One of the problems with not knowing Spanish in a Spanish speaking country is transportation. Riding the metro is easy enough. Especially when its as beautiful as it is in Santiago. Taking a three hour bus ride to the coast however, is another story.

I was on my way to Quintero for a couple days at the ocean. I went to the bus station and bought a ticket for what was called the ´Direto¨. I thought that meant it would go directly to the beach and I could just get out there.
No, apparently direto means that the bus will pick up every single person on the highway with their thumb out, and make tons of stops in random towns. The whole trip was a white knuckle adventure for me because I didn´t know what the destination looked like and more and more people were getting off the bus. Finally at the last stop there were just 3 people left when we pulled up to a dirt field where people were riding horses, luckily my stop was the next one.

So I get out, take a taxi to the beach. The taxi, like every single taxi I have been in since I started my trip, was of course a Toyota Yaris. (You could start a clever side business Sophie) I get to the beach and am greeted by a lovely German girl who works at the hostel which is just a cute pair of houses steps from the beach.
So I drop my stuff, slather on a ton of sun tan lotion and go for a stroll along a dark sanded beach. Of course I put the lotion on myself so I couldn´t reach every spot. So there is a very red bat-shaped rhombus in the middle of my back now. Perhaps I should have gone against my instincts and said to Angie ¨Hey we´ve just met, but hows about you rub some lotion all over me?¨ Yea perhaps so.

The first night a bunch of people from all over checked in and we had a pirate party. Most of you know I do not need a reason to act ridiculous. Drinking in itself is enough of a reason. So as you can imagine, dressing as a pirate while drinking the local favorite Pisco, did nothing to subdue me. If anything it added to the nonsense because I was able to buy an eye patch in town. This was only kind of cool, because while I got to end every sentence with ¨ARRRR¨ I also kept walking into shit.

So by the time 1 am came, and we´d had some drinks, and I was trying to shoot pool, while wearing an eye patch... well, let´s just say we never finished that game.

The next morning I tried surfing in an ocean with an extremely powerful undertow. Our surf instructor was face down on the beach when we met him. He also didn´t speak English. He was very friendly though and I had a Mexican friend with me who helped translate. That however did not enable me to do any real surfing.
I did a lot of paddling, a bit of flailing, and some partial drowning. And then my cord broke and my surf board floated away. So I watched as the locals on the beach laughed at the skinny pale kid trying to run after his surf board which was moving way faster than him. It was around this point that I stepped on a sharp sea creature... or a steak knife... it really could have been either one. So I pretty much lost at surfing

We then went into town, got some groceries so our Mexican friend could cook us a feast. When we got back we played paddle ball and volleyball. I lost at volleyball as well. So I had pretty much lost at every activity I had played. So for that nights Mexican feast (we all dressed as banditos) we headed down to the bar and I tried to redeem myself at pool. Once again I lost.
All of a sudden someone from the hostel comes up to me and tells me these two Chilenos want to play me in Foosball or what they call, ¨TAKKA TAKKA¨ (say it out loud, its fun).

I honestly thought I was about to get hustled. Like this was some sort of a scam. Hey, get the gringo with the bat-shaped rhombus on his back to play Foosball, we´ll take him for every peso he has. I was even more skeptical when before I event agreed to play these kids are betting. They wanted me and the Australian kid who I´d been paired up with to bet them beers. So I said OK.

It is at this point that I must reference my senior year in college when we had a Foosball table in our house. This is one activity I do not suck at. Those Chilenos bought us some beers after a rousing game which we won 5 to 1, then they won the second game, but the third game we claimed in the name of of the pale folk! They had raised the stakes at this point so we were playing for empanadas! We felt bad taking their money though, so we just kept their pride. It felt good.
I woke up the next morning with a considerable amount of mosquito bites on my feet and hands and arms. There is one on my finger so big that it looks like I am wearing a flesh colored engagement ring.
Not cool.
Hopefully I don´t get yellow fever, but there´s really no guarantees in life.
I jumped into town around noon to go back to Santiago and got right on a bus which said ¨Direto¨ and this bus stopped at every street for about an hour. I was nervous I would never make it back to Santiago. Also when I got on the bus the driver handed me a tiny key which I said wasn´t mine, then he said something which I pretended meant it was for the bathroom. So I kept it.
As you can imagine my Spanish is still nonexistent. I only know 2 phrases, and ¨Please don´t molest me¨ has turned out to be only slightly more useful than ¨My wife is an engineer.¨
So I get back to Santiago, crash for the night, go to the airport the next morning and fly to Buenos Aires super early. I will tell you about Buenos Aires as soon as my rhombus heals.