I was talking to my Dad last night and he commented that he liked my 300th blog post because it reminded him of me. I asked why and he said, “Because you like everything to be right, you always have.” True statement. When I was little my friends called me bossy because I corrected everyone. Now I’m an English teacher and I get to do it for money. Sweet.
However, despite wanting everything to be “right” I am learning more and more to just sit back, relax, and go with the flow. I mean, how can you not when you live in South America? And my trip with Eileen to Chimbarongo proves just how good at this I’ve become. By the way, you can read her version of the tale over here.
So Eileen and I went to Chimbarongo on Monday, also known as Wickertown!! (yes, exclamation points are necessary). To get there, we took the MetroTren, which departs from Estacion Central and costs $1.700 to go to San Fernando. From San Fernando, we were to get off the train and continue on to Chimbarongo in a collectivo or bus.
Except, well, we were idiots and didn’t get off at San Fernando. We mused as to why the train had been stopped for so long, but it wasn’t until the doors were shut and the train started moving in the wrong direction that we realized: oops! We were assured that we could get off at Pelequen, the next stop, and wait for the train to pass by in the other direction. Bummer, but what else could we do? I considered yelling, “Stop the train!” but instead preserved my dignity, figuring that only worked in the movies.
I was pleasantly surprised that of all the towns we had passed on our way there (which was very scenic, but the disgustingly dirty windows prevented the taking of any pictures) Pelequen was the town with the onion domed church. Yes, that’s right, a pink onion domed church in middle-of-nowhere Chile. Photographic evidence:
Then we just mosey-on-overed to the highway and flagged down a bus. Not just any bus, a nice cushy bus with leather seats and air conditioning. The approximately 12 year old bus assistant confirmed he would take us to Chimbarongo for only $1.500 and we were off.
And then we were dropped off in Chimbarongo, which isn’t much to look at, especially on a holiday. The plaza is nice and has a giant statue of a man making a wicker basket. Appropriate.
We finally found bakery that sold us some much needed food (it was 3:00pm by this point!), a pino empanada for me and a cheese sandwich for Eileen, and then we headed back to where we were told the wicker was.
And man did we find wicker. Stall upon stall of wicker chairs, tables, vases, frogs, shelves, cradles, birds, hampers, sofas, boxes, you name it, they had it. In wicker.
I considered buying a chair or maybe a shelf, but after a grumpy saleswoman quoted me the special gringa discount (aka raised the price a couple thousand pesos) on a shelf, I decided to settle on some honey. Fresh from the campo goey delisousness.
I was going to give it away as a present, but I think I’m going to keep it. It’s that good. To be fair, I also bought a small box made of sticks (wicker sticks, I assume). The same lady with the gringa discount quoted Eileen $2.400 pesos per box, then went off to attend to some people who wanted ice cream (their wicker stand doubled as a convenient store…how convenient!) and her husband came out who quoted us the normal price of $1.500 pesos. That’s more like it.
And then we flagged down another bus, not as cushy, and rode up with the drivers for a “ratito” which turned out to be more like until we got to Rancagua and two people got off and gave us their seats. It was perhaps the slowest bus ride home ever, but we arrived at last.
All in all, it was a great trip out of the smoggy hustle and bustle of Santiago. Next stop: the town that sells stoneware by the side of the road.