ability to get back (but with a map in my bag). Some snapshots: a panadería with tiny bread sculptures in its window; a slanted street completely lined with black cabs and chatting drivers; many dogs, who might sleep in the middle of the pavement but preferentially wedged themselves into more secure locations (splayed inside a cement flowerbed, curled in the bottom of a wire frame intended for a tree but currently devoid of anything but dog). Only one person tried to appeal to my touristhood: he rode up to me on a bicycle, asked if I spoke French — no? — English?, asked if I was a student, and started to tell me about his hurt leg. Do I look more French than American? I told him I couldn’t help him, and he said it was okay because I was a student. (I’m already finding it very confusing when strangers talk to me in English; I even tried to answer his English queries in Spanish.)

Eventually, I decided to turn back; I had gotten within a stone’s-throw of the ocean, and my headache was getting a little worse. I tried to retrace my steps and got most of the way back without issue, but then I turned onto a street a little too early and got quite lost. (That’s the best way to learn your way around, right?) After a thirty-minute wandering detour, I reached our little cobblestone street, but then I turned one stairway too early. The top of this stairway had an excellent vista-point of the city and ocean… from which I departed hurriedly because several loud stray dogs had decided I was in their territory. Did not get bitten, and found my way home again.

5 thoughts on “October 22, 2011: Caminar sin intención

    1. It is this vast distance betwixt me & my Kathleen. My head, she just cannae take it!
      (Actually, I get migraines & lately have also been having many smaller headaches. I know not why.)

  1. I like the last bit about escaping from savage, wild dogs. It was a near thing, I’m sure! In my travels I have also found it slightly frustrating that when speaking the local language, locals still try to speak to you in English. It begs the question: Do my language skills suck that badly? Am I so incoherent? Or perhaps they are just used to speaking in English to tourists and have come to think its the polite thing to do. And grants them a better shot at getting money from tourists, I’m sure.

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