Hola de Santiago.  Another bit of adventure leaving Buenos Aires this morning.  I haven’t yet told the story of the estancia that didn’t want to let us go but, suffice to say, I got home around midnight and only ended up with a couple of hours sleep.  I really will tell that story because it’s a good one and was a great way to end the Buenos Aires portion of the trip.

Upon arriving home, I booked a car for the morning.  I’ve done this a few times and have a service I like and trust.

That service emailed me at 2am to tell me they couldn’t pick me up at 7.  Thanks. Fortunately, I was still packing and was awake.  I spent a little time booking a second car and checked my email feverishly for the next few hours.  They were to pick me up at 6:55am but I was to be downstairs 15 minutes early.  I was there at 6:30am.  At five past seven, I went back up to the flat to check email.  Nothing. Back downstairs. I saw on the email a US number I could call (I can do that with skype – I had turned in my Argentine phone supplied by the program the day before so I could no longer call Argentine numbers).  I went back upstairs and called.  No luck.

I thought I had no choice but to walk to find a cab.  I wasn’t sure if they’d take me from my neighborhood to the airport or, if they would, if I had sufficient funds to pay.  I was also lugging significant baggage.  Fortunately, I had walked no more than half a block when a van came skidding to a stop and asked if I was Paul.  I’d have said I was Saul of Tarsus himself if the guy would take me to the airport. His trunk would not fit my bag so it got to ride in the front seat.  From there, we went on the craziest ride I had in Buenos Aires.  I won’t go step by step but he was running without GPS and clearly wasn’t real sure where he should go.  But the best part, the part that inspired me to write, and a part that is also representative of the overall drive, is when he realized he was merging onto a northbound highway when he wanted to go south.  To be fair, there was a lot of construction and he couldn’t get southbound from this point because the ramp was closed.  I knew where we were and where we needed to go and just assumed he was going to go north a bit, get off, and re-enter southbound.  We’ve all done this hundreds of time, right?

No, he came to a stop, sort of got on the shoulder and proceeded to reverse against busy traffic to get off the northbound ramp.  I liked to think I’d grown used to Buenos Aires driving but this unnerved me a bit.  It seemed to unnerve other Buenos Aires drivers as well.  In any case, he eventually delivered me to Ezeiza where I got through security in record time.  The agents tore apart my bag with all the electronics and left alone the bag with lotion and shampoo (the big bottles).  Victory!

I met up with some students and we drank coffee and swapped Buenos Aires stories until time to board.

I sit now in my apartment in Santiago feeling very odd.  It was as if I’d come home.  There was my stuff on the counter by the door, my shirts in the closet, my peanut butter.  The place is clean because Mary can’t leave a place without cleaning it and she was here last time I was.  I keep expecting her to come in and tell me she’s on her way to yoga.  I mean, she probably is, but not here.  So, it feels like coming home.  On the other hand, I’ve spent three nights in this place and can’t figure out how to turn the lights on.  Definitely not home.  Hopefully, a good night’s sleep with straighten this all out.

The big news is that I have water.  Most of the city does, based on reports from my students.  Only one so far without with over half of them reporting in.

Tomorrow we start another orientation.  We’re sneaking up on the semester but it will start soon.


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