Last Moon over Santiago

Pookaverse is back in Santiago. For one night. Under the Full Moon. Not a time for undertaking as the ancients would have said.

Tomorrow we fly the 6:45-hour trip to Central America and Costa Rica.  The home of Medical Tourism, Americans seeking hip replacements. And hopefully. Just hopefully. Not the scene of coming to in a bath filled with ice with a ‘Chelsea stripe’ up your back and missing a kidney. So Brad or Marcy can sojourn and talk over other International Travelers at the hotel that you are staying in just so you know that their experience means more. To them of course. Not to you.

December Moon over San Cristobal Hill in Santiago...

December Moon over San Cristobal Hill in Santiago…

There have been tick-lists at the previous placee stayed. Not from our marvellous hosts at the Yellow House – Martin and Lysette. They have seen many people come and go and Pookaverse thinks Martin is a quick study. There have been tedious anecdotes. Just take a fucking breath? And not just from Americans either. And to be fair. We have met many interesting Americans on this trip. Who ask questions. And don’t. For example. Talk their way through (alone) their experience. On a motorbike. In Argentina. Because they have had a more intense experience than you will ever have. To them of course. Not to you.

The English are just as bad. If not worse. For talking. And not asking questions. Broadcast over communication. Some people don’t know the difference. They are lost. Pookaverse goes to a happy place in our heads. And is reminded of what Brendan said. To paraphrase. Not quote directly. “You will be gone tomorrow”. How true. In this case we were gone today. At 11am on one of the more positive transport experiences in Chile – Tur-Bus. An aeroplane  on wheels. When was the last time that you saw a coach driver in England wear a uniform. Exactly. Perfecto.

The rescue capsule for the 33 Chilean Minors as constructed by the Chilean Navy...now on display in the Chilean Navy Museum

The rescue capsule for the 33 Chilean Miners as constructed by the Chilean Navy…now on display in the Chilean Navy Museum, Valparaiso, Chile

Okey-cokey. Valparaiso is an interesting city to visit. There is no doubt. There are some negatives – litter, graffiti and stray dogs in that order. And many positives. Colour, vibrancy, the sea and Boris. If Fabianna should be the Mayor of Puerto Natales for her energy, humour, warmth and sense of civic responsibility. Then Boris should be Mayor of Valparaiso. For. Colour. Vibrancy. And warmth. And humour.

Boris knocked-off from his current job at the The Yellow House at 6.30pm yesterday. And Pookaverse was delighted when he suggested that we went out for something to eat. For Pookaverse thought that we would be saying “Goodbye” to Boris for the last time . Following our walking tour on Christmas Eve. Not so. We have been lucky with the people we have met. Or guided. Feels more like the latter. Boris took us to the student area in Valparaiso where we ate a very traditional Chilean dish. Which Pookaverse cannot remember the name of. Which to English eyes is Chips, strips of steak with a friend egg on top.

With a superb Seafood Lasagne. Pisco Sour and a jug of white wine mixed with Mango Juice. And then the best part. The chance for Boris to talk. In excellent English. Like all the English-speaking Chileans we have met. Although people have struggled with our difficult and grumpy language in different ways. The ability shared by all is to play. To understand the essence of English humor and communicate that back to the native speakers. That’s quite something isn’t it? Not an easy thing to grasp. In that syntax. Those plosives. And bastard non-sequitirs.

A stain-glass window/relief in the Chilean Naval Museum...where Copernicus sees eye-to-eye with Neil Armstrong

A stain-glass window/relief in the Chilean Naval Museum…where Copernicus sees eye-to-eye with Neil Armstrong

After a boozy dinner, Pookaverse went back to Boris’s flat. To see amongst other things. His recently acquired Italian passport of which he is very proud. As he should be. Not at least for the 5-year wait. Not at least for exhaustive research into his family tree. By Church. Not online. And Chile has a lot of churches. In one seemingly prescient moment, Boris’s brother identified the church that the final piece of the puzzle lay beneath dusty volumes. Maybe something like that. It sounds evocative in the imagination. For Boris’s tenacious family – less imagination – more graft.

He is on an open invite. When Pookaverse returns to the UK and finds somewhere to live. If possible. To come and stay.

Before we left Boris gave Pookaverse a tea-light. Into which we etched all our three thumb nails. To be lit if he returns. When he is ready. He has many places to go first.

So. Tomorrow it is San Jose. Insha’Allah. And a different type of experience. Heat and humility. Can you be useful to someone else? Can you carry? Can you make something/ Instead of consume. And lose all the fat from America. And all the other places where it was too good to resist. Two bottle of over-priced Pisco at the Airport. And then. We’ll let you know what happens…

P.S. Never one to renege on a deal, Pookaverse gives you that word. In Chilean Spanish. That captures a speck of essence of Chilean humour. That word, first taught by Luis from La Casa Escondida is “La Raja” which is beat pronounced as “La RRRaaaKKKKaaa” e.g RRRack-a. Luis said it translates as ‘The Crack of the Arse” or “The Arse”. Simply put, “the Best”.

Not one to shy from exchanges, Pookaverse has given the English equivalent back. To laughter, confusion and frowns. But mainly confusion and an attentiveness to pronounce this phrase correctly. Which to native speakers makes this go-to material even funnier. With not at. English as a second language is a difficult language. Not least as it has forced all our English-speakers to change the way that their mouths navigate through verbs, consonants and vowels. Pookaverse doesn’t envy them.

However. Our Response? Of course. “The Dog’s Bollocks”. Espanol? “El Perro Teticulos” or “El Perro Cojonnes”.

With apologies to Chilean’s everywhere and to this beautiful country they call home.

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3 Responses to “Last Moon over Santiago”

  1. Thompson Says:

    Hi Rohan and Alison, Have a safe flight tomorrow and best of luck in Costa Rica.

  2. Terri and Andrew Says:

    Hi Ali and Rohan, safe travels and happy New Year, we are probably going to Lancs tomorrow to visit family…I’m not back in work till 3rd Jan Horray!!
    Lots of Love,
    Terri and Andrew xx

  3. Anne Says:

    Sorry it has been so long – hope you had a great Christmas – pictures are looking good as always – like the fact that there is a lot more talk about food & wine – suggests another country with different priorities!!!! Everyone here is fine – planning theatre trips – going out to the pub and so on. Hilary was an ill bunny over the last couple of weeks but has finally come out of hibernation!!! Squash hasn’t been happening – so we all need to get back in to that – Jan and I are having a month off so that we can get fit!!! (my arse!!!)

    Have a great New Year. Looking forward to joining in the cooking school that you set up when you get back – I assume there will be an invite round so that you can show us ALL the photos!!!!!!!

    Take care.

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