>Living and learning in Santiago

>I’m not sure if this happens in other cities in the world. I’ve never lived in another city besides Santiago (Waterville, Maine, although technically a city, in no way qualifies). Here, during rush hour, some roads change direction. For example, from 7am-10am the road is a one way road with all traffic heading north. From 10am-5am it is a two way road and then from 5am-9pm it is a one way road with all traffic heading south. I live off Avenida Salvador, which is one such road. Usually I’m going in the direction that the traffic is, so I’m all set. For example when I went to class in the morning, I had to go north, and all the traffic was going north, and in the afternoon it was the opposite.

However, there are some times, especially in the evening, when I need to go north to Providencia, and all the traffic is coming south. The nearest street with buses that go north is either 6 blocks to the west or 9 blocks to the east. I guess I shouldn’t complain because that makes me sound really lazy, but the problem is I always forget about the change in direction, especially around 8:30pm. In my gringa mind, it shouldn’t be rush hour at 8:30 pm. Rush hour is around 5-6 to me. But here, everyone works a lot later (48 hour work week) and hence Rush hour lasts a lot longer.

So the point of my story is that the other night I left my house at 8:42, in plenty of time to arrive at Manuel Montt with Providencia around 9. But all the traffic was going the wrong way! I should have just waited the 18 minutes at the bus stop until the street changed to two-way again, but I’m stubborn and thought, I’ll walk 9 blocks to Antonio Varas and get a bus there. Why didn’t I just walk 6 blocks in the other direction you may ask? Well for many reasons that are not interesting, but mostly because the walk on Santa Isabel towards Antonio Varas is prettier than in the other direction. I know, I know. Silly.

Little did I know that the micros NEVER COME on Antonio Varas. What the heck. I waited 25 minutes, and by this time it was already 9:15. As I mentioned in my previous post, I hate being late, so I texted the people I was going to meet up with and got in a cab. $1,390 pesos and 10 minutes later I was at Manuel Montt. If I had just waited on Salvador I would have arrived at the same time if not earlier, and only spent $380 pesos.

You live and learn, I guess. I just wish gaining experience didn’t have to be so expensive.

Or maybe, just to make it easier on me, Salvador should always be a two-way street. That’s not too much to ask, right?

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