...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lesson learned: I should never go on The Amazing Race

Anyone remember that episode of TAR a season or two ago when Lori and Bolo missed the last bus out of this German town and had to sleep outside the bus station and everyone thought they would surely be Philiminated, but then there was major bunching and they ended up, like, winning the next leg of the race? Yeah, that was pretty much my Tuesday morning.

We had Monday and Tuesday off for All Saint´s Day and Day of the Dead, so Carla and I decided to go to San Pedro de Atacama, about twenty-four hours to the north of Valparaíso by bus. It was a great trip, and I´ll probably write more about it later. What wasn´t so great was getting separated the morning we had to catch our bus, waiting in the wrong place (I assumed the buses would leave from the same place they arrived), and getting left behind...with all of the later Tur Buses completely booked. I was crying pretty hard by this time. Originally I thought I could get a taxi driver to speed me over to Calama, the pueblo an hour away that the buses pass through. He told me it would be twenty-five thousand pesos, about fifty dollars. I had only four thousand on me, and my debit card didn´t work in the ATM. I asked him if I could send him the money later, and he seemed to be considering it, but ultimately decided no. I enquired about Tur Buses into Calama, but they were all full and wouldn´t have arrived until an hour and a half after my Tur Bus left.

So...I hitch-hiked into Calama (it wasn´t as scary as it sounds; the people had little kids in the car!) and found a Pullman Bus into Valparaíso that was leaving in an hour. My Tur Bus ticket was useless, of course, and since it was my fault for missing the bus, they couldn´t refund it, so I lost about forty dollars in the deal. But because Pullman buses run directly to Valpo, and the Tur Buses go through Santiago, I ended up getting back at about the same time as I would have if I had just caught the original bus. And, ironically, it was cheaper to just buy a new bus ticket for twenty-two thousand than it would have been to have the taxi guy take me for twenty-five thousand.

It was a horrible situation, and for awhile I thought I was going to be stranded in San Pedro for at least a day. But you know what? After putting about thirty hours between myself and the sinking feeling and the guilt and the begging and the crying, I´m sort of proud of myself for managing myself and surviving.