Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 5, 2011

I’ve noticed that in Chile you can tell a good taxi driver from a bad one before they even start driving. The good taxi drivers always have working seat belts. The bad ones don’t. The taxi’s driven by bad drivers are, of course, the very ones in which you would like to have seatbelts. We had two cabs without working seatbelts today. The driver of the first one was clearly in need of an anger management course. He would do little things like feint a cut off in front of a car that he felt had unjustly tried to cut him off. I was glad to arrive at our destination, having cheated death again.

Our destination was Nuestra Señora del Camino and all I can say is, well… each school is certainly different. Nuestra Señora del Camino provided a much sparer performance space than, say, SEK, in Viña del Mar, where I was on Tuesday. Big difference in the English language abilities as well. But flexibility is the name of the game when you’re working in schools and that’s particularly true here. I had three shows to do, but I was done pretty early so there was still a lot of day left. Of course, first we had to get home. Enter taxi sans seatbelts #2. This one had a driver whose method of avoiding collisions was to honk them out of the way. I closed my eyes. I could still hear the horn.

So, Alberto and I decided to recuperate by trying out the Chinese restaurant a couple of doors down from the hotel. A nice, low stress, walk. It doesn’t get any more convenient and the décor was charming. But I’ve got to say I haven’t been impressed with the Chinese food here. I suppose Taiwan has spoiled me for really enjoying any comestible product calling itself Chinese. And there are certainly plenty of other options.

I spent a little time helping Alberto move out of his digs in the apartment and into the hotel across the street. Carol, Alberto’s replacement as tour manager for the remainder of the trip, was due to arrive from Buenos Aires at around 5:00 pm. I was doing my requisite time working on the blog, when suddenly I heard the sound of drums and flutes coming down the street. It put me in mind of the first day that Karen and I spent in Taiwan, when we heard music from our apartment and dashed out into the street to see a funeral procession (at least that’s what we thought it was) in full progress. The Chilean reality – although nearly as noisy – turned out to be much more modest than the Taiwanese apparition. There were a handful of musicians with painted faces parading down the street looking for the proverbial hand out. I gave them some coins, snapped their photo and came back to the apartment, more or less waiting for Carol to show up so we could eat. In the mean time I managed to make my very own purchases at a Farmacia (Toothpaste! Fingernail clippers!!).

Carol’s flight was much delayed and so she didn’t get here until near 8 pm . That got us to dinner at a suitably Chilean time, 8:30 or so. We introduced her to El Huerto where the food was as good as ever. Back at the apartment I got to have a spontaneous Skype conversation with my sister, Michelle, to cap the day off.

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