Today is the first day that has really felt like fall. There is a chill in the air and gray clouds hang low over the city, lower, even, than the usual layer of smog and grit. I brought in my laundry as it didn’t seem to be drying out on the balcony. I put on socks and sweatpants rather than my usual shorts. I’m usually warm, even when others around me are cool, and yet today I’ve had trouble getting warm.
The people of Santiago are odd, to me, in their tendency to dress as if in an arctic clime when it gets down in the 50s. They were dressed this way today. And, yet, when I stopped for a bite at a cafe down the street that I like, I found them all outside. Very, very bundled up, but eating outside. I went in, because I was cold, and found no one. I took my jacket off and had lunch. I got looks that suggested taking my jacket off was strange behavior even though it was kind of toasty in the cozy cafe. So, they think I’m weird. I think they’re weird. We all seemed to get along.
To a North American, it’s odd that it is fall in May. But 2017 will be odd, seasonally, for all of us in Southern Cone. We will experience two full autumns and miss spring entirely. Along with that, we’ve traded a month of summer for a month of winter. That doesn’t sound like a good trade but the earth tilts as the earth tilts. So, we’re now at the norther equivalent of early November.
Here is a look out the window:
I posted that picture on its own on facebook and had a friend say more color was needed to really be fall. I don’t necessarily disagree but it won’t be forthcoming in Santiago. I’ve yet to see a leaf color much different than shown in the photo. Yellows and browns, mostly. There are also evergreen trees and palm trees that, while retaining color have gone all wilty.
Thus, I was not able to pull myself out of the house until nearly 1. I decided that, with Mary’s delayed arrival, I would complete the quest to buy her some peanut butter. I had tried all week and failed. It is, apparently, not carried at Unimarc or Lider Express. But we bought some at Ekono our first week in Santiago, back in January. Ekono still has a spot for it but didn’t have any stock all week. I was starting to think it a seasonal item.
I decided to make the trek to the Jumbo in Costanera Center. I don’t like this store. It is very large, sells far more than a grocery store should, is located in a mall and is always very, very crowded. But there was nothing for it. It was, as expected, very crowded. I wandered the aisles for half an hour. I found a dozen things I thought we could use but I didn’t want to stand in line for stuff I can buy closer to home. I saw two different nutella displays. More dulce de leche than a human could eat in a year. No peanut butter.
In frustration, I texted the group chat to see if anyone knew if Jumbo had peanut butter and, if so, where it was. Waiting for an answer, I continued walking the aisles. I saw yet another section of nutella, this one on the regular shelves, not a separate display. And, even from a distance, I could see what looked like peanut butter on the highest shelf. I tried to go in for a closer look but there was a couple in the way. Like I say, it was crowded. I was impatient but it’s an urban environment and they have a right to spend an hour selecting just which jar of nutella they really want, sure.
But then, unbelievably, I noticed that these two were my students. They were discussing nutella. I moved in close and yelled, as loud as I politely could in a public store, “MOVE!”
The young man, whom I will not identify jumped. It was that sort of mixed reaction where, on the one hand, he’s following orders to move when yelled at and, on the other, he’s a fit man who isn’t going to take any crap from some rude jerk. But then he saw who I was and started laughing. So did the young lady. I told them they should have responded to the group chat. She pulled her phone out, checked, laughed and said, pointing, “It’s here.”
With peanut butter in hand we discussed the soccer game they’d gone to last night. I had planned to join them but decided what with the cough and the early morning I should get a good night’s sleep. It was a wise move in one respect: public transport shut down before the game was over and no one got home until after 1am. But in another respect, I ended up not having an early morning and they reported having a great time. Ah, well. It’s a long season.
I am now back in the apartment and I need to dust again. The windows are closed but somehow the Santiago grit still gets in the room. I wiped everything down yesterday before work, in anticipation of Mary’s arrival, and 24 hours later it looks like I didn’t do anything. The ease with which these particles enter one’s home is amazing.