Realizing that the core of my Spanish – una cerveza, por favor – was decidedly not going to help me figure out where to catch the bus was a desperate moment. Not to mention the subsequent shame when I bashfully resorted to holding up my phone with the question to the window at the information desk, full-screen with an obnoxious blue background on Google Translate to announce my incompetence. All the while shrinking with the mild paranoia that everyone thinks I’m one of those pretentious tourists that believes everyone ought to speak English. Morever, confused about how I would have managed a decade ago in the pre-cell travel era.
One week in Chile filled with improvised sign language, smiling stupidly and dishonourable uses of Google Translate, and I registered for a week-long intensive Spanish class. There is no way I would survive three months in Chile with only the ability to order a beer in the local language.
Sitting in the Vancouver airport, I was full of nerves and butterflies – I was on the road again. Eighteen hours of travel later including a brutal red-eye where it’s impossible to get any decent amount of sleep, the dusty peaks of the South American backbone, the Andes, emerged.
Santiago is hot and loud as is typical for South American cities. The air is stagnant and you can hardly see the mountains that encircle the city. As I poured over the Lonely Planet in my Airbnb, I got occasional relief from the sweltering heat as the fan blew air across the rivers of sweat running down my arms. My body was currently acclimatized to a winter world of rain, hot cocoa and furnaces; but within hours, I’d transported it to a city the heat is so fierce that I’m convinced it’s where the devil lives.
Nice to meet you...
I'm Andi (hence the blog name). I'm a travel aficionado, passionate eater, tireless explorer of internet rabbit-holes, and amateur thinker. Join me as I give it all up (ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration) and go around the world on a mid-career "soul sabbatical" & year-of-learning to figure out what to be NEXT when I grow up. Won’t you grab a cup of chai and stay a while?
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