Kristofer and I hopped on the bus. Right on. We started getting comfortable. The nice thing about overnight bus trips is that you get to sleep and wake up in your destination. But…something sinister was stirring. The man behind us had met a girl. And although we didn’t yet know it, he was going to talk to her the whole night. Not quietly, mind you, but like you and I would talk in a crowded and noisy room. It seemed that even after she went to sleep he kept at it, talking about life, himself, her, his job – you know the story. It´s okay, I figured, he can´t talk forever. He has to get tired eventually. It´s midnight already, after all. Nope. He kept talking. And talking. And talking. Two hours at the Chilean border (standing in lines, getting bags inspected) didn’t tire him out either. He kept at it. And at it. And at it. Now, my friends, that´s how you win over a woman (if he can show her that he can talk this long…she can infer how long he can do other things, if you know what I mean *wink wink*)
I think I got about 30 minutes of sleep the whole night as I didn’t want to join Kristofer in the back of the bus (he had moved) on account of the incredible heat back there. So there we were, in Santiago (at least we arrived…at least), and me without any Chilean Pesos. So I had to find an ATM, which is easy in Santiago.
“Invalid Transaction”. What the hell? Let´s try again.
“Invalid Transaction”. Okay, we´ll find another on the way to the hostel (which we had not yet picked out).
We walked a lot that morning looking for a hostel. I think we walked for nearly two hours, and I really had to relieve my bladder, because it cost 100 Pesos to use the bathroom in the bus station and I didn’t have any money. I also tried a lot of ATM´s. All with the same (F$@”ing) response. But we eventually found a hostel and then got something to eat (while I tried more ATM´s).
No luck. And the banks couldn’t do a direct withdrawal unless I had my passport, which was back in the room.
OK, timeout. I need some sleep. I went back to the room and slept for a few hours and then returned to the bank. But it was closed. Yep. Bankers in Chile only have to work 5 hours a day, so it seems. Must be nice.
So I went online and had my dad call my bank to see what the problem was. As it turns out, they decided after nearly 5 months of international traveling that the past transaction was suspicious as it was done out of the United States and they didn’t know I was going to be traveling. So they shut me down. No email or anything. Awesome. So we finally got it squared away, but not before I took out some money on my credit card in desperation (which I will pay a hefty commission for, I promise).
No worries. Let´s just enjoy the city. Kristofer and I explored the streets for a while and went back to the hostel for dinner. We met the other travelers at the hostel (there were a ton) and then walked down to see if there were cheaper hostels close by. We found some, but not close by, and when we got back, we passed out with exhaustion.
The next day, I went exploring solo, and after a few rude encounters with people (everyone we have met has noticed that the people in Chile seem to be noticeably rude, for some reason), and visiting the modern art museum, I randomly met up with Kris in an internet cafe. We headed off to get his pictures developed and then went to a jazz concert in the middle of a park in the city. It was pretty nice and there were a ton of people and the wine we had smuggled in in water bottles helped us enjoy it even more. We ended up sitting on the grass talking for a while and then a few girls came up to us and started making conversation. After a while though, we got tired out and headed home unaccompanied, despite the requests on behalf of one of the ladies sitting next to us to both come home with her that night (remember what I said about the fact that there don´t seem to be many attractive Chilean girls like in Argentina), and hit the sack.
The next day we spent wandering around the city again and Kris gave me a pretty awesome photography tutorial. He taught me a lot of things about the settings for your camera when taking pictures and I am really excited. I am starting to get creative with my pictures and I think they will start getting a lot better and more interesting (better late than never). We didn’t do much that day, nor the day after – but we go our different ways from Santiago and I am now in Pucón, in Southern Chile. Our buses were at the same time, so we got to say goodbye at the bus station, but he was headed to Bolivia. It really is amazing how close you get to random people and you get better at saying goodbye and not letting it get you down. The bus was pretty comfortable and I arrived here without a problem, although I have no clue where I am going next. South. That´s all I know. South. Yeah…South.