It Gets Better

I see the bad moon arising. 
I see trouble on the way. 
I see earthquakes and lightnin'. 
I see bad times today. 

Don't go around tonight, 
Well, it's bound to take your life, 
There's a bad moon on the rise. 

Hope you got your things together. 
Hope you are quite prepared to die. 
Looks like we're in for nasty weather. 
One eye is taken for an eye. 

                                             John Fogerty

Monday 11NOV13

We got up in the morning about 6am. I had to be at the bus terminal at 7am, since my bus leaves at 7:30am. I changed, heated up the rest of the lentils and vegetables for breakfast, and woke Aodhan. He was pretty good. He changed out of his pajamas and ate his breakfast. I realized then that his pajamas were soaking wet with urine. I washed them and put them in a bag, and tried unsuccessfully to get him to change his boxer shorts. I should have just ignored it. I didn’t have the time to follow through with my threats. I try never to do that. I just couldn’t believe he was willing to ignore the urine soaking through his clean trousers. I had to leave and go to the bus with him because it was already after 6:30am. I don’t know what goes on in his mind, just extreme defiance and anger and opposition to everything. On the way to the bus terminal, I guess just to prove his point, he peed in his pants more, despite me pointing out bathrooms, trees, and other places to relieve himself. He just stood at the edge of the sidewalk, leaning against a fence, and wet himself a little more. Then he tried to pull his sweater over it and hide it, and say he didn’t and demand that he needed more sweaters to wear. I said some not nice things to him, told him he had peed himself and it wasn’t a problem that it happened, it was a problem that he wouldn’t change and wanted to wear wet clothes. I told him he would get a rash and maybe even an infection, and I told him he would wear diapers if this continued.

We got to the subway station, and after walking through three large confusing stations, found the CATA window again, and checked in. We went to where the bus was leaving and it was 7:16am. I noticed a bathroom and asked Aodhan if he wanted to go. He, surprisingly, said yes. I stood in the line to pay, and he said he didn’t want to pay. He bullied and pushed his way through the turnstiles into the bathrooms. They gave up. I stayed in line and paid the 400 pesos and told them it was for him. Always it is something new. Now it is bathroom problems. He has also been peeing around toilets on the floor. Why? I don’t know. He did it a few times in our apartment in Arequipa. He did it on the bus from Arequipa to Tacna. He did it on the airplane from Arica to Santiago. They had to close the bathroom and we only had one bathroom for the rest of the flight. Luckily it was near the end of the flight. In our apartment in Santiago, he peed all over the floor, and yelled and yelled and threatened to make him lick it up if he ever did it again. He hasn’t done it since. However, now of course, he is peeing his pants.

The ride through the mountains was mostly uneventful and beautiful. Every few minutes a new, more beautiful scene appears on the horizon. I took a lot of pictures of mountains, and they are all beautiful, except they are through a grimy reflective glass window. The driver tried to give Aodhan a cake, but I told Aodhan they were for sale and he couldn’t have one. I brought chocolate chip gluten free cookies and corn tortillas and apples and oranges and red pepper to eat. 

I was dreading the border, because we would have to take all our luggage and go through customs. As soon as Aodhan began to see snow, he began to demand a second sweater. He tried to climb over me saying he was going to get his sweater from the suitcase underneath the bus. Thank goodness they made us check the suitcase again. He was not so adamant, just agitated about it, and he settled down quickly each time, only to ask again five minutes later. I said the only thing he could have from the suitcase was clean underwear because he smelled so bad (which was true). I also told him, when he asked again, that the last time I let him have a second sweater, he hit and kicked and beat me. I said that behavior did not make me want me to give him one now, and he was going to have to live with that. He did not argue with that. 

The border came, and it was wonderful. They didn’t get the luggage off the bus. They did not ask a lot of questions. They did not make Aodhan come near the booth, they just looked across to where he was sitting. I let him get a cup of Andean mountain snow to eat on the bus, and we were off into Argentina!!!

The guy on the bus next to us turned out to be a great guy. His name is Emiliano, and he lives in Mendoza. We talked a lot in a mixture of Spanish and English. When we got to Mendoza, he helped me change my American dollars to Argentinian Pesos. He got me a rate of 9:1 for the $100, which by my research is a great rate. For the $20’s, he got me 8.5:1. I offered to buy him dinner, but he eats a very special diet because he teaches in a gym. Aodhan and I ate, and then we walked around together for a while, to the main square. It is very peaceful here, but there are many more poor people than in Chile. I had to keep a keen eye on Aodhan, because he liked to sneak off and try to open the suitcase and empty the contents all over the sidewalk or road to see if he could find his sweater.

I said goodbye and headed to the airport because Aodhan was getting really agitated that we would miss our plane. We got there about 5:30pm, and our plane does not leave until 7:30pm. Luckily we were able to check our suitcase immediately, but Aodhan is still demanding a second sweater in this 80˚ weather! It will be hotter in Buenos Aries.

I asked the flight attendants if they had a gluten free meal. I told them that Aodhan was Autistic. They could not accommodate a gluten free meal, but agreed not to bring him any wheat products. A few minutes before take off, the flight attendants came to talk to me and said that the pilot was not comfortable with Aodhan flying in the 9th row, and wanted us to move to the back of the plane. I told them that autistic people do not like change, and this would agitate him. He was very settled and happy where he was. I could see they were going to be adamant on this, and were not listening, so I told Aodhan that I had made a mistake and we were in the wrong row. He was very upset but did move back to the 24th row. I was a little annoyed, because Aodhan had not actually done anything, except walk back to his seat and sit down and put his seatbelt on. The pilot or flight attendants made the call based on some preconceived misconception about autism. If Aodhan had been acting badly, I would have totally understood, and thanked them for letting us fly. But, until they moved Aodhan, he was being really good. He was still pretty good after they moved us, anxious, and asking the flight attendant for water, but not climbing on anyone or yelling or anything. I was a bit miffed, but I also kept thinking that this was a glass house I was living in, and perhaps it was better not to throw stones. Also, although they could not have realized it at that point, because they had not gone near him, he smelled pretty bad at this point, and I was glad we were at the back with a bunch of empty seats around. I am just sad for Autistic people, or people with other problems whose lives are made more difficult by people who do not understand their condition. Apparently a Down’s Syndrome boy was pinned to the ground and frisked by police because he had a bulge in his pants after leaving a store. It was his colostomy bag, which they pulled out. He was a block from his house.

The flight ended and we took the bus into the very big airport. Aodhan really wanted at taxi, and so we took one, for 200 pesos (about $25/40 minutes) into the city. The driver was really nice and we talked in Spanish and a little English all the way to the hotel. He played his Creedence Clearwater Revival CD, and we sang along. 

The apartment is nice, a little more basic than the one in Santiago, and the kitchen is just a microwave, sink and fridge. If it had a table and a couple of chairs, it would have a much better look and feel. But it is clean and I knew I was only getting a microwave, so I think it is still a good apartment.

My lovely little apartment in Santiago

Pictures of the Mountains

The sun was glaring on the front windshield of our bus, and it was like a sauna in there. I was just wearing a thin t-shirt and I was roasting. But, because Aodhan saw snow through the windows he demanded another sweater. Luckily the suitcase was under the bus.

Aodhan eating his Andean Snow cone

There's not a lot of snow left, because it is almost summer here.

Aodhan's pajamas hanging to dry on the bus!

South American Driving tip #5 - Take everything in one trip.

Mendoza. Like Chile, Mendoza has lots of wide streets for pedestrians only.

The plaza in Mendoza

My new friend Emiliano

My apartment in Buenos Aries