Monday, February 18, 2008

Civilization Sucks

I know Chile. I know its people. I know it´s language and it´s customs. I know what the evening breeze off the Andes mountains feels like. I know what a pisco sour tastes like. In the last week, I´ve eaten more empanadas than I can count. I´ve lived here, dividing my time between Chile´s most educated and Chile´s most in-need.

But I don´t fit in. I´ve gotten used to being stared at on the Metro. I hardly feel it anymore. I surprise cashiers when I speak to them clearly in Spanish. I guess I fail to realize that all they see is a Gringa. They don´t suspect I´ve lived here or know much of anything at all about what´s going on around me. I proved them right last night at the bus station.

After boarding my 11:30 overnight bus last night to La Serena, a beach town 7 hours north of Santiago, I finally relaxed. Bus terminals are like mine-fields for tourists getting robbed. But I was careful. I kept my bags well guarded.

Did I expect that the bus company would allow people on the bus without a ticket? No.... And I certainly didn´t expect someone to follow me onto the bus without a ticket, wait until my guard was down, and run off with my carry-on.

But that´s what happened... and I´ve lost my passport--my passport with 10 years worth of stamps in it. 2 visas. A special stamp from Ushuaia that says Fin del Mundo. All gone, along with all of my jewelry, toiletries, medicine, and 2 pairs of shoes.

Is that what I get for being crazy enough to travel alone? Let´s hope not.

I got off the bus before it left last night, one bag less, and proceeded to fight with the bus company who refused to take responsiblity for the stolen backpack and who also refused to pay me back for the price of the ticket.

I´m now in Santiago, waiting.... I need a new passport before I can get out of here but the embassy was closed today. I hope I can lift my spirits again in order to enjoy the rest of this trip.

Oh, and since my camera cord has been stolen (thank god not the camera itself), I won´t be able to post any pics til I get home :(

But keep reading. Things can only get better from here, right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Having your pack stolen is only one of the many dangers of traveling alone.

I also go off on solo expeditions. I can not seem to talking anyone into dropping their fears long enough to come with me! I am traveling to Costa Rica for a two month stint in 4 weeks. I am a very petite female and only 22 years old, but I think the travel is worth the risk.

Sorry to hear about your recent tough times, but hang in there and be sure to take care of yourself.