18 September 2014

Chile - Day Two - Chilean Independence Day

Our next day in Chile was Independence Day, which is why we chose to go at this time. Molly's classes were cancelled all week so we had her all to ourselves.

Read a bit about Chilean Independence HERE.

We took the metro to a huge local park where much of the city of Santiago was celebrating. There were street vendors selling everything from candy to jewelry to toys and kites. In fact kites are a big recreational thing in Chile, of which I was not aware.

A word about bathrooms. I asked Molly that first day what the deal was with public bathrooms, and she said, "Yeah, that's a bit of a problem. They're few and far between." In other words, if you have the chance to go, then go. And try not to drink too many liquids when you're out. That's why this sign was very important to us.

A kite graveyard.

And a word about the flag. Ignorant of the make-up of the Chilean flag, when we first arrived in town, I saw these flags hanging out a few windows. I thought, Wow, would you look at that - proud Texans right here in Chile.

Yeah, um,... no. The Texas flag is different. Only SLIGHTLY different, but that's not it.

We took the Metro back downtown. Oddly, there was some blond guy who kept following us and getting in our photos.

I kid. That is Clayton, one of Molly's American classmates in Chile. And trust me when I tell you that he looked even more out of place than we did!

The Presidential Palace...

And the biggest Texas - - I mean, Chilean flag I've ever seen in my life, right across the street from the palace. So beautiful and patriotic!

At this point, we had walked several miles and no restaurants were open. We walked blocks and blocks looking for someplace - anyplace to get food. Finally we found a diner - that had restrooms! Win-win! We sat down in a booth and opened the menu, but although Molly and Clayton have mastered Spanish grammar, they are still a bit rusty on their food vocabulary. It took us twenty minutes of looking up words in our dictionaries before we could order lunch, but we finally figured it out.

A word about our hotel. We rented a small apartment through Hotels.com, which turned out to be wonderful and very centrally located. But I found that in Chile, I had to put aside my expectations of what one normally finds in an American hotel.

For the three of us, they gave us three bath towels for the entire week, and that was it. No hand towels, no washcloths, no bathmat. Of course, I did not realize that this was all we'd get, so on the very first day, after using my towel in the shower, I put it on the floor to use as a bathmat, assuming housekeeping would bring more when they cleaned our room.

No such luck.

There were also no sheets on Molly's twin bed (that doubled as sofa). She had a comforter, and that was all.

We phoned, we stopped at the front desk, we begged. They were very friendly and made all sorts of promises to bring what we needed right away. But the second and third days passed with no new towels, nor sheets.

On the second day, the internet went out in our room, so we had to go to a stairwell outside the lobby if we needed to use the internet. We phoned about this too.

Thankfully, on the fourth day, they brought us one clean bath towel and one hand towel. Hurray! But in spite of daily requests, they never brought Molly's sheets, nor did they fix the internet.

At one tired and low moment, I became furious, fuming about the lack of service. To this, Molly told me I needed to lighten up. "You're in Chile now, Mom, and they might never bring you what you need. Here, you learn to do without. I'd advise you to do the same."

Good advice, young grasshopper.

Copyright © 2014 - Paulla Estes

No comments: