- LOTS of couples making out on every park bench, side street, and grassy knoll that you could find. You would swear that there was some type of aphrodisiac in the Chilean water. I was not the only one to notice this, and after a few laughs and "oh, you noticed that too??" back at the hostel...a few of us figured (we may be totally wrong in this assumption, but it's all we could come up with) that since Chile is a predominately catholic country, and most people live with their families until they get married... as well as during college - the logistics of "young love" has to be played out under the public's "blind" eye.
- Piggy-backing on the above point, I also had someone tell me that divorce is still not 'legal' in Chile, therefore there is a ton of out of wedlock parenting being done. I do not have enough catholic background to hypothesize further.....but this seems to be a good example of 'not-so-uncommon-with-religious-mandates' circular logic ?!
- There was also unfortunately a big fire in one of the public buildings, that was put out by a brigade of firefighters...who it turns out are all volunteer. I am sure that there are some paid fire fighters, but it's mainly a volunteer only position.
SO...last little story: the days in Santiago were numbered, and I was looking forward to san Pedro de atacama, my next Chilean destination. In typical amy fashion, I managed to 'misplace' my bus ticket, that I had pre-purchased a few days before. I was pleasantly shocked to find it quite easy (after an hour or so of waiting in line and speaking with several different managerial levels) to get a new one printed for the taking a little break for some fresh water and to catch our breaths...the altitude plays the role of a rubber band, squeezing against your lungs with each step...so its SLOW going, as we made the acent
Same bus, same day...with them having NO proof of my prior payment, except my word and a mangled Spanish story about how I have a talent for loosing everything. This is definitely not something that I think would play out the same way in America...and I came into the situation fully expecting to have to cough over more money to buy a brand new ticket. SO...a very nice surprise and nice humanitarian way of dealing with a situation, I thought.
With a good 10 minutes buffer before departure time, I picked up some food and snacks for the journey, and feeling very pleased with myself after a nice turn of morning events, walked over to the bus to wait for boarding.
And then...while standing IN FRONT of the bus that I now had two issued tickets for.... it pulled away (somehow without my noticing?!?) and left without me!!!!
What else can you do at this point but utter gasps of disbelief...and then have a good LAUGH! Ugh!
I really have to give a HUGE shout out to Tur Bus, my absolute favorite Chilean bus company, because after all of my pandering and mismanaged logistics, they 1. Tried futilely for about 5 minutes we made it!...just in time for a little lunch and a nap in the sun, before starting the decent. The water beneath the glacier is mainly brown due to all the dirt that gets swept down and churned around when it "moves" to get the bus to turn around and come back (i think really they felt a little sorry for me after witnessing my attempted "run"...more waddle really... (fully loaded with backpacks) after the bus, arms waving and yelling "ESPERA!"...which I hoped meant WAIT!! and then 2. b/c of my lovely and very understanding ticket clerk, who valiantly rerouted me (with only minimal eye-rolling and shame on you looks), pulling together 3 different "legs" that would eventually get me into san Pedro, within a 5 hour mark on my original plan. AND - still, not making me pay any extra! gotta love it.
I need to start those Spanish immersion classes soon, because I could really use some new vocab and tips!!