I laid hands on her, I'll never stoop so low again
I guess I don't know my own strength
Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that's alright because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that's alright because I love the way you lie
Eminem (Marshall Mathers), A. Grant, H. Hafferman
I should say a little more about the collectivos to cross from Peru to Chile and vice versa. These are taxis that are somewhat disconcerting at first. You walk over to the area and there are a bunch of drivers that swarm you. They don’t look organized, but they are. They ask you where you are going to in the other country, downtown, airport, bus terminal etc, and based on your answer, you are guided into a taxi going there. There are five passengers and one driver in the taxi. The driver takes all the passports, and runs off. You are now sitting in a taxi, in a bus terminal, with no passport wondering if you need basic mental health care. But then they come back, with the necessary paperwork filled out, and drive you across the border. At the border, you have to stop and walk through on your own. Then, you pick up the same collectivo on the other side. If for some reason there is a delay at the border, then the driver will ask you for part of the money, and there will be a new collectivo at the other side. It is so foreign to our way of thinking, and involves a lot of trust in people you have never met.
The van arrived at Sunny Days hostel at 4:45 am to take us to the airport. Aodhan jumped out of bed and was ready to go. I gave him the chicken and the fruit, but he was not interested in eating. The owner of the hostel asked me if I had paid already, and I said I paid online. He said that was only a booking, they do not take credit cards, I have to pay in cash. I swallowed hard. I wasn’t sure if I had enough cash because I am having these problems using the debit machines. He knew that. He looked at me and said “off you go, don’t miss your van, just send me the money when you get home though Western Union”. I have to give this Hostel the best rating. I will send the money of course, or actually Greg will, before I get home.
The ride to the airport was somewhat uneventful, Aodhan was agitated because we were not going the right direction, because we had to pick other people up first. He did not eat, and would not eat. He finally threw the food away, that is, he took it out to a patch of scrubby bush beside the terminal, and left the food for the animals. He knows not not to try to take food through a luggage checkpoint. On the airplane, I explained to the attendants that he could not have certain things to eat, and we looked at the breakfast and decided the only thing he could have was a fruit cup. I sat pondering how to explain to him why he couldn’t have the big packaged chocolate and vanilla cake and everyone else could. Finally, just before they came I hit upon the right idea. The flight attendants came and tried to give him a tray with the cake and everything on it and I almost lunged out of my seat at them, pushing the tray away, hissing “Sin Trigo” (without wheat), he can’t have this. They came back a few minutes later and gave him a tray with three fruit cups. He looked at the woman beside us, and the people all around us, and asked why he couldn’t have the cake. “It’s coffee cake” I nonchalantly lied. “It has coffee in it”. “Oh” he replied, “I thought it was chocolate. I guess it is only for the adults. I won’t like it will I.” “No,” I replied, “No, you don’t want that.” These are not the droids you are looking for, I thought.
We got to the Santiago airport and looked around for a while, before taking a shared van downtown to get our bus tickets for Mendoza. The driver was great, and we chatted in Spanish all the way. He told me to go to the other terminal behind the main one, because I would get a better price, and to go with a line called CATA. I walked the way he told me, and found the terminal, and CATA. I bought my tickets and was assured front panoramic view. I unfortunately had to pay cash, but oh well.
We walked to the subway, and went to our apartment. I couldn’t go in the apartment until 2pm, so I left Aodhan in the office, and went grocery shopping, and to try (unsuccessfully) to use a bank machine again. I went grocery shopping and found rice pasta and gluten free chocolate chip cookies.
We got in the apartment, and Aodhan agreed to have a bath. After the bath, he realized I was only giving him one sweater back, and he lost it. He hit me, choked me, wrapped the sheet and his pajamas around his neck. He kicked me so hard in the thigh while I was on the floor and he was holding me down. He threw me in the bathroom on the wet floor and my legs went out from under me in a way that made me think one of my bones was going to snap. I would not give in. I would not let him win. His sweater was soaked and drying and I could not put it away until it dried. He would not leave the apartment. I could not cook, I could not get signed into the internet. I was afraid. I finally did manage to get signed into the internet, and facetime called Greg, He got on and I put the phone on a shelf so that it faced Aodhan. Greg talked to him and between Greg and the passage of time, Aodhan began to settle. I was able to make a nice spaghetti dinner for him. He ate his first real meal of the day, and and eventually went to sleep on the sofa. This is the second time he has had wheat, and the second violent outburst.
Andrea, one of my home stay students who lives in Santiago, came over about 7pm and Aodhan was really happy to see her. He talked to her and smiled and told her all about his trip so far. He still wore the pajama pants and the sheet tied around his neck. Andrea stayed until about 10pm, and we made some plans for the next day. At night, I was able to convince him to put the pajamas on, instead of around him. I licked my wounds and went to sleep.
In the morning, Aodhan was more settled, but still did not want to go out without two sweaters. I had to finally take the second sweater and put it in my backpack so he couldn’t get it, and I we could eat some breakfast. I got him to change his pajamas and get dressed. We spent much of the morning getting rid of the white sheet, but eventually, he complied, and I got him out the door. I locked him out while I hung up his second sweater so that it would dry instead of mildewing in my backpack all day. He went crazy again in the hallway, and when I came out he pushed me down and kicked me again. Then he sat on the floor of the hallway. He finally crawled to the elevator, yes, crawled. And crawled in the elevator, saying he was not standing up all day.
We got on the metro to go to Andrea’s house and he got agitated. He does not like to be on underground transit because you can’t see where you are going. Eventually he wet his pants. They dried by the time we got to the house, but I had to sit there asking myself, “do I really have a 14 year old who wets his pants?” Anyway, the time at Andrea’s went well, especially after they served me two cups of coffee!
We went out and went to The market at the church beside her house. It is a lovely little arts market. After we went to the sculpture park, and then walked across the city. We had lunch in a nice little restaurant. After we went to Cerro San Cristobal, and up the funicular. We had a great view of the city. We came back down and walked back to the communication tower. It was 8pm, and Andrea headed home. We went back to the apartment and made lentils and beef for dinner.
I managed to sneak Aodhan’s second sweater into the suitcase while he was in the bathroom. My suitcase lining zips in, and I unzipped it and put the sweater under the lining with his coat, and used the straps to hold the lining somewhat flat. This would not fool anyone, you can see the big bulges under the lining, especially someone who sees everything with the eye of an artist, like Aodhan. But Aodhan likes to ignore things and not see things. So i think it will be safe.
I asked Aodhan to shower in the morning, and he did, after much complaining and whining. I gave him some concessions, such as allowing him to have his backpack and sweater in the bathroom. As we were leaving, I noticed that he was still wearing his wet tee shirt as well as his dry one. I have to watch everything he does. It is so exhausting. I made him come back in the apartment and remove his wet red shirt. It took about half an hour. Later, after we had left, I realized he had snuck a second green shirt on instead. I gave up. We had a good day. We went to Plaza de Armas, and the small Natural History museum. Well, I did. Aodhan wouldn’t take off his backpack, so he waited in the park. It was a small museum, with not too much there. After we walked wherever Aodhan wanted to, which was south. Andrea had said the day before that south was the bad direction, South was the bad part of the city. Of course, Aodhan wants to do anything that invokes reaction or negative attention. Why? I don’t know.
We saw a lot of cool graffiti and it was interesting just walking around. The city was dead because it was Sunday. Everything was closed. I managed to find an open grocery store, and bought more rice pasta and pasta sauce and tortilla chips so that I can make a big supper tonight.
We went home, and Andrea came over at 7:30 and stayed until 10:30. Andrea is planning on going to Vermont next year and also wants to visit Hawaii. It will be nice to see her again - I will have to go skiing in Vermont!
Overall, things are looking up.
The view of the Andes from the airplane
Andrea and her mom and Aodhan
The handicraft market behind Los Dominicos near Andrea's house
The sculpture garden
The bridge where lovers write their names on a lock, and lock it to the bridge
Andrea and I at the top of San Cristobal
View from the top of San Cristobal
Some of the "graffiti"
love these little cafe lined streets
Andrea and Aodhan
There are so many pedestrian only streets
Beautiful Cathedral in Paza de Armes
All around the city on Sunday, there were brightly painted pianos that said "Play me, I'm Yours." People were playing them, and they were great.
Aodhan having a great time at a park
More wall art. There was so much
Aodhan and the communication tower